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Statements from WNPJ groups and their national affiliates on Palestine/Israel/Hamas

Updated: Apr 4

See the developing list here....including World BEYOND War, UNA, Madison Friends, Madison Rafah Sister City Project, WILPF, Palestine Partners, Veterans for Peace, Peace Action, Interfaith Peace Working Group, Unitarian Universalists, PoorPeople's Campaign, Family Farm Defenders, as part of La Via Campesino, Congregation of Sistersof St. Agnes, Madison Democratic Socialists of America, Building Unity, WISDOM, and more....

Veterans For Peace Statement on Hamas-Israel

“Our hearts are with all of the victims and their families, and we hope for the safe return of those held captive, and for the safety of the civilians trapped inside Gaza… Together, we must retain our humanity, and value all life as sacred and cherished… The only solution is ending the occupation, uniting Israelis and Palestinians and focusing our collective efforts on achieving peace.”


Veterans For Peace is an organization of former soldiers and allies who know too well the costs of war – the obvious, visible wounds; the unseen wounds that curse us and our families for generations and the cost to society of maintaining a military larger than the next ten nations combined. Bitter experience taught us that war is insanity and suffering.

We oppose all targeting of civilians. We denounce Hamas’ attacks on Israeli civilians and deplore Israel’s crushing response in Gaza. We also recognize this war did not start last week, it has gone on for decades. Over $150 billion of our tax dollars have provided Israel unlimited weaponry and diplomatic cover has allowed it to expand its occupation such that 16 years ago former President Jimmy Carter clearly labeled it apartheid.

Our government fans the flames beneath the pressure cooker of occupation and our taxes make us complicit. We should not pretend shock at a violent response after Palestinian homes are destroyed to make way for Israeli “settlers” and Gaza is locked down, year after year, by a draconian air, sea and land blockade. History is defined by when you start the clock. In the war of competing propaganda, we recognize that U.S. officials fabricate incidents for corporate media consumption, such as President Biden claiming he saw photos of beheaded Israeli children. Hours later, as reported by news outlets from the Palestine Chronicle to Business Insider, a White House spokesperson had to "walk back" Biden's claims. But just like the Bush administration claims in 1991 that Iraqi soldiers threw Kuwaiti babies out of incubators, once the lie is out, the truth rarely catches up.

This cycle of violence, coupled with the reality that war is an uncontrollable force with its own agency and purposes, results in the terrors we witness. Neither side has a military path to victory, which is why we strongly oppose our government’s plans to send troops, aircraft carriers and more munitions and President Biden’s promise to fully support Israel’s assault on the people of Gaza. We support a ceasefire, negotiations and release of prisoners from all sides.

Only a political process will dismantle the apartheid system, answer the grievances of the Palestinian people, create a democratic system that provides rights for all the people of Israel and Palestine, and finally bring lasting security and peace. Without that political process, the cycle of violence will magnify, dooming more generations of Israelis and Palestinians. We lift up the words of our brother and sister military veterans, both Palestinian and Israeli members of Combatants for Peace:


Veterans For Peace - vfp@veteransforpeace.org

(photo creadit: Palestinians inspect the damage following an Israeli airstrike on the El-Remal aera in Gaza City Oct. 9, 2023. Wafa | Wikimedia | Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0]




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UNA USA

As we all struggle to understand the dynamics of Hamas invasion of Israel and Israel’s response, here is a brief statement from UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. "UN condemns complete siege of Gaza | Israel-Palestine conflict | Al Jazeera." https://www.aljazeera.com/program/newsfeed/2023/10/10/un-condemns-complete-siege-of-gaza-2


Sent to WNPJ from Sam Romano - sromano@charter.net of the UNA USA Dane County Chapter




Statement from the United Nations Association of Greater Milwaukee (UNA-GM) Board of Directors on the Crisis in the Middle East

October 25th, 2023

The members of the United Nations Association of Greater Milwaukee Board of Directors are devastated by the war occurring between Israel and Hamas.

The United Nations Association of Greater Milwaukee is committed to upholding the values and principles of the United Nations and the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) including peace and the preservation of human rights for all.

The United Nations Association of Greater Milwaukee Board of Directors is in agreement with and supports the statement from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on October 19th, 2023 including his call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire to provide sufficient time and space to help realize his two appeals and to ease the epic human suffering we are witnessing.

