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Statements about Invasion of Iraq by Religious Leaders and Organizations

World Council of Churches

Statement Against Military Action in Iraq (reprinted with permission http://wcc-coe.org/wcc/what/international/iraq.html#1)

February 21. 2003

We believe God made us and all creation. God requires us to seek peace and justice. We believe that with God’s grace no work of faith, hope and love is too hard for those who trust God. Therefore, as followers of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, led by His Spirit, we call upon the leaders of the world and all people of faith:

STOP the threats of war against Iraq!

The Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches, meeting in Bossey, Switzerland, 18-21 February 2003, remains extremely concerned with the continued calls for military action against Iraq by the US and some western governments and strongly deplores the fact that the most powerful nations of this world again regard war as an acceptable instrument of foreign policy.

At the same time, the Executive Committee is equally concerned with the Iraqi violation of fundamental human rights and urges the government of Iraq to comply with international human rights norms and standards and with binding UN Security Council resolutions.

The Executive Committee welcomes the united and consistent message of heads of churches of every Christian tradition around the world against this war. The committee is extremely encouraged that churches are not only taking a leading position in preventing this war, but also preparing to avert a humanitarian catastrophe at the same time through preparedness to respond to the needs of innocent civilians in Iraq.

The Executive Committee affirms the courageous stance of church leaders for peaceful solutions, especially in countries like the USA and the UK in direct opposition to the positions taken by their political leadership.

The Executive Committee welcomes and appreciates the efforts of all church leaders and ecumenical organisations to mobilise public opinion to prevent war in Iraq and to pursue peace. It endorses wholeheartedly the statement adopted by church leaders at a meeting convened by the WCC, in Berlin, Germany, on 5th February 2003, to discuss a common response to the threat of military action against Iraq and expresses its appreciation to the Protestant Church in Germany for hosting the event and arranging a hearing with Germany’s Head of Government. It further recognises the recent meetings of US church leaders with government leaders in the UK and France.

Bearing in mind the reality that the 1991 Gulf War did not bring peace to the Iraqi people, but severe suffering under 12 years of economic sanctions; noting the recent developments relating to possible military action in Iraq and the report presented by the United Nations Weapons Inspectors to the UN Security Council on the 14th February; and the mounting public opinion against a war in Iraq evidenced by the turnout of millions of people all over the world who gathered in peace rallies; and

Taking into account that action of the WCC and churches must:

• be guided by the moral obligation to ensure sanctity of life and the ethical conviction that war is not an acceptable way to resolve conflicts,

• follow the need to promote public and international support for the UN as custodian of lawful action regarding Iraq,

• understand that the carefully designed mechanism of the UN weapons inspections is a long term tool and that 20 years of inspections are more effective, less costly and more relevant than 20 days of war,

• recognise the necessity not only to disarm Iraq, but also make the whole Middle East region free from weapons of mass destruction,

• acknowledge the negative impact on Christian-Muslim relations and increased emigration of Christians from the region where Christianity was born,

• highlight the need for a durable and just solution of the Arab-Israeli conflicts, and an end of the illegal occupation of Palestine,

• promote democratisation and compliance with global human rights norms and standards in all Arab countries as well as in Israel. Recalling the "statement on the threats of military actions against Iraq" by the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches meeting in Geneva 26 August to 3 September 2002; and Reaffirming that the war against Iraq would be immoral, unwise and in breach of the principles of the UN Charter, the Executive Committee:

• warns that war in Iraq will cause a humanitarian crisis of grave magnitude with untold human suffering, especially for the children of Iraq, loss of life, property, environmental destruction and waste of precious resources; it will reinforce and polarise division and hatred between communities resulting in further destabilisation of the region;

• strongly appeals to the UN Security Council to uphold the principles of the UN Charter which strictly limit the legitimate use of military force and to refrain from creating negative precedents and lowering the threshold for using violent means to solve international conflicts;

• further appeals to the political leaders of the US and the UK to refrain from a unilateral pre-emptive military action against Iraq;

• calls insistently on the member nations of the UN Security Council to adequately reinforce and allow reasonable time to UN weapons inspectors to successfully fulfil their mandate to disarm and destroy Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction;

