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My name is Martha Roth, and I’m a co-chair of Independent Jewish Voices Canada. IJV is a Canada-wide group of Jews who oppose the occupation of Palestinian lands by Israel. We support the movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel. We are not Zionists. What do we think about Donald Trump’s latest move, to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem?

We are outraged at the blatant insult to Palestinians who live in Jerusalem, and we hope against hope that they will not react violently, because Israel’s military power is much greater than theirs. Yet many of us also believe it could be a good sign–a sign that the mask of two-statism has dropped from the face of Western diplomacy. The so-called two-state solution has been dead for many years, killed by Israel’s ravenous appetite for Palestinian land and its callous laissez-faire policy of settlements. For nearly thirty years, the U.S. and its allies have piously mouthed support for two states, knowing this was an impossibility. It is high time that the U.S. acknowledged that there is no way a separate Palestinian state can exist alongside its grabby occupier.

Israel at this moment is a rogue state, in flagrant violation of international law and of several United Nations resolutions. But because of its status as a favoured client of the U.S., which is still a fearsome military power, its crimes have largely gone unchallenged. This latest grab is a clear sign that the mask has dropped, the gloves are off. Perhaps now the U.S. and Israel can stop pretending that they live in a never-never land of temporary settlements and admit that Israel is an occupying power and Palestine an internal colony.

Many Canadian Jews support Israel, rightly or wrongly, although many of them feel uneasy about the occupation. But we in IJV don’t support an occupying power. We believe that an important part of our heritage as Jews is support for the oppressed, whenever and wherever they live. And so we are a Palestinian solidarity group, and we share the outrage of our Palestinian sisters and brothers at this latest crime against them. But perhaps when the fictions of Israeli hasbara are swept away, there may be a chance for justice. A slender chance, but better than nothing.

Free Palestine!

This article is a slightly modified version of a speech given at a demonstration at the U.S. Consulate in Vancouver, “Emergency rally for Palestine: Defend Al-Quds/Jerusalem,” on Dec. 8, 2017 protesting the U.S. Trump Administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The event was co-hosted by Canada Palestine Association, Coalition forJustice and Peace, and Independent Jewish Voices-Vancouver. The endorsers included Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights-UBC, Critical Muslim Voices, Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights, and Vancouver Socialist Alternative.

Martha Roth is a writer and editor and a founding member of Independent Jewish Voices Canada.

Image: Margaret Shearer.

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