Prominent international academics and public figures launched on Monday, August 7, 2023, a statement titled “The Elephant in the Room,” addressing the long-standing illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine and Israeli apartheid system.
The statement, endorsed by 1220 academics from the so-called ‘Israel’, the United States, and other countries including prestigious institutions like Yale, Harvard, and Princeton, highlights the lack of basic rights for Palestinians and ongoing violence.
The academics state, “The Palestinian people lack all fundamental rights and face continuous violence. In just this year, Israeli forces have killed over 190 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, demolished more than 590 buildings, and settlers have committed acts of burning, looting, and killing with impunity.”
They add, “There cannot be democracy for Jews in Israel as long as Palestinians live under an apartheid regime. The ultimate goal of judicial reform is to tighten restrictions on Gaza, deny equal rights to Palestinians both inside and outside the Green Line, annex more land, and ethnically cleanse Palestinians from all lands under Israeli rule.”
The statement emphasizes, “American Jews have historically been at the forefront of social justice issues, from racial equality to abortion rights, but they have not given sufficient attention to the elephant in the room: Israel’s long-term occupation, which has resulted in an apartheid regime.”
The statement calls on “North American Jewish leaders, institutional leaders, scholars, rabbis, and educators to support the Israeli protest movement and advocate for equality for both Jews and Palestinians within the Green Line and in the occupied Palestinian territories.”
Furthermore, the statement expresses support for human rights organizations defending Palestinians and providing real-time information about the reality of occupation and apartheid. It urges reforming educational standards and curricula for Jewish children and youth to provide a more truthful assessment of Israel’s past and present.
The statement also calls on elected leaders in the United States to assist in ending the Israeli occupation, restricting the use of American military aid in the occupied Palestinian territories, and ending Israel’s impunity in the United Nations and other international organizations.