Reform movement calls for Iraq exit strategy and withdrawal

The Union of Reform Judaism overwhelmingly passed a resolution at their Biennial this week in Houston, calling for an exit strategy from Iraq and a withdrawal of troops.

In addition to the development of an exit strategy, the resolution calls on the Bush administration to provide more transparency regarding all aspects of the war and calls for a bi-partisan, independent commission to determine the lessons learned from this war’s failures. It also condemns “in the strongest possible terms,” violations of the Geneva Conventions, including torture and abuse of prisoners and detainees in US custody, and condemns those who would use opposition to the war as a justification for anti-Israel efforts.

Full story and full text of the resolution.
Better late than never.

19 thoughts on “Reform movement calls for Iraq exit strategy and withdrawal

  1. Personally, I agree with this resolution… That being said, I think that only bad can come when Jewish organizations begin embracing political positions. It has the potential to alienate members of the community that may disagree and further fragments the klal.

  2. Typical,
    The same group that appeased the Nazis. Don’t turn your back, either you will have a knife in it or your head removed.

  3. “The same group that appeased the Nazis”???
    Okay, history lesson. Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, one of the foremost leaders of the Reform movement in the 1930s, repeatedly spoke out against the rise of Nazism, braving death threats for doing so. Also, it was Nazism that prompted the movement, in its 1937 Columbus Platform, to revise its earlier anti-Zionist stance, replacing it with “In the rehabilitation of Palestine, the land hallowed by memories and hopes, we behold the promise of renewed life for many of our brethren. We affirm the obligation of all Jewry to aid in its upbuilding as a Jewish homeland by endeavoring to make it not only a haven of refuge for the oppressed but also a center of Jewish culture and spiritual life.”
    And those are just two examples.
    Finally, I find it absolutely deplorable and despicable that, at a time when antisemitism is on the rise worldwide, any Jew would dare to launch such a vicious attack on one’s own kind. Shame!

  4. Finally, I find it absolutely deplorable and despicable that, at a time when antisemitism is on the rise worldwide, any Jew would dare to launch such a vicious attack on one’s own kind.
    “own kind”!!!!! Do you want to retract this please? G-d help us if Hitler was correct and we are of some other “kind”. I think the move by the URJ is bald pro-Democrat politics that will hurt the organization and betrays its many of its members. No matter what you think about the war in Iraq, there certainly are arguable moral and political justifications on both sides of the debate. The move by the URJ truncates one side of the debate and brings religious authority where it does not belong. This type of politics is as wrong when practiced by the URJ as when engaged by the SBC.

  5. I retract nothing. By “own kind” I mean “one’s fellow Jews.” Remember “haverim kol Yisrael” from the siddur? Remember “kol Yisrael aravin ze ba-zeh” from the Talmud?
    And I see nothing wrong with taking political positions. If the Christian right can do it (and I don’t see cinciligator complaining about that) than so can Jewish progressives.
    Who’s with me here? Let’s hear you!

  6. I’m with you hmm, but I posted the original post. I’ve blogged further about it here. If Jewish organizations can’t take stands to effect change in the larger world, then their only function is navel-gazing (which is all too often the case). Yes, Jews disagree on many issues, but that’s why we have more than one Jewish organization.

  7. cincilitigator, you called the move “bald pro-democrat politics”. Firstly, opposition to the war is not necessarily partisan. It happens in this instance, and a variety of others, the democrats have taken a jewishly defensible position and the administration has not. if political beliefs flow from values, which mine certainly do, then it is appropriate, even necessary, for our institutions of values to speak out on these issues. if you don’t see the URJ as a value-driven organization, that is a whole other story.
    lerxst–you expressed worry that our religious organizations marginalize people with expressions of politics. they also marginalize many with their wimpiness and non-stances. i want to be associated with groups who take tikkun olam seriously as a demand for structural change and principled ways of life. perhaps some of the decline in membership in old-guard jewish organizations is their lack of comfort with discomfort. sometimes it can’t be about being comfortable, it needs to be about standing up for what you believe is right.

  8. I understand history all to well!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have been there and lived it so don’t lecture me. When a branch of a particular religion goes off and tries to dictate politics we are on dangerous grounds. The left or “progressive” Jew talks about seperation of church and state and wants to de-christianize this country. Yet the URJ is making political resolutions–such hypocrsy. I was at the URJ in Houston and heard nothing but condemnation of the Orthodox movment, The US government, and the Israeli government. These self-hating Jews care more about singing songs of peace and harmony yet create such discord with their rhertoric.
    Appeasement is the path to destruction.

  9. I’ve got an idea…let’s leave politics out of the shuls.
    People should be fighting in shul over property disputes, potential spouses, differing interpretations of Torah, but not politics. It just aint worth the time.

  10. bintzippin correctly identifies the hypocisy in this case exhibited by “progressive” Jews. Bear in mind that the left does not merely disagree with the Jerry Falwells and Pat Robertson’]s of this world, but they vociferously question their very rights as ministers to contribute to the political debate. I believe in the rights of pious individuals to contribute their perspectives in the marketplace of political ideas. I have problems when those of the cloth link themselves inextricably to any political party which is why my earlier post referenced the SBC(Southern Baptist Convention). The question we all have to ask is whether there is a transcendant G-d who is entitled to a seat in the Holy of Holies – not the RNC or DNC. If so then let our religious institutions belong to Him and Him alone.

