I'm quoting Tikkun's Rabbi Lerner and Jewish Voice for Peace because many American readers don't trust it if it comes from an Arab. They say we're "biased" "angry" or "too emotional."
Rabbi Michael Lerner just sent an email regarding Gaza. Excerpts follow (I have cut text and added paragraph breaks):
Israel is the military power occupying the West Bank and surrounding Gaza. By all international standards it has no right to do either, but if it does so it has an absolute obligation to treat the civilian population with certain respect and basic human rights. Israel continually fails to do this and has become one (not the worst, but one) of the world’s major human rights violators.
No wonder that people are asking their Jewish neighbors, “Do you really think that is morally acceptable to cut off electricity and water for a million and a half Gazans as a retribution for the killing of two Israeli soldiers and the kidnap of a third?
Isn’t this the kind of ‘collective punishment’ that ruthless dictators have used against the civilian populations of countries that they controlled to the horror of the rest of the world?
Don’t you realize that when you face acts of terror against Israeli civilians that it is because the Palestinians have no army, no airplanes, no tanks, so they fight with their improvised weapons as resistance forces have always done....?
Those who care about the Jewish people, want to preserve it and protect it, want to see a safe and secure Israel and a safe and secure Jewish people all around the world, have to shout out now in very clear words: “Stop what you are doing, Israel, not just at the moment, but in the essence of your policies. ...
Imagine, for example, how different the feelings would have been this week in the Arab world if, after killing a family on a Gaza beach through an IDF shelling, the President and Prime Minister of Israel had together gone to visit the family of the deceased to offer apologies and to share in the mourning of this loss, rather than trying to prove (unsuccessfully) that it wasn’t really Israel’s shell after all!
Imagine how different things would be if today the Israeli government said, “We will find a way to create an international consortium to provide reparations for those Palestinians who have lost their homes in 1948-1967, and those whose homes were unfairly bulldozed to support the needs of the Israeli settlers on the West Bank!
(much more imaginings of how to apologize and respond edited for length)...
So, does that mean that there’s one side that is good and the other evil? No, the world rarely works that way.
He then goes on to chastise the Palestinians at equal length.
I am through with scolding Palestinians. I have done my share of it, and I don't want to anymore. Let them have some water to drink and food to eat, maybe a few weeks or years to recover from the long brutal campaign against them. Then somebody else can scold them. I am in no mood. So if you really want to read Lerner's comments to the Palestinians, email me and I'll forward his letter.