Interfaith activists mourn flotilla victims

“The blockade of Gaza is not tenable. It doesn’t enhance the Israel's security or, certainly, that of the Palestinian people," a Rabbi said.

WASHINGTON – Close to 150 interfaith activists gathered across from the White House Sunday to commemorate those who lost their lives in the Gaza flotilla raid and urge US President Barack Obama to press for peace.
Led by Rabbi Michael Lerner, the crowd sang the refrain from Isaiah 2.4 at the gate of the White House, urging that “Nations shall learn war no more.”
“We know he believes in these fundamental principles,” Lerner said of Obama, but that he needed to be encouraged to adhere to the path of change he espoused in his campaign.
The rally, held on the final day of the national conference of the Network of Spiritual Progressives which Lerner heads, featured prayers of mourning and remarks from Jewish, Muslim and Christian speakers.
The deadline flotilla incident – in which Israeli commandos killed nine Turkish activists on a boat trying to break the Gaza blockade – was mentioned several times, but the message of the demonstration was broader, and included remembrances for all the victims of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.
Crowd member Michael Feinberg, a New York Reconstructionist rabbi, said it was important that the White House show more leadership when it comes to the peace process.
“We really demand a peace settlement,” he said, adding that when it comes to Israel’s policy on Gaza, “the blockade of Gaza is not tenable. It doesn’t enhance the security of the State of Israel or, certainly, that of the Palestinian people. Another approach has to be taken.”