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BDS member ((PACBI): Standing Together Serves Apartheid Israel’s Propaganda. Standing Together Responds

12:00 Jan 31 2024 Israel ( מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל  * دَوْلَة إِسْرَائِيل ) and Occupied Palestinian Territories (oPT) الأراضي الفلسطينية المحتلة : Jerusalem, West Bank, & Gaza

BDS member ((PACBI): Standing Together Serves Apartheid Israel’s Propaganda.  Standing Together Responds BDS member ((PACBI): Standing Together Serves Apartheid Israel’s Propaganda.  Standing Together Responds BDS member ((PACBI): Standing Together Serves Apartheid Israel’s Propaganda.  Standing Together Responds
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Photos:
Serving Apartheid graphic. Published by The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), a founding member of the BDS movement.

Members of the Jewish-Palestinian grassroots movement 'Standing Together' at a vigil in Haifa in December. Credit: Fadi Amun Published by Haaretz

Standing Together statement. Posted on Twitter, Jan 30, 2024
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Standing Together: Serving Apartheid Israel’s Propaganda

January 25, 2024
By Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI)

This Israeli normalization organization is intellectually dishonest and seeks to whitewash Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), a founding member of the BDS movement, calls on conscientious people, organizations, and unions around the world not to engage with Standing Together, an Israeli normalization outfit that seeks to distract from and whitewash Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza.

By trying to paint Israel as a tolerant, diverse, and normal state, and focusing on “hatred” rather than oppression as the problem, this organization is intellectually dishonest and outright complicit. It is serving a key role in Israel’s international propaganda strategy at this time. This is seen from the group’s sudden efforts and visibility abroad to get the world to engage with complicit Israeli narratives at this very moment when Israel is on trial at the International Court of Justice for genocide in Gaza and when Palestinians are calling for apartheid Israel’s isolation in response to this genocide.

Standing Together’s premise is that a shared home can be achieved for Palestinians and Israelis if they refuse “hatred and choose empathy.” It claims to mobilize Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel in pursuit of “peace, equality, and social and climate justice,” yet it fails to even mention the elephant in the room: Israel’s 75-year-old regime of settler-colonialism and apartheid, the root cause of “conflict” and violence. Its approach is reminiscent of the morally bankrupt suggestions to South Africans resisting apartheid in the past to eschew “hatred” and “conflict” and embrace peace and empathy without calling for ending apartheid.

Standing Together fails to recognize Israel’s crime against humanity of apartheid, now documented as such not only by Palestinian activists and organizations, but by leading human rights organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Instead, it pays lip service to “ending the occupation,” and even then it adopts a framework that sets Israelis and Palestinians as equally responsible for the oppressive reality. In doing so, this organization creates a false parity between the structural oppression of the Israeli occupiers and that of the oppressed and colonized Palestinians. This normalization outfit thus evades discussions on the moral and legal responsibility of states, institutions, and corporations to end their respective complicity in Israel’s system of injustice, particularly now when it is perpetrating the world’s most livestreamed genocide against 2.3 million Palestinians in the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip.

Moreover, rather than call for an end to the genocide and underlying regime of apartheid, and demand accountability for those who are taking part in both, Standing Together continues to parrot “liberal” Zionist arguments of dialogue and unethical coexistence–one that is based on a master-slave relation rather than justice, reparations and full equality– that serve as a fig leaf for what B’Tselem has termed, “Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.”

PACBI is a key constituent of the Palestinian leadership of the global BDS movement, supported by a majority of Palestinian society in historic Palestine and in exile, including entities representing Palestinian citizens of present-day Israel. We recognize normalization as a key strategy of the Israeli state, and therefore, a form of violence committed against our people, whereby the Israeli state attempts to colonize our minds, and make occupation, apartheid, and settler colonialism seem normal. In response, anti-normalization is an important tactic that calls on people to refuse to participate in projects, events, or activities that promote the normalcy of the Israeli state as a legitimate entity or that would create a parity in the relationship between oppressor and oppressed. We, therefore, ask that conscientious people and groups around the world refrain from engaging with this organization that seeks to sidetrack urgently needed effective action to stop Israel’s ongoing genocide and dismantle its apartheid regime, perpetuating Israel’s brutal oppression of Palestinians. Justice delayed is justice denied.
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'Disheartening to Be Silenced': Israeli-Palestinian Peace Group Responds to BDS Claims

The Standing Together movement was labeled 'intellectually dishonest' by BDS, leading the group to issue a statement emphasizing that 'the fight for Palestinian liberation is multi-faceted'

by Linda Dayan, published by Haaretz
Jan 31, 2024

After being targeted by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel, the Standing Together movement said on Tuesday that it was "disheartening to be silenced by other pro-Palestinian groups at a time when we are being silenced and persecuted by the Israeli government and Israeli institutions for fighting for the lives of our people."

