Thursday, February 17, 2011

“In His Image” – motivated to work for human rights

Question: why would a group of Israeli Jews devote their lives to monitoring human rights abuses by the Israeli government / IDF against Palestinians? Why would they do this, when their work is unpopular with the Israeli government and people, when they are sometimes attacked as being “anti-Israel” (traitors to the national cause), to the extent that the Israeli government has now launched an “investigation” of them and other such groups (a thinly veiled harassment, an attempt to get them to “back off”)?

Answer: it must be what they profess, that they believe in human dignity, that God created all people in His image, and that it is their responsibility as Jewish Israelis to be a voice of conscience to their society. And because they believe in Israel, and want it to be the kind of state that the ideals of the Declaration of Independence, and of the teachings of Judaism, would call them to as a nation.

The people who work at B’tselem ( are another group of my “peace heroes.” B’tselem means “in his image,” from the Genesis account of the creation of mankind.

They see themselves holding up a mirror to Israeli society, for the sake of improving the society. They believe strongly that settlements and other actions depriving Palestinians of their human rights are not in Israel’s best interests.

And so, in spite of their unpopularity, in spite of government harassment, and in spite of the fact that “people don’t want to hear about it,” they carry on, day after day, in their work for humanity and for peace.

Would that the faith of more people in the world, would lead them (lead us) to work so diligently for the rights of others.

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