While many members of our community are watching the news out of Gaza and Jerusalem with mixed emotions, the public response to yesterday’s developments has been largely black and white, devoid of complexity, and most importantly, lacking empathy for the spectrum of real people affected, Israelis and Palestinians alike.
Moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem is an acknowledgment of the city’s true place as the capital of Israel and the Jewish people. Irrespective of our diverse perspectives on the Embassy move, we are united in our deep disappointment that the opening ceremony included two pastors with long track records of derogatory comments about LGBTQ people, Jews, Muslims, Christians and other religions. The homophobic, anti-Semitic, and Islamophobic views of these pastors run contrary to the values of the vast majority of Americans and Israelis alike.
The continued violence on the border between Gaza and Israel has been heartbreaking. Israelis, like any people, must be allowed to defend their borders from foreign attacks, in this case from Hamas, a terrorist organization stoking the flames of the conflict in Gaza. That the IDF’s response resulted in many Palestinian lives lost, including civilians, is difficult to bear. We join the international community in mourning their loss, and urge Israeli and Palestinian leadership to take immediate steps to resolve the situation and diffuse the violence.