For more information, contact:

Steve Watrous – President of the UNA of Greater Milwaukee

On behalf of the UNA of Greater Milwaukee Board of Directors


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WISDOM APril 4, 2024


Normally, as the WISDOM Executive Committee we do not get involved in issues of foreign policy, where we have no expertise. Regarding the current enormous loss of life and humanitarian nightmare in Gaza, we feel a need to make an exception.

 

In our WISDOM "Prophetic Declaration" we state that:

  • We believe in the God-given dignity and infinite worth of each and every human life, and

  • We believe that our faith calls us to work for justice and liberation, standing against all forms of oppression and inequity

  • We cannot remain silent in the face of so much killing, no matter where it is happening. As human beings we cannot ignore injustice, especially when that injustice is in part supported by our own government.

The people in Israel have a right to live in peace and a right to self-defense, as do the people in Gaza and the West Bank. As with every other right, though, there are limits. Security cannot be pursued at the cost of the lives of tens of thousands of non-combatant civilians, thousands of whom are children, as well as the lives of scores of journalists and humanitarian aid workers.

 

Suffering and victimization can help to explain behaviors, but they cannot justify immoral actions. In the same way that the decades of unjust treatment of Palestinians cannot justify many of the actions of October 7, the actions of October 7 cannot justify the brutal bombardment and starvation of people in Gaza in the subsequent five months. There must be an immediate and permanent ceasefire.

 

We do not know the elements of the path toward a lasting, just peace. We know that it needs to include true security, self-determination, and opportunity for Palestinian people as well as for Israeli citizens. It must value every human being in the region as equally valuable. It cannot include the use of starvation, withheld medical supplies or sexual violence as political tools.

 

Finally, we believe that our tax dollars and the power of the US government can never be used to support actions that violate basic human rights.

 

We urge our members to continue to exercise their rights as citizens to speak out against the continuation of the war and to join the call for an immediate, permanent ceasefire with a commitment to work toward a just solution that treats all with compassion and dignity.

 

The WISDOM Executive Committee:

 Rev. Marian Boyle-Rohloff, President

 Rev. Wille Brisco, Immediate Past President

 Mr. Talib Akbar, Vice President

 Ms. Rachel Kincade, Vice President

 Ms. Betty Groenewold, Treasurer

 Mr. John Wagner, Financial Secretary

 Ms. Sue Spicer, Secretary

 David Liners, Yolanda Perkins, Freddie Wilson, Staff


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World BEYOND War


Sign the petition:

The world's leading weapons dealer, the U.S. government, urgently needs to hear from the people of the United States and the world.

President Joe Biden has told the U.S. Congress that he will ask for funding to send huge piles of free weapons to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, to prolong two wars and help start a third -- and possibly the world's last.

Biden reportedly intends to combine weapons for these three wars, plus additional weapons for further militarizing the U.S. border with Mexico, all in one piece of legislation. The strategic thinking is that various Congress Members who find the nerve to oppose one horrific war will be unlikely to find it to oppose three wars at once.

Regardless of how the legislation is concocted, we need to stop the weapons shipments and replace them with diplomacy and a new focus on the human and environmental crises that these wars defund, distract from, and exacerbate.


World BEYOND War is a global network of volunteers, chapters, and affiliated organizations advocating for the abolition of the institution of war.


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From Peace Action Wisconsin: an urgent Action Alert:


Tell Congress to end the killing in Gaza/Israel


We at Peace Action are heartbroken over the escalating violence in Israel and

Gaza. Granted, this violence didn’t come out of a vacuum, there have been

decades of violent Israeli government oppression. But the recent violence still

shocks one’s conscience.


Civilian lives deserve protection. The scenes of Hamas-led forces abusing Israeli

children and elderly hostages, or of hundreds of civilians gunned down at bus

stops, music festivals, and in homes, are heartrending. Even the strongest

supporter of the Palestinian fight for self-determination can condemn the wanton mistreatment of civilians. Our hearts go out to the victims. We hope for a speedy return of hostages.


At the same time, if we really care about protecting civilian lives and rights, we

must work to end the ongoing crime of the Israeli occupation that drives cycles of violence. This includes the hellish blockade of Gaza for the last 16 years. Many in Congress are ignoring this essential context and pledging unequivocal support for Israel. But with U.S. support, Israeli security forces abuse children and the elderly. Settlers engage in home invasions and burning cars and houses. Police engage in torture. Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed this year.


