Jerusalem24 – Today, Wednesday, a Palestinian rights advocacy group New Generation for Palestine succeeded in a campaign to cancel an event for Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu from taking place in the American state of Michigan.
A number of Michigan officials were set to appear with Benjamin Netanyahu this weekend in Michigan, including Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Senator Gary Peters, Senator Debbie Stabenow, Mayor Mike Duggan, and Reverend Wendell Anthony.
The New Generation for Palestine had organized an open-letter campaign against the Israeli PM’s participation in the event.
The letter read:
To whom it may concern:
On Sunday, October 18, 2020, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be featured at “An Evening of Unity,” the annual event of Yeshiva Beth Yehuda of Michigan. The event also boasts of the attendance of a number of Michigan public figures, including politicians and civil rights activists.
Some of these individuals include Gretchen Whitmer, Governor of Michigan; Debbie Stabenow, US Senator-Michigan; Gary Peters, US Senator-Michigan; Mike Duggan, Mayor-Detroit; Reverend Dr. Wendell Anthony, President-Detroit NAACP
Benjamin Netanyahu, an avowed anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian racist, is an affront to “unity.” Netanyahu has built his career and image on disunity and the subjection of the Palestinian people. He has championed Israel’s occupation and the establishment of an apartheid system.
In 2015, as he was running for re-election, Netanyahu told his supporters, “The right-wing government is in danger. Arab voters are heading to the polling stations in droves.” More than 20% of Israel’s citizens are Palestinian.
In 2019, he championed Israel’s “nation-state” law, which declares, according to him, that Israel is “the national state, not of all its citizens, but only of the Jewish people.” Again, more than 20% of Israel’s citizens are Palestinian.
On more than one occasion, Netanyahu has vowed to never allow the creation a Palestinian state.
He continues to support the inhumane Israeli blockade of Gaza that chokes off 2 million Palestinians from vital supplies and aid. The United Nations calls the blockade “a denial of basic human rights in contravention of international law and amounts to collective punishment.” This illegal blockade has led to skyrocketing rates of unemployment, poverty, and food insecurity.
In 2014, South African Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu noted the following after a visit to occupied Palestine: “I have witnessed the systemic humiliation of Palestinian men, women and children by members of the Israeli security forces… Their humiliation is familiar to all black South Africans who were corralled and harassed and insulted and assaulted by the security forces of the apartheid government.”
In 1997, Nelson Mandela declared, “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”
I call on you to reject Netanyahu and his racist views. I call on all people of conscience to refuse to share a stage with Netanyahu, a man who denies the rights of Palestinians based on their race, ethnicity, and religion.
Nearly 400 emails and letters were sent to the Michigan state officials regarding the event. On the day of the event, the Yeshiva Beth Yehudah dropped the Israeli PM’s appearance and published a short statement on their website.
The event entitled “An Evening of Unity”, which is an annual event to support the Yeshiva Beth Yehudah organization in Detroit, Michigan. The Yeshiva Beth Yehudah, is a non-governmental non-profit organization that supports educational opportunities for the underprivileged.