Local Jewish Organization Releases Statements by Breaking the Silence, IfNotNow, The Ha'aretz Editorial Board and Jewish Voice for Peace on the Violence that has engulfed Israel and Gaza.

Some Members of the Jewish Community of Portland Oregon

For Immediate Release
October 8, 2023

Local Jewish Organization Releases Statements by Breaking the Silence,
IfNotNow, The Ha'aretz Editorial Board and Jewish Voice for Peace on the
Violence that has engulfed Israel and Gaza.

As members of the Jewish Community of Portland, Oregon, we are sharing with
the local news media statements that reflect urgently needed critical
perspectives on the explosion of violence and massive loss of live that we
have witnessed in Israel and Gaza since Saturday morning.  We urge local
reporters and editors to include these perspective in their coverage as the
full scope of this terrible violence and aftermath unfolds.

Breaking the Silence (https://www.breakingthesilence.org.il/)

Hamas's attack and the events unfolding since yesterday are unspeakable. We
are heartbroken to watch terrified civilians besieged in their homes,
innocent people murdered in cold blood on the streets, at parties, and at
home. Dozens taken hostage and dragged into the Gaza Strip. Every one of us
knows someone who has been tragically affected. We could go on and on about
their cruel and criminal actions, or focus on how our Jewish-supremacist
government brought us to this point. But as hard as it is, our job as former
Israeli soldiers is to talk about what we were sent to do.

Israel's security policy, for decades now, has been to "manage the
conflict". Successive Israeli governments insist on round after round of
violence as if any of it will make a difference. They talk about "security",
"deterrence", "changing the equation".

All of these are code words for bombing the Gaza Strip to a pulp, always
justified as targeting terrorists, yet always with heavy civilian
casualties. In between these rounds of violence we make life impossible for
Gazans, and then act surprised when it all boils over.

We talk about "normalization" with the UAE and now Saudi Arabia, while
hoping the world will turn a blind eye to the open-air prison we built in
our backyard. Apart from the unfathomable violation of human rights, we've
created a massive security liability for our own citizens.

The question Israelis are all asking is - where were the soldiers yesterday?
Why was the IDF seemingly absent while hundreds of Israelis were slaughtered
in their homes and on the streets? The unfortunate truth is that they were
"preoccupied". In the West Bank.

We send soldiers to secure settler incursions into the Palestinian city of
Nablus, to chase Palestinian children in Hebron, to protect settlers as they
carry out pogroms. Settlers demand that Palestinian flags are removed from
the streets of Huwara; soldiers are sent to do it.

Our country decided - decades ago - that it's willing to forfeit the
security of its citizens in our towns and cities, in favor of maintaining
control over an occupied civilian population of millions, all for the sake
of a settler-messianic agenda.

The idea that we can "manage the conflict" without ever having to solve it
is once again collapsing before our eyes. It held up until now because only
few dared to challenge it. These heartbreaking events could change that.
They must. For all of us between the river and the sea.

IfNotNow (https://www.ifnotnowmovement.org/)

We're watching the unfolding horrors with heartbreak and dread for our loved
ones - Israelis and Palestinians alike.

We cannot and will not say today's actions by Palestinian militants are
unprovoked. Every day under Israel's system of apartheid is a provocation.
The strangling siege on Gaza is a provocation. Settlers terrorizing entire
Palestinian villages, soldiers raiding and demolishing Palestinian homes,
murdering Palestinians in the streets, Israeli ministers calling for
genocide and expulsion. These are the provocations of the most extremist
right wing government in Israel's history and an emboldened fascist movement
escalating this crisis across the land.  

We absolutely condemn the killing of innocent civilians and mourn the loss
of Palestinian and Israeli life, with numbers rising by the minute. Their
blood is on the hands of the Israeli government, the US government which
funds and excuses their recklessness, and every international leader who
continues to turn a blind eye to decades of Palestinian oppression,
endangering both Palestinians and Israelis. Anyone who minimizes or ignores
this context will only continue to be surprised as more blood is shed.  

We call on our communities to reconsider the knee-jerk militarism that has
led us into this unfolding catastrophe. There is no path to a future of
safety and freedom for all Israelis and Palestinians without accountability
for this fascist government and an end to the ongoing, untenable status quo
of Israel's apartheid system.

Haaretz Editorial Team (excerpts)

The disaster that befell Israel on the holiday of Simchat Torah is the clear
responsibility of one person: Benjamin Netanyahu. The prime minister, who
has prided himself on his vast political experience and irreplaceable wisdom
in security matters, completely failed to identify the dangers he was
consciously leading Israel into when establishing a government of annexation
and dispossession, when appointing Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir to
key positions, while embracing a foreign policy that openly ignored the
existence and rights of Palestinians.
In the past, Netanyahu marketed himself as a cautious leader who eschewed
wars and multiple casualties on Israel's side. After his victory in the last
election, he replaced this caution with the policy of a "fully-right
government," with overt steps taken to annex the West Bank [haaretz.com], to
carry out ethnic cleansing in parts of the Oslo-defined Area C, including
the Hebron Hills and the Jordan Valley.