Please join us at Peace Action in pushing Congress to call for de-escalation and

restraint. Ask your representatives to support a ceasefire now.


In the short term, we need our representatives to call for de-escalation and a

ceasefire, not offer “unequivocal” military support. Congress must also work to

end the occupation. That means ending the unconditional military aid that props up the occupation.


The United States is the world’s greatest sponsor of the occupation with $3.8

Billion in military weapons a year. And now Congressmembers are calling for more military aid and giving a green light to unrestrained Israeli military action. This reminds me of 9-11 which led to decades of wasted lives and trillions spent. Already, jets paid for with your and my tax dollars are bombing Gaza indiscriminately. U.S. warships and fighter jets are being sent to the region as a “show of force”. Will Lebanon or Iran get dragged in? Escalation could trigger years of war.


Before the casualty counts grow, you and I can help raise the voice for restraint

and oppose more arms and military escalation.


President Netanyahu is talking about turning Gaza’s “wicked cities” to “rubble”.

The Israeli Defense Minister just said that “We are imposing a complete siege on Gaza. There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel. We are fighting human animals and we are acting accordingly”. This is collective punishment that is a violation of humanitarian law. Congress shouldn't offer “unequivocal support” for war crimes in the making.


You and I can be the voice for de-escalation before the violations get worse. We

can ask Congress to pressure the Israeli government to avoid massacres of

civilians. Congressmembers can push to support a ceasefire.


At the same time, it’s not too early to press Congress to look at the roots of this

violence. Congress needs to re-examine how the billions in military aid we are

sending to Israel only maintains oppression and violence. We need to end US

complicity in this horrific tragedy.


Please join in with all of us today to prevent a widening blood bath. Ask your

members of Congress to support a ceasefire. My best to you and yours, especially if you’ve been personally touched by this violence. Our vision at Peace Action is of a just world where all can live their lives in dignity free from political violence and oppression. Even now we push for that

vision.

For a just and more peaceful world,

Jon Rainwater, Executive Director - Peace Action https://www.peaceaction.org/


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Madison Rafah Sister City Project and Palestine Partners - . These 2 WNPJ member groups have recently joined the WI-Based Coalition for Justice in Palestine.....read their statement below.


WISCONSIN-BASED COALITION FOR JUSTICE IN PALESTINE CALLS FOR A FAIR RESOLUTION FROM THE WISCONSIN STATE ASSEMBLY


A broad coalition of Wisconsin organizations that work for peace and justice formed on October 8th to respond to the false and one-sided narratives regarding Israel’s war on Gaza and the continued oppression of the indigenous Palestinian population.


The coalition’s member organizations include Milwaukee Muslim Women’s Coalition, Jewish Voice for Peace–Milwaukee, Wisconsin Muslim Civic Alliance, Islamic Society of Milwaukee, Racine Coalition for Peace and Justice, Milwaukee Anti-war Committee, American Muslims for Palestine, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Students for Democratic Society, Adalah Justice Group, Syrian American Medical Society-Milwaukee, Peace Action Wisconsin, Students for Justice in Palestine at UWM, Marquette University and UW-Madison, Arab and Muslim Women’s Research and Resource Institute, Muslim American Society, Party for Socialism and Liberation, Friends of Palestine WI, Milwaukee Islamic Dawa Center, Al-Quran Foundation, Catholics for Peace and Justice, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Black Youth Project 100,We Are Many – United Against Hate, MKE4Palestine, United States Palestinian Community Network (USPCN), Sunseekers Milwaukee, Madison-Rafah City Project and Palestine Partners.


In a joint statement, they said, “We are deeply saddened by the loss of Israeli and Palestinian lives, and condemn unequivocally the decades of provocation including the years by one of the most extreme supremacist Israeli governments in history.

“We are also alarmed by the one-sided narrative in mainstream U.S. media and from President Biden’s administration that posits Israel as a victim and ignores the tremendous suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza under decades of brutal Israeli occupation.”

This new Wisconsin coalition is calling for a correction of false narratives and an end to U.S support of Israeli apartheid and the subjugation of Palestinians. It is demanding a ceasefire, humanitarian aid and safety for civilians, thousands who are injured, and an end to the forced dehydration and starvation of the civilian population of Gaza.


