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Tikkun leader apologizes to anti-occupation groups

The leader of a liberal Jewish group apologized to three anti-occupation groups for suggesting that they negate Israel’s right to exist. Rabbi Michael Lerner, who heads the San Francisco-based Tikkun, said he remains “deeply conflicted” about whether to participate with the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation, United for Peace and Justice and Jewish Voice for Peace in a June 10 rally in Washington protesting 40 years of Israeli occupation in the West Bank, because the rally is likely to include activists who want a unified state of Israelis and Palestinians. “We have watched as many who publicly declare their desire to have Israel eliminated as a state embrace the ‘one-state’ wording as the way to advocate for their position,” Lerner said in an online essay. “When they embrace the ‘End the Occupation’ slogan, they do not mean the occupation of the West Bank, but rather the entire enterprise of creating a Jewish state in our ancient homeland.” However, he added that “the organizers of this demonstration have assured us that this was not their intention and that the call for the demonstration should not suggest this,” and apologized for writing to followers that the groups advocate a one-state solution.