The Jewish Federation Advocacy Team

The Jewish Federation Advocacy Team

The past 11 days have marked the most intense period of violence in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, since the Second Intifada in 2000. The extreme toll of the violence, including the loss of both innocent Israelis and Palestinians, deeply saddens us. In this same period, we’ve also witnessed a disturbing increase of antisemitic incidents in the related to the conflict, including synagogues tagged with “Free Palestine” graffiti, horrific social media posts, Jews attacked and beaten at a restaurant, violently assaulted at a rally, and signs at protests amplifying dangerous antisemitic tropes like comparing Zionism to Nazism.

Like any political conflict, the lack of nuance and spread of misinformation locally can be ubiquitous, harmful to peace, and can promote antisemitic and/or Islamophobic tropes. Too often, Jewish or Palestinian Americans are falsely held accountable for an ongoing conflict on the other side of the world. Moments like these can cause pain for local communities.

Unfortunately, Seattle City Council Members are currently being asked to sign a one-sided, inflammatory letter regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This letter does not work to promote peace or reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. Rather, this biased rhetoric increases further divisiveness in our local community and fuels the machinery of antisemitism. Please contact Seattle City Councilmembers today and ask them to decline to sign this letter. Ask them to prioritize the safety of our communities here, as well as dignity, reconciliation, and enduring peace between Israelis and Palestinians. (Sample message and contact information below).

As you know, the politics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are complex, long-standing, deeply emotional, and intertwined through all aspects of society. There is not just one cause or explanation for this recent violence, but many, including: the conflict regarding temporary limiting access to Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, pending legal determination on homes lived in by several Palestinian families in East Jerusalem, recent clashes in the West Bank between Jewish settlers and Palestinians, internal Palestinian political struggles between Fatah and Hamas (and a postponed election by the Palestinian Authority), Palestinian terror groups calling for Israel’s destruction, including Hamas which has launched nearly 4,000 rockets from Gaza targeting Israeli civilians, Iran stoking flames against Israel, ongoing political negotiations to form a new Israeli government, and much, much more.

The best route to enduring peace and reconciliation is supporting a ceasefire and the resumption of a political process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Seattle needs leaders who strive to understand the complexities of the conflict and its impact, uplift those on the ground doing the work to keep Israelis and Palestinians speaking, living, and working with one another, and who honor the diversity of experiences, perspectives, and identities of their constituents. Please, join us in taking action today.

-The Jewish Federation Advocacy Team
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Contact:
Council@seattle.gov
Jenny.Durkan@seattle.gov
Peter.Holmes@seattle.gov

Email Subject Line: Support Peace – Don’t Sign Letter Condemning Israel

Message:
Dear Mayor Durkan, City Attorney Holmes, and Seattle City Councilmembers,
I write to you as a Seattleite deeply concerned about the safety and wellbeing of our local community, devastated about the loss of innocent lives in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, and firmly committed to peace, reconciliation, safety, and self-determination for both Israelis and Palestinians. I ask that you please decline to sign the letter condemning Israel being circulated by Councilmember Sawant, in any form, for consideration at the May 24th Council Meeting for the following reasons:

  • Growing Anti-Jewish Hatred – In the past two weeks, since the violence escalated, we’ve also a disturbing increase of antisemitic incidents related to the conflict, including synagogues tagged with “Free Palestine” graffiti, horrific social media posts, Jews attacked and beaten at a restaurant, violently assaulted at a rally, and signs at protests amplifying dangerous antisemitic tropes like comparing Zionism to Nazism.
  • Safety and Responsibility – Like any political conflict, the lack of nuance and spread of misinformation locally can be ubiquitous, harmful to peace, and can promote antisemitic and/or Islamophobic tropes. One-sided, inflammatory rhetoric like that in the letter Seattle council members are being asked to sign increases further divisiveness in our local community and fuels the machinery of antisemitism. Too often, Jewish or Palestinian Americans are falsely held accountable for an ongoing conflict on the other side of the world. Moments like these can cause real pain for our communities here. City Council members have a responsibility to ensure safety and wellbeing of our local community and understand how their actions impact this.
  • Misinformation – The politics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are complex, long-standing, deeply emotional, and intertwined through all aspects of society. There is not just one cause or explanation for this recent violence, but many, including: the conflict regarding access to Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, pending legal determination on homes lived in by Palestinian families in East Jerusalem, recent clashes in the West Bank between Jewish settlers and Palestinians, internal Palestinian political struggles between Fatah and Hamas (and a postponed election), Palestinian terror groups calling for Israel’s destruction, Iran stoking flames against Israel, ongoing contentious political negotiations to form a new Israeli government, and much, much more. The letter being circulated lacks nuance and paints a biased, inaccurate picture of the conflict.
  • Peace – This letter will not further peace nor will it help solve the current heartbreaking crisis. The best route to enduring peace and reconciliation is supporting a ceasefire and the resumption of a political process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. It is the only way that Israelis and Palestinians exist in safety and security, granting both peoples their right to self-determination. To foster peace, support organizations on the ground that are bringing Israelis and Palestinians together to do critical people-to-people peacemaking. They are working to change the status quo and build a shared future for both peoples. And they are needed now more than ever. Please check out the Invest in Peace Facebook page for updates from these peacemaker organizations.Thank you for your consideration,
    [Your Name]
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