As we write this note to you, over a million Israelis are seeking safety in bomb shelters across the country.
Hours ago, with the onset of the Sabbath, tens of thousands of residents in Jerusalem had the peace of the day shattered by air raid sirens warning of incoming rockets, sending the citizens of Jerusalem into bomb shelters. The same scene occurred yesterday in Tel Aviv.
At times like this, Israel needs friends and we are comforted by New York’s elected officials who continue to speak out in support of Israel and her right to self-defense. To date, the following political leaders have spoken out:
Federal: Senator Charles Schumer, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Congress Members Rangel, Engel, Ackerman, King, Lowey, Maloney, Meeks, Nadler, McCarthy, Clarke, Israel, Bishop, and Congress Members Elect Jeffries and Meng.
State: NYS Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.
City: Mayor Michael Bloomberg, NYC Comptroller John Liu, Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, District Attorney Charles Hynes, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Councilmembers Garodnick and Halloran and former NYC Comptroller William Thompson.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
In an effort to provide you with the tools to effectively support Israel during this time, below you will find a listing of resources and suggested action items:
- Memo from the White House to the Amreican Jewish Community
- Updated talking points and digital diplomacy resource sheet from the office of Prime Minister Netanyahu
- Circulate the above talking points and backgrounder to your constituents via email and social media
- Share JCRC’s Facebook posts and follow us on Twitter @JCRC
- Stay up to date by visiting the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs website as well as the Israeli Consulate in New York’s Twitter and Facebook pages.
- Please share this story from Tablet Magazine with your networks.
- Musician Alanis Morissette is now under a lot of pressure to cancel her upcoming visit to Israel, please like this page and encourage her to go.
- Tweet your own messages and/or share stories you have heard from your friends and family in Israel. Here are some examples:
- Confirmed: A rocket fired from Gaza struck outside Jerusalem, Israel’s capital city. #IsraelUnderFire”
- Hamas deliberately targets Israeli children, and they deliberately place their rockets next to their children.
- “More than 12,000 rockets hit Israel in the past 12 years. RT if you think #Israel has the right to defend itself.”
We hope to continue to be a resource to your and your communities.
Here are the statements:
Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY): “Israel has an unalienable right and duty to defend herself from rocket attacks designed to kill thousands of its citizens. There is no justification for the horrendous violence that Hamas and other terrorist organizations are employing against the people of Israel. Hamas should stop these cowardly acts immediately – and if they do not – Israel has the right to defend its citizens and ensure they will not be hostage to terrorist missile fire and cross-border attacks.”
Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand (D-NY): “We strongly reiterate our support for Israel’s right to self-defense as a barrage of missiles from Gaza are attacking the people of Israel and endangering innocent lives. The Senate resolution I co-authored expresses the United States’ unwavering commitment to the security of our nation’s close and historically in the Middle East. We firmly stand united with Israel against terrorism.”
Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-NY 15): “I stand by the people of Israel and strongly condemn the terrorist attacks from Gaza. There is no justification for such violence. While I regret the death of innocent Israeli and Palestinian civilians caused by these recent airstrikes, I believe Israel has the right to defend itself. The focus now should be on how to bring security to the region until we can agree on a long-term solution.”
Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY-17): “No nation would sit idly by while hundreds of rockets fired by terrorist groups land on their soil. We should expect no less from the state of Israel. I believe the loss of life on both sides is tragic, but the responsibility for it lies with the Hamas terrorists in Gaza who are firing unguided rockets at civilian areas. Every country possesses the inherent right to defend itself from attacks, and the United States is correct to stand with Israel as it exercises its right of self-defense.
I believe in a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but terrorism is not the way to get there. Only a bilateral dialogue between the parties can bring peace, and I remain hopeful that we will someday reach that point.”
Rep. Gary Ackerman, (D-NY-5): “Yet again, the Hamas terrorist regime in Gaza, along with allied radical Islamist militants have deliberately provoked a wholly legitimate and fully justified Israel military operation to protect the Israeli people from ongoing rocket fire on Israeli civilians. I strongly back the decision by Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Israeli government to act in legitimate self-defense, and I am proud that our government, under President Obama’s leadership, has explicitly offered its support as well.
There is one, and only one, responsible party for the bloodshed which has occurred: Hamas. It is their fanatical attachment to violence, to the deliberate shedding of innocent blood that has compelled Israel to act in self-defense.