This also included a massive expansion of settlements and bolstering of the
Jewish presence on Temple Mount, near the Al-Aqsa Mosque, as well as boasts
of an impending peace deal with the Saudis in which the Palestinians would
get nothing, with open talk of a "second Nakba" in his governing coalition.
As expected, signs of an outbreak of hostilities began in the West Bank,
where Palestinians started feeling the heavier hand of the Israeli occupier.
Hamas exploited the opportunity in order to launch its surprise attack on

Jewish Voice for Peace (https://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org)

The Root of Violence Is Oppression.

Right now, Palestinians, Israelis and all of us with family on the ground
are terrified for loved ones. We grieve the lives of those already lost and
remain committed to a future where every life is precious, and all people
live in freedom and safety.  

Following 16 years of Israeli military blockade, Palestinian fighters from
Gaza launched an unprecedented assault, in which hundreds of Israelis were
killed and wounded, and civilians kidnapped. The Israeli government declared
war, launching airstrikes, killing hundreds of Palestinians and wounding
thousands, bombing residential buildings and threatening to commit war
crimes against besieged Palestinians in Gaza.

The Israeli government may have just declared war, but its war on
Palestinians started over 75 years ago. Israeli apartheid and occupation -
and United States complicity in that oppression - are the source of all this
violence. Reality is shaped by when you start the clock.

For the past year, the most racist, fundamentalist, far-right government in
Israeli history has ruthlessly escalated its military occupation over
Palestinians in the name of Jewish supremacy with violent expulsions and
home demolitions, mass killings, military raids on refugee camps,
unrelenting siege and daily humiliation. In recent weeks, Israeli forces
repeatedly stormed the holiest Muslim sites in Jerusalem.

For 16 years, the Israeli government has suffocated Palestinians in Gaza
under a draconian air, sea and land military blockade, imprisoning and
starving two million people and denying them medical aid. The Israeli
government routinely massacres Palestinians in Gaza; ten-year-olds who live
in Gaza have already been traumatized by seven major bombing campaigns in
their short lives.

For 75 years, the Israeli government has maintained a military occupation
over Palestinians, operating an apartheid regime. Palestinian children are
dragged from their beds in pre-dawn raids by Israeli soldiers and held
without charge in Israeli military prisons. Palestinians homes are torched
by mobs of Israeli settlers, or destroyed by the Israeli army. Entire
Palestinian villages are forced to flee, abandoning the homes and orchards
and land that were in their family for generations.

The bloodshed of today and the past 75 years traces back directly to U.S.
complicity in the oppression and horror caused by Israel's military
occupation. The U.S. government consistently enables Israeli violence and
bears blame for this moment. The unchecked military funding, diplomatic
cover, and billions of dollars of private money flowing from the U.S.
enables and empowers Israel's apartheid regime. Those who continue calling
for "ironclad" U.S. support for the Israeli military are only paving the
path to more violence.

From the U.S., there are no sidelines.  We will uproot complicity where we
are: we demand that the U.S. government immediately take steps to withdraw
military funding to Israel and to hold the Israeli government accountable
for its gross violations of human rights and war crimes against
Palestinians. We commit to escalating our campaigns for boycott, divestment
and sanctions to end the billions pouring into the Israeli war machine from
corporations and private foundations.

Inevitably, oppressed people everywhere will seek - and gain - their
freedom. We all deserve liberation, safety, and equality. The only way to
get there is by uprooting the sources of the violence, beginning with our
own government's complicity.


Why pro-Israel lobby group Aipac is backing election deniers and extremist Republicans

The group places support for Israel over all over considerations, endorsing extreme rightwing candidates in the midterm election

The US’s largest pro-Israel lobby group is backing dozens of racists, homophobes and election deniers running for Congress next month because they have pledged to defend Israel against stiffening criticism of its oppression of the Palestinians.

The powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac) has justified endorsing Republicans with extremist views, including members of Congress with ties to white supremacist groups and representatives who attempted to block Joe Biden’s election victory, on the grounds that the singular issue of support for Israel trumps other considerations.

But Aipac’s support for rightwing politicians has privately embarrassed some Democrats also endorsed by the powerful group and drawn accusations from more moderate pro-Israel organisations that it is attempting to stifle legitimate criticism of hardline Israeli policies.

