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On Anti-Semitism, Boycotts, and the Case of Hermann Dierkes

Petition published by Anonymous on Apr 06, 2009
370 Signatures 
Target: Public opinion
Region: GLOBAL

Petition Background (Preamble):

The open letter below was publicly issued by the 371 peace activists of Jewish background listed directly underneath the letter. The names were obtained after circulating the letter for only a week, and many additional peace activists of Jewish background have asked to add their names and so we are posting this statement online and invite further signatories. Contact us at Dierkes.Letter@gmail.com.

Petition:

On Anti-Semitism, Boycotts, and the Case of Hermann Dierkes:


An Open Letter from Jewish Peace Activists



We are peace activists of Jewish background. Some of us typically identify in this way; others of us do not. But we all object to those who claim to speak for all Jews or who use charges of anti-Semitism to attempt to squelch legitimate dissent.

We have learned with dismay the allegations regarding Hermann Dierkes, a trade unionist and leader of the Left Party (DIE LINKE) in the German city of Duisburg. Dierkes, in response to the recent Israeli assault on Gaza expressed the view that one way people could help Palestinians obtain justice would be to support the call of the World Social Forum to boycott Israeli goods, so as to put pressure on the Israeli government.

Dierkes has been subjected to widespread and vitriolic denunciations for anti-Semitism, and accused of calling for a repeat of the Nazi policy of the 1930s of boycotting Jewish products. Dierkes responded that “The demands of the World Social Forum have nothing in common with Nazi-type racist campaigns against Jews, but aim at changing the Israeli government’s policy of oppression of the Palestinians."

No one has made any claims of anti-Semitism against Dierkes for anything other than his support of the boycott. Yet he has been accused of “pure anti-Semitism” (Dieter Graumann the Vice-President of the Central Jewish Council), of uttering words comparable to “a mass execution at the edge of a Ukrainian forest” (Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung editorialist Achim Beer), and of expressing “Nazi propaganda” (Hendrik Wuest, General Secretary of the Christian Democratic Party).

We signatories have differing views on the wisdom and efficacy of calling for a boycott of Israeli goods. Some of us believe that such a boycott is an essential component of a campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions that can end the four-decade-long Israeli occupation; others think the better way to pressure the Israeli government is with a more selective boycott focused on institutions and corporations supporting the occupation. But all of us agree that it is essential to apply pressure against the Israeli government if peace and justice are to prevail in the Middle East and all of us agree that a call for a boycott of Israel has nothing in common with the Nazi policy of “Don’t buy from Jews.” It is no more anti-Semitic to boycott Israel to end the occupation than it was anti-white to boycott South Africa to end apartheid. Social justice movements have often called for boycotts or divestment, whether against the military regime in Burma or the government of Sudan. Wise or not, such calls are in no way discriminatory.

Violence in the Middle East has indeed led to some acts of anti-Semitism in Europe. There was a call to boycott Jewish-owned stores in Rome that was widely and appropriately condemned. We deplore such bigotry. Israel's crimes cannot be attributed to Jews as a whole. But, at the same time, a boycott of Israel cannot be equated with a boycott of Jews as a whole.

An acute and disturbing form of racism rising in Europe today is Islamophobia and xenophobia directed at immigrants from Muslim countries. Dierkes has been a champion in defense of the rights of immigrants, while some of those who accuse all critics of Israel of being anti-Semitic often participate themselves -- like the Israeli government and state -- in such forms of racism.

The Holocaust was one of the most horrific events in modern history. It is a dishonor to its victims to use its memory as a bludgeon to silence principled critics of Israel's unconscionable treatment of Palestinians.

Signatories

(organizations listed for identification purposes only)

BELGIUM

Marc ABRAMOWICZ, Psychothérapeute
Mateo ALALUF, Professeur, Université libre de Bruxelles
Joëlle BAUMERDER, Directrice institution culturelle
Marianne BLUME, Professeur
Jacques BUDE, Professeur émérite, Université libre de Bruxelles
Willy ESTERSOHN, Union des Progressistes Juifs de Belgique
Fanny FILOSOF
Thérèse FRANKFORT, Professeur
Victor GINSBURGH, Professeur émérite, Université libre de Bruxelles
Tom GOLDSCHMIDT, Journaliste
Martine GOLDSTEIN, Psychologue, Université libre de Bruxelles
Henri GOLDMAN, Auteur
José GOTOVITCH, Professeur retraité
Anne HERSCOVICI, Sociologue
Miaden HERZL
Henri HURWITZ, Professeur émérite, Université libre de Bruxelles
Paul JACOBS, Professeur, Université libre de Bruxelles
Willy KALB
Daniel LIEBMAN, Romaniste
Léon LIEBMAN, Magistrat honoraire
Nicole MAYER, Professeur émérite, Université libre de Bruxelles
Henri ROANNE-ROZENBLATT, Journaliste
Dominique RODRIGUEZ, Union des Progressistes Juifs de Belgique
Edith RUBINSTEIN, Femme en noir
Serge SIMON, Ecrivain et Union des progressistes juifs de Belgique
Michel STASZEWSKI, Professeur
Léo TUBBAX
Elie VAMOS, Médecin
Esther VAMOS, Professeur émerite, Université libre de Bruxelles
Serge VIDAL
Jean VOGEL, Professeur, Université libre de Bruxelles
Laurent VOGEL, Professeur, Université libre de Bruxelles
Henri WAJNBLUM, Co-président de l'Union des Progressistes Juifs de Belgique

