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Voices of conscience, from New York to Berlin: Western advocates for Palestinian rights

Voices of conscience, from New York to Berlin: Western advocates for Palestinian rights

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بالرغم من تأييد حكوماتهم لمجازر إسرائيل... أصوات غربية تنحاز لعدالة القضية الفلسطينية

"The most important thing for me and my brother is that his death isn't used as a justification and excuse to kill innocent people. I'm saddened that my government, the Israeli government, is using this excuse, claiming they're trying to restore security, and that killing more and more Palestinians will improve the situation for Israelis. Violence has never provided a sense of security; it only fosters terrorism and exacerbates it, resulting in casualties like my brother. Certainly, my brother wouldn't have wanted this. So, I say to my government, stop killing innocents; it won't bring security to Israeli citizens".

These words came from Israeli activist Noi Katzman, a member of the Jewish-Arab "Standing Together" movement, during a televised interview. He addressed the killing of his brother, Haim Katzman, an activist who opposed the violence inflicted by Israeli settlers upon Palestinian farmers, which occurred during the "Al-Aqsa Storm" operation initiated by Hamas against Israel on October 7th.

After talking about the magnitude of his loss and that of his family due to the death of his brother, Noi insisted on refuting the lies of the Israeli government, which promotes that its ferocious war on Gaza, which has resulted in about 1,500 deaths and over 6,000 injuries so far and displaced tens of thousands of innocent citizens, will save the region from "Hamas terrorism" and restore security.

The Jews of New York: "Don't use us as an excuse to annihilate Gaza"

In addition to Noi, there are numerous Israeli and Jewish activists actively using social media and Western media platforms to express their support for the Palestinian cause. They firmly believe in the justice and righteousness of Palestinian demands for freedom, the right to return to their land, and the opportunity to live free from the crippling blockade imposed by Israel on Gaza since 2007, as well as the recurring military aggressions.

In New York, on Friday, October 13th, dozens of Jewish people gathered to vehemently denounce Israel's aggressive military campaign in Gaza, and its comprehensive blockade, which has deprived the people there of access to basic necessities.

One of the speakers stated, "In an open-air prison, approximately two million people are struggling to survive, with nearly half of them being children. They currently lack food, water, electricity, or fuel and are being subjected to relentless shelling and white phosphorus bombing. They are under siege; this amounts to nothing short of genocide. As Jews, we are here to declare: Do not do this in our name (do not use us and our identity as an excuse to annihilate Gaza)."

With the powerful phrase "Not in our name!", all those present chanted in one voice.

Israeli activist Zachary Foster is considered one of the most prominent Israeli voices condemning the plight of the Palestinian people and what they have been subjected to over the years. He has previously documented and publicized attacks by Israeli police on unarmed civilians.

While governments in Western countries defend and justify Israeli crimes as a "right to self-defense", there are voices that reject this rhetoric, defending "Palestinians facing genocide". Who are these people, where are they active, and what are they saying?

On Friday, Foster tweeted: "I never thought I'd say this, but my people are on the verge of experiencing another genocide. Only this time, we are not going to be the victims, we are going to be the perpetrators.. Please, for the sake of the Holy One, blessed be He, end the madness."

Australian Jewish journalist and author Anthony Loewenstein, the author of "The Palestine Laboratory", is one of those voices actively condemning Israeli violence and warning of an ongoing ethnic cleansing in Gaza. He expresses his views through his social media accounts and in interviews with Western media. Anthony worked in the region for a period and speaks as an expert rather than an activist.

Also participating is Yonah Lieberman, an American Jew, who exposes the falsehoods of Israeli propaganda. Yonah states that he was a Zionist extremist after having undergone "brainwashing" when he was young, like most Jewish students who sympathize with Israeli actions. He now regards himself a supporter of Palestinian rights, and does not want Jews or Palestinians to be killed, saying: "You’ve been brainwashed, as I was. Please educate yourself that a person who supports Palestinian rights and protests for their freedom doesn't want to kill Jews, they want Palestinians to live."

In addition to Jewish and Israeli activists defending the basic rights of Palestinians, there are dozens of Western academics, journalists, writers, and activists who reject the extremist bias towards the Israeli narrative and refuse to turn a deaf ear to the Palestinian story. Here are a few of them:

German Writer: We only support the right to resist the occupier when it's Russia?

While Germany maintains a very extreme and biased stance on the Palestinian issue and restricts all forms of solidarity with it, German writer Jochen Mitschka is active through his "X" account. He criticizes the "German and European indifference" and inaction towards what is happening in Gaza and Israel's actions on the fronts in Lebanon and Syria, deriding claims that "Israel is merely defending itself."

In one of his tweets about the current Israeli war on Gaza, Michka wrote: "Hello everyone, there's a new rule. Ethnic cleansing and genocide are openly and explicitly allowed, but only when committed by Israel. And anyone who protests against this is, of course, anti-Semitic. Any protest against that is, of course, supporting terrorism. After all, the right to resist an occupier only applies when the occupier is Russia! According to the old rule. And crimes are committed exclusively by Russia and Hamas. The latter was added to the rule yesterday. Please pay attention."