This coalition is extremely distressed that so many of the elected representatives that have worked with our organizations for years failed to give thought and consideration to the indigenous 2.2 million Palestinian civilians, Muslim and Christian who are facing imminent genocide in Gaza. We note these representatives have often stood against false and one-sided narratives targeting Black Americans, Latinos, the LGBTQ people, and other marginalized and oppressed people. When did it become acceptable for these representatives and the Wisconsin Assembly as a whole to support one of the most racist and supremacist governments in the world?


As is seen more often in authoritarian countries, when representatives Ryan Clancy, Darrin Madison, and Lakeshia Myers took a more nuanced position, acknowledging the indigenous Palestinian children and civilians who are suffering, state elector Ann Jacobs threw around the word “antisemitism” and asked for Clancy to be ousted.


A coalition of 27 organizations, with more joining each day, representing thousands of voters, we stand unequivocally behind the right of our democratically elected representatives to vote their conscience without intimidation and bullying. We commend Representatives Clancy, Madison and Myers for their principled and moral stand and we call upon our elected leaders to demand that food, water, electricity, medicine and safety be available to innocent civilians in Gaza, of whom half are children.


Join the Wisconsin Coalition for Justice in Palestine now. Add your name or your organization to the list by contacting Janan Najeeb: jnajeeb@mmwconline.org


Posted by Janan Najeeb | Oct 17, 2023 | OpEd


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Quaker Links provided by Madison Friends Meeting, Peace Subcommittee


Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL):



American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) new Action Alerts:



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WILPF Urgent Response in Palestine


The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom is deeply saddened at the ongoing and escalating loss of life in Palestine and Israel, which takes place in the context of ongoing Israeli occupation, war crimes and impunity. We denounce all attacks against civilians by all parties. Indiscriminate attacks on civilians are a crime under international law and cannot be justified. Please read and share WILPF’s statement and demands on the escalation of violence in Palestine and Israel.


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Dear Peacemaking Friends, Tikkun magazine and Beyt Tikkun: A Synagogue without Walls partnered with others to write a joint statement that we hope can help us rise above divisiveness and division and call us to our highest selves.

What follows is the joint statement. We invite everyone who agrees with this statement to add your name. You can read the statement below and add your name by clicking here.


FROM TIKKUN MAGAZINE & BEYT TIKKUN: A SYNAGOGUE WITHOUT WALLS

Solidarity with Israel/Palestine

This statement is written and signed by Palestinians, Jews, and others who are committed to holding complex truths and striving to overcome polarization. We feel the pain of our people, identify with their pain, and need to work together to uplift our shared humanity. The unfolding horror in Israel and Gaza is an escalation of decades of state-sanctioned violence by Israel against Palestinians. We condemn the horrific actions of Hamas against Israeli civilians. We likewise condemn Israel’s unbridled bombing and cutting off access to all basic needs, including food, water, electricity, and medical care. Attacks on Palestinian and Israeli civilians are repugnant. Israeli violence against Palestinians has been intentionally hidden, slow, and steady. Contrary to what the media is reporting, this attack was not unprovoked. The Israeli and American governments have worked together to suppress and deny the inhumane acts against Palestinians that have led to this moment. There are Palestinians and Jews who have been raising red flags and warning about this inevitable outcome for decades, only to be dismissed and ignored. The world’s failure to challenge Israel’s ongoing occupation, apartheid, and unbridled violence by settlers and soldiers in the West Bank provides the context for what is happening now. The recent Israeli government’s escalation of violence, encroachment of Al Aqsa Mosque, and its 16-year siege of Gaza has led to the current explosion. We repeat: the brutality of Hamas’ attack on Israeli civilians is unjustified. As we watch the violent attacks and rallying of xenophobia on both sides, we are brokenhearted. Although it feels like a time to stand with “our people,” we know this is a time to come together. This is a time of great suffering for all; a time of painful emotions. It is only by recognizing our shared fears and our shared tears that we will find our way through this nightmare. It is a struggle we need to undertake jointly. When we fall back into our separate and distinct identities we risk becoming part of the problem, not the solution. Both peoples suffer from ongoing trauma. We are all on high alert. The fear is palpable. And it is easy for us to objectify the 'other.' We seek a third path that neither perpetuates a xenophobic response nor sustains an unjust status quo. This moment calls us to slow down, sit with the pain and complexity, and grapple with our discomfort. It is a moment for digging deep, seeing across differences, and remembering our deep yearning for peace and justice. It is only through compassion and empathy that we will find a different way. We recognize and uplift the humanity of all peoples in Israel/Palestine. We call for an immediate ceasefire from Hamas and Israel. We demand that basic needs be provided to Gazans. We demand that the United States provide only humanitarian support to Israel and Gaza. We support the creation of a movement that recognizes and affirms the humanity, dignity, and desire of both peoples to live in peace through reconciliation and justice.

