January 23, 2009
“AMERICAN JEWS OPPOSE ISRAELI POLICY IN GAZA”
01.21.2009 | RichardSilverstein.com
“We Shall Not Be a Party to Their Counsel!”
As human beings, we are shocked and appalled at the mass destruction unleashed by the State of Israel against the people of Gaza in its current military operation, following years of Israeli occupation, siege, and deprivation.
As Americans, we protest the carte blanche given Israel by the US government to pursue a war of “national honor,” “restoring deterrence,” “destroying Hamas,” and “searing Israel’s military might into the consciousness of the Gazans.”
As progressives, we reject the same justifications for the carnage that we heard ad nauseam from the supporters of the Second Iraq War: the so-called “war on terror,” the “clash of civilizations,” the “need to re-establish deterrence” – all of which served to justify a misguided and unnecessary war, with disastrous consequences for America and Iraq.
But as Jews of different religious persuasions, from Orthodox to secular atheist, we are especially horrified that a state that purports to speak in our name wages a military campaign that has killed over 1,000 people, a large percentage of them civilians, children, and non-combatants, with little or no consideration for human rights or the laws of war.
While the moral and legal issue concerning Israel’s right to respond militarily in these circumstance can be debated, there is near-universal agreement that its conduct of the military operation has been unjust and even criminal – with only the usual apologists for the Jewish state disagreeing.
As Jews, we stand united with another Israel, the patriarch Jacob, who cursed his sons Simeon and Levi for massacring the people of Shechem in revenge for the rape of their sister Dinah. Like Jacob, “we shall not be a party to the counsel of zealots. We shall not be counted in their assembly. (See Genesis 34. 49: 5-7).
As Jews, we stand united with the Jewish sages who rejected the zealotry of the Jewish “terrorists” at Masada, those who masked ethnic tribalism in the cloak of “self-defense” and “national honor.”
As Jews, we listen not only when the sage Hillel says, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?” but also when he says, “If I am only for myself, what am I?” Hillel’s closing words also ring true in this hour of decision when a full cessation of conflict is demanded of both sides: “If not now, when?”
Finally, as American Jewish progressives, and as human beings, we condemn Hamas and Israel for violating the human rights of civilians on both sides, although we do not necessarily declare these violations to be morally or legally equivalent. We affirm the rights of both Israeli and the Palestinian peoples to self-determination and self-defense, as we affirm the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Rabbi Leonard Beerman
Rabbi Brant Rosen
Rabbi Rebecca Lillian
Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak
Tony Judt, NYU
Brian Leiter, Wilson Professor of Law, Univ. of Chicago
Irena Klepfisz, Barnard College
Adam Rubin, PhD, HUC-JIR (Los Angeles)
Mark Le Vine, UC Irvine
Daniel Garber, Princeton, Philosophy dept. chair
Ned Block, Silver Professor, NYU
Gideon Rosen, Princeton
Matthew Noah Smith, Yale
Aryeh Cohen, PhD, American Jewish University
Ilya Kliger, New York University
Murray Polner, former editor, Present Tense
Jerome Slater, SUNY Buffalo
Joanne Yaron, World Meretz
Chana Bloch, UC Berkeley
Marilyn Hacker, CCNY
Rita Karuna Cahn, UC San Francisco
Nance Goldstein, University of Southern Maine
Gordon Fellman, Brandeis Univ.
Harry Mairson, Brandeis University
David L. Green, University of Illinois
Stephanie Sieburth, Duke
Priscilla Wald, Duke
E. James Lieberman, M.D., George Washington University School of Medicine
Norbert Hornstein, University of Maryland
David Auerbach, Univ. of N. Carolina, Raleigh
Joseph Levine, Univ. of Mass., Amherst
Shari Stone-Mediatori, Ohio Wesleyan Univ.
Ido Roll, Carnegie Mellon Univ.
Philip Wadler, University of Edinburgh
Assaf Oron, Univ. of Wash.
Clare Solomon, Washington Univ.
Judith Norman, Trinity Univ.
Steven Bell, Berry College
Charles Manekin, Univ. of Maryland
Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam
Dan Fleshler, Realistic Dove
Dan Sieradski, Orthodox Anarchist
Bram Hubbell, Friends Seminary
Ilana Abramovitch, Ph.D.
Delmas and Sally Allen
Sonia M. Baku
Nicolas M. Benacerraf
Judith Berlowitz, Ph.D
Murray & Marcia Bernstein
David Eugene Blank
Alan L. Blitz
Sallye Steiner Bowyer
Liza DiPrima Cibula
G Sherman Cole
Ann Colleen Dunham
Carole Edelsky, PhD
Steven R. Edelstein
Dr. Amy Eisenberg, Center for World Indigenous Studies
David M. Ellis Ph.D
Anita E. Feldman
Dr. Chris Fox
Stephen Saperstein Frug
Sherrl Grosse Yanowitz Rogall
Tony and Hillary Hamburger
Lawrence R. Hamilton
Dr. Annette Herskovits
Hanna J. Hoffman, PhD
Barbara S. Kane, PhD, LCSW
Rebecca S. Krantz, PhD
Sheldon H. Laskin
Oded Adomi Leshem
John F. Levin
Marsha C. Manekin
Yitzhak Y Melamed
Sarah Anne Minkin
Leonard Bruce Novick
Dr. Stephen Oren
Dr. Betty Potash
Linda Siegel Sang
Karl Schaffer, PhD
Dr Peter Sheridan
Brian S Sherman
Louisa Rachel Solomon
Nicole Witte Solomon
Dr. Wendy Elisheva Somerson
Amir & Roni Terkel
Janis G. White
Rachel Farrell Wofsy
Bruce Wolman, MD
Michael J. Zigmond