19. July 2014

Tutu and other Nobel peace laureates call for military embargo on Israel

An abridged version of this letter calling for the UN and governments to impose a military embargo on Israel was published in the Guardian on July 19, 2014 (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/18/arms-trade-israel-attack-gaza):

The letter is signed by six Nobel peace laureates: Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Adolfo Peres Esquivel, Jody Williams, Mairead Maguire, Rigoberta Menchú and Betty Williams.  Other South African signatories include writer Gillian Slovo, former Ambassador Ismail Coovadia, human rights expert and former ICJ judge John Dugard, former minister Ronnie Kasril and Zwelinzima Vavi, the general secretary of the Confederation of South African Trade Unions.

This is the text:

Nobel laureates, artists and public intellectuals call for immediate military embargo on Israel

“With the establishment of a relationship of oppression, violence has already begun. Never in history has violence been initiated by the oppressed. …There would be no oppressed had there been no prior of violence to establish their subjugation.” –Paulo Freire

Israel has once again unleashed the full force of its military against the captive Palestinian population, particularly in the besieged Gaza Strip, in an inhumane and illegal act of military aggression. Israel’s ongoing assault on Gaza has so far killed scores of Palestinian civilians, injured hundreds and devastated the civilian infrastructure, including the health sector, which is facing severe shortages.
Israel’s ability to launch such devastating attacks with impunity largely stems from the vast international military cooperation and trade that it maintains with complicit governments across the world.
Over the period 2009-2019, the US is set to provide military aid to Israel worth $30bn, while Israeli annual military exports to the world have reached billions of dollars. In recent years, European countries have exported billions of euros worth of weapons to Israel, and the European Union has furnished Israeli military companies and universities with military-related research grants worth hundreds of millions.
Emerging economies such as India, Brazil and Chile, are rapidly increasing their military trade and cooperation with Israel, despite their stated support for Palestinian rights.
By importing and exporting arms to Israel and facilitating the development of Israeli military technology, governments are effectively sending a clear message of approval for Israel’s military aggression, including its war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.
Israel is one of the world’s leading producers and exporters of militarized drones. Israel’s military technology, developed to maintain decades of oppression, is marketed as “field tested” and exported across the world.
Military trade and joint military-related research relations with Israel embolden Israeli impunity in committing grave violations of international law and facilitate the entrenchment of Israel’s system of occupation, colonisation and systematic denial of Palestinian rights.
We call on the UN and governments across the world to take immediate steps to implement a comprehensive and legally binding military embargo on Israel, similar to that imposed on South Africa during apartheid.
Governments that express solidarity with the Palestinian people in Gaza, facing the brunt of Israel’s militarism, atrocities and impunity, must start with cutting all military relations with Israel. Palestinians today need effective solidarity, not charity.

Signed by:

