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Rabbis Call for Gaza Cease-Fire and Lasting Peace

Rabbis Call for Gaza Cease-Fire and International Pressure for a Just and Lasting Solution

Rabbis and other religious, cultural and community leaders, heading an interfaith list of 2800 people, will call for an immediate Cease-Fire in Gaza and an international conference to provide international pressure to facilitate a lasting and just settlement for all parties, in the New York Times, Wednesday, January 14, 2009.

"We have had to buy space in the New York Times to make this call because the major national newspapers will not give room for this perspective," says Rabbi Michael Lerner, Editor of Tikkun magazine, who convened the group. He is joined by Sister Joan Chittister, and Professor Cornel West, Co-chairs with Lerner of the Network of Spiritual Progressives (NSP), and over 2,800 others, including Rabbi Brian Walt (North American Chair of Rabbis for Human Rights), Rabbi Arthur Waskow (chair of the Shalom Center), Rabbi David Shneyer (past president of the Rabbinic organization Ohalah), Rabbi Mordecai Leibling and other rabbis, writers such as Ariel Dorfman, Annie Lamott, Deepak Chopra and Fritjof Capra, movie director Jonathan Demme, Richard Falk (the UN representative on Human Rights in Palestine), Christian ministers, academics and activists.

"The essential difference between our point of view, which is widespread but underreported, and the opinions being presented in the mainstream media," said Rabbi Lerner, "is that we believe it is unrealistic to expect violent and hardline tactics, however well justified by the other side's violence, to build the psychological grounds for peace. Each side has to learn empathy for the wounds suffered by the other side, and has to practice generosity in promoting peace, the basic conditions for which are already known and are laid out in our statement. We are appealing to president-elect Obama to lead the international community in applying significant pressure to both sides to accept a mutually generous approach, whether each side feels that generosity yet or not. We spell out the terms of a lasting settlement in the New York Times ad. Given the political clout of the Israel Lobby in the US., as manifested in the one-sided coverage that has made invisible Jewish opposition in Israel and the U.S. to Israel's war in Gaza, it is unlikely that President Obama would be able to muster significant pressure on Israel to accept a settlement that would be just to the Palestinian people (and hence would last). For that reason, we are urging him to convene an International Conference in which other countries could play an important role in pushing both sides to make significant compromises for peace."


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