Add your name - click here:

- Interfaith Peace Working Groups




This statement from Milwaukee Faith Leaders was sent to WNPJ by Jerry Folk of the Interfaith Peace Working group on Jan 17th, 2024:

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Statement from Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) President Rev. Dr. Sofía Betancourt Regarding the Conflict Between Israel and Hamas

Beloveds, I invite you to stop what you are doing if you can and sit with me in the depth of this tragedy. How to reconcile the cost of occupation and of war? How to nuance two very real histories of oppression and violence? I am holding close the words of U.N. Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland who said: "This is a dangerous precipice, and I appeal to all to pull back from the brink." We as a people of faith can condemn violence against civilians while at the same time engaging the full legacies and histories of oppression that shape such devastating conflict. As a faith tradition, Unitarian Universalists have long worked for peace, and our principles and values call for the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all. At the same time, we have not engaged the tangled issues surrounding Israel/Palestine in community since 2018, and our last engagement resulted in severed relationships, and deep pain. I pray for the people of Israel and Palestine. I pray for leaders around the globe who must respond to this latest flare of violence and the untenable ethical considerations that abound. I pray for Muslim and Jewish UUs who experience the impact of this long strife acutely. I pray that those of us less likely to know the trauma of unending brutality and harm will not turn away from generational loss, from the devastating realities and their root causes, or from the relentless tragedy of war and occupation. Be gentle with yourselves when you need to be, but do not turn away unless you must. We are one global family living tenuously on the same human-impacted Earth. Let us center ourselves in justice as we call for peace.


For more information contact pr@uua.org

October 7, 2023

Media Contact: Suzanne Morse Ph: (508) 259-9354 E-mail: smorse@uua.org

Note: There are 2 Unitarian group members of WNPJ: James Reeb and First Unitarian in Madison

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We must say an emphatic ‘no’ to Hamas a thousand times.There is no moral justification for killing, kidnapping and torturing innocent civilians. We must say a clear ‘no’ - Reverend William Barber

I am weeping with my Jewish brothers and sisters, both in Israel and around the world, as they mourn the horrific acts of terror in Israel this past weekend. The stories of civilians murdered and families kidnapped are gut-wrenching. In grief, we are wrapped in darkness, and there are no words to express the weight we feel.

Yet in the public square, words abound that both compound the grief of many and have the potential to precipitate more violence. So I must rise from the silence of mourning to speak. Killing civilians is indefensible, whether done by Hamas or Israel. I am a Christian, and my moral foundation demands that I unequivocally condemn these acts of terrorism. These were not militants attacking an army, nor were they acts of protest against Israel’s policy in Gaza. They were senseless acts of violence against civilians that have destroyed the lives of human beings. Some say, in a moment like this, you cannot condemn the violence without also mentioning the violence that precipitated it. I will not agree to that position. I cannot. On one side of my own family, I come from formerly enslaved people who chose never to issue violence against the women and children of those who happened to be white, or even against those who held people in bondage. They chose to fight in the American civil war, soldier v soldier; and they believed in the right of self-defense. My people are not weak, nor did they ever dismiss the ugliness of the injustices they endured; but even when enslaved people or persons claiming to care about the conditions of the enslaved used violence against innocent people, claiming it was for the cause of liberation, they said unequivocally: “No. We will not return evil for evil.”

We are not talking about slaves versus slave masters in Israel today, but I know from my own context that an unequivocal “no” to the actors within Hamas who chose to commit these heinous acts does not dismiss history and the oppression of Palestinian people when they have been beaten and harmed by the actions of some – not all – in Israel. Nor does it dismiss a moral critique of Benjamin Netanyahu and others who have enacted harmful policies. In this moment, however, we must be clear that terrorism is not a protest against injustice, but rather an act of despair that creates more suffering for everyone.

