As scholars of Jewish Studies, the Holocaust, genocide, and human rights, we study and teach about a wide range of processes and cases of mass atrocities and state violence, and we unequivocally support the right of Israelis and of Palestinians to exist in peace.
We also have a responsibility to center the voices and perspectives of victims and survivors of state violence. We see that Israel commits state violence, and we must not remain silent about it. Indeed, we teach students about the dangers of remaining silent and about the importance of speaking up and taking action. This is particularly significant in this case, as Palestinians, their history, and the ongoing Israeli state violence against them since the Nakba in 1948 have been marginalized in our fields.
We write as 3350 Hamas rockets into Israel have (to date) killed 12 people, including 2 children and the overwhelming Israeli retaliation on Gaza has (to date) killed 217 people, including 63 children, injured 1500, displaced 52,000 people, destroyed international media headquarters in Gaza as well as another 132 buildings, and smashed infrastructure crucial to daily life. Israel has launched at least 1450 airstrikes on Gaza; in just one night 62 Israeli fighter jets dropped 110 bombs on the Strip.
We deplore the violence on both sides. The violence perpetrated by Hamas is a predictable reaction to decades of oppression and subordination of Palestinians, but this does not justify attacks on civilian populations.
The violence must cease, and better conditions must ensue to secure Palestinians’ rights equal to those of all Israelis.
We therefore call on governments, the United Nations, the European Union, and the International Criminal Court to:
(1) Work to protect Palestinians in Israel, under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, and in Gaza now and in the future.
(2) End support for Israeli military aggression.
(3) Hold accountable all those responsible for documented war crimes and human rights violations.
(4) Protect the freedom of the press by mounting an independent investigation into the Israeli airstrike that targeted and destroyed a Gaza City building housing the AP, broadcaster Al-Jazeera, and other media.
Debórah Dwork, Center Director
Center Advisory Board:
Elissa Bemporad, Ungar Chair in East European Jewish History and the Holocaust, Professor, Department of History, Queens College, and Graduate Center-CUNY
Francesca Bregoli, Joseph and Oro Halegua Chair in Greek and Sephardic Jewish Studies, Associate Professor, Department of History, Queens College, and Graduate Center-CUNY
Dagmar Herzog, Distinguished Professor of History, Graduate Center-CUNY
Benjamin Carter Hett, Professor, Department of History, Hunter College and Graduate Center-CUNY
Eli Karetny, Deputy Director, Ralph Bunche Institute
Steven Remy, Professor, Department of History, Brooklyn College and History Program, Graduate Center-CUNY
Victoria Sanford, Professor of Anthropology, Lehman College; Founding Director, Center for Human Rights & Peace Studies; Doctoral Faculty, Department of Anthropology, Graduate Center-CUNY
John Torpey, Presidential Professor of Sociology and History, Director of the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies, Graduate Center-CUNY
Eric Weitz, Distinguished Professor of History, City College and Graduate Center-CUNY