• strongly urges the government of Iraq to fully cooperate with UN weapons inspectors to ensure that weapons of mass destruction, related research and production facilities are completely destroyed;

• condemns the Iraqi government’s violations of fundamental rights and freedoms in Iraq and urges its leadership to guarantee full respect of the civil and political, economic, social and cultural human rights, including religious rights, of all its citizens;

• encourages the churches to continue to challenge and expose any national security policies that promote pre-emptive military strikes as legitimate self-defence undermining the principles and the spirit of the UN Charter;

• calls on all churches to intensify further their engagement in efforts for peace; and in turn commends the February 5th Berlin Statement to churches calling them to join this act of witness for a peaceful resolution of this conflict;

• invites faithful men, women and children everywhere to engage in earnest prayers that leaders of the nations may be directed along the path to seek peaceful resolution of the conflict in Iraq.

• proposes the first day of Lent 2003, a day for reflection and conversion, to be a day of prayer for peace in Iraq in all member churches and worldwide.


Presbyterian Church USA & Church of Scotland letter to President Bush:

Feb. 5, 2003

Rt. Hon. Tony Blair, MP
Prime Minister
United Kingdom

Hon. George W. Bush
President of the United States

Dear President Bush and Prime Minister Blair:

We write to you today jointly, as we have written before separately, to urge upon you and your governments the continued search for peaceful solutions to the present international crisis. As Moderators and Clerks of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Church of Scotland, we have consistently urged a co-operative international approach rather than pre-emptive military action. We believe that the call of peace must still be heard before the siren voice of war.

The detailed involvement of the United Nations, respect for its decisions, and adherence to international law have been and continue to be vital. Any international response must have transparent international agreement and legitimacy. To achieve this the nations of the UN must be allowed to reach a collective decision, free from threats or economic inducement. Only in this way can suspicions about the motivation for war be allayed.

The Middle East urgently needs justice for all its peoples, but we must question whether war in Iraq can achieve this - or even begin to address the real issues for the region. In fact, might it not be that war will only exacerbate an already difficult situation and further inflame anti-Western feeling? This is of particular concern in relation to our shared hope for peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

We are well aware of the weight of responsibility you both carry; our prayers continue to be with you as they are with all those whose lives will be directly affected by your decisions. We pray also that those decisions will be both wise and just - made openly and in the light of the deliberations of the international community.

The Rev. Dr. Fahed Abu-Akel
Moderator of the 214th General Assembly
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Finlay McDonald
Moderator
Church of Scotland
The Rev. Dr. Clifton Kirkpatrick
Stated Clerk of the General Assembly
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
The Rev. Alan D. McDonald
Convener, Church and Nation Committee
Church of Scotland
Reprinted with permission of Presbyterian News Service


COUNCIL OF RELIGIOUS LEADERS OF METROPOLITAN CHICAGO

OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH ON IRAQ (Reprinted with permission)

December 1, 2002

Dear Mr. President:

We are sending you this letter on behalf of the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago. The Council is composed of chief leaders of the Greater Chicago area’s Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, Protestant, Jewish and Islamic communions and institutions. The churches, synagogues and mosques represented around our table embrace nearly four million men, women and children. Our seminaries prepare clergy and lay teachers for service in the Greater Chicago area, and throughout the world. The Council embraces a broad diversity of theological, ideological and political orientations. It is a microcosm of American religion as it exists in a great city that lies in the American heartland.

In years past, the Council has frequently been unable to find consensus on the role of military action as an instrument of peace. Some of our constituent institutions supported Operation Desert Storm; others did not. Some endorsed the use of force in Afghanistan; others urged alternative means to combat terrorism. Once again, we are confronted by the possibility of our nation going to war, and once again we find ourselves seeking to discern the will of God in this most grave of matters.

Some members of our Council hold to the faithful judgment that war in its very nature is an affront to God and can never be justified. Some believe that war can be justified, but only under the most rigid of conditions. Among them are members who are convinced that the despotic regime that governs Iraq has offered sufficient grounds for military action against it. However, it is the judgment of the Council that in the present situation conditions justifying war have not been met.

