AAUP Oregon and PSU-AAUP President’s Addendum to June 2021 “In Solidarity with the Palestinian People”

June 24, 2021 / PSU-AAUP

We have heard clearly from some of our members that the statement of solidarity with the Palestinian people inadvertently omitted context, empathy and perspective of importance to many Jews. We wish to rectify that here. In a climate where anti-Semitism is on the rise and incidents of hate and violence inflict trauma on people who identify as Jewish or Jewish-American, we embrace a call for compassion as we stand ready to identify and call out hate. In this spirit of solidarity with our Jewish colleagues, we add these points of clarification and emphasis, and, as we indicated in our initial statement, we stand firm in our "commitment to end all forms of oppression and racism, including Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and anti-Blackness." That will not change.

Specifically, to our Jewish cousins (note, we use “cousins” as a gender non-binary term – as opposed to brothers or sisters - to convey solidarity within the labor movement) who read this statement, let us be unequivocal: the history and founding of Israel is complex and rife with tragedy, trauma, and hope, and we affirm the right of Israel to exist peacefully in the world community and among its neighbors. We abhor eliminationist demands concerning the right of Israel to exist, from the right or left, or anywhere else. Period. We denounce any attempts to fuel hatred, bigotry, or violence toward Jews as a people. 

We acknowledge that, in spite of similarities, each relationship between “colonizer” and “colonized” is historically unique, and context and nuance are important in parsing them out, as the Statement on Israel/Palestine by Scholars of Jewish Studies and Israel Studies usefully explains.

We applaud all efforts to build an enduring, just, and peaceful environment for all peoples in Israel and Palestine. We implore all movements for justice to employ nonviolence as we mourn violence in all of its expressions.  Our statement in solidarity was and is a condemnation of the ongoing asymmetrical military force used by the state of Israel, not a denial of the very counterproductive violence by some Palestinians or Palestinian-aligned organizations.

Finally, we recognize our own need to learn and grow. On all matters where gross disparities in human well-being are worsened by militarized state power, we stand with those on the margins seeking peace and justice. In doing so, we must strive to improve our understanding of the histories and context where oppression arises in order to be better advocates for human rights. For this, we welcome continued engagement and learning in an inclusive and nonviolent context.

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