A few days ago, the Israeli Air Force, using American made F-16s and Apache helicopter gunships began the bombing of civilians in the Gaza killing at least 195 people and injuring countless others. As of this morning the death toll is over 350 with more than 1400 wounded even as Israel is talking about an all-out war with the Hamas-led government of Gaza. This in retaliation for rocket attacks launched from the inside Gaza. Attacks which, while inexcusable and heinous, have yet to take a life.
There are few things more painful and difficult than to call an old friend and staunch ally to account. Israel has been a beacon of hope to the victims of not only the Shoah, but to people who have known persecution all over the world. Surrounded by enemies, she has courageously defended herself and kept democracy alive in the Middle East. But as people of faith and good conscience committed to peace and also to justice, as well as friends and supporters of the state of Israel, we must take a stand and demand that Israel cease its disproportionate attacks on the Gaza; attacks which are taking innocent lives and causing terrible suffering to a people already groaning under the deprivation of an embargo which has deprived them of food, medical attention and most of the things that any people today need to live what John Ging, head of opertaions for UNWRA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, calls, "a dignified existence."
We cannot stand by and allow this to continue. Even in its own defense, proportionality is key to how an ethical nation behaves even in war. Israel maintains one of the most powerful militaries in the world, a military which is now engaged in an attack on a civilian population. The result of this is more bloodshed, more suffering and the seeds of discord for generations to come. As we have stood shoulder to shoulder with those who have condemned our own nation's abuses of human rights, its pre-emptive invasion and conduct of the unjust war in Iraq, so I appeal to people of every faith and no faith, along with organizations like Jewish Voices for Peace, Americans for Peace Now, and every other major peace and human rights organization in America and across the globe to join me in condemning the bombing of Gaza and in demanding that our friend and ally, the state of Israel, live up to its own commitment to work toward a just peace with its neighbors. It is time for Israel to withdraw its forces, stop the massacre and end the embargo against the people of Gaza. The only way to peace, is to stop the violence and work for justice- for everybody.