October 27, 2023
“Seek peace and pursue it” – Psalm 34:14b
As a Jewish peace organization, we lament and mourn the recent events in Israel and Gaza. At the time we are writing this, thousands of civilians have been killed, injured, and assaulted in Israel and in Gaza. Hamas has taken more than 200 Israelis hostage, while thousands of Palestinians remain imprisoned by Israel. Millions in Israel fear further attacks, while millions in Gaza are now being denied access to the basics of life – food, water, medicine, and power.
Many, especially those far away from the center of the conflict, are ready to excuse these tragedies as the necessary cost of “security” or “liberation,” but we do not.
During these dark days, we remember our history as JPF. We were founded in 1941 during World War II when our message of nonviolence was often not appreciated. But JPF still spoke out. And so we must still speak, as Jews who believe in the power of nonviolence and in the hope inherent in our most important value: Shalom, which is not simply the absence of violence but also the presence of harmony, sustainability, wholeness, and justice.
Speaking from this position, we call for the following:
1. We call for an immediate ceasefire in Israel and Gaza.
- We call for negotiations and prisoner exchanges to secure the freedom of those unjustly held in Gaza and in Israel.
- We call for an immediate end to the Israeli siege of Gaza so that needed water, food, fuel, and medicine can be received.
- We call for the state of Israel to respect the right of conscientious objectors to refuse to serve in the IDF.
- We urge diasporic Jews to support Palestinian and Israeli peace activists and to use our voices to call on our own governments to support a just and peaceful settlement.
- We urge all people to speak out with clarity against Islamophobia and Antisemitism.