Today was the second monthly fast day for Ta’anit Tzedek – Jewish Fast for Gaza. To mark the occasion, a series of public vigils were held around the country (including one at the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia) and as far away as Glasgow, Scotland. Here in the Chicago area, it was my honor to lead a vigil at the Evanston lakefront with my good friend and colleague, Rabbi Rebecca Lillian. Here we are with some of the participants, below:
Our campaign continues to grow. As of this writing we currently have 627 supporters, including 71 rabbis. I encourage you to join us, if you haven’t already – just click on the link above to become a supporter. We are continuously uploading important articles and resources, so be sure to check in regularly.
Speaking of important resources on the Gaza crisis, I commend to you the new report from Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement entitled “Red Lines Crossed: Destruction of Gaza’s Infrastructure.” See below for the full report. Click above to watch “Lift the Closure – Give Life a Chance” – a new online film recently released by eight Israeli human rights organizations to mark the two years of closure that Israel has imposed on the Gaza Strip.
I also found the Gisha report helpful in understanding the devastating effects of the blockade. Despite the fact that there are so many reports like this on the situation in Gaza, I have found that very few Americans, even progressive Americans, have any idea of the suffering caused by the blockade. The Israeli government has so successfully promoted the idea that it has withdrawn from Gaza without pointing out that it controls everything and everyone that enters or leaves Gaza. Gaza is now an “open air prison” of 1.5 million people, the majority of whom have no way to make a living. It is in effect occupied territory except that the occupier, the power that controls the territory, claims to have voluntarily withdrawn.
The people of Gaza are being forced into a state of dependency. Dr. Sara Roy estimates that as many as 80% of the people in Gaza are dependent on foreign assistance. The blockade forces even more people into dependency as they have no way of earning a living. Moreover, those whose houses or businesses were destroyed in the Gaza assault are unable to rebuild. It is shocking that most Americans never receive accurate information about this or perhaps more accurately, choose not to know. Fast for Gaza and other groups working on Gaza have a huge task of countering the misinformation and silence of the Israeli Government, our government and media on the reality in Gaza.