Public Figures Sign onto Letter Opposing Dehumanization of Gazans, Palestinians, Muslims, Israelis and Jews

The “Pro-human camp coalition” published a public letter on Thursday signed by public figures, artists and academics, declaring their commitment to fight the dehumanization of Gazans, Palestinians and Muslims, and the dehumanization of Israelis and Jews in general.

Demonstrators from the Parents Circle – Families Forum, a joint Israeli-Palestinian organization of over 600 bereaved families (Photo: Parents Circle)

“As proponents of human rights,” the letter reads, “we must fight apartheid and oppression. However, this should not involve demonizing the civilians who are associated with the stronger side, and such a struggle certainly must not condone the massacre and atrocities committed against Israeli civilians and other nationals on October 7.”

The signatories include authors David Grossman and Iris Leal; MK Ofer Cassif (Hadash), philosophers Slavoj Žižek, Eva Illouz, Axel Honneth and Kohei Saito; former Members of Knesset Dov Khenin (Hadash) and Mossi Raz (Meretz); human rights activists Ruchama Marton, Att. Michael Sfard, Ziv Stahl, Avi Dabush, B’tselem Director Yuli Novak and Breaking the Silence Director Avner Gvaryahu; singer Achinoam Nini, actor and director Itay Tiran, and actors Esti Zakheim, Ala Dakka, Yossi Zabari and Menashe Noy; filmmakers Ari Folman, Avi Mograbi, Nadav Lapid, Avigail Sperber and the Heiman brothers; lawyer Daniel Hacklai; choreographer Ohad Naharin, director and choreographer Avshalom Pollak; scholar and journalist Tomer Persico, and many others.

“The widespread support among the Israeli public for the nature of the Israeli retaliation in Gaza — a retaliation which in itself resulted in a horrific extent of killing and suffering — together with the calls by prominent public figures (as well as parts of the Israeli public) for ethnic cleansing and population transfer, are cause for deep concern,” signatories said.

“In the West, a disturbing trend has emerged among some young people of dehumanizing Israelis, and, sometimes, Jews. This serves to rationalize killing them or violating their rights by reducing them to proxies of Israeli oppression. This is demonstrated, inter alia, in the indifferent or distorted attitude towards the issue of the hostages in Gaza within these circles. Conversely, in Israel and among wide pro-Israel circles globally, dehumanization of Palestinians in general and Gazans in particular is common, mainly expressed by associating all Gazans with Hamas. This association is used by them to rationalize indiscriminate killing and denial of humanitarian aid. Additionally, the growing wave of Islamophobia in the West, which paints Muslims broadly as terrorists, is both reprehensible and alarming.

“The dehumanization of Israelis and Jews, as well as Palestinians and Muslims, is unacceptable. A person is not merely a representation of a collective identity, history, events, or political orientation. A consistent humanistic approach must address all these unacceptable developments.  

Furthermore, a crucial distinction must be made between pro-Palestinian protests and support for crimes against Israelis. The space allowed for pro-Palestinian protest must not be narrowed, as was recently done in many cases. At the same time, we must oppose any rationalization of crimes against civilians, regardless of their identity or location.” 

The full open letter, an initiative of the Pro-Human Camp Network, Amnesty International Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian Parents Circle – Families Forum (English, Hebrew and Arabic):