Tag archive for "Human Rights"

General, Refugees rights - UNHCR

Remembering what it means to be Jewish

No Comments 24 December 2013

Heart-wrenching scenes outside the Israeli Parliament: dozens of refugees, shivering from the cold, forcefully crammed into buses which will take them to jail for the crime of being refugees. We have forgotten, completely forgotten, what it means to be Jewish. Tami Molad-Hayo seeks a different kind of Judaism.refugeearrest

Photo:  Refugees at Freedom March, Jerusalem, Dec 17 2013, Active Stills

We have forgotten what it means to be Jewish

By Tami Molad-Hayo

Being Jewish is first and foremost to be different, to be rejected and persecuted, and yet to persist. Being Jewish is to remember the principle of our relationship to the other, to those who are different from us. That the entire Torah can be summed up as, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

I am not a religious woman, but I am a Jew with every fiber of my being. Every insult, every persecution, every attack and murder which others have suffered because they were Jews has made a deep mark on my soul. Every such moment in our history imprinted an undying message on my character: no more, ever again. Never will I allow them to persecute another human being because he is different, never will I be silent when I witness abuse towards those who are weak, never will I turn a blind eye in the face of injustice. I am unable to accept that what was done to me throughout history will be done unto others.

For who understands like we do the true meaning of persecution, of intolerance and indifference? Jews who have been ostracized, persecuted, and murdered.

Eritrean-500x300Yet it is precisely here in the State of Israel that we have turned into thugs, into oppressors and persecutors, into people who silence and ignore the plight of others. We – the country, the authorities, the organized collective known as the State of Israel – are doing this. And make no mistake: the state is doing this in our name.

Intoxication with power and the blinding fear of repeating the past have made us cruel, cold-hearted, and indifferent to the plight of others, others who are different from us and others who come from our own ranks.

There is a clear line which leads directly from the persecution of Jews over our long history to the persecution of refugees here in Israel, to the wretched poverty of children and the elderly, to the ongoing occupation and mistreatment of Palestinians, to the use of force against civilians by the police and security forces, to the attempts to silence anyone who does not see eye-to-eye with Israel’s current government, to corruption, to exploitation, to chasing after wealth, and to the perpetual search for enemies rather than for peace and justice.

From our own persecution we have learned how to persecute and from the cruelty visited upon us we have learned how to be cruel. From being outcast we have learned how to be indifferent, from our own destruction we have learned the power of the destroyer. The lesson we have yet to learn is how to accept others, to show compassion, to offer assistance, to bear witness, and to save those in need.

This country, which came into existence from the ashes of war and annihilation in order to guarantee our own existence and continuity, will not survive a collapse in our moral fiber, in the ethical essence of our being. We cannot abandon our promise to be a “light unto the nations,” an exemplary society which evinces proper ethical, humanistic conduct.

We have forgotten, simply forgotten, who we are. And if we do not wake up and remember and stand up and align ourselves with the oppressed of the world, then who are we and why are we here?

It’s not too late to correct this. It’s not too late to remember. This change needs to start here at home, first among the weak sectors of Israeli society, including the refugees, and afterwards we can make peace with our neighbors. And then, tall and proud, we will be able to stand in front of the world as torch-bearers of humanity and fight against cruelty and injustice throughout the world. After we light our candle, we will be able to light up the entire world.

It’s not too late.

Tami Molad-Hayo is a journalist and a social activist.

 

 

General

Love, not fear, must be our path: Dvar Torah to parashat “Noach”

1 Comment 16 October 2012

“Human rights as an institution are a band-aid” | cc: wikipedia

When we act from fear, it can often be the quickest route to bringing that which we fear into being. Dvar Torah to parashat “Noach”.

