December STARA motion: That the STA publicly condemn the state of Israel’s ongoing genocide of Palestinians and declare that Anti-Zionism is not Anti-Semitism. 

We vehemently condemn the egregious violence and tragic loss of lives resulting from Israel’s occupation of Gaza. Our heartfelt condolences extend to those affected, including the Yemenis, Lebanese, and others in the surrounding regions. We express profound sympathy to the families and individuals enduring the unimaginable pain of loss, while recognizing that words alone cannot undo the irreversible damages that were done. 

With a sense of urgency and a heavy heart, we confront the ongoing crises in the Middle East, particularly the alarming genocide of Palestinians by the state of Israel. As striving advocates for justice and liberation, we assert our condemnation of Israeli governmental actions. We echo what many international and Israeli human rights organizations and civil societies have asserted, that criticisms of policies and actions of the state of Israel do not equate to an attack on any religious or ethnic group. Rather, it is galvanized by the principles of human rights and the pursuit of justice and liberation. Most recently, South Africa filed a lawsuit with the International Court of Justice, accusing Israel of genocide, with support following suit from Malaysia, Turkey, Jordan, Bolivia, the Maldives, Namibia, Pakistan, Colombia, and Brazil. This demonstration of international solidarity is a clear sign that genocidal actions have consequences and need to end. On Friday, January 27, the ICJ ruled that Israel “was required by international law to enact ‘immediate’ steps to stop” the atrocities it has unleashed upon the Palestinian peoples for the past four months. Nevertheless, there is no guarantee that Israel will adhere to the ruling during the one month they have to deliver a report for South Africa’s review as the ICJ has no authority to enforce its own rulings. Therefore, it is all the more important that we continue to demand a permanent ceasefire.  

Relatedly, we contend that it is critical to make a distinction between anti-Zionism and antisemitism We agree with Larry Haiven, one of the founding members of Independent Jewish Voices Canada, states that: 

Those who equate anti-Zionism with antisemitism often fail to acknowledge that many formidable Jewish intellectuals have raised troubling questions about the moral transgressions of the Jewish state and have done so using traditional Jewish precepts [ – including ] important Jewish intellectuals such as Hannah Arendt, Martin Buber, Albert Einstein and Judah Magnes.  

– (Antisemitism in context: Its use and abuse. An IJV Report, 2019

The STA vehemently rejects any form of discrimination or prejudice based on religion, ethnicity, or identity. We denounce antisemitism, Islamophobia, anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian racism. We believe in the importance of open dialogue and empathetic understanding free of imperialist violence. 

We urge all parties to pursue diplomatic, non-violent solutions that uphold the well-being of all civilians. We also call upon our members and the broader community to engage in respectful conversations that prioritize empathy, compassion, and a steadfast commitment to all spheres of human rights. We know that nobody is truly free until everybody is free. 

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