CANADA

Elizabeth BLOCK, Not In Our Name: Jewish Voices Opposing Zionism, Women in Solidarity with Palestine, Independent Jewish Voices
Corey BALSAM, Student
Julia BARNETT
Lawrence BOXALL, Jews for a Just Peace
Mark Robert BRILL
Anne-Marie BRUN
Smadar CARMON, Not In Our Name: Jewish Voices Opposing Zionism
James DEUTSCH, MD
Judith DEUTSCH, MSW, President, Science for Peace
Gordon DOCTOROW
Inge FLEISCHMANN FOWLIE, Independent Jewish Voices
Barry FLEMING
Matt FODOR
Inge FOWLIE
Daniel FREEMAN-MALOY, Activist and writer
Sam GINDIN, York University
Rachel GUROFSKY, Trent University
Larry HAIVEN, Saint Mary's University
Jean HANSON, Independent Jewish Voices
Jake JAVANSHIR, Not In Our Name: Jewish Voices Opposing Zionism
Mira KHAZZAM, Independent Jewish Voices
Mark KLEIN
Naomi KLEIN, Author
Jason KUNIN
Richard Borshay LEE, Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto
Abby LIPPMAN, Independent Jewish Voices
Henry LOWI
Elizabeth MOLCHANY, Esquire
Rabbi David MIVASAIR, Ahavat Olam Synagogue, Vancouver
Joanne NAIMAN
Yakov M. RABKIN, Professeur titulaire, Département d'histoire, Université de Montréal
Diana RALPH, Independent Jewish Voices
R.S. RATNER, University of British Columbia
Herman ROSENFELD, Instructor, Labour Studies, McMaster University
Martha ROTH, United Jewish Voices-BC
Marty ROTH, United Jewish Voices-BC
Regine SCHMID
Alan SEARS, Ryerson University
Edward SHAFFER, University of Alberta
Sid SHNIAD, Independent Jewish Voices
Greg STARR, Jews for a Just Peace
Vera SZOKE
Judith WEISMAN
Suzanne WEISS, Not In Our Name: Jewish Voices Opposing Zionism

