Jews for Justice for Palestinians
Jews for Justice for Palestinians (JfJfP) is a group based in Britain that describes itself as advocating for human and civil rights, and economic and political freedom, for the Palestinian people. It opposes the current policy of Israel towards the Palestinian territories, particularly the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and seeks a change in their political status. The membership of JfJfP is primarily made up of British Jews.
The organisation was founded around 17 February 2002 by UK academic Irene Bruegel, the daughter of German-Jewish refugees, and her partner Richard Kuper, together with many, mainly female Jewish friends, just after Bruegel had toured the West Bank. Within six years it achieved as membership of 1,300 and over that period proved instrumental, according to an obituary, in 'shattering the illusion that all Jews unconditionally support the Israeli government.' It grew out of a reaction to the Al-Aqsa Intifada, which had rapidly led to the formation of a movement of British Jews opposed to communal Zionism who formed JPUK (Just Peace, United Kingdom) in October 2000. The deployment of the word 'Palestinian' in their monicker led to some controversy, but was retained despite these objections. Bruegel's political skills quickly made it the largest organization of this type in its field. It played a significant role in the establishment of a broader organization, the European Jews for a Just Peace. The Jewish press within the United Kingdom reportedly regards JFPFP as constituted by Jews on the margins of the Jewish community in that country.
It describes itself as welcoming all Jews, practising and secular Jews, Zionist and not, who oppose Israeli policies that could be seen as threatening Palestinian rights. It helps through cultural events to help bring about a public awareness critical of Israel.
It extends support, both moral and material, to Palestinians trapped in the spiral of violence and repression. It also supports a wide range of Israeli peace and human-rights groups working towards these same ends. One of its leaders Richard Kuper was active in forming a coalition of Jews who sailed in late 2010 from Cypus inb an effort to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip, some months after the Gaza flotilla raid.
Its stated reasons for supporting Palestinian rights include not only the absolute moral imperatives of promoting human rights, but are also based on the view that this is the best means of securing peace for Israelis. It supports the right of Israelis to live in freedom and security within Israel's 1967 borders.
It organises to give voice to the many strands of Israeli peace activism and to ensure that Jewish opinions critical of Israeli policy are heard in Britain. It believes that such opposition is important in countering anti-semitism and the claim that opposition to Israel's policies is itself anti-semitic.
It cooperates with other organisations on specific issues without necessarily endorsing everything they do. Together with others it calls on the British and European Union governments to suspend the preferential treatment accorded to Israel in trade agreements, to recognise the elected Palestinian Authority and to support it financially, to cease to trade arms with Israel, to push for the enforcement of international law in the region and to strive for fair and free negotiations between the parties.
It supports the British Shalom-Salaam Trust which funds a variety of humanitarian and educational projects in Israel and Palestine.
It is a founder member of also of the Enough! Coalition in the UK in 2007.
JfJfP has organised a number of petitions and open letters on political and human rights questions signed by distinguished British Jews from academia, the arts and other fields of activity.
A letter to the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary David Miliband of September 2007, urging Her Majesty's Government to speak at the United Nations against Israeli sanctions in Gaza, printed in The Times, was signed among many others by:
- Associated Press (26 September 2010). "Jewish activists set sail for Gaza planning to break blockade". The Guardian.
- Gruner, Peter (23 October 2008). "Goodnight Irene, friends' farewell to a 'great campaigner'". Camden New Journal.
- Himmelweit, Sue; Mohun, Simon (15 October 2008). "Obituary: Irene Bruegel: Academic and activist against injustice". The Guardian.
- Landy, David (2012). Jewish Identity and Palestinian Rights: Diaspora Jewish Opposition to Israel. Zed Books. ISBN 978-1-848-13929-9.
- Rosen, Ehud (2011). Mapping the Organizational Sources of the Global Delegitimization Campaign Against Israel in the UK. Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. ISBN 978-9-652-18094-0.