I am not a religious Jew, and yet this morning I found myself instinctively reciting the Mourner’s Kaddish—the Jewish prayer for the dead—for all the lives—young, old, mothers, fathers, children, lovers, Palestinians, Israelis, Americans, Muslims, Jews, Christians—lost on this horrific weekend. And for the much greater loss of life that I fear is yet to come.
I speak as a member of Jewish Voice for Peace of Northern NJ. While we empathize with the Palestinian desire to fight back, to turn the Jewish phrase ‘Never again’ back on their oppressors, we believe killing civilians is wrong whether they are Palestinian or Israeli. But we also believe Israel is wrong: inhuman, cold, cruel, indifferent to the pain it causes. Its policies of ongoing oppression and apartheid are deeply unjust.
A cousin of mine wrote on Facebook this morning that she is trying to breathe with Israel. I am trying to breathe with Palestine. And to tell my fellow Americans, and especially my fellow Jews, that these paroxysms of violence will not end until Israel’s occupation and dispossession of Palestinians ends, and those evils will continue as long as our government keeps supporting them.