  11. It’s hard to take someone seriously when they use 12 exclamation points in a row, and especially when they write off the USA’s largest Jewish denomination as “self-hating Jews.”
    Now run along, candle your lettuce, lettuce your candles, and cook your Salisbury steak until it’s good and burnt.

  12. All you folks who support this war please volunteer yourselves or your kids to fight in Iraq or shut up. This war apparently won’t end until there is a draft.

  13. Those of us that have fought in wars and lost sons in wars have every right to speak up PRJ. I fought in WWII lost a lot of buddies liberating this world so we would not end up as lamp shades and I lost my son in Vietnam. Just because a demoniation is large does not make them right. If that was the case then we should all convert to Tao Buddhism, or Hindi or Islam. And yes they are self hating-jews. Instead of being proud of being a Jew they are absorbed with being liked and accepted by society and appoligizing for even exisiting. The world does not care about the Jew, it is about time Jews made a stand and worried less about world opionion and took care of our own.
    You can appease your wife, your husband, your kids, your neighbor, your chavursa and your parents. When you begin to appease your enemy, he will kill you. We are fighting a war against an enemy that has sworn the destruction of every Jew. They do not care if you are assimilated, religious or atheist their crede is conversion or sword. The United States is the best friend and ally the Jew has. Let’s not mess this one up. We have been kicked out of every country we have tried to settle in except the US. Lets stay loyal to this great land and support the efforts to protect its people against an enemy that has no morals and cares not for life only death. The URJ want’s to investigate violations of the Geneva convention against an enemy that does not wear a uniform, uses children and schools as shields. The URJ did not mention one time the burning US bodies in Fallujuah and crimes against US citizens. Why?
    If you want politics run for office, keep the URJ, OU, the Conservative movement ect.. out of politics.

  14. Bintzippin — As long as you say the OU as well as the URJ and USCJ (and Christian groups etc.) should stay out of politics, I have no problem with your position. I think what bothers many progressive Jews (or self-hating–you say tomayto, I say tomahto), and progressive non-Jews, is when those on the right invoke God and religion to buttress their arguments and then shout “blasphemy” when progressives do the same thing. At least you’re being consistent.
    But I still don’t like the “self-hating” bit. Ahavat Yisrael, people, Ahavat Yisrael. And that applies to ALL Jews, yes, even Aviad Cohen.

  15. bintzippin–
    I am proud of your service and I mourn the loss of your son. My father volunteered and served in WWII and my husband is a combat Marine veteran of Vietnam. I am a loyal American and a practicing Jew and I feel compelled to do what I can to stop this war being fought in the name of my country. I am not a pacifist but this Iraq War is about geopolitical positioning and money (Halliburton) and oil and had nothing to do with fighting terrorism. Our government had to lie to us to get support for this war and did the ultimate bait and switch by conflating Saddam with 911. Don’t forget, Saddam was the US government’s “friend” in the Iran-Iraq war because we wanted to counter Khomeini. And don’t forget the CIA armed and trained bin Laden to fight the Soviets.
    The only thing Saddam Hussein had in common with bin Laden and al-Qaeda was that they are both Muslims.
    We owe it to all those who have served and who currently serve in the military that we will never ask them to risk their lives for lies, for greed, for power games but only when absolutely necessary for the protection of our freedom and safety.
    I join Rep. Murtha and my husband in calling for the end to this war.

  16. PRJ,
    When it came time to stand for what he truly believes Rep. Murtha did not vote to pull out and end the war at the recent house vote. it was 403 to 3 he was not one of the brave 3 to stand by their convictions. Neville Chamberline said the same things about Hitler you just said about Hussein. Then 9/1/39 Poland was invaded. PRJ you are copying the DNC hate rhetoric and sound like Howard Dean. They are other outlets besides CNN, Fox News and the BBC and network news.
    Those that forget the past are domed to repeat it. G-d forbid.
    Have a lovely Thanksgiving

  17. Johnny boy,
    Being against torure isnt political it is moral. Like the torture and murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis now being excavated from hundreds of mass-graves.
    Like the thousands who had body parts publicly hacked-off in the public square for being anti (proudreformjew’s) dear friend Saddam.
    Like using chemical warfare against his own citizens.
    Like the Americans who had their heads removed with a rusty hatchet.
    “They were better off with Saddam” – you hear every lib say it. An average of 30,000 Iraqis were merciless killed (some of them had the great merit of first being peed-upon and raped by Saddams two wonderful sons) each year.

  18. bintzippin wrote: “When it came time to stand for what he truly believes Rep. Murtha did not vote to pull out and end the war at the recent house vote. it was 403 to 3 he was not one of the brave 3 to stand by their convictions.”
    That’s not exactly true, now is it bintzippin? Murtha’s bill was never introduced for a vote in the house. Instead a GOP bill which was only a couple of lines long was introduced in it’s place, and *that GOP bill* is the bill that was voted down – not Murtha’s. You can read the two bills here
    Merliner wrote: “Like the torture and murder of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis now being excavated from hundreds of mass-graves.
    Merliner do you have a source for this claim? As far as I know only a few thousand have been found – the claims of hundreds of thousands have not proven to be true with any evidence. For all we know those few thousands could be war casualties. I’m not saying it didn’t happen – only that there’s no proof, and it could easily be lies like the claims about the “500 tons of VX gas” etc.
    Merliner continued: “An average of 30,000 Iraqis were merciless killed each year.”
    Really? What’s your source ?
    And let’s presume all of this is true, does this mean that you oppose torture when the US does it or do you think it’s justified by what you claim Saddam did 20 years ago?

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