“[…] Cease-fire to the burning day
that worked like war across my
empty throat before I thought to try this way
to say I think we can:
I think we can.”
– June Jordan, “To Sing a Song of Palestine”
EL*C joins the many organizations and individuals around the world in collective grief, anger and protest against the accelerating violence against Palestinians at the hands of the far-right Israeli government. We call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire, an end to militarized gender-based violence, the right to return of Palestinian refugees, protection of civilians, the end of occupation and for equal rights to be enacted with haste. We urge national governments and international institutions to follow the call for peace and protection of civilians of the United Nations.
We are seeing again a renewal of military violence in Gaza and the West Bank, violations of international law and targeting of civilians, causing the death of thousands and displacement of hundreds of thousands of persons. The demand for an immediate and permanent ceasefire comes from the profound and revolutionary lesbian love we have for human life and a deep belief in the materialization of equal rights for all. Lesbian and queer rights cannot be realized under occupation and militarized attack, and we denounce the pinkwashing tactics of the Israeli military flying a Pride flag in occupied and under attack Gaza. As many people of Jewish faith across the world have stated, we as lesbians want to reiterate: not in our name. We condemn the use of lesbian and queer rights as an excuse for militarized attack.
We are deeply concerned with the situation of all women, lesbians and children as we know that during times of armed conflict, gender-based violence is exacerbated. We denounce the use of gender-based violence as a weapon of war, whether it is committed by armed military or paramilitary forces, or by anyone using their power to abuse and harm persons in vulnerable positions. Gender-based violence is categorically unacceptable and unjustifiable. We call for a ceasefire because the end of collective punishment of Palestinians is a feminist issue, a reproductive rights issue, an environmental justice issue, a racial justice issue, a lesbian rights issue. As lesbians, as feminists, as intersectionality practitioners, we believe in everyone’s right to live in a world free of violence, lesbophobia and oppression in the many forms it takes.
Furthermore, we are worried and angered by the rising Islamophobia and antisemitism in our region and we call for immediate action to stop this wave of hate and violence against Muslim and Jewish sisters and siblings. Ideologies of hate have no place in our society and in a long tradition of lesbians opposing fascism, we vehemently oppose and condemn far-right ideologies wherever they take root.
We must acknowledge that some of us will go to sleep quietly after this statement, while other people in our network have lived and are living through war. We wanted to take time to release a statement that would take into account these experiences and the positions in our network, that prioritizes the protection of civilians. For this reason, our collective statement comes now rather than sooner, after many conversations and sharing in the grief, worry and anger at what we have been witnessing.
We encourage all our members and everyone reading this statement to participate in and engage in collective actions and demonstrations demanding an immediate ceasefire and the protection of civilians.