September 17, 2009
PRESS RELEASE: IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Rabbis for Human Rights-North America joins Israeli Human Rights Groups in Urging the Israeli Government to Study the Conclusions of the Goldstone Commission Report.
Rabbis for Human Rights-North America (RHR-NA) joins Rabbis for Human Rights (Israel) and other Israeli human rights groups in calling on the Israeli Government to study the report of the UN Fact Finding Mission and its findings and to refrain from automatically rejecting its findings or questioning the impartiality of its authors.
The Fact Finding Mission was created by the United Nations Human Rights Council "to assess all human rights situations and violations in the context of the conflict without distinction of any kind and in an impartial and objective manner." The Mission, headed by Justice Richard Goldstone, a South African judge with an international reputation for fairness and strong Jewish connections, concluded that both sides to the fighting, the Government of Israel and Hamas, violated the laws of war as well as human rights laws.
"Our colleagues in Israel have been urging Israel to launch an independent and impartial investigation of its own," said Rabbi Ellen Lippmann, Co-chair, RHR-NA). "As we rabbis and our communities prepare to celebrate Rosh HaShanah, our hearts and minds are turned toward Israel, hoping that an investigation will begin shortly. We are also present here, in North American synagogues where we are called to do the work of heshbon ha-nefesh, an accounting for our souls, individual and communal. While we call on the government of Israel to investigate its actions, so must we commit to our own strengthening: to speaking up when we see wrong, to praising when we see right, and to calling on our own nations to work toward justice and right in Israel and at home."
"As we enter the Days of Awe, we should not shirk from holding the Israeli Government or Hamas accountable for its actions," said Steven Gerber, Executive Director of RHR-NA. "If the Israeli Government studies the report, as we urge, and disagrees with its findings, it should launch an independent and impartial investigation with a non-governmental monitoring mechanism to ensure independence. Attacks on the authors' impartiality and fairness help no one and are particularly unwelcome when aimed at a Jewish judge with as strong a reputation as Richard Goldstone's. We await with eagerness the findings of that Israeli investigation."
RHR-NA is an organization of rabbis from all the streams of Judaism dedicated to expanding support for the mission and work of RHR in Israel. RHR-NA promotes discussion in the Jewish community about human rights issues related to Israel by bringing speakers from RHR to Jewish communities nationwide. RHR-NA sends delegations to Israel to join our colleagues in protecting human rights in Israel and supports the efforts of RHR to change Israeli policies that lead to human rights violations