As the Israeli-Palestinian conflict rages, one liberal American rabbi says he’s “done apologizing for Israel” and mincing his words when discussing the Middle East conflict.
Rabbi Menachem Creditor of Berkeley, California — a progressive faith leader and the editor of the book “Peace in Our Cities: Rabbis Against Gun Violence” — defended Israel and had some tough words for Hamas in a recent Huffington Post op-ed.
“It’s tiring to apologize over and over. Instead, I’ve decided to come clean: I am a progressive American rabbi who leans left pretty hard,” he wrote. “I’ve been engaged, as a US faith leader, in work to reform gun laws, extend LGBT rights around the world, grant refuge to illegal immigrants, protect women’s reproductive choice, and more. Paint me blue.”
Creditor noted that, based on his social and political views, many might expect him to criticize Israel’s actions in Gaza. But while he has done so at moments in the past, he isn’t willing to condemn the Jewish state’s behavior in the current conflict.
“Israel is treating wounded Palestinians during this conflict, risking Israeli lives in surgical strikes to destroy weapons-smuggling tunnels created with building materials Israel allowed into Gaza for infrastructure projects to benefit Palestinian society,” Creditor wrote. “Just for a moment, consider the deaths that would result from Israel wishing harm on Palestinian civilians.”
The rabbi highlighted the fact that Israel, though it has the power to kill scores of Palestinians if it wanted, has instead allowed 10 tons of goods into Gaza and has agreed to cease-fires, while Hamas has chosen to continue firing missiles and ignoring the needs of its people.
“I ask: What do Israel’s enraged critics truly desire? How is it possible to hear indignant claims of human rights violations in the context of Syrians slaughtered by the hundreds of thousands, state-sanctioned terrorism around the globe, and young immigrants treated like chattel by the US and other?,” he continued. “Israel is doing its best, sacrificing its own children to preserve the lives of Palestinians.”
Creditor also claimed that there are key differences between how Hamas and Israel have handled recent events. For example, while Israel publicly condemned the murder of an Arab teen at the hands of “Jewish terrorists,” Palestinians celebrated the killing of three Israeli teens “by distributing sweets to children.”
“I am done trying to apologetically explain Jewish morality. I am done apologizing for my own Jewish existence,” he continued. “We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else.”
Read Creditor’s entire post here.