As supporters of Rabbis for Human Rights – North America (RHR-NA), we write in response to your recent article, “600 rabbis sign up for Obama.” The article offers a misleading description of RHR-NA as a group that “often criticizes what it calls Israeli ‘occupation’ of territories in the West Bank” and the false accusation that our supporters demonstrate “a deep hostility to the state of Israel.”
We’d like to set the record straight. RHR-NA is a non-partisan organization that does not endorse any candidate or party. Some of our board and staff members did sign up to be part of the group, Rabbis for Obama, and they did so as individuals, not as representatives of RHR-NA. Nevertheless, your article presented the bogus accusation that rabbis who are part of RHR-NA should be regarded as anti-Israel. We take offense.
RHR-NA’s over 1800 rabbinic supporters, from all movements of Judaism, are lovers of Israel who are deeply committed to an Israel that embodies democratic and Jewish values for all of its inhabitants. These values are enshrined in Israel’s Declaration of Independence. We and our partners, Rabbis for Human Rights in Israel, do categorize Israeli control of the West Bank as occupation, and there is nothing radical or anti-Israel about that. Even the Israeli High Court of Justice says it is an occupation.
Here in America, we work on many human rights issues, including a campaign to eradicate torture (collaborating with Sen. John McCain) and a campaign addressing the problems of slavery and human trafficking in the tomato-picking industry. We bring a uniquely Jewish and Rabbinic voice to these issues.
We object to the misleading characterizations of rabbis who have dedicated their lives to serving the Jewish people. As we continue our efforts to bring light to dark corners of our world, RHR-NA is proud to claim the support of so many rabbis in our state of Connecticut.
Rabbi Rachel Goldenberg, co-chair, Rabbis for Human Rights-North America and rabbi of Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek, Chester
Rabbi Debra Cantor, B’nai Tikvoh-Sholom, West Hartford/Bloomfield
Rabbi Jordie Gerson, University of Vermont Hillel
Rabbi David Leipziger Teva, University Jewish Chaplain,
Rabbi Howard Mandell
Don’t blame FOX News
I think your perspective of FOX News is wrong!
I watch FOX because I know the conservative Republicans are usually the defenders of Israel. FOX News felt compelled to add balance by adding bleeding heart liberals, like Bob Beckel, Michael Scheuer, Al Sharpton, and Marc Lamont Hill. These Democrats are dyed in the wool haters of Israel.
Where are the Jewish voices to complain about these haters of Israel, the left wing Democrats, to remove them from the FOX network? Where are the 400 rabbis who attacked FOX News and Glenn Beck, such a great supporter of Israel?
To quote the anti-Semite Pat Buchanan, “The Republicans support Israel and yet most of the Jews vote for Democrats.”
Major General Orde Wingate was a religious Christian Zionist who served in the British Army in Palestine in the 1930’s. Wingate was responsible for creating the nucleus of the future IDF. He said, “Jews appease their enemies and reject their friends.”
Unfortunately you blamed FOX Network which is known for being conservative. The blame should be directed to FOX’s effort to give a voice to those liberal Democrats who are haters of Israel. Why should FOX give balance to haters?
Esia B. Friedman, West Hartford