30 April, 2013

Israeli Civil Society's Letter to Governor Genro

Your Excellency, the governor of Rio Grande do Sul, Tarso Genro, We are a group of Israeli citizens from diverse civil society organizations. We are working for human rights, democracy and the respect of international law under the Israeli government. As Israeli citizens who are witnessing day by day the policies of our government in the military, economic and legal domains, we are appalled by the all-permeating racism sanctioned in our laws and our society, which can clearly be regarded as an apartheid system. We stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people living under occupation, being incarcerated without trial, humiliated and repressed, displaced and robbed of their land, income and natural resources. We believe that the demand for accountability and the respect of universal values - justice, freedom and equality for all - are the key to bringing peace to our people. As long as Israel tramples on the rights of the occupied and the oppressed, peace and security will forever elude us – Israeli citizens and Palestinians alike. We are doing and shall continue to do our best in order to change reality from within. But we have also come to the conclusion that a global campaign for accountability and against the consistent human rights violations is absolutely essential to bring about the change that all of us - peacemakers and human rights activists - are working towards. This can only be done by international bodies and the international community as a whole. We therefore need your support and of leading policy makers such as yourself, and your role in the betterment of this region is of the utmost importance. You have already demonstrated your support for a just peace in Palestine by your firm support of freedom of speech at the World Social Forum Free Palestine. We would like to take the opportunity to wholeheartedly thank you for standing up for civil society's right to discuss and come together within the WSF Free Palestine, as well as rejecting calls to prevent the event from taking place. We were delighted to see that you have chosen to stand up for democracy and freedom of expression.

We would also like to thank you for pursuing business opportunities in the occupied Palestinian territories, where the economy has been stifled by Israel's decades-long occupation, its check-points, trade restrictions and the confiscation of land. At the same breath, we would like to ask you to take caution in the conduct of business with Israeli companies which profit from, and are complicit in, the systematic violation of human rights and of international law being carried out against the Palestinian people. In order to ensure that Palestinian, Israeli and international efforts to achieve peace and justice are taken seriously by the Israeli leaders, we urge you to engage only in socially responsible investments in our region.

Sincerely, Boycott From Within The Jahalin Association The Alternative Information Center One Democratic State Group – Jaffa section

Individuals* Rutie Atsmon, Director - Windows for Peace (signing in personal capacity) Dr. Ishai Menuchin, Director - Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (signing in personal capacity) Yonatan Shapira, retired IDF pilot, Co-founder - Combatants for Peace (signing in personal capacity) Ruth Hiller, Co-founder New Profile (signing in personal capacity) Ofra Yeshua-Lyth, The Committee for One Secular Democratic Republic (signing in personal capacity) On behalf of other supporting individuals

* The content of this letter may be deemed illegal under a recent Israeli law, legislated in July 2011. Individuals who have chosen to risk persecution and have signed this call are doing it on an individual basis and not as representatives of their affiliated organization. We will not be intimidated by this repressive law and will carry on standing for universal human values.