On Thursday, the official website of the BDS movement took aim against Standing Together, calling the Israeli-Palestinian effort an "intellectually dishonest" normalization organization that "seeks to whitewash Israel's ongoing genocide in Gaza."

The statement continued, "Standing Together's premise is that a shared home can be achieved for Palestinians and Israelis if they refuse 'hatred and choose empathy.' It claims to mobilize Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel in pursuit of 'peace, equality, and social and climate justice,' yet it fails to even mention the elephant in the room: Israel's 75-year-old regime of settler-colonialism and apartheid, the root cause of "conflict" and violence."

The BDS movement compared the organization's approach to "morally bankrupt suggestions to South Africans resisting apartheid in the past to eschew 'hatred' and 'conflict' and embrace peace and empathy without calling for ending apartheid." It also accused the group of failing "to recognize Israel's crime against humanity of apartheid."

In its response to the BDS statement, the Palestinian leadership of Standing Together released a statement of its own on Tuesday. "The fight for Palestinian liberation is multi-faceted," it read. "As a movement operating within Israel, we took upon ourselves a specific role: to shift Israeli public opinion away from supporting policy that maintains and deepens the subjugation of Palestinians.

"Our strategy is not to morally lecture or attempt to shock Jewish Israelis with the ugly truth of our reality, to 'force them into liberating Palestinians.'

This, historically, here and around the world, does not work on its own. Our role is to empower and develop joint leadership, shift public opinion, and create a shared, embodied struggle for liberation between Palestinians and Jewish Israelis."

It added, "We work under the basic assumption that millions of Palestinians and millions of Jews live in this land today, and no one is going anywhere. Ending Israeli control over Palestinians and forging a society in which everyone is free and equal between the river and the sea is in the interest of both Palestinians and Jewish Israelis."

Standing Together, a left-wing Jewish-Arab partnership group founded in 2015, has been at the forefront of Israel's social justice movement in recent years. During the 2021 operation in Gaza, the organization garnered global attention by mounting protests against the war. The group has not shied away from difficult conversations about the occupation, bloodshed and inequality.

Over the course of the current war in Gaza, the organization has been in the crosshairs of right-wing figures within Israel for its calls for a cease-fire alongside the release of hostages. Alon-Lee Green, the co-director of Standing Together, had his personal phone number leaked by right-wing rapper and activist The Shadow, and has filed two police reports for harassment.

Standing Together organized a mass demonstration in Tel Aviv, calling for an end to the war – one that was denied a permit by the police, who cited the protest's "controversial message." The demonstration did take place a week later, with about 2,000 people marching with banners reading "There will be no security here until there is peace" and "Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies."

In speeches there, Arabs and Jews talked about the necessity of ending the occupation, of ensuring the equality of all peoples, of the suffering and humanity of the people in Gaza, as well as the urgent need to free the Israeli hostages there.
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The War in Israel/Palestine
by Standing Together [undated]

The months following October 7th have been one never-ending nightmare. All of us, Jews and Palestinians, across Israel, Gaza, and the West Bank, have endured unprecedented loss and trauma. The horrendous Hamas attacks of October 7th led to at least 1,200 Israeli deaths and over 200 hostages taken to Gaza. Israel’s harsh and indiscriminate retaliation on Gaza has led to over 25,000 deaths – the vast majority of which were civilians, including thousands of children. The situation in Gaza has become a humanitarian catastrophe, with over 85% of residents displaced, many sheltering in overcrowded shelters and camps, and the entire population suffering from food insecurity, lack of drinking water, and lack of access to medical care. We know that the Israeli government’s plan to “eradicate Hamas” lacks a precedent for success, and will not make any of us, Jewish or Palestinian, any safer. We also know that to bring the hostages back alive, an urgent prisoner swap deal must be made. The continuation of the war and insistence on the use of force will only lead to thousands more Palestinian deaths while endangering the lives of Israeli border communities, hostages, and soldiers. The far-right government’s reckless escalation has also emboldened settler violence across the West Bank. Israeli military raids in the Occupied Territories have become increasingly frequent and fatal, with over 300 Palestinians killed since October 7th and an over 100% increase in administrative detention. Within Israel, we are witnessing an intense crackdown against Palestinian citizens, anti-occupation activists, and any anti-war sentiment. Palestinian citizens are routinely fired from their jobs and expelled from their universities for simply expressing concern for Gazan civilians. In addition, we are seeing increasing physical attacks on both Palestinian and Jewish citizens who speak out against the injustices of this war.


