Sat Nov 7, 2015 9:57PM
Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism
Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism

The strong criticism of Israel’s policies toward Palestinians by the leader of the largest Jewish group in North America is a “wakeup call” to the Zionist regime, an American writer and political commentator says.

Marcy Winograd, who is based in Santa Monica, California, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Saturday, after Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, slammed Israel’s “misguided policies” against the people of Palestine. 

Speaking in Orlando, Florida, on Thursday, Rabbi Jacobs said the Jewish community must not remain silent when hate-crime attacks kill innocent Palestinians in the occupied territories.

Jacobs also said that the reform movement “has long opposed Israeli settlement policy in the West Bank.”

“It causes pain and hardship for the Palestinians and alienates Israel from friends and allies around the world,” he added. 

Commenting to Press TV, Winograd said that “anytime a prominent Jewish spokesperson, somebody like Rabbi Jacobs, speaks out nationally about the importance of respecting Palestinians, and for Jews not to blindly support Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians, their settlements, I think this is significant, because Jews nationwide, by and large, half of them are unaffiliated, they are not involved, but yet they may feel some loyalty or strong loyalty connection to Israel.”

“So they may not even keep up with the events, but just widely support what’s happening,” she added.

She stated that “it’s a wakeup call to them, and it’s important. Israel is very image sensitive. They don’t like this kind of publicity.”

“I also think it is significant that this conference in which Rabbi Jacobs was speaking was held in Florida. Florida is what we call a swing state in the coming up presidential elections in the United States. Florida, aside from California [Texas, and New York], has the most electorate votes. And Jews could potentially decide the election, could decide whether we are going to have Republicans or Democrats,” the commentator said.

“So I think [in] someway him speaking in Florida speaking about the importance of respecting Palestinians is providing some assurance to the Democratic nominee, whoever that maybe,” concluded Winograd, who is also a teacher.

Tensions have been running especially high since August when the Israeli regime imposed restrictions on the entry of some Palestinians into the al-Aqsa Mosque in East al-Quds (Jerusalem) -- the third holiest site in Islam.

According to the latest figures by the Palestinian Health Ministry, at least 76 Palestinians, including 17 children, have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces since the beginning of October.

More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds in 1967.