We still lack compelling evidence that Iraq is planning to launch an attack. Nor have diplomatic pathways been exhausted. We believe that there is ample time and latitude for pursuing alternatives that could avert warfare, saving untold thousands of lives.

Moreover, a singular focus on war draws attention from America’s responsibility to provide guidance and material assistance essential to overcoming economic and social conditions that destroy human dignity. The world’s only military superpower must strive to be a nation that promotes peace with justice. We ask you to lead our nation and the nations of the world in a new commitment which will offer long-term stability in the Middle East and around the globe.

We commend you for bringing the issue of Iraq to the United Nations and for your assurances that war can be averted and remains among the last options our nation might elect. We urge you to continue working with our allies and other nations to achieve greater security in the region while avoiding, if at all possible, a costly, dangerous and destructive war.

We join you in praying for the peace of America, and for world peace.
Respectfully yours, for the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago
Bishop William Persell, President of the Council, Presiding Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Chicago

The Rev. Paul H. Rutgers, Executive Director, Council of Religious Leaders, Executive Presbyter Emeritus, Presbytery of Chicago

And also signed by the following members
of the Council as of December 1, 2002

The Rev. Dr. Thomas Baima, Provost, University of St. Mary of the Lake

The Rev. Claude Christopher, Presiding Elder, AME Zion Church

The Rev. Dr. David Coleman, Jr., Presiding Elder, Southern District Chicago Conference, African Methodist Episcopal Church

The Rev. Stanley Davis, Executive Director, Chicago Chapter, National Conference for Community and Justice

Rabbi Ellen Dreyfus, President, Chicago Board of Rabbis, Rabbi of B’nai Yehuda Beth Shalom

The Rev. Dr. Jane Fisler-Hoffman, Conference Minister, Illinois Conference, United Church of Christ

His Eminence Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Archbishop, Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago

Dr. Asid Husain, Council of Islamic Organizations of Great Chicago

His Eminence Metropolitan Iakovos, Greek Orthodox Diocese of Chicago

The Rev. Deacon Aren Jebejian, St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Orthodox Church

The Very Rev. Demetri Kantzavelos, Chancellor, Greek Orthodox Diocese of Chicago

Dr. Mohammed Amin Kholwadia, Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago

Bishop Paul R. Landahl, Presiding Bishop, Metropolitan Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

The Most Rev. Timothy Lyne, Auxiliary Bishop, Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago

Bishop Cody V. Marshall, Church of God in Christ

Sister Joan McGuire, Ecumenical Officer, Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago

The Rev. Dr. Robert Reynolds, Executive Presbyter, Presbytery of Chicago

Rabbi Herman Schaalman, Rabbi Emeritus, Temple Emanuel

The Rev. Dr. Donald Senior, C.P., President, Chicago Theological Union

Bishop C. Joseph Sprague, Presiding Bishop, Illinois Conference, United Methodist Church

The Rev. Dr. Leonard Thompson, Sr., Conference Minister, American Baptist Churches of Metropolitan Chicago

The Rev. Dr. Larry K. Ulrich, Church of the Brethren

His Eminence Archbishop Vsevolod, Western Eparchy, Ukrainian Orthodox Church, U.S.A.

Rabbi Ira Youdovin, Executive Vice-President, Chicago Board of Rabbis


National Council of Churches

Statement of USA Religious Leaders Working for Peaceful Solutions to the Iraq Crisis (reprinted with permission, (ncccusa.org)

Vision Statement:

'We oppose War against Iraq for two basic reasons: 1) In the short run, it will be an act of death and destruction. We choose to follow those tenets in our religious tradition that forbid violence as a way to usher in God's kingdom. 2) In the longer run, it will make far harder the building and healing of the planetary community, which our religious traditions teach.

We are called by our various faiths to be peacemakers, a difficult choice but the right one. Our opposition to preemptive, unilateral war against Iraq is grounded in a broader vision of national security—one that recognizes that the true threats are more economic, environmental, and social than military. We call on the United States to live up to its own principles and set an example for the rest of the world by:

• Honoring international treaties and conventions.

• Cooperating with (rather than manipulating) the UN and international institutions to resolve conflicts.

• Using diplomacy rather than military might as a tool of foreign policy.

