After Gaza militants unleashed their heaviest rocket fire in 20 months, there has been an outpouring of support for Israel from Jewish groups across the political spectrum. Both from the left and right, Jewish organizations condemned the murder of Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir.
However, viewpoints differed on the degree of similitude between the murder of Khedeir and the murder of the three Israeli teenagers carried out by Hamas.
National Director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) Abraham H. Foxman issued a statement condemning the murder of a Palestinian teenager allegedly carried out by Israeli Jewish extremists.
“Unbridled extremist hatred was behind the kidnapping and murder of Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach, who are mourned around the world. We cannot shirk from the recognition that unbridled, extremist hatred may have led to the kidnapping and murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir as well,” wrote Foxman. He extended his deepest condolences to the family of Mohammed.
However, executive director of American For a Safe Israeli (AFSI) Helen Freedman warned against drawing “moral symmetry” between the two incidents.
“There is no excuse and no justification for the horrific deed done by the brutal killers, but it is also important that no moral equivalency be brought here,” she wrote in a statement.
“The murderers of the three Israelis, Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frankel, and Eyal Yifrach, have still not been apprehended. Their names are known, but they are being protected by the Hamas/Fatah union.” She noted that this is “quite the opposite” of what happened with the murder of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, who murderers were arrested and interrogated by the Israeli police immediately.
In a similar vein, American Friends of Likud (AFL) stated that they are “confident that the Israeli government, its society and citizens will not honor these murderers as heroes, nor name squares or childrens' camps after them, nor issue monthly salary payments to their families,” in contrast to the response of Hamas to the murder of the Israeli teenagers. “We know that murderers will be treated as murderers as determined by the rule of law and as we expect from the only democratic country in the Middle East.”
J Street wrote in a blog post that they "recognize israel's right to protect its citizens but urge targeted action to avoid greatest possible extent civilian casualties." They cited the “few inspiring moments of hope” including the phone call between Yishai Fraenkel, uncle of the slain Israeli teenager, and Hussein Abu Khdeir, father of the slain Palestinian teenager.
“Now is the time to end incitement and take a firm stance against racism, hatred and intolerance. Neither side can afford any longer to turn a blind eye to the extremists within their midst,” they wrote.
American for Peace Now (APN) called on the “the Israeli government, the Palestinian Authority and all Palestinian factions, to prevent further escalation and further loss of innocent lives.”
“We want to make clear: Continuing the status quo of Israeli occupation only deepens Palestinian and Arab resentment, while feeding Israeli demonization of the Palestinians,” wrote APN’s President Debra DeLee. “The implementation of a two-state solution will mean a reduction in friction and, over time, a decline in enmity.”
APN sent out another press release supporting "Israeli self-defense" against the rocket fire from Gaza.
“While we strongly condemn Hamas’ terrorism and hold it responsible for violence emanating from the Gaza Strip that is under its control, we advise Israeli officials not to buy into the illusion that Hamas can be obliterated, certainly not by military means," the statement continued.
The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations released a statement on Sunday in response to Israel’s arrest of suspects in the Arab teen murder, urging the Israeli Arab and Palestinian leaders to stem the tide of escalating violence.
“We commend the Israeli government and services for their intensive investigation that has led to these arrests and urge that the perpetrators be brought to the bar of justice as soon as possible,” they wrote.
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