Thursday, January 15, 2009

Speech by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks in Trafalgar Square, January 11

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks is the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth (Great Britain). He spoke on January 11 at the pro-Israel rally in Trafalgar Square in London that was attended by over 10,000 people.

He gave a short but eloquent speech that stands in stark contrast to the hate-filled images and chants from pro-Palestinian rallies around the world. It deserves widespread dissemination, but needs no further comment on its eloquence.

We are gathered today, not in triumph but in tears.
Nothing that has happened in Gaza needed to happen.
All it took to avoid all the suffering
was for Hamas to end firing rockets on innocent Israeli civilians.
That's all.
And let a voice go out today from here in Trafalgar Square,
And from other gatherings today in Manchester, Paris and Washington -
as it has gone out from Israel since the day it was born, 60 years ago:
We want peace
Israel wants peace.
We who love Israel want peace.
No to terror -- yes to peace
Let there be an end to bloodshed and hate.
Let there be peace.
We say to those who criticise Israel:
You want Palestinian children to grow up with hope.
So do we
You want Palestinians to be able to live in dignity.
So do we
You want Palestinian parents to have work, income, and a life for their families.
So do we
When a great British Zionist, the late Dr David Baum,
President of the Royal College of Paediatrics,
a man who lived in Bristol but asked to be buried, as he was, in Israel, in Rosh Pinah, sought to give expression to his hopes for Israel,
he created a state-of-the-art child care facility.
Where? In Gaza.
He died on a sponsored cycle ride raising money
for paediatric facilities in Gaza.
When one of the finest young men of our community, Yoni Jesner, was killed in a suicide attack on Tel Aviv bus, his family donated his organs to save life, one of whom was a seven-year-old Palestinian girl
Yasmin Abu Ramila
who had been waiting two years for a transplant.
We care about the Palestinian future.
We care for Palestinian children.
We care about life.
And that is why we say to Hamas, who for years, day after day, have been endangering the lives of innocent people:
Stop killing the Palestinian future.
In 2005 Israel withdrew from Gaza.
It said to the people of Gaza: the land is yours.
The factories, the farms, the buildings our people built are yours.
The aid you seek in building an economy is yours.
That is when terror should have stopped.
Instead that is when the current wave of terror began.
The living nightmare for the people of Sderot and Ashdod and Ashkelon.
A ceaseless rain of rockets injuring and killing young and old,
the vulnerable, the innocent, who wanted nothing except peace.
There are young children in Sderot who have only known a life of living in bomb shelters.
Who can live like that?
When Jews built the land and state of Israel
The land where our ancestors lived for 4000 years,
They didn't want to fight with their neighbours.
They didn't want to spend a lifetime fighting war and fearing terror.
All they wanted to do was live.
And so we ask Hamas, and Hizbollah, and the countries that give them aid and arms,
Why do you want Israel to die?
Stop wanting Israel to die.
Start wanting your children to live.
There is one question that cries out for an answer.
Why, Hamas, do you hold in such contempt not just Israeli lives but Palestinian lives.
Why do you fire rockets from schools, store arms in hospitals, surround yourself with human shields?
Why have you consistently acted so as to maximise the death of innocent Palestinians?
In the words of Colonel Richard Kemp, reported in today's Sunday Times:
Senior military adviser to the British cabinet,
'Hamas deploys suicide attackers including women and children,
And rigs up schools and houses with booby trap explosives.
Virtually every aspect of its operations is illegal under international humanitarian law.
The Palestinian future will begin
The minute Hamas stops firing rockets on innocent Israelis.
The minute they try to stop killing the people whom they see as enemies but who want to live as friends.
The minute they stop endangering the Palestinian people by pursuing a policy that is blighting the Palestinian future.
Just say three words:
Yes to peace.
And a day will come when Israelis and Palestinians
Jews Muslims and Christians
The people of Sderot and the people of Gaza
Will live together in peace
No longer fighting one another
But helping one another to live in freedom and dignity.
That day will come.
It could be a hundred years away
Or it could be today.
It's up to Hamas and the countries that give it arms.
And for the sake of Palestinian children, and Israeli children,
Let it be today.
But in the meanwhile we say,
Beloved G-d
The G-d we worship
The G-d of life who told us to sanctify life
Al Rahman, the G-d of compassion
The G-d of Avraham, Ibrahim, father of our several faiths
Show us the way to live your way.
The way of Salaam,
The way of Shalom.
The way of Peace.


