The daughter of Holocaust survivors, Rep. Becca Balint called for a ceasefire in Gaza, citing her grief for both Jewish and Palestinian people as the reasoning for her stance. Representative Balint tells her story, stating “I’m one generation removed from the horrific trauma of the Holocaust, which impacted my family and reshaped the world. Like me, there are thousands of American Jews that share a deep emotional connection to Israel because of what it meant for the survival of the Jewish people in the face of extermination.” She believes that “this same history also drives so many of us to fight for the protection of Palestinian lives.”
Marione Ingram is an 87-year-old Holocaust survivor who protested outside the White House calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. Speaking with Amy Goodman from Democracy Now, Ingram states, “What Israel is doing will not end this conflict. It will only exacerbate it.” In the interview, Ingram describes losing her family to Nazi violence and her harrowing escape out of Germany. She believes the path to peace begins with a ceasefire.
In an op-ed published on TruthOut, Tal Frienden, the grandchild of Holocaust survivors, shares her story of how she came to advocate for Palestinian people’s freedom. Frienden describes being indoctrinated into Zionism at a young age and warns others to not equate Judaism with Israel’s occupation. Reflecting on the rising tide of support for Palestinian peoples struggle for freedom, Frienden points out that “over two-thirds of the U.S. public support a ceasefire.” The New York based activist believes that lasting peace “requires that each of us [Jews] listen to the Palestinians on the ground.”
Rabbis & Religious Leaders
A number of Rabbis across North America and Europe have stood up against Israel’s aggression against Palestinian people living in Gaza. These Rabbis are calling for an end to the violence, asking for a ceasefire, and dedicating themselves to the long journey toward peace for all.
Rabbi Alissa Wise
Rabbi Alissa Wise has been a powerful voice in the Jewish community, working as an organizer, consultant, educator, and religious leader. She was the interim Co-Executive Director at Jewish Voice for Peace and is a Lead Organizer of Rabbis for Ceasefire. In her calls for Israel to end its violence against Palestinian men, women, and children, Rabbi Wise invoked her profound Jewish faith and religious responsibility as the source of her conviction.
She states, “We are, as rabbis, responsible to serve the Jewish people’s spiritual, cultural, communal health. And as part of that, our obligation as rabbis is to ensure that Jewish people are part of the most profound and sacred obligation in Jewish tradition, which is saving lives. And that is the root of our call for ceasefire.” Her passionate plea invites other Jews to practice “spiritual nourishment” and advocate for peace.
Rabbi Ari Lev Fornari
Rabbi Ari Lev Fornari is the Senior Rabbi at Kol Tzedek in West Philadelphia. Rabbi Fornari, along with colleague Rabbi Shawn Zevit, wrote a featured commentary calling for Jewish Senator John Fetterman to support demands for a ceasefire. Together, they appeal to Fetterman’s commitment to communities that have been “devalued and dehumanized,” as well as Jewish people’s moral values. Rabbi Fornari also runs a blog that he updates weekly with his reflection on the Torah and its teachings.
Jewish Voice for Peace
Jewish Voice for Peace is a national organization of Jews in solidarity with the Palestinian peoples fight for freedom and “guided by a vision of justice, equality, and dignity for all people.” On Holocaust Remembrance Day, JVP posted a blog that connects Israel’s bombardment of Gaza with past violence against Jews. They state: “What we vowed never to allow to happen again is happening, right now.” Grounded in an activism that is rooted in Jewish values, JVP calls for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.
Other Jewish Organizations
Rabbis for Ceasefire is a group of Rabbis and Rabbinical students “speaking out with one voice” against Israel’s bombardment of Gaza. After the Oct. 7 attacks, the self-organized coalition released videos and statements demanding for ceasefire. Rabbis for Ceasefire also created a Ceasefire Now Resolution for Rabbis demanding an end to violence which has collected more than 250 signatures. The group continues to organize actions for lasting peace in Palestine and Israel, include a “Pilgrimage for Peace” in partnership with several interfaith coalitions.
Americans for Peace Now (APN) is a pro-Israel organization working to establish “comprehensive and durable” peace. They advocate for a two-state solution that can guarantee security for both Palestinian people and Israelis. The group was established in 1981 to mobilize American Jews in support for the Israeli peace movement, Shalom Achshav (Peace Now).
APN provides resources for the Jewish community, including a blog, a podcast on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and efforts to resolve it called Peacecast, and educational events. The organization invites Jews to get involved in advocating for peace and provides calls to action to empower the Jewish community to act for change. They recently became the first U.S. based Zionist group to demand a ceasefire in Gaza.