Bristol Jews - We Speak For Ourselves

by Lisa Saffron
on Tuesday 04 Dec 2012

type: Opinion/Analysis
topic: Peace
region: Bristol
We are members of the Jewish community in Bristol and feel that the publicised messages of support and solidarity for Israel from leaders of the UK Jewish community do not reflect or represent our views. We have family, friends and acquaintances in Israel and among Palestinians. Some of us have lived in Israel, some have visited. At least one of us has a son brought up in Israel who has served in the IDF.
We are horrified by the war mentality of the Israeli leadership. It will never lead to peace and harmony. It will never lead to security and safety for our loved ones. Operation Cast Lead did not pacify the Palestinian extremists – in actual fact it strengthened their resolve to defend themselves and to use even more dangerous, far-reaching weapons. Every week in our Sabbath service, we pray that the leaders and citizens of the State of Israel will be faithful to the aims of its founders – that it will be a haven for the oppressed, that it will develop the land for the benefit of ALL its inhabitants and will implement the Prophetic ideals of liberty and justice. We pray that they will live in harmony and in peace with one another and with their neighbours.
The siege of Gaza imposed by the State of Israel, the continual military attacks on Gaza and the occupation of Palestine make a mockery of our prayers and our dreams. As British Jews, we ask the Israeli leadership to listen to our prayers and to turn away from the path of violence in the certain hope that this is the only way that a lasting and genuine peace can be achieved. We are delighted by news of the ceasefire and hope this is a first step in the path towards a just peace.
We are delighted that the UN voted overwhelmingly to recognise Palestine as the world's 194th state. As Uri Avnery, Israel’s leading voice for peace, said, “The resolution adopted by the same forum 65 years ago to the day, to partition historical Palestine between a Jewish and an Arab state, has at long last been reaffirmed. The quest for peace based on the co-existence between Israel and Palestine has taken a big step forwards.” We celebrate this victory for the Palestinian people, for peace and ultimately, we believe for Jewish communities in Israel and around the world. We know that the Palestinian people's journey to freedom is far from over. But this is a powerful step in the right direction.
Lisa Saffron
Sheila Yeger