Australian Jews raise their voices for a ceasefire

November 8, 2023
Activists outside the Israeli Embassy in Canberra. Photo: @DavidShoebridge/X

Australian Jewish women are continuing to call for an immediate ceasefire in front of the Israeli Embassy.

Corinne Fagueret said on November 8 she was there “because my heart aches for the thousands of children and their families who have been killed in Gaza, in the same way it aches for the innocent Israelis murdered and kidnapped by Hamas on 7 October”.

“We cannot see how an ongoing war in Gaza can bring peace and security to anyone, including Israel. Fagueret said history shows “violence only leads to more violence” and was concerned about the global rise in antisemitism and Islamophobia.

She said Israel must “implement an immediate ceasefire, negotiate for the release of the hostages and resume negotiations towards a just peace for all. “Peace and justice for all is the only thing that can bring the security which Israel craves.”

Steph Cunio said many of those kidnapped, tortured and killed by Hamas on October 7 “repeatedly stood against [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu, both on domestic policies and Gaza.

“My heart also aches for the thousands of innocent Palestinians killed and injured in this senseless war. I call for the return of the hostages and an immediate ceasefire.”

The Australian Jewish Democratic Society (AJDS) on November 7 called for the federal government to take a “much more assertive role” for a ceasefire and pushing “to allow relief aid into Gaza”.

It said Israel’s “unrelenting bombing of Gaza”, its ground invasion and “the death of thousands of children and adults, means that Palestinian civilians are paying the heaviest price in Israel’s war against Hamas”.

“Meanwhile, settler violence on the West Bank and the harassment and arrest of Palestinian Israelis and some left-leaning Jewish activists, demonstrate that the Israeli government is continuing its far-right agenda.”

Palestinians’ “need for a homeland” is the “underlying cause” of the conflict, AJDS said. “The point has been passed in this war where the number of Gazans killed is so great it overwhelms Israel’s military objective. A way must be found to stop this carnage.”

AJDS wants “an internationally supervised ceasefire and for all hostages to be released”.

It called on federal Labor to initiate international efforts “to revive conflict resolution” and play a key role in “an International Peacemaking Intervention and Commission under the United Nations”.

“The land Palestinians dream about returning to is no more”, it said. “The land Israelis dream about possessing forever has turned into an immoral and unsustainable nightmare.

“The status quo of one state ruling another people is no longer an option. A return to negotiations between Israel and Palestine is the only viable path forward.”

Meanwhile, the Tzedek Collective, the Loud Jew Collective, Jews Against the Occupation and Jews Against Fascism issued a joint statement calling for a ceasefire on October 28.

They said Israel must end its occupation and Australia must end it support for Israel’s war.

“For the past 15 years Gaza has been under Israeli siege with an air, sea and land blockade, such that the conditions have caused it to be described as the world’s largest open-air prison.

“Israel’s ongoing siege of Gaza must end. Most young people in Gaza have never been able to leave,” the groups said.

“Gaza is becoming a graveyard for a population that has nowhere else to go … The horrific violence that Hamas inflicted in Israel on October 7 does not justify Israel’s actions.

While the Israeli government recently declared war in Gaza, its war on Palestinians started over 75 years ago and any ceasefire “must be followed by an end to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land”.

The groups strongly criticised Labor’s inaction and were “alarmed by its declaration of support for Israel, including military deployment”.

“We often use ‘Never again!’ in reference to the Holocaust. Yet these words mean nothing if we stand back and take no action in the face of Israel’s attacks on Palestinians.”

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