A Rabbi And An Imam Write Together About Israel and Gaza

Via Emily Hauser, I was alerted to this Joint Statement on Israel and Gaza by Imam Mohamed Magid and Rabbi Michael G. Holzman. Magid is the president of the Islamic Society of North America, and Holzman is the rabbi of Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation in Reston, Virginia.

They write:

The current military operations in Israel and the Gaza strip should disturb all people of faith. The only moral path to a solution between Israelis and Palestinians (Israeli Jewish/Muslim/Christian and Palestinian Muslim/Christian) will be dialogue and negotiation. This is a long and arduous path, but the faith that grounds our traditions can sustain the slow evolution of history. The current conflict is an outgrowth of over a century of opposing narratives and ideological differences that no military operations can resolve.

Our traditions exist to uphold the moral foundations for civilizations and as such we urge an end to the current violence. While we acknowledge the need for self defense, when the can of violence opens, as it has now, worms of vengeance and blood-feud crawl out. Then people begin to abandon the principles of justice and mercy upon which civilizations are founded. Instead they turn to more tribal urges, seeking retribution for past wrongs.

We believe the current violence crosses that line. At some point people cease looking for solutions and instead succumb to base human urges for violence. They crave the blood of the enemy to compensate for the pain of loss. This is the way of our animal instincts, the ethos of ancient tribes and clans who exist only to protect all within, while opposing all others. The teachings of our ancestors rose above that thinking long ago to build great civilizations. We believe that when we look to our texts and traditions we can rise above the narrative of suffering and victimization to find roads to healing and wholeness.

Read the whole thing here.

Sarah Posner, author of God’s Profits: Faith, Fraud, and the Republican Crusade for Values Voters, covers politics and religion. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Atlantic, The American ProspectThe NationSalon, and other publications. Follow her on TwitterRSS feed Email

  • Jim Reed

    The violence crosses the line. But are both sides equally responsible?

  • apotropoxy

    Ancient land claims based on a local god’s promise make for bad politics three millennia later.

  • maryf

    How do get to an analysis in which people who have been living under occupation and subjected to ethnic cleansing for decades are equally responsible?

  • Jim Reed

    I guess whoever has the political and military power makes the analysis.