Adolfo Peres Esquivel, Nobel Peace Laureate, Argentina Ahdaf Soueif, Author, Egypt/UK Ahmed Abbas, Academic, France Aki Olavi Kaurismäki, film director, Finland Alexi Sayle, Comedian, UK Alice Walker, Writer, US Alison Phipps, Academic, Scotland Andrew Ross, Academic, US Andrew Smith, Academic, Scotland Arch. Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Laureate, South Africa Ascanio Celestini, actor and author, Italy Betty Williams, Nobel Peace Laureate, Northern Ireland Boots Riley, Rapper, poet, arts producer, US Brian Eno, Composer/musician, UK Brigid Keenan, Author, UK Caryl Churchill, playwright, UK China Mieville, Writer, UK Chris Hedges, Journalist, Pulitzer Prize 2002, US Christiane Hessel,, France Cynthia McKinney, Politician, activist, US David Graeber, Academic, UK David Palumbo-Liu, Academic, US Eleni Varikas, Academic, France Eliza Robertson, Author, Elwira Grossman, Academic, Scotland Etienne Balibar, philosopher, France Federico Mayor Zaragoza, Former UNESCO Director General, Spain Felim Egan, Painter, Ireland Frei Betto, Liberation theologian, Brazil Gerard Toulouse, Academic, France Ghada Karmi, Academic, Palestine Gillian Slovo, Writer, Former president of PEN (UK), UK/South Africa Githa Hariharan, Writer, India Giulio Marcon, MP (SEL), Italy Hilary Rose, Academic, UK Ian Shaw, Academic, Scotland Ilan Pappe, Historian, author, Israel Ismail Coovadia, former South African Ambassador to Israel Ivar Ekeland, Academic, France James Kelman, Writer, Scotland Janne Teller, Writer, Denmark Jeremy Corbyn, MP (Labour), UK Joanna Rajkowska, Artist, Poland Joao Felicio, President of ITUC, Brazil Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Laureate, US John Berger, artist, UK John Dugard, Former ICJ judge, South Africa John McDonnell, MP (Labour), UK John Pilger, journalist and filmmaker, Australia Judith Butler, Academic, philosopher, US Juliane House, Academic, Germany Karma Nabulsi, Oxford University, UK/Palestine Keith Hammond, Academic, Scotland Ken Loach, Filmmaker, UK Kool A.D. (Victor Vazquez), Musician, US Liz Lochhead, national poet for Scotland, UK Liz Spalding, Author, Luisa Morgantini, former vice president of the European Parliament, Italy Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate, Ireland Marcia Lynx Qualey, Blogger and Critic, US Michael Lowy, Academic, France Michael Mansfield, Barrister, UK Michael Ondaatje, Author, Canada/Sri Lanka Mike Leigh, writer and director, UK Mira Nair, filmmaker, India Monika Strzępka, theatre director, Poland Naomi Wallace, Playwright, screenwriter, poet, US Nathan Hamilton, Poet, Noam Chomsky, Academic, author, US Nur Masalha, Academic, UK/Palestine Nurit Peled, Academic, Israel Paola Bacchetta, Academic, US Phyllis Bennis, Policy analyst, commentator, US Prabhat Patnaik, Economist, India Przemyslaw Wielgosz, Chief editor of Le Monde Diplomatique, Polish edition, Poland Rachel Holmes, Author, UK Raymond Deane, composer, Ireland Raja Shehadeh, Author and Lawyer, Palestine Rashid Khalidi, Academic, author, Palestine/US Rebecca Kay, Academic, Scotland Richard Falk, Former UN Special Rapporteur on Occupied Palestinian Territories, US Rigoberta Menchú, Nobel Peace Laureate, Guatemala Robert Ballagh, artist, Ireland Robin D.G. Kelley, Academic, US Roger Waters, Musician, UK Robin Yassin-Kassab, Writer, UK Roman Kurkiewicz, journalist, Poland Ronnie Kasrils, Former minister in Mandela’s gov’t, South Africa Rose Fenton, Director, the Free Word Centre, UK Sabrina Mahfouz, Author, UK Saleh Bakri, Actor, Palestine Selma Dabbagh, Author, UK/Palestine Sir Geoffrey Bindman, Lawyer, UK Slavoj Zizek, Philosopher, author, Slovenia Sonia Dayan-Herzbrun, Academic, France Steven Rose, Academic, UK Tom Leonard, Writer, Scotland Tunde Adebimpe, Musician, US Victoria Brittain, Playwright and journalist, UK Willie van Peer, Academic, Germany Zwelinzima Vavi, Secretary General of Cosatu, South Africa

The following US faith organisations have also endorsed the call:

American Jews for a Just Peace American Muslims for Palestine Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America Chicago Faith Coalition on Middle East Policy Christian-Jewish Allies of Greater Philadelphia Christians Witnessing for Palestine, Friends of Sabeel Citizens for Justice in the Middle East—Kansas City Des Moines Catholic Worker, Rachel Corrie Project Disciples Justice Action Network Episcopal Peace Fellowship’s Palestine Israel Network Friends of Sabeel-North America Friends of Sabeel-Sacramento Region Friends of Sabeel-DC Metro Interdenominational Advocates for Peace Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA) Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council Co-Founders, Rabbi Brant Rosen and Rabbi Alissa Wise Jews for Justice in Palestine Kairos USA Keep Hope Alive, Bay Area, California Middle East Task Force of Chicago Presbytery Palestine-Israel Action Group of Ann Arbor Friends Meeting (Quakers) Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace Philadelphia Jews for a Just Peace Presbyterian Peace Fellowship Quaker Palestine Israel Network Shomer Shalom Network for Jewish Nonviolence, Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East United Church of Christ Palestine Israel Network United Methodist Kairos Response Steering Committee United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine and Israel, United Church of Canada West Hills Friends Church, Portland, Oregon (Palestinian BDS National Committee/BNC)


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