Jews of Conscience Speaking Out on Brutality to Palestinians

We have been meditating on Teilhard’s teaching that not only is God Love but also “the world is Love.”  We have brought Thomas Aquinas, Julian of Norwich, Ernesto Cardinale and others into the conversation as well.

“Anyone who hurts me, I will hurt him back. The concept of proportionality must cease to exist.” – Israeli Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir. Study of Israel’s ultra-nationalist movement. Channel 4 News

But often the news tells us that humans are very far from love and loving—a huge gap exists between a loving universe and human history.  Humans frequently choose hating to love and busy ourselves with  creating ecocide, genocide, sadism and death. 

Wars in Gaza, Sudan and Ukraine today bear witness to this folly and how far Jesus’ prayer to be “compassionate like God is” and to “bring heaven to earth” is from everyday reality.

For this reason I rejoice at the “Declaration of Collective Atonement on the Part of Jews of Conscience”* that was recently shared by the Foundation for Ethics and Meaning and dedicated to Rabbi Michael Lerner and Peter Gabel, both of whom I am proud to call my friends and co-workers.

Breaking Points reporters Ryan Grim and Emily Jashinsky cover UK citizens withholding taxes in protest against their government’s support for the Israeli bombardment of Gaza. A similar movement is growing in the US. 

I offer it here for your meditation that supports your action of bringing love-justice into the world.

We are heartsick to the core about all the tens of thousands of precious lives being lost right now in Gaza, so many of them children who had their whole lives in front of them. We despair as well over the precious lives of Israelis, brutally terrorized, murdered, and taken hostage on October 7th. We deeply bemoan all the countless losses, traumas, indignities, acts of dehumanization, humiliation, oppression, terror, and violence that Palestinian and Jewish people have suffered, not just since October 7th, but in the century since this far too long-standing conflict began.

Actress Miriam Margolyes has condemned Israel’s action in Gaza stating “Hitler has won.” The Independent

To the Palestinian people specifically: words cannot adequately convey how profoundly sorry we are, as Jews, for the role our people have played in all the lands that you’ve lost, the houses you’ve had to involuntarily abandon or witness being bulldozed or otherwise demolished, the family members from whom you’ve been separated, the indignities you’ve experienced by being shamelessly insulted, the honor you’ve seen demeaned, the sovereignty over home, body and life that has been violated, the national identity you’ve seen denied, the limbs you’ve had severed, and, most of all, the far too many sacred lives of loved ones you’ve lost—all in the course of this unbearably costly struggle between our two peoples…. 

To be continued

*See “A Declaration of Collective Atonement on the Part of Jews of Conscience” at The Shalom Center.

See Mathew Fox, A Spirituality Named Compassion.

And Fox, Original Blessing.

And Fox, Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth.

Banner Image: Jewish Voice for Peace and If Not Now mobilize over 1,000 Jews and allies to shut down Hollywood Blvd. to protest Israeli genocide in Gaza and Hollywood’s role in dehumanizing Muslims, 11/2023. Photo by MarcyWinograd on Wikimedia Commons

Queries for Contemplation

Are you moved by this Declaration of Jews of Conscience?  Moved to act and do more from your heart and moral outrage?  How do you intend to do that?

Recommended Reading

A Spirituality Named Compassion: Uniting Mystical Awareness with Social Justice

In A Spirituality Named Compassion, Matthew Fox delivers a profound exploration of the meaning and practice of compassion. Establishing a spirituality for the future that promises personal, social, and global healing, Fox marries mysticism with social justice, leading the way toward a gentler and more ecological spirituality and an acceptance of our interdependence which is the substratum of all compassionate activity.
“Well worth our deepest consideration…Puts compassion into its proper focus after centuries of neglect.” –The Catholic Register

Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality

Matthew Fox lays out a whole new direction for Christianity—a direction that is in fact very ancient and very grounded in Jewish thinking (the fact that Jesus was a Jew is often neglected by Christian theology): the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality, the Vias Positiva, Negativa, Creativa and Transformativa in an extended and deeply developed way.
Original Blessing makes available to the Christian world and to the human community a radical cure for all dark and derogatory views of the natural world wherever these may have originated.” –Thomas Berry, author, The Dream of the Earth; The Great Work; co-author, The Universe Story

Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth

Fox’s spirituality weds the healing and liberation found in North American Creation Spirituality and in South American Liberation Theology. Creation Spirituality challenges readers of every religious and political persuasion to unite in a new vision through which we learn to honor the earth and the people who inhabit it as the gift of a good and just Creator.
“A watershed theological work that offers a common ground for religious seekers and activists of all stripes.” — Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.

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8 thoughts on “Jews of Conscience Speaking Out on Brutality to Palestinians”

  1. Avatar

    Right from the start of the original attack on October 7 2023 to this day , all of the atrocities described have been taking place. In today’s cancel culture our views and opinions of the actions of ‘the current Israeli government in power’ have been purposely and masterfully misconstrued by the ‘woke’ and political groups alike, as antisemitic.

    At the same time as the ‘Jews of Conscience’ are protesting for all of their ‘celebrated reasons’, U.S.C. Cancels Valedictorian’s Speech After Pro-Israel Groups Object. The university cited security concerns at the graduation. But the student, who is Muslim, said the school was “succumbing to a campaign of hate meant to silence my voice.”

    On May 26, 2016, the 31 member states of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), of which the United States is a member, adopted a non-legally binding “working definition” of antisemitism at its plenary in Bucharest. An excerpt defines an exclusion as set-out below –
    “Manifestations might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.”

    Atrocities will continue to reign as long as ‘voices are silenced’ or they are only heard long after action should have taken place. — BB.

  2. Avatar

    Thank you so much for sharing the stirring words from the Declaration of Jews of Conscience!

    I intend to keep praying for the Great Spirit of Love to give courage, wisdom and guidance to all of us who yearn deeply for a permanent ceasefire now and a just and kind peace for Palestinians and Jewish people in the Holy Land. I plan to keep using my pastoral gifts, words, music, worship, nonviolent protest, dedication to deep listening, playfulness, artistry, solitude, learning, and life in community to do my part to be a fruitful sister in the struggle for justice and kindness for Palestine, Israel and every single creature of God, including the war-torn air, air, water, plants, and animals. Precious Lord, take my hand. Take our hands, precious interfaith, interdoubt God. .

  3. Avatar
    Martina Nicholson

    Thank you for this beautiful prayer. My son said to me yesterday, that after a war there are two sides who finally shake hands, and all the people who died remain dead.
    We need so much to get beyond war as a tool for problem-solving. We need to get to where we can actually try to reason things out among ourselves, and come to some win-win solutions, without violence and where we do not discount other’s opinions or disrespect them, but simply agree on the best answer we can cooperatively come up with. In the 12 Steps, this is called “group conscience”. It is a tenet of the program that we can work things out together, and that the Higher Power works THROUGH this process to help us find the best answer we can. It is the best evidence that the Higher Power truly exists and works through our cooperative efforts!

  4. Avatar

    As a Circle Dance teacher of 20 years I have a large collection of dances from Israel and Palestine in my repertoire. My group decided that they would continue dancing to this beautiful music and hold a space for healing for all the peoples being affected by the war. In the centre piece were Olive wood carvings made by Christian Palestinians living in Jerusalem.
    A relatively small offering given from big hearts.

  5. Avatar

    Flood the President and Congress people with calls, letters, e-mails., etc. to stop sending arms to Israel and to pressure the Israeli government and the Palestinian representatives to work toward peace. There are no winners here, no one has the high ground.

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