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Letter of Response to Tikkun

April 30, 2007

 

Rabbi Michael Lerner

Tikkun Community

2342 Shattuck Avenue #1200

Berkeley, CA 94704

 

Dear Rabbi Lerner,

 

On behalf of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and United for Peace and Justice, we are writing to reassert our position and vision for the mobilization that our coalitions are organizing in Washington, DC on June 10-11 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Israel’s illegal military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem.  We also would like to express our profound disappointment with your mischaracterizations of the June 10th and 11th actions. In an introductory note that you wrote to an article by Uri Avnery, entitled “How the Anti-Israel Left Helps Perpetuate the Occupation”, you state that “many” of the organizers of this mobilization are united around the “dissolution of the State of Israel”.

 

First of all, as you are likely aware, both of our coalitions are working to end those very US policies that support and sustain Israel’s military occupation.  Neither the US Campaign nor UFPJ prescribe any particular political resolution for the Israel/Palestine conflict.  That is because we believe that as US-based coalitions, we need to focus our efforts not on dictating to Palestinians and Israelis how to end the occupation and create a just, lasting and comprehensive peace, but rather on building a movement to reorient our own country’s foreign policy so that it supports a just peace based on human rights, international law, and equal rights for all. We take great offense at your implication that our coalitions are helping to perpetuate Israel’s military occupation. 

 

Second, your claim that “many” of the organizers of the mobilization are united around the “dissolution of the State of Israel” is inaccurate.  As you are likely aware, the only principles upon which the more than 200 endorsing organizations are united on are:

 

* An end to US military, economic, diplomatic, and corporate support for Israel’s illegal military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem.

 

* A change in US policy to one that supports a just peace between Palestinians and Israelis based on equality, human rights and international law, and the full implementation of all relevant UN resolutions.

 

These are the exact same points of unity with which we approached Tikkun back in December 2006 to see if your organization would have liked then to have joined the US Campaign and UFPJ as an original endorsing organization of this mobilization.  You were even given the opportunity to provide feedback before the call to action went public; however, Tikkun declined to participate.

 

We are concerned that a leader of a progressive spiritual movement would choose to interpret these broadly supported political demands as a call for the “dissolution of the State of Israel.”  It is particularly ironic because powerful organizations on the pro-Israeli right—those organizations which actually are working to perpetuate Israel’s military occupation—do not even go so far in their condemnations of this mobilization.  For example, the “Anti-Defamation League” states only that they are concerned that we will not provide a “balanced view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict” during the mobilization.  Why you feel the need to outdo the ADL in your condemnation of our effort is beyond our understanding.   

 

It is a real shame that Tikkun continues to sit on its hands “discussing how to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Occupation of the West Bank” rather than join with the US Campaign and UFPJ to make that commemoration a powerful and real protest against continuing US support for occupation.  We believe that Tikkun should help build up this historic mobilization, rather than try to tear it down.  We believe Tikkun should in fact put its own Core Vision to action when it states that the United States should use its “influence and economic power” to end Israel’s military occupation and that “We will support efforts to convince the United States to condition aid to Israel on the end of the Occupation.”

 

Several Tikkun chapters have already endorsed this mobilization and several Tikkun supporters have copied one of us on email communications with you that urged you to retract your false statements about our mobilization and instead join with us to make it a success.  We hope that you take this opportunity to do so and that we can all unite on June 10-11 in Washington, DC to end US support for Israel’s illegal military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip, and change US policy to support a just peace based on human rights and international law.

 

Sincerely yours,


Josh Ruebner

Grassroots Advocacy Coordinator

US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

Leslie Cagan

National Coordinator

United for Peace and Justice