Australian Jews reject ‘right of return’

The following appears in this week’s Green Left Weekly:

A petition signed by 35 distinguished Australian Jews rejecting the automatic right of Jews from anywhere in the world to settle in Israel is printed below. Under the racist “law of return”, Jews do not need to have any connection with Israel to obtain citizenship. Signatories include ethicist Peter Singer, feminist campaigner Eva Cox, author and journalist Antony Loewenstein and writer Sara Dowse.

We are Jews from Australia, who, like Jewish people throughout the world, have an automatic right to Israeli citizenship under Israel’s “law of return”. While this law may seem intended to enable a Jewish homeland, we submit that it is in fact a form of racist privilege that abets the colonial oppression of the Palestinians.

Today there are more than 7 million Palestinian refugees around the world. Israel denies their right to return to their homes and land — a right recognised and undisputed by UN Resolution 194, the Geneva Convention, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Meanwhile, we are invited to live on that same land simply because we are Jewish, thereby potentially taking the place of Palestinians who would dearly love to return to their ancestral lands.

We renounce this “right” to “return” offered to us by Israeli law. It is not right that we may “return” to a state that is not ours while Palestinians are excluded and continuously dispossessed.

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