Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association strongly condemn the recent public remarks made by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Denying the legitimacy of the historic and religious connection of the Jewish people to the land of Israel, Abbas claimed that the Zionist movement was a European colonial plot having nothing to do with Judaism or with the true desires of Jews facing peril during and after World War II. He also referenced longstanding conspiracy theories claiming that covert Zionist plots were the “true” cause for the flight of hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from Arab and Middle Eastern countries. These offensive remarks undermine prospects for a viable peace process, precisely at a time when the Israeli and American governments have also taken recent steps that move the parties further away from a constructive, viable peace process.
Jews and Arabs both have sacred and ancient connections to the holy land, and both deserve the dignity of having those claims respected and honored. What’s needed, now more than ever, is a recommitment on the part of all leaders to focus their energies on paving the way for a negotiated peace agreement that ends the Occupation, provides for Israel’s security, establishes two states living side-by-side, and brings dignity, freedom, and political sovereignty to Israelis and Palestinians alike.