I have spoken out many times against the injustices that I believe the Israeli government – not all Jewish people – are committing against Palestinians. I have done this with Jewish and Palestinian colleagues, and I will continue to challenge the wrong if Israel tells its military to murder innocent Palestinians as some form of retribution. If the United States stands by Israel as they unleash their military against Hamas, that’s one thing; but if the military action is indiscriminate, with no regard for innocent people, just because of the horror of what has happened, moral voices must say that this too is wrong. Likewise, we must decry the irresponsible voices in the United States – many in extreme media – who are urging Israel to wipe out Gaza.

Two wrongs cannot make a right. Yes, the perpetrators of violence should face justice, just as some in Israel must be held accountable for its policies of violent apartheid against the Palestinian people (remember, many Israelis have and do oppose these policies, including some who were attacked last weekend). But there is no moral justification for killing, kidnapping and torturing innocent civilians, women, children and tourists. On this point there can be no moral equivalency. We must say a clear and unified: “No.” The history of Black people in America who suffered through brutal domestic terrorism and legal lynchings in the era of Jim Crow has something to say in this moment. We, especially, must say an emphatic “no” to what Hamas – not the Palestinian people – has done. When Emmett Till’s mother received the body of her 14-year-old son, brutalized beyond recognition by a white mob in Mississippi, she did not try to kill white children. When three civil rights workers were murdered in 1964, the movement did not look for Klan members to lynch. Even those within the movement who did not embrace nonviolence did so in the name of self-defense – never to justify a shooting and killing spree. Moral movements for justice have always refused to take on the tactics of those who choose to terrorize. They fight for justice without being consumed by the evil that was perpetrated against them.

I come from a faith tradition that says: “Even when the one you call Savior is crucified, you don’t respond with the tools of wanton violence and evil action. Even when life itself is crucified, you cannot start your own campaign of monstrous forms of violence and retaliation.” If anything, my ancestors passed down to me a resolve to organize even more massive nonviolent resistance in the face of injustice and oppression. We need their wisdom today, and to say this is not in any way to dismiss what has happened to Palestinian people. Even many Palestinians are saying that these acts of terrorism do not represent them.

While the road to a just peace may be long and difficult, let us begin to build it in this moment on the basis of a broad consensus that acts of terror like those we saw in Israel this past weekend have no place in the struggle for justice. Hate cannot drive out hate. We must meet one another in our shared grief and find a better way.

  • Reverend William J Barber II is the president of Repairers of the Breach and the founding director of the Center for Public Theology & Public Policy at Yale Divinity School - as well as the leader of the WI Poor People's Campaign, member group of WNPJ

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Gaza – Defending the Rights and Dignity Amidst Escalating Military Aggression and Conflict


WNPJ member group, Family Farm Defenders is part of La Via Campesina (LVC)


La Via Campesina’s Official Statement | 14 October 2023, Bagnolet


We are deeply shocked and outraged by the escalation of crimes against humanity committed by the Israeli occupation in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. For 75 years, the Palestinian people have continued to suffer from living under occupation and siege and endured numerous attacks and arrests. Now, for more than six consecutive days, Israel has launched hundreds of air and artillery raids on the Gaza Strip, sometimes using internationally banned white phosphorus. Therefore, the collective punishment of more than two million people living in Gaza is unforgivable and must be condemned. Targeting residential areas, schools, medical institutions and government buildings are unacceptable and a violation of international law.


As a global peasant movement, we firmly reject violence against civilians and military conflict to resolve disputes. We urgently call for immediate de-escalation on all fronts and a return to the path of dialogue and non-violent conflict resolution.


Israel’s attacks against civilians in the past week have resulted in the deaths and injuries of thousands of Palestinians, with the majority being women, children, and babies. Moreover, in this critical moment, power stations have been obliterated, water supplies to the Gaza Strip have been cut off, and food access for over two million Palestinians has been blocked, creating a dire humanitarian crisis, an unjustified collective punishment.


This vicious cycle of violence and human suffering stems from a long-standing history of uninterrupted occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people, with Israel’s brutal settler-colonialism, and military siege at its core.


For many years, the people of Gaza have been denied food sovereignty, suffered from high levels of food insecurity, unemployment, land and sea dispossession, and limited access to essential services necessary for survival. The Palestinian people have been denied their dignity for decades. Since 2006, they have endured an illegal siege that violates their basic human rights, restricts their mobility, and subjects them to pervasive surveillance.


