Rebecca Vilkomerson („Jewish Voice of Peace“): To end violence – and truly mourn its victims – we must acknowledge, and challenge the root causes beneath it.

The last 24 hours have been devastating.  The weeks leading up to it have been horrifying.

We have watched with sadness and anger as the deaths of children have mounted, racist mobs have rampaged, the fears of people throughout both Israel and Palestine have reached unbearable levels, and the collective punishment of the Palestinian people has intensified.

We can not wait one more moment to speak up. In such a terrible moment, we must join what we feel with what we know.

Please join me in signing this urgent Open Letter that says:

Only by ending the occupation and embracing equality can this terrible bloodshed end.

Our unshakeable belief in justice – as Jews and as human beings – compels us to acknowledge that the root of this violence lies in the Israeli government’s commitment to occupation over the well-being of Palestinians or Israelis. Where our leaders have so thoroughly refused that truth, it is our responsibility to hold it up.

So when we reach 18,000 signatures, we’ll publish the letter in Ha’aretz and The Forward – and call on our communities stand up with us.

In just the last two days, scores of Palestinians–with no place to hide–have been killed, while the entire population of Gaza experiences the terror of widespread bombing. Israelis have had to endure the fear of never knowing when or where the next rocket will fall.

We must speak up now.

Please join me and sign this urgent Open Letter that says, the occupation must end. And forward this to your friends so they do the same.

None of this should be happening. As we mourn all who have died, we reaffirm that all Israelis and Palestinians deserve security, justice, and equality.

The occupation, with US military and financial support, is the root cause. And it systematically denies the very humanity of Arabs, while valuing Jewish lives at the expense of others.

Anti-Palestinian bigotry is not only acceptable but a powerful political tool in Israel. Long before this latest escalation, everyday life for Palestinians meant increasing numbers of settlements taking over their lands and homes, and a web of violence and control which reached into every area of life, simply because they are not Jewish. The recent and very public violence against Palestinians in the streets of Jerusalem and elsewhere did not happen in a vacuum.

Enough is enough. We are not going away.

Those few Israelis who are bravely speaking out against their governments’ inhumane policies need to know that they have our support. Those Palestinians who are under daily assault need to know that we see them.

As part of a vast network of people across the globe, we have more power than we may think. But we have to take action.

Sign the Open Letter and send the message: only by confronting occupation and embracing true equality can this terrible bloodshed end.



Rebecca Vilkomerson
Executive Director