New York, NY, November
30, 2012 - The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) issued this statement
from URJ President Rabbi Rick Jacobs after the United Nations (UN) voted
yesterday to accept Palestinian non-member observer state status at the
"We are deeply disappointed in the results of the vote in
the United Nations yesterday to accept Palestinian non-member observer
state status. We believe this decision will undercut incentives for a
final agreement that must be negotiated by the two impacted parties
directly. We are also concerned about the potential for this decision to
enable the Palestinians to challenge Israel, both diplomatically and
legally, in the international arena in UN sponsored venues such as the
International Criminal Court, a move that will do serious damage to
rebuilding the trust between Israel and the Palestinians.
want to commend--and thank--the United States and Canada for their
vigorous position regarding this UN vote. We agree with Secretary of
State Clinton who said that: '"Only through direct negotiations between
the parties can the Palestinians and Israelis achieve the peace that
both deserve: two states for two people, with a sovereign, viable and
independent Palestine living side-by-side in peace and security with a
Jewish and democratic Israel.'
"And, we urge President Obama to
take the lead in mobilizing robust negotiations as soon as possible. As
we have seen repeatedly over the decades, and most recently during the
confrontation between Israel and Hamas, U.S, leadership is crucial if
diplomatic progress is to be made.
"However, we want to warn
against punitive measures in forms that will weaken the Palestinian
Authority (PA) for bringing this vote to the international body.
Prospects for a two state solution, so vital to Israel's security and
well-being and to the prospect of a viable Palestinian state, require a
PA strong enough to take political risks for peace. Endangering the
viability of a PA already teetering on financial bankruptcy will only
empower Hamas and its like-minded allies in Iran and elsewhere. In this
context, we strongly commend the Israeli government on its decision to
have no immediate punitive response."
The Union for Reform
Judaism (URJ) is a dynamic network of congregations, lay leaders, clergy
and professionals across North America. Through programs, information
and networking opportunities provided by the URJ, our nearly 900 member
congregations enhance their capacity to build and expand community,
deepen Jewish learning, energize worship, pursue social justice and
develop inspired leadership.