400+ Jewish Marylanders Sign Letter in Support of Sen. Van Hollen

U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen
U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (Official government photo/U.S. Congress)

A letter written and signed by hundreds of Maryland Jews in support of U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) has been circulating since its publication last week, garnering 418 signatures as of March 26, with the number still growing.

This letter comes in response to another letter published on March 11, which was signed by over 80 Maryland and Washington, D.C. rabbis, criticizing Van Hollen for his recent public comments on Israel and asking that he show greater support for Israel.

Among the more than 400 signees of the new letter are 10 rabbis.

“We are Maryland Jews across the political and religious spectrum, and many of us are members of synagogues whose clergy recently signed a letter criticizing Senator Chris Van Hollen for his efforts to support human rights in Gaza,” the letter says. “These clergy, who use their titles and respected positions in the Jewish community to express their personal views, claiming they ‘lead and represent tens of thousands of congregants,’ do not speak for us.”

The letter spoke about the attack on Oct. 7 and touched on how the reported death toll in Gaza has climbed to over 30,000 Palestinians. It also noted that many of the letter signees “are only one or two steps removed from people who have lost loved ones these past four months.”

The letter denounced the Israeli military assault. It said that “unconstrained and indiscriminate violence will not and cannot lead to safety for anyone anywhere, not Palestinians, not Israelis, and not Jews worldwide.”

The letter then called for an immediate cease-fire in the war, the return of the hostages and political prisoners, humanitarian aid into Gaza and an end to U.S. funding for the war effort.

“Our moral duty as Jews, residents of the United States, and human beings is to oppose the destruction of Palestinian society in Gaza, not to stand by as those who claim to speak and act on our behalf pursue a disastrous course. We thank Senator Van Hollen for his brave stance and urge him to continue speaking out against Israel’s atrocities and for peace, justice, and equality for Palestinians and Israelis,” the letter says.

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