Israelis Protest Attack on Gaza

I’ve decided I’m not going to attend the Federation’s “Solidarity with Israel” rally tomorrow in downtown Chicago. Instead I’m going show my solidarity with Israel’s soul by watching this video over and over and over and over again…

11 thoughts on “Israelis Protest Attack on Gaza

  1. Larry

    Far easier to sit home on a high horse.

    Those children in Sderot deserve our support. Israel’s actions are rational. Rabbi Rosen, you have called for more emotion and less rationality. Where is your emotion for the terrified children of Sderot who have lived every moment for years wondering which bomb shelter or which doorway they will rush to if the warning siren sounds while they take their next breath?

    Sitting at home helps neither the children of Israel (about 20% of whom are Palestinian) nor the children of Gaza (not one of whom is Jewish unless you count Gilad Shalit.) How many years should we keep assuring them that non-violence and vulnerability will eventually persuade Hamas to stop trying to kill them?

    Yes, theoretically, force solves nothing, there’s always a talking cure and everyone wants the same thing we want. But, however much we wish it were not so, force works. Israelis have tried everything else that they have been told would work. History shows that in such a case, force and only force works. And talking is nice. But listening is even more important. Listen to what Hamas says. See how they have reacted to all the concessions and attempts at peace that Israel has made. Hamas does not want the same things Israelis want.

    Year after year Rabbi Rosen and his ideological compatriots tell us that Palestinians are only reacting to Israelis, as if they have no aspirations of their own, no values of their own and no ability to assert their own will aside from reacting to Israelis. Aside from being a fairly narcissitic and borderline racist view, it is also factually wrong.

    Hamas (and Arafat and Abbas before them) tell us with their plain words and deeds what want and what they believe in their souls: Muslim states are good. Arab states are good. Any Jewish state is immoral. And they do not want peace in the Levant until a Palestinian state occupies all of the land from the Jordan to the sea; depending upon the state’s ruler, a few Jews might be allowed to live in it in a state of dhimmitude. Not because of anything any Jews have done or not done. But just because that’s how Hamas’ rulers read the Koran.

    Stay home if you will, Rabbi Rosen, and keep the tarnish from your gleaming sense of morality. Thousands of other Jews and non-Jews will rally Friday to support Israeli and Palestinian children and the real peace that they deserve.

  2. Eric Selinger

    I strongly disagree with both of you, Lisa and Larry.

    This rally will not support Palestinian children, or the children of Sderot. It will support this war in Gaza. That is its purpose, whatever the motives of those who attend. And it does sound like both of you approve of this war, so there’s no great difficulty there.

    I, for one, would have been ashamed of Brant for going, or for “standing with Israel” when his moral judgment says that Israel is doing something very, very wrong. (So does the moral judgment of a large number of Israelis, as the video shows.)

    Had more American rabbis been this brave for the last 60 years, things would look very different over there now–and, I believe, much better for everyone concerned.

    For those who prefer their rabbis with a comfortably tarnished sense of morality, there are plenty to choose from. I thank God, on a regular basis, that I have one of the other ones.

    There are more of us than you know, Brant–and we’re with you.

  3. Rabbi Brant Rosen Post author

    Lisa and Larry,

    I know that my words on this post were glib and I apologize for that. I know that this is situation calls for more thoughtful discussion. However, I can’t apologize for deciding not to attend the rally, which was a decision I made in good faith.

    I simply don’t agree with the “official” Jewish community position that Israel’s actions are justified acts of self-defense, and I reject the notion that attending Federation rallies should be a litmus test for one’s loyalty to Israel or the Jewish people. There are many ways to support Israel and Israelis at this terrible time. (There are also many reasons to be proud of Israel and Israelis, and for me, the words and images on this video are a prime example). Personally, I think the most meaningful way we can support chidren in Sderot is not by standing with a sign in Daley Plaza, but by contributing to the ongoing relief efforts currently being organized (which I have urged my congregation to do.)

    Is my response an emotional one? I don’t know, I think this is an emotional issue for us all. And I do beleive that Israel’s overwhelming military response to Hamas’ threat smacks of emotionality in a very real way. If we’re going to be “rational” as Larry suggests, I submit that we must redouble our efforts, as difficult as it is, to find another way out of this tragic, tragic crisis,

  4. ls

    Brant –

    I regret that I cannot participate in a community gathering and discussion, so make a brief comment here. Without speaking to the terrible circumstances for Palestinians in Gaza, or the complexity of the origins of those circumstances (far beyond Israel), or …

    I know, respect, and honor many Israelis who want so deeply to live in peace, who have observed the efforts Israel has made to bring about peace being met with violence, who are anguished over the the destruction and death in Gaza, who experience the ongoing circumstances under which they live as a threat to survival, and who – in desperation – regard this as the least awful of the few, terrible choices available to them.

    It seems clear that Israel must have more possibilities from which to choose; including a cease fire commitment binding on Gaza as well as themselves. How to facilitate the involvement of an outside party(ies) who can exercise moral authority to achieve that…

  5. a

    Rabbi Rosen,

    I know your website has a disclaimer, but I want to again remind readers that you are representing your own views and not those of any other group.

    For a list of resources on the conflict, readers might refer to the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation’s website. Here’s, what they provide as “Resources in Response to Events in the Middle East.”

    From that list, readers might also move on to the Jewish Council for Public Affairs . The JRF describes the organization this way: “JRF is a national member of the JCPA, whose mission is to serve as the representative voice of the organized American Jewish community in addressing the principal mandate of the Jewish community relations field…”

    I might also point out the power point presentation recommended on the JRF’s site.

    Spoiler alert:
    The last slide reads: “Israel wants peace, but has been placed in an incredibly difficult situation.”

    Finally, look in the Reconstructionist movement’s Siddur for the prayer for Israel. There’s a link to that as well.

    Shabbat shalom.

  6. Lesley W.

    Is the choice really between “rational” (good) and “emotional”(bad)? I would hope that all of us, and our leaders, act in response to our emotions, at least in part. The questions is, which emotions will dominate? Will fear, anger, and guilt rule us, or will compassion?

  7. debbie schlossberg

    we struggle with the same dilemma-here in the ny area there are multiple rallies of different colours-so hard to fine one where i am comfortable. the option i am choosing is to attend the mainstream rallies while carrying clearly pro-peace signs. feels better for me to make statement to those that matter to me than staying home…………….

  8. Jesse Bacon

    I would love to see the “historical” evidence that bombing armed movements leads them to become any less popular or violent. My reading is that is just its the opposite. So far, the only mechanism shown to reduce the specific rocket fire from Gaza (hardly the root cause of this issue) is the recent, now-ended cease fire achieved by negotiation.

  9. Kathleen

    Thanks for sharing this video, and for being willing to take this difficult issue on in your blog.

    Being willing to speak up for peace can be excruciating in the face of violent conflict, but that is also the time that it is most useful.


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