Articles about the Gaza war

We come across a lot of useful material about the current situation in Gaza and the West Bank. We’re going to try to post links to a few of these articles every couple of weeks here, and at the same time to send them out by e-mail.

4th April

The situation in Gaza continues to worsen, with the latest outrage — the Israeli air strike that killed seven aid workers from World Central Kitchen — provoking strong reaction around the world, and leading to considerable soul-searching amongst Israelis and Jewish communities. LJJIP has continued to press Liberal Judaism for a robust response to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, most notably at two recent ‘open house’ meetings held by Charley Baginsky, the CEO of Liberal Judaism. 
Today’s (4th April) Jewish News carries the latest statement on Israel-Gaza from the leaders of Liberal and Reform Judaism.
We’ll discuss how to continue building the campaign both within and outwith Liberal (and, soon, Reform) Judaism at the next members’ open meeting on 18th April, at 6:30pm (save the date!)
Here’s a short selection from the current vast coverage of the conflict:
  • Yachad are holding a series of events being held by Yachad in person and online, including an online discussion with Humza Yousaf, the First Minister of Scotland! (Thanks to Rabbi Elli Tikvah Sarah, Rabbi Emeritus of Brighton and Hove Progressive Synagogue for drawing our attention to this.)
  • Following our highly successful online meeting with Standing Together (description and recording), which saw over 130 in attendance, this article from Ha’aretz (free registration required) focuses on an attempt by members of Standing Together to deliver aid to Gaza. You may have heard one of the presenters at our meeting, Rula, being interviewed on Radio 4 about the convoy. 
  • Another organisation which brings together Palestinians and Israelis is Roots – whose mission is ‘Fostering a grassroots movement of understanding, nonviolence, and transformation among Israelis and Palestinians’. Various members have brought Roots to our attention – check out their website with many resources
  • In the absence of any ceasefire, the issue of aid is central – this article in Jewish Currents argues that ‘Israeli Aid Policies Drive Starvation’. Piercing the fog of war is difficult; this article contributes to a greater understanding of the issues. 
  • And although from a few weeks ago, this article by David Grossman in the NY Times – ‘Israel is Falling Into an Abyss’ (free registration required)– is eerily prescient in the light of current circumstances. 
  • And, finally, although Purim is past, we thought this article from Ha’aretz (free registration required) about the mysterious origins of Purim is well worth a read.  Apparent existential threats to Jews in ancient Persia, whilst of dubious historicity, obviously has echoes today…
Next up is Pesach, and our next digest will focus on the message of liberation – for all – Palestinian and Jew alike. ‘Until we are all free, none of us is free’ (Emma Lazarus, 1883)

1st March

We start with the important ‘Statement from Progressive Jewish clergy on Israel and Gaza’ which was issued on 20/2/24 by clergy within Liberal Judaism and the Reform Movement. As both denominations move towards closer co-operation, it is even more important to see joint position statements such as this.

This statement followed the equally important ‘Statement on Rafah by Senior Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg’ of Masorti on 13/02/24, evidencing significant movement by elements of progressive Judaism on their willingness to speak out on the war in Gaza.

The Organising Group of LJJIP discussed these developments and agreed to submit a letter to the Guardian referring to the LJ, Reform and Masorti statements calling for an immediate ceasefire. This was published on 27/02/24 and you may well have seen it already. The letter has had an impact and led to quite a number of new people signing up to LJJIP and even more interest in our Zoom meeting with Standing Together/Omdim B’Yachad this Sunday – more on this below.  The Guardian did miss off the letter that we were writing as the OG of LJJIP, which is unfortunate. We also considered trying to get signatories from the membership, but this was practically problematic and we felt there was an urgency in submitting the letter.

As a further positive result of the letter, Maurice from the Organising Group was interviewed on TV by BBC World yesterday, the 29th February. In a short, but very measured and articulate interview, Maurice made some really important points which reflect our views. You can watch the three-minute video of the interview here.

Tracking back a bit, in other news, members of LJJIP arranged a Solidarity Benefit for Medical Aid for Palestine and the British Shalom Salaam Trust. Titled Crossing Borders the musical and cultural event was sold out quickly and arranged a second night, which was also sold out! A huge success and a template for possible similar events elsewhere. Well done to all concerned.

There are too many articles to try and focus on this month and given current events within Gaza we will save some of them for a future digest. However, you may be interested in a series of six podcasts by David Keys – one of the Organising Group – on the history and background to the current war in Gaza and explainers of the conflict from David’s perspective. The series of podcasts is also available on Spotify.

