Statement from the Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council
We, North American Rabbis, watch with great concern as extensive violence is unleashed on Israel and Palestine once again.
We are mindful of our friends in the large, Palestinian community in the United States, Canada and beyond who are grief-stricken by the endless violence perpetrated against their people back home in Palestine.
In the last few weeks, there has been a spike in the extra-judicial killings of Palestinians by the Israeli military. Ten people were killed by Israeli forces in Jenin (West Bank) on Thursday alone.
On Friday night, in Jerusalem, seven Jews were murdered by a lone Palestinian. The community of Neve Yaakov, an illegal East Jerusalem settlement populated by many poor, Mizrahi Jews (Jews of Color) is grieving. We share the concerns of our fellow Jews in Israel. Nothing can justify Friday’s mass murder.
The Israeli military has shown no evidence or made any claims that the Palestinian killer received any support from anybody else. He appears to have been reacting to the senseless death of a friend, killed recently by Israeli forces. The backdrop of ever present Israeli violence in his life goes back to a time before he was born. His grandfather for whom he is named was murdered by an Israeli Jew, apparently by an associate of the hoodlum who is today Israel’s Minister for National Security, Itamar Ben-Gvir.
The Israeli authorities do not allege that anybody else knew of the killer’s plan or aided him in any way. Nevertheless, the Israeli security services arrested his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Alqam along with 40 other members of their extended family and evicted them from the family home. This is cruel, collective punishment. This is illegal under Israeli law and international law that Israel is a signatory to.
Still worse, these official acts of violence set the tone for the Israeli Jewish mob, as evidenced by the orgy of violence unleashed on Palestinians by settlers over the weekend. This is officially-sanctioned pogrom season in Palestine: shops and cars have been burned, houses invaded and civilians threatened by marauding Jewish settlers.
The State of Israel claims to speak for all Jews around the world as the Jewish State. Consequently, the actions of the Israeli armed forces are of particular concern to us, as Rabbis. There is nothing Jewish about these spiteful, unjust, violent actions. Their actions do not represent us in any way.
We call on the Israeli military and police to refrain from all illegal violence, to show restraint and to control the Jewish mob.
We call on the Israeli government to be lawful, peaceful and just.
JVP Rabbinical Council