Daryn Kobata published Statement Opposing Israeli Annexation in ICUJP Policy and Issue Statements 2020-07-01 15:49:50 -0700
July 1, 2020
Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace (ICUJP) was founded in 2001 to urgently demand that RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES MUST STOP BLESSING WAR AND VIOLENCE.
We are a broad spectrum of people of faith, universalists, and humanists who are deeply concerned about the United States’ engagement in endless wars that drain our resources and distract us from the work of justice at home. We proclaim that we will not bless war. We declare that we will not be silent in the face of an escalating spiral of violence and a voracious war-making system. We promote justice and peace at home and around the world. And we seek to show that poverty, racism, and injustice are forms of violence that impede peace.
Therefore, as people of many faiths and backgrounds:
We support, without hesitation, the rights of Jews, Muslims and Christians, as well as persons of all other or no particular faith, to live in peace, with justice and dignity, in the Land many of us call Holy.
We lament, without wavering, the displacement of Palestinians in 1948, and again in 1967; the ongoing military occupation of lands intended by international agreements for a Palestinian state; the continuing theft of lands for the creation of illegal colonial settlements; and the system of laws consigning non-Jewish citizens of Israel to second-class status.
We further lament our own complicity in these actions by our failure to speak out against them.
We oppose, without reservation, the plans of the current Israeli government to annex portions of the Occupied Palestinian Territories into the State of Israel, including the Jordan River valley, the lands upon which some 100 illegal settlements are currently built, and agricultural lands and communities in and around east Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron, Ramallah, Nablus and Jenin.
We call, without uncertainty, on our Senators and Representatives, and on the eventual Presidential candidates, to take a clear public stand against Israel's denial of full rights to non-Jewish citizens of Israel, and against the continuing military occupation and planned annexation of lands in the West Bank. We believe that early and sustained vocal opposition to annexation from the United States Congress will enhance the possibility of delaying and limiting, and even derailing these annexation plans.
We further call upon our elected representatives to use their “power of the purse” to withhold military and other financial aid from the State of Israel if it does not award full and equal human rights to Palestinian citizens of Israel, or it moves forward with annexation of all or part of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
We finally, in the strongest terms possible, call upon the current and future U.S. administrations to abandon biased and damaging policies that reward unilateral action by Israel. Instead, the United States government should call for and reward behaviors that will promote a just, negotiated peace agreement addressing key issues, including the status of Jerusalem, ending the siege of Gaza, establishing viable borders, sharing natural resources equitably, and guaranteeing the rights of refugees.
Due to our statewide stay-at-home order, ICUJP Friday Forums will take place online until further notice. Until we meet in person once again, we hope you can join us virtually!
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Daryn Kobata published Close Guantanamo and Pursue Middle East Diplomacy in ICUJP Policy and Issue Statements 2020-01-03 16:53:53 -0800
Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace
Statement to Elected Officials:
END ENDLESS WAR
Close Guantanamo and Pursue Diplomacy, Not War, in the Middle East
After 9/11, the United States responded to a terrorist attack on our country by retaliating with endless wars in the Middle East and other parts of the world. These wars have caused millions of deaths, displaced tens of millions of refugees, cost trillions of dollars, and made our nation and the world considerably less safe.
As people of faith and conscience, we have not only opposed these endless and futile wars, we have also opposed the indefinite and unwarranted detention and torture of political prisoners at Guantanamo and CIA “black sites.”
Consistent with our belief that “religious communities must stop blessing war and violence,” we stand utterly opposed to political assassination as a tool of foreign policy. Killing foreign leaders doesn’t advance the cause of peace. It has the opposite effect: It provokes retaliation and further violence.
The current violence in Iraq is a result of our misguided decision to use force instead of diplomacy to try to resolve political conflicts in the Middle East.
For this reason, we call upon our elected officials to speak out publicly and pass a resolution opposing the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani, a high-ranking Iranian government official. This assassination will further exacerbate tensions in the Middle East and perpetuate the cycle of violence. A breaking news report indicates that 3,000 troops are being sent to the Middle East in response to this threat.
This dangerous escalation of violence can be seen as a direct consequence of abandoning the Iran Nuclear Agreement that negotiated by the Obama administration and supported by the United Kingdom, Russia, France, China, and the European Union. Our withdrawal from this multinational agreement was unwise. We urge our elected officials to resume negotiations with Iran and be open to reducing sanctions and making other concessions as an expression of good faith.
We are concerned that this extrajudicial killing could lead to war between the United States and Iran, and possibly even worldwide. World War I was triggered by political assassination. Assassinating a high-ranking government official can be seen as an act of war – and would be considered as such if a foreign power were to kill a comparable American official. We urge Congress to reaffirm its opposition to war on Iran, and to support repealing the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, which presidents have used as a blank check to justify military intervention.
Daryn Kobata published 18th Anniversary of 9/11 in ICUJP Policy and Issue Statements 2019-09-10 19:43:46 -0700
September 10, 2019
Tomorrow, the 18th anniversary of 9/11, we can anticipate a range of remembrances and commemorations.
At Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace, we remember it as a dreadful and ominous day when the Rev. George Regas awoke fearing the direction the United States would take under President George W. Bush. He immediately convened Dr. Maher Hathout, Rabbi Leonard Beerman, Rev. James Lawson, and others. Together they founded ICUJP and adopted the call that
RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES MUST STOP BLESSING WAR AND VIOLENCE.
Tragically, the group’s worst fears came true as the United States and its allies launched endless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. These wars have spread around the world, accompanied by death, torture, indefinite detention, CIA dark sites, Guantanamo, drone warfare, and widespread violations of human rights and civil liberties.
ICUJP chose to respond by Speaking Truth to Power. For almost 900 Fridays, ICUJP has consistently met and taken action to learn, listen, share, educate, advocate, lobby, march, pray, protest, and organize, organize, organize—all to advance the cause of justice and peace at home and around the world.
The scope of our recent work is reflected in the wide array of statements and calls to action we have issued.
George Regas’s prophetic vision that inspired the creation of ICUJP imagined a world not of war, but peace; not of conflict, but reconciliation; and not of hate, but love.
And we are still at it. The struggle continues. Please join us on Friday mornings from 7:00 to 9:00 AM at Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 3300 Wilshire Blvd. (at Berendo St.). Also, please support our work by making a generous donation at www.icujp.org.
And do something TODAY to help make the world a better, safer, more just, peaceful and humane place for every person who shares this fragile planet.