French party leader: What Israel is doing is a war crime

The French government has taken an overtly biased and extremist stance in favor of Israel in the ongoing war. French officials consistently express explicit and unconditional support for any and every retaliatory measure Israel takes in response to the "Al-Aqsa Storm" operation. France also restricts all forms of solidarity with the Palestinian people and residents of Gaza, including violent crackdowns on peaceful pro-Palestine demonstrators and imposing fines for displaying the Palestinian flag.

Amid this charged atmosphere, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the leader of the "France Unbowed" party, is very active in voicing his concerns through his social media accounts and his party's representation in the French parliament. He warns against the "escalating war crimes in Gaza" and the "French silence" in response to these atrocities. Mélenchon has been facing sharp criticism and pressure from French political parties, the government, and even large segments of the pro-Israeli public in France.

In one of his tweets, he wrote, "We must call things by their rightful names. We consider what Hamas did on Israeli soil as war crimes. We must refer to what Israel is doing to the residents of Gaza as war crimes. This accusation of committing war crimes is far more serious than accusations of terrorism. It can be legally judged under international law. It goes beyond the fight between good and evil."

The French politician continually calls for a ceasefire and the pursuit of peace and coexistence. His party supports the two-state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In one of his posts, he stated, "A ceasefire must be imposed. France must work for it with all its political and diplomatic might."

One of his first posts that sparked widespread criticism read: "All acts of violence unleashed against Israel and in Gaza prove one thing: violence only begets (and reproduces) more violence. We are appalled and extend our thoughts and sympathy to all the bewildered residents who have fallen victim to all of this. A ceasefire must be imposed, and France must work towards it with all its political and diplomatic might. The Palestinian and Israeli people must be able to coexist in peace and security. The solution exists, and it is the two-state solution, in accordance with United Nations resolutions."

Beyond the government's staunch pro-Israel stance, thousands of French citizens have repeatedly taken to the streets in recent days, expressing their support for the Palestinian people facing genocide in Gaza, despite security restrictions and targeting

Irish MP: The Palestinian people have been subjected to a systematic process of ethnic cleansing for decades

In Ireland, Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett, known for his stance with the Palestinian cause, addressed the Irish Parliament. He argued that what is happening now is not new, as the Palestinians have been subjected to "decades of systematic ethnic cleansing" by Israel, involving "war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the denial of the most basic human rights against the Palestinian people."

arrett rebuked claims that Israel does not intentionally target civilians or infrastructure. He cited statements from Israeli government officials discussing their deliberate intention to cut off water, food, electricity, and fuel to Gaza in a punitive act of collective punishment and starvation, which is a crime under international law.

Despite the Western propaganda accompanying the Israeli aggression on Gaza and the ongoing displacement and ethnic cleansing, many in the west, including Jewish voices, refuse to be associated with these actions, calling for peace while rejecting Israel's war crimes

Another Irish MP: What is happening now is barbarism, savagery and murder

Meanwhile, Paul Murphy, an Irish politician and MP, publicly expressed his support for the Palestinian cause, criticizing European stances that support Israel regardless of its crimes against Palestinian civilians, which, in his view, amount to acts of genocide.

Murphy uses his platform to expose Israeli crimes against Gaza and its residents, and shares legal analyses and human rights perspectives that debunk Israeli and Western propaganda supportive of these actions.

In a recent interview, Murphy stated: "What is happening now is barbarous, is savagery, and is murder. It is important we don't just use this language for stuff that some Palestinians have done, but that we use it for the US-made and donated bombs that have been rained down on the people of Gaza right now. It is also necessary to understand that the root cause of what we've seen over the last number of days is the occupation, and is an apartheid state that consciously discriminates against Palestinians, is a policy of ethnic cleansing. This is the root cause of this violence, and the answer is an end to the occupation."

American activists turn their support for Palestine into tangible action on the ground

In the midst of the Biden administration's support for the Israeli government and its violence against Gaza, along with the strength of the Israeli lobby in the United States and the pressure it exerts to punish anyone who sympathizes with the Palestinian cause – whether through the loss of educational grants, scholarships, or employment and other mean of pressure – dozens of American activists are engaging in expressing their support for the Palestinian cause through social media and in pro-Palestinian protests.

Some of these activists have chosen to turn this empathy into more concrete actions. They decided to protest and close the entrance to the "Elbit" company, "the largest supplier of weapons to Israel in America," accusing it of participating in the "mass murder of Palestinian civilians," as noted by activist and writer Calla Walsh.

US Representative: Washington has a dual responsibility

U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is among the few voices in the American political scene that criticize the Biden administration's stance and repeatedly emphasizes the dual "responsibility" of the world's superpower to "support Israel in its defensive capacities" on the one hand while "ensuring accountability to human rights and preventing the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians" on the other, rejecting any justifications for acts of collective retaliation against civilians who did not choose their circumstances.

These voices, and many others like them in the United States, Europe, and other regions of the world, are working to correct misconceptions and dismantling the narrative propagated by Israel and its supporters. This narrative, which has prevailed over the past decades, has unfairly demonized and stigmatized the Palestinians, depicting them as villains, not as rightful owners of the occupied land and the weaker, defenseless party against an occupier equipped with the most advanced and lethal weaponry.

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