Addressing the British House of Lords, former U.K. Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks warned recently that radical Islamist forces were using the demonization of Israel to win support in the West, and argued that Palestinian incitement was the primary impediment to achieving peace in the Holy Land.
"The Islamists... know that the only way they can win the sympathy of the west is by demonizing Israel," Rabbi Sacks said. "They know you cannot win support for ISIS, Boko Haram or Islamic Jihad but if you can blame Israel you will gain the support of academics, unions and parts of the media and you will distract attention from the massacres in Syria and Iraq, the slow dissent of other countries into chaos and the ethnic cleansing of Christians throughout the region."
Sacks declared that "when power is secularized, peace is possible," warning that in much of the Muslim world, "a seismic shift is taking place in the opposite direction."
Rabbi Sacks implored Muslims to take responsibility for the failure of their leaders, rather than blame Israel and the west for their woes: "When you blame others for your failures you not only harm others you harm yourself and your people. To be free you have to let go of hate."
Turning specifically to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Rabbi Sacks said that "the vast majority of the Jewish people care deeply about the Palestinians. We want Palestinian children, no less than Israeli children, to have future of peace, prosperity, freedom and hope," adding that this is why he opposes forces that, in an implicit reference to Hamas, use money given for humanitarian aid to buy weapons and dig tunnels.
Sacks ended his address by saying, "Every religion must wrestle with its dark angels. And so today must we, Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, for we are all children of Abraham and it will only be when we make space for one another as brothers and sisters that we will redeem the world from darkness and walk together in the light of God."
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