In a letter today to Secretary of State Kerry, thirty Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders, including twenty present and past heads of national denominations and faith organizations “voiced strong support for his determined initiative for Israeli-Palestinian peace.” In similar letters, the leaders called on key members of Congress “to support Secretary Kerry’s continuing urgent efforts for peace.”
The religious leaders warmly welcomed Secretary Kerry’s announcement a week ago of an agreement “that establishes the basis for resuming direct final status negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis.” Appreciating the progress made in earlier formal and informal negotiations toward resolving final status issues, the religious leaders noted that “while these talks have yet to yield a blueprint for peace, they have identified ideas for addressing key issues that must be resolved in a manner acceptable to both sides.”
The Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders offered their prayers for Secretary Kerry’s efforts and pledged that they “are prepared through the national organizations we represent to activate members of synagogues, churches and mosques across the country to support bold American leadership for peace.”
“We know the path to peace is complex and challenging,” the leaders said, “but peace is possible.”
Full text of the letter and a list of endorsers follows.
National Interreligious Leadership Initiative
for Peace in the Middle East
July 26, 2013
Secretary of State John Kerry
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Dear Mr. Secretary,
We write as members of the National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East (NILI), including present and past heads of national denominations and faith organizations. We support the President’s commitment to make Israeli-Palestinian peace a high priority of U.S. policy. Recognizing, as you do, that the passage of time makes achieving a viable two-state solution increasingly difficult, we have voiced strong support for your determined initiative for peace.
We warmly welcome your announcement on July 19 that agreement has been reached “that establishes the basis for resuming direct final status negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis.” Looking forward, we appreciate that over the years there has been intermittent progress toward resolving final status issues in both unofficial talks and formal negotiations. While these talks and negotiations have yet to yield a blueprint for peace, they have identified ideas for addressing key issues that must be resolved in a manner acceptable to both sides.
As Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders, we are committed to mobilizing broad public support for active, fair and firm U.S. leadership for peace. We offer our prayers for your efforts and we are prepared through the national organizations we represent to activate members of synagogues, churches and mosques across the country to support bold American leadership.
We know the path to peace is complex and challenging, but peace is possible. We pledge our support and request a meeting with you to discuss specific ways we can help.
List of Endorsers follows.
Bishop Richard E. Pates, D.D., Chairman, USCCB Committee on International Justice and Peace
Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington
Bishop Denis J. Madden, Auxiliary Bishop of Baltimore
Archbishop Vicken Aykasian, Director, Ecumenical Affairs, Armenian Orthodox Church in America
Fr. Mark Arey, Director, Office of Ecumenical Affairs, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Kathryn Mary Lohre, President, National Council of Churches of Christ USA
Bishop Mark S. Hanson, Presiding Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop and Primate, Episcopal Church
Reverend Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk, Presbyterian Church (USA)
Reverend Geoffrey Black, General Minister & President, United Church of Christ
Reverend Dr. Sharon Watkins, General Minister, President, Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ)
Bishop Mary Ann Swenson, Council of Bishops, United Methodist Church
Richard Stearns, President, World Vision US
Reverend Leighton Ford, President, Leighton Ford Ministries, Board Member, World Vision US
David Neff, Former Editorial Vice-President, Christianity Today
Rabbi Richard J. Jacobs, President, Union of Reform Judaism
Rabbi Richard A. Block, President, Central Conference of American Rabbis
Rabbi David Saperstein, Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Rabbi Elliot Dorff, Ph.D. Rector and Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, American Jewish University
Rabbi Burton L. Visotzky, Professor, Jewish Theological Seminary of America
Rabbi Peter Knobel, Past President, Central Conference of American Rabbis
Rabbi Amy Small, Past President, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association
Rabbi Alvin M. Sugarman, Rabbi Emeritus, The Temple, Atlanta, Georgia
Imam Mohammed Magid, President, Islamic Society of North America
Dr. Sayyid Muhammad Syeed, National Director, Islamic Society of North America
Naeem Baig, President, Islamic Circle of North America
Imam Yahya Hendi, Muslim Chaplain, Georgetown University
Dawud Assad, President Emeritus, Council of Mosques, USA
Eide Alawan, Interfaith Office for Outreach, Islamic Center of America, Dearborn, Michigan
Iftekhar A. Hai, Founding Director, United Muslims of America Interfaith Alliance
Organizations for Identification Only