Posted by on November 21, 2012 in Blog

Some right-wing Jewish organizations in the U.S. continue to pretend that, in defending all of Israel’s policies (no matter how misguided), they are somehow speaking for the entire American Jewish community. That narrative has been seriously undermined over the past decade, with the emergence of large Jewish groups in the United States and leading figures from within the Jewish community who oppose Israel’s occupation of Palestine and violations of Palestinian rights. And public reaction to this latest Israeli assault on Gaza may very well have conclusively shattered this myth.

A few days ago, in addition to demanding an end to Hamas rocket fire into Israel, Jewish Voice for Peace called for an “immediate cessation of the air strikes and naval bombardment into Gaza and an end to the ongoing siege of Gaza.” It further urged “Israel not to exploit its asymmetric power to exacerbate the instability in the region,” and called on the Obama administration to “insist that Israel pursue all diplomatic measures possible for the sake of life, safety and security on all sides.”

Americans for Peace Now (APN) released a statement on Wednesday, November 20th that rightly recognized the futility of armed violence between Israel and Hamas. While expressing “solidarity with Israelis who today are under fire,” the statement also condemned disproportionate uses of military force by the Israeli government that “constitute collective punishment” for the people of Gaza. APN correctly stated that Israeli military offensives on Gaza that result in civilian deaths and destroyed infrastructure lend legitimacy to extremist Palestinian factions.

Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun Magazine, spoke out against the conflict in Gaza. In his piece Israel and Gaza: Enough is Enough, he suggests a three-step solution to ending the conflict, in which the international community impose an immediate cease-fire, hold an international conference to create an economically and politically viable Palestine that can peacefully exist alongside Israel, and then begin a truth and reconciliation process.

Peter Beinart, a leading pro-Israel voice, ran a piece in the Daily Beast with the subtitle “Bombing Hamas won’t stop the violence: Why Washington and Jerusalem desperately need a new strategy.” And MJ Rosenberg, a leading commentator who once worked for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), said this:

This war is an abomination. Because both sides are wrong, and both sides are right and, above all, because all children have the right to live without fear.  It must stop. The Obama administration needs to stop having its actions dictated by AIPAC and the donors it directs to the Democratic party.  A second term president has no justification for such timidity (nor, in fact, does a first term president).

Such statements are clear evidence that the Arab American community and Jewish American community can come together to work on achieving a just and lasting peace for all Israelis and Palestinians.

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