Written by Rabbi Benjamin H. Spratt
A Message from Rabbi Spratt
Reform Movement Strongly Condemns Amnesty International Report
February 3, 2022
Dear Rodeph Sholom Family,
Jew-hate. From swastika graffiti to synagogue vandalism, from Jewish hostages at gunpoint to a talk show host’s choice to erase Jewishness from the Holocaust, and even the banning of Maus by a Tennessee school district, these past weeks have illustrated the many forms of rising antisemitism in our nation. As antisemitic assaults increase throughout America, Europe, and Africa, we witness a pattern of hate spreading around the globe.
It is in this context that Amnesty International chose to release an inflammatory report filled with discredited allegations and implications that the very founding and existence of the State of Israel violates the Apartheid Convention.
Criticisms of Israeli policy and human rights violations are not inherently antisemitic, and yet when the tools of slander, erasure, and hyperbole are deployed without context or nuance, we see a rhetoric that will serve only to fuel the ignorant flames of Jew-hate.
Sadly, a report that could have offered a constructive pathway towards improving human rights, both within and beyond the borders of Israel, instead will undermine the growing regional trust sparked by the Abraham Accords. These new directions of the most diverse Israeli government in its history have the capacity for Israeli and Palestinian leadership to take shared responsibility in shaping a better future.
We are a part of a Movement that sees true Zionism as one with the responsibility to further the realization of Israel’s founding vision as a country that strives to “ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race, or sex.”
When organizations and individuals instead seek the desecration of this founding vision and undermine its realization, it is our responsibility to name how such desecration enables and invites further ignorance and hatred. Against the backdrop of this larger context, we share with you the Union for Reform Judaism’s statement in response to Amnesty International’s report.
Rabbi Ben Spratt, Senior Rabbi