In a strongly-worded letter sent to leaders of the Reform Judaism Movement, Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), representing over 2,500 traditional, Orthodox rabbis in matters of public policy, rebuked the Reform leaders for calling for a “humanitarian pause” in Gaza. The rabbis said such a pause would be “anything but humanitarian,” as it would cause further pain to those currently held hostage and their families, and would enable Hamas to regroup and “murder more Jewish soldiers when the fighting resumed.”
Late last week, a joint statement was published by the leaders of the Union for Reform Judaism, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and the American Conference of Cantors, saying that despite their pain that Israel was “burying the over 1400 people murdered by Hamas,” and that “220… continue to be held as hostages,” they “cannot ignore the tremendous toll this is taking on innocent civilians in Gaza.” For this reason, they said, they “join in calls… For Israel to implement a humanitarian pause to ensure that food, water, medicine, and other humanitarian aid can flow more quickly into Gaza.”
CJV quoted current U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who said a ceasefire would allow Hamas “to remain where it is and potentially allow it to repeat.” His predecessor from early in the Obama Administration, Hillary Clinton, said in a TV interview this week that it would be “a gift” to the terrorists, and that those calling for such a ceasefire “do not understand Hamas.”
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Yesterday President Biden also called for a “humanitarian pause”—but to get the hostages out, not for supplies to come in. The rabbis accused the Reform leaders of spending far more time “telling the family, neighbors, and friends of massacred Jews how they should treat the family, neighbors, and friends of the terrorists” than mentioning the atrocities committed or the pain of the families of the over 240 hostages. They said the IDF “does not need the advice of Americans sitting comfortably in their homes on how to behave like a First World Army.”
CJV called attention to Reform leaders’ frequent claim to speak for “Diaspora Jewry,” and said it was incumbent upon them, like all Jewish organizations, “to prioritize Israel and the safety of Jews first, foremost, and indeed uniquely in our thoughts.” And, they concluded, “If you cannot bring yourselves to speak for the rights of Jews victimized by in human barbarians without equivocation, it would be best to say nothing at all.”