National Voice Statement on Conflict between Israel and Hamas
Date: October 12, 2023
October 12, 2023
Our hearts are with all in Israel and Gaza who are suffering and living in fear, and with all those whose lives have been lost. To the members of our community who are Israeli, Jewish, or Palestinian, we are with you in your sorrow and your grief.
We join other faith organizations in calling on the Government of Canada to seek a peaceful resolution to the situation in Israel and Gaza, one that honours international human rights agreements and our commitments to international law and international conventions.
As Unitarian Universalists, we affirm and promote “the inherent worth and dignity of every person” and aspire to “the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.” Our Principles call us to condemn all acts of violence against civilians.
“There is no context that justifies the immeasurable suffering civilians in Israel and Gaza endure. People of all ages are being wounded, killed, terrorized, and taken hostage,” says. Rev. Samaya Oakley, President of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers of Canada (UUMOC).
Vyda Ng, Executive Director of the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) adds: “We do not believe that the solution is for more armed military, and we are in opposition to actions that violate the spirit and letter of international law. The starting point is to recognize our shared humanity and the interdependent web of life that binds us together.”
Ng quotes Valerie Kaur, author of See No Stranger and founder of the Revolutionary Love Project: “If you want to help but don’t know how: begin in relationship. Who in your life is hurting from this? Offer to walk with them, listen to them. There is no fixing grief, only bearing it together.”
We invite Canadian Unitarian Universalists and other people of conscience to write to their Members of Parliament, urging the Government of Canada to take a just, constructive, and human rights-based approach to the current conflict. (Sample letter.)
There are many organizations working to alleviate suffering and ensure justice, human rights, and peace in the Middle East, including the following.
- Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice (CUSJ) is a national, liberal religious organization founded to promote Unitarian values through social action. CUSJ is also a stakeholder group and affiliate member of the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC). On Sunday, October 15, CUSJ is hosting an online presentation by a representative of Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) about Gaza, Hamas and Israel. Visit their website for more information and to register for the presentation.
- Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East–UUJME, founded in 1971, is a Unitarian Universalist Association-related social justice organization of education and advocacy siding with love with the people of Palestine-Israel.
- Religions for Peace is a global movement which believes that religions are more powerful, inspiring, and impactful when they work together. Their inter-religious Middle East and North African (MENA) Council is comprised of diverse religious leaders from across that region. It is the only interfaith platform that is led by religious representatives (including men, women, and youth) from across the MENA. Religions for Peace MENA plays an essential role in fostering partnership and trust across diverse religious communities, civil society partners, and faith-based organizations.
- Canada Talks Israel Palestine is the weekly newsletter of Peter Larson, Chair of the Ottawa Forum on Israel/Palestine (OFIP). It aims to promote a serious discussion in Canada about Canada’s response to the complicated and emotional Israel/Palestine issue with a focus on the truth, clear analysis and human rights for all.
~ From the CUC’s National Voice Team:
UU Ministers of Canada President, Rev. Samaya Oakley; CUC Board President, Kiersten Moore, and Executive Director, Vyda Ng.
The Canadian Unitarian Council / Conseil unitarien du Canada (CUC) is the national association of Unitarian Universalist congregations across Canada. The Unitarian Universalist Ministers of Canada (UUMoC) represents over 70 active ministers who serve congregations or work in the larger community.
We are a diverse religion bound by a common commitment to equity and justice. We covenant to a set of principles, which calls us to seek peace, liberty and compassion, to search for truth and meaning, and to respect the inherent worth and dignity of every person and the democratic process.