Faith Leaders Demand Justice for Palestinian People

June 24, 2021

LOS ANGELES, CA - Wednesday, 23 June 2021Muslim-Jewish-Christian faith leaders, deconstruct harmful and false narratives of the crisis in Palestine and emphasize interfaith solidarity. Despite a common depiction of the situation abroad, the fight for Palestinian liberation has always been marked by occupation and oppression rather than a dispute between Jews and Muslims. Noting the denial of religious freedom in Palestine, a consistent moral standard must be set for Israel as the U.S. government continues to financially support atrocities that contradict our key principles of justice and freedom. As Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Cohen emphasizes, it is imperative that the narrative about the occupation in Palestine changes. He states, “We are standing here to say that this is not a war between Muslims and Jews. This is a war between those who think they have a monopoly over the land, between those who think that they are the only part of the only religious configuration that counts, and those who think that there are many ways to worship God.”

Many faith leaders noted the double standard of the United States to preach religious freedom and justice for all individuals, yet turn a blind eye to the injustice happening to Palestinians at the hands of the Israeli government. MPAC’s president Salam Al-Marayati spoke on this double standard by stating, “The United States government today is issuing a report on religious freedom in the world, but for it to preach religious freedom when it does not consider this to be one of the most important issues on religious freedom only means that it is losing more and more credibility in that world especially when the United States government is financing and protecting this outrageous behavior.”

Rev. Dr. Reinhard Krauss notes that without direct action now, the U.S. government will continue to carry out hypocritical behavior. By acknowledging the vast injustice and crimes against humanity occurring in Israel, the United States can take a first step in demanding justice for the Palestinian people. He states:

When human beings are denied the freedom to practice their religion as they wish, we must call it what it is. Injustice. When human beings have their ancestral land confiscated, we must call it what it is. Injustice When human beings have to watch as their home is bulldozed, we have to call it what it is. Injustice. When human beings are denied freedom of movement, we must call it what it is. Injustice. When human beings are confined to an open-air prison-like in Gaza, we must call it what it is. Injustice. When the life of children [are] snuffed out by bombs raining from the sky, each of these we would call gross human rights violations and injustices here in the United States unless we are hypocrites. We must use the same moral standard for Israel and Palestine.

Finally, those at the event reminded community members regardless of faith that inaction is taking the side of the oppressor, and that we all must stand together in solidarity for religious freedom and basic human rights for Palestinians. As members of faith and as Americans it is our duty to stand up against the atrocities carried out by the Israeli government, as it would go against our moral conscience not to. As Dr. Arik Greenberg, President and Founder of the Institute for Religious Tolerance, Peace and Justice eloquently notes, “As people of faith, as people of good will, from the three Abrahamic faiths, cousins, all of us, children of the same God and children of Abraham, it is our responsibility to say to the adversaries who are lobbying rockets at each other while innocent bystanders are caught in the crossfire, enough.” Leaders at this event emphasized that we cannot achieve enduring peace without advocating for justice, which first requires recognizing the oppressive situation for what it is.



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