330 Rabbis Call on Israel to Cease Arms Sales to Burma

RELEASE DATE: October 31, 2017

As U.S. rabbis and cantors, we join in the recent call issued by 55 Israeli rabbis and community leaders urging the Israeli government to stop weapons sales to Burma (Myanmar) and military training services there in the face of a brutal, potentially genocidal campaign against the Rohingya minority community. We also support the members of Congress who have stepped across party lines to issue a bipartisan letter calling for the U.S. to “immediately suspend all planned training programs with Burma’s military.”

Testimony and aerial photographs attest to the Burmese military carrying out a campaign of murder, gang-rape, the burning of villages, and expulsions that have led to an escalating refugee crisis. In their open letter, our Israeli colleagues write, “The United Nations’ representative for human rights called the current situation in Burma a ‘text-book case of ethnic cleansing.’ . . . It is untenable that a state founded on the vision of the prophets should support such a government.”

The rabbis of the Talmud forbid selling “weapons or accessories of weapons” to dangerous individuals or groups, as well as “grind[ing] any weapon” or even selling a certain kind of iron predominantly used for weapons lest we find ourselves contributing to bloodshed. (Avodah Zarah 15b-16a). Rambam explains that this prohibition extends to selling “anything injurious to the public, like the weapons of war or instruments of torture. . . in order to not to aid the destroyers of the world in destroying.” (Commentary to the Mishnah, AZ 1:7)

China, Russia, and India continue to be the primary enablers of the Burmese military. But as American citizens and as Jews, we refuse to accept any involvement by the U.S. or Israel in training or arming a military that is carrying out a brutal ethnic cleansing against a minority population. The European Union has already ceased weapons sales, all EU nationals except for Italy have ended military trainings, and both Israel and the U.S. should do the same.

We stand alongside the Israeli human rights leaders who have petitioned the High Court of Justice to intervene to end weapons sales to Burma. We also support the request by our rabbinic colleagues for the decision of the court to be public, as well as the bipartisan Congressional letter by many of our elected representatives in the U.S. calling for an end to any U.S. support for the Burmese military.

As Jews, we see haunting historical parallels between the Jewish experience and the current plight of the Rohingya people. Our commitment to “Never Again” compels us to take action to protect today’s victims of ethnic cleansing. In this season of teshuvah, when we recommit to being our best selves, we call on the State of Israel to join us in teshuvah for arms sales to Burma, and for both the U.S. and Israel to end all military training activities.


[Original signatories in bold]

