NEW YORK – U.S. Jewish groups alongside their Israeli counterparts have called for a pre-Yom Kippur protest to be held Thursday outside the Qatari embassy in Washington, DC to demand that the Gulf state pressure terror group Hamas to release the remains of two IDF soldiers killed during the conflict with Israel in 2014.
“For more than three years, nearly 1,200 days, the parents of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul have lived in agony waiting for their dead sons’ remains to be returned for proper burials,” a statement from the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington announcing the demonstration said. The statement further noted that Goldin was “killed during an internationally brokered cease fire, in violation of international law.”
The call was joined by other pro-Israel groups including the American Jewish Committee, the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, StandWithUs, the Israel Project and the Israel Forever Foundation.
The statement emphasized that the demonstration was being held “the day before the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur, to demand the Qatari government use its influence over the terrorist group Hamas to unconditionally and immediately return the remains of Hadar and Oron.”
“Next to Iran, Qatar is the leading state sponsor of terror and instability in the Middle East, and has long been one of the greatest violators of human rights in a region known for oppressive, authoritarian, racist, misogynistic and homophobic regimes,” Block told the Algemeiner.
Qatar recently attempted to woo American Jewish community groups by arranging meetings between Jewish leaders and the emir and crown prince and other members of the ruling family. However, the PR attempt was snubbed by a string of Jewish activists. Block said that Qatar’s attempts to use American Jews as “pawns” was ludicrous in light of the Gulf emirate’s “support for terrorism and groups like Hamas that holds kidnapped Israelis captive and seeks to destroy Jews, Israel and the United States.”
The announcement of Thursday’s demonstration noted that Qatar was trying “to improve its standing in the U.S. Jewish community despite its financing of terrorist groups, including providing Hamas with $1.4 billion.”