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