Independent Jewish Voices (www.ijv.org.uk) are placing this advertisement in the Jewish Chronicle in the UK on May 9, 2008:
60 YEARS – WE WISH EVERYONE COULD CELEBRATE
It is 60 years since the creation of the state of Israel, celebrated by most Israelis and many Jews around the world. But which Israel is being commemorated?
Is it the Israel that, in its Declaration of Independence in 1948, in the wake of the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust, proclaimed that “it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel … will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex … will be faithful to the principles of the UN Charter … extend our hand to all neighbouring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighbourliness”?
Or is it the Israel that for decades has occupied the territory and lives of its Palestinian neighbours, surrounded them with settlers, barriers and checkpoints, confiscated their land, demolished their homes, uprooted their trees, subjected them to daily humiliations, mass detentions, periodic sieges and deadly incursions, and deprived them of the right to self-determination and freedom that Israel vigorously asserts for itself?
The state of Israel was at one time a major unifying force for Jews of different persuasions around the world – from left to right, from religious to secular. Today it is probably the single main cause of division. In country after country, including Israel itself, public dissent from Israeli policies has become a widespread reality. Informed by traditional Jewish values and concern for universal human rights, a growing number of Jews are openly repudiating the claim of successive Israeli governments to speak and act in the name of all
In another 10 years, Israel will be commemorating its 70th anniversary. Unless the occupation is brought swiftly to an end, there may be little left to celebrate.