American Jews rally in support of a Gaza cease-fire

American Jews rally in support of a cease-fire in Gaza at the Farragut Square in Washington, D.C. on October 16, 2023.

(Photo: Celal Gunes/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Leading Jewish Group to Biden: Backing Israel's War on Gaza Puts 'US Democracy in Danger'

"For the sake of the lives of all people in the region, and the safety and futures of all of us in the United States, we urge you to make good on your own promise to cease sending offensive munitions to Israel."

A leading American Jewish group that historically has not engaged with the Israel-Palestine conflict sent a letter to U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday warning his continued support for Israel's assault on Gaza is endangering countless lives and threatening democracy at home.

The letter, penned by Bend the Arc: Jewish Action CEO Jamie Beran, urges Biden to immediately "stop providing offensive weapons to the Israeli military" as the nation's far-right leaders make clear their opposition to a permanent cease-fire deal and barrel ahead with a devastating offensive in Rafah.

"Time and time again, despite your calls to end this violence, you have not followed through with material action," the letter reads. "With over 1 million Palestinian refugees now being forced to flee Rafah, their last guaranteed refuge, thousands of lives lost, and families of captives being fined in Israel for demanding a cease-fire, it is long past time to end U.S. support for these attacks."

Bend the Arc typically focuses on domestic issues, but Beran wrote in the new letter to Biden that since the Hamas-led attack on Israel in October, "the violence in Israel-Palestine has permeated our borders to the point where it jeopardizes our collective safety."

"It impacts Jewish life in the U.S. and the safety of Jewish and Arab Americans. And, under the threat of an emboldened authoritarian movement at our doorstep, it threatens our shared ability to defend and build what will protect all of us—a vibrant, multifaith, multiracial democracy," Beran continued. "U.S. support for continued violence in Gaza is putting American safety and U.S. democracy in danger."

"For the sake of the lives of all people in the region, and the safety and futures of all of us in the United States," she added, "we urge you to make good on your own promise to cease sending offensive munitions to Israel."

The letter comes a week after the Israeli military used U.S.-made bombs in a deadly attack on a camp for displaced people in Rafah. The attack killed at least 45 people and wounded more than 240.

The strike was just the latest example of Israel's army massacring Gaza civilians with American weaponry, which has flowed to Israel with virtually no restrictions since October 7. Shortly after the Hamas-led attack, Israel used U.S.-made Joint Direct Attack Munitions in a pair of strikes that killed 43 civilians in Gaza, including 19 children.

Beran noted in her letter that a majority of Jewish Democratic voters and Democratic voters overall "have called for an end to this," supporting a cease-fire and an arms embargo on Israel until it stops its attacks on the Gaza Strip, which has been utterly decimated by the eight-month Israeli assault. Growing public opposition to Israel's war on Gaza comes despite a coordinated Israeli propaganda effort aimed at swaying Americans' views and bolstering U.S. military aid for Israel.

Biden's support for the Israeli military's atrocities, Beran warned Tuesday, "will continue to increase the heart-wrenching death toll, increase the number of calls for a cease-fire, and decrease your poll numbers—straight through the election."

"Your victory this November is the single most powerful tool we have to obstruct an irreversible timeline towards the end of U.S. democracy and our continuing work to build a society that serves everybody—from protecting voting rights, to enshrining the right to abortion, to creating just pathways for immigration," she argued. "Your success as a candidate is tied inextricably to the people's faith in your ability to keep us safe. As the violence overseas continues to intertwine itself across all of our domestic work, it too is now tied to your success and all of our safety."

"Not acting on your own red lines, combined with the Israeli government's promise to continue to violate them, will further erode your viability as a candidate in a race where every vote will matter," Beran added.

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