• Working for peace through arms reduction, not arms production.

• Setting quality healthcare and education for all people as a priority on our government’s agenda.

• Working proactively to achieve harmony among racial, ethnic, and religious groups.

• Promoting sustainable consumption of natural resources.

All of this is in recognition that to do otherwise only breeds anger and contempt--and the very threat to our security that we wish to end. We affirm Albert Einstein’s idea that "Peace cannot be achieved through force, it can only be achieved through understanding."


U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

"We respectfully urge you to step back from the brink of war and help lead the world to act together to fashion an effective global response to Iraq's threats that conforms with traditional moral limits on the use of military force." Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory, President
For the complete text, please visit the website of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:
usccb.org/sdwp/international/bush902.htm


Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

"In accord with our Church Council action, we will continue to urge the U.S. government to work with the international community to find peaceful means to disarm Iraq, to pursue regional arms control agreements and to work to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Iraq." The Rev. Mark S. Hanson, Presiding Bishop

For the complete text, please visit the website of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
elca.org


United Methodist Church: (Reprinted with permission, http://www.UMC.org )

Eight United Methodist bishops, other leaders, speak against war with Iraq

WASHINGTON (UMNS) -- Eight United Methodist bishops participated in a "Citizen’s Hearing on War with Iraq" on the third of three days of witnessing for peace – often in concert with those of other religious and community leaders – in the nation’s capital city.

By the time Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) convened the hearing on Oct. 11, both chambers of Congress had debated and voted to increase the president’s military powers. That did not stop the bishops or other many speakers at this event that the United Methodist Board of Church and Society helped organize.
"Such a war is morally lamentable, theologically reprehensible and politically lamentable," declared Bishop C. Joseph Sprague of Chicago.

He said the devastation envisioned in Iraq if the United States attacks "is in no way proportional to the perceived original aggression of Saddam Hussein as was and is the case in Afghanistan…. Innocent civilians – particularly women and children – will not be protected."

"Not Hussein, but the people of Iraq will be victims again," Sprague said. In God’s view, the life of every Iraqi child is as important as that of every American citizen, he insisted. He called for massive protests, including civil disobedience, should the U.S. government start a war against Iraq that is morally wrong. Such an act will destabilize the Middle East and is not likely to succeed, he added.

The Rev. Bob Edgar, staff executive of the National Council of Churches and a United Methodist clergyman spoke briefly and praised Jim Winkler, staff executive for Church and Society, for calling the NCC office last summer and urging Edgar to help organize the churches’ response to the threat of a preemptive war.

Bishop S. Clifton Ives of Charleston, W.Va., and six other bishops, gave brief statements. Ives, president of the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, stressed the church’s tradition of peace and noted the letter previously issued by the president of the denomination’s Council of Bishops rejecting for a violent response to evil and calling for prayer for the leaders of nations.

"Violence begets violence," warned Bishop John L. Hopkins of Minneapolis. Another bishop, C. Dale White, Newport, R.I., said that some of the U.S. government’s activities are undermining constitutional freedoms at home. The retired bishop also said the United States is not working with other countries to promote peace.

"I speak on behalf of the children," said Bishop Beverly Shamana of West Sacramento, Calif., and vice president of Church and Society. She was not talking about Iraqi children, but children in the United States. "What does it say to them when they see their president and Congress vote for violence as a way to deal with things they don’t like?"

"It feels as if the heart of God has been wounded," said Bishop Linda Lee of Okemos, Mich. She urged people to choose the high ground.

Philadelphia Bishop Peter Weaver warned, "War will not end terror. It will simply seed terror." It will come back on the United States like a boomerang, he said, and make U.S. personnel into recruiters for al Qaeda.

"Can God really bless America?" asked retired Bishop Lloyd Knox of St. Petersburg, Fla. Answering his own question, he said that the real question is, what does God expect of America?

Expressing hope that the war can still be averted was Arun Gandhi, director of the Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, Memphis, Tenn., and grandson of Mahatma Gandhi. He said if the United States and Britain engage in a preemptive strike, countries in all the hot spots of the world would claim preemptive power. "We need to use our kind of power … to bring peace," he said of such powers as moral and economic.

