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Brit Tzedek v'Shalom

Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace

 

Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace!

The Isthmus
June 10, 2005
By Michael Gelman and Todd Miller

Gideon Katzan (Letters, 4/29/05) touts the Israeli military’s moral code while criticizing Israeli pilot Yonatan Shapira and others for upholding it by refusing orders they consider to be immoral. Mr. Katzen challenges Shapira’s refusal to carry out missions that would likely have caused heavy civilian casualties, and implies that anything short of “carpet-bomb[ing] an Arab village” is justifiable.

We deplore the targeting of Israeli civilians by “Arab” terrorists as he does, but the claim that “collateral damage” from Israeli attacks is “never on purpose” does not make civilian deaths acceptable. Nor will such attacks bring peace.

For nearly 38 years, Israel has tried aggressive unilateral solutions to the Palestinian question, leading to a declining spiral of Palestinian helplessness and hopelessness in the face of settlements, checkpoints, land seizures, and officially sanctioned harassment and degradation.

There is another way. The Israeli government has committed to withdraw this summer from Gaza and parts of the West Bank, and Palestinian Authority President Abbas has had some important initial success in reining in Palestinian extremists. This chance may pass, though, if the withdrawal is followed by unilateral border determination (as foreshadowed by barrier construction inside the West Bank) and the Abbas government does not get the diplomatic capital it needs to defeat Hamas in this summer’s elections.

Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, which has grown in three years from 200 founding activists to more than 25,000, seeks to prevent that disaster. Although “leftie” may mean “loony” to Mr. Katzan, we proudly cite mainstream Jewish traditions valuing justice, peace, and vibrant debate.

Michael Gelman and Todd Miller, co-chairs Wisconsin Chapter of Brit Tzedek v’Shalom.

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