Very Dear Mr. President, please invite me to the White House
July 8, 2002

Dear Mr. President

In his recent book, "The Body and The Blood," about the shrinking Christian population in the Holy Land, Charles Sennott describes the critical role Christians in the region serve -- a test of tolerance for the Jewish and the Muslim populations that rule them.

I am a Roman Catholic priest from the Middle East, preaching to one of the largest Palestinian Christian communities in the country and working tirelessly for a peaceful solution to the crisis in the Holy Land. I would like the opportunity to meet with you and bring a delegation of religious leaders of all faiths to the White House to discuss some of our ideas for bringing peace and justice to the world.

I come to you as a fellow American who has a vision for peace in the Holy Land and I hope you will give me the chance to present my vision to you.

Some of the most important points I would like to make:

-- The Arab people do not want to be enemies of Israel. Many people do not realize that in the not too distant past, before the creation of the state of Israel, Jews lived in peace in Arab countries but were persecuted by Christians in Europe. Many fled to Arab countries and found a safe haven.

-- The wall separating Israel from Palestine that is now under construction is not the solution. We all have seen that the Berlin Wall was a big mistake, and we know realistically that the wall in Palestine will be dismantled one day. We can not separate familes for so long. Please, Mr. President, do not permit that wall to be constructed. I do not believe the world will forgive us for that.

-- The vision of two separate states in Israel could be an important first step, but a longer term solution might be to work toward one democratic and secular state that provides peace and justice to Palestinians and Israelis -- Jews and Christians alike. This is ultimately the only way to create two enemies who are perpetualy at war.

-- Most Americans do not agree with the current U.S. policy in the Holy Land. In fact, most people in the world disagree with us.

Mr. President, I have been to the Vacation and I wanted to say mass at a Catholic Church but the pastor rebuffed me, saying, "Would you stop your arrogance?" I said to him, "Father, I just asked you if you would allow me to say mass with you," and he replied, "I am not saying this about you, I am saying it about your American government. Sadly, I often encounter a similar sentiment. One of my parishoners at St. John of God in San Francisco told me that when she travels abroad she tells people she is Canadian because she has found that so many people resent Americans. Dear President, this is something we all need to think about. We are somewhat responsible for the image we give to the world.

Please INVITE ME to the White House and I will be able to lead to you Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and secular leaders that represent the views of the majority of the USA population. Please give us a chance, Mr. President.

Please, INVITE me, invite us to the White House and we will discuss with you, as a president who have said that Jesus is your model, what Jesus asks from us.

Please, INVITE me, invite us and we will help our Congress, our Senators, and our Country to see things in the light of a God who is not a real estate God, but a God who is LOVE.

With love, prayer and respect,
Father Labib Kobti
San Francisco