Allies and Witnesses: A Muslim-Jewish Call for Salaam, Shalom in Jerusalem, Israel and Palestine

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May 13, 2021; 2 Sivan, 5781; 1 Shawwal, 1442

On the occasion of the Islamic Holy Day of Eid and as we approach the Jewish Holy Day of Shavuot,  the Muslim and Jewish communities must both deplore the violence between Israel and Palestine and note the disproportionate response of the state of Israel, beginning with the attack on the Al Aqsa mosque on Laylat al Qadr, one of the holiest nights of the year.

 Some Israeli extremists continue to advocate for Israeli seizure and destruction of this holy site. Though their numbers are small, it is as if small numbers of people were known to be planning for destruction on Easter Sunday of St. Peter’s  in Vatican City, or on Yom Kippur of the Western Wall so sacred to Jews, or on July 4  of  the US Capitol together with the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, even if no one were to be killed – most unlikely in all four cases.

Given the intense devotion to this place,  one of the most important sites in the Muslim world, and given the constant anxiety caused by the known threats to it, the actual attack was extremely provocative. We must question the motivation, the timing, and the necessity.

And we mourn the loss of lives, all sacred. We plead with our co-religionists in Israel and Palestine, and world-wide, to return to the shared vision of Jerusalem as a Holy City, one that reflects vision, light, hope, compassion and peace, and reflects the profound dignity and value of all humans as Images of the Holy One.

We ask both governmental leaders and private citizens, those with power and those in the street, to do everything in their power to de-escalate the conflict and further calm, to protect life and limb, restore the safety of all,  and prevent any damage to the sacred sites of all.

Injustices and inequalities feed this conflict. Though we deplore the rockets from Gaza as we deplore the Israeli bombing, the most immediate crisis in Jerusalem has its roots in the continuing military occupation and siege of lands that comprise the necessary aspirations of the Palestinian people  --  East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza – and the constant forcible pressure to replace Palestinian residents of these lands with settlers who often act oppressively, with  military and police protection.There may be several different ways to end this unjust occupation and to protect the safety of all who live in the region. So long as it continues, crisis after crisis, bloodshed after bloodshed, will be its consequences.

For there can be no true security without justice. Nor will there be peace without justice, only  pacification based on force. Though many feel that the US has not maintained its neutrality as an honest broker in this ongoing conflict, President Biden should far more energetically promote a peace process both in Israel and Palestine, meanwhile responding to the concerns of the international community. The US Government has  so far seemed unable or unwilling to confront the settlement movement that has played such a destabilizing role in Israel as well as Palestine.

Our own spiritual and religious communities throughout the world are deeply affected by what our communities in Israel and Palestine do. The vision of the ancient Hebrew Prophets and of the Prophet Muhammed, peace be upon them all, of a world of peace and justice – and the shape of a Jewish People and Islam struggling to carry out those visions today – will be deeply compromised by injustice and violence committed in their names.

Blessed be the peacemakers. On this occasion, we affirm that our shared religious and moral values require an embrace of peace and justice, especially when our views and perspectives differ. The other alternative is oppression and conflict without end.

Adem Carroll, Flushing Interfaith Council, Faith Coalition Against Genocide

Daisy Khan, Executive Director, Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality

Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Ph. D., Executive Director, The Shalom Center

Rabbi Simkha Weintraub, LCSW, Co-Founder, T'ruah: Rabbinic Call for Human Rights

Imam Shamsi Ali, Director, Jamaica Muslim Center, NY, and President, Nusantara Foundation USA Sheikh Fadel Al Sahlani, Al         Khoei Foundation

Rabbi Phyllis Berman, Mashpia in the ALEPH Hashpa'ah Program

Abdul Aziz Bhuiyan, Chairman, Hillside Islamic Center 

Adem Carroll, Flushing Interfaith Council, Faith Coalition Against Genocide

Robert J. De Sena, Council for Unity

Imam Faizul Khan, Islamic Society of Greater Washington Area

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Congregation Beth Simchat Torah

Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor, Tikkun

Rabbi Mordechai Liebling, President Emeritus, The Shalom Center

Ibrahim Negm, Senior advisor to the Grand Mufti of Egypt and Secretary General,

        Fatwa Authorities Worldwide 

Rabbi Jeffrey Roth, Executive Director, The Awakened Heart Project for 

       Contemplative Judaism

Rabbi David Teutsch, Professor Emeritus, Reconstructionist Rabbbinical College

Rabbi Elyse Wechterman, Executive Director,  Reconstructionist Rabbbinical Assn

Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg

Rabbi Shawn Zevit, Congregation Mishkan Shalom

Ani Zonneveld, Muslims for Progressive Values



May 16th, 2021 12:00 AM to May 27th, 2021 12:00 AM