[ Demonstrators march in Washington, D.C., and call for a cease-fire in Palestine. PHOTO BY DREW ANGERER VIA GETTY IMAGES]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 25, 2024
Media Contact: Melissa GArriga | [email protected]
On Holocaust Remembrance Day Jews Worldwide Denounce German Leaders for Aiding & Abetting Israel’s Genocide in Gaza
Prominent Jewish Leaders such as Rabbi David Basior, Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, Rabbi Brant Rosen and Rabbi May Ye among those joining CODEPINK to call on European nations to support South Africa at the World Court.
UNITED STATES -- In anticipation of UN-designated Holocaust Remembrance Day, Saturday, January 27th, over 300 Jews worldwide have released an Open Letter to the German Government and other European Nations: Support South Africa at the World Court-Do Not Aid and Abet Israeli Genocide in Gaza.
Signed by rabbis, scholars, policy makers, filmmakers and activists, the letter reads, “We call on the governments of Germany, Austria and all European nations involved in the Nazi Holocaust to stand on the right side of history, to stand with South Africa in its courageous appeal to the highest court in the United Nations to stop Israel’s slaughter and ethnic cleansing in Gaza.”
The Open Letter from the Jewish community comes in response to Germany's announcement it will intervene to defend Israel at the International Court of Justice, where South Africa has invoked the UN Convention on Genocide in a searing 84-page application accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza.
"As a descendant of Jews who died in a Nazi concentration camp, I've always wondered, "How was it possible that those who bore witness did nothing or little to stop the extermination of eleven million people: Jews, communists, Roma, the blind and disabled? Now I know, as I witness livestreamed on my cell phone the US and Germany's complicity in Israel's genocide in Gaza. Under constant bombardment from US-subsidized weapons, Gaza has become a graveyard for children, where those who are still alive yet imprisoned by Israel confront the threat of mass starvation,” said Marcy Winograd, letter organizer, descendant of Holocaust victims and CODEPINK organizer.
"I say not in my name shall genocide be committed, defended, aided or abetted" on Holocaust Remembrance Day or any day of the year,” Winograd continued.
In its application to the World Court, South Africa states:
“The acts and omissions by Israel complained of by South Africa are genocidal in character because they are intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial and ethnic group, that being the part of the Palestinian group in the Gaza Strip (‘Palestinians in Gaza’). The acts in question include killing Palestinians in Gaza, causing them serious bodily and mental harm, and inflicting on them conditions of life calculated to bring about their physical destruction.”
The Open Letter, primarily from Jews in the United States and Australia, but also Canada, the UK, France, Venezuela and Belize, applauds countries of the Global South – Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Malaysia, Namibia, Nicaragua and others – for issuing public statements denouncing Israel’s genocide in Gaza, and urges these countries to file Declarations of Intervention to support South Africa at the World Court, the highest judicial body of the United Nations, once a the Court issues a ruling.
In admonishing Germany for aiding and abetting genocide today, the letter reads, “Instead of taking its responsibility for the Holocaust as a mandate to prevent the recurrence of such horrors, Germany commits to continuing its shameful unbroken legacy of genocide, from Namibia 1904-1908 to present-day Gaza.”
Signatories to the letter include prominent religious figures such as Rabbi David Basior, Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, Rabbi Brant Rosen and Rabbi May Ye, all of whom serve on the Rabbinical Council for Jewish Voice for Peace. Other signatories include scholar Marjorie Cohn, dean, People’s Academy of International Law, Norman Solomon, author, “War Made Invisible” RootsAction executive director and journalist Dave Zirin.
Activists such as Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK co-founder, and Adrienne Pine, co-coordinator of the International Coalition to Stop Genocide in Palestine, are also among the signatories, as is Holocaust survivor and trauma psychotherapist Gabor Maté, who lives in Vancouver, Canada. “As a Holocaust survivor, I say that if Germany continues its support of Israel's oppression of the Palestinians, then your country has learned nothing from its sins of the past. Remorse for the past is insufficient. How you act in the present is what matters,” Maté said. Signee Maya Schenwar, director, Truthout Center for Grassroots Journalism, commented, “This is the holocaust happening again, before our eyes.”
To date, the Gaza Health Ministry reports that over 25,000 Gazans have been killed–over 10,000 of them children, while more than 63,000 have been wounded and an estimated two million uprooted from their homes.
On Holocaust Remembrance Day, the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, where over a million Jews died, participants in memorials and candle-light vigils are encouraged to share the Open Letter, call for a ceasefire in Gaza and say, “Never again means never again now.”
CODEPINK supports this effort as part of a larger campaign to persuade UN member countries to file a “Declaration of Intervention” in support of South Africa’s case against Israel in the International Court of Justice. A ruling on the provisional measures requested by South Africa is expected Friday, Jan. 26.
For more information about this open letter or CODEPINK’s ICJ campaign please contact Marcy Winograd at [email protected].