American Jewish Leaders Echo JCall

Published: May 17th 2010
in News » World

Theodore Bikel famous for his role in Fiddler on the Roof.
Pic: youtube

Hot on the heels of the formation of the European Jewish advocay group JCall, a group of American Jewish leaders have formed their own similar group, also launching a petition online.


JCall is supportive of Israel but critical of the Israeli government’s settlement policies in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and calls for a two-state solution to the conflict.


Calling themselves “For the Sake of Zion,” the American group’s petition has so far been signed by numerous well-known American rabbis, judges, academics, philanthropists and writers. The organizing committee of the group includes Theodore Bikel (“Fiddler on the Roof”), a dozen rabbis, members of the Andrea and Charles Bronfman Philanthropies, and other prominent professors and writers from the American Jewish community.


“Encouraged by the recent European ‘Call For Reason,’ signed by more than 5,200 Jewish citizens of European countries, we, American Jews passionately devoted to the safety and welfare of the State of Israel, now add our voices to those of our European kinsfolk,” says the petition.


It goes on to say: “They recognize, as do we, that Israel faces existential threats, both from without and from within. We do not take these lightly, but we reject the view that they are Israel’s inevitable destiny.”


JCall, launched early this month by prominent members of Europe’s Jewish community – including such notable intellectuals as Bernard-Henri Levy and Alain Finkielkraut and EU Green Party leader Daniel Cohn-Bendit – seeks to be a voice for Europe’s Jewish community that is “both committed to the state of Israel and critical of the current choices of its government.” While it has generated some criticism from the European Jewish community, it has also to date received 5,600 signatures of support.


The For the Sake of Zion website states that some of the organizers have lived and worked in Israel and all of them have visited many times. They explain that Israel’s Declaration of Independence has a strong significance for them, specifically its assertion that it is the “natural right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate, like all other nations, in their own sovereign state.”


They also believe that “Israel is the national home of the Jewish people.” They state that for this reason, “We therefore feel both entitled and obligated to make our views known.”


They add that together with all Israeli citizens, both Jews and Arabs, they regret the decades of “death and destruction that have plagued the Land of Israel.” They categorically condemn terrorism while also stating that they “abhor the continuing occupation that has persisted for far too long; it cannot and should not be sustained.”


Related articles: (Theodore Bikel, Fiddler on the Roof, JCall, J Street)

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