A young Jewish student stands with Palestine

13 Aug

 

A 19-year-old school student Barnaby Raine, organiser of the Jewish Bloc against Zionism, spoke the following words at a huge demonstration for the bereaved and bleeding people of Gaza outside the BBC in London on Saturday, 9 August 2014:

“I am proud to stand here today as a Jewish boy from North London in solidarity with the people of Gaza. Make no mistake: the lesson of the Holocaust is not that we should close our eyes to other people’s suffering in the name of self-protection. The lesson of the Holocaust is not that some lives are worth more than others or that only some deaths are worth grieving. The lesson of the Holocaust is that crimes are perpetrated when people forget that we are all human beings. So, I’m not here today in spite of Jewish history; I’m here today because of Jewish history. I’m here today because my great-grandparents knew what it meant to be excluded and to be the victims of racism. They knew what it meant to be booted out of their homes and turned into refugees. So I can never turn a blind eye to dispossession and discrimination, to occupation and marginalisation wherever it takes place and whoever its victims are and whoever its perpetrators are.

“But it’s not just as a Jewish person I am here but as a human being. You know, here we stand today outside the BBC. The BBC talks about a “conflict” in Gaza. A “conflict”! That is grotesque. It is not a conflict when the world’s fourth largest military power blockades, besieges and imprisons a stateless people who have no army of their own. Is that a conflict? Is it a conflict when Israel bombs families in their homes and sick patients in their hospital beds? Is that a conflict? When people flee for their lives to United Nations shelters and then Israel attacks the United Nations shelters, is that a conflict? No, no, no, BBC, this is not a conflict. This is a massacre!

“I am 19 years old. What future awaits the 19-year-olds of Gaza? Their diets are stunted because the Israeli siege blocks their access to food. There are hardly any jobs, because Israel has cut Gaza off from the rest of the world. And just a few days ago, Israel bombed a university. Inaction in the face of this scale of injustice is criminal. So we’ve got to send a message to our own government today: Stop arming Israel! And while we’re at it, let’s send a message to governments all over the world: If you call yourselves an international community, give that phrase some meaning! Let’s put sanctions on Israel until this barbarism ends!

“So, I just want to leave you with one important point: In the early 20th century people all over the world from all backgrounds who stood with the oppressed might have declared ‘I too am a Jew!’. When apartheid besmirched the earth, people might have said: ‘I too am a Black South African!’. Well, today, people from all backgrounds, from all walks of life, all over the world, come together and say in our thousands and in our millions: ‘We are all Palestinians!’.”

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