Subj: Middle East Message
Date: 2/13/00 7:13:54 PM Pacific Standard Time
From: HumFriend
To: LabibKobti

Peace, Peace and There is No Peace,
   Therefore Pursue Justice and Live in Truth

   A millenial message for Jerusalem and peace in the Middle East

Dear Brothers and Sisters in mutual fate,
 At the start of the new millennium, let us reaffirm our faith that love, justice, peace and freedom are the precious cornerstones on which the future world must be built.  And perhaps no other issue represents a greater spiritual and political challenge than that of Palestine. The outcome of any peace process wild depend on actions stemming from this faith.
 I am one of the last survivors of IHUD, a historically prominent peace group in Palestine, and later Israel, headed by Judah Magnes and Martin Buber.  We were opposed to the establishment of a Jewish State against the will of the Palestinian people, because we knew that this could only be attained  through violence and bloodshed.  We preferred the more difficult path, namely the development of a bi-national relationship that would lead to mutual understanding, dignity and equality.
 Current political, economic and psychological factors are causing an untenable situation. The world powers are now trying to resolve the conflict by imposing a state of dubious accommodation. After rivers of tears and blood have been shed, a massive central enmity remains, namely the clash of  two religious beliefs.  One is  the dedication to the Jihad,  the Holy War, the spiritual and physical war against evil. The other is the commitment to the will of YHVH, the Jewish God.  The first obligates all faithful Muslims to follow the path of Allah as expressed in the Holy Qur'an; and the other, according to the Torah, gives Jews the biblical right to possess the Land of Palestine. This national Jewish God is seen as the creator of the universe. who chose them as his special people with particular rights and a global future.
 Is there a key that will unlock the gateway to a just and lasting peace, not only in the region but in the world?
 The answer, of course, is the Great Peace of Jerusalem.
 We think of Jerusalem as the city of the three world faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, but it is more than that. The advent of the millennium, which marked the birth of Jesus, has been celebrated with unbound enthusiasm around the world.  People in distant countries engaged in rituals and celebrations.
 Since the times of Moses, Jesus and Mohammed, the world has changed. Science and technology made enormous breakthroughs.  Current human knowledge has the capability of realizing a state of social justice and well-being as never before in history. In the fields of psychology, sociology, theology and other categories of the humanities major discoveries have led to new revolutionary insights. To speak of Jerusalem today requires an appreciation both, of its prophetic past, and of contemporary achievements.
 Let us remember that for all the differences between Jews, Muslims and Christians, they have a common passion, namely their love of Jerusalem. It is precisely this love that must cement their common future.
 Spiritually speaking Jerusalem is as Jewish, Muslim and Christian as it can be.  But above all, it is the destiny of Jerusalem to become a Universal City of Peace and Enlightenment. Let it become the best that all nationalities and races can produce in terms of culture and their creative spirit.  Let Jerusalem generate ideas and give new meaning to life in a world where human beings are respected and appreciated.  Let us rise to the service of the highest good, helping to achieve the greatest degree of wisdom, intelligence, and happiness for all people.
 May this humanistic vision become reality in the new millenium, and may your life be filled with contentment and health.
 I will be delighted to hear from you.
        For justice, love and truth,
           Reverend Joseph Ben-David
           Senior Minister

The Church of Humanism
250 West 85 St. #10E
New York, NY 10024-3220
Tel./Fax 212/877-5662