Mar 16, 2010
The Rabbinical Council of America wishes to express its astonishment and dismay at the ongoing response of our elected leaders to the recent announcement by Israel of plans to continue building in a Jerusalem neighborhood.
The construction in Jerusalem will take place in accordance with the policies of every past Israeli administration, and in fulfillment of the existing policies of the current one.
Some may question the wisdom of Israel's decision to proceed at this time with this long-planned project. Some may find fault with the timing of its announcement, coming during a sensitive visit to Israel by the Vice President, himself a long-time friend of Israel and the Jewish people. Some may even doubt Israel's right to expand the neighborhoods of a united Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel.
But none of that can explain the disproportionate, extraordinary, and unwarranted response by some spokesmen of the Obama administration in excoriating, condemning, and publicly lashing out at the duly elected representatives of the sovereign State of Israel.
There is no justification, neither on moral nor on diplomatic grounds, for escalating this policy disagreement into what some in the administration have called (to quote just one such phrase) "an affront to America." This, even after the Prime Minister of Israel, in unmatched fashion, issued a public apology to the government of the United States.
Compared to the repeated incitements by leaders of the Palestinian Authority to mass murder of innocent civilians; compared to last week's official Palestinian adulation of bloody terrorists; and compared to the refusal by the Palestinian Authority to hold direct face to face talks to advance the American-sponsored peace process without preconditions, the US response to Israel's announcement is difficult to fathom. The public lashing by the United States of its most dependable ally and friend in the Middle East, in response to a decision to expand a neighborhood in its capital city, is a sad betrayal of the promises and understandings, as well as shared values, that have characterized US-Israel relations since 1948, and that were so-well articulated by Vice President Biden.
We add our voices to the many that urge the government of our great country to desist from this inappropriate treatment of a proven democratic ally and partner.
As the largest Orthodox rabbinical association in the world, we pray, as we do publicly in our synagogues every Sabbath and Jewish holiday, that God grant President Obama, as well as his advisors and his counselors, the wisdom and insight to discern and pursue true paths of peace, to distinguish between the proven friends and allies of these United States - and those who, in denying Israel's right to live in security and peace as a Jewish State, would undermine not just Israel, but the interests of the United States itself.