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Rabbinical students urge US Jews to hold Israel accountable for ‘rights abuses’

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JTA — Dozens of American rabbinical students have issued a public letter accusing Israel of apartheid and calling on American Jewish communities to hold Israel accountable for the “violent suppression of human rights.”

The letter comes as Israel is engaged in an intense exchange of fire with Hamas, the terror group that controls the Gaza Strip, in which 10 Israelis and more than 100 Palestinians have been killed. Israel is facing fierce criticism from US progressive politicians and activists for its airstrikes on Gaza in response to Hamas rockets. Alongside the bombing, Israel has been shaken by days of clashes between Arabs and Jews across the country.

The letter is unusual for its stark criticism of Israel and the Jewish community — a community that the signatories will represent upon ordination. It is also a landmark collaboration across American seminaries: Nearly 90 rabbinical students had signed by Friday morning, representing a significant portion of students who are enrolled now in the country’s non-Orthodox rabbinical schools. No students in Orthodox seminaries have signed.

“Our political advocacy too often puts forth a narrative of victimization, but supports violent suppression of human rights and enables apartheid in the Palestinian territories, and the threat of annexation,” the letter says. “How many Palestinians must lose their homes, their schools, their lives, for us to understand that today, in 2021, Israel’s choices come from a place of power and that Israel’s actions constitute an intentional removal of Palestinians?”

Frankie Sandmel, a rabbinical student at Hebrew College, a nondenominational school in suburban Boston, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the........

© The Times of Israel

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