Logan Bayroff, a spokesman for J Street, a group campaigning for Washington to take a stronger stand to end the occupation of Palestinian territories, accused Aipac of attempting to impose a narrow definition of what it is to be pro-Israel amid shifting views in Democratic ranks.

“Their actions have made clear that they view pro-Israel, pro-peace progressive Democrats as threats – and Trumpist Republicans as allies. That worldview could not be more out of touch with the vast majority of American Jews,” he said.

“Aipac may hope to silence and intimidate political leaders who believe that settlement expansion, endless conflict and permanent occupation are harmful to Israel, the Palestinian people and US interests. Ultimately, however, these common-sense views are too popular, widespread and important to be suppressed, and will continue to gain strength within American politics and among the American Jewish community.”

Aipac’s backing of extreme rightwing Republicans follows its $27m advertising campaign during the Democratic primaries to defeat candidates who spoke up for Palestinian rights, mostly with attacks over issues that had nothing to do with Israel.


Read more on The Guardian

US senators refuse to let killing of Shireen Abu Akleh drop with Israel

Click here for original document

Article on The Guardian: US senators refuse to let killing of Shireen Abu Akleh drop with Israel 

The Honorable Joseph R. Biden 

President of the United States 

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. 

Washington, DC 20500 


Dear President Biden: 

June 23, 2022 

It has now been over a month since American citizen and journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was shot to death while reporting on an Israeli military operation in the West Bank city of Jenin. Since that time, there has been no significant progress toward the establishment of an independent, thorough, and transparent investigation into her killing. We believe that, as a leader in the effort to protect the freedom of the press and the safety of journalists, and given the fact that Ms. Abu Akleh was an American citizen, the U.S. government has an obligation to ensure that a comprehensive, impartial, and open investigation into her shooting death is conducted — one in which all parties can have full confidence in the ultimate findings. 

It is clear that neither of the parties on the ground trust the other to conduct a credible and independent investigation. Therefore, at this point, we believe the only way to achieve that goal is for the United States to be directly involved in investigating Ms. Abu Akleh’s death. Last month, 57 members of the House of Representatives requested that the State Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) launch an independent investigation under U.S auspices to determine the truth. We join in that request, which has been made even more urgent by the new information that has emerged in recent weeks. 

Video footage confirms that Ms. Abu Akleh and her journalist colleagues were wearing helmets and protective blue vests identifying themselves as members of the press at the time of the shooting. According to one of her colleagues, the group stood in front of the Israeli military convoy to ensure the soldiers knew they were members of the news media before moving toward the entrance of Jenin refugee camp.1 Minutes later, Ms. Abu Akleh was fatally shot in the head, and another journalist, Ali al-Samoudi, was wounded by a shot in the back. 

Israeli authorities have said that Ms. Abu Akleh was killed in an exchange of fire between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants.2 However, since Ms. Abu Akleh's death, a number of respected independent news organizations have reached a different conclusion. These organizations, including The Washington Post,3 CNN4 and the Associated Press5, reviewed video feed, photos and geospatial images of the scene; interviewed individuals present; and consulted with outside experts. They have concluded that there was no Palestinian gunfire emanating from the location of the shooting at the time of Ms. Abu Akleh’s killing. 

Israeli military authorities have stated that it is vital to their investigation that the Palestinian Authority provide them with the bullet removed from Ms. Abu Akleh’s head. The Palestinian Authority has refused this request, stating that it will only provide the bullet to an outside third party or UN investigation.6 On May 26, the Palestinian Authority’s investigation concluded that an Israeli soldier deliberately shot Ms. Abu Akleh in the head with an armor piercing bullet. Israeli Minister of Defense Gantz responded that, “Any claim that the IDF intentionally harms journalists or uninvolved civilians, is a blatant lie.”7 This impasse further underscores the need for the U.S to be directly involved in any investigation. 

On the day Shireen Abu Akleh was shot and killed, an Israeli military spokesperson, Ran Kochav, stated that Ms. Abu Akleh and her film crew “were armed with cameras, if you’ll permit me to say so.”8 We know you agree that journalists must be able to perform their jobs without fear of attack. As you stated just weeks ago on World Press Freedom Day: “The free press is not the enemy of the people. Quite the opposite...the free press is the guardian of truth.”9 In order to protect freedom of the press, a thorough and transparent investigation under U.S. auspices must be conducted to get to the truth and provide accountability for the killing of this American citizen and journalist. 

Thank you for your timely consideration of this matter. We respectfully look forward to your response. 


