NEW YORK – In response to violence in Cairo and Libya earlier this week, leaving three dead including American Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, Julie Schonfeld issued the following statement today on behalf of the board, staff and members of the Rabbinical Assembly:
We are horrified by the recent violence in Benghazi, Libya, and Cairo, which has tragically led to loss of life, and we staunchly condemn those who are responsible. We affirm the U.S. government’s statement that those responsible must be held accountable for their actions and brought to justice. The Jewish tradition is unequivocal in its belief that taking one life is akin to destroying the entire world.
While we wholly condemn any individual or group who produce messages in any medium that deride or disrespect any group because of its beliefs, we find that there is no justification for violence as a retaliation for insult, certainly not against innocent parties who have come as representatives of cooperation and friendship.
We also note with great concern the escalating protests in Yemen, Morocco and other countries in the region and express our support to the many American personnel, diplomatic and military who serve our country bravely and with honor. We call upon the leaders of those countries that host American diplomatic missions to fulfill their obligations to ensure the safety of our personnel, as we are committed to the safety of theirs, and to protect the dignity and rights of all people.
May we live to see God’s promise fulfilled: “I will bring peace to the land, and you will lie down and no one will trouble you” (Leviticus 26:Ra6), and may we work together to make this promise come true.