A Pax on Both Our Houses - Peace Not War With Iran

Rabbi Arthur Waskow

Posted Dec 4, 2007      •Permalink      • Printer-Friendly Version
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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 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.

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; to renew their explicit prohibition of any effort to seek nuclear weapons as a violation of Islamic teachings, 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 (Partial list; 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. Tony Campolo, Ph.D., Eastern University
Sister Joan Chittister, OSB, director, on behalf of * Benetvision
Barbara J. DiTomasso, Roman Catholic diocese of Albany
Rabbi Elliot Dorff, Rector, American Jewish University
Rev. Bob Edgar, President & CEO, Common Cause
Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater, Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center
Gary Ferdman, Avenging Angels
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, 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
Rev. 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, Institute for Jewish Spirituality
Jim Winkler, General Secretary, General Board of Church and Society, United Methodist Church
Bishop Gabino Zavala, President,  Pax Christi USA, & Aux. Bishop, Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Please add your name as a signer to this statement to make peace rather than war between the U.S. and Iran. In order to help publish it in newspapers in Iowa and New Hampshire right away we need your help.  We need to ask that you contribute a minimum of $70, for your name to appear in the published version. (All names will appear on Website.) Please treat that as a floor, NOT a target. PLEASE AIM AT $360 OR MORE, IF YOU CAN. Your contribution is tax-deductible.

If you are ready to sign and support the Call now, please click to http://www.shalomctr.org and then click on the blue “Donate Now” button on the right-hand margin of the page. Be sure to enter “Iran Peace” in the “behalf of” box. 

(Please remember to forward this message to your networks, friends and co-workers.)

You can sign & contribute by clicking to the blue Donate Now button on the right-hand edge of our Home Page at http:www.shalomctr.org, and noting “Iran peace” in the “on behalf” box, or by mailing this coupon:
———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————- TO: The Shalom Center, 6711 Lincoln Drive Philadelphia PA 19119

(Make check to ” Shalom Center.”. Note “Iran peace” on check.) I enclose:
___ $1,000; ___ $500; ___ $360; ___ $250; ___ $100; ___ $72.

Affiliation (for ID only unless you explicitly note otherwise): ______________________________________________________
Email (important!) ___________________________________
Endorsing organization (IF you have authority to speak for it) ____________________________