Israel’s leading intellectuals, artists and public figures in an unusual call to Diaspora Jews: Help us end the occupation of the Palestinians

New survey of Israeli public opinion: Diaspora Jews also bear responsibility for fate of Israel; the conflict with the Palestinians also harms Jews abroad
Some 500 high-profile Israelis have issued a statement calling on Jews around the world to join them to end Israel’s occupation of the Palestinians.
“If you care about Israel, silence is no longer an option” the statement begins. It highlights the dangers of the occupation, for Israelis as well as Palestinians, and concludes: “We call upon Jews around the world to join with Israeli partners for coordinated action to end the occupation and build a new future, for the sake of the State of Israel and the generations to come.”
Signatories to the call include Israel’s most well-loved literary figures and artists, its leading scientists and scholars, as well as former senior government officials and military officers. Among the signatories are seven retired high-ranking IDF officers; twenty former Israeli Ambassadors, Government Ministers, senior government officials and Members of Knesset; 48 winners of Israel’s most prestigious awards (the Israel Prize and the EMET Prize); and 160 professors in Israeli universities. The full list of signatories is available here.
The call was organized by SISO (Save Israel Stop Occupation), a new initiative to leverage the upcoming 50th anniversary of the occupation as a catalyst for change. “Jews around the world treasure the novels of Amos Oz and David Grossman. They love the music of Achinoam Nini and David Broza,” says Professor Daniel Bar-Tal, one of the initiative’s founders. “They need to know that these figures need their help now to save Israel from the very real threat posed to Israel by the continuing occupation.”
While many of the signatories have spoken out about the dangers of the occupation before, this is the first time such a large and eminent group explicitly turns to the Jewish Diaspora to help them in this cause. “Never since 1948 have we been as much in need of an alliance between Israel and the Diaspora,” says Alice Shalvi, Israel Prize Laureate for lifetime contribution to the State of Israel. “Then we fought together for the establishment of an independent Jewish State. Now we must invest all-out efforts in saving Israel’s soul, restoring its moral compass.”
“Jews around the world who love Israel but believe the occupation is wrong should raise their voices and make sure they are heard,” said Nobel Prize Laureate Daniel Kahneman, who signed the call. “Israelis who oppose the occupation urgently need this support.”
A public opinion survey conducted this week, whose results are reported here for the first time, highlights the relevance of the call: Israeli Jews overwhelmingly believe that the state of Israel bears responsibility for the fate of Jews in the diaspora (75.7%) and that Jews in the diaspora bear responsibility for the State of Israel (78%). A clear majority of Israeli Jews (66.8%) agree that Israel’s continued conflict with the Palestinians has a negative influence on the fate of Jews around the world. The survey, a representative sample of 500 Israeli Jews, was conducted on 11-12 September 2016 as part of a large scale study on the relationship between Israeli Jewish society and the Jewish Diaspora in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“We all know living under Israeli military rule harms the Palestinians. The occupation also harms Israeli society and it harms Jews around the world,” says SISO’s Director Jessica Montell. “So it is appropriate that they too work to promote a solution.”
Diaspora Jews are already organizing signatures on a response to support the Israelis’ call.

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