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Israeli Public Figures Sign Letter Against ‘The Dehumanization of Palestinians and Israelis’

'The pro-human camp coalition' opposes the 'atrocities committed on October 7' and also stands against identifying all Gazans with Hamas 'used by them to rationalize indiscriminate killing and denial of humanitarian aid'

Palestinians check a half destroyed building following Israeli bombardment on Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on Friday.,(Credit: Said Khatib / Agence France-Presse (AFP) // Haaretz)

An entity called 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.

"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."

"At the same time, the widespread support among the Israeli public for the nature of the Israeli retaliation in Gaza, 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," the letter stipulates.

The signatories include authors David Grossman and Iris Leal; philosophers Slavoj Žižek, Eva Illouz, Axel Honneth and Kohei Saito; former Members of Knesset Esawi Freige, Dov Khenin and Mossi Raz; human rights activists 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 and Menashe Noy; filmmakers Ari Folman, 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 letter's initiators and signatories express deep concern about the trends of dehumanization toward Israelis and Jews, which justify killing or violating their rights, by reducing them to proxies of Israeli oppression. "This is demonstrated in the indifferent or distorted attitude towards the issue of the hostages in Gaza within these circles," the letter says.  

Posters of Israelis taken hostage by Hamas on October 7.  (Credit: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters  //  Haaretz)

At the same time, they express deep concern about the increasingly widespread dehumanization of Palestinians in general in Israel, and of Gaza residents in particular, including the identification of all Gazans with Hamas by Israelis and their supporters around the world.

"This identification justifies indiscriminate killing and preventing humanitarian aid. 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," they say. "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," the letter says.

The organizations The Parents Circle – Families Forum, Rabbis for Human Rights and Mehazkim have also joined the Pro-Human Camp, which is led by Amnesty International – Israel.

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