There is a genocide taking place in Syria. Right now, people are dying, being murdered, being massacred simply because they live in Aleppo, a disputed area that has been at the centre of a political conflict for four years.
International intervention is desperately needed to stop the massacres of these innocent people and as Jewish students, we have a responsibility to speak up.
10 years ago, Jewish students led the campaign against the genocide in Darfur. The violent, systematic murder of Darfuri men, women and children in western Sudan was not a ‘Jewish issue’ per se, but the values that drove the campaign by UJS and the Jewish students were Jewish values. Deuteronomy 22:3 demands ‘lo tuchal lehitalem’, you must not stand by or you must not remain indifferent. The opposite of good is not evil. The opposite of good is indifference. And indifference - to human suffering, to hatred and crucially to genocide - contradicts everything that Judaism holds sacred and everything that we as Jewish students stand for.
Jewish values drove Jewish students to speak out against the genocide in Darfur 10 years ago and they still drive us today. We simply cannot stand idly by whilst fellow human beings are suffering.
When we remember the Holocaust, we say ‘Never Again’, but all too often we fail to act upon our words. Today, right now, Jewish students are standing up to demand that the citizens of Aleppo are afforded the most basic of all human rights – the right to life. The citizens of Aleppo need aid, but aid drops cannot take place until a ceasefire occurs. They need to be safely evacuated. They need to be allowed to live with the same freedoms that we enjoy in our homes here in the UK.
Join UJS and Jewish students from across the UK at an emergency rally in London tomorrow evening. Click here for details.
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As a Jewish resident of your constituency, I feel compelled to write to you about the situation in Aleppo. It is far beyond breaking point and action must be taken.
The Jewish people know all too well the price of the world’s silence. Likewise, Jewish law demands, ‘You must not be a bystander’ or ‘You must not remain indifferent’ (Deuteronomy 23:2). And when we remember the Holocaust, we say ‘Never Again’, but all too often we fail to act upon our words. The citizens of Aleppo need aid, but aid drops cannot take place until a ceasefire occurs. They need to be safely evacuated. They need to be allowed to live with the same freedoms that we enjoy in our homes here in the UK.
I therefore urgently call on you to:
>> Demand a ceasefire in order that aid drops can take place.
>> Ensure urgent evacuation of civilians and unfettered humanitarian access into East Aleppo so that life-saving aid can reach all those in need;
>> Allow UN monitors to be urgently deployed in Aleppo to ensure that civilians and fighters who surrender are protected from execution-style killings, arbitrary detention, disappearance, torture
There is no excuse not to act. The people of Aleppo are waiting and they urgently need you.