Yehuda Beinin, whose daughter had been taken hostage and son-in-law murdered by Hamas, spoke in the Capital District on Sunday, Feb. 18. A Times Union piece based on a private interview with the speaker was printed, and I’d like here to describe the event itself, which included a broader message.

Sanctity Of Life

The talk was co-sponsored by J Street Albany/Capital District and Congregation Berith Sholom, Troy. Rabbi Debora Gordon gave an inclusive welcome, invoking the sanctity of all life and calling to mind those who have suffered, and the far too many who have lost their lives to this ongoing war.

Very movingly, Beinin described his awareness, in the days after the attack, that it was none too soon to begin talk of a “Day After.”  He spoke to the need for a negotiated cease-fire. He feels deeply that political agendas based on religion are blocking a path to peace, therefore current leaders in Israel, as well as Hamas, need to be removed from power for Israel to move toward ending its occupation of Gaza and the West Bank.

Peace Efforts

Beinin referenced the Israeli Forum of Peace NGO, with which he intends to work to promote peace through civil society NGOs (non-governmental organizations).

He spoke to the need for Israel to be able to defend its borders, describing how his son- in-law, an excellent marksman, was killed attempting to stop the Hamas terrorists with only a pistol. The more effective weapons had been ordered removed and taken to the West Bank, another failure of the Netanyahu administration, in Beinin’s view.

Beinin has repeatedly spoken to President Biden and administration officials and noted Biden’s deep knowledge and acuity of the challenges of working in the region. He praised President Biden’s avowal that this crisis must be used as an opportunity for the parties to move toward a just peace.

Thanks to J Street for bringing Mr. Beinin to the Capital District. J Street strongly encourages President Biden and the United States to lead the way to a negotiated cease-fire in Gaza, release of hostages and an immediate influx of humanitarian aid to Gaza, followed by boldly signaling U.S. readiness to recognize a Palestinian state. May it be so.