They Say, We Say: Jews who live outside the land of Israel have no right to criticize the actions of those who do

They Say We Say We know that pro-Israel does not mean blindly supporting policies that are irrational, reckless, and counter-productive. Pro-Israel means supporting policies that are consistent with Israel's interests and promote its survival as a Jewish, democratic state.

You've heard the arguments of the religious and political right-wing, and so have we. They've had their say. Now, we'll have ours.

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God Wants the Jews to Have All the Land

They Say:

Based on the teachings of the Torah, the Jewish obligation to live in the land of Israel means that Jews who live outside the land of Israel have no right to criticize the actions of those who do.

We Say:

The Jewish tradition has a lot to say about the obligation for one Jew to speak up if he or she sees another doing something wrong. Although our sources make clear that rebuke must be done out of love, nevertheless, it is clear that whatever power we have to speak must be exercised.

Most of this commentary is derived from one verse in the Torah, Leviticus 19:17, "You shall not hate your brother in your heart; you shall surely rebuke your fellow and you shall not bear a sin because of him."

Both Rambam and Ramban offer commentary on this: Ramban (Nachmanides) comments on the verse above that if you do not rebuke someone who requires it, then you yourself take on their sin.

If the state of Israel is engaged in actions that risk the lives of our people, we are assuredly obligated to speak up and try to convince it to refrain. We must do so to save the lives of our brothers and sisters, no matter what the risk is to ourselves in terms of the opinion of others, our livelihoods, or even physical harms.

As we learn from Tahuma Mishpatim: "If a man of learning sits in his home and says to himself: 'What have the affairs of society to do with me? ...Why should I trouble myself with the people's voices of protest? Let my soul dwell in peace!' If he does this, he overthrows the world."

The Torah commands us to depart from evil and do good; seek peace, and pursue it (Ps. 34:15), to be of the disciples of Aaron, loving peace, and pursuing peace, loving one's fellow creatures and bringing them closer to Torah. Our tradition emphasizes our need to seek peace, to make peace with others - and not least of all, to bring honor, not shame, to God through our actions - so that people will say that the Jewish people act with justice, and that our Torah is a just document, and godly. Let us remember the words of our tradition (Sifre Numbers, 42) "Great is peace, for it is bestowed on those who work righteousness, as it is said, 'For the works of righteousness shall be peace.' (Isaiah 32:17)"