This week, the American Friends Service Committee in Chicago released its final 28 page report from the Chicago Hearing of April 18, 2010.
I had the privilege in participating the the Hearing as a clergy panelist along with Father Cotton Fite. The academic panelists included Israeli professor Yali Amit and University of Chicago Professor John Mearshheimer, author of the groundbreaking work, The Israel Lobby (2006).
The Chicago Hearing brought together an impressive panel of expert witnesses to consider the question: "does U.S. policy in the Middle East reflect our values?"
American-Israeli activist Jeff Halper unleashed a tour-de-force. With his booming voice he marshalled his detailed knowledge of life in Israel/Palestine and showed his passionate indignation at the ongoing injustices that the Palestinians are suffering.
Jeff Ruebner of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation showed convincingly how misplaced is the US funding of the Israeli occupation.
Cindy Corrie and Amer Shurrab were compelling moral voices. They spoke with great humanity from the deep grief they share for the loss of their loved ones at the hands of Israeli military violence. Cindy Corrie's daughter Rachel was killed by an Israeli military bulldozer as she protested Israeli violence against Gazans. I was inspired by Cindy Corrie's courage in continuing to speak up in the face of indifference and hostile reactions.
You can see all the testimonies through these links . If you have time just for one, I recommend Cindy Corrie's moving testimony.
I saw my job as a panelist mostly in representing a Jewish voice. We need to bring these conversations into the Jewish community. What does it mean to be a Jew and to know that Israel is guilty of this ongoing violence?
As an Israeli and former IDF soldier I found the testimonies to be completely credible. This information is readily available in the mainstream Israeli media through writers such Gideon Levy and Amira Hass. It is time for American Jews to become aware of the reality of the Israeli military's violent campaign against the Palestinians.