As an organization whose very existence was born from the global Poets Against the War movement, we at Split This Rock are grieved and outraged by Israel’s attack on the people of Gaza and by the lives that continue to be lost even as we post this blog. We feel an obligation to speak out against the notion that violence can in any way resolve our world’s most pressing conflicts.
As such, we condemn Israel’s murderous attacks. Hamas' use of rockets and other strategies aimed at Israeli civilians – many of whom oppose their nation's aggressive stance – are also a violation of international law. But we do not accept this as justification for collective punishment of the people of Gaza.
We are outraged by our government's continued participation in state-sanctioned violence and will continue to speak out on behalf of the victims of our government's policies here and elsewhere.
We demand that the US stop all funding of the Israeli military and support the UN call for an unconditional ceasefire and investigation of war crimes. We call for an end to the siege of Gaza and an end to the occupation. Finally, we appeal to peace artists everywhere to raise their voices against all human rights atrocities, no matter where they occur.
Our poetry can name the many ways that violence and war wounds our very capacity for peace. It can build awareness and community and help us reach across our divisions. It often stirs us to take action.
For those who seek more options to respond to the lives being lost daily in Gaza, here are a few ideas:
Learn More. It’s important that we educate ourselves, being mindful that we live in the age of spin. Noura Erakat at The Nation recently offered insight into some of the myths surrounding Gaza. Click here to see what they have to say. Our ally Phyllis Bennis at the Institute for Policy Studies published an excellent piece on Israel’s policy of collective punishment at Other Words yesterday. And David Swanson takes on the larger question of whether war and violence are themselves “war crimes.” It’s a thoughtful piece that has us deep in conversation today. You can read it here.
Call the President and your Representatives. The United States supports Israel financially and with arms. Contact President Obama at (202) 456-1111 and the State Department at (202) 647-4000 to demand a withdrawal of U.S. military aid and funding from Israel. Call your U.S. Senators and ask that Congress demand an end to the siege of Gaza. Find your representative here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
Stand in solidarity. Citizens are taking to the streets all over the world to speak out against Israeli aggression. A list of upcoming demonstrations can be found here.
Boycott, Divest, Sanctions (BDS). The BDS movement has a commitment to putting pressure on Israel until it complies with international law and the Palestinian people are provided fundamental rights. For those who wish to endorse a cultural boycott of Israel, a recent statement and sign-on form is here. Click here for ways to get involved.
Sign Petitions. There are lots of them floating around and it can’t hurt to add your name to as many as possible. Click here to sign Amnesty’s petition.
Donate. If you feel led to send money to help people on the ground in Gaza, we hear that ANERA is an organization with a good reputation. Be sure to do your research before sending funds.
Get Involved. Among many groups doing important work to end the assaults, Jewish Voice for Peace is an invaluable resource. Click here for their Activist Toolkit.