Thursday, December 14, 2017

Speech at Hands Off Jerusalem Rally

I was asked to speak on December 5, 2017 by the organizers of an emergency rally to protest the announcement of the intention to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, and declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Here is the text of my speech as well as the video from the event.

I am a human rights activist. I am a Jewish person. I am a global citizen. But most of all I am someone who wants to see peace for all peoples of the world. The world became a more dangerous place this past week, and we cannot sit idly by.

The decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is nothing less than an act of war, a provocative move that will further destabilize the region and result in unnecessary and inhumane suffering.

It is a decision that is being criticized by people from all three Abrahamic faiths. This is no surprise since Jerusalem is an international city that is sacred to Muslims, Jews, and Christians in Israel, Palestine, and around the world. Resolution 476 of the United Nations Security Council says that altering the character and state of Jerusalem is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention and has no legal validity.

Such a move will only deepen the oppression of the Palestinian people by giving the Israeli government a clear signal that the US will continue to support and aid the immoral and illegal occupation of Palestine. It will do nothing to achieve a just and lasting peace in Palestine and Israel. Demonstrations have already been happening in the West Bank. Festive lights are being dimmed and seasonal celebrations are being cancelled in Bethlehem, which is the occupied West Bank town where, according to the Christian faith, Jesus was born.

Today is the United Nations' Human Rights Day. How appropriate that we gather here to protest how both Palestinians and Israelis – the majority of whom want peace for themselves and their children – are being used as political pawns. In Judaism, we have a value called Tikkun Olam, which means to heal or repair the world. We cannot support that which will further tear the world apart. In the name of a just and lasting peace, we must say no to the US embassy in Jerusalem, and an end to the occupation.

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