Chris Van Hollen, United States Senator 

Tammy Baldwin, United States Senator 

Sherrod Brown, United States Senator 

Tammy Duckworth, United States Senator 

Martin Heinrich, United States Senator 

Angus S. King, Jr., United States Senator 

Patrick Leahy, United States Senator 

Thomas R. Carper, United States Senator 

Richard J. Durbin, United States Senator 

Tim Kaine, United States Senator 

Amy Klobuchar, United States Senator 

Ben Ray Luján, United States Senator 

Edward J. Markey, United States Senator 

Christopher S. Murphy, United States Senator 

Jack Reed, United States Senator 

Brian Schatz, United States Senator 

Tina Smith, United States Senator 

Jeffrey A. Merkley, United States Senator 

Patty Murray, United States Senator 

Bernard Sanders, United States Senator 

Jeanne Shaheen, United States Senator 

Raphael G. Warnock, United States Senator 

Elizabeth Warren, United States Senator 

Sheldon Whitehouse, United States Senator 


Secretary of State, Antony Blinken
Attorney General, Merrick Garland
Federal Bureau of Investigation Director, Christopher Wray 


1 https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/24/middleeast/shireen-abu-akleh-jenin-killing-investigation-cmd-intl/index.html 2 https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/2022-05-11/ty-article/.premium/initial-idf-probe-not-clear-if-reporter-was- killed-by-israeli-or-palestinian-fire/00000180-d633-d572-aba5-debf984c0000
3 https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/interactive/2022/shireen-abu-akleh-death/
4 https://www.cnn.com/2022/05/24/middleeast/shireen-abu-akleh-jenin-killing-investigation-cmd-intl/index.html 5 https://apnews.com/article/politics-west-bank-middle-east-israel-8df6c999627efcef2fe0ca2b401e7a2c 

  • . 6  https://www.jpost.com/arab-israeli-conflict/article-706666
  • 7  https://www.timesofisrael.com/pa-probe-claims-idf-deliberately-shot-journalist-as-she-fled-israel-a-blatant-lie/
  • 8  https://www.timesofisrael.com/veteran-al-jazeera-journalist-shot-dead-during-israeli-raid-in-jenin/
  • 9  https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/05/03/statement-by-president-joe-biden-on-the-occasion-of-world-press-freedom-day-2022/ 

Democracy on the Ballot

If we are ever going to help bring justice and democracy to places like Palestine, we need to make sure it survives here in the US. Very shortly, Americans will vote in the most important election of their lives. All elections matter, but rarely is Democracy itself on the ballot. Those who know some history will know that both Mussolini and Hitler came to power through elections. Many other countries have let their freedoms slip away like this. Elections are great—if people pay attention and put aside petty grievances for the sake of the common good…

Across the nation, some 60% of Americans will have an “election-denier” on the ballot. These are either insurrectionists or their quieter, but equally dangerous supporters. They will almost all be Republicans. Across the nation, Republicans have proposed, or enacted, hundreds of new laws designed to limit the rights of all Americans to vote. The people doing this pretend to believe the “big lie” that Biden didn’t win the 2020 election. There is no evidence to support their claims. Courts have thrown out their filings time and time again. Yet almost all the laws the GOP has supported to suppress voter participation are founded on the idea of widespread voter fraud. Their efforts are themselves a fraud. 

Meanwhile, for the first time in modern history, a rightwing supreme court has actually taken a long-established right away from women—the right to control their own bodies. Most of these judges testified under oath that they believed Roe v. Wade was established law--until they got into power. A few lies and democracy disappears. It is easy to see where the Maga-Republicans are headed.  

As we head into the elections it is essential that voters understand what two much used terms really mean.

  1. To be “woke” merely means you have woken up to the historical reality of the inequality experiences by women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ communities. There is nothing sinister about waking up. It means you have learned something. The facts about inequality are facts and won’t go away even if you bury you head in the sand.  
  2. To be a “white supremacist” means you believe that white people should have rights (like voting) that other people shouldn’t have. This is what “Maga-Republicans” apparently believe.  It means that you are fundamentally racist, xenophobic, and anti-democratic. A supremacist ideology of any kind can not co-exist with a real democracy. This is also a fact that won’t go away.

Read more: Democracy on the Ballot

Pro-Israel lobbying group Aipac secretly pouring millions into defeating progressive Democrats

American Israel Public Affairs Committee has disguised its efforts to undermine pro-Palestinian candidates

The US’s most powerful pro-Israel lobby group is pouring millions of dollars into influencing Democratic congressional primary races to counter growing support for the Palestinian cause within the party, including elections today in Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s money is focused on blocking female candidates who, if elected, are likely to align with “the Squad” of progressive members of Congress who have been critical of Israel.

But it is funneled through a group, the United Democracy Project (UDP), that avoids mention of its creation by Aipac and seeks to decide elections by funding campaign messages about issues other than Israel.

Read the full article on The Guardian.



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