Who Were The Rabbis & Jewish Intellectuals Who Pushed For America To Declare War On Syria?

As the Twitter user #thelatempire notes: “Syria war has been the most globally destabilizing event since 9/11.”

So who pushed for this disaster?

From September 2013:

Letter to U.S. House of Representatives

Dear Congressional Leaders,

We write you as descendants of Holocaust survivors and refugees, whose ancestors were gassed to death in concentration camps. We write you as a people who have faced persecution for many centuries, and are glad to have found a safe refuge where we can thrive in the United States. We write as a people proud of our religious and historical tradition of helping the needy and defending the weak.

The recent chemical weapons attacks on the Damascus suburbs constitute a serious crime against humanity. These attacks killed upwards of 1400 people, the majority of them innocent women and children. As a people who themselves once faced the horrors of genocide and survived, we had hoped that we would never again open our newspapers to images of mass graves filled with suffocated young children. Now that we have seen such images coming from Syria, we call upon you to act.

Intelligence assessments from the U.S., U.K. France, Israel, Turkey, the Arab League, and many other allies all show conclusively that the Assad regime was responsible for the horrific chemical attacks of August 21st. We fear that if this attack passes without a decisive response, we might open our newspapers to more images of mass graves from Syria – and elsewhere — in the near future. We have learned from our own history that inaction and silence are the greatest enablers of human atrocity.

For this reason, we call upon you with great urgency to authorize the President to use force in Syria “in connection with the use of chemical weapons or other weapons of mass destruction,” as outlined in his August 31st draft legislation. Through this act, Congress has the capacity to save thousands of lives.

These are the Days of Awe for the Jewish people. In one of the climactic moments of our High Holiday prayers, we read “On Rosh Hashanah it is written, and on Yom Kippur it is sealed, who will pass and who will be created, who will live and who will die, who in his time and who before his time.” May this coming year be one of life and creation the world over, in which we cease to witness the deaths of so many innocent human beings.


Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz, Founder & President, Uri L’Tzedek

Leon Wieseltier

Rabbi Avi Weiss, President-Emeritus, YCT Rabbinical School (Yeshivat Chovevei Torah)

Rabbi Yosef Blau, Rosh Yeshiva, Yeshiva University

Professor Jonathan Sarna, Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History, Brandeis University

Rabbi David Wolpe, Senior Rabbi, Sinai Temple

Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President- Emeritus of the Union for Reform Judaism

Rabbi Menachem Genack, Orthodox Union

Rabbi Steven Weil, Orthodox Union

Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, Senior Rabbi, Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun (KJ)

Rabbi Richard A. Block, President, Central Conference of American Rabbis

Shlomo Bolts

Rabbi Mark Dratch, Executive Vice President, RCA (Rabbinical Council of America)

Rabbi Joseph Telushkin

Rabbi Jason Herman, Director, IRF (International Rabbinic Fellowship)

Rabbi Sid Schwarz, Senior Fellow, Clal: The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership

Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin, writer, Temple Beth Am, Bayonne, NJ

Rabbi Dr. Yehudah Mirsky

Rabbi Barry Dolinger

Rabbi Andy Koren

Rabbi Steve Greenberg, Director, Eshel and Senior Fellow, Clal: The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership

Rabbi David Jaffe, The Kirva Institute

A year later:

Sep 17, 2014 — From Petition Creator: One year ago, we pushed for Congress to hold Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad accountable after his vicious chemical attack on his own people. As you know, he was not punished for his crimes but was allowed to continue slaughtering civilians right and left. As a result, it’s been a difficult year for Syria:– Over 150,000 more people have died– 2 freed cities have been forced back into tyranny (1 to Assad, 1 to ISIS)– A new terrorist threat the U.S. officials describe as “like nothing we’ve seen before” has emerged.This all could have been avoided if Congress had heeded our calls a year ago. But at the very least, national security considerations have created the urgency that should have already been there for humanitarian reasons.Today, Congress authorized the President to arm pro-democracy rebels in fighting the powerful terror group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, which barely existed a year ago.Tell all your friends, tell the skeptics: this is why we don’t ignore genocides.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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