January 13, 2009

Kushner, Kaufman, Kasrils lambaste Israel

US playwright Tony Kunsher:

Speaks on Democracy Now under the title: Catastrophically Misguided and Incomprehensible Policy”–Renowned Jewish Playwright Tony Kushner Speaks Out Against Israel’s Assault on Gaza

On Monday, a group called Jews Against the Occupation staged a protest against Israel’s invasion of Gaza blocks away outside the Israeli consulate in New York. Among those protesting was renowned playwright and screenwriter Tony Kushner. Kushner won a Pulitzer prize and a Tony Award for his play “Angels in America”, which was later made into an award-winning television mini-series. “The policy, on the part of the Israeli government, of reoccupation of Gaza, seems to me catastrophically misguided,” Kushner says. “I can’t imagine this is not going to continue to be bloody and a violation of human rights.”

The stream for the rest of the interview is available here.

Sir Gerald Kaufman, was outspoken in the Parliament on Jan. 12:

The strongest criticism in the one hour session, that followed a statement from the Foreign Secretary, came from Sir Gerald Kaufman, a former Labour minister, who is Jewish.

Directing his fury at the Israeli prime minister, foreign minister and defence minister, he said: "Olmert, (Tzipi] Livni and (Ehud] Barak are mass murderers, war criminals and bring shame on the Jewish people whose Star of David they use as a badge in Gaza."

He suggested the British government would have taken a more strident tone if it had been Hamas who had "slaughtered 900 Israelis".

Peter Kilfoyle, a former Labour defence minister, also accused Israel of "state-sponsored terrorism" and urged the government to ensure no arms were exported to the country.

Ronnie Kasrils, Minister of Intelligence for the ruling ANC in South Africa, and a former military intelligence head in the ANC's armed wing, Spear of the Nation, after a mass protest of 20,000 on Jan. 9 in Cape Town, was told by speakers they wished to government to call sanctions on Israel. Kasrils:

“We want to stop Israel and those who support it … We want all political parties to tell us what their positions are on Israel, if they want our votes. We want to know if they are supporting our calls.”

To cap it off, today in the JTA:
Letter protests South African Jewish leaders
January 13, 2009

JOHANNESBURG -- A letter from a group of Jewish South Africans published in a Cape Town newspaper tells Jewish leaders who support Israel's Gaza operation not to speak for them.

Nearly 100 Jews signed the letter, which appeared Monday in the Cape Times daily, attacking a statement supporting Israel's decision to launch a military operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The statement was issued by the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, the South African Zionist Federation and the office of the chief rabbi on behalf of the community.

While the group recognizes the existence of communal structures, it is "distressed that they purport to speak for us and the many Jews who are uncomfortable with the destruction in Gaza, claiming one collective view for the entire community." The letter calls the approach of the communal bodies "irresponsible" in view of the divergence of opinion within the community.

It describes Israel's response in Gaza as "inhumane and disproportionate collective punishment prohibited under international law" while "strongly opposing" the rockets Hamas has been firing into Israel. It calls on communities "vocal in their support for the Palestinians" to condemn the latter.

About 15,000 protesters marched on the South African parliament last week under the banner of the Muslim Judicial Council against Israel's actions in Gaza.

"We call on the Jewish Board of Deputies not to exacerbate local tensions with statements that demonstrate a lack of compassion for Palestinian lives," the letter concludes.

Among the letter's signatories were the principal of the University of Cape Town, Max Price, and the controversial cartoonist Zapiro.


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