Peoples Geography — Reclaiming space

Creating people's geographies

Petitioning for social action

Do petitions matter? Do they help to effect social progress? In this 2 minute video Amnesty answer with a resolute (perhaps romanticised to some) yes.

We do well to recall that Martin Luther’s 95 Theses apocryphally nailed to the church door of Wittenburg in 1517 practically launched the Reformation, and petitions and pamphlets have had an important effect in countless other events in history. Affixing our signatures to an important statement is often symbolic, but symbols can be powerful too. Signing a petition may not be a substitute for the full spectrum of actions we can take, but it can be a powerful start.

I am including a petition to Richard Silverstein‘s petition on the first reading of the Israeli Knesset’s profoundly discriminatory Jewish National Fund (JNF) bill. It is encouraging to see some prominent Israelis speaking up against this possible further legislating of apartheid (see, for example, Yossi Paritzky, Our Apartheid State in Y-Net).

ADDENDUM: See also Richard Silverstein’s The ‘Right’ to Discriminate in Guardian’s CIF.

The petition reads:

We the undersigned express our profound disapproval and sorrow at the Israeli Knesset’s recent passage, on first reading, of the Jewish National Fund bill. The bill would prohibit Israel’s Arab citizens from leasing land owned by the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and managed by the Israeli Land Authority (which administers 93% of Israel’s land). The Israel High Court had earlier ruled that the ILA cannot discriminate against Arabs in leasing such land. This new legislation is an attempt to circumvent that ruling.

We applaud the High Court for putting an end to a discriminatory practice that should never have existed within a democratic state. We also applaud the Israeli MK’s, Jewish and Arab that voted against the amendment. If Israel is to be truly democratic, all its citizens must have the right to lease land held in trust by the government of Israel. Israel must not settle for anything less.

We call upon to the Knesset to defeat the amendment when it comes up for its next reading and to embrace values of equality and tolerance for all its citizens.

If you would like to sign, click HERE

On a related note, IHT reports on a small positive development in a significant number of US evangelical leaders stepping forward to voice support for Palestinian rights.

A letter signed by 34 evangelical leaders was sent to Bush on Friday, stating in part that they supported the creation of a Palestinian state “that includes the vast majority of the West Bank” and both Israelis and Palestinians had “legitimate rights stretching back for millennia to the lands of Israel/Palestine.”

What a refreshing departure from the rabid “Christian Zionist” dispensationalists Hagee et. al. who obviously doesn’t speak for all Christian evangelicals he caricatures!

10 comments on “Petitioning for social action

  1. marcomartini
    30 July, 2007

    Very interesting post, Ann. I have signed the petition online, I hope many others will follow suit.


  2. Crimson East
    31 July, 2007

    Here are innocent Israeli children being made to sign a petition by I”D”F troops:

    Did you ever get the impression that Israel understands only petitions of this sort? Perhaps we should sign some of the petitions sent by Palestinian freedom-fighters.

    Anyway, I’ll sign this petition thingy against the JNF bill. Down with Apartheid…

  3. 99
    31 July, 2007

    Well, this is good news, but we gotta work much harder. Here, scare yerseff to pieces….

  4. Dave Bath
    31 July, 2007

    Does anyone know the webpage for Israeli parliamentary inquiries, assuming they have somewhere like our senate committees they send bills to for public comment?

    If Israeli Defence Industries can put a large submission (actually, little more than an advertisement about how good their bombs were) into the Australian inquiry into anti-cluster-bomb legislation, then why can’t Australians (among others) cut-and-paste (with personal modifications) into Israeli committees handling a bill?

  5. homeyra
    1 August, 2007

    Thank you Ann for one more informative post – and links.

  6. Pingback: Estimate « Forever Under Construction

  7. Pingback: Israel: Jewish National Fund Bill « Progressive Muslima News

  8. Servant
    2 August, 2007

    I take back everything bad I ever said about the Methodists. This interesting article on Israel Divestment just popped up in PPGG Picks this morning. ;)

    The Methodists have put the occupation of Palestine on the agenda for their next national conference. And Zionists are already lining up to whine about it. The thought of hundreds of thousands of American church goers in leadership positions talking about justice in Palestine scares the hell out of Zionists.

    They’re gonna need a pretty big fig leaf if Americans ever take a bite from the tree of knowledge – as it were. It’ll be Paradise Lost all over again. (Secular humanist credentials in my other suit. )

    “It won’t matter if it’s another isolated, and from our perspective, misguided, effort to bring what they think is going to be improvement in the Middle East conflict, but if it triggers off other denominational initiatives of this kind, yes, it will matter,” said Lawrence D. Lowenthal, executive director of the Greater Boston chapter of the American Jewish Committee.

    John Brown was a Methodist, weren’t he? There was a terrorist that started something and saw it through! Is that what you’re talking about 99?

    Anyway, let’s abolish injustice in Palestine. It’s as easy as turning the light on so that the Americans who support Israeli apartheid with their tax dollars can have the information they need. We’ll do the right thing if we can just get accurate information.

    The lack of justice in Palestine is the prime mover the whole war on tarra.

  9. JollyRoger
    2 August, 2007

    Petitions matter to those who aren’t convinced that they get their orders directly from God.

    Chimpy doesn’t give a damn about what anyone else thinks. We’ll see about Olmert, although the evidence thus far isn’t encouraging.

  10. Ann El Khoury
    4 August, 2007

    Dave, good question. Try the Knesset Parliamentary Inquiry Committees and Knesset Committees

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Timely Reminders

"Those who crusade, not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes perceptibly worse than what it was, before the crusade began. By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself."
-- Aldous Huxley

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yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there"
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