BOSTON (CBS) — Retired Patriots receiver Julian Edelman says that he has been getting asked to speak about the violence taking place in Jerusalem. On Wednesday, he released a statement, even though he admitted that he wasn’t quite sure what to say.

Edelman referred to the conflict as “complex,” but ultimately called for peace.

“My heart is broken for the Israeli and Palestinian people,” Edelman wrote on a post shared to Twitter and Instagram. “Over the past few days, I’ve been asked to say something. I’m a proud Jew and a lover of Israel, but this is a complex issue, and somewhat beyond my ability to speak confidently about. So I’ll just say this: People are not their governments.”

Edelman added: “Israelis and Palestinians are both warm and loving people, deserving of a safe and prosperous existence.”

Edelman has taken an active role and fighting anti-Semitism in the sports world over the past year, notably reaching out to Miami Heat forward Meyers Leonard and NFL receiver DeSean Jackson after those players made controversial comments. He visited Israel in 2015 and returned with Patriots owner Robert Kraft in 2019, and he has publicly embraced his Jewish heritage in recent years.

Included with Edelman’s statement was a photo.

“I can’t help but think of this picture,” Edelman said. “It was taken in Tel-Aviv a few years ago with my Israeli and Arab friends when we ate way too many Sambusak (cheese pastry). That night, we used the word ‘Yalla’ a lot, which means ‘let’s go’ in both Hebrew and Arabic.”

Edelman concluded his message: “We are often more alike than we think.”

CBSBoston.com Staff