Statement of the Rabbinical Council of America in advance of the Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations at Annapolis MD

[Whether I agree with the following statement, which purports to speak in my name, is almost beside the point. After you cut through the highfalutin vocabulary, it adds nothing to the discussion that has not been hashed and rehashed a million times before. Do they really think that the real players involved care what a bunch of rabbis has to say on the matter, especially if they purport to speak with a single voice (like that's ever really happened) and take an unremarkable position? Is it just public posturing, to make people thing that the orthodox rabbinate is actually doing something? Some things are better left unsaid.]

October 22, 2007

In advance of the forthcoming Annapolis conference, the Rabbinical Council of America, consisting of almost 1000 rabbis, respectfully urges the American sponsors of this conference to take the following into serious consideration:

It is obvious that the State of Israel remains a small island of freedom in the Middle East, and is America's only reliable ally in that region. Any harm that comes to Israel will redound to the detriment of the United States as well. Any pressures on Israel to adopt positions that are fundamentally harmful to her interests will teach terrorists - and their proxies - that their modus operandi always reaps ultimate rewards.

The Palestinian Authority is an Unreliable Peace Partner

It is equally obvious that the Palestinian Authority (the PA) is a singularly unreliable entity.

  • It has proved unable to stop the daily shelling of Israeli town and villages.
  • It has done nothing to stop terror.
  • Its schools continue to teach children to hate Israel, and to hope for the day that Israel will be destroyed.
  • It crumbled completely in the face of the terrorist Hamas organization, and even handed over to Hamas arms that were supplied to the PA by America.
  • The PA's weakness is demonstrated in the continuous Kassam attacks on Sderot since the Gaza disengagement and the resulting Hamas ascendancy in Gaza.  We are concerned that an IDF withdrawal from the West Bank or the division of Jerusalem would result in a similar Hamas takeover, and an ensuing barrage of Kassam rockets throughout the heartland of Israel, including major population centers and its capital, Jerusalem.
  • The PA under Abbas remains as corrupt as it was under Arafat. It does not have the backing of its own people, and is either unwilling or unable to live up to any promises it makes.

Given America's previous painful experience with the PA, America must not be gulled by the façade of smiles and lip service to peace. To make concrete concessions in exchange for the verbal commitments of such a "peace partner" poses a mortal danger to the future of Israel. Only solid evidence of a sustained and profound change in PA attitudes and actions can serve as a basis for serious negotiations.


We respectfully remind the American sponsors that Jerusalem is not merely a piece of territory. Since Biblical times Jerusalem has been and remains central to Jewish faith and practice. For Jews it is in fact the "holy city" par excellence. To barter even parts of its sovereignty away, or to weaken its Jewish character in exchange for some ephemeral pledges of "peace" from an unreliable PA, poses a severe threat to the very soul and morale of the Jewish State. An undivided Jerusalem is a statement of strength and faith ? and thus a guarantor of peace. A divided Jerusalem is a surrender to weakness which will ultimately become a festering sore that will create misery in the region.

The countries of the Middle East respect strength. A show of vacillation and weakness in support of Israel will give a green light to anti-American interests. A show of resolve and strength by the USA in support of Israel's integrity will buttress hopes for a lasting peace in the region.

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