Statement on Behalf of Israel-based Progressives and Peace Activists
25 October 2023
White on White, Kazimir Malevich, 1918; Image Credit: MoMA
Statement on Behalf of Israel-based Progressives and Peace Activists Regarding Debates over Recent Events in Our Region (released online on 16 October 2023).
We, Israel-based academics, thought leaders and progressive activists committed to peace, equality, justice, and human rights, are deeply pained and shocked by the recent events in our region. We are also deeply concerned by the inadequate response from certain American and European progressives regarding the targeting of Israeli civilians by Hamas, a response which reflects a disturbing trend in the global left's political culture.
On October 7, 2023, Hamas launched an unprecedented attack that included mass murder of innocent civilians in their homes, indiscriminate violence towards women, the elderly, and children, and mass kidnappings of Israeli citizens. Entire families were wiped out in this carnage, whole communities were reduced to ashes, bodies were maimed, infants were massacred. It is impossible to overstate the damage caused by these events, both on a personal and a collective level. The traumatizing events of that Saturday in October will leave a lasting mark on our hearts and memories.
As expected, in response to Hamas's actions, the State of Israel launched a massive military operation in Gaza. We still cannot estimate the death toll of these attacks, but it is likely to be higher than anything we have witnessed heretofore. This cycle of aggression severely undermines our long-standing struggle against oppression and violence and in pursuit of full rights and equality for all residents of Israel-Palestine. At this moment, more than ever, we need support and solidarity from the global left, in the form of an unequivocal call against indiscriminate violence towards civilians on both sides.
Many of our peers worldwide have expressed strong opposition to Hamas's attack and have offered unambiguous support for its victims. Prominent voices in the Arab world, too, have made it clear that there is no justification for sadistic murder of innocent people. However, to our dismay, some elements within the global left, individuals who were, until now, our political partners, have reacted with indifference to these horrific events and sometimes even justified Hamas's actions. Some have refused to condemn the violence, claiming that outsiders have no right to judge the actions of the oppressed. Others have downplayed the suffering and trauma, arguing that Israeli society brought this tragedy upon itself. Yet others have shielded themselves from the moral shock through historical comparisons and rationalization. And there are even those – no small number – for whom the darkest day in our society’s history was a cause for celebration.
This array of responses surprised us. We never imagined that individuals on the left, advocates of equality, freedom, justice, and welfare, would reveal such extreme moral insensitivity and political recklessness. Let us be clear: Hamas is a theocratic and repressive organization that vehemently opposes the attempt to promote peace and equality in the Middle East. Its core commitments are fundamentally inconsistent with progressive principles, and thus the inclination of certain leftists to react affirmatively to its actions is utterly absurd. Moreover, there is no justification for shooting civilians in their homes; no rationalization for the murder of children in front of their parents; no reasoning for the persecution and execution of partygoers. Legitimizing or excusing these actions amountsto a betrayal of the fundamental principles of left-wing politics.
We emphasize: there is no contradiction between staunchly opposing the Israeli subjugation and occupation of Palestinians and unequivocally condemning brutal acts of violence against innocent civilians. In fact, every consistent leftist must hold both positions simultaneously.
The seventh of October is a dark day in the history of Israel-Palestine and the lives of the peoples of thisregion. Those who refuse to condemn Hamas's actions do immense damage to the prospects of peace becoming a viable, relevant political option. They weaken the left’s ability to present a positive social and political horizon, turning it into an extreme, narrow, and alienating political force. We call on our peers on the left to return to a politics based on humanistic and universal principles, to take a clear stance against human rights abuse of any form, and to assist us in the struggle to break the cycle of violence and destruction.
