Biden told me that a pause in the fighting will save lives in Gaza. Here’s why he’s wrong

Promoted post: Celebrating Our Cognitive Dissonance or Finding the Truth?

By Jessica Rosenberg is a Minneapolis-based rabbi and serves on the Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinic Council. She is the co-author, with Rabbi Ariana Katz, of “For Times Such as These: a Radical’s Guide to the Jewish Year,” which is due to publish next year, and author of an ”Introduction to Trauma, Healing and Resilience for Rabbis, Jewish Educators and Organizers.” The views in this commentary are her own. Read more opinion at CNN.CNN — 

For days, I’d been marching in the streets of my hometown of Minneapolis, one of thousands of protesters expressing anger and heartache over the deaths of Palestinians in Gaza.

Then, I had the sudden inspiration to buy a ticket to a campaign fundraiser for President Joe Biden, who I knew would be coming to town. It was one venue, I thought, where he’d have to hear my appeal.

The ticket to the fundraiser cost me $1,000 — the entry level rate. It’s a lot of money, but it was a small price to pay for the chance to share my thoughts with the president.

I had just one message for Biden: We need an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Israel must be compelled to stop the shelling of homes and businesses that has claimed more than 11,000 Palestinian lives. As the leader of Israel’s closest ally, Biden is in a unique role to compel the country to comply with a ceasefire.

To be honest, I was worried about how accosting the president could alienate me from Jewish community and my rabbinate. After standing up and challenging the president, where would I be able to pray? What synagogue would have me at the next Shabbat?

But with bombs falling in Gaza, with thousands of Palestinians and Israelis dead and missing, with hostages and prisoners still held in captivity, I knew I had to overcome my worry about the impacts on the people in my social and religious circles.

Opinion: Biden needs to call for a ceasefire and restore respect for international law

I summoned my courage as I rose in the gathering of 200 people earlier this month, where Biden addressed the crowd from the stage.

“Mr. President, if you support the Jewish people, as a rabbi, I need you to call for a ceasefire right now.”

The room filled with gasps of surprise, then with jeers and demands that I “sit down.” Some people in the room even broke into chants of “Four more years!” I suppose that at forums like that, people expect to hear only unconditional support for the candidate.

I was surprised to hear Biden’s calm reply.

“Do you want to hear my answer?” he said. “I think we need a pause. A pause means we give time to get the prisoners out.”

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Categories: Anti-Semitism, Israel, Judaism

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