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum
Rabbi Jason Herman
Rabbi Kenneth Chasen
Rabbi Asher Lopatin
Rabbi Rachel Timoner
Rabbi Shai Held
Rabbi Maurice Harris
Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg
Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster
Rabbi Jill Jacobs
Rabbi Deborah Waxman
Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz
Rabbi Michael Lezak
Rabbi Shira Stutman
Rabbi Steve Gutow
Rabbi Jack Moline
Rabbi Elyse Wechterman
Rabbi Sharon Anisfeld
Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub
Rabbi David Saperstein
Rabbi Jonah Pesner
Rabbi Richard Jacobs
Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell
Rabbi Rachel Goldenberg
Rabbi Laurence Edwards
Rabbi Michael Feinberg
Rabbi Brian Field
Rabbi Susanne Greenberg
Rabbi Linda Holtzman
Rabbi Michael Luckens
Rabbi Barbara Penzner
Cantor Eric Schulmiller
Rabbi Phyllis Berman
Rabbi Bradd Boxman
Rabbi Faith Joy Dantowitz
Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus
Rabbi Amy Eilberg
Rabbi Stephen J. Einstein
Rabbi Rachel Esserman
Rabbi Dr. Ted Falcon
Rabbi John Friedman
Rabbi Ruth Gais
Rabbi Andrew Gold
Rabbi Debra Goldstein
Rabbi Suzanne Griffel
Rabbi Mark Hurvitz
Rabbi Daniel Isaak
Rabbi Alan Katz
Rabbi Hillel Katzir
Rabbi David L Kline
Rabbi Michael Kramer
Rabbi David Krishef
Rabbi Michael Latz
Rabbi David Leipziger Teva
Rabbi Joshua Lesser
Rabbi William Plevan
Rabbi Robert Saks
Rabbi Regina Sandler-Phillips
Rabbi Gerald Serotta
Rabbi Felicia Sol
Rabbi David Teutsch
Rabbi Lawrence Troster
Rabbi Samuel Weintraub
Rabbi Elizabeth Sarah
Rabbi Janie Hodgetts
Cantor David Lipp
Rabbi Lori Shaller
Cantor Lisa B. Segal
Rabbi Anna Boswell-Levy
Rabbi Geoffrey Claussen
Rabbi Howard Cohen
Rabbi Mordechai Liebling
Rabbi Marc Margolius
Rabbi Sheldon Isenberg
Rabbi Paula Marcus
Rabbi Joseph Wolf
Rabbi Rachel Mikva
Rabbi James Lebeau
Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels
Rabbi Warren Elf
Rabbi Idit Solomon
Rabbi Neil Kominsky
Rabbi Ronald Shapiro
Rabbi John Franken
Rabbi Michael Friedland
Rabbi Kliel Rose
Rabbi Jonathan Slater
Rabbi Reena Spicehandler
Rabbi Abby Cohen
Rabbi David Kaiman
Rabbi Andy Shugerman
Rabbi Mia Simring
Rabbi Luciana Pajecki Lederman
Rabbi Adina Allen
Rabbi Alex Weissman
Rabbi Ari Hart
Rabbi Toba Spitzer
Cantor Janet Leuchter
Rabbi Elliott Tepperman
Rabbi Daniel Kirzane
Rabbi Diana Miller
Rabbi Julie Kozlow
Cantor Michael Zoosman
Rabbi Jill Hausman
Rabbi Kerry Chaplin
Rabbi Ariel Naveh
Rabbi Aaron Potek
Rabbi Michael Lerner
Rabbi Samuel Broude
Rabbi Jason Klein
Rabbi Nelly Altenburger
Cantor Tanya Greenblatt
Rabbi Jeffrey Foust
Rabbi Meredith Cahn
Rabbi Cheryl Weiner
Rabbi Martin Weiner
Rabbi Robert Marx
Rabbi Ed Stafman
Rabbi Miriam Terlinchamp
Rabbi james Prosnit
Rabbi Justus Baird
Rabbi Laura Owens
Rabbi Joshua Hammerman
Rabbi Judith B. Edelstein
Rabbi Brian Lurie
Rabbi Elchanan ‘Sunny’ Schnitzer
Rabbi David Shneyer
Rabbi Randy Kafka
Rabbi Edward Feld
Rabbi Binyamin Biber
Rabbi Michael Mellen
Rabbi Joshua Grater
Rabbi Diane Elliot
Rabbi Dev Noily
Rabbi David Spinrad
Rabbi Ora Weiss
Pastor Eve Ilsen
Rabbi Joshua Chasan
Rabbi Jeremy Kalmanofsky
Rabbi Susan Silverman
Rabbi Hillel Greene
Cantor Devorah Felder-Levy
Rabbi Rachel Brown
Cantor Shoshana Brown
Rabbi David Rosen
Rabbi Dalia Marx
Rabbi Allan Kensky
