Reform and Reconstructionist Movements Among Those Urging Action
Two days ahead of his first presidential visit to Israel and the Palestinian Territory, fifteen pro-Israel organizations have sent President Biden a letter urging him to help prevent the forced displacement of approximately 1,000 Palestinians from their homes in the area of Masafer Yatta in the occupied West Bank. Collectively, these organizations represent millions of Jewish Americans.
“We ask you to raise this issue and make clear the United States’ firm opposition to such displacement in your upcoming trip to Israel,” the letter reads. “As lifelong advocates for Israel’s security and survival as the democratic homeland of the Jewish people…we believe it is vital that you firmly and unequivocally oppose these harmful displacements.”
The signers note that the Israeli Supreme Court greenlit the forced displacement of Palestinians from the Masafer Yatta villages earlier this year, and that demolitions of homes in the area have already begun. If allowed to be carried out in full, this would be the largest mass eviction of Palestinian families in decades.
The groups signing the letter are: Ameinu, Americans for Peace Now, Habonim Dror North America, Hashomer Hatzair USA, Israel Policy Forum, Jewish Labor Committee, J Street, National Council of Jewish Women, New Israel Fund, New York Jewish Agenda, Partners for Progressive Israel, Reconstructing Judaism, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, and Union for Reform Judaism.
Full text of the letter:
July 11, 2022
The Honorable Joseph R. Biden
President of the United States
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
We are pro-Israel organizations writing to urge you to help prevent the forced displacement of approximately 1,000 Palestinians from their homes in the area of Masafer Yatta in the occupied West Bank. We ask you to raise this issue and make clear the United States’ firm opposition to such displacement in your upcoming trip to Israel.
Earlier this year, the Israeli government won its bid to have the Israeli Supreme Court greenlight the forced displacement of at least 1,000 Palestinians from their homes in several of the Masafer Yatta villages in the South Hebron Hills. This would be the largest mass eviction of Palestinian families in decades, and the demolition of homes in the area has already begun.
Dozens of US Senators and Representatives wrote to Secretary of State Antony Blinken in May, concerned that “this relocation of Palestinian families from homes they have lived on for generations could spark violence, is in direct violation of international humanitarian law, and could further undermine efforts to reach a two-state solution.”
“As supporters of a strong U.S.-Israel relationship, we believe such evictions undermine our shared democratic values, imperil Israel’s security, and disregard Palestinian human and civil rights,” the lawmakers wrote. “We respectfully request that you immediately engage with the Israeli government to prevent these evictions and further military training exercises in the area.”
As lifelong advocates for Israel’s security and survival as the democratic homeland of the Jewish people, we echo these lawmakers’ call and believe it is vital that you firmly and unequivocally oppose these harmful displacements. We stand ready to welcome and amplify such a message delivered in your upcoming trip to Israel and the West Bank.
Americans for Peace Now
Habonim Dror North America
Hashomer Hatzair USA
Israel Policy Forum
Jewish Labor Committee
National Council of Jewish Women
New Israel Fund
New York Jewish Agenda
Partners for Progressive Israel
Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association
T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights
Union for Reform Judaism