By Yonatan Shefa 5773 Continue Reading

General, Occupied Territories

Blocking roads on the West Bank – a recipe for a third Intifada

No Comments 18 December 2011

“This does not protect the Palestinians, but disrupts their everyday life”. Huwwara Checkpoint .cc: wikipedia

Last Thursday roads in the Nablus area were blocked for the Palestinians. Blocking Palestinian roads  in the West Bank  endangers us with   increased anger and tension in the area and violates basic human rights. Continue Reading

General, Press Releases

Public Appeal: How to Maintain Human Rights when Rockets are being launched from Civil Population in Gaza on the residents in the South of Israel

2 Comments 08 November 2011

Grad rocket fired from Gaza falls near Be’er Sheva. cc: wikipedia

Public Appeal: How to Maintain Human Rights when Rockets are being launched from Civil Population in Gaza on the residents in the South of Israel

Background

The rockets salvos on Israel are launched by extreme groups within or near to the civil population in the Gaza strip. This creates a strong moral dilemma when on one hand there is a clear military motivation to attack these groups at any price in order to protect the residents of the South and on the other hand it is clear that an undifferentiated attack in a residential area will hurt many innocent Gaza residents. Beyond an abuse of human rights, such activity can also escalate the hatred and the motivation for terror.

As a human rights organization that is also obligated to the Jewish tradition, we, at Rabbis for Human Rights, are in principle, against damage to civilians, whether they are Israelis or from Gaza, and also if they live near to launching sites. On the other hand, the residents who live in the South of the country are also entitled to security and normal life. We admit that we do not have all the practical answers and we try hard to think of the most creative and smart ways in order to minimize the tension between the security needs and human rights.

It is obvious that it is better to from the outset make all efforts to prevent a situation like this (as the ceasefire from June to November 2008) but the question remains: how is it possible to protect our citizens without hurting innocent people? From here we call all our activists, specialists in different areas and the public to suggest different kinds of solutions.

We would like to point out that the solutions of the policy makers were not enough and even were not in line with the goal of returning the security to all the residents of the area. And indeed the people of Gaza strip suffer from the IDF bombs from loses, injuries, trauma and damage to property, and it does not seem that these measures contributed to the safety of the residents in the South. We can not just tell the people in the South that we simply do not have a better solution to the rocket launching. In this challenging framework we have to try and think on another solution.

Public Appeal: please send us articles/opinions/topical, practical  and detailed columns to settle the dilemma and a for a solution for the human problem. Please send suggestions of no more them 600 words to Yariv Mohar, spokesman of Rabbis for Human Rights: dover@rhr.israel.net 

The suggestions will be published,  on the Rabbis for Human Rights website and possibly also on leading news and opinions websites, subjected to the writer’s consent and of course with his/hers name.

In Sanhedrin 4:5 it is written that to loosing one man is as if loosing the whole world.

THE Jewish tradition (as the international law) recognizes the rights and the responsibility for self defense (Sanhedrin 72). It is of course limited to the minimum power needed and forbids hurting these who do not fight you, even to save your life (ibid 74).

General

Tzedakah Fund: You Can Make A Difference

No Comments 01 September 2011

Please send donations earmarked for our Tzedakah Fund for Human Rights Victims
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General, Occupied Territories

The Achievements and the Difficulties of the Activity to Maintain Human Rights in the OT

4 Comments 30 August 2011

cc: Activstills. Demonstration against the Wall in Al Walaja, 27.06.2011: A group of Palestinians, Israelis and internationals demonstrate in front of Har Gilo settlement in the village of Al Walaja following this week decision of the Israeli Supreme Court to reject petition of Al Walaja residents to change the route of the Wall, 27.06.2011. The march to the settlement was stopped by Israeli soldiers. Four Israeli activists were arrested. Photo by: Anne Paq/Activestills.org
Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann describes the achievements and the difficulties of the activity to maintain human rights in the occupied territories. Continue Reading

General

Something is Happening Out There

1 Comment 14 June 2011

Rachel Levi.