Israel withdrew completely from Gaza in 2005. Israelis want nothing to do with it. If Gazans wish to live a peaceful life, all that they need do is to stop trying to kill Israelis. That’s all. If they, for whatever reason, can’t resist the urge to murder Jews—people who they’ve never met, and who wish only to get on with their lives—then they will have to endure Israel’s fully justified and wholly appropriate military response.
Like people everywhere, the right of Israelis to live free from the threat or the use of force against them is absolute. The terrorist Hamas leadership cannot expect to wantonly attack Israel with rockets and then decry the severity of Israel’s fully warranted retaliation.
Finally, like Israel’s government, I regret the loss of life and harm done to all innocents. But there can be no question that the responsibility for each of these individual tragedies lies exclusively with Hamas, which alone provoked this unnecessary conflict.”
Rep. Peter King (R-NY-3): “Israel has the right to defend itself as its citizens face a barrage of rocket attacks. The Jewish State cannot and should not tolerate these attacks on its people.”
Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY-18): “Israel has the right and responsibility to defend itself from ongoing attacks from Hamas in the Gaza Strip. There must be no doubt that such terrorist actions will never be tolerated. I stand in support of the people of Israel, who continue to show strength and determination in the face of ongoing terrorist attacks.”
Rep. Carolyn J. Maloney (D-NY-14): “Israel has sustained more than 800 rocket attacks since the start of the year, and more than 120 since November 10th. No country can tolerate that kind of barrage without taking action to protect its population. Israel has every right to take responsible steps to end the assaults on its territory.”
Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY-6): “After days of incessant rocket fire into its territory, Israel launched Operation Pillar of Defense to protect its citizens. I want to express in the strongest terms possible that Israel has an absolute right to defend itself against such attacks. I also hope that other countries in the region will not attempt to use Israel’s self-defense as an excuse to back-track on vital peace agreements that would undermine regional stability.”
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY-8): “I condemn in the strongest terms the current aggression by Hamas against the civilian population in southern Israel. These attacks are entirely without justification and amount to murderous provocations by a terrorist regime which refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist, and which refuses to work toward a peaceful coexistence for both sides. Israel has every right to defend its borders, to repel such attacks, and to target those responsible. I applaud President Obama for his leadership and strong condemnation of these attacks. And I am gratified to see that the Iron Dome missile defense system has worked so well to prevent further bloodshed and destruction in Israel.”
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy(D-NY-4): “Israel and its citizens are under a grave and immediate threat and need the world’s support right now. Israel has been suffering a barrage of rocket fire by terrorists from Gaza recently and has not just the right but the obligation to defend itself and its citizens with a forceful response that will stop the shelling. The rocket attacks against Israel are an unconscionable act of terrorism and the world community – starting with the United States and its Congress – should stand behind Israel as she defends herself. These attacks against Israel are a major setback to peace in the region and need to stop immediately.”
Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY-2): “Today I am speaking with Israel’s Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, to let him know that I unequivocally support Israel’s right to defend itself in the face of unjustified attacks from Hamas and other terrorist organizations targeting innocent Israeli civilians. Israeli citizens have faced a constant barrage of rockets this month, more than 200 rockets have rained down from Gaza in the last 24 hours and nearly 1,000 rockets have hit Israel this year. My thoughts are with Israel today and every day.”
Rep. Tim Bishop(D-NY-1): “The bond between the United States and Israel is unshakeable. I stand with Israel at this difficult hour in support of its right to defend its citizens and national security. The escalating violence and increasing number of rocket attacks perpetrated by Hamas against the State of Israel must end immediately and its leadership must be held accountable.”
Rep. Elect Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY-8): “When visiting Sderot and Ashkelon in December 2008, I witnessed first-hand the indiscriminate rocket-fire emanating from Gaza and the unacceptable threat it presents to Israel’s children, seniors and citizens. Defensive action against such terror, including activity against militant Hamas leaders, is clearly the right decision by the state of Israel and one that America should support.”
Rep. Elect Grace Meng (D-NY-6) – The State of Israel has an absolute right to defend itself, and it is doing so effectively and precisely. If a terrorist organization were indiscriminately firing rockets into New York City, we would demand our military protect us and our closest allies support us. The United States must stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel at this trying time and support it in pursuing the goals of Operation Pillar of Defense.”
New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli (D): “We stand united with Israel as it defends its citizens from acts of terrorism by Hamas. The extremism that produced the attacks on Israel must be eradicated to ensure the safety of all innocent people in the Middle East.”
