Office of the Chief Rabbi

Op-Ed: ‘Defeating the terrorism within us’

It is our response to evil that is the measure of our collective character, says the Chief Rabbi in his Op-Ed today in The Telegraph. Deploring the violent attacks perpetrated by members of the Jewish faith this week, first against a Palestinian family and then against marchers in a Gay Pride parade, Chief Rabbi Mirvis regards such intolerance as an opportunity to strengthen our resolve against it.

‘Jews can defeat the terrorism that comes from within our own ranks’

“Jews around the world woke up on Friday morning to reports of a brutal attack carried out by a Jew in the name of God, the second such attack in less than a day, and we collectively felt a deep and devastating sense of shame.

The very notion that another human being could misappropriate the faith that we treasure, for the sake of such murderous brutality left me feeling deeply embarrassed and despondent. Then, in the midst of my sorrow I felt encouraged. There is room for hope.

Sometimes we let ourselves down. There has never been a nation or a civilisation that has not suffered from the impact of evil within its midst. The true test of our collective character is in the way that we respond to evil. There is an opportunity, borne out of deplorable acts of violence, to prove our resolve and declare that we will not be defined by them.

‘In the midst of my sorrow I felt encouraged. There is room for hope’

When London demonstrated unprecedented unity and solidarity after 7/7, with taxi drivers, pedestrians and the emergency services working together to help the injured and scared – we passed that test.

When Australians reacted to the desperate sense of vulnerability in the Muslim community who feared reprisal attacks following an assault on a café in Sydney last year with the #illridewithyou campaign – we passed that test.

When people of all faiths and none gathered in Paris to proclaim with one voice ‘Je Suis Charlie’ and ‘Je Suis Juif’ – we passed that test.

On Friday, the media was awash with Jewish leaders, religious, political and communal, expressing our profound and absolute denunciation of the violence committed – from the Israeli Prime Minister calling Friday’s murder, “a horrific, heinous terror attack,” to the leading religious figures who deplored Thursday’s attack on a gay pride march in Jerusalem as being “totally contrary to the Torah”.

Whatever one’s politics, degree of religious observance, ethnicity or sexuality, we have made it clear: there is no place in Judaism nor any justification whatsoever for such desecration of the sanctity of life.

If we can unite in our utter rejection of such brutality, without the slightest hint of a pretext or justification, because there is none, then we have the tools at our disposal to defeat the terrorism that comes from within our own ranks.

‘There is no place in Judaism nor any justification whatsoever for such desecration of the sanctity of life’

In our challenging times, if all would find the strength and confidence to challenge and deny those who act murderously in the name of God, we will be considerably closer to enjoying a world beyond intolerance and conflict.”

 

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