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Tikkun and the Network of Spiritual Progressives unequivocally condemn the killings of students at Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav in Jerusalem today. Just as last week we prayed for a speedy recovery of Israelis and Palestinians wounded in the fighting in Gaza and the bombings of Sderot, so today we pray for a speedy recovery for those who were injured in this ghastly attack. The wounds of two thousand years of exile and the holocaust are inevitably restimulated by this kind of attack, and tragically the price will likely be paid by Palestinian civilians, who in turn will fight back and then the price will be paid by other Israelis. Thus the seemingly endless cycle of violence will continue. (continues after jump)

We at Tikkun feel equally grieving for the people killed by vicious and immoral terrorists at the Yeshiva Mercaz HaRav (the ultra-nationalist religious center that developed the ideology which inspired religious Zionists to believe that they had a God-given right to settle and hold on to the territories without regard to the consequences for the Palestinian people already living there)  as we do for the victims of Israeli terror (which in the past week killed 120 people, many of them children, many of them sitting in their homes when Israeli troops randomly fire-bombed and murdered them, as documented by the same international human rights organizations that today condemned the attack in Jerusalem by terrorists). We understand that these killings can only be understood in the context of the 60 year old struggle between these two communities, and that nothing short of a full peace accord that will require a new open-heartedness on both sides can possibly break this horrible cycle of violence. We have no sympathy for Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah or those in Israel who advocate violence as a solution or those in the military who announced that they were going to implement a Shoa on the Palestinian people in Gaza, or any of the extremists in the Palestinian world or the Israeli world who seek to disrupt and derail any movement toward peace.

 We similarly mourn the people in Sderot and Ashkelon terrorized by bombs from Hamas, as we did for those people who die in the Gaza and West Bank areas because the check points prevent them from getting to the doctors they need, and the many children suffering from malnutrition because of Israel's slow starvation of the country and cutting off of supplies. Of course there is no "moral equivalency" here, because as Talmud and other religious and spiritual traditions teach,  every single life lost is a unique tragedy, and no life lost can be compared to or the loss justified in terms of the life lost of others.

From our standpoint, all violence, whether overt or built into the institutions of economic and political reality, is a sin and unacceptable, whether done by the powerful or the powerless. Violence is the wrong path. So this week in Beyt Tikkun  synagogue we will say kaddish for the young men killed at the yeshivat ha rav, and for the people killed in Gaza by Israeli troops, Israelis killed in Sderot and Ashkelon, and for the million two hundred thousand Iraqis killed by the US occupation of Iraq and the 4000 American soldiers killed in that war. And all the victims of wars in Africa and Asia, all the victims of oppression and murder in China and Tibet, all the victims of oppression in Saudi Arabia and Iran and Lebanon and Syria and Egypt.

        When will they ever learn?  Violence doesn't solve anything. It doesn't create safety. The way to security is through a. recognizing "the other" as part of you, not an alien but as a fundamental part of "the unity of all being" created in the image of God and deserving just as much as we deserve, and entitled to live at the same standard of living and with the same political rights as we have and receiving the same compassion we would give to our friends; b. the Strategy of Generosity that we in the US have to initiate and the Global Marshall Plan that makes it concrete (see www.spiritualprogressives.org); and c. public acts of repentance and atonement that both sides need to take to acknowledge the cruelty and hurt that they have visited on the other side.

        Till that happens the killings will go on, and the partisans on each side will always blame the other, and each will ignore the history that has led to the specific act of violence that they are focused on, and each will proclaim that any one who does not side exclusively with their side is a traitor and an evil person.

         All this talk, though, doesn't really reveal how much those of us in the Tikkun community are grieving for all the pain and suffering, how deeply sad and depressed it makes us, and how very much we wish we could ease the suffering on all sides of this struggle. May all of them be comforted along with all the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem and the whole world!

