Bat Association statement to Lansing City Council in support of a Ceasefire in Gaza


Statement delivered to Lansing City Council on Nov. 27th 2023, on behalf of the Bat Association board:

Like many other colonial projects, the establishment of the state of Israel started with the forced removal of the native population, an estimated 700,000 Palestinians in 1948, an event known to Palestinians as Al Nakba (The Catastrophe) [1]. Since then, the state of Israel has continued to defy international law both within its borders through the establishment of apartheid laws disadvantaging non-jewish citizens [2], and outside its border through the ongoing occupation and annexation of Palestinian land [3] [4].

This would not be possible without support from other colonial powers, chief among those, the United States who shares in both historical and contemporary injustices against our own native population, and contributes billions of dollars annually in military aid to help support the occupation of Palestine [5]. This support has been bipartisan and championed as supporting the Jewish community, which has historically been the target of massive injustice. Any resistance to this support has been smeared as anti-semetic but the truth is more simple. In the words of our current commander in chief Joe Biden, “If there were not an Israel, we would have to invent one to make sure our interests were preserved” [6-7]. The United States supports these atrocities, not because it cares about the Jewish community, but to preserve our interests in the region.

The occupation of Palestine is not complicated. It is not a conflict, or a war, or a religious dispute over territory. It is an ongoing settler colonialist project predicated on ethnic cleansing which has used the real, historical and ongoing oppression of the Jewish community as a shield against criticism [8].

This is the context that paved the way for the Hamas atrocities on October 7th, something Israel is now using as a pretext for escalating its decades long siege on Gaza. With U.S. support, Israel has dropped over 20 tons of explosives [9] on one of the most densely populated places in the world [10], permanently displacing more than one million and killing over 15,000, the majority women and children [11]. What we are witnessing, and what our politicians are supporting on our behalf is not self defense. A country with one of the most advanced militaries in the world carpet bombing an area the size of Detroit with four times the population is not self defense. It is genocide. We hope our City Council will join the mounting number of people calling for a sustained ceasefire and immediate unrestricted humanitarian aid to Gaza. The city of Detroit passed a resolution supporting a ceasefire there is no reason Lansing shouldn’t be doing the same.

We are all complicit and we cannot be silent.

The Bat Association

1] Pappé, Ilan. The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. Oxford: Oneworld, 2006. Print.

[2] Hesketh, K., Bishara, S., Zaher, S., & Rosenberg, R. (2010). Inequality report: The palestinian arab minority in Israel December 2010. In Arab World Geographer (Vol. 13, Issues 3–4).