  1. From an EU official:

    “We have been at the side of the Palestinian population always and we will be at their side, but at the same time it’s also for the Palestinian population on both sides to say, ‘We want this peace,” she said.

    Interesting on two counts:

    She admits bias AND

    She admits Mamas's culpability

    "Hamas's confrontation with Israel was hindering prospects for a better life for the people of Gaza. "

  2. if jews take jakarta by force military wise and push local residents out by killings as was done with redindians by English people on the land of America and in Palestine and after 60 years start such and same speeches for the remaining jakartians.How it will sound?

  3. gazan love HAMAS, HAMAS is not terrorist. israel people may be good but not the leaders... Oh Israel please stop your hypocrisy

    the truth about HAMAS

  4. The truth about Hamas is that they are a terror organization, and are recognized as such by the EU, Canada, The United States, japan, and others.

    The principles of the Hamas are stated in their Covenant or Charter, given in full below. Following are highlights.

    "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it." (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory).

    "The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. "

    "There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors."

    "After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying."

    The charter is a rather classical Islamist document, applied to the local issues. It declares that Jihad (in the sense of armed battle) is the only solution. It cites the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a ludicrous anti-Semitic forgery.

    The "Zionists" and the freemasons and others are blamed for what Hamas and radical Islamists see as the major calamities of the world, especially the French Revolution.

    One of the most ominous aspects of the Charter however, is this Hadith:

    Moreover, if the links have been distant from each other and if obstacles, placed by those who are the lackeys of Zionism in the way of the fighters obstructed the continuation of the struggle, the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to the realisation of Allah's promise, no matter how long that should take. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said:

    "The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews." (related by al-Bukhari and Muslim).

    The implication is clear: Allah promised that the Jews will be murdered, and the Hamas "aspires to the realisation of Allah's promise, no matter how long that should take."

  5. Hamas War Crimes:

    Deliberately targeting civilians

    Using civilian areas and structures including hospitals, mosques and schools for storing and firing weapons

    Direct and public incitement to genocide

    The use of child soldiers

    Attacking while wearing civilian clothes

    Shooting rockets with phosphorus payloads deliberately at civilians

    Ignoring the Geneva convention standards regarding the treatment of prisoners of war

  6. To read more about Hamas war crimes

    Palestinian Authority: Hamas’ deadly campaign in the shadow of the war in Gaza

    Since the end of December 2008, during and after the Israeli military offensive which killed some 1,300 Palestinians, most of them civilians, Hamas forces and militias in the Gaza Strip have engaged in a campaign of abductions, deliberate and unlawful killings, torture and death threats against those they accuse of “collaborating” with Israel, as well as opponents and critics.

    At least two dozen men have been shot dead by Hamas gunmen in this period. Scores of others have been shot in the legs, kneecapped or inflicted with other injuries intended to cause permanent disability, subjected to severe beatings which have caused multiple fractures and other injuries, or otherwise tortured or ill-treated.

    The targets of Hamas’ deadly campaign include former detainees accused of “collaborating” with the Israeli army who escaped from Gaza’s Central Prison when it was bombed by Israeli forces on 28 December 2008, as well as former members of the Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces and other activists of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party.

    The campaign began shortly after the beginning of the three-week Israeli military offensive against the Gaza Strip on 27 December 2008 and continued after a ceasefire took effect on 18 January 2009.

    Most of the victims were abducted from their homes; they were later dumped – dead or injured – in isolated areas, or were found dead in the morgue of one of Gaza’s hospitals. Some were shot dead in the hospitals where they were receiving treatment for injuries they sustained in the Israeli bombardment of Gaza’s Central Prison. The perpetrators of these attacks did not conceal their weapons or keep a low profile, but, on the contrary, behaved in a carefree and confident – almost ostentatious – manner.

  7. Its both very sad and very revealing that we have NEVER heard anything like Rabbi Sacks' thoughts coming from a Palestinian clergyman regarding Jews. It would be a nice first step.