Stephen Aberle

  • Former steering committee member of the now-defunct Jews for a Just Peace
  • Supports the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) movement

Born in approximately 1951, Stephen Aberle is a singer, songwriter, and actor based in Vancouver, British Columbia. He has been involved in the arts since the early 1980s.

Aside from his work as an entertainer, Aberle has cultivated a longstanding reputation as someone who detests the state of Israel. He spent a number of years serving on the steering committee of the now-defunct Jews For a Just Peace (JFJP), an organization that viewed Israel as an oppressor nation guilty of subjecting the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank to many forms of cruelty and abuse.

In March 2002, as the bloody Al-Aqsa Intifada plagued Israel and the Palestinian territories, Aberle wrote that while “Israel has the right to exist and endure,” “the Palestinian people” likewise “have the right to live in peace and security and to establish their own viable independent state in the whole of the West Bank and Gaza Strip should they so wish.” “The most urgent obstacle to peace,” he elaborated, “has been and remains Israel’s ongoing occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the consequent oppression of the Palestinians…. We deplore all violence against civilians. This includes violence against Jewish civilians, through suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks, for example. It also includes violence against Palestinian civilians, as during the present invasion and bombardment of cities and refugee camps. We observe that throughout this conflict, the vast majority of deaths and injuries have been inflicted on Palestinians, many of them children. We do not believe that Israel’s security is served by injustice against Palestinians.”

On other occasions, Aberle, claiming to be a spokesman for the “legal and moral rights of the expelled Palestinian refugees,” declared that “we must no longer abandon our Palestinian sisters and brothers to a similar fate that our Jewish elders and ancestors righteously fought or escaped throughout our history.”

Aberle steadfastly supports: (a) the Palestinian people’s “Right of Return” to Israel; (b) Israeli citizens who refuse to join the Israeli Defense Forces; and (c) the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) movement, a Hamas-inspired initiative aimed at financially crippling the state of Israel.

In October 2006 Aberle spent a week participating in a study tour of the West Bank, coordinated by the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD). The tour placed heavy emphasis on Israel’s alleged abuses against the Palestinian people.

In July 2007 Aberle spent two weeks in the West Bank town of Anata, helping fellow ICAHD volunteers rebuild two Palestinian homes that had been demolished by Israeli authorities who suspected that the structures were being used to promote terrorism.

For several years, Aberle was an official with the Ahavat Olam Synagogue in Vancouver, serving as its chairman from 2006-09, and as its board secretary from 2009-12.

Aberle is a devoted admirer of history professor Ilan Pappe, an Israeli Marxist who claims that the Jewish founders of Israel carried out an ethnic-cleansing campaign against the Arab residents of that region in 1948. Aberle characterizes Pappe’s writings as “meticulously researched” and says that they have had a “profound impact” on him.

Since the dissolution of JFJP in about 2012, Aberle has continued to ally himself with other anti-Israel groups and causes. For example, in 2013 he signed a petition circulated by the organization Jews for Palestinian Right of Return (JPRR), which stated that Israel’s creation in 1948 was a “Nakba” (Catastrophe) that featured a massive “terror campaign” culminating in the “erasure and occupation of more than 500 Palestinian towns and villages” and “the dispossession of over 750,000 Palestinians.” The petition further claimed that:

  • “For more than a century, Zionists have sought to construct a ‘Jewish state’ through forced removal of the indigenous Palestinian people.”
  • Israel today is a state “whose very existence depends on structural denial of Palestinian rights.”
  • Israel is replete with “racism,” “bigotry,” and “relentless ethnic cleansing.”
  • “The Zionist regime [today] officially denies the Nakba, the ethical equivalent of Holocaust denial.”
  • Israel is “armed and financed by the U.S. and its allies,” and it “inflicts particularly brutal collective punishment on 1.7 million [Palestinian] people.”
  • “All supporters of social justice” must “stand up for [the] Palestinian Right of Return and a democratic state throughout historic Palestine — ‘From the River to the Sea’” — a phrase suggesting that all of the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, which is precisely where Israel is located, should instead comprise the nation of “Palestine.”

Fellow signers of this JPRR petition included such notables as Medea Benjamin, Max Blumenthal, Lenni Brenner, Jeff Halper, Jennifer Loewenstein, Barbara Lubin, and Ilan Pappe.

In 2014 Aberle was a signatory to a similar JPRR petition that condemned “Israel’s ongoing massacre in Gaza” and lamented “the thousands [of Palestinians] Israel has killed and maimed since its supposed withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005.” Advocating “a ban on all military and other aid to Israel,” the petition added:

  • “We cannot be silent as the ‘Jewish state’ — armed to the teeth by the U.S. and its allies — wages yet another brutal war on the Palestinian people.”
  • “Apartheid Israel does not speak for us, and we stand with Gaza as we stand with all of Palestine.”
  • “Israel’s relentless war on Gaza is no more an act of ‘self-defense’ than such infamous massacres as Wounded Knee (1890), Guernica (1937), the Warsaw Ghetto (1942), Deir Yassin (1948), My Lai (1968), Soweto (1976), Sabra and Shatila (1982), or Lebanon (2006). Rather, it is but the latest chapter in more than a century of Zionist colonialism, dispossession, ethnic cleaning, racism, and genocide — including Israel’s very establishment through the uprooting and displacement of over 750,000 Palestinians during the 1947-1948 Nakba.”
  • “Like any colonial regime, Israel uses resistance to [its oppressive] policies as an excuse to terrorize and collectively punish the indigenous population for its very existence. [The] scattered rockets, fired from Gaza into land stolen from Palestinians in the first place, are merely a response to this systemic injustice.”
  • “[W]e call for the complete dismantling of Israel’s apartheid regime, throughout historic Palestine — from the River to the Sea. With that in mind, we embrace the 2005 Palestinian call for [a] Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.”

On June 18, 2020, Aberle tweeted: “Canada should be an ‘asset’ for human rights and international law not for Israel. Time for Canada to come in line with civil society and international community in regard to Palestine.”

In addition to his various aforementioned activities, Aberle has also served stints as a member of the board of the PAL Studio Theatre in Vancouver, and as an organizer with Independent Jewish Voices (from 1990 to December 2012) and the Canada Palestine Support Network.