A LETTER IN THE INTEREST OF PEACE

The Eternal has told you: O mortal, what is good; and what does the Eternal require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?  Micah 6:8
God who is peace, bless us with peace. Rabbi Nahman of Breslov (1773-1810)

Spring, 2016

Dear Christian Colleagues and Friends:

We, the undersigned rabbis and cantors serving the American Jewish community across the United States, reach out to express our hope for a partnership between our communities on behalf of peace and justice for Palestinians and Israelis. The Jewish community has never been monolithic and there is much on which those whose names appear below do not agree. Nonetheless, certain principles do unite us, and we have attempted to articulate those principles below.

Today we struggle with how to apply the values of justice and peace in our work to support reconciliation and coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians. We mourn the losses on both sides without equivocation. There is no other way to express our heartfelt sadness at the continuing loss of life. We condemn all voices that call for violence as a path to achieve political ends.

We are inspired by those who work together, day by day, to foster relationships and keep communication open. We embrace all those who are working to bring Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews together not only to create a shared vision of coexistence and peace, but also to build institutions upon which peace and coexistence depend. We are especially heartened by the ways in which environmental concerns unite the two communities.
Israel was founded as a Jewish state that promises, in the words of its founding document, to “ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex.” This principle balances the right of the Jewish people to a homeland with the rights of all others for whom the State of Israel is also their home. Especially in times of conflict, we believe Israel must reaffirm both of these commitments: to be both a Jewish and a democratic state.

We are saddened that there does not appear to be political momentum toward a renewal of negotiations. That makes it even more important that we unite to support those who are not waiting but are already engaged in peacemaking. We urge you to consider the work of grassroots groups of Israeli Jews and Palestinians that bring people together and nurture the spirit of peace and justice in the next generation.

We understand that divestment and other strategies designed to force Israel’s hand might appear to be legitimate, non-violent ways for Christians to make their voices heard. However, divestment only hurts efforts to foster economic cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians – something both parties and the international community know is essential for peace. Furthermore, whether intentional or not, a divestment resolution would provide support to the international BDS movement – a movement which claims to seek peace but leaves no room for a Jewish state of Israel alongside a future Palestinian state.

This only deepens the sense within Israel and large parts of world Jewry that Christians do not understand our deepest, existential concerns. If the goal is – as it should be - to encourage and empower Israelis and Palestinians to make courageous moves toward peace, divestment is counterproductive; it allows each side to retreat into its own sense of victimhood. Those Jews who advocate for divestment and similar strategies do not represent the broad consensus of the vast majority of American Jews.
We urge you to reject divestment. Choose instead to empower those on both sides who are committed to building a new reality.

Please join with us in support of both peace and justice for Palestinians and Israelis.
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1-25 of 22816 signatures
Number Date Name Location
22816 Mon May 23 16:28:38 EDT 2016 Norman Roman West Bloomfield, MI
22815 Mon May 02 16:32:34 EDT 2016 Stephanie Hausner New City, NY
22814 Mon May 02 16:29:25 EDT 2016 Haya Luftig NEw York, NY
22813 Sat Jan 16 15:36:35 EST 2016 Edith Klatt Bremerton, WA
22812 Sat Feb 21 14:13:18 EST 2015 Judith Brickman1 Walnut Creek, CA
22811 Sat Feb 21 12:13:26 EST 2015 Robert Dietrich Richmond, CA
22810 Sat Feb 21 11:51:23 EST 2015 Selma Soss Walnut Creek, CA
22809 Thu Jul 24 16:55:06 EDT 2014 Danielle Sanchez Miami, FL
22808 Sat May 17 18:18:40 EDT 2014 Lester Penn Manchester, NJ
22807 Mon May 12 14:14:03 EDT 2014 Haya Luftig NEw York, NY
22806 Mon May 12 14:13:27 EDT 2014 Haya Luftig NEw York, NY
22805 Mon May 12 12:21:33 EDT 2014 Haya Luftig NEw York, NY
22804 Mon Jan 06 21:45:22 EST 2014 joe mogel worcester, MA
22803 Thu Dec 26 09:04:14 EST 2013 Samuel Shanes Highland Park, IL
22802 Thu Sep 12 15:38:16 EDT 2013 Susan Lazaroff Milford, PA
22801 Mon Feb 04 13:51:52 EST 2013 joshua Heffron NYC, NY
22800 Sat Feb 02 22:50:51 EST 2013 jenny Gefen mississauga, OH
22799 Wed Jan 09 11:27:58 EST 2013 Roy Edenson Richardson, TX
22798 Wed Jan 09 11:02:59 EST 2013 Roy Edenson Richardson, TX
22797 Sun Dec 23 22:58:03 EST 2012 forest emerson clarston, WA
22796 Wed Nov 28 10:09:38 EST 2012 Kyrios Cj Ohafia, MO
22795 Wed Nov 21 18:49:16 EST 2012 edith wattenmaker pittsburgh, PA
22794 Fri Nov 09 11:45:14 EST 2012 kaye pine melville, NY
22793 Tue Nov 06 09:53:17 EST 2012 Rochelle Rosenberg Virginia beach, VA
22792 Wed Oct 24 22:52:51 EDT 2012 Lee-Anne Wachtel Toronto, ON
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