American Rabbis to Obama: Hold Netanyahu Accountable!


The following letter was just released by Jewish Voice for Peace and will soon be delivered to the White House:

Dear President Obama,

We are writing this letter to you as American rabbis, cantors and rabbinical students, serving a wide range of Jewish communities.   We were dismayed to learn that, immediately following the recognition by the United Nations of observer status for Palestine, the government of Israel issued permits to begin development of two large tracts of settlement housing in highly contested areas in  East Jerusalem (E-1) and the West Bank (Maaleh Adumim.)

As you well know, these expansion permits are damaging not only to prospects for Palestinian self-determination but also for peace in the region.  We urge you in the strongest terms to use your full authority to oppose these expansions, which are illegal under international law and which also make impossible any hope of creating a viable Palestinian state in the West Bank.

We represent a growing voice within American Jewry which seeks an end to Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and its stranglehold by blockade of the people of Gaza.  We believe that the aggressive expansion of settlements in the Occupied territories constitutes a deliberate strategy to obstruct a peaceful resolution to the conflict between Israel and Palestine.  We believe further that the United States, as the primary global source of financial and political support for the  Israeli government, has an obligation to hold the Netanyahu government accountable for these actions, which thwart the possibility of peaceful resolution of the conflict.

It is no longer the case — if it ever was — that the Jewish community in the United States  is unified in its support of the policies of successive Israeli governments, which have sought to create “facts on the ground” that obstruct the hopes of independence and sustainability for the Palestinian people.  Absent active intervention by the United States and other nations, Israel will surely continue to implement these destructive policies.

As leaders of the American Jewish community, we join you in hope for a just peace for all the peoples of the region.  Please know that you have our strong support for demanding that the government of Israel reverse for this latest action and for all that you can do to lead the way to a fair and sustainable resolution.

Yours sincerely,

Rabbi Margaret Holub

Rabbi Brant Rosen

Rabbi Brian Walt

Rabbi Lynn Gottleib

Rabbi Joseph Berman

Rabbi Laurie Zimmerman

Rabbi Elizabeth Bolton

Rabbi Julie Greenberg

Rabbi Borukh Goldberg

Rabbi Eyal Levinson

Rabbi David Mivasair

Rabbi Rebecca Lillian

Rabbi Rachel Barenblat

Alana Alpert

Cantor Michael Davis

Rabbi Michael E. Feinberg

Rain Zohav

Rabbi Zev-Hayyim Feyer

Jessica Rosenberg

Ken Rosenstein

Rabbi Shai Gluskin

Rabbi Rebecca Alpert

Ari Lev Fornari

Rabbi Art Donsky

Rabbi Jeremy Milgrom

Rabbi Linda Holtzman

Rabbi Leonard Beerman

Rabbi Alexis Pearce

Rabbi Sarra Lev

David Basior

9 thoughts on “American Rabbis to Obama: Hold Netanyahu Accountable!

  1. Dave Boxthorn

    1/ Very confusing. JStreet and other groups did their own letter (which some on the JVP list signed and which others didn’t-why?) but apparently JVP didn’t want to join (or is there some other reason? Couldn’t? Wouldn’t?). Was there something in that letter that you/JVP didn’t agree with? If JVP didn’t agree with it why did so many JVP rabbis sign it?

    2/ Ma’aleh Adunim has been in existence since the 1970’s so the phrase ‘begin development ‘ is a little out of date.

    3/ It is highly unlikely that either Jeremy Milgrom, Rebecca Lillian or David Mivasair is a ‘leader of the American Jewish community’ as the first lives in Jerusalem (or Al-Quds for those here who wish) the second in Stockholm, and the latter in Vancouver BC. Other ‘leaders’ haven’t finished school yet.

    1. Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta

      I don’t know anything about the JVP issue and agree about Ma’aleh Adumim, which continues to spread over land inhabited by members of the Jahalin bedouin tribe since before the occupation began – but as far as I know both Jeremy Milgrom and David Mivasair retain US citizenship and visit there frequently to carry out rabbinical tasks. I’m glad to hear Jeremy is back in Jerusalem. Thanks for that update. Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta (

  2. Neal Chambers

    I don’t think Netanyahu, George W. Bush, the Bilderbergers or the Military Industrial Complex want peace. They want war and will use Israel to get it.

    Neal C. Chambers

  3. Ron Edwards

    1/ Take it up with JVP.

    2/ “Begin development” makes perfect sense in context. No meat for you there.

    3/ Take it up with JVP.

    Is there some reason you’re posting here? Oh wait! There is.

    1. Dave Boxthorn

      Er, Rabbi Brant Rosen is the head of the JVP’s ‘rabbinical council’ and since there is no comment section on JVP’s website I commented here.

      1. Ron Edwards

        Dave, that is fair! I get protective …

        Rabbi Rosen will speak for himself, if he wants to reply. For my part, I think that the reader can spot a long list of co-signers some degree of individual deviation.

        Best, Ron

  4. reynaldo753

    Although American conservatives will probably kill it, the confirmation of Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense would be the strongest signal for a long time that someone in power understands the injustice of the occupation and will actually be in a position to exercise American power against it.

  5. Pingback: Time for Visions Beyond the Two State Solution « Shalom Rav

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