        Rabbi Michael Lerner
        Editor, Tikkun Magazine   www.Tikkun.org
        Chair, the Network of Spiritual Progressives www.spiritualprogressives.org  
        RabbiLerner@tikkun.org

P.S. If this message resonates with you, please a. send it to everyone you know and call your local media and ask them to have this "progressive middle path" perspective represented by speaking to us at Tikkun Magazine 510 644 1200   b. help us by joining the Network of Spiritual Progressives at www.spiritualprogressives.org

Originally posted to Rabbi Michael Lerner on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 11:11 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Rabbi i am a Muslim (28+ / 0-)

    and i will offer prayers tonight for the peace of the souls of the murdered innocents.

    it is a horrific act that has occurred.

    i will also continue to offer my prayers for the dead and the living of the hell that is Gaza,

    Shalom Rabbi

  •  The violence should be (7+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    dhonig, Euroliberal, countrycat, ohcanada, dancewater, borkitekt, JDsg
    Hidden by:
    DrJK

    condemned, but I have one point to make, and it is from this part of what you wrote:

    "The wounds of two thousand years of exile..."

    The land wasn't given to you or anyone else by the great and powerful Tetragrammaton.  There were already people living there, even according to your own scripture.  And many of them were massacred, even according to your own scripture.  You have no more right to the real estate than anyone else.

    End the occupation and establish a contiguous two state solution.    

    The Clinton campaign likes to manipulate poor whites who fear, distrust, or even hate blacks or Muslims--it's fun.

    by Kab ibn al Ashraf on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 11:17:14 AM PST

  •  Thanks, Rabbi Michael (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dancewater, Owllwoman, Wes Opinion

    We need more attention to this issue.  

    Austin loves Obama!

    by DrJK on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 11:27:58 AM PST

  •  Thank you Rabbi, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dancewater, Wes Opinion

    for caring for the Palestine Peoples along with the Jewish Peoples. Your way is the way to lasting Peace.  And people like you make me believe that Peace is possible.

    "Though the Mills of the Gods grind slowly,Yet they grind exceeding small."

    by Owllwoman on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 11:29:13 AM PST

  •  Should we aldo pray for those (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bugscuffle

    that called it a "heroic act"?

  •  Thank you for saying what needs to be said. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dancewater

    The cycle of violence and reciprocation needs to end somewhere.

  •  Rabbi, if terrorists kill all your children, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bugscuffle

    and police rush to your house and kill the terrorists, I hope you'd condemn the terrorism and the anti-terrorist actions equally.

    Because it's important to be consistent.

  •  What a disgusting and dishonest (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burrow owl, JPhurst, dvo, dfb1968, wxlr

    backhanded pretend claim of equanimity and caring.  Even in the face of this tragedy, you could not skip propagandizing and demonizing, could you. Here is the key screed:

    We at Tikkun feel equally grieving for the people killed by vicious and immoral terrorists at the Yeshiva Mercaz HaRav (the ultra-nationalist religious center that developed the ideology which inspired religious Zionists to believe that they had a God-given right to settle and hold on to the territories without regard to the consequences for the Palestinian people already living there)  as we do for the victims of Israeli terror (which in the past week killed 120 people, many of them children, many of them sitting in their homes when Israeli troops randomly fire-bombed and murdered them, as documented by the same international human rights organizations that today condemned the attack in Jerusalem by terrorists).

    I, for one, call "Bullshit" on this, and on you.  you obviously do NOT feel equally grieving, considering you just wrote, in effect, "we are equally grieved for the people who had it coming and the innocent victims."

    Mr. Lerner, you do not deserve the title "Rabbi."  Even in a time of mourning, instead of asking comfort for those who mourn, you dance (mournfully) on the graves of innocent victims.

    If you refuse to vote for OUR PARTY'S nominee in November, the blood of a thousand back-alley abortions will be on your hands.

    by dhonig on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 11:54:09 AM PST

    •  sorry, don't see it. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      countrycat, JDsg

      It seems like Rabbi Lerner is one of the few here who really seems to acknowledge that murder is murder, and too many people here pick on side and overlook the other's terror.

      And as of late, I really do think the Israeli gov. should be listed as a terrorist organization as well as the militant side of Hamas.

      Democracy Now aired a report from Gaza a few days ago where the reporter spoke about all the dismembered fingers and legs he saw about the city, the smell of burnt flesh. Its not something we hear about, but they are airing scenes of Palestinians running at the sounds of gunshots and bombs.

      How long will we still believe people should die? Haven't you learned that the spirit of that horror 70 years ago has been in Iraq for years now- and we are promising a long, world war.

      Another Proud Subscriber to the Mariachi Mama Candidate Bickering Moratorium!

      by borkitekt on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 12:13:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I left off that these scenes are in Europe (0+ / 0-)

        Sweden to be exact.

