Last week, I slammed the Reform Movement for its truly shocking statement about civility in American political discourse. In addition to what was said, how it was said left me wishing for something more from the Movement that claims to represent a majority of the North American Jewish community.

Yesterday, it happened again. Rabbi Rick Jacobs issued a statement about Prime Minister Netanyahu’s campaign promise to annex the Jordan Valley. As a vast majority (66% last I checked) of North American Jews support a two-state solution and this action would all but hammer the final nail in its coffin, the Prime Minister’s statement should solicit a response from the leader of the Reform Movement. But how he responded was disappointing.

New York, NY; September 10, 2019 – Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President, Union for Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

“We are very concerned by the Prime Minister’s press conference today calling for immediate annexation of the Jordan Valley and parts of the West Bank. These are unilateral moves endangering Israel as a Jewish and democratic state and further limiting the possibility of a two-state solution. Such serious pronouncements don’t belong in the final week of a heated campaign.”

The soft touch of the language, the tortured verbs, and general round about way of saying this is a bad idea dilutes the power of what should be a strong condemnation of the Israeli government and its leader’s sleazy campaigning. The leaders of this Movement should be more forceful when it comes to deeply held values, especially ones that are widely accepted within its ranks, and this ain’t it. I expect more from the Movement and I have to believe there are more people like me–engaged, liberal to lefty, Reform or recovering Reform–who want Rabbi Jacobs to our voice for justice and peace.

There is no doubt he and his organization need a more measured tone than those further to the left, but this issue is clear cut and I feel they could easily have used stronger language and rhetoric to a better result.

So I fixed it for them:

New York, NY; September 10, 2019 – Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President, Union for Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

“The Prime Minister’s irresponsible call for immediate annexation of the Jordan Valley endangers Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. Have no doubt, Mr. Netanyahu’s statement further limits the possibility of a two-state solution. Today’s announcement represents the Prime Minister’s continued rejection of democratic values in favor of winning at all costs. His press conference appears to be the act of a desperate politician using people’s civil and human rights to score cheap points.”

Could it be too much for the Reform Movement of 2019? Most likely. Perhaps too political for any religious leader, but a boy can dream.

As full disclosure, I used to work for the URJ in communications and the RAC, and I’m a donor to Reform causes, mostly summer camps. But I’m not a member of a Reform congregation, in large part because of this kind of equivocation and softness in the face of evil.

I hope they grow some backbone and use active verbs in the New Year.