Israel, America, The UN & Our Own Voices

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This message was sent out to my congregation last Friday morning, January 6. As a result of the attack at our airport in Ft. Lauderdale that same day, it was not posted on the blog until today. Our community sends our deepest condolences to the families of those who were lost and prayers of healing to those who were injured.

I hope you all welcomed 2017 with family and friends. May it be a good year, one filled with happiness, health and celebrations!

It certainly promises to be a busy, complicated political year. Among the many issues that our nation will be focusing on will be the US-Israel relationship.  As you know, late last month, the United States chose not to veto a blatantly anti-Israel resolution (Resolution 2334) that came before the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). The resolution passed on December 23, 2016 and many in the Jewish world were stunned. Several prominent American Jewish organizations (but not all!) and US leaders spoke out against the resolution, our nation’s abstention and the remarks made by Secretary Kerry after the resolution was passed.

To learn more about why so many were deeply troubled by UNSC Resolution 2334 and our nation’s abstention, I encourage you to read the following responses from these organizations:

The Anti-Defamation League

The American Jewish Committee 

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)

The Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations

Jewish Federations of North America

Just yesterday, in a remarkable show of bipartisanship, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved their own resolution (by a vote of 342 to 80, including 100 Democrats) that denounces and seeks the repeal or fundamental alterations of UNSC Resolution 2334. The Senate is expected to vote and approve a similar resolution cosponsored by Senator Schumer (D), Senator Cardin (D) and our own Senator Rubio (R), very soon. I know that many of you have been contacting our elected officials, asking them to speak out against Resolution 2334. I thank you for doing so. Please don’t forget to thank them for their support!

While the actions taken by Congress help to secure the US-Israel relationship as we enter the new year, there is still much work to be done. A recent poll shows that 35% of Americans support UNSC Resolution 2334 while 28% say they are opposed to it – and 36% have no opinion. These numbers tell us that if we were appalled by the UNSC resolution, we are in the minority here in the United States. Yes, these numbers, coupled with the actions on Capitol Hill this week, suggest that despite being a minority, our voices are heard and our leaders are responding. But, as with many political issues that are important to us, we can’t stop speaking out and standing with Israel.

Tremendous political changes are coming and we must ensure that President-elect Trump, his administration and the 115th US Congress strengthen the US-Israel relationship. We must also continue to educate ourselves about Israel and the Israel-Palestine Conflict. It is imperative that we get the facts and share the facts– especially since only 28% of Americans were opposed to UNSC 2334. I encourage you to bookmark the following sites that will help you stay up-to-date on important matters affecting Israel: The Times of Israel, The Jerusalem Post, Stand With Us and Honest Reporting.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is one of the most important organizations that supports a strong US-Israel relationship. I am thrilled that some of you will be attending the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington., DC in a few months. While I won’t be able to attend this year’s conference due to my sabbatical schedule, I am glad that Ramat Shalom will be represented! I encourage all of you to visit AIPAC’s website, sign up for their email updates and learn how you can stand with Israel.

If you have any questions about the UNSC resolution or any matters regarding Israel, please don’t hesitate to be in touch!

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