        Another Proud Subscriber to the Mariachi Mama Candidate Bickering Moratorium!

        by borkitekt on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 12:20:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Then you're missing or ignoring (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        brittain33

        his parenthetical description of the schools where students were murdered:

        the ultra-nationalist religious center that developed the ideology which inspired religious Zionists to believe that they had a God-given right to settle and hold on to the territories without regard to the consequences for the Palestinian people already living there

        particularly when compared to his next parenthetical, describing the victims in Gaza:

        which in the past week killed 120 people, many of them children, many of them sitting in their homes when Israeli troops randomly fire-bombed and murdered them, as documented by the same international human rights organizations that today condemned the attack in Jerusalem by terrorists

        Why does it matter what concepts came out of the school where the victims studied?  In effect, he blames the school and those in it, implying their death is far more deserved than the victims in Gaza.  This entire pretend-heartfelt diary was little more than wrapper around this one paragraph, a paragraph that says "they had it coming."  If not, why add the parenthetical at all, in this time of mourning?

        If you refuse to vote for OUR PARTY'S nominee in November, the blood of a thousand back-alley abortions will be on your hands.

        by dhonig on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 12:26:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  no, I read it twice, still don't agree. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JDsg

          And I heard from another source (forgot where) that this school was such a school.

          If this is wrong, perhaps you could cite something proving the contrary.

          Otherwise, try to understand- people die on every side of a conflict. Death is horrible, especially when it is politically motivated as so much of this is.

          Can you honestly imagine what it would be to be an Iraqi now? A recent poll indicated that 30% of Iraqis had a dead relative due to violence related to our invasion. But we're sort of numb to this now, and it is old news.

          Another Proud Subscriber to the Mariachi Mama Candidate Bickering Moratorium!

          by borkitekt on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 12:39:47 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Why does it matter (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            brittain33, frienemy, wxlr

            "it's such a school," particularly right now?  How is that important to what is masquerading as a claim of mourning?

            Let me turn it around - perhaps that will help you see my point:

            Today we mourn equally for two different tragedies.  In the first, terrorists killed 8 people at Ku Klux Klan headquarters (an organization responsible for the torture and murder of untold blacks, an organization making its appearance known again as it preaches its platform or facial, religious, and anti-homosexual hatred).  In the second, innocent children who had never done anything wrong to anybody were slaughtered by terrorists, even though they were innocent and never joined any organizations like the Ku Klux Klan, and everybody in the world mourns THEIR deaths and agrees they were terrible.

            Do you believe the writer really "mourns equally"?

            If you refuse to vote for OUR PARTY'S nominee in November, the blood of a thousand back-alley abortions will be on your hands.

            by dhonig on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 12:56:03 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  yes, I believe he mourns equally (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              KenBee, JDsg

              because he recognizes and says such and I feel the same way. Is that so hard to imagine?

              I don't think that the admission of the school is either some sort of justification, prejudice or preference.

              Murder can be murder without bias- its not too hard to see it that way.

              Another Proud Subscriber to the Mariachi Mama Candidate Bickering Moratorium!

              by borkitekt on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 01:17:44 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Ok (0+ / 0-)

            So if Hamas ran a school where they taught that the whole land of Palestine is Muslim, and the Jewish Zionists should be pushed into the sea or expelled, it would be ok to kill the children there?

            Think about that. I won't give you links to Farfour, I'm sure you saw enough of them.

            •  Come on Brit, it is a silly game. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JDsg

              Anyone can be on the losing side of murder or terror- it is all wrong.

              There is no right or wrong or justification.

              Another Proud Subscriber to the Mariachi Mama Candidate Bickering Moratorium!

              by borkitekt on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 01:21:46 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Disagree completely (0+ / 0-)

      But I appreciate your courage in willing to come out and directly attack those who call for peace.  Most of the self-defined "pro-Israel" crowd here at DKos avoids any diaries that discuss peace, truces, cease-fire and the like.  They are always there to attack those who would support Palestinian rights, but when it comes to supporting peace and thus saving lives in BOTH Israel and Palestine, they are strangely quiet.

      •  Hmm (0+ / 0-)

        I knew I've heard rhetoric like this somewhere.

