Jews Against the Occupation was formed in May 2003 to give a clear Jewish voice in support of the national and human rights of Palestinians and a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict.
We are part of a world-wide movement among progressive Jews who are challenging increasingly conservative official Jewish community representatives in regard to Israel.
Our first public activity was the launch of the book The Challenge of Post-Zionism edited by Ephraim Nimni. We did this in partnership with the Sydney-based Palestine Human Rights Campaign. The occasion was standing-room only, with a wide range of participants, including Palestinians and other peace activists, trade unionists, academics, media and mainstream Jewish personalities.
This wide set of networks stood us in good stead with the controversy over the award of the Sydney Peace Prize to Dr Hanan Ashrawi. This was generated by some of the official Australian Jewish community leadership. Via email, we were able to alert our strong international networks whom responded with letters to Australian papers defending Dr Ashrawi’s worthiness of the prize. Our emails found their way to the web site of MIFTAH, the global human rights organisation headed by Dr Ashrawi. The media sought us out as an alternative Jewish voice. Our presentation of a bouquet of flowers to Dr Ashrawi received wide coverage, reaching even Al Jazeera.
As a result of the international publicity, we received an invitation to attend a Conference in Jerusalem in January 2004. This was jointly hosted by MIFTAH and the Faculty For Israeli-Palestinian Peace (FFIPP), a US-based group of academics. Vivienne Porzsolt, a JAO founding member attended, and was on the final plenary panel discussing the possible role of an international network for Israeli-Palestinian peace.
At the same time she attended the International Human Rights March of Women in Israel/Palestine. Over 100 women from all over the world spent 3 weeks journeying through both Israel and Palestine, talking to peace activists in both countries and sharing their experiences. She has made a number of audio-visual presentations since her return.
We continue to work with all who share our goals.
WHAT WE STAND FOR
Jews Against the Occupation is a diverse group of Jews in Sydney and other Australian cities who oppose the continuing Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.
We support a non-violent negotiated settlement to the conflict. Current and earlier peace frameworks have failed to deliver justice or security for either Palestinians or Israelis.
A just resolution cannot occur until the Israeli government withdraws all forces and settlements in line with the 1967 borders.
JAO seeks to:
- Provide an alternative, critical Jewish voice for a just settlement of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
- Disseminate information and challenge misrepresentations of the conflict.
- Broaden public debate on issues of Israel and Palestine.
- Promote open dialogue with Palestinians, Jews and others in Australia working towards a just peaceful resolution of the conflict.
- Build links with other Jewish groups in Australia and worldwide, which seek to end the occupation.
JAO is committed to:
- Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in 1967, with an international peacekeeping force to provide security for both sides.
- Removal of all Jewish settlements from the occupied Palestinian Territories and an immediate dismantling of the Wall.
- An immediate resumption of negotiations toward a democratic political resolution based on equal rights and self-determination for both peoples.
- The end of both state-sanctioned violence, including torture and targeted assassinations, and terrorist attacks against civilians.
- A just resolution of the situation of Palestinian refugees in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which stipulates the right to leave and return to one’s own country.
- Political, economic and social justice for Palestinian citizens of Israel.
- Israel as a state for all its citizens.
[adopted in Sydney, June 2009]