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Compassionate Jews weep for Gaza


Graffiti on synagogue wall

In Australia and around the world, in recent weeks and months, places of Jewish worship have been tagged with graffiti. One tag reads, ‘Weep for Gaza’.

In the face of the tragic loss of innocent civilian lives in Gaza we express our anguish and call for an end to hostilities. We weep for Gaza. We pray that a just, lasting and durable peace can be found by the Palestinian people and Israel. 

We acknowledge that the people of Palestine experienced deprivation and expulsion from the place they called home in the wake of the founding of the modern state of Israel and we call for full recognition of the right of Palestinians to self-determination and their right to have a state of their own in which to live normal peaceful lives in freedom, living alongside the State of Israel in peace and recognition of the State of Israel. 

We also acknowledge the right of the Jewish people to a place of sanctuary and home in the place their ancestors called home and which their prophets and rabbis held out as a beacon of light in the midst of despair. We call for full recognition of the right of the State of Israel to exist and be a homeland for the Jews and for Israelis to live normal, peaceful lives within that State or anywhere they might travel.

While acknowledging the right of the Jews to have a home in Israel, we weep with anguish for the loss of men, women and children, the civilians who are victims in Gaza. Similarly we weep for the senseless loss of Israeli lives both civilian and military sacrificed in war.  We weep with Gaza and we weep with the inhabitants of Israel.

We hope that ultimately there will be an end in a negotiated peace to hostilities, mistrust and enmity between Israel and the Palestinians.

We deplore episodes of tagging in Australian cities and we say to those who weep with Gaza that we weep with them, but we also say to those who are passionate for self-determination for the people of Gaza that attacks on Jewish synagogues, much less Jewish children in school buses are not a way to open up a dialogue with the Jewish community, and they are not a way to influence change in the Middle east.

The sentiment expressed in the tag, ‘Weep for Gaza,’ is one that all of us, Christian or Jew, would agree with. Indeed we need to weep with what is happening around our world and within our nation. We need to continue to develop a spirit of compassion for all who struggle and suffer, especially unjustly. 

But tags that target Jewish religious sites should not be part of anger that many may feel about the terrible loss of human life in Gaza. Compassionate Jews will be weeping for Gaza as well. Attacks like these are only one step away from anti-Semitism, a rejection of Jews by non-Jews, making them culpable for the evils and tragedies of our world. 

Whatever one’s beliefs about the causes of the current situation is Israel/Palestine, the Jews living peaceful lives in Australia should not be the target of one’s anger and despairs.

We pray that ultimately there will be an end in a negotiated peace to hostilities, mistrust and enmity between Israel and the Palestinians. Indeed, let us weep for Gaza. Let us also weep for religious or ethnic prejudices, wherever and whenever they appear in our midst. But let us reject the hatred directed towards Jews in Israel and elsewhere in the world by those who misguidedly or intentionally invoke anti-Semitism in all its ugly forms.

Michael TrainorMichael Trainor is an Adelaide Catholic priest and Christian Co-chair of the SA Council of Christians and Jews.

Image: dailystormer.com

Topic tags: Michael Trainor, Gaza, Judaism, Islam, graffiti, synagogue, protest



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Existing comments

There is no requirement just for Jews to have a safe so-called homeland, but if there was Palestine is not their ancient land. They have no ancient land, it's a religion.

Marilyn | 15 August 2014  

Thank you Michael for this balanced, sensitive and compassionate statement. Philip Mendes

philip mendes | 16 August 2014  

It’s nice that you acknowledge that the Palestinians experienced deprivation on expulsion from the place they called home Michael, it really is nice. It’s also nice that you think they have a right to self-determination and a state of their own. Presumably, as you haven’t mentioned anything about redressing the injustice of this expulsion, it won’t be in the place they ‘called home’ though. So, just where exactly do you think this state of their own might be established? Do you think for one moment that the Israelis will tolerate a Palestinian state anywhere within what they call Judea and Samaria? But it’s still nice that you can weep for the Palestinians Michael, I’m sure it must make them feel much better.

Paul | 16 August 2014  

Well said Marilyn and well said Paul. "We acknowledge that the Palestinians experienced deprivation and expulsion..." Who did that to them?