This cruelty must cease. Instead of supporting Israel’s aggression under the guise of retaliation and the ‘right to defend,’ all countries must urgently employ diplomatic means to halt this military escalation and encourage all parties involved to return to negotiations and dialogue.


Calls to open corridors for the safe passage for people to flee Gaza play into the long-term plans of Israel to remove them and occupy their lands. Why should the people of Gaza leave their territory? More Palestinian refugees is not the solution! Palestinians endure the continuous humiliation of losing their land to make way for Israeli settlements. Palestinians have a right to stay in their homeland.


As La Via Campesina, we express our solidarity and support for the Palestinian people in these tough and complex conditions.


As an international peasant movement, we urgently call for:

  • Stopping this military escalation and urging all parties involved to return to a process of negotiation and dialogue.

  • Urging all governments and the UN to use their influence to halt this escalation and act swiftly in all international forums to end this ongoing occupation and the war against the Palestinian people.

  • Urging the immediate provision of international protection for the Palestinian people.

  • Urging the immediate restoration of access to energy, food, and water supplies, as well as the provision of all necessary medical supplies for Gaza. Israel has bombed hospitals and medicine warehouses and destroyed most of the infrastructure, creating a catastrophic situation.

As a global peasant movement, LVC will mobilize to provide any support needed by Palestinian peasants and fisherfolk to protect and maintain food production under these increasingly harsh conditions. We are calling upon all social movements to mobilize and support the Palestinian people and to pressure their governments to de-escalate this military conflict and initiate a process of negotiation and dialogue to address the catastrophic situation of the Palestinian people. This is essential to put an end to the conflict, the loss of life, and the destruction, this brutal occupation and ultimately the granting of all rights to the Palestinian people, with their right to establish an independent state being foremost among them.


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Family Farm Defenders statement on Gaza February 2024

The human right to food is sacred and protected under international law.


Family Farm Defenders maintains the principles of food sovereignty, including the right to food, as a guide to our response to ongoing and escalating violence, destruction, and loss of life in Gaza, the West Bank, and Israel.


Therefore, in good conscience, we must speak up now, joining the millions of voices from around the world who are calling for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the suffering and starvation that is being inflicted on the civilian population of Gaza.


Family Farm Defenders is proud to be part of a global movement advocating for food justice and human rights. John Kinsman, one of our founders, was a tireless champion of civil rights, social justice, and food sovereignty both in the US and around the world. As he once stated, “the seven principles of food sovereignty are the finest recipe for global food, social and environmental justice that exist today.”


Due to decades of occupation and restrictions imposed by Israel, the ability of Palestinian farmers, fishers, and pastoralists to feed their people, has been greatly diminished.


Since the horrific attacks on Israeli communities on October 7, 2023, Israel’s military response, with US support, has created a humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Medical supplies, food, clean water, and energy are all in very short supply. The ongoing bombardments and attacks have shattered the lives of its 2.3 million residents and killed over 28,000.

Food production and distribution has been severely affected. In addition to United Nations agencies, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), a winner of the USFSA Food Sovereignty Prize in 2014 and member of La Via Campesina, has created a “Stop Gaza Starvation” campaign. Members have put their own lives at risk to provide food and other supplies.

Even so, the situation is increasingly dire, marked by widespread hunger, relentless blockades, and continuous bombardment.


In January, the International Court of Justice ruled Israel must take all possible measures to prevent acts of genocide. La Via Campesina stated that “this ICJ decision is an initial step in holding the occupation accountable for its heinous crimes and unprecedented use of starvation as a weapon in its war against civilians in Gaza.”


For the people of Gaza, time is running out.

In fact, now, in early February 2024, instead of responding to the ICJ ruling to prevent genocide, Israel is ramping up its attacks and has begun to implement plans for a ground invasion of the last “safe zone” – Rafah – which has become a massive refugee camp.


Experts are warning of a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza with millions of people facing starvation, the cruelty of which is unimaginable.

Family Farm Defenders recognizes our responsibility to speak for peace and justice, for food sovereignty, and for human rights. We call on the United States government to demand an immediate ceasefire, the safe release of all hostages and political prisoners, and the stoppage of its own military support to any country or entity violating international law. Our government must end its imperialist ambitions and join the global community, accepting its

humanitarian duty, and work toward a just and lasting peace in all regions of the world.


Ceasefire, now!

