Criticism of clergy’s open letter to Summer Lee
I am a Jew, a Zionist and mom to a daughter married to a sabra and who made aliyah.
I, like all Jews, remain horrified and anguished in the wake of Hamas’ condemnable massacre. Those actions were beyond unambiguously deplorable. Unquestionably, Israel must take appropriate measures to destroy Hamas’ ability to repeat its monstrous crimes.
It is also unbearably painful to me that most of the 2.3 million Gazans, like every murdered, injured and kidnapped Israeli, are innocent human beings. I am heartbroken that a reported 10,000 Palestinians, including 4,000 children, already killed in the resulting war did not deserve to die. It is alarming and reprehensible to me that blameless Gazans have been deprived of all basic necessities of life for weeks, and face continued unimaginable suffering and death as a result of the Israeli war.
My profound distress about these Palestinian civilians, victims of both Hamas’ and Israel’s actions, arises precisely because I am a Jew and a Zionist. My faith and my heritage compel me to stand against violence and engage in tikkun olam and tzedek on behalf of all humans, not simply the Jewish people.
Thus, I was dismayed that many of Pittsburgh’s Jewish clergy publicly criticized Rep. Summer Lee simply because she expressed both that Hamas must be condemned and that the Israeli military engagement must cease.
I am deeply disheartened that, while objecting to Rep. Lee’s plea to end the continuing military assaults against civilian Gazans, the clergy’s letter failed to acknowledge the unjust suffering of, or any concern for, the innocent Palestinians who have been relentlessly attacked, killed, injured and deprived of life’s necessities since Oct. 7.
Rep. Lee’s call to cease Israeli military aggression, even if only temporary, has gained the support of a growing number of other members of Congress.
In a recent letter to Secretary of State Blinken, nearly 60 Democratic representatives and senators, including six Jews, urged Blinken to “welcome President Biden’s recent call for a short-term cessation of hostilities.”
These expressions do not differ significantly from Rep. Lee’s own pronounced condemnation of Hamas and support and concern for the citizens of both Israel and Gaza.
Contrary to Rabbi Fellman, the increasing entreaties from the Biden administration and Congress — as well as from the American and world public — for Israel’s temporary suspensions of hostilities to allow humanitarian organizations meaningful opportunity to address the urgent needs of the suffering and increasingly desperate Gazan community, clearly do not reflect that politicians who express such concerns for those human beings are “not representing their constituents.”
Rather, concern for both innocent Israelis and innocent Palestinians and support for all possible efforts to reach a just resolution of this horrendous crisis with as little additional death and destruction as possible, are precisely what, as a Jew and a Zionist, I appeal to the Pittsburgh Jewish clergy to advocate for, rather than engage in criticism against a congresswoman who attempted to do just that.
Eileen D. Yacknin
Kudos to Fetterman
Given his ideology as a progressive Democrat, the posture of U.S. Sen. John Fetterman vis-a-vis Israel and its need for self-defense was uncertain.
It is most gratifying that the senator has split from the extreme wing of the Democratic Party by offering a full-throated defense of Israel and support for its need to destroy Hamas following the savagery and barbarism which was inflicted on our ally and its innocent civilians on a day of infamy, Oct 7.
Those who are calling for an immediate ceasefire are either naive or have no regard for Israel’s security.
If a ceasefire were to take place now, Hamas would be able to strengthen and regroup. We should bear in mind that it has pledged to repeat what it perpetrated against Israel last month. That cannot be allowed to happen.
Every death, injury and displacement that has been inflicted from this conflict can be laid at the feet of the terrorists who could not care less about Israeli and Palestinian civilians.
Thank you, Sen. Fetterman, for being on the right side in this struggle for Israel’s survival.