Religious Leaders Support Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends

... the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? – The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. "Letter from Birmingham Jail." 1963.

Since September 2003, a small group of determined people of conscience and faith have held weekly nonviolent vigils outside Beth Israel Congregation in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, on the Jewish sabbath. Members of Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends stand vigilto protest and draw attention to the synagogue's open and unabashed support for apartheid Israel. As Rabbi Robert Dobrusin said in the Ann Arbor News on January 21, 2007: "Beth Israel Congregation affirms without any hesitation or equivocation the legitimacy of the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish state ..." As with any other supremacist state, a "Jewish state" can never fully include, nor respect the rights of, non-Jews living under its rule, let alone the millions of Palestinian refugees whom Israel prevents from returning home.

We, the undersigned religious leaders, affirm the tactic of protesting outside a place of worship as appropriate and consistent with our prophetic and religious traditions. In the Christian tradition, Jesus chased moneychangers from the Temple. The prophet Jeremiah stood "in the gate of the LORD'S house" and rebuked Israel. The prophet Amos told Beth Israel (literally, "the House of Israel") in the Lord's name: "I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies"; he commanded them to "Take away from me the noise of your songs." Why? Because Israelites had turned "justice to wormwood" and brought "righteousness to the ground." And because they hated those who rightly criticized them, abhorring "the one who speaks the truth." As the late Rabbi Abraham Heschel wrote, the prophets knew that "Worship preceded or followed by evil acts becomes an absurdity. The holy place is doomed when people indulge in unholy deeds."

Religious people cannot legitimately use their religiosity as a cloak to support evil or to shield themselves from deserved criticism. Publicly holding religious people and their leaders accountable to the high standards that faith and conscience demand is a praiseworthy undertaking. We pray for an end to the idolatry of political power and military might. We uphold Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends as an example for people in other communities. We pray and work for the peace and safety of Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends, the people of the Middle East, and all humanity -- God's children everywhere. Finally, we join in the call of the prophet Amos: "Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream."

Notes: This is a nonsectarian petition, members of all religious communities may sign. Also, you do not have to be a member of the ordained clergy to sign it, lay religious leaders are welcome. We will not share your undisplayed information with anyone without your explicit permission. You do NOT have to make a donation to sign this petition.


Friends of Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends


To download a printable version of this document in PDF format go to

More information about Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends:

"Sacred Ground: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict in Ann Arbor" by James Militzer in the Ann Arbor Observer

 "Michigan Jewish activists hold vigils outside conservative synagogue" by Henry Herskovitz in The Electronic Intifada

"Michigan's vigilant outcasts" by Paul Abowd in The Electronic Intifada

"A Midwest Jewish Activist Helps Fight Zionist Mind Control in America" by Betsy Mayfield in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

"Interview with Henry Herskovitz" by Homeless Dave on TeeterTalk

Jewish activist banned from Yom Kippur services" by Ali Moossavi in The Arab American News 


  • Elizabeth Mohammed We are all one.

  • Abdulaziz H. Albataa Palestine used to be home for Muslims, Christians, Jews till 1936 When Zionism gained momentum and support of in Europe and USA governments. Then human relations became tense and hostile.

  • lloydkraus The Citizenship Agreement:
    A Civil Solution to the Arab-Israeli Conflict
    Lloyd Kraus

    Citizenship: Jewish people living within the borders of Palestine, Syria and Lebanon shall automatically become Jewish citizens of those states and will respect the sovereignty of those states. Palestinian people living in Israel shall automatically become Palestinian-Israeli citizens and will respect the sovereignty of Israel. Dual citizenship shall be allowed, but dual citizens shall be foremost obligated to respect the sovereignty of the country of primary citizenship.
    Immigration and Travel: The rights of Palestinians to immigrate into Israel and become Palestinian-Israeli citizens, and the rights of Jewish people to immigrate into Palestine and become Jewish-Palestinian citizens shall be equal. The rights of Palestinians to travel inside Israel and the rights of Jewish people to travel inside Palestine shall be equal. The rights of Israelis to travel into Syria, Lebanon and Palestine; and the rights of Syrians, Lebanese and Palestinians to travel into Israel shall be equal. The full powers governing immigration and travel shall be set by each state.
    Jurisdiction: Israel, Palestine, Syria and Lebanon shall maintain full sovereignty over their laws and their state. Citizens of each country agree to respect each state’s sovereignty over private, public, political, military, criminal and civil issues, and the actions and decisions of each sovereign government.
    Current User and Use: Each state and people's shall foremost respect the rights of the current user, use and leases, including current water right usage across borders.
    Unconditional Amnesty: Israel, Palestine, Syria and Lebanon agree to unconditionally forgive any and all past political, military, economic, property, civil, criminal, private and public claims and wrongs between each people and nations. The Unconditional Amnesty shall be forthright.
    Borders: The borders between Israel, Syria and Lebanon shall basically be their pre-1967 borders. The borders of Palestine shall basically be the West Bank and Gaza.
    The Dome of the Rock in the center of the Temple Mount, or Mount Moriah - Arab Israeli Citizenship Peace AgreementJerusalem: The Walled City of Jerusalem shall be sacred land with equal sovereignty and rights to all religions and people who honor the faith of Abraham. Israeli, Palestinian and Dual Citizenship shall be allowed within Jerusalem. Israel and the Jewish People agree to honor the Dome of the Rock as sacred to the Islamic faith in Abraham. The rights of Israel and Palestine to have their capitol buildings outside the walled city of Jerusalem shall not be infringed.
    Palestinian Economic Development shall be resolute and forthright.
    Demilitarization Israeli demilitarization of all land outside her borders and Jerusalem shall be 50% completed within 4 years of this agreement becoming operational and 100% completed within 8 years of this agreement becoming operational. These territories shall thereafter remain demilitarized by Israel, Palestine, Syria and Lebanon.
    Operational: This agreement shall become operational upon the approval of the governments of Israel, Palestine, Syria and Lebanon. All Governments and People's agree to resolutely work for Peace and forthright honor both the letter and spirit of this agreement that each Nation and People can live as neighbors in equality, fairness, prosperity, happiness and peace.

    for comments, please contact Lloyd Kraus at

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