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Reform Movement Responds to International Court of Justice Ruling on Israel-Hamas War

January 26, 2024 - The ICJ’s decision today, finding that Israel’s war against Hamas is plausibly genocide, is gravely disappointing. The ICJ has done a disservice to those around the world who are truly victims of genocidal regimes acting with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group – as defined under international law. The war Israel is currently engaged in is against Hamas, not the Palestinian people.

Israel did not seek this war that led to the ICJ case; it was attacked on October 7th by Hamas, which broke a ceasefire that was in effect, to kill, maim, rape and kidnap Israelis in their homes. Hamas has repeatedly called for Israel’s destruction, and dozens of Hamas officials continue to call for the murder of Jews throughout the world.

We are gratified that the court did say it was "gravely concerned" about the fate of the hostages in Gaza and called on Hamas and other armed groups to immediately release them without conditions. And we appreciate that the court did not order Israel to cease its war against Hamas, but only to take actions to ensure its soldiers and citizens adhere to the Genocide Convention, which Israel is already committed to doing.

Today’s ruling includes quotes from Israeli leaders that demonize and incite violence against Palestinians. While these remarks are certainly highly objectionable, they do not reflect the basis of Israel’s strategy in its war against Hamas. 

That this decision comes on the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, an occasion commemorating a true and terrible genocide, compounds the pain and disappointment of today’s ruling. 


Union for Reform Judaism Jennifer Brodkey Kaufman (she/her) Chair

Rabbi Rick Jacobs (he/him) President

American Conference of Cantors Cantor Seth Warner (he/him) President

Rachel Roth (she/her) Chief Operating Officer

ARZA Canada Lee Weisser (she/her)  President 

Men of Reform Judaism  Rob Himmelstein (he/him)President 

Steven Portnoy (he/him)  Executive Director 

Reform Jewish Community of Canada  Len Bates (he/him)  President   

Reform Rabbis of Canada  Rabbi Daniel Mikelberg (he/him)  Chair  

Women of Reform Judaism  Sara Charney (she/her)  President 

Rabbi Liz P. G. Hirsch (she/her)  Executive Director 

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