B’tselem Endorses Ta’anit Tzedek

bstelemI’m thrilled to report that the Israeli human rights organization B’tselem has officially endorsed Ta’anit Tzedek.  B’tselem has long been high up on my list of organizations that do right by the Jewish people and we’re incredibly honored to receive their support.

Amidst the intense Jewish community vilification of Goldstone and his report, it’s extremely important to note that B’stelem and other Israeli human rights organizations reached many similar conclusions in their Gaza investigations as well. Witness this excerpt from a September 9 press release on B’stelem’s findings – which were released almost a month before the Goldstone report:

According to B’Tselem’s research, Israeli security forces killed 1,387 Palestinians during the course of the three-week operation. Of these, 773 did not take part in the hostilities, including 320 minors and 109 women over the age of 18. Of those killed, 330 took part in the hostilities, and 248 were Palestinian police officers, most of whom were killed in aerial bombings of police stations on the first day of the operation. For 36 people, B’Tselem could not determine whether they participated in the hostilities or not…

Behind the dry statistics lie shocking individual stories. Whole families were killed; parents saw their children shot before their very eyes; relatives watched their loved ones bleed to death; and entire neighborhoods were obliterated.

The extremely heavy civilian casualties and the massive damage to civilian property require serious introspection on the part of Israeli society. B’Tselem recognizes the complexity of combat in a densely populated area against armed groups that do not hesitate to use illegal means and find refuge within the civilian population. However, illegal and immoral actions by these organizations cannot legitimize such extensive harm to civilians by a state committed to the rule of law.

The moral courage of the Israeli human rights community is something of which all Jews can justifably be proud. But I also see little point in this pride unless we are ready to confront the painful truths they bring to our door. B’stelem is among the true modern day prophets of Israel. It is time we heeded their call.

(I’m currently at the J Street conference in Washington DC. There’s much to report – I’ll be sending out some thoughts about my experiences here soon. Please stay tuned…)

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