Emergency Summit of Faith and Civil Rights Leaders Demands Biden Administration Act to Stop the Killing in Gaza

13 Organizational Conveners and More Than 300 Endorsers Call for Immediate Ceasefire, Release of all Israeli and Palestinian Hostages and Political Prisoners, and American Actions in Adherence with U.S. Laws

Gaza Summit

CHICAGO — Yesterday and today, 12-13, 2024, faith leaders, civil and human rights advocates, and members of Congress are convening at Rainbow PUSH headquarters in Chicago, Illinois for a summit demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. The summit opened with a new poll of Attitudes of likely American voters in the Aftermath of the Latest Outbreak of Violence in Palestine/Israel –by Arab American Institute (AAI)/Rainbow PUSH, conducted January 4-5, 2024 (see below for key takeaways of the poll and attached for the entire poll).

The thirteen organizational conveners will call for three specific actions: 1) We demand an immediate, permanent ceasefire and the immediate release of all Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners held without charges or due process; 2) We urge the US to lead the international community and facilitate unimpeded UN-supervised humanitarian aid in Gaza. This includes but is not limited to the immediate delivery of lifesaving aid, the reconstruction, restabilization, and return of Palestinians displaced from their homes and neighborhoods; and 3) We urge the US to abide by its own regulations and condition funding to Israel on its adherence to U.S. law just as is required for every other nation that receives U.S. military financing. 

 Click here to learn more about the summit’s call to action, see the full program (today, Saturday, January 12 will include multiple members of Congress, speakers, resources, and more). 


Some of the convening organizations’ leadership issued the following statements: 

”The nightmare of genocide in Gaza continues and trauma, terror, and grief have become a constant way of life for Palestinians. Sadly, a nation espousing democratic values and a belief in “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” has, in the name of “having Israel’s back” turned a blind eye to the massacre taking place while providing funding for weapons of war and mass destruction for the Israeli army to use. Rainbow PUSH Coalition, on the eve of our nation commemorating the life and liberating love of the Drum Major for Peace, Martin Luther King, Jr., is convening a summit of faith leaders and justice warriors to address this humanitarian crisis. To this end, summit participants will discuss and strategize for solutions to this nightmare. Rainbow PUSH is committed to a cease fire as the beginning of a lasting peace; the safe and sanitary dispensing of humanitarian aid, healing for children and families, and the rebuilding of Gaza! Rainbow PUSH, founded by a protégée of Dr. King, the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., refuses to celebrate “The Dream” without fighting to end this nightmare.”

Dr. Frederick D. Haynes, III, President, Rainbow PUSH Coalition   

“In this moment of crisis, I am honored to be working again with Rev. Jesse Jackson fighting for justice, at home and abroad. And we are proud to be partnering with Rainbow PUSH and this coalition of diverse constituencies who have come together to demand a ceasefire, freedom for those unjustly held, aid and reconstruction for Palestinians, and an end to U.S. unconditional military aid to Israel. Our government’s acquiescence to Israel’s actions has made us accomplices in the unfolding genocide in Gaza. It must stop.”

James Zogby, President, Arab American Institute    

“Every passing hour without a ceasefire brings more pain and destruction to the people of Gaza. By gathering together we are powerfully demonstrating the desire of so many people of conscious around the country who are demanding an end to the violence, a release of hostages and prisoners held without due process, for the flow of adequate and unimpeded flow of humanitarian aid, and for the U.S. to ensure its military funding is not used in violation of the rights of civilians. Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) is honored to co-covenene this critical gathering. May our collective voices bring about a change as we seek justice for all Israelis and Palestinians.”

Kyle Christofalo, Senior Director of Advocacy and Government Relations, Churches for Middle East Peace   

“We are at a global breaking point with Gaza at the center. For the future of our collective humanity, we demand a ceasefire now. This summit will gather transformative leaders to escalate our campaign of freedom for all.”

-Rev Stephen Green, Faith for Black lives

 “Established in 1915, we at the Fellowship of Reconciliation have witnessed far too many times the myth of redemptive violence and know from experience and truth that death and suffering cannot bring peace. We are appalled by the unprecedented brutality, from the horrific October 7 attack on Israelis to the unG-dly number of children being massacred right now in Gaza, and raise our voices in prayer, protest, and urgency, for it to stop. Guided by the legacy of Martin Luther King, a FOR member from 1958 until his death, we are aware that our liberation is intertwined with the liberation of the Palestinian people. We call for an immediate ceasefire and permanent solution grounded in the principles of peace, justice, and nonviolence.”

– Ariel Gold, Executive Director, Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR)

“We are proud to join together with this multiracial, interfaith coalition to build the antiwar movement of our generation. Our safety and liberation are bound up in each others and we know that more violence and bloodshed will not make us safer. We must come together to stop Israel’s unfolding genocidal assault on Palestinians in Gaza.” 

