March 4, 2024


NEW YORK: Dozens of American rabbis disrupted a gathering of the UN Basic Meeting in New York on Tuesday to demand that Washington stops stopping the UN Safety Council from taking pressing motion in assist of an instantaneous and everlasting ceasefire in Gaza.

Throughout their protest — led by the group Rabbis 4 Ceasefire and co-organized by Jews for Racial and Financial Justice, Jewish Voice for Peace, and IfNotNow — the 36 rabbis, who got here from a number of states, sang, prayed, recited excerpts from the UN Declaration of Human Rights and staged a memorial service. They carried banners that learn “Biden: The World Says Ceasefire” and referred to as on the US president to “cease vetoing peace.”

After they have been escorted from the premises by safety employees, they held a press convention exterior the UN. Rabbi Alissa Smart, the founding father of Rabbis 4 Ceasefire, mentioned they’ve been watching in horror because the US authorities has “single-handedly blocked efforts to cease Israel’s bombing and hunger of Gaza.”

She added: “We all know there is no such thing as a army answer to this violence. We’re praying right here as a result of the UN is the place significant, diplomatic motion to cease the violence can happen, and since prayer is how we, as rabbis, know learn how to specific our fears, desires, hopes and despair.”

Rabbi Abby Stein, a member of Jews For Racial and Financial Justice, mentioned the UN was created within the aftermath of the Second World Struggle and the Nazi Holocaust that focused Jewish folks, with the intention of making certain that such an atrocity would by no means occur once more.

“I’m right here as a Jew, as an ordained rabbi, because the granddaughter of three Holocaust survivors, to induce the UN to observe by way of on this noble mission,” she mentioned. “‘By no means once more’ means by no means once more for anybody.”

Rabbi Elliot Kukla mentioned: “The US is defending the indefensible at a Basic Meeting, utilizing its veto energy to single-handedly block the UN from taking significant motion for a ceasefire.

“I’m right here as a rabbi as a result of Jewish custom calls for that we do the whole lot in our energy to avoid wasting lives, which suggests getting humanitarian help to Palestinians who’re being displaced, are ravenous and have nowhere protected to shelter as bombs rain down.

“Our authorities refuses to signify this overwhelmingly in style demand; we got here right here on to signify ourselves and our Jewish values.”

Tuesday’s assembly got here after the US vetoed a proposal by Russia to amend a Safety Council decision to incorporate a name for a ceasefire in Gaza.

On Dec. 22, the council adopted a decision, drafted by the UAE, calling for elevated help to the Gaza Strip, together with pressing steps together with protected, unhindered and expanded humanitarian entry to the territory. The US abstained from the vote among the many 15-member council however didn’t use its energy of veto and so the decision was adopted.

Russia had proposed an modification to the decision calling for “an pressing and sustainable cessation of hostilities.” The US vetoed this proposed change.

A Basic Meeting decision dictates that at any time when a member of the Safety Council makes use of its energy of veto, it triggers a gathering and debate within the meeting to scrutinize and focus on the transfer.

Robert Wooden, the US deputy everlasting consultant to the UN, mentioned that though the US had abstained from voting, it had nonetheless labored “in good religion” to assist forge a robust decision.

“This work helps the direct diplomacy the US is engaged in to get extra humanitarian help into Gaza and to assist get hostages out of Gaza,” he added.

Alluding to the Russian modification, Wooden accused Moscow of placing ahead concepts that have been “disconnected from the state of affairs on the bottom.”

He mentioned it was “deeply troubling that so many member states appear to have stopped speaking concerning the plight of the greater than 100 hostages being held by Hamas and different teams. America stays dedicated to bringing all the hostages residence. Each single one.”

He added: “Additionally it is putting that whilst we hear many international locations urging the top to this battle, which we might all prefer to see, we hear only a few calls for of the initiator of this battle — Hamas — to cease hiding behind civilians, lay down its arms and give up.

“This may have been over if Hamas’s leaders had completed that. It could be good if there was a robust worldwide voice urgent Hamas’s leaders to do what is critical to finish the battle that they set in movement on Oct. 7.”

Riyad Mansour, the everlasting observer of the State of Palestine to the UN, mentioned he stood earlier than the Basic Meeting “representing a folks being slaughtered, with households killed of their entirety, women and men shot within the streets, 1000’s kidnapped, tortured and humiliated, kids killed, amputated, orphaned — scarred for all times.”

It’s incomprehensible, he added, that the Safety Council remains to be being prevented from calling for an instantaneous humanitarian ceasefire regardless that 153 member states within the Basic Meeting, and the UN’s secretary-general, had referred to as for precisely that.

Israel’s “battle of atrocities” is with out precedent in fashionable historical past, Mansour mentioned. “This isn’t about Israeli safety, that is about Palestine’s destruction,” he continued. “The pursuits and goals of this extremist Israeli authorities are clear, and incompatible with the pursuits and goals of any nation that helps worldwide legislation and peace”

He requested: “How will you reconcile opposing the atrocities and vetoing a name to finish the battle that’s resulting in their fee?”

Known as for “this schizophrenia” to cease, he added: “Don’t name for peace and unfold hearth. If you’d like peace, begin with a ceasefire. Now.”

Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, denounced the requires a ceasefire whereas Israeli hostages are nonetheless held captive.

“How morally bankrupt has this physique turn into?” ha requested. He mentioned that “regardless of the UN’s ethical rot,” the residents of Israel are resilient, with the religion, hope and unbreakable resolve to defend themselves.

He accused the UN of ignoring the Israeli victims of the battle, caring solely about Gazans, and turning into “an confederate to terrorists,” and mentioned the group had misplaced the justification for its existence.

The UN “has been obsessed solely with the well-being of individuals in Gaza,” those that put Hamas in energy and supported the group’s atrocities, Erdan mentioned, including: “You ignore all Israeli victims.”

Russia’s deputy everlasting consultant to the UN, Anna Evstigneeva, mentioned that when Washington it used its veto within the Safety Council on Dec. 22, it was responsible of taking part in an “unscrupulous recreation” in its makes an attempt to guard Israel over its actions in Gaza.

She mentioned that by way of the usage of blackmail and arm-twisting, the US had given Israel a license to hold on killing Palestinians and its blessing to “the continuing extermination of the Gazans,” which was why Moscow had proposed its modification.