FRANCE

Houria ACKERMANN, Directrice de crèche
Nuri ALBALA, Avocat
Paula ALBOUZE
Paul ALLIÈS, Professeur à l'Université de Montpellier
Arlette ALVARENGA, Consultante retraitée
Simon ASSOUN, Union Juive Française pour la Paix
Marc AYBES, Infographiste
Bernard BATT
Raphaël BÉNARROSH, Avocat retraité
Eliane BÉNARROSH, Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l'amitié entre les peuples
Zvi BEN-DOR, Professor, New York University (Paris, France)
Daniel BENSAÏD, Professeur à l'Université Paris 8
Jean BRAFMAN, Conseiller régional d'Île-de-France
Kurt BRAININ, Médecin
Rony BRAUMAN
Kenneth BROWN, Mediterraneans/Méditerranéennes
Alice CHERKI, Psychiatre, psychanalyste, auteure
Élisabeth CHOPARD-LALLIER, Conceptrice d'édition
Sonia DAYAN-HERZBRUN, Professeur émérite à l'université Paris 7
Gilles DERHI, Pédopsychiatre, Union Juive Française pour la Paix
Sylvia EVRARD, Union Juive Française pour la Paix
Mireille FANON-MENDÈS-FRANCE, Union Juive Française pour la Paix
Patrick FELDSTEIN, Bureau national, Union Juive Française pour la Paix
Rafael GOLDWASER
Jean-Guy GREILSAMER, Président des Amis du Théâtre de la Liberté de Jénine
Serge GROSSVAK
Bertrand HEILBRONN
Avi HERSHKOVITZ, Cinéaste
Thamara HORMAECHEA, Médecin
Gonzague HUTIN, Union Juive Française pour la Paix
Bernard JANCOVICI, Professeur émérite, Université de Paris-Sud
Christine JEDWAB, Psychologue
Jacques JEDWAB
Samuel JOHSUA, Professeur émérite, Université de Provence
Nicole KAHN
Florence KERAVEC, Union Juive Française pour la Paix
Maurice KERNBAUM
Daniel LARTICHAUX-ULLMANN, Documentaliste
Catherine LÉVY, Sociologue
Daniel LÉVYNE, Enseignant retraité
Michaël LÖWY, Sociologue
Françoise MALFROID
Alain MARCU, Petit fils de déporté, fils de juifs résistants
Jean François MARX
Véronique MARZO, Union Juive Française pour la Paix
Pierre MAUREL
Ariane MONNERON, Ancien Chef de Clinique, Directeur de recherche au CNRS
Jean-Hugues MORNEAU, Bibliothécaire, Université Joseph Fourier de Grenoble
François MUNIER
Josiane OLFF-NATHAN, Université de Strasbourg
Perrine OLFF-RASTEGAR, Porte-parole Collectif Judéo Arabe et Citoyen pour la Paix
Martine OLFF-SOMMER, Psychologue
Henri OSINSKI
Marie-France OSINSKI
Nahed PUST, Femmes en Noir de Strasbourg
Jocelyne RAJNCHAPEL-MESSAÏ, Union Juive Française pour la Paix
Sabrina RANASINGHE
Claude RAYMOND, Retraitée
Yaël REINHARZ HAZAN, co-directrice du Festival du Film et Forum International sur les Doits Humains
Suzanne ROSENBERG
Jacques SCHWEIZER, Physicien
Michèle SIBONY, Union Juive Française pour la Paix
Claude SZATAN
Hannah TAIEB, Union Juive Française pour la Paix
Marlène TUNINGA, Présidente section française, Ligue internationale des femmes pour la paix et la liberté
Dominique VENTRE, Directeur de Formation Télécom
René VONWALLENBERG, Avocat
Fabrice WEISSMAN, Directeur d'études Fondation Médecins Sans Frontières
Adek ZYLBERBERG
Marie Claire ZYLBERBERG

GERMANY

Galit ALTSHULER, European Jews for Just Peace
Linda BENEDIKT
Stacey BLATT
Elias DAVIDSSON, Komponist, Menschenrechtler
Ilil FRIEDMAN, European Jews for Just Peace
Ruth FRUCHTMAN, Writer, European Jews for Just Peace
Harri GRÜNBERG, Mitarbeiter der Bundestagsfraktion DIE LINKE
Iris HEFETS, European Jews for Just Peace
Tal HEVER
Michal KAISER-LIVNE, European Jews for Just Peace
Kate KATZENSTEIN-LEITERER, European Jews for Just Peace
Felicia LANGER
Mieciu LANGER
Jean Joseph LEVY
Edith LUTZ, European Jews for Just Peace
Jakob MONETA, früherer Chefredakteur der Zeitung Metall
Abraham MELZER, Publisher, European Jews for Just Peace
Moshe PERLSTEIN, European Jews for Just Peace
Fanny Michaela REISIN, European Jews for Just Peace
Paul Otto SAMUELSDORFF
Lawrence ZWEIG, Solidarity International

ISRAEL

Hillel BARAK, Movement Against Israeli Apartheid in Palestine
Ronnie BARKAN, Anarchists Against the Wall
Judith BLANC, Bat Shalom, Women in Black, HADASH
Matan COHEN, Tarabot
Adi DAGAN, Coalition of Women for Peace
Rotem DAN MOR, Student, Center of Middle Eastern Classical Music in Jerusalem
Yvonne DEUTSCH, Social worker and feminist peace activist
Daniel DUKAREVICH
Emmanuel FARJOUN, Professor of Mathematics, Hebrew University, Jerusalem
Naama FARJOUN
Alon FRIEDMAN, MD, Departments of Physiology and Neurosurgery, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Yodfat Ariela GETZ, Filmmaker and social activist
Rachel GIORA, Tel Aviv University
Angela GODFREY-GOLDSTEIN, Action Advocacy Officer, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions
Neta GOLAN
Vardit GOLDNER
Amos GVIRTZ, Recognition Forum
Connie HACKBARTH, Alternative Information Center
Roni HAMMERMANN, Machsomwatch
Shir HEVER, Alternative Information Center
Tikva HONIG-PARNASS
Ronnee JAEGER, Bat Shalom, Coalition of Women for a Just Peace
Jimmy JOHNSON, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions
Matan KAMINER
Reuven KAMINER
Teddy KATZ
Hava KELLER
Adam KELLER, Journalist
Idan LANDAU, Department of Foreign Literatures & Linguistics, Ben Gurion University
Yael LERER, Publisher
Orit LOYTER
Eilat MAOZ, Women's Coalition
Anat MATAR, Department of Philosophy, Tel Aviv University
Dorothy NAOR, Activist for justice and peace
Israel NAOR
Gilad NATHAN
Amos NOY
Adi OPHIR, Professor of Philosophy, Tel Aviv University
Amit PERELSON
Shai Carmeli POLLAK
David REEB, Artist
Andre ROSENTHAL, Civil rights lawyer
Yehoshua ROSIN
Sergeiy SANDLER, New Profile
Ayala SHANI
Kobi SNITZ, Technion
Lea TSEMEL, Attorney, SOS Torture
Roy WAGNER
Michel WARSCHAWSKI, Alternative Information Center
Sergio YAHNI, Alternative Information Center
Uri ZACKHEM
Beate ZILVERSMIDT

