As British Jews, we call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza

<span>People inspect damage and recover items from their homes following Israeli air strikes in Gaza city on Tuesday.</span><span>Photograph: Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images</span>
People inspect damage and recover items from their homes following Israeli air strikes in Gaza city on Tuesday.Photograph: Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images

As an organisation whose members are drawn from many synagogues throughout Britain, we are delighted that, last week, 39 rabbis from two major Jewish denominations (Liberal and Reform) demanded an end to the bloodshed in Gaza. We hope that all UK political leaders will at last begin to realise that there are large numbers of British Jews who are deeply unhappy with Israel’s vastly disproportionate onslaught against Gaza.

The UK rabbis are quite right to highlight the dreadful toll of “tens of thousands” of Palestinian deaths, and the plight of many more who have suffered life-changing injuries and trauma. They are right to draw the world’s attention to those Gazans who still “lie buried under the rubble of destruction”. And they quite rightly warn that any Israeli ground offensive against Rafah “will have a devastating impact on vulnerable and traumatised civilians”.

This follows a statement from the senior rabbi of another UK Jewish denomination, Masorti, who warned two weeks ago of the “unimaginable suffering” that would be caused by an attack on Rafah. It is “impossible to remain silent”, he said.

What’s more, nearly 3,000 British Jews (including the CEOs of both Liberal and Reform Judaism – and 60 UK rabbis) have now signed a statement of principles stating that “Israel must take care to protect innocent civilians”; that it can “never be acceptable … to deny civilians their basic human needs”; and that the laws of war “place clear limits on what harm can be done to civilians”.

For justice’s sake, for the Palestinians’ sake, for Israel’s sake, for the hostages’ sake, and for humanity’s sake, the UK government must now call for an immediate ceasefire.

Continued death and destruction will only create further suffering, further hatred and further wars. We call on all UK Jews, and especially those in Liberal Jewish congregations, to join us in calling for an immediate ceasefire and the resumption of realistic humanitarian aid.
Grahame Gross, Claire Jackson, Susie Jacobs, David Keys, Barrie Levine, Maurice Naftalin and Caroline Salinger
Liberal Jews for Justice in Israel/Palestine