“Unite & Advocate” Campaign Aims to Bolster Support for Israel, Especially among Members of Congress Who Failed to Recognize Israel’s Right to Self-Defense
For two straight weeks, Israel faced a sudden and unrelenting bombardment of thousands of rockets fired from Gaza by Iran-backed Hamas, attacks against which Israel properly responded to defend its citizens. Despite this onslaught against the Jewish state, which killed 12 Israeli residents and injured hundreds of others, Congress failed to stand up for Israel’s right as a sovereign nation to act in self-defense; neither did Congress take note of the extraordinary efforts Israel took to minimize casualties even as Hamas nefariously embedded in neighborhoods to put civilians in the direct line of fire.
This indefensible weakening of support in Congress was demonstrated by Members of Congress who represent many of our communities.
Further, while the battle between Israel and Hamas raged, we witnessed a shocking surge in violent attacks on American Jews by some self-identified supporters of Palestinians. These assaults took place across the United States – from New York and Los Angeles to South Florida, Skokie, Ill. and elsewhere. Too many elected officials have been either painfully complacent or very slow to denounce these anti-Jewish attacks.
As a result, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (Orthodox Union), the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization, is organizing meetings and other outreach activities for members of our community to engage with their Representatives in Congress while they are scheduled to be in their home District offices in the next three weeks. Please see ou.org/unite for more information.
During these meetings, OU community members will express their appreciation to those Representatives who stood with Israel and the American community in their time of need. For Representatives who failed to stand up for America’s greatest ally in the Middle East and even added fuel to the fire with thoughtless and even dangerous comments, the community members will advise them that their constituents are disappointed and expect better immediately and in the future.
Further, during these meetings, OU community members will press for the denunciation of anti-Jewish violence in the United States and for concrete steps to bolster Jewish community security.
OU Executive Vice President Rabbi Moshe Hauer emphasized the need for OU’s new campaign. “The time for action is now, and this is the OU’s greatest priority. Lives are at stake both here and in Israel. To our US Representatives who have stepped up and have begun speaking out and taking action to provide support to the Jewish community, we are grateful. To those who have not, we look forward to fruitful conversations.”
OU President Mark (Moishe) Bane added, “Our community members seek to make their feelings known to their Representatives. We will be systematically reaching out to our communities so that as many people as possible can get involved. We hope our elected leaders recognize the gravity of this situation and don’t squander this opportunity to speak to hear from their constituents.”