ITALY

Liviana BORTOLUSSI, Rete Radiè Resch di solidarietà Internazionale
Paola CANARUTTO, Medico
Giorgio CANARUTTO, Impiegato
Marina DEL MONTE, Psicoterapeuta
Ronit DOVRAT, Pittrice
Douglas DOWD, Professor of Economics
Giorgio FORTI, Professore Emerito Università di Milano
Milena MOTTALINI, Avvocata
Carla ORTONA, Funzionaria sanità
Marco RAMAZZOTTI, Funzionario Nazioni Unite, Rete Ebrei Contro L'occupazione, Jews Against Occupation
Stefano SARFATTI , Commerciante
Susanna SINIGAGLIA
Ornella TERRACINI, Insegnante in pensione

SWITZERLAND

Guy BOLLAG
Shraga ELAM, Winner of the Australian Gold Walkley Award for Excellent Journalism 2004
Dorrie ITEN, Jewish Voice for a Just Peace
Leo KANEMAN, Co-directeur Festival du Film et Forum International sur les Droits Humains
Rolf KRAUER, Gewerkschafter UNIA
Martine RAIS, Médecin
Peter STRECKEISEN, Soziologe
Ursel URECH, Lehrerin, Gewerkschaft VPOD
Sharon Weill, Ph.D. candidate in International Law, University of Geneva
Robin WINOGROND, Jewish Voice for a Just Peace

UK

Hanna BRAUN, Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Richard BRENNER, Editor, Workers Power
Haim BRESHEETH, Professor of Media and Cultural Studies
Peter COHEN, London South Bank University
Angela DALE, Jews Against Zionism
Mark ELF, Jews Sans Frontieres
Liz ELKIND, Scottish Jews for a Just Peace
Rayah FELDMAN, London South Bank University
Alf FILER
Sylvia FINZI, Jews for Justice for Palestinians
Tony GREENSTEIN , Trade unionist (UNISON)
Pete HALL
Abe HAYEEM, Jews for Justice for Palestinians /International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
Rosamine HAYEEM, Jews for Justice for Palestinians/International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
Dan JUDELSON, Secretary, European Jews for a Just Peace
Yael KAHN
Bernice LASCHINGER
Les LEVIDOW, Open University
Vivien LICHTENSTEIN
Yosefa LOSHITZKY, Professor of Film Studies
Moshe MACHOVER, Professor Emeritus, founding member of the Socialist Organization in Israel "Matzpen"
Hilda MEERS, Scottish Jews for a Just Peace
Diana NESLEN, Jews Against Zionism
Esther NESLEN
Susan PASHKOFF, Jews Against Zionism
Roland RANCE, Jews Against Zionism
Anna ROBIN
Shrila ROBIN
Brian ROBINSON
Miriam SCHARF
Ruth SIRTON
Inbar TAMARI, Jews Against Zionism
Norman TRAUB
Eyal WEIZMAN, University of London
Jay WOOLRICH