Our message is simple: There is another way. We have seen our country launch countless wars and military operations only to end up in the same position. Israel’s policy of attempting to destroy Hamas’ military capabilities every few years has only led to Hamas getting stronger. No military operation has ever produced lasting safety and security for Israelis – let alone for Palestinians. The occupation of the West Bank and the blockade on Gaza must end - not only because it is brutal and oppressive for Palestinians - but also because it does not guarantee any long-term safety for Israelis. We know that a negotiated peace agreement is the only way to ensure freedom, equality, and safety for both peoples. As a progressive grassroots movement, we are focused on building the political will in Israeli society to reach a political solution by building a mass movement of Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel who truly believe that such a shared future is possible. We call for an urgent ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas, to bring back the hostages and save the lives of innocent people in Gaza.


Standing Together’s Response to the War


Solidarity Conventions
In the first couple of months of the war, we held conventions across the country bringing together hundreds of Jewish and Palestinian citizens to discuss our shared grief, the war’s impact on our society, and how to generate hope and solidarity during this dark time. These conferences rapidly grew the networks of Jewish and Palestinian citizens working towards solidarity and peace and provided people with much-needed hope and a safe space to grieve together and imagine a different future.

De-escalation, solidarity, and support for victims of political persecution within Israel
Using existing movement infrastructure, we opened 12 solidarity networks across the country, in which over 5,000 Jewish and Palestinian activists participate in a wide range of actions promoting solidarity and de-escalation. Our solidarity networks have been holding meetings to provide safe and open spaces for discourse, pooling efforts for humanitarian and mutual aid, monitoring calls for violence and discrimination, and reporting them to authorities. In addition, solidarity networks have been cleaning public spaces of racist and violent graffiti, replacing it with posters calling for solidarity and peace, running an emergency hotline to support victims of violence and political persecution, and visiting hospitals with flowers and bilingual greeting cards to support Jewish-Arab partnership in hospitals.

Student Support
Standing Together has 12 student chapters at various Israeli universities and colleges which are working to provide extra support for students affected by the war. Many Palestinian students are suffering from racism and discrimination, as well as expulsion as a result of increased political persecution. In addition, students are facing mental distress, lack of employment due to the war, and displacement around the country. We have been ensuring that our student chapters are prepared to assist students in need of help, report calls to violence and racism, and promote de-escalation and solidarity on campus.

Rallies for a ceasefire and peace agreement
In December we held two rallies calling for peace and a ceasefire agreement, the first in Haifa bringing over 300 people, and the second in Tel Aviv with over 1000 attendees. In January we held a march and rally in Tel Aviv with over two thousand people - the biggest rally for a ceasefire since the outbreak of the war. The rallies demanded a ceasefire agreement to bring back the hostages and save the lives of innocent people in Gaza, a sustainable peace agreement, and promoted solidarity between Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Standing Together in 2024
We are continuing to push for an urgent ceasefire and hostage release deal, to save the lives of innocent people in Gaza and bring back the Israeli hostages alive. Our vision for the year ahead is to revive conversations in Israeli society around Israeli-Palestinian peace and mobilize Jews and Palestinians towards a new political horizon - one that can guarantee freedom, equality, and security for everyone in Israel/Palestine. As a democratic movement, we are holding our peace and equality national convention in February, where movement members from across the country will meet to vote for our national leadership and discuss our vision and strategy for building the political will within Israel to strive for Israeli-Palestinian peace. From there, we will be doubling down on our efforts to fight for an end to the occupation, justice, equality, and peace.
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