Clergy to U.S.: Get creative on Syria


A group of 64 rabbis and cantors last week bucked the call of many Jewish organizations for a military attack on Syria and urged the U.S. government to pursue “creative non-military action toward Syria.”

“We believe that a military attack on Syria is far more likely to bring on more horror and more violence, rather than less,” said the statement, initiated by Rabbi Arthur Waskow of the Shalom Center.

Rabbi David Shneyer, of Am Kolel Jewish Renewal Community of Greater Washington, and Rabbi Gerald Serotta, executive director of Frederick-based Clergy Beyond Borders, were among those who signed the statement.

The rabbis said that instead of a military strike, the United States should “undermine the Syrian military computer system without killing anyone, as the U.S. undermined Iran’s nuclear research with the Stuxnet virus, killing no one. Make gas masks broadly available to protect the Syrian people…. Negotiate with Iran and Russia to use their clout to insist – not just advise — that the Syrian regime not use chemical weapons. In other words — intervene with nonlethal acts of vigorous good.”

In a press release Monday, Waskow noted how fast-moving events overtook the rabbis’ statement.

“One proposal – that the U.S. work with… Iran and Russia – seemed visionary, ‘unrealistic,’ when we wrote it. Now it is what the highest officials of the world’s Great Powers – Russia and the U.S. – are pursuing. Not so ‘unrealistic,’” he wrote.

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