SiVIC, ING, and the Parliament of the World’s Religions – three organizations that I respect and work with – have issued statements of concern about the current situation in Gaza. In times of profound conflict, the relationships that have been built over time open up possible lines of communication, and call all of us to act with respect and concern for all. Here are parts of the three statements, with links to the full text:
SiVIC (Silicon Valley Interreligious Council)
As events continue to unfold in Israel and Gaza, we in the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council (SiVIC) are grieved by the human cost and suffering occasioned by the current conflict. While members of our community may lean more toward support for Israel or for Gaza, together we know how important it is for us to maintain connections and dialogue with one another, especially when some would polarize the debate and end discussion.
Regardless of our individual stances, we share a recognition of our common humanity and a conviction that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must cease, that there is no violent solution to that conflict, that all human life is valued, and that all parties must cooperate to achieve a just and lasting peace on behalf of God’s children who reside in the land that many of us call holy.
ING (Islamic Networks Group)
ING, in line with the principles of justice advocated by all our religious traditions, rejects notions of collective guilt and collective punishment. In situations of violence, whether in Gaza, in Paris, in Brooklyn, or elsewhere, it is all too easy to blame whole peoples and whole communities for the actions of a few. We call in particular on all those critical of Israeli actions to refrain from blaming those actions on the Jewish people as a whole, just as we call on those critical of organizations such as Hamas and those who join us in condemning the attacks in Sarcelles to refrain from blaming Muslims or Arabs as a whole. Every incident of violence should make us turn with greater determination to making peace in our hearts and in our actions with the diversity of peoples, cultures, and faiths in our world.
The Parliament of the World’s Religions encourages all faith communities and especially the interfaith movement to actively expose and challenge anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in their neighborhoods, cities, and in the public discourse. Let us be moderating voices and agents that will revitalize the dialogue and cooperation between Jews, Christians, and Muslims. This mission should be a part of our sermons, prayers, and civic action.