One very recent article I thought merited attention was ‘Islamophobia and antisemitism in UK politics have a grim, exhausting symmetry’ by Rafael Behr in the Guardian on 28/02/04. Given the current focus on Islamophobia and Antisemitism with political discourse, this is a thoughtful piece which may well resonate with people.

And finally, we would again bring to your attention the on-line meeting this Sunday. The meeting features speakers from Standing Together, a grassroots movement mobilising Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel, in the pursuit of peace, equality and social justice. We will hear from them on Zoom at 6:30pm on 3rd March. You can read about it, and sign up to attend, here. Over 150 have already signed up! We look forward to seeing you there.

10th December

Simon Sebag Montefiore: The impact of conflicting histories in the Israel-Hamas and Russia-Ukraine wars.

A ‘Leading’ podcast from Alistair Campbell and Rory Stewart – ‘The Rest is Politics’.  Yes, I know…but this episode is an interview with Simon Sebag Montefiore on the competing histories of Israel/Palestine and is very good. If anyone has read his book ‘Jerusalem’ they will know he has real depth of knowledge about the region and in this interview tackles some complex questions. The link above is to Spotify, but get the episode from any reputable podcast source – date 27th November. Worth a listen…

Community Squads – No Substitute for State’s Responsibility for Security of Population

An article from Zulat, an Israeli Human Rights organisation. Aimed primarily at an internal audience, the author explores the very worrying development of hundreds of armed squads under the instruction of the far-right National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir. Squads are one term; armed militias would perhaps be more accurate. This is a wholly unwelcome development including the creation of armed settler militias in the West Bank with all the implications this has for increased violence against Palestinians. 

Learning from Israel’s Past Gaza Strip Invasions

Nadav Weiman, a veteran of the Gaza campaign of 2008, writes about the main principles of IDF operations in Gaza: the principle of ‘zero risk to our forces’ at any cost, and the Dahiya Doctrine, maintains that, in an asymmetrical conflict against a non-state actor, a period of calm can be achieved by causing disproportionate damage to military assets and civilian infrastructure and properties.

Gaza’s Statistics of Death

David Keys, a member of LJJIP’s Organising Group, extrapolates from the Palestinian casualties of the Gaza incursion to date, to conclude that for the IDF to come to near its goal of killing 40, 000 Hamas fighters, the number of dead and injured innocent Palestinian civilians is likely to reach between 100,000 and 200,000. 


Let’s Build Hope! Join Our Webinar – Sunday 17th December at 6pm UK time

Come and meet Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel who are working on the ground to build an alternative of peace, equality and justice from within Israeli society. You’ll hear about the work we’ve been doing to strengthen solidarity and build support for peace and equality, our plans for the future, and how we’re working towards changing our reality in Israel/Palestine.

You’ll hear from members of the Standing Together leadership, as well as student activists and members of the Standing Together solidarity networks. We’ll be discussing our work on the ground since the start of the war, what lies ahead of us, and how we plan to build an alternative of peace, equality, and justice from within Israeli society. 

Register here:



Today I am taking sides.

I am taking the side of Peace.

Peace, which I will not abandon
even when its voice is drowned out
by hurt and hatred,
bitterness of loss,
cries of right and wrong.

I am taking the side of Peace
whose name has barely been spoken
in this winnerless war.

I will hold Peace in my arms,
and share my body’s breath,
lest Peace be added
to the body count.

I will call for de-escalation
even when I want nothing more
than to get even.
I will do it
in the service of Peace.

I will make a clearing
in the overgrown
thicket of cause and effect
so Peace can breathe
for a minute
and reach for the sky.

I will do what I must
to save the life of Peace.
I will breathe through tears.
I will swallow pride.
I will bite my tongue.
I will offer love
without testing for deservingness.

So don’t ask me to wave a flag today
unless it is the flag of Peace.
Don’t ask me to sing an anthem
unless it is a song of Peace.
Don’t ask me to take sides
unless it is the side of Peace.

Irwin Keller, Oct. 17, 2023

Irwin Keller is a Progressive Rabbi in Sonoma County, California, USA.

29th November

You made me do it’: Jacqueline Rose on violence and its origins, from the London Review of Books;

Learning from Israel’s past Gaza Strip invasions’: Nadav Weiman, Senior Director of Breaking the Silence and a combatant in the 2008 Gaza invasion, reviews the tactics of the IDF in its Gaza campaigns;

The awful horror of the Hamas-Israel war is creating deep divisions close to home’: Eva Wiseman reflects on the impact of the Gaza war on British Jewish communities and families.