Am Echad an affiliate of Agudath Israel, on Wednesday issued the following statement on the protests during PM Netanyahu’s visit to the US:
As an organization dedicated to advancing the connection between Israel and the Diaspora and deeply concerned for Israel’s safety, we would like to express our dismay at the reckless and inciteful rhetoric adopted by the Israeli protest movement during Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s visit to the United States.
Am Echad does not have a position on the process and content of the judicial reform in Israel, out of respect for the ability of the Israeli citizens to form policy on this internal issue. Nor do we support any political party or figure. However, we cannot remain silent when the security of Israel’s 9 million citizens is being undermined on the United States soil.
Protest installations, such as the “Welcome Bibi” projection on Alcatraz and “Don’t Believe Crime Minister Netanyahu” on the United Nations building in New York, stray far from internal Israeli debate about checks and balances. They foment anti-Israel and antisemitic sentiments in the greater American society and world media.
Needless to say, we fully support the democratic tradition of both Israel and the United States, including the right to rigorous social debate, protests, and demonstrations against government policies. However, democracy and the right to protest cannot be allowed to metamorphose into attempts to undermine the country itself, and thus the security of its people.
We call on the leaders of the Israeli protest movement and their supporters in the United States to behave responsibly and be mindful of the repercussions of their actions for both Israel and the US Jewish community. Nothing can undermine the Israeli efforts against the Iranian nuclear threat like a sign on the United Nations’ building, calling the delegates not to believe Netanyahu’s messages on Iran. Moreover, as lessons of the past have shown us, any anti-Israel messaging in the media immediately translates into an uptick in antisemitic attacks on US Jewry.
We urge all responsible American Jewish organizations to show leadership and come out forcefully against such harmful and damaging rhetoric, making it clear that the American Jewish community will not tolerate attempts to undermine Israel’s safety and will continue to insist on a basic level of decorum and mutual respect in policy debates.
In this historic hour, we all share the responsibility to turn this crisis into an opportunity for a long-overdue consensus-building conversation. We all share the responsibility to return peace and understanding to our people.