Teshuvah: Turning toward justice and peace for Palestine and Israel

Teshuvah copyWe are a group of Jewish-Americans and Israelis who call Minnesota home. We are committed to peace, social justice and human rights.  In the face of Israeli military operations in Gaza we cannot remain silent. We call on our Jewish brothers and sisters to join with us in condemning the massacre of Palestinian people in Gaza. Life is sacred.  As Jewish people, we are obligated and accountable for the well-being of all.
We share a profound sense of outrage, grief and shame in the wake of Israel’s wanton brutality and violence perpetrated against the Palestinian people living in Gaza.  As Jews we feel the necessity of stating unequivocally to leaders of established Jewish organizations, “Enough—no longer in our name!”  And as Americans, we implore our elected officials to end their one-sided support for Israel and address the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people.
“We must make commitments to “sacred disagreements” as widespread as we have made a commitment to social justice.”    –Rabbi Melissa Weintraub
The rockets launched by Hamas into Israel and the hugely disproportionate Israeli attacks that killed, injured and traumatized civilians and children in Gaza are not the source, but a symptom of a larger problem:  the ongoing occupation of Palestinian land; the proliferation of Jewish settlements on occupied land, in violation of international law; the disenfranchisement and heavy-handed policing of a subjugated population; and a routine of daily violence and oppression against the Palestinian people.  Ultimately, the brutality of life under occupation, and the racism and colonialism practiced by the state of Israel are at the root of the ongoing conflict.
“To grieve for both sides requires imagination and empathy.  It demands that we imagine ourselves as Israeli families in bomb shelters and as Palestinian families with nowhere to hide.  We who are thousands of miles away and care deeply about Israel have a critical role to play.
“We are witnesses to the terrifying consequences of war.”         –Rabbi Margie Klein
The West Bank and Gaza Strip have been under occupation for 47 years, and under siege for the past seven.  Gaza is often considered the largest “open air” prison in the world, with nearly 1.8 million human beings confined to a space of approximately 139 square miles.  Gaza residents are subjected to severe constraints in their freedom of movement, are largely unable to seek work outside the borders of the territory, and are held back from building an economy because of an Israeli-imposed blockade that restricts the delivery of resources and materials.  Contrary to Israel’s claim of engaging in a war of self-defense, we believe that the latest military assault on Gaza is part of a long-standing Israeli policy of  “mowing the grass”—that is, on a regular basis, violently beating back the resistance of an occupied population.
“Shalom is lifted up as the central value of Torah, as it is written, “The entire Torah is for the sake of shalom.  Shalom is both the way and the goal of keeping faith with the demands of Torah.  Shalom means harmony, well-being, completion and peace. Shalom is multi-vocal and arises in an environment that celebrates a multitude of voices in the fabric of community.  Jewish tradition gives preference to the voices of those who struggle against oppression … and demand a careful examination of our individual place within the status quo.  Perhaps we have to adjust our self-perception and question the stories we have been telling ourselves?” –Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb
We strongly object to the vitriolic hatred and blind nationalism on display in our Jewish communities in Israel and the diaspora, perpetuated by a complicit media and a silenced Jewish leadership.  As American Jews, we must protest the complicity of the U.S. government in supporting Israel’s policies of occupation and aggression by appropriating more than $2 billion of our tax dollars annually toward this project.  The politicians from both parties who march in lock-step with AIPAC must understand that there are large swaths of the Jewish population who vigorously disagree with both Israeli and U.S. policy regarding the Israel-Palestine question.
“Not by might, not by strength, but by spirit alone” (Zechariah 4:6).  “… we are holding us up to our own values, our own standards of justice and holiness” (Martin Luther King Jr).  “The Land is mine; you are but strangers resident with me” (God talking, Leviticus 25:23).
We stand in solidarity with the Israeli and Palestinian people and allies around the world who call for the immediate lifting of the blockade of Gaza, the dismantling of settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the end of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, a return to the borders that existed prior to the 1967 war, the establishment of a sovereign, fully independent Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem, and the withholding of military aid to Israel until a politically just solution to the crisis—for both Palestinians and Israelis—is implemented.

Lo yisa goy el goy cherev lo yilmedu od milchamah.
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, nor ever again shall they train for war. (Isaiah 2:4)

Jordan Ash
Andy Berman
Barry Cohen
Barbara Greenwald Davis
Arthur Dorman
Melissa Favero
Sharon Jaffee
Marisa Katz
Alan Malkis
Benjamin Mchie
Esther Ouray
Ilana Rossoff
Howard Schneider
Art Serotoff
Joel Weisberg

One Comment:

  1. Bravo! I salute your honesty, Humanity & sense of justice. Bravo & keep up the good work!

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