Major and leading Jewish organisations in the United States have condemned Jewish settlers’ recent pogrom attacks on Palestinian towns and villages in the Occupied West Bank, in a rare show of strength from the American Jewish community against actions of illegal settlers.
After two Israelis were shot and killed in their car near Huwara in the Occupied West Bank, settlers rampaged through the town and surrounding villages on Sunday, setting fire to houses and cars and terrorising the population. One Palestinian was reported to have been killed in the attacks, with over a hundred others injured.
Following the attacks, Rabbi Moshe Hauer, the Orthodox Union’s Executive Vice President, asked “How can such a thing happen? How could it come to this, that Jewish young men should ransack and burn homes and cars?” In his statement, he said that “We can appreciate the frustration with the ongoing attacks on Jews and the lack of a decisive and effective army response. But we cannot understand or accept this.”
Hauer exclaimed that “attacking a village does not deserve to be called ‘taking the law into your own hands’. This is not the law; this is undisciplined and random fury … actions like these demonstrate the critical need for clear and strong leadership.”
The Rabbi maintained that Israeli authorities must “speak consistently and clearly, pledging security and a decisive response to those who commit acts of terror and violence against Jews, but absolutely condemning and decrying indiscriminate violence committed by Jews against anyone, anywhere. What happened must never, ever happen again.”
Another organisation, the International Association of Conservative or Masorti rabbis called the Rabbinical Assembly, issued its own condemnation which stated that, while it is committed to Zionism and Israel, “we are deeply disturbed by the acts of terror, vandalism and violence supposedly carried out in the name of Israel or of God. These actions both harm Jewish sovereignty and constitute a danger to the existence of the Jewish state”.
It added that “We expect our government, the IDF [Israeli military] and the police to act to prevent harm to people and to property, and to try any person who has chosen to harm another person. The Holy One created all of humanity in the Divine Image, and every person must act to increase the Divine Presence in our world.”
Another organisation which condemned the pogrom attacks was the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organisations, of which its Chair, Dianne Lob, and CEO, William Daroff, stated that they are “appalled and shocked by the retaliatory riots and outbreaks of violence directed at Palestinians in Huwara.”
They asserted that “there is no excuse for lawless vigilantism. These criminal acts of violence and vandalism harm Jewish sovereignty and Israel’s relationship with the global Jewish diaspora.” They called on “Knesset members to join President Herzog and Prime Minister Netanyahu in speaking out against these attacks, while pursuing a peaceful resolution. We have the utmost confidence that the IDF and Israeli police will undoubtedly bring the terrorists to justice and prosecute them to the full extent of the law.”