USA

Deborah AGRE, Middle East Children's Alliance
Michael ALBERT, ZNet
Barbra APFELBAUM, Riverside Language Program, New York City
Rann BAR-ON, International Solidarity Movement and North Carolina Coalition for Palestine
Trude BENNETT
Phyllis BENNIS, Institute for Policy Studies
Carl BLOICE, Committees of Correspondence for Democracy & Socialism
Audrey BOMSE, Lawyer
Daniel BOYARIN, University of California-Berkeley
Lenni BRENNER
Stephen Eric BRONNER, Director of Global Relations, Center for the Study of Genocide, Conflict Resolution, & Human Rights, Rutgers University
Judith BUTLER, Professor, University of California-Berkeley
Leslie CAGAN, National Coordinator, United for Peace and Justice
Ellen CANTAROW, Writer
Barbara H. CHASIN, Professor Emerita, Montclair State University
Noam CHOMSKY, Professor Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Jill Hamburg COPLAN, Journalist
Lawrence DAVIDSON, West Chester University
Daniel ELLSBERG, Revealed Pentagon Papers, writer
Carolyn EISENBERG, Hofstra University
Judith FERSTER, Jewish Voice for Peace and BritTzedek
Michelle FINE, Graduate Center, City University of New York
Barry FINGER, Editorial board, New Politics
David FINKEL, Managing Editor, Against the Current
Norman G. FINKELSTEIN, Independent scholar
Laurie FOX
Racheli GAI, Co-editor, Jewish Peace News
Irene GENDZIER, Boston University
Jack GERSON, Oakland Education Association Executive Board
Alice GOLIN, Bloomfield-Glen Ridge NJ Peace Action
Steve GOLIN, Bloomfield College
Linda GORDON, Professor of History, New York University
Marilyn HACKER, Writer, City College of New York
Stanley HELLER, Moderator "Jews Who Speak Out"; Host "The Struggle" TV news magazine
Edward S. HERMAN, Professor Emeritus, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
Carol HORWITZ, "Jews Say No"
Louis KAMPF, Professor Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Stan KARP, Rethinking Schools
Melanie KAYE/KANTROWITZ, Queens College, City University of New York
Richard LACHMANN, University at Albany - State University of New York
Joanne LANDY, Campaign for Peace & Democracy
Jesse LEMISCH, Professor Emeritus, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Howard LENOW, American Jews For A Just Peace
Zachary LEVENSON, University of California-Berkeley
Joseph LEVINE, Professor of Philosophy, University of Massachusetts
Mark LEVINE, Professor of Middle East History, University of California, Irvine
Nelson LICHTENSTEIN, University of California, Santa Barbara
Lawrence LIFSCHULTZ, Author and journalist
Zachary LOCKMAN, New York University
Marvin MANDELL, Co-editor, New Politics
Marilyn Kleinberg NEIMARK, Co-host of "Beyond the Pale: Jewish Culture and Politics," WBAI radio, New YorkJoan NESTLE
Henry NOBLE, National Secretary, U.S. Section, Freedom Socialist Party
Judith NORMAN, Co-editor, Jewish Peace News
David OST, Hobart & William Smith Colleges
Frances Fox PIVEN, Graduate Center, City University of New York
Karen REDLEAF, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network
Adrienne RICH, Poet and activist
Bruce ROBBINS, Columbia University
Robert C. ROSEN, William Paterson University
Deborah ROSENFELT, Professor of Women's Studies, University of Maryland
Emma ROSENTHAL, Cafe Intifada/Los Angeles Palestine Labor Solidarity Committee
Paula ROTHENBERG, Professor Emerita, William Paterson University
Matthew ROTHSCHILD, Editor, The Progressive magazine
Rachel RUBIN, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Marjorie SCHEER, Jews for a Just Peace - North Carolina
Michael SCHWARTZ, Stony Brook State University
Alexander SHALOM, Lawyer
Beverly SHALOM, Social worker
Evelyn R. SHALOM, Health educator
Stephen R. SHALOM, William Paterson University
Sami SHALOM CHETRIT
Ira SHOR, City University of New York
Jerome SLATER, Writer
Alan SOKAL, Professor of Physics, New York University
Stephen SOLDZ, Co-founder, Coalition for an Ethical Psychology
David S. SURREY, Saint Peter's College
Norman TRAUB
Carol WALD, War Resisters League
Richard I. WARK, Jews for a Just Peace-North Carolina
Lois WEINER, Professor of Education, New Jersey City University
Adrienne WELLER
Eleanor WILNER, Writer
Howard ZINN, Historian

OTHER

Marshall ANSELL, Sweden
David BARKIN, Mexico
Viviane COHEN, Architect, Morocco
Hans DIELEMAN, Universidad Autónoma de la Ciudad de México, Mexico
Dror FEILER, Musician, Chairperson of European Jews for a Just Peace and Judar för Israelisk Palestinsk Fred, Sweden
Jacques HERSH, Professor Emeritus, Denmark
Zachris JÄNTTI, Finland
Jakob LINDBERG, Judar för Israelisk Palestinsk Fred, Sweden
Margot SALOM, Palestinian & Jewish Unity for Justice and Peace, Australia

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