Jim Jones | 18 August 2014  

I wonder if the Eora people regret not putting their stories in writing, with Bennelong as their Moses. Then they could come back and kick everyone out of Sydney and say that this was their traditional homeland and they had a right to exist there. All for the want of a Book.

Frank | 18 August 2014  

It is most disgraceful for any person or persons to try and run down Jews. They have brought great knowledge and peaceful progress wherever they have settled. Those that seek to denigrate Jews must themselves search their souls and minds and reach for peace within themselves.

Richard | 18 August 2014  

Healing and helpful. Thanks.

Peter Goers | 18 August 2014  

The Marshall Plan was quite clearly flawed. History does record that the no doubt suffering European Jewish people resettled in Palestine had in their midst those who fired the first shots when they blew up the Hotel David in the first mass civilian slaughter of the post-war period.

john frawley | 18 August 2014  

We should weep for both Gazans and Israelis. And for the folks who are neither Israeli nor Palestinian, but whose names pop up at every opportunity to say something hateful, ignorant and lying about the traditional homeland of the Jewish people. Judaism gave birth to both Christianity and Islam. I pray that you find some compassion and respect in your hearts for the remnants of the Jewish people, and purge the hatred from your hearts. Peace will not grow from such hatred.

Jennifer | 18 August 2014  

Father Trainor thank you for this valiant effort to stem the flow of anti-Jewish sentiment (conveniently masked as anti-Israel). But there is a such very long way to go, as indicated by some of the above comments and indeed this publication. Eureka Street has so far carried not a single article focussed on the ISIS atrocities in Syria, including against Christians. Of course if Muslims of any stripe are acknowledged to be in any respect blameworthy, for anything, it would interfere with the anti-Jewish narrative - the enemy of my enemy is my friend, that sort of idea. I continue to assume that could not be the reason but the silence is deafening. As for Marylin's and Paul's comments, even if Jews were wrong to take over parts of what we now call Palestine to establish Israel, why is that so much more egregious than, say (turning Frank's example around), the European settlement of Australia? Oh that's right (of course Jim Jones) we're talking Jews here. Makes all the difference.

Damian | 18 August 2014  

What surprises me is the still ignorance or just misinformed among us, and whose fault is it. Why would a Catholic priest of all people, be surprised at the outpouring support of Israeli Jews for Gazans. The director of Catholic humanitarian aid group Caritas Jerusalem one of them when seeking donations of food, clothing and other vital supplies. Somehow the message is still not getting through, even among religious.

Lynne Newington | 18 August 2014  

Not just 'the place they called home', it was their homes. A proper solution is a one-state solution, non-religious, where Jews and Arabs are equal. The Jews had the same right to migrate to Palestine as all people have to migrate to other places, but no right to expel the people who were already settled there.

Gavan Breen | 18 August 2014  

It may be helpful for all of us to remember that Jesus was a Palestinian Jew. It's difficult to understand Jesus apart from his Jewishness.

Pam | 18 August 2014  

What I did meant to include, was Argentinain president Cristina de Kirchner had the audacity to warn Israel she would hold them responsible if any harm came to their priest serving in the Gaza strip and " will have severe consequences for the bilateral relations". What a cheek considering the dark clouds over her countries head from the bloodbath of military rule.

Lynne Newington | 18 August 2014  

I agree whole heartedly with this sentament. Blaming a whole religion for the acts of some is unjust. I have been to Isreal and Palestine and to see everyone with weapons and hatred is sad. There is no easy solution to this problem but like the Jews have Isreal the Palestinians need there own home land and for all to share Jerusalem.

Bernadette Nicoll | 25 August 2014  

One definition of a psychopath is a person with a reduced sense of responsibility to his/her fellow man. Yet, put this into a war situation and it is conveniently forgotten. The irresponsibility of both Israel and Hamas for the civilians of their enemies is psychopathy. However, Israel does not necessarily equate with Jews. There are plenty of Jews who oppose Israel's actions. Sadly, psychopathy in war time is not confined to this situation - just look at almost any conflict, including those perpetuated by our own side. Christians must recognise that this disregard is not acceptable. Jesus said "love your enemies and do good to those who hate you"

John | 25 August 2014  

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