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Minneapolis, MN – Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC) issued the following statement today in response to Hamas’ violation of the latest humanitarian cease-fire as well as the recent anti-Israel activity within the Twin Cities:

"With this morning’s news that Hamas has blatantly violated the latest humanitarian cease-fire by kidnapping an Israeli officer, Sec.-Lt. Hadar Goldin, murdering two Israel Defense Forces soldiers, and launching rockets into Israel after the truce went into effect, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC) remains tremendously grateful for the broad bipartisan support which Israel enjoys here in Minnesota and nationally. At the same time, the JCRC condemns the small, vocal minority of Minnesotans who blame-Israel-first-and-Israel-exclusively despite the fact that Hamas is a terrorist organization whose nihilism knows no limits.

"Last week, the JCRC was honored that Governor Mark Dayton joined 1,400 Minnesotans at a community gathering for Israel. At this gathering, Governor Dayton exhorted that, 'Friends in need are friends indeed. Here tonight, we are friends indeed.' Moreover, given Hamas’ most recent violation of a humanitarian truce, the firing of over 2,900 rockets at Israeli civilians, and the discovery of a vast network of multi-million dollar lethal terror tunnels from Gaza into the heart of Israel, we agree with Governor Dayton that 'no country could be expected to tolerate this kind of terror being fomented on its border. Nor can we in the United States stand by while our best ally in the Middle East, the shining beacon of democracy there, is being assaulted.'

"We are also grateful to Omar Jamal, a Somali community activist in St. Paul and former executive director of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center, who just this morning wrote in the Star Tribune that 'mixing support for Palestinians with hatred of Jews quite rightly turns people off and relegates those who engage in it to the fringes, where Americans rightly place all anti-Semites.'

"In Washington, D.C. we are pleased that the Senate and the House have recently passed multiple unanimous resolutions in support of Israel’s right of self-defense, including one sponsored by Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, as well as Senators Heidi Heitkamp (ND) and John Thune (SD). The strong bipartisan support of Congress for Israel is not surprising given the overwhelming support of Americans for Israel. For example, a July 24, 2014, Gallup Poll found that 70% of Americans find Hamas’ action against Israel unjustified. According to the same Gallup Poll, the more Americans claimed they were following the situation, the more likely they were to find Israel’s actions justified.

"By contrast, the small, but vocal advocates for the boycotting, divestiture, and sanctioning of Israel continue to be out of step with the majority of Minnesotans and Americans who appreciate the essential moral difference between Israel, a liberal western democracy, and Hamas, a racist, misogynistic, homophobic, and internationally recognized terrorist government. With the latest news that Hamas has brazenly violated another humanitarian truce, a truce agreed upon by Israel for the benefit of Gaza’s civilian population, we are not sure what further evidence could convince this anti-Israel fringe that Israel is fighting a just, defensive war.

"Ultimately, the only possible solution to this conflict is the two-state solution, an independent Palestine living in peace with the Jewish State of Israel. Israel will continue to take exemplary measures to prevent the death of Palestinian civilians while Hamas exploits Gaza’s schools, hospitals, and homes as cover. All those who hope and pray for a lasting peace should support Israel in its war against Hamas, which not only violently seeks Israel’s destruction, but as this latest truce violation indicates is callously and cynically indifferent to the welfare of Palestinians."

The JCRC… the public affairs voice of the Jewish community fighting anti-Semitism and prejudice, promoting tolerance and social justice, and representing Jews, individually and collectively.