Two Sovereign States for Israelis and Palestinians
The world is sustained by justice, truth and peace: דין אמת ושלום.
As rabbis, cantors, and Jewish community members who love and care deeply about Israel, we believe that a just and secure future for Israelis and Palestinians will best be achieved by a negotiated resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that results in both peoples living peacefully side by side, each within their own sovereign states.
As a human rights organization, we deplore the egregious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law that continue to occur in the occupied Palestinian territories. We advocate for the Israeli government to stop settlement expansion immediately and to work towards ending the occupation for the benefit of Israelis and Palestinians alike. We condemn the use of violence to achieve political ends by any of the parties involved and advocate for all to work for a peaceful solution to the conflict.
T’ruah does not support or participate in the Global BDS movement. We work to create a better future for Israelis and Palestinians through our education programs in Israel for rabbinical students and by assisting congregations with program planning for their trips to Israel.
Many Paths to Truth and Justice: Our Approach to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
As a rabbinic human rights organization, our commitment to the Jewish value of tzelem elohim, the conviction that every human being is created in the image of God, shapes our approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and our work to end the occupation.
We believe that a just and secure future for Israelis and Palestinians will best be achieved by a negotiated resolution that results in both peoples living within their own sovereign states. As such, we advocate for an end to the military occupation of the West Bank and an end to the continued expansion of the settlements that extend this occupation, that infringe on the human rights of Palestinians, and that compromise the safety and security of Israelis. We also affirm Israel’s right to exist as a homeland for Jews, just as we advocate for a future Palestinian state where Palestinians can thrive and enjoy the right of self-determination.
Because of these commitments, we do not affiliate with the Global Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement. While we do not reject out of hand the strategic, targeted use of boycott and divestment in justice campaigns, in this case, we are concerned that the lack of distinction within the official BDS movement between Israel proper and the occupied Palestinian territories points to a potential rejection of Israel’s right to exist, a right recognized by the United Nations and other international bodies.
We do support the right to criticize and to challenge the policies of the State of Israel or of any other country, and we are committed to working to end the occupation and to protect the human and civil rights of all of Israel’s citizens and those living under Israeli authority.
We are concerned when critiques of Israeli policy and efforts to end the occupation cross a line into anti-Semitic tropes, or when solidarity with the struggle of the Palestinian people leads to the demonization of the entirety of Israeli society or to the justification of violence. We believe it is possible to work for a just and lasting resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict without denying the right of the Jewish people to their own self-determination, and we reject the notion that the state of Israel is nothing but a product of European colonialism.
We are also profoundly disturbed by the current discourse within the American Jewish community on issues related to Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We are concerned about efforts to shut out a growing segment of our community based on their support for the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement. Despite our disagreements with this movement, we believe that the Jewish community is strengthened by vigorous debate on issues that are vital to the well-being of Israel and the worldwide Jewish community. We are also disturbed when speech and action from within the BDS movement seeks to delegitimate adversaries within the Jewish community. We reject all actions and language that effectively demonizes those on opposing sides of this debate. The drawing of red lines that shut down conversation and deny the humanity of those with whom we disagree not only violates the value of tzelem elohim; it threatens our coherence as a community. The severity of the situation requires that we form broad coalitions among those committed to taking nonviolent action to protect the human rights and dignity of both Israelis and Palestinians.
In honoring the spark of Godliness within all people, and in pursuit of effective strategies to end the occupation for the sake of both Israelis and Palestinians, we affirm the importance of engagement, especially with those with whom we are least likely to feel compassion. We support those Israelis and Palestinians who are working together to end the occupation. We support our rabbinic chaverim (members and friends) in all of our diversity of opinion. We urge all members of the North American Jewish community to engage in debate and disagreement for the sake of greater truth, justice, and peace.