The following article, a version of which was written in January as a letter to the Minneapolis City Council, was signed by a supermajority of the members of the Minnesota Rabbinical Association, the largest rabbinic organization in Minnesota, representing rabbis across all of the major Jewish denominations. Their names are listed below.
We urge all Minneapolis City Council members to uphold Mayor Jacob Frey's veto of the resolution titled "Support of permanent ceasefire and preventing loss of human life in the Middle East," which the council initially approved on Jan. 25.
We are concerned and disappointed that the council has chosen to focus on a conflict occurring on the other side of the world, rather than on the problems that they uniquely have the power to impact directly. In addition to being outside the City Council's mandate, this resolution is inaccurate and inflammatory. Demonizing Israel contributes to a frightening atmosphere here in Minnesota that leads to increased antisemitism and puts your Jewish constituents at risk. The vitriolic atmosphere of the Jan. 8 meeting and antisemitic tropes attests to the harmful impact of this resolution.
We are still in shock from the horror of the Oct. 7 attack — the worst atrocity against Jews since the Holocaust. In the recent attack, 695 civilians of all ages and faiths, 373 Israeli security forces and 71 foreign workers were butchered. Many were even raped by members of Hamas. Two hundred forty people were taken hostage, including children and infants. Over one hundred twenty days later, more than 120 hostages remain in Gaza.
In response to these atrocities, the state of Israel was forced into a war that it did not choose or want. The state of Israel has an inalienable right to protect its citizens, doing what it must to prevent anything like Oct. 7 from ever happening again.
We disagree with the language of the resolution that states that the Israeli Defense Forces are indiscriminately bombing Gaza. Hamas has immorally chosen to embed its military operations, underground tunnel access and equipment in mosques, schools, hospitals and U.N. buildings, using noncombatant Palestinians as human shields. Thus attacks on these military targets result in the tragic loss of Palestinian lives and infrastructure.
We hope and pray that the state of Israel continues to search for ways to mitigate civilian casualties without compromising the goals of its mission. Hamas could end this war today by returning the hostages and ceasing its attacks on Israel, but rocket attacks continue to fall on Israeli civilians even now. It is for these reasons that the war continues, and that our federal government continues to support the Israeli Defense Forces.
As rabbis, we hope for peace, and work toward peace in our local and global community. Our hearts are breaking for what this war has wrought. We are horrified by the deaths of civilians in Gaza and the devastation that is happening there. We pray and toil for the day when a secure and peaceful state of Israel stands alongside a secure and peaceful Palestinian state.
We implore you to reconsider the purpose, content and impact of this deeply flawed resolution. As always, we stand ready to partner with you in the work of improving Minneapolis for all its residents.
Signatory rabbis: Esther Adler, Morris Allen, Jill Avrin, Barbara L. Block, Norman Cohen, Barry Cytron, Alexander Davis, Max Davis, Ryan Dulkin, Shoshana Dworsky, Avram Ettedgui, Matt Goldberg, Yosi Gordon, Jennifer S.G. Hartman, Justin Held, Rebecca Kamil, Harold J. Kravitz, Lynn Liberman, David Locketz, Tamar Magill-Grimm (co-chair), Tobias Divack Moss (co-chair), Cathy Nemiroff, Avi Olitzky, Debra Rappaport, Jason Rodich, Marcus Rubenstein, Rachel Rubenstein, David Steinberg, Sharon Stiefel, Adam Stock Spilker, David B. Thomas, Aaron Weininger and Marcia A. Zimmerman.