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Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes is part of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), which has issued this statement:


LCWR Stands in Solidarity with the People of the Middle East

Wed, 2023-10-11 21:58 by asanders


“Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake. War begets war, violence begets violence.” Pope Francis, Angelus, September 1, 2013.

The members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), in solidarity with the global community of faith, stand in the shadow of the horrors initiated on October 7, 2023 in Israel and Gaza. As women of the Gospel, we grieve with those who grieve, seek release of those held captive, and recognize the root causes of violence as well as the urgent call for the use of all possible resources to stabilize the Middle East, secure refuge for those in humanitarian crisis, and negotiate peace that will last.

United with the interfaith community, we take seriously our responsibility to protect the safety of all people of faith throughout the world. We stand united with leaders of other faiths, intolerant of any form of hate or violence towards places of worship, and ready to witness to the transformation of consciousness necessary for sustainable peace.

LCWR is compelled to work toward a world where reverence for all living beings finds expression in a life of nonviolence. We stand in solidarity with the victims of brutality and with faith leaders as we heed the Gospel call to follow Jesus’ way of nonviolence, reconciliation, and care for the most vulnerable across lines of division.

We commit ourselves and the members of our religious communities to choose the peaceful path of Jesus and exercise all of our rights and duties as citizens to urge our leaders to act as responsible members of the world community. We join our prayer with religious people of all faiths who recognize that war is not the solution, and we commit ourselves to be those who believe that peace is possible.

We call upon world leaders and the United Nations to activate those mechanisms necessary for an immediate ceasefire and the negotiation of peace, so that justice may prevail. We are each responsible to be aware, to be informed by factual information, to look at root causes, and to reject rhetoric that fuels violence.

We, the members of LCWR, will continue to speak on behalf of the truth of faith, the strength of prayer, the power of nonviolence and the only pathway that will provide a future for our children: peace.

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Please see our executive committee's finalized statement in support of Palestine. We stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine, indigenous and colonized people everywhere, and all those here in Madison and around the world who are struggling for their liberation. Since October 7th, Israel’s military has intensified its 17 year blockade of Gaza into a full siege, blocking off water, electricity, and basic supplies. In the first 6 days of this conflict, over 6,000 bombs were dropped on the 140 square miles of the Gaza Strip. Over 1.1 million Palestinians, half of them children, have been ordered to leave their homes. This is genocide. This violence is not new. It is the culmination of 75 years of ethnic cleansing with support from the US government. We grieve the thousands of lives that have been and will be lost and upended in the current conflict. There is one, and only one way to end the violence: End the apartheid. End the Israeli government’s occupation. End the genocide. Support the liberation of the Palestinian people. The Biden administration has pledged further unconditional support for Israel, on top of the 3.8 billion dollars per year in military funding they already receive. We condemn in the strongest possible terms our nation’s continued and unqualified support of the apartheid regime in Israel. We demand the end to military funding of Israel, and an end to the blockade. There must be an immediate ceasefire and provision of humanitarian aid. We remember the devastating results of Islamophobia and dehumanization in the wake of the attacks on September 11th, and are distraught by the militaristic and genocidal rhetoric that we are seeing yet again from our country’s political leaders and in the news media. Social media is awash with this as well, as false claims spread even more quickly and easily. Standing in solidarity with the powerless in the face of oppression is often difficult, when so many are so eager to side with the powerful. We as socialists must not back down in the face of bad faith criticism, opposition, and disinformation intended only to silence critics and manufacture consent for the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

The chapter has donated $250 to the Middle East Children’s Alliance as well as $250 to Palestine Partners. Additional places to donate are Medical Aid for Palestine, Al-Awda Health and Community Association, American Near East Refugee Aid, and the Hebron International Resource Network. You can find other ways to take action with the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights Action Toolkit.

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Please… Join us in Building Unity for Peace


Building Unity leaders call on all lovers of Peace, Justice, Sustainability, and Democracy to call on President Biden and your elected leaders in congress to work for an immediate cease fire, a robust flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza and the Ukraine, an end military aid to Ukraine and Israel, and a global push for negotiated settlements both in Israel/Palestine and in Ukraine. Please read the appeal and petition from Win Without War. Then call your Senators and Representative in Congress. Phone numbers can be found below:

Thank you for caring enough to do something for peace. There are solutions that don’t involve killing people.


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Note to other WNPJ member groups...

If your group issues a statement - please send to info@wnpj.org .

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