Sunday, October 11, 2009

Open For Us the Gates of Justice

Yesterday, during Hallel prayer of the Shmini Atzeret festival, we sang Pitchu Li Sha'arai Tzedek - open for me the gates of justice. We sang it with load and fervent gusto. This got me thinking ...

Pitchu Li is both a prayer to God to bring justice in the future, and a praise of God for having done so in the past. As a Reconstructionist Jew I believe that God does nothing supernatural; but rather, it is we - who, created in God's image - are obliged to act in a Godly manner and to implement his will, however imperfectly, on earth. In that spirit, I draw your attention to this online petition: Jews demanding that the world take up the Goldstone Report.

To: The Jewish Community

Jewish Appeal to Support the Goldstone Report

The primary author of the recently released UN Report on Gaza, the internationally respected jurist Richard Goldstone, has been attacked by establishment voices within the Jewish community. When those within a community try to “excommunicate” and dishonor a truth-teller, it is our obligation and responsibility to speak out vehemently on their behalf and on behalf of the truth they bring.

By all accounts, Judge Goldstone, who has a deep connection to Israel, approached his task with no pre-conceptions about what he and his team would find as they investigated the circumstances and aftermath of the Israeli attack on Gaza. Goldstone is a former South African constitutional law court judge who also served as a prosecutor of the Yugoslav and Rwandan war crimes tribunals. His credentials for this task are impeccable.

For following where the truth led him and releasing a report detailing human rights abuses and violations of international law by Israel, as well as Hamas, Judge Goldstone should be applauded for his honesty and integrity. Instead, he and the report have been viciously and relentlessly attacked by many within the Jewish community.

... We call upon each and every one of us to speak out at every opportunity--at our community centers and synagogues, in our homes, in the street, wherever we go.

We must demand that the truth be heard and that those claiming to speak in our name stop manipulating truths that have been well-documented for years, long before the Goldstone report. We are also appalled by the Obama Administration’s reaction to the report. We call for a fair and impartial investigation of the report’s allegations by non-military institutions. Failing that, we call for an investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Let us begin the New Year in the pursuit of justice.

To add your name to the online petition, click here.

The picture at the top of this blog entry is of the gates of the International Court of Justice in the Hague. The one just above this paragraph is of the Israel Supreme Court (circa 1953 when it still had some guts vis a vis the security forces.)

I would prefer if Israel could handle its end of the Goldman Report internally, as Judge Goldman has recommended. But if not, then someone needs to call it as it is, and say no to excessive violence and cruelty - even if that means publicly embarrassing Israel. Serbia survived the Milosovich trials (sans Kosovo and Bosnia mind you) and Israel will survive this - and be better for it too.


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