Speaker of the New York State Assembly Sheldon Silver (D): “As always, I stand with the people of Israel, who have endured months of rocket attacks and who now face escalating violence targeted at civilian populations. These terrorist acts must not be tolerated. Israel has the right and the duty to defend its citizens against this unjustifiable violence. I want to make clear my unwavering support for Israel and my strong condemnation of the attacks being carried out by Hamas and other militants.”
Majority Leader of the New York State Senate Dean Skelos (R): “I strongly affirm Israel’s right to defend against the persistent rocket fire from Palestinian militants in Gaza. For years, our nation’s strongest ally has been terrorized by continuous attacks ordered by Ahmed al-Jabari and other Hamas military officials. Israel has justifiably responded by targeting those directly responsible for the violence that is jeopardizing the region’s safety and security. Hamas must end this newest barrage of rockets immediately before more innocent lives are lost.”
New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I): “As sirens sounded in Tel Aviv just now and residents scrambled for shelter, many New Yorkers were immediately transported back to the worst days of first Gulf War, when the fear of missiles landing in Israel’s largest city turned into reality. I was in Israel in January of 2009 and witnessed first-hand the terror of incoming rockets in Sderot, which the local residents continue to endure with varying degrees of intensity. By the latest count, approximately 275 rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel just since yesterday, and that number keeps rising. Israel – like any nation – has every right to defend itself. As our U.S. State Department said yesterday, there is no justification whatsoever for the violence that Hamas and other terrorist organizations are employing against the people of Israel. And as Ambassador Michael Oren has said to me in our private meetings and to the world yesterday, Israel has both the right and duty to defend itself from terrorist attacks designed to kill thousands of its citizens.”
New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio (D): “The State of Israel has every right to defend its people. These indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israeli civilians represent an affront to everything we stand for as New Yorkers and Americans. We stand united in solidarity with our friends in Tel Aviv and southern Israel as they confront these acts of terror, and urge all possible cooperation between the United States and Israel to protect the innocent. We all hope for peace—but the protection of Israeli civilians from further attacks is paramount.”
New York City Comptroller John C. Liu (D): “While we pray for an end to the fighting and for peace between Israel and Palestine, we support Israel’s right to self-defense. We stand with our Israeli brothers and sisters as they take the steps necessary to protect their families and homes.”
New York City City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D): “Israel has every right to defend itself and protect its people. During my 2007 visit to Sderot, I experienced first-hand a terrorist attack on the Israeli people and understand the pain and suffering that these attacks have on a nation. I stand by Israel and support their actions to root out terrorism and protect their borders and citizens.”
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer (D): “As a staunch supporter of Israel, I am appalled by the news of the deaths of 3 Israeli civilians as a result of Hamas-fired rockets. Hamas’ continued violent assault on Southern Israel is deplorable and should be condemned by peace-loving people around the world. Israel has every right to defend itself and I call on the United Nations to immediately take a strong position against these unprovoked attacks.”
Brooklyn D.A. Charles J. Hynes (D): “Israel’s right to defend itself is indisputable. The missile attacks by Hamas into Israeli sovereign territory have killed civilians and no country would tolerate such actions. This seems to be an endless conflict with no immediate solution but both sides must find a way to end it without more people dying.”
New York City Council Member Dan Garodnick, 4th District (D): “I visited Israel with a City Council Delegation in February 2007 and experienced a rocket attack from Gaza when we were meeting with the mayor of Sderot. At the time, the incident represented one of the roughly 2,000 rockets that had been launched in and round Sderot over a six year period. Almost five years after that visit, rockets continue to be launched into Israel — and nearly 300 have landed this week alone. This cannot stand. The people of Israel have the right to defend themselves against these acts of terror, and we stand with them at this difficult time.”
New York City Council Member Daniel J. Halloran, 19th District (R): “Israel is our closest ally and the only true democracy in the Middle East. Because we share the values of freedom and democracy, we must lend our full support to the people of Israel as dangerous terrorist nations and groups like Hamas will stop at nothing to wipe them off the map. Iran and the terrorist groups they support are close to nuclear capability and Israel is the first target in the crosshairs. We have both a moral and strategic obligation to protect Israel and our allies around the globe. This includes not only military and economic aid, but also vocal support on the world stage of Israel’s undeniable right to defend itself. I fully support Israel’s right to take military action to defend its people in the face of such ruthless enemies plotting their destruction so close to their soil.”
Former New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson: “The recent escalation of hostilities in the Mid-East is troubling and threatens the stability of the region. More than 750 rockets have been launched from Gaza into Israel, and this cannot continue. I stand behind Israel and its people as the country defends itself against this senseless aggression.”