Sunday, May 16, 2010

U.S. Jewish Leaders Launch Online Petition To End Israeli Settlement Building

Recently thousands of European Jewish intellectuals signed an online petition, "Call for Reason," calling for the end to Israeli construction in West Bank settlements and East Jerusalem.

Now Jewish American leaders, including rabbis, judges, writers, academics and philanthropists, have launched an online petition, "For the Sake of Zion," also calling for the end of construction in the two areas and the implementation of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The petition refers to the European letter:

Encouraged by the recent European “Call For Reason,” signed by more than 5,200 Jewish citizens of European countries, we, American Jews passionately devoted to the safety and welfare of the State of Israel, now add our voices to those of our European kinsfolk. They recognize, as do we, that Israel faces existential threats, both from without and from within. We do not take these lightly, but we reject the view that they are Israel’s inevitable destiny.

Affirming that Israel is "the national home of the Jewish people" and "categorically condemn[ing] terrorism," the petition criticizes ongoing settlement construction and its implications for Israel's future:

...we abhor the continuing occupation that has persisted for far too long; it cannot and should not be sustained. As our European counterparts correctly point out, “[T]he occupation and the continuing pursuit of settlements in the West Bank and in the Arab districts of Jerusalem . . . are morally and politically wrong and feed the unacceptable de-legitimation process that Israel currently faces abroad.” They go on to say, “Israel will soon be faced with two equally disastrous choices: either to become a state in which Jews are a minority in their own country, or to establish a regime that would be a disgrace to Israel and lead to civil unrest.” We agree.

The signatories support the Obama administration's efforts to advance negotiations (in the AP photo above of a peace rally in Jerusalem, May 15, a sign states, "Barak (sic) Obama: Please Force Peace On Us"). In addition to calling for the reversal of the Israeli policies noted above, they also call for an end to Palestinian terrorism, along with demands for the "right of return" and incitement against Israel.

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