Kelly Campbell of the September 11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows said that organization was founded "to say our grief is not a call for war." She expressed disappointment that "our president was calling for yet another war that would cause others to go through what we have gone through." Using the events of Sept. 11 to justify a war with Iraq will inflame anti-American sentiment, she predicted.

Sister Margaret Galiardi said she has traveled to all areas of the world and most people are ordinary people, just trying to raise their families. She had with her a 3’x4’ photo taken on a 2000 trip to Iraq. It was of a woman named Hamsa, which means good person, holding a child named Ramah, which means one who is thirsty. The little boy was dying of liver cancer without medication.

"The war in Iraq has never ended," Galiardi asserted. It has been going on for 11 years. Anyone who had resources has left the country. "We are on the precipice of disaster. We are about to become what we hate."

Peter Lems of the American Friends Service Committee reported that this organization had been founded in the wake of World War I and has humanitarian workers in Iraq.

"We know the face of war," he said. "We know the destructive poverty that war brings." UNICEF has said that between 1990 and 2000 Iraq experienced the worst change of mortality of children under 5 of any of the 188 countries it surveyed. If the flow of food relief is disrupted even for a short period, famine would follow, he added.

Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun magazine, said using violence to settle problems is expressly against every spiritual tradition. "It is not a path to security."

"This debate has only begun," said the Rev. Jim Wallis, founder of the Call to Renewal and editor of Sojourners magazine. He called for "our own faith-based initiative against war with Iraq" and observed that the poor have been pushed off the agenda in Congress.

Wallis told of a press conference earlier that day, in which U.S. and British religious leaders had a message for President George Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair: "If you begin a preemptive war with Iraq, you will not have the support of the churches."

After the citizen’s hearing, the bishops went to the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill. They had hoped to make a pastoral call at the White House, because Bush is a United Methodist, Ives said later outside that building. Since they were not able to arrange a meeting they spent a good portion of the afternoon praying for the president and each bishop wrote him a letter. Shamana and Knox, together with Winkler, accompanied Ives to the area.
Other events during the week included two press conferences, visits to members of Congress, and a candlelight vigil at the United Methodist Building. Originally planned for the building lawn, the Oct. 10 service was held in Simpson Chapel in the building because there was heavy rain at the time. About 90 people filled the pews, sat on the floor or stood at the back. After an interfaith service, the group went out into a misty night, stood silently beside the Supreme Court and circled the block.

Edgar led the candlelight service and participated in both press conferences. At the Oct. 10 press conference, Bishop Felton E. May of the Washington Area read a letter issued earlier by Bishop Sharon A. Brown Christopher, president of the Council of Bishops. May also quoted from "In Defense of Creation," a pastoral letter written by the council during the Cold War. Others at that press conference included representatives of Habitat for Humanity, Union of Concerned Scientists, Global Security Institute. A Harvard University student, a professor of political science and a Gulf War veteran also were among the speakers.


Council of Bishops The United Methodist Church

October 4, 2002

Dear United Methodist Sisters and Brothers in Faith:

As the president of Council of Bishops, I write to you with a sense of urgency about the present perilous state of our world. I do so because 1) the Gospel of peace needs to be heard; 2) our United Methodist Social Principles offer guidance, and 3) our General Conference expects the Council of Bishops to "speak to the Church and from the Church to the world."

Nothing could be clearer than that the Gospel of Christ is a Gospel of peace. Jesus rejects the violent response to evil. "He who takes the sword will perish by the sword." Jesus, speaking to us about a new way of living, proclaims that peacemakers are blessed and that "they will be called children of God." He moves the standard even higher by urging us to love our enemies and "pray for those who persecute you." Paul tells us that we are not to return evil for evil, but are to "overcome evil with good."

Our General Conference, on the basis of these Gospel teachings, declares:
"Some nations possess more military and economic power than do others. Upon the powerful rests responsibility to exercise their wealth and influence with restraint.... We believe war is incompatible with the teachings and example of Christ. We therefore reject war as a usual instrument of national foreign policy and insist that the first moral duty of all nations is to resolve by peaceful means every dispute that arises between or among them."
Without question, Saddam Hussein is in gross violation of numerous United Nations resolutions, and President Bush is to be commended for calling the United Nations to accountability on this score. The United States and the United Nations should take the steps necessary to ensure compliance.

