INTERFAITH COMMUNITIES UNITED for JUSTICE and PEACE (ICUJP)
In the ominous days following 9/11/2001, a group of Los Angeles religious leaders came together to seek an alternative to the fear-mongering and vengefulness sweeping much of our nation. ICUJP believes “Religious Communities Must Stop Blessing War and Violence.” All of our peace workers are committed to four core ICUJP principles:
Jewish Voice For Peace statement: Jewish Voice for Peace calls on all people of conscience to stop imminent genocide
The Israeli government has declared a genocidal war on the people of Gaza. As an organization that works for a future where Palestinians and Israelis and all people live in equality and freedom, we call on all people of conscience to stop imminent genocide of Palestinians.
Jewish Voice for Peace mourns deeply for the over 1,200 Israelis killed, the families destroyed, including many of our own, and fears for the lives of Israelis taken hostage. Many are still counting the dead, looking for missing loved ones, devastated by the losses.
We wholeheartedly agree with leading Palestinian rights groups: the massacres committed by Hamas against Israeli civilians are horrific war crimes. There is no justification in international law for the indiscriminate killing of civilians or the holding of civilian hostages.
And now, horrifyingly, the Israeli and American governments are weaponizing these deaths to fuel a genocidal war against Palestinians in Gaza, pledging to “open the gates of hell.” This war is a continuation of the Nakba, when in 1948, tens of thousands of Palestinians fleeing violence sought refuge in Gaza. It’s a continuation of 75 years of Israeli occupation and apartheid.
Already this week, over 1,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed. The Israeli government has wrought complete and total devastation on Palestinians across Gaza, attacking hospitals, schools, mosques, marketplaces, and apartment buildings.
As we write, the Israeli government has shut off all electricity to Gaza. Hospitals cannot save lives, the internet will collapse, people will have no phones to communicate with the outside world, and drinking water for two million people will run out. Gaza will be plunged into darkness as Israel turns its neighborhoods to rubble. Still worse, Israel has openly stated an intention to commit mass atrocities and even genocide, with Prime Minister Netanyahu saying the Israeli response will “reverberate for generations.”
And right now, the U.S. government is enabling the Israeli government’s atrocities, sending weapons, moving U.S. warships into proximity and sending U.S.-made munitions, and pledging blanket support and international cover for any actions taken by the Israeli government. Furthermore, the U.S. government officials are spreading racist, hateful, and incendiary rhetoric that will fuel mass atrocities and genocide.
The loss of Israeli lives is being used by our government to justify the rush to genocide, to provide moral cover for the immoral push for more weapons and more death. Palestinians are being dehumanized by our own government, by the media, by far too many U.S. Jewish institutions. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said that Israel is “fighting human animals” and should “act accordingly,” As Jews, we know what happens when people are called animals.
We can and we must stop this. Never again means never again — for anyone.
We call on all people of conscience to stop the imminent genocide of Palestinians. We demand our government work towards de-escalation, that it immediately stop sending weapons to the Israeli military. A future of peace and safety for all, grounded in justice, freedom and equality for all, is still the only option.
ICUJP FEATURED ON NPR SEGMENT ON ISRAEL/PALESTINE
Stephen Rohde, ICUJP Chairperson, was interviewed by Jason DeRose of NPR about the difficulty in making definitive statements about the Israel/Hamas tragedies that do not get misinterpreted by either side. He was interviewed along with Tahil Sharma, an interfaith minister with the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, as well as Phoebe Milliken of Hartford International University.
CODEPINK strongly condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, where over a million civilians have fled the country in fear of explosive weapons and missile attacks, while remaining residents from eastern to western Ukraine seek refuge in underground subways and bomb shelters. As an international peace organization, we call for an immediate ceasefire, negotiations without preconditions, withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine, an end to NATO expansion and a return to the negotiating table to address the security interests of all stakeholders. We stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people under vicious attack and with the thousands of courageous Russian anti-war activists risking arrest and imprisonment to protest in the streets of Moscow and St. Petersburg.
There is no military solution to the conflict over Ukraine, a country caught in the crossfire between the United States and Russia, the world’s two most heavily armed nuclear nations. While we denounce Putin’s reckless veiled threat to launch nuclear weapons against NATO countries, we also recognize the United States government is culpable in the proliferation and deployment of nuclear weapons, and must reverse course on its decision to pursue nuclear rearmament and instead advance verifiable agreements for global nuclear disarmament.
In condemning Putin’s invasion of a sovereign country, the shelling of a Ukrainian hospital, the tanks closing in on Kyiv, we understand the U.S. has played a major role in exacerbating this conflict, facilitating a 2014 coup to overthrow the democratically elected leader of Ukraine and breaking promises not to expand NATO into Eastern Europe, where offensive missiles in Romania and Poland could reach Russia in minutes.
Though some will argue NATO is a defensive alliance of 30 countries, we view NATO as a threat to world peace with its military encirclement of Russia and support for U.S. military aggression in Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, where an estimated million died under a rain of bombs and millions more were displaced. NATO’s aggressive stance on China, another nuclear-armed nation, also threatens world peace and efforts to unite in the face of existential climate catastrophe.
In advance of the NATO summit in June, CODEPINK calls for an international security agreement to protect the interests of all Europeans to remain free from war and occupation. Such an agreement should have been forged after the fall of the Soviet Union and dissolution of the Warsaw Pact; instead the U.S. and NATO sought further militarization in a continuance of the Cold War that spawned multiple hot wars, from Korea to Vietnam.
To prevent further fighting in Ukraine, to stop the loss of life, bloodshed and grave environmental degradation from the bombing of munitions plants, let us return to the 2015 Minsk II agreement that established a blueprint for peace and an end to the civil war rocking eastern Ukraine. Ukraine should be a neutral country; its incorporation into NATO should be off the table as a starting point for diplomacy.
During this perilous time, when further military escalation could trigger a Chernobyl radioactive meltdown or push us to the brink of nuclear annihilation, we urge President Biden and Congress to stop the flow of weapons to Ukraine, offer humanitarian assistance and safe refuge instead, renew lapsed arms control treaties (Anti-Ballistic Missile, Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces, Open Skies) the U.S. abandoned with Russia, and reject the imposition of massive sanctions that will harm the Russian people who, like us, want peace and security.
Blanket sanctions on the entire Russian economy could spread economic and environmental hardship to Europe and potentially the global community with energy price hikes that may reduce energy consumption in the short term but prompt more oil drilling and lethal burning of fossil fuels in the long term.
In solidarity with anti-war protesters in Russia and across Europe, we call on the world’s peace-loving people, including conscripted front-line soldiers, to join us in a massive unified response to say:
No to War in Ukraine; Yes to Negotiations and Peace.