US Jews speak out

A relative of 18-month-old Palestinian baby Ali Dawabsheh, who was killed after his family's house was set on fire in a suspected attack by Jewish extremists, mourns over his body during his funeral in Duma (photo credit: REUTERS)
A relative of 18-month-old Palestinian baby Ali Dawabsheh, who was killed after his family's house was set on fire in a suspected attack by Jewish extremists, mourns over his body during his funeral in Duma
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Following the atrocious attack in Duma on Friday in which 18-month-old Ali Dawabsha was burned to death, heads of American Jewish organizations have called on Israel to rein in Jewish extremists.
Such acts of violence reflect badly on Israel’s image in the world. This seems to be the message that the heads of these American organizations want our leaders to internalize. It is also the message the heads of these organizations want Americans to know that they are making to Israeli leaders.
While the vast majority of Israelis categorically reject terrorism, incidents like the Duma attack harm Israel. And because American Jews are identified with the Jewish state, they feel the need to speak out.
As a result, heads of Jewish organizations are, understandably, publicly distancing themselves from Jewish terrorism.
And they are doing it by calling on Israel to take action against Jewish extremists.
Stephen Greenberg, chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman and CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said that extremist attacks “must be met with determined action to prevent violence, apprehend perpetrators, and hold to account those who engage in incitement.”
They also “expressed their profound sorrow to the Dawabsha family on the death of their child, Ali Saad Dawabsha.”
AIPAC said in a statement condemning the attack and expressing condolences to the Dawabsha family that “terror – whatever the source – must be given no quarter.” The statement went on to say that “the deliberate and heinous targeting and murder of innocents cannot be tolerated.”
American Jewish Committee executive director David Harris said, “Whoever carried out this appalling deed must be apprehended and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and additional steps must be taken in an effort to prevent any future such attacks.”
The Anti-Defamation League condemned what it called the “shocking terror attack” in a statement.
“For seven years, extremists have perpetrated acts of violence and hate, targeting mosques, churches, and private property. Now these unacceptable acts of hatred and unbridled zealotry have resulted in the murder of an innocent child,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL national director, and Carole Nuriel, director of ADL’s Israel Office.
“Expressions of outrage are no longer enough. The perpetrators of these crimes need to face specific, enhanced consequences for these despicable acts of hate and terrorism.
Community and religious leaders must make unquestionably clear that any act of hate and violence is unacceptable, un-Jewish, and that anyone involved in such incidents will be shunned by the community, let alone prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” they stressed.
“Such a heinous act offends all people of good will and violates basic Jewish values,” the Orthodox Union said in a statement. “We commend Prime Minister Netanyahu for his unequivocal repudiation of this act and his commitment to bring the perpetrators to justice.”
The American Jewish Congress said Jerusalem must develop policies to prevent such acts by Jewish terrorists, adding that the welfare of the state depends on it, as does the possibility of achieving a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians.
“Both Israelis and Palestinians must act strongly to rid their societies of extremist violence, which has taken the lives of too many innocents on both sides, and which poisons the waters for the majorities that long for an end to this conflict,” said AJC president Jack Rosen.
The truth is that Israeli leaders know all this without the reminders issued by these groups. Representatives of every political party in Israel have denounced Jewish terrorism.
In addition to the far-reaching powers already entrusted to our police and security forces – such as wide use of administrative detention, surveillance, and search warrants – the security cabinet on Sunday authorized additional powers to enable them to crush this phenomenon.
American Jewish leaders have achieved their goal of conveying a message to Americans, Israelis, and the world that American Jews are strongly opposed to the crimes of hatred perpetrated in Israel in recent days by extremist elements in the name of a warped interpretation of Judaism.
As the prime minister made clear in his conversation with American Jews on Tuesday night, Israel is spearheading this battle. Now, perhaps more than ever, it needs support from US Jewish groups in this endeavor.