READERS might not have heard of The Sacks Conversation but they will certainly remember the late Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks as a global moral voice. Many must have had him in their thoughts in recent weeks. It was in 2011 that he gave an uncompromising speech, asking how can we be speaking about peace when Hamas remains as a matter of principle committed to the elimination of the State of Israel: ‘I cannot make peace with one who denies my right to exist.’
You can watch it here.
The Sacks Conversation is an annual event which celebrates and honours his enduring impact. This year’s event, To Heal a Fractured World, took place in New York last week and gained even greater relevance in the wake of the devastating Hamas terrorist attacks on October 7 and the subsequent conflict. It has not received much prominence though it was notable for its panel of interfaith leaders – Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Imam Abdullah Antepli and Rabbi Dr Meir Soloveichik, who joined forces in condemning the Hamas attacks against Israel.
Abdullah Antepli’s statement deserves particular attention: ‘The world was fractured enough before October 7. But after the barbaric savagery and monstrous terrorism that has been committed in the name of Palestinian suffering or in the name of Islam, as a Muslim, it cuts much deeper. For those of us who are Muslim, the least we can do is condemn in the clearest terms possible this barbaric savagery without “ands” and “buts” to make sure this is unacceptable. No values or scripture of Islam can justify this. I cannot even find the words to express how broken and shaken I am for what I have seen.’
The full event can be viewed at www.rabbisacks.org/sacks-conversation.