I think that for many it comes down to standing with Israel or being anti semetic. If you think about it, how different is that from a message board terms of service?
I stand with Israel because the Land of Israel is the Jewish national homeland; the history, faith, religion, culture and identity of the Jewish people have been, are and forevermore will be tied to this land which bears its name, from its ancient name of Judea to its modern name of Israel.
I stand with Israel because the Jewish people was born as the People of Israel in the Land of Israel, a land and a people inextricably and eternally united.
I stand with Israel because the re-establishment of Israel as a modern Jewish state in the homeland of the Jewish peoples ancestors is a modern miracle.
As former Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler said: The Jewish people is the only people that still inhabits the same land, embraces the same religion, studies the same Torah, hearkens to the same prophets, speaks the same aboriginal language Hebrew and bears the same aboriginal name, Israel, as it did 3,500 years ago.
I stand with Israel because Shivat Tzion, the return to Zion one of the names for Jerusalem with the re-establishment of Israel as a modern state, is the fulfillment of the millennia-long aspiration of the Jewish people for the right to self-determination in their ancestral homeland.
I stand with Israel because the Land of Israel is the celebrated homeland of the Jewish people to which it has religious rights, historical rights and legal rights.
The rights of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel were codified in international law at the San Remo Conference of 1920 and remain in effect to this day.
At this conference to decide the future of the former territories of the Ottoman Empire, a binding international agreement was reached to reconstitute the ancient Jewish State within its historic borders. The desire to restore the Jewish people to its native land was then ratified by a unanimous vote of The League of Nations, thereby correcting the historical injustice of forced exile. As the British, tasked with re-settling the Jewish people within its ancestral homeland, declared, the Jewish people are in this land as of right and not on sufferance.
I stand with Israel because with the horrific persecution and slaughter of Christians throughout the Middle East, Israel is a safe haven. As the Vicar of St. Georges Church in Baghdad Canon Andrew White says of Israel, it is the only place in the Middle East [where] Christians are really safe. As Father Gabriel Naddaf, head of the Greek Orthodox Church in Yafia, near Nazareth, says of Israel, In no Arab country do Christians have as good a life as they have in the State of Israel.
Much of the harm that is being perpetrated against the State of Israel and the Jewish people today is predicated on carefully crafted lies designed to denigrate the Jewish state and convey a picture of Israel that is at odds with reality. To so many who suffer at the hands of the true oppressors in the region, Israel stands as a symbol and a place of freedom, a society to emulate.
I stand with Israel, recognizing the extraordinary humanity and decency of the Israel Defense Forces. As Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, testified at the United Nations: The Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.
I stand with Israel because Israel has built a thriving country that protects the rights of its citizens, protects freedom of religion and ensures that all religions have access to their religious sites something that was not allowed when Israel was not governing Jerusalem. Israel protects a free press, minority rights and womens rights in a part of the world where such rights and protections are alien. Minorities participate in all areas of civic life. As Israels first Beduin diplomat, Ishmael Khaldi, declares, I am a proud Israeli along with many other non-Jewish Israelis who live in one of the most culturally diversified societies and the only true democracy in the Middle East... By any yardstick you choose educational opportunity, economic development, women and gays rights, freedom of speech and assembly, legislative representation Israels minorities fare far better than any other country in the Middle East.
I stand with Israel because the core value of Tikkun Olam repairing the world guides its every step. MASHAV, Israels Agency for International Development Cooperation, has trained close to 270,000 course participants from approximately 132 countries in the hope of sharing with developing countries Israels innovations and technology in beneficial ways.
In addition, Israel is consistently a first responder in times of crisis the world over. In 2010, Israel was among the first nations to send relief and rescue units to Haiti after the earthquake.
If you read those statements with Trump or W Bush, it would be appalling.
I believe in a strong Israel, but not in a leader who illegally displaces people from their land and says screw the rest of the world. Netanyahu is evil.
My synagogues commitment to standing up for Justice with our Muslim and Christian sisters and brothers, also deep and constant in our communal life, trumps our recognition that, for some of our fellow faith-travelers, Jews are damned or less-than. Yes, there is more that connects us than that which divides us, but these truths must be acknowledged if we are to actually know each other. (My personal philosophy on these questions has been: We have enough to worry about in this world. I dont mind if theyre wrong about the next one.) We march, though we arent the same.
