Rabbi group backs Hillary on demolitions

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Rabbis for Human Rights-North America is backing Secretary of State HIllary Clinton’s recent statement that Israel’s proposed demolition of 88 Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem is "unhelpful to the peace process. Here’s their press release on their missive to Clinton:

On March 11, 2009 Rabbis for Human Rights – North America sent Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton a letter in support of her recent statements that the proposed Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem was “unhelpful to the peace process” and “not in keeping with the obligations entered into under the ‘road map.’”  Explaining that Rabbis for Human Rights – North America is an organization of rabbis from all the streams of Judaism dedicated to the human rights of all, the letter urges Secretary Clinton to insist that Israel not demolish these 88 homes in East Jerusalem and end the policy of home demolition.

The letter acknowledges that Israel’s Palestinian home demolition policy is “fundamentally discriminatory and serves no security purpose.”  Citing Israel’s 2003 Or Commission report that found the State negligent and discriminatory in its practices toward the Arab population in Israel, the letter explains that home demolitions are a way for the Israeli government to limit the growth of the Palestinian population.  Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank are rarely granted building permits, while many houses are built for Jews in these areas.

The letter states that “as rabbis deeply committed to Israel, we believe that these proposed demolitions violate the prophetic principles of freedom, justice and equality articulated in Israel’s Declaration of Independence as the central values of the Jewish state.  As American citizens, we believe these proposed demolitions are in violation of the principle that under girds democracy: equality before the law.  We would not allow such ethnic discrimination in our own country, nor should we allow it in other countries.”

Rabbis for Human Rights – North America included two, additional documents with the letter to Secretary Clinton:  a letter signed in 2004 by more than 400 American rabbis calling for an end to Israel’s home demolition policy and the 2004 resolution passed by the Union for Reformed Judaism that also called for an end of the policy.

Rabbis for Human Rights – North America is following up on the letter by encouraging its members to contact the Secretary of State themselves to support her efforts to prevent the homes from being razed.

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