October 16th, 2023
Prof. Aviad Kleinberg, President of the Ruppin Academic Center ,קליינברג אביעד' פרופ Avirama Golan, author and journalist ,גולן אבירמה
Ibtisam Mara'ana, Former MK, Labor Party ,מראענה אבתיסאם
Adam Raz, Historian, Human rights activist ,רז אדם
Prof. Eva Illouz, Directrice d’études EHESS Paris, Membre of Institute for Israeli Thought ,אילוז אווה' פרופ
Dr. Ofek Birnholtz, Bar Ilan University ,בירנהולץ אופק ר"ד
Ortal Ben Dayan, Social Activist ,דיין בן אורטל
Ori Ben Dov, Social Activist ,דב בן אורי
Uri Weltmann, National Field Organizer - Standing Together ,וולטמן אורי
Ori Kol, Social Entrepreneur ,קול אורי
Dr. Orit Sônia Waisman, David Yellin Academic College of Education, Jerusalem ,ויסמן סוניה אורית ר"ד Eilon Tohar, Social Activist ,טוהר אילון
Iris Leal, Author ,לעאל איריס
Alon-Lee Green, National Co-Director of Standing Together ,גרין לי -אלון
Dr. Eli Cook, Head of the General History Department, Haifa University ,קוק אלי ר"ד Dr. Almog Kasher, Bar Ilan University ,כשר אלמוג ר"ד
Prof. Orna Ben-Naftali, the College of Management Law Faculty and the Van Leer ,נפתלי -בן ארנה' פרופ Jerusalem Institute
Josh Drill, Social Activist ,דריל וש'ג
Ghadir Hani, peace activist, Standing Together ,האני גדיר
Prof. Gila Stopler, Faculty of Law, College of Law and Business ,סטופלר גילה' פרופ Prof. Galia Sabar, Tel Aviv University. Former President of Ruppin College ,צבר גליה פרופ׳ Dr. Dov Khenin, Former MK, Hadash, Tel Aviv University ,חנין דב ר"ד
David Grossman, author ,גרוסמן דויד
Dorit Hadar Persky, M.A teacher for special education, David Yellin Academic College of ,פרסקי הדר דורית Education, Jerusalem
Prof. Danny Gutwein, Haifa University ,גוטוויין דני' פרופ
Prof. Dani Filc, MD PhD, Standing Together ,פילק דני פרופ׳
Dr. Hagar Gal, David Yellin Academic College of Education, Jerusalem ,גל הדר ר"ד Vered Livne, former Director General of The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and ,ליבנה ורד leadership member of Standing Together
Taleb el-Sana, Former MK, Arab Democratic Party, Head of High Committee for Arab Citizens ,סאנע-א טלב of the Negev
Yoav Hareven, leadership member of Standing Together ,הראבן יואב
Prof. Yoav Goldberg, Bar-Ilan University ,גולדברג יואב' פרופ
Prof. Jonathan Rubin, Bar Ilan University ,רובין יונתן' פרופ
Yossi Sucary, Author ,סוכרי יוסי
Dr. Yofi Tirosh, Tel Aviv University ,תירוש יופי ר"ד
Prof. Yael Hashiloni-Dolev, Ben-Gurion University, Sociology and Anthropology ,דולב -השילוני יעל' פרופ Department
Dr. Yael Sternhell, Tel Aviv University, שטרנהל יעל ר"ד
Dr. Yiftah Goldman, David Yellin Academic College of Education, Jerusalem ,גולדמן יפתח ד״ר Dr. Carmel Shalev, Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University ,שלו כרמל ר"ד
Dr. Lisa Kainan, David Yellin Academic College of Education, Jerusalem ,קינן ליסה ר"ד Prof. Meir Yaish, Haifa University, יעיש מאיר' פרופ
Mossi Raz, former MK, Meretz ,רז מוסי
Dr. Meital Pinto, Zefat Academic College, Ono Academic College ,פינטו מיטל ר"ד
Meital Peleg Mizrachi, Postdoctoral fellow at Yale University, environmental justice ,מזרחי פלג מיטל researcher
Mickey Gitzin, New Israel Fund, Executive Director in Israel ,גיצין מיקי
Dr. Miri Lavi Neeman, Arava Institute for Environmental Studies ,נאמן לביא מירי ר"ד Nadav Bigelman, Social Activist, member of Standing Together ,ביגלמן נדב
Prof. Noam Zohar, Bar Ilan Univesity ,זהר נעם' פרופ
Niv Meyerson, Social and environmental justice activist ,מאירסון ניב
Sally Abed, Member of national leadership, Standing Together ,עבד סאלי
Dr. Adi Makmal, Engineering Faculty, Bar-Ilan Uni. Israel ,מכמל עדי ר"ד
Odeh Bisharat, Writer ,באשארת עודה
Prof. Eran Dorfman, Literature Department, Tel Aviv University ,דורפמן עירן' פרופ
Prof. Amit Schejter, department of communication studies, Ben-Gurion University, chairman ,שכטר עמית' פרופ of ACRI
Dr. Anat Herbst-Debby, The Gender Studies program, Bar-Ilan University ,דבי-הרבסט ענת ר"ד Dr. Ofri Ilany, Van Leer Institute, historian and journalist ,אילני עפרי ר"ד
Eran Nissan, Mehazkim, CEO ,ניסן ערן
Tzlil Rubinshtein, Social Activist ,רובינשטיין צליל
Ran Heilbrunn, Writer ,היילברון רן
Dr. Ronit Donyets Kedar, College of Law and Business ,קידר-דוניץ רונית ר"ד
Prof. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari, Bar-Ilan University Faculty fo Law ,קדרי-הלפרין רות' פרופ Dr. Raphael Zagury-Orly, Institut Catholique de Paris ,אורלי- זגורי רפאל ר"ד
Dr. Shlomit Aharoni Lir, Bar Ilan University ,ליר אהרוני שלומית ר"ד
Prof. Sharon Armon-Lotem, Bar-Ilan University ,לוטם- ערמון שרון' פרופ
Tom Yagil, Social and Environmental Justice Activist ,יגיל תום
Dr. Tamar Ascher Shai, David Yellin Academic College of Education, Jerusalem ,שי אשר תמר ר"ד