Posted December 29, 2023.
Since the horrific Hamas attack on October 7 and the near-continuous bombardment of Gaza by Israel that followed, and is yet to stop, we have all been filled with shock and grief.
All of our liberation is bound up in the liberation of the Palestinian people, and so, in response to our government’s failure and refusal to stop this horror, we convening an Emergency Summit for Gaza, Thursday-Friday January 12 and 13 in Chicago.
As we draw from his moral clarity and teachings, we will convene during MLK weekend to focus on the themes of ceasefire, saving lives, and building peace.
On November 1, Dr. Bernice King, the CEO of the MLK Center in Atlanta, said her father “believed militarism (along with racism and poverty) to be among the interconnected Triple Evils. I am certain he would call for Israel’s bombing of Palestinians to cease, for hostages to be released… and for us to work for true peace, which includes justice.” Let us celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy by continuing his work for justice by coming together to stop the bombs from falling.
The levels of death and destruction are horrific: 1,200 Israelis killed and another 240 taken hostage; morethan 21,000 Palestinians in Gaza, over a third of them children, killed, countless more buried under rubble; as many as 50,000 Gazans injured; military raids, pograms, settler attacks, and at least 300 Palestinians killed in the West Bank; 60% of the buildings in Gaza’s north destroyed; 1.8 million Palestinians forcibly displaced without adequate food, water, medicine, and essential services; and hunger in Gaza the ‘highest ever recorded.’ globally, according to a UN-backed report by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification.
This can’t go on!
In 1979, Rev. Jackson brought a multi-racial delegation of faith leaders to Israel/Palestine in a bid to get the U.S. to end its “no-talk policy” toward the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). “We understand the cycle of terror, the cycle of pain,” he said, “and yet if America is free to talk, perhaps it can seek reconciliation.” It’s been over 30 years and right now the crises of occupation, apartheid, death, and suffering are now worse than ever. He hasn’t given up, and we aren’t either.
Along with Rev. Jackson, the summit will feature such esteemed speakers as Dr. James Zogby, Peter Beinart, Congressman Johnathon Jackson, Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Rabbi Phyllis Berman, Rev. Fahed Abu Akel, former Ohio State Senator, Nina Turner, Illinois State Representative Abdelnasser Rashid, Rev. Frederick Haynes, Author Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, and Dr. Cornel West.
Hear from Rabbi Arthur Waskow and Rabbi Phyllis Berman on why they are joining Rev. Jackson, Rainbow Push Coalition, the Arab American Institute, Churches for Middle East Peace, Faith for Black Lives, the Fellowship of Reconciliation, IfNotNow, the Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council, the Muslim Civic Coalition, Progressive Democrats for America, Red Letter Christians, Tsuru for Solidarity, Sojourners, and U.S. Palestinian Council in Chicago.
Along with a death toll of over 20,000, and countless people still buried under the rubble, this war has also had a deeply troubling polarizing impact at home. Hate crimes and discrimination against American Jews and Arab Americans, especially those of Palestinian descent has risen horrifically, and our right to political speech is being suppressed.
This cannot go on. Join us in Chicago to come together to say “ENOUGH.” Enough to the relentless destruction in Gaza. Enough to the decades of U.S. unconditional aid in the form of instruments of death. Enough to the occupation. Enough to war. Enough to violence. Enough to hate.
It’s time for peace.