T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights is troubled by yesterday’s police violence against peaceful protesters in Israel. The use of force against young people who are expressing their love for Israel and desire for justice for both Israelis and Palestinians hurts us all.
The Mishnah teaches, “One who harms his neighbor is obligated to make him whole for the following: injury, suffering, healing, lost productivity, and shame.” (Bava Kamma 8:1)
Beyond the physical injury the police allegedly caused, including breaking the arm of one young woman, aggressive responses to peaceful protesters damage the vision for a truly democratic Israel that values dissent and free speech as basic human rights. This attack, as well as other violent responses to Israeli and Palestinian non-violent protesters, causes shame to Israel and to all of us committed to the future of the country; and makes us less productive in our collective task of bringing about a better future for both Israelis and Palestinians.
The annual Flag March, which includes a march through East Jerusalem, has long included racist language, physical and verbal attacks on Palestinians, and intimidation of the Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem. For this reason, most Palestinians now shutter their shops and hide in their homes for the duration of the parade. Those who participated in the non-violent protest of this parade were standing up for Jewish values, and insisting that support for Israel need not include support for military occupation or for attacking or shaming another people.
We commit to seek a way forward that brings wholeness and healing to Israel and our entire community, ensures that our people value vigorous debate and dissent, and builds a future for Israel that includes the protection of the human rights of both Palestinians and Israelis, each secure in their own state.