The statement below was issued by 100 high-profile British Jews, wishing to state their independence from institutions in Britain, which, claiming to represent all Jews, support Israeli occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people. All of the statement’s signatories can be viewed at the Independent Jewish Voices website.
We are a group of Jews in Britain from diverse backgrounds, occupations and affiliations who have in common a strong commitment to social justice and universal human rights. We come together in the belief that the broad spectrum of opinion among the Jewish population of this country is not reflected by those institutions which claim authority to represent the Jewish community as a whole. We further believe that individuals and groups within all communities should feel free to express their views on any issue of public concern without incurring accusations of disloyalty.
We have therefore resolved to promote the expression of alternative Jewish voices, particularly in respect of the grave situation in the Middle East, which threatens the future of both Israelis and Palestinians as well as the stability of the whole region. We are guided by the following principles:
1. Human rights are universal and indivisible and should be upheld without exception. This is as applicable in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories as it is elsewhere.
2. Palestinians and Israelis alike have the right to peaceful and secure lives.
3. Peace and stability require the willingness of all parties to the conflict to comply with international law.
4. There is no justification for any form of racism, including anti-Semitism, anti-Arab racism or Islamophobia, in any circumstance.
5. The battle against anti-Semitism is vital and is undermined whenever opposition to Israeli government policies is automatically branded as anti-Semitic.
These principles are contradicted when those who claim to speak on behalf of Jews in Britain and other countries consistently put support for the policies of an occupying power above the human rights of an occupied people. The Palestinian inhabitants of the West Bank and Gaza Strip face appalling living conditions with desperately little hope for the future. We declare our support for a properly negotiated peace between the Israeli and Palestinian people and oppose any attempt by the Israeli government to impose its own solutions on the Palestinians.
It is imperative and urgent that independent Jewish voices find a coherent and consistent way of asserting themselves on these and other issues of concern. We hereby reclaim the tradition of Jewish support for universal freedoms, human rights and social justice. The lessons we have learned from our own history compel us to speak out. We therefore commit ourselves to make public our views on a continuing basis and invite other concerned Jews to join and support us.