But when the topic of Israel comes up, it gets more complicated. Do we march for Israel, even when we disagree?
This isnt a piece designed to point to the terror of Hamas assault on Israeli civilians. This piece isnt focused on the 160 children that died building the Hamas terror tunnels. Nor am I, at the moment, spending appropriate time speaking about the 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza, 1,000+ of whom I and many in my synagogue said Kaddish this last Shabbat, as they have died because Hamas intentionally placed them in mortal danger. This isnt a piece that attempts to process the mega-terrorist attack scheduled for the coming Rosh haShannah, wherein thousands of Hamas terrorists from Gaza were to emerge from tunnels burrowed into Israel proper and slaughter innocents. This isnt even a piece struggling with the statement of my opponent in an NPR segment last week that the missiles will end when the 1948 occupation ends.
This short essay is a call for action to the Jewish People.
I spoke to my community this last Shabbat, sharing with them that though we cry out in pain and grief, though we are assaulted physically and verbally in Belfast, Queens, Paris, Antwerp, Boston, Turkey, and Los Angeles (it seems the list grows every hour), despite my personal sense of betrayal by the draft ceasefire proposed by Secretary Kerry, despite my outrage at CNN for equating self-defense with unrepentant terrorism, despite all this, we are commanded to hope. We do not despair.
The worst sin a Jew can do is lose hope. It is engraved in our hearts as surely as the Shema: Od Lo Avda Tikvateinu/We still have not lost hope. What an irrational national anthem we have! What people would codify how, despite it all, despite a world that has never been kind to the Jews, we havent YET lost hope?! The answer is: This people. My People. Me.
We march, even when we disagree. Even though were not all the same. Jews are black, brown, French, American, Algerian, Dutch, Yemenite, Sephardi, Ashkenazi, Likudniks, Meretzniks, Yesh Atidniks, Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Anarchists, Conservative, Haredi, Reform, Reconstructionist, and Conservative, in-married, inter-married, queer, not-queer, etc... (I know. I left you out, whoever you are. Youre showing youre Jewishness by airing your legitimate outrage.)
I hope you noticed that, in that list, I didnt use the word Israeli. It has become easier, in many Jewish communities, to affirm the dignity of difference in the list I composed. We nod in affirmation to each of the labels I shared above. Do you hesitate a bit more when I include Israeli? I beg of you to reflect on this question.
Must we be the same in order to affirm worthiness, to stand as family, to see Gods Face in another persons? In another Jews?
Just this morning, someone commented one of too many Facebook posts that, my writing in defense of Israel makes me a shameful human for perpetuating this kind of disgusting justification of violence... [placing me] neatly into the category of unquestioning and righteous when it comes to Israel. Really? There are portions of every tradition that has had to grapple with power (every one of them) that addresses the ethics within war, where violence is terrible always and moral sometimes. The rightward turn which I see happening in Israeli politics is of major Jewish concern, one which deeply influences our use of power, the necessity of which has become painfully obvious, even to those of us who are reluctant to wield it. I affirm, as part of this important recognition, that this political question is also not the same as the IDFs necessary response to Hamas terror.
To my growing number of critics, I ask: Do you believe my saying Kaddish for dead Gazans is only cover for my Zionism? Or can you imagine that my Zionism demands my grief for my children and for yours, even those who wish to hurt me? Do you believe that Israels democracy is absent of Jewish and non-Jewish citizens voices that agonize over the carnage being fomented and caused by Israels impossible moral situation, responding somehow to Hamas intentional sacrifice of Palestinian civilians as part of its violent strategy?
To my Progressive American Jewish colleagues and friends, I beg from my anguished soul: Please try to see an essential humanity in the eyes of our Israeli sisters and brothers, and march with me as we stand with them. The whole world is writhing. Our family needs us.
Ive been overwhelmed to see some of what Ive shared from my heart connected with so many others. I know that we are praying for all our children, all their children, knowing we will do what we must, and praying it is enough, though the unfolding of our current moment makes hope seem irrational. Jews have never seen reality as sufficient for giving up hope in the past, and we do not grant it that right today. We still havent lost our hope.
It is time to stand as a family.
Yeah, well friends don't commit such egregious human rights violations that it stirs the Security Council out of its customary torpor, Mr. Netanyahu. Besides, didn't the president elect's bestest buddy vote to condemn Israel, too?