But a preemptive war by the United States against a nation like Iraq goes against the very grain of our understanding of the Gospel, our church's teachings, and our conscience. Preemptive strike does not reflect restraint and does not allow for the adequate pursuit of peaceful means for resolving conflict. To be silent in the face of such a prospect is not an option for followers of Christ.

There is no question that President Hussein's demonstrated behavior leaves any thoughtful person horrified by his treatment of his own citizens and the citizen's of Iraq's neighboring countries. However, ours has been historically a church seeking peace, justice, and reconciliation. Even as we acknowledge the need for military action as a means of self-defense demanded by highly unusual circumstances, our primary allegiance is to what we understand the basics of the Gospel of Jesus Christ require of us– grace, mercy, peace, justice, and love.

So, I call all of us to prayer. Pray for the leaders of the nations, many of whom bear the name of Christ, that they may truly be led by the spirit of Christ as crucial decisions are made. Write and phone them, letting them know of your deep concern. Especially lift your prayers for United Methodists President Bush and Vice-President Cheney, that they may truly seek the will of God in Christ as they make awesome decisions of life and death, war and peace.

In Christ,
Sharon A. Brown Christopher
President of the Council


Central Conference of American Rabbis

Responsa 5762.8 Preventive War (excerpts reprinted with permission)

She’elah
Does our tradition countenance preemptive military action when there is suspicion, but no prima facie evidence exists, that a perceived enemy will attack? My question presupposes that innocent lives will be lost in the event of such action. I would also note that Israel engaged in such an action when it bombed the Iraqi Osirak nuclear facilities in 1981. (Rabbi Benno M. Wallach, Houston, TX)

Teshuvah
We received this she ‘elah and composed our answer during a time of fierce national debate in the United States over the wisdom of initiating a war against Iraq. The goal of such a war would be to depose Saddam Hussein, the ruler of that country. The stated justification for this war is that Saddam Hussein’s regime either possesses or is in the process of developing nuclear, chemical, and/or biological weapons of mass destruction, that it poses a threat to its neighbors, and that it someday may come to endanger the security of the United States itself. At the moment, as our sho ‘el suggests, there is no prima facie evidence that Iraq is actively contemplating or planning a military attack upon any of its neighbors, much less the United States.

We should note that the question does not ask for our opinion as to the advisability of a military strike against Iraq. That is understandable, for we rabbis hardly qualify as experts in diplomacy and defense policy. We have been asked rather to discuss the teachings of Jewish tradition on the general (and hence more abstract) question of the permissibility of initiating a war under these circumstances….

We believe in a torat chayim, a living Torah. Though the literary sources of our tradition were written long ago in a very different time and place, we affirm that these texts, through proper and prayerful interpretation, address us as well, yielding teachings that have direct bearing upon our own day and our own lives….

[O]ur tradition rejects pacifism as a policy of national defense…Every nation must possess the right to take up arms if necessary to protect itself and its citizens against military attack….

[A]lthough the Torah permits the state to resort to arms it does not glorify war. Again, the opposite is the case. Peace, and not war, is our primary aspiration; we are commanded to seek peace and pursue it (Psalms 34:15)…[T]he blessing of peace is equal to all other blessings combined….[W]ar is at best a necessary evil, "necessary" perhaps but "evil" all the same….A war fought today for anything other than defensive purposes must therefore be viewed as an unnecessary evil…

While preventive war, war launched against a nation that might some day pose a threat, cannot be morally justified, a preemptive strike against a clear foe that is presently arming itself can be a legitimate act of self-defense. If the leader of a nation determines that a particular contemplated offensive is, in fact, an example of a preemptive rather than a preventive strike, and when that leader also determines that there is no way to avert the danger through non-violent, diplomatic means, then he or she must justify that assessment to the public, to the deliberative bodies of that country, and to the nations of the world. An attack may be morally justifiable, but the government bears the responsibility to do all that it can to make the case that it is in the right.

For the complete text please visit the website of the Central Conference of American Rabbis: www.ccarnet.org

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Northbrook Peace Committee