Rabbi Jonathan Malamy
Cantor Suzanne Bernstein
Cantor Samuel Levine
Rabbi David Greenstein
Rabbi Edward Elkin
Rabbi Emma Kippley-Ogman
Rabbi Nancy Kasten
Rabbi Naomi Steinberg
Rabbi Stephen Booth-Nadav
Rabbi Dov Elkins
Rabbi Beth Kalisch
Rabbi Jessica Kate Meyer
Rabbi Renni Altman
Rabbi Joseph Berman
Rabbi David Siff
Rabbi Rayna Grossman
Rabbi George Barnard
Rabbi Barat Ellman
Rabbi Sara Zacharia
Rabbi Megan Doherty
Rabbi Shelley Kovar Becker
Rabbi Ethan Bair
Rabbi Susan Falk
Rabbi David Mivasair
Rabbi Eric Solomon
Rabbi Cecelia Beyer
Rabbi Sarah Newmark
Cantor Benjie Schiller
Rabbi Ruhi Sophia Rubenstein
Rabbi Enid C. Lader
Rabbi Stephen Garfinkel
Rabbi Andrew Straus
Rabbi Ian Chesir-Teran
Rabbi Debra Kolodny
Rabbi Marc Ekstrand
Rabbi Gila Ruskin
Rabbi Bob Gluck
Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Herrmann
Rabbi Shifrah Tobacman
Rabbi Alexandria Shuval Weiner
Rabbi Charles Feinberg
Rabbi John Kaplan
Rabbi Jeremy Sher
Rabbi Aaron Kriegel
Rabbi Katy Allen
Rabbi David Kosak
Cantor Vera Broekhuysen
Rabbi Victor Reinstein
Rabbi Rachel Ackerman
Rabbi Laurie Phillips
Rabbi Daria Jacobs-Velde
Rabbi Gail Labovitz
Rabbi Sharon Brous
Rabbi Ellen Lippmann
Rabbi Shahar Colt
Rabbi Benjamin Weiner
Rabbi Jonah Geffen
Rabbi Glynis Conyer
Rabbi Darby Leigh
Rabbi Steven Jacobs
Rabbi Rena Blumenthal
Rabbi Margot Stein
Rabbi Maya Resnikoff
Cantor Andrea Markowicz
Cantor Deborah Staiman
Cantor Sheri Allen
Cantor Abbe Lyons
Rabbi Alison Adler
Rabbi Laura Geller
Rabbi Edward Bernstein
Rabbi Linda Motzkin
Rabbi Jeremy Gerber
Rabbi David Ingber
Rabbi Danielle Stillman
Rabbi Donald Berlin
Cantor Chanin Becker
Rabbi Benjamin Adler
Rabbi James Rosenberg
Rabbi Neil Hirsch
Rabbi Bruce Kahn
Rabbi Paul H Levenson
Rabbi Myra Soifer
Rabbi Jon-Jay Tilsen
Rabbi Charles P Rabinowitz
Rabbi Dr. Reuven Firestone
Rabbi Lane Steinger
Rabbi Beth Janus
Rabbi Lev Meirowitz Nelson
Rabbi Alan LaPayover
Rabbi Elizabeth Heydemann
Rabbi Hannah Spiro
Rabbi Jonathan Biatch
Rabbi Marc Kraus
Rabbi Rachel Adler
Rabbi Brian Fink
Rabbi Joseph Wolf
Rabbi Abby Michaleski
Rabbi Arielle Rosenberg
Rabbi Rachel Grant Meyer
Cantor Ilana Axel
Rabbi Kliel Rose
Rabbi Aviva Goldberg
Rabbi Peg Kershenbaum
Rabbi Tracy Nathan
Rabbi David Dunn Bauer
Rabbi Lina Zerbarini
Rabbi Arthur Green
Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie
Rabbi Marisa James
Rabbi daniel bronstein
Rabbi Avi Killip
Hazzan Risa Wallach
Rabbi Tirzah Firestone
Rabbi David Rosen
Rabbi Roberta Harris
Rabbi Aderet Drucker
Rabbi Debra Rappaport
Rabbi Lester Bronstein
Rabbi Jeremy Schwartz
Rabbi Lee Friedlander
Rabbi Sheldon Lewis
Rabbi David Steinberg
Rabbi Jonathan Klein
Rabbi Julie Goldstein
Rabbi Jo Hirschmann
Rabbi Daniel Alder
Rabbi Allison Peiser
Rabbi Andrea London
Rabbi Julie Danan
Rabbi Professor Burton Visotzky
Rabbi S david Sperling
Rabbi Jane Kanarek
Rabbi Sheila Weinberg
Rabbi Debra Hachen
Cantor Natalie Young
Rabbi Daniel Horwitz
Rabbi Elisa Goldberg
Rabbi Barbara Zacky
Rabbi Leah Fein
Rabbi Susan Goldberg
Rabbi Michael Knopf
Rabbi Seth Wax
Rabbi Michael Gilboa
Rabbi Neal Loevinger
Rabbi Laurie Hahn Tapper
Rabbi Julie Gordon
Rabbi Jordie Gerson
Rabbi Joshua Finkelstein
Rabbi Ahud Sela
Rabbi Charles Popky
Rabbi Sheldon Lewis
Rabbi Shulli Passow
Rabbi Jonathan Kligler
Rabbi Adam Stein
Rabbi Marc Soloway
Rabbi Elisha Herb