An Interfaith Declaration for Peace

AN INTERFAITH DECLARATION FOR PEACE We, members and leaders of the Muslim, Jewish, and Christian communities in Greater Boston - all having deep and symbolic ties to the land and peoples of the Middle East - are anguished by the events unfolding in Israel and Gaza. Recognizing the legitimate needs of all peoples, including all those living in the Middle East, for dignity, peace, safety and security --regardless of religion, race, or national origin -- we issue this joint statement with the hope and belief that our interfaith voices will be heard clearly, above the din of war. As guiding principles, We acknowledge the long, complex, and painful history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict We acknowledge the wide range of deeply-held beliefs, and intensely-felt narratives on all sides We acknowledge that all sides are capable of assigning blame to others, and asserting justification for their cause We observe that violence by any side begets more violence, hatred, and retaliation We deplore any invocation of religion as a justification for violence against others, or the deprivation of the rights of others We decry any use of inflammatory rhetoric that demonizes the other and is intended, or is likely, to promote hatred and disrespect We believe the conflict can be resolved only through a political and diplomatic solution and not a military one. In the face of many competing narratives, we recognize that the overriding common need of the peoples of the region is the prompt implementation of a just and lasting peace. Toward that end, and particularly in response to the current hostilities, We call upon the United States and the international community immediately to intercede to help reestablish a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, toward the goal of a permanent cessation of hostilities We call upon Hamas immediately to end all rocket attacks on Israel, and upon Israel immediately to end its military campaign in Gaza We call for an immediate end to all strikes on civilian centers and citizens, both Israeli and Palestinian We call for lifting of the blockade on Gaza as to all non-military goods, for an immediate and significant increase in humanitarian aid to address the needs of the people of Gaza, and for all parties involved to join in taking responsibility to address those human needs We call on all parties involved in the conflict to work sincerely and vigorously toward a just and lasting peace that addresses and promotes the national aspirations of both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples We call on President-elect Obama to make clear that as President he will urgently assert US leadership to achieve a comprehensive diplomatic resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian and Arab-Israeli conflicts Through this joint statement we affirm our commitment to engage with one another, even, and especially, during times of great stress. We also affirm our common humanity and our common belief - as Jews, Muslims and Christians - that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must cease, that there is no military or violent solution, that all human life is valued, and that all parties must cooperate to make the peace - a just and lasting peace desperately needed and deserved by all the peoples of the region. Signed: Salwa Abd-Allah, Executive Council, Muslim American Society of Boston (MAS Boston), Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC) Tariq Ali, President, Harvard Islamic Society Hossam AlJabri, President, MAS Boston-ISBCC; Trustee, Interreligious Center for Public Life (ICPL) Rev. Dr. Jim Antal, President, United Church of Christ Mass. Conference Abdul Cader Asmal, Past President, Islamic Council of New England and Islamic Center of Boston; Trustee ICPL Rabbi Al Axelrad, Hillel Director Emeritus, Brandeis University Diane Balser, Executive Director, Brit Tzedek v'Shalom Dorothy C. Buck, Ph.D., Director, Badaliya Rev. Nick Carter, Ph.D., President, Andover Newton Theological School Dris Djermoun, President, Islamic Center of Boston (Wayland) Diana L. Eck, Professor, Harvard University Imam Talal Eid, Islamic Institute of Boston; Chaplain Brandeis University Ashraf Elkerm, Board Chairman, Islamic Center of Greater Worcester Rev. Dr. Terasa G. Cooley, Unitarian Universalist Mass. Bay District Executive Mercedes S. Evans, Esq., Committee on Contemporary Spiritual & Public Concerns (CSPC Committee)(Civil Rights) Imam Abdullah Faruuq, Imam, Mosque for the Praising of Allah (Roxbury) Michael Felsen, President, Boston Workmen's Circle Lisa Gallatin, Executive Director, Boston Workmen's Circle Zekeriyya Gemici, President, MIT Muslim Students Association Rabbi David Gordis Rabbi Arthur Green, Rector, Rabbinical School, Hebrew College, Newton Rev. Raymond G. Helmick, S.J., Instructor, Conflict Resolution, Boston College Arnold Hiatt Rev. Jack Johnson, Executive Director, Massachusetts Council of Churches M. Bilal Kaleem, Executive Director, MAS Boston-ISBCC Anwar Kazmi, Executive Council, MAS Boston-ISBCC Alexander Kern, Executive Director, Cooperative Metropolitan Ministries Nabeel Khudairi, Past President, Islamic Council of New England Idit Klein, Executive Director, Keshet Margie Klein, Co-director, Moishe/Kavod House Mary Lahaj, Muslim Chaplain, Simmons College Geoffrey Lewis Imam Taalib Mahdee, Imam, Masjid Al-Quran, (Dorchester) Rev. Bert Marshall, Church World Service, New England Director Jerome D. Maryon, Esq., President, CSPC Committee Michael J. Moran, Pax Christi Massachusetts Sister Jane Morrissey, SSJ, Pax Christi Massachusetts Merrie Najimy, President, American Arab Anti-discrimination Committee, MA Imam Khalid Nasr, Imam, ICNE-Quincy Imam Basyouni Nehela, Imam, Islamic Society of Boston Rashid Noor, President, Islamic Center of New England Rabbi Sara Paasche-Orlow Rabbi Barbara Penzner, Temple Hillel B'nai Torah Rev. Rodney L. Petersen, Ph.D., Executive Director, Boston Theological Institute Dr. Asif Rizvi, President-Elect, Islamic Council of New England Rabbi Victor Reinstein, Nehar Shalom Rev. Anne Robertson, Executive Director, Massachusetts Bible Society Qasim Salimi, President, Boston University Muslim Students Association Robert M. Sarly, Trustee, ICPL Rev. Mikel E. Satcher, Ph.D., Pastor, Trinity Baptist Church Professor Adam Seligman, Boston University Rabbi Sanford Seltzer, Chair, ICPL Enid Shapiro, Trustee, ICPL Rt. Rev. M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE, Episcopal Bishop, Diocese of Massachusetts Alan Solomont Rabbi Toba Spitzer, Congregation Dorshei Tzedek Rev. John K. Stendahl, Pastor, Lutheran Church of the Newtons Sidney Topol Rabbi Andrew Vogel, Temple Sinai Peter D. Weaver, Bishop, United Methodist Church, Boston Area (Organizational affiliations for identification purposes only)

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Members and leaders of the Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities in Greater Boston.

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We are grateful for the current ceasefire, and hope it proves to be enduring. We believe the message of this Declaration remains relevant even with the ceasefire, and welcome your sharing it widely. We encourage all who support it, regardless of geographic location or faith affiliation, to sign, and to share it with your political leaders (for example, in the U.S., Senators and Congresspersons). Thank you.

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