A Pax on Both Our Houses Campaign Still Necessary

A Pax on Both Our Houses Campaign Still Necessary

Rabbi Arthur Waskow

Today we see that even after the revelation of the National Intelligence Estimates that Iran stopped trying to build nuclear weapons in 2003, the Bush Administration continues to blow the trumpet of coercion and beat –—only slightly muffled – the drums of war. 

Many Americans already knew that an attack on Iran would be immoral, illegal, and disastrous. Now even more of us do. But do our office-holders? 

They, and all who seek to succeed them, must realize that our real goal must be not only to prevent an outright war, but for Iran & the US to achieve an outright peace.

Given the responses of officials and candidates, we intend to move ahead with a 4-step plan: (1) publishing our revised Call in the leading newspaper of Iowa; (2) doing the same in New Hampshire; (3) doing the same in the NY Times or another major national journal; (4) inviting people to take part in podcast and teleconference TEACH-INS on the little-known history and possible futures of US-Iran relations and on achieving a decent peace with Iran, Iraq, and among the whole field of warring nations in the broader Middle East.

To do this we need your help. Your signature and your financial support.  Your tax-deductible contributions.

Please click on the Donate button at http://www.shalomctr.org and in the “behalf of” box write “Iran peace.”  If you possibly can, please aim at a gift of $360.  Less will make it VERY hard to publish this as we hope to do. To appear in the printed version, a minimum gift of $70 is necessary.  ALL signers will appear on the Website. 


For months, we—leaders, teachers, and practitioners of many communities of faith and ethics –- have been working together and preparing to address the American and Iranian peoples to call for peacemaking efforts instead of warlike threats between our governments and peoples.

Now we know that for months the government of the United States has known that claims Iran is seeking to make nuclear weapons were false.  Yet it made those claims anyway.

So it is now clear to all that threats of war must cease at once. But that is not enough. As the Prophet Elijah cried out, “How long will you keep hopping between two opinions? Choose God, or idolatry!”

The God of peace and justice calls on Americans and Iranians to set aside our angers and our fears and move forward to make a full peace with each other— not dither any longer between peace and war.

To make Peace – Because, as the Bible teaches, every human being is made in the Image of God, and as the Quran teaches, to kill one human being is to destroy the world; to save one human being is to save the world.  And because, as the Quran also teaches, God created many peoples so that we could learn to understand each other – not kill each other.

To make Peace – because, as President Eisenhower said, “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.” In America, millions are suffering from this theft; in the world, billions. And the cost of the war to the US alone is now estimated at two TRILLION dollars.

To make Peace – because it is shameful in the eyes of God for Christians, Jews, and Muslims to incite hatred against each other. This hatred leads to war, and then war becomes a justification for more hatred. In each of our communities, there are some who peddle hatred and incite violence. We must all turn away from such idolatry.

To make Peace –-  Because hatred, violence, and threats of war undermine the very liberties and human rights that most Americans and Iranians prize, and benefit only those who thirst for power, not for justice.

We call upon the Government of the United States to end all actions, threats, plans, or support for war against Iran.

We call upon the Supreme Religious Authorities of Iran to end all threats against the existence of Israel and all denials of the historical truth of the Nazi Holocaust and to make clear that Iran will not support violence against civilians by its own or other forces.

We call upon the governments of both nations at once to open direct talks on all issues of mutual concern, looking toward a mutual peace.

And we call upon the American government to move forward in the spirit of humility and generosity, rather than arrogance and domination, toward a broad peace settlement in the entire Middle East, including an end to the occupation of Iraq, peace between Israel and Palestine and all other states in the region, and a major international effort to protect human rights and promote grass-roots economic development in the region.

We call upon the peoples of the world to support this call, for the sake of conscience and survival.

Initiating signers (affiliation for identification only, except where noted otherwise with a *) :

Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak, HaMifgash Foundation
Imam Mahdi Bray, Exec Dir, on behalf of *Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation.
Rev. Dr. Joan Brown Campbell
Rev. Tony Campolo, Ph.D., Eastern University
Sister Joan Chittister, OSB, director, on behalf of * Benetvision
Rabbi Elliot Dorff, Rector, American Jewish University
Rev. Bob Edgar, President & CEO, Common Cause
Gary Ferdman, Avenging Angels
Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater, Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center
Jerome Grossman, Chairman Emeritus, Council for a Livable World
Mark C. Johnson, Exec Dir, on behalf of *Fellowship of Reconciliation
Rev. Clifton Kirkpatrick, Stated Clerk ,Presbyterian Church (USA)
Deb Kolodny, Exec Dir, on behalf of *ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal
Rabbi Michael Lerner, Editor of Tikkun, on behalf of the *Network of Spiritual Progressives
Rabbi Mordechai Liebling
Rabbi Ellen Lippmann
Ingrid Mattson, President, on behalf of *Islamic Society of North America
Sheila Musaji, Editor, The American Muslim
Jim Rice, Editor, Sojourners magazine
Rabbi Brant Rosen, Jewish Reconstructionist Cong, Evanston IL; past president, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Assn.
Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi
  Rabbi Gerald Serotta, chair, Rabbis for Human Rights /North America
Rev. William G. Sinkford, President, on behalf of *Unitarian Universalist Association
  John H. Thomas, General Minister and President, United Church of Christ
Rick Ufford-Chase, Executive Director, on behalf of the *Presbyterian Peace Fellowship
Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Director, on behalf of *The Shalom Center
Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg, Inst. for Jewish Spirituality
Jim Winkler, General Secretary, Genl Board of Church and Society, United Methodist Church
Bishop Gabino Zavala, Pres. Pax Christi USA, & Aux. Bishop, Archdiocese of Los Angeles.


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