Rollings Stones Set to Perform as Rabbi Calls for Carpet-bombing Civilians
June 6, 2007
Matthew Wagner / Jerusalem Post & Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
Israel’s former Sephardi chief rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu has written in a letter to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert arguing that all of Gaza’s civilian population is “collectively guilty” for the rockets aimed at Isreal and, quoting the Old Testament, called for their “eradication.” Meanwhile Palestinian activists are appealing to the Rolling Stones to reconsider a planned concert in Isreal.
Former Chief Rabbi Advocates Carpet-bombing Gaza
Matthew Wagner / Jerusalem Post
(May 30, 2007) — All civilians living in Gaza are collectively guilty for Kassam attacks on Sderot, former Sephardi chief rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu has written in a letter to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Eliyahu ruled that there was absolutely no moral prohibition against the indiscriminate killing of civilians during a potential massive military offensive on Gaza aimed at stopping the rocket launchings.
The letter, published in Olam Katan [Small World], a weekly pamphlet to be distributed in synagogues nationwide this Friday, cited the biblical story of the Shechem massacre (Genesis 34) and Maimonides' commentary (Laws of Kings 9, 14) on the story as proof texts for his legal decision.
According to Jewish war ethics, wrote Eliyahu, an entire city holds collective responsibility for the immoral behavior of individuals. In Gaza, the entire populace is responsible because they do nothing to stop the firing of Kassam rockets.
The former chief rabbi also said it was forbidden to risk the lives of Jews in Sderot or the lives of IDF soldiers for fear of injuring or killing Palestinian noncombatants living in Gaza.
Eliyahu could not be reached for an interview. However, Eliyahu's son, Shmuel Eliyahu, who is chief rabbi of Safed, said his father opposed a ground troop incursion into Gaza that would endanger IDF soldiers. Rather, he advocated carpet-bombing the general area from which the Kassams were launched, regardless of the price in Palestinian life.
"If they don't stop after we kill 100, then we must kill a thousand," said Shmuel Eliyahu. "And if they do not stop after 1,000 then we must kill 10,000. If they still don't stop we must kill 100,000, even a million. Whatever it takes to make them stop."
In the letter, Eliyahu quoted from Psalms. "I will pursue my enemies and apprehend them and I will not desist until I have eradicated them."
Eliyahu wrote that "This is a message to all leaders of the Jewish people not to be compassionate with those who shoot [rockets] at civilians in their houses."
Don't Play another "Sun City"!
An open letter to the Rolling Stones
regarding their planned gig in Israel
Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
We are still gathering signatures from Cultural organizations, filmmakers, artists, and other cultural workers who endorse the open letter to the Rolling Stones, urging them not to play a in Israel in their upcoming tour.
(19 May 2007) — Dear Rolling Stones,
The Palestinian arts community received in disbelief media reports of your upcoming performance in Israel, at a time when Israel continues unabated with its colonial and apartheid designs to further dispossess, oppress, and ultimately ethnically cleanse Palestinians from their homeland.
If the news is accurate, and we sincerely hope it is not, we strongly urge you to cancel your plans to perform in Israel until the time comes when it ends its illegal occupation of Palestinian territory and respects fundamental human rights as well as the relevant precepts of international law concerning Palestinian rights to freedom, self-determination and equality.
Performing in Israel at this time is morally equivalent to performing in South Africa during the apartheid era. We all remember how leading Rolling Stones musicians played a prominent role in enforcing a cultural boycott of apartheid South Africa in the 1980’s, and participated in recording the timeless song, Sun City, which had a singular influence on raising public awareness about apartheid and its injustices.
As Archbishop Desmond Tutu, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights Prof. John Dugard, and South African government minister Ronnie Kasrils have repeatedly declared, Israel has created a worse system of apartheid than anything that ever existed in South Africa.
Indeed, Israel’s policies throughout its illegal military occupation of Palestinian territory, which have surpassed their South African counterparts, include house demolitions; Jews-only colonies and roads; uprooting hundreds of thousands of trees; indiscriminate killings of civilians, particularly children; incessant theft of land and water resources; denying freedom of movement to millions under occupation, cutting up the occupied Palestinian territory into Bantustans, some entirely caged by walls, fences and hundreds of roadblocks.
Sixty years since the Nakba, Israel’s planned campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian people, and 40 years into its military occupation of Palestinian and other Arab territory, Israel has consistently and relentlessly violated basic human rights and relevant precepts of international law with utter impunity. Moreover, Israel’s war of aggression against Lebanon last year caused more than one thousand civilian deaths, not to mention massive destruction to infrastructure and decimation of entire residential neighbourhoods.
The resounding failure of the international community to date in ending Israel's occupation, collective punishment, and other forms of oppression was what prompted Palestinians to appeal to international civil society to bear its moral responsibility to put an end to injustice, just as it did against apartheid South Africa. To this end, Palestinian civil society has almost unanimously called for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it fully complies with international law and recognizes the fundamental human rights of the people of Palestine.
A specific call for cultural boycott of Israel was issued last year, garnering wide support. Among the many groups and institutions that have heeded the Palestinian boycott calls and started to consider or apply diverse forms of effective pressure on Israel are the Church of England; the US Presbyterian Church; a group of top British architects; the British National Union of Journalists in the UK; the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU); the South African Council of Churches; the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) in Ontario; Aosdana, the Irish state-sponsored academy of artists; celebrated authors, artists and intellectuals led by John Berger; and Palme d’Or winner director Ken Loach.
Is it too much, then, to expect conscientious artists like the Rolling Stones to similarly uphold the values of freedom, equality and justice for all by supporting the growing boycott against Israel?
We appeal to your moral principles and your record of standing up for human rights and human dignity. If the reports are true, we sincerely hope that you shall cancel this ill-conceived and particularly harmful concert in Israel. If they are not true, we urge you to issue a statement to clarify where you stand on this issue of principle.
• To endorse please send an email to email@example.com
Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. www.pacbi.org. firstname.lastname@example.org
• Palestinian Campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel (BDS).
• For more information about this Campaign and support of the 2005 Palestinian Civil Society BDS Call, please see: www.bds-palestine.net