– Eva Borgwardt, National Spokesperson, IfNotNow

“We deplore the stand taken by many Jewish organizations unconditionally supporting Israel as it rushes to perpetrate carnage in Gaza. We know from decades of the same that more weapons and more violence is not the answer. We call on our Jewish communities to join us in forging a Judaism that rejects vengeance, and stands with the struggle for Palestinian justice and liberation. We do this for the safety of Palestinians of all faiths and Israelis of all backgrounds.” 

Rabbi Brant Rosen of Congregation Tzedek Chicago on behalf of Jewish Voice for Peace and the Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council


“We need each other. Successful peace and justice initiatives throughout US history have always been led by diverse yet collective faith and civic coalitions. This Summit’s call for ceasefire, humanitarian aid, and a long term solution is exactly that – it highlights empowering allyship during this time of division.”

– Dr. Dilara Sayeed, Muslim Civic Coalition

“Our Christian faith compels us to join the chorus of witnesses in Chicago this week to protestify – to prophetically protest and testify to the nonviolence of Christ by calling for a ceasefire in Gaza to save lives and build peace. Our Palestinian kin in Gaza suffer unthinkable violence. Their cries for deliverance seem to be falling unheard in the United States. Christians in the U.S. must move beyond information to transformation… putting our worship into action. Protesting violent policies and demanding a ceasefire that puts the prophetic Kingdom of God into practice.” 

– Diana K. Oestreich  (she/her), Development Coordinator, Red Letter Christians 

“We should all recognize from decades of bitter experience and suffering that there is no military solution to the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.  As followers of the Prince of Peace, Sojourners condemns the bankrupt logic of violence and demands an immediate and durable ceasefire, the release of all unjustly held captive in Gaza and Israel, and concrete steps toward a permanent political solution that achieves dignity, security, and self-determination for Palestinians and Israelis alike.   Now is the time to generate the political will to achieve lasting peace with justice.” 

– Adam Taylor, Executive Director, Sojourners

“We call on our Palestinian-American citizens and our friends to share the Palestinian narrative and to keep the pressure up on Biden’s administration in order to reach a complete and immediate ceasefire. Our Palestinian brothers and sisters endure genocide and annihilation every day at the hands of the Israeli forces. We ask you to stand beside the people of Palestine until liberation and the establishment of an independent Palestine.”

– Prof. John Dabeet, U.S. Palestinian Council 

Summit attendees are gathering in person and virtually on Friday and Saturday, January 12-13, 2024, in the leadup to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, celebrated as a national holiday on Monday, January 15. 

See video of Rev. Jackson’s historical work for Palestinian rights: https://youtu.be/picl5msSQBA


NEW POLL released yesterday, January 12, 2024, at the opening of Emergency Summit for Gaza at Rainbow PUSH headquarters in Chicago: Attitudes of likely American voters in the Aftermath of the Latest Outbreak of Violence in Palestine/Israel – by Arab American Institute (AAI)/Rainbow PUSH, conducted January 4-5, 2024 

KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM POLL:

These are some of the topline findings of a poll of 1000 likely voters nationwide commissioned by Rainbow PUSH and the Arab American Institute and conducted January 4-5, 2024. 

American public opinion has shifted away from Israel as Gaza invasion continues.

  • Respondents want a ceasefire and an end to the conflict. In responses to two separate questions, by a two to one margin, respondents indicated they are more inclined to support a Member of Congress who supports a ceasefire and that they are less willing to support Members who oppose calls for a ceasefire.
  • A plurality of voters (42%) now say they sympathize with both equally. And since current war began three months ago,  sympathy for Palestinians has increased especially among Democrats (23% more sympathetic toward Palestinians versus 17% toward Israelis), and younger Americans (37% toward Palestinians and 27% for Israelis) and people of color (29% to 13%) both of whom are more sympathetic toward Palestinians than they are toward Israelis.
  • When asked to evaluate Biden Administration policy toward the conflict, 50% say it favors Israel. But when asked how they feel US policy should be, plurality of respondents (42%) say it should balanced between Israelis and Palestinians. 
  • By a decisive two to one margin, voters say that instead of siding with Israel (a position held by only 26%), the US should strive to be an honest broker in the conflict (a position held by 57%).
  • This questioning of Biden Administration one-sided support for Israel also has an impact on voters’ attitudes toward US military assistance to that state. By a two to one margin (51% to 26%), voters reject the notion that the US should give unrestricted military aid to Israel as long as Israel is using the aid to take the lives of Palestinian civilians. 
  • By the same two to one margin, respondents said that they sided with those Democratic Senators who objected to the President’s recent decision to bypass Congressional oversight in sending weapons to Israel. 
  • A plurality of voters (41%) now indicate that it is time to consider cutting or conditioning Israel’s annual $3.8 billion appropriation for military assistance.

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