February 19, 2011
Dear Member of the European Parliament,
From February 21st until February 25th your delegation, the European Delegation for relations with Israel, will travel to Israel. First and foremost I hope that you will have a fruitful journey.
European Jews for a Just Peace (EJJP), a federation of eleven Jewish peace groups throughout Europe, sees the human rights and peace community in Israel as its partner. However this community, represented by dozens of organizations, is under threat of antidemocratic legislation and has been slandered by political extremists and legislators alike in the last couple of years. This community has been called ‘a fifth column’, ‘a pest’ and ‘traitors’ because it speaks out against the occupation of the Palestinian Territories and injustices done in the name of Israel. Its funding by foreign sources, such as the European Commission, has been questioned, and its motives have been cast into doubt.
Furthermore, antidemocratic legislation is currently pending in the Knesset not only directed at the human rights and peace community, but also at those citizens of Israel who, out of political conviction but not out of hate of Israel, decline military service or call for a boycott of Israel or of its (illegal) settlements in the Occupied Territories. This legislation limits the democratic space for political dissent, and is part of what has been identified by numerous analysts as an anti-democratic tendency currently sweeping Israeli society.
I call upon you, on behalf of EJJP, to take these developments into account during your visit, and address this matter during the meetings you will have with Israeli legislators and officials. As far as not included in your program I would also strongly want to recommend meeting with a number of human rights and peace organizations in Israel, to show them that the European Parliament supports them not only in their struggle for a better Israel, but also in their struggle against the current political climate in Israel.
On behalf of EJJP
Member of the Executive of EJJP