We speak on behalf of a large and growing movement of Jews, Christians and Muslims that numbers in the hundreds of thousands that seeks an equitable and lasting peace for all the peoples of the Holy Land, in particular the Israeli Jews and the Palestinians. We do so from a place of love and in line with the values of our faiths.
As clergy, we wholeheartedly endorse the amazing work of Demilitarize!Durham2Palestine to halt any future police exchange partnerships between the Durham Police Department (DPD) and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Given the IDF’s record of human rights abuses, we strongly encourage the Durham City Council to pass the statement that affirms as policy that such exchanges will not occur. This statement is a ray of light. We believe it is our religious and moral duty to champion human rights and we respect this courageous statement that seeks to protect all communities from harm, from Durham to Israel/Palestine and across the world.
The proposed statement recognizes the preciousness of human life and human rights, which we see reflected in the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim teachings that all people are created in the image of God, and that we are commanded to love our neighbor, and the stranger, as we love ourselves. We have seen with our own eyes the brutality of Israel’s military occupation and the daily violations of Palestinians’ most basic human rights. We have seen the increased militarization of our police forces here in the United States and the unequal treatment faced by people of color in our communities.
The essence of our religious traditions is to act for justice and the Durham City Council is fulfilling the best of our teachings in acting on its ethical and social obligations in a way that makes this world more peaceful and just. Our prayer is that other city councils will join Durham in using their legislative power to end exchanges between their police departments and Israeli security forces.