T’ruah Condemns Givat Hamatos Construction Announcement

RELEASE DATE: November 18, 2020

NEW YORK — Today, T’ruah, a rabbinic human rights organization that represents over 2,000 rabbis and cantors and their communities, issued the following statement condemning the recent announcement of construction at Givat Hamatos and false accusations of antisemitism against European Union observers who question the move.

Rabbi Jill Jacobs, executive director of T’ruah, released the following statement: 

“We condemn the recent announcement of new tenders for settlement construction in Givat Hamatos, a neighborhood of East Jerusalem. The settlements represent a clear violation of human rights as the Fourth Geneva Convention prevents the transfer of civilian populations into occupied territories. Anyone who visits East Jerusalem and the West Bank, as many T’ruah rabbis, cantors and supporters have done, knows that de facto annexation is already reality for Palestinians under occupation. The Givat Hamatos announcement will further entrench this inequality for Palestinians, while also putting facts on the ground that prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state with its capital in East Jerusalem, side by side with Israel. 

“As a delegation of European Union observers visited the site to understand the potential impact of settlement activity there, far right activists including members of groups known for taking over Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem and for inciting against Israeli human rights leaders, emerged to heckle the observers and to make false accusations of antisemitism. Israel, like all member states of the United Nations, is a state bound by international human rights law, and like other countries can be criticized when it fails to live up to these commitments.

“We read in Avot d’Rabbi Natan, a 10th century text, ‘Rabbi Shimon would say: Such is the punishment of a liar: Even when they speak the truth, they are not believed.’ (30:4)

“By falsely smearing critics of settlements as antisemitic, these far-right voices only make it harder to counter actual acts of antisemitism when they happen.

“In a moment when antisemitism is growing throughout the world, actions such as the false smearing of an E.U. delegation observing a human rights crisis only makes fighting real antisemitism harder. And as the Israeli government continues its work of de facto annexation, while also holding out the threat of de jure annexation, we must be vigilant in stopping moves that both violate the human rights of Palestinians and also prevent long-term peace.”


T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights mobilizes a network of more than 2,000 rabbis and cantors from all streams of Judaism that, together with the Jewish community, act on the Jewish imperative to respect and advance the human rights of all people. Grounded in Torah and our Jewish historical experience and guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we call upon Jews to assert Jewish values by raising our voices and taking concrete steps to protect and expand human rights in North America, Israel, and the occupied Palestinian territories.