Opening Word

On Sunday I was at a meeting in Yavneh at the home of Rachel Levi.  Rachel lives in an Amidar (semi-public housing) apartment and has an eviction notice for Wednesday the 22nd.  If it is not rescinded, I and I hope many of you will join her friends and fellow Amidar tenants on the 22nd. Continue Reading

Justice in Israel

Dialogue Initiative

No Comments 25 May 2011

Last week I participated in a conference called, Dialogue Initiative,  that took place in the Isabella Friedman Jewish Retreat Center in Connecticut, USA. Human Rights and environmental organizations and people from the USA, Israel and Europe were invited to this conference. 120 people participated in the conference, 40% from the USA, 40% from Israel and 20% from Europe. The Israeli delegation was large and varied, many of them I knew from my activity in RHR. The conference was fascinating and a mixture of youth movement and professionalism.  There were some fascinating lectures and important discussions on human rights issues in different places in the world.  We also had trips in the beautiful neighbourhood, a bonfire on Motzaei Shabbat etc. Continue Reading

Parasha / E-Letter

Love of Country | The Light of the Human Rights | Checkpoints During the Holiday |

No Comments 12 May 2011

Parashat Hashavua “Behar”: What Will Be, What Was and Tora Thoughts

An Opening Word, Love of Country | Rabbi Arik Ascherman |

I just returned from two weeks of speaking and fundraising in the U.S.  The timing was organized around the fact that Rabbi Ehud Bandel and I accepted the Gandhi Peace Award on May 1ston behalf of RHR. (Last week we published Rabbi Bandel’s remarks.  Mine weren’t written down, but we will eventually get the video.)  However, as I told just about every audience, there was also a clear end date to my trip: Israeli Independence Day.  Just as I wasn’t going to leave Israel and my family before Passover ended, I wasn’t willing to be anywhere on Yom HaAtzmaut other than celebrating here with my family.  As it turned out, that also allowed me to be proudly present when our OT Legal Director Qumar Misharqi-Asad lit a torch at the annual alternative beacon lighting ceremony.  The slightly jarring aspect of my return was flying on Yom HaZikaron with there being no recognition of this being our Memorial Day.  (I didn’t fly El-Al.)

These “Israeli moments,” are not unique to me.  There are those who try to claim that we in the HR community are somehow detached from our Israeliness, and from our fellow Israelis.  We sometimes are told, “If you don’t like it here, why don’t you just go live somewhere else?”  Many of us in RHR and in the wider human rights community could do just that, but we don’t want to.  We are Israelis in our heart and soul.  When I meet with colleagues I frequently hear, “This is my country.  My family and friends are here.  Hebrew is my language (For some, Arabic is their mother tongue – also an official language of the State.)  Where else would I want to go?” Continue Reading

Parasha / E-Letter

New Site | Gandhi Peace Award | Magic and Human Rights |

1 Comment 27 April 2011

Parashat Hashavua “Kdosim”: What Will Be, What Was and Tora Thoughts

We have a new website! After months of preparation our new site is finally up and running. We’d like to thank Sharon Gefen and Yoav Einhar for their splendid job.

The site has many new features. You can join our internet team which helps us work more effectively on the web, or sign up to become one of our field activists.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, TO CONTINUE RECEIVING OUR WEEKLY PARASHAT HASHVUA YOU MUST RESUBSCRIBE TO THE NEW WEBSITE.To make sure that your subscription remains uninterrupted, please subscribe today!

It’s quick and easy:

First, go to http://rhr.org.il/eng/index.php/updates/ or click this link: subscribe to the new site;

Second, enter your email address, make sure the “subscribe” button is selected and click SUBMIT;

Third, to confirm your subscription, go to your email inbox, open the email from Rabbis for Human Rights and click the link in the email;

Finally, the link will take you to a page where you can choose which updates you’d like to receive from us. Make you’re choices, click SAVE, and you’re done!

We hope you enjoy the new site!

An important announcement: On Sunday May 1, 2011, Promoting Enduring Peace will present the Gandhi Peace Award to Rabbi Arik Ascherman, General Secretary of Rabbis for Human Rights, and Rabbi Ehud Bandel, a co-founder of Rabbis for Human Rights, for RHR’s nonviolent methods of resolving human rights abuses in Israel and the in Occupied Territories.

Shabbat Shalom.

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April 28: RHR Planning Appeal against housing demolitions!

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