      •  Bullshit (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dvo, wxlr

        and you now it.  This diary is not about peace.  This diary is about blaming the students for their own slaughter.  The rest is just bubble wrap, intended to protect the brittle center from being exposed and broken.  There is not a single word in this diary truly promoting peace, and there is not a single word in my comment attacking a call for peace.

        If you refuse to vote for OUR PARTY'S nominee in November, the blood of a thousand back-alley abortions will be on your hands.

        by dhonig on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 01:43:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  One hopes... (0+ / 0-)

      ...that neither he, nor anyone this side of Kahane Chai feels the need to "contextualize" Barch Goldstein's rampage by noting that, particularly during the post-Oslo period, mosques had become centers of racist incitement.

      How about condemning Goldstein and Dahim in the same terms?

      •  I have never seen it so contextualized (0+ / 0-)

        but it probably has been.  However, anybody who attempted to do so here would be justifiably TR'd into oblivion, and I would contrubte all the doughnuts I had available.  So why is it okay for "Rabbi" Lerner to contextualize the murder of these students?

        If you refuse to vote for OUR PARTY'S nominee in November, the blood of a thousand back-alley abortions will be on your hands.

        by dhonig on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 01:41:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The interesting thing... (0+ / 0-)

          ...about Rabbi Lerner, Jimmy Carter, and a number of other critics of Israel is that their ultimate prescription for the situation - a two-state solution - matches the one advocated by most folks who are more sympathetic to Israel.  It's in their description of the situation - not to mention their preference that Israel take most of the risks in making concessions - that they part ways with most Israelis, Jews, and Americans.

          It's easy to understand the appeal of the Rabbi's views, as nearly as I've been able to make them out.  They're empowering: the power to make peace is in "our" hands, and no one else's - it's there, waiting for us, and only we can stop ourselves from reaching out and seizing it.

          But the view strikes me as a bit solipsistic - and, of course, more than a little simplistic.  Think of the work of "new historians" like Tom Segev, in whose work Arabs figure only as victims and inconsequential shadows in the background, rarely as active agents of conflict or peace.

          But, to answer your (probably rhetorical) question: I hope that, if he really feels compelled to criticize the school, he can at least do it in another paragraph.  Or - because I'm not much of a bargainer - another sentence.  I'll take that.

  •  Welcome, Rabbi Lerner (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dancewater, borkitekt

    Here in North Alabama, we have a speaker scheduled tomorrow, Anna Balzar, who's a Jewish activist who discusses the situation on the West Bank and her experience as a an advocate for Palestinians.

    In an ideal world, she would bring her perspective, people would listen respectfully and a great discussion then would take place.

    But I'm afraid that half the audience is coming hoping to hear her criticize Israel and the other half is coming to attack her for doing just that.

    A huge problem with this whole issue is that the partisans on both sides absolutely refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of the other side's narrative and experience.  As long as nobody will shut up and listen, I don't see how anything gets resolved.

    It's like a playground fight: "They did it first!" or  "But what about when YOU said...." etc... etc...

    And when the dialog takes place on that level, nothing but more rancor ensues.  It's really sad.

    Good Shabbas to you!

    Yes. There ARE progressive Democrats in Alabama. Visit with us at Left in Alabama

    by countrycat on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 12:24:01 PM PST

  •  Collective punishment (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dancewater, borkitekt

    Israeli security forces have razed the home of the murderous terrorist who murdered eight Merkaz HaRav yeshiva students. He lived in Jabel Mukabar, a neighborhood just east of Jerusalem's East Talpiyot neighborhood.
    His family set up a mourners' tent outside the ruins, and hung Hamas flags all around it.

    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/...

    If Hillary Clinton wins, the Democratic Party loses.

    by Paleo on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 12:26:38 PM PST

  •  Thank you Rabbi Lerner (0+ / 0-)

    A vote for Hillary will help to put a woman in the White House.....Cindy McCain

    by Lefty Coaster on Fri Mar 07, 2008 at 08:21:01 PM PST

  •  Thanks for the diary, Rabbi Lerner (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maracatu

    It's nice to see you post here.  Hang around and chat sometime.

    Reel Bad Arabs: a crash course on Orientalism

    by Rusty Pipes on Sun Mar 09, 2008 at 04:54:43 PM PDT

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