For those of you reading this, my name is Josh Broomberg. I am the currently the Deputy Head Boy of King David Victory Park and the Captain of the SA National Debating Team. What follows is my statement regarding the recent controversy over my stand against the human rights abuses currently being perpetrated against the citizens of Gaza. Firstly, I would like to apologise. It was not intended to create the uproar it has, it was not designed to offend or upset. Because this has occurred, I apologise. But what I will say is this: I am proud to be a South African Jew, and I am proud to attend a Jewish Day School. I am also a
Zionist. I believe in Israel’s right to exist, and her right to defend herself from the threat presented by
those seeking to hurt her citizens. All citizens of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza have the absolute right to live in peace and security. It was with this in mind that I, and my team, chose to take the stand we did. It was not about politics, or about states. It was about humanity. We stand with the thousands of civilians who have lost their lives in the conflict. We stand with a people who do not yet have a state to protect themselves. We stand with the innocents. We stand for two states. We do not stand against Israel. All of this applies to me personally as well. While I apologise for the hurt we seem to have caused, I do not apologise for standing with Palestine on this issue. This is not because I do not believe in Israel or its people. I do believe in Israel, and I take this stand because I can love and suppoprt the state of Israel but still reject and criticize some of its actions. In fact, I consider it my duty to contribute to the growing worldwide discussion surrounding the desperate need for a quick end and lasting solution to this pernicious conflict. In my eyes, this criticism is not a betrayal, but actually the only honest and true way to show my patriotism and commitment to Israel, as well as my belief in human rights and the entitlement of all citizens of all countries to those right. To improve, we must criticise. I will note, explicitly, that our support and sympathy also lies with the innocent Israelis exposed to threat at the hands of terrorists. The conflict is a tragedy for all, and once again, all innocent life is equally valuable. We took a stand for the thousands and for those without a voice but we do not for a second condone any violence what so ever. We stand for peace. Most importantly, the issues are complex but we can never let go of the ability to talk and engage with the other side. if we lose this ability we lose our claim to be an enlightened community. We lose what it means to be human.