National Voice Statement on Conflict between Israel and Hamas

October 12, 2023

Our hearts are with all in Israel and Gaza who are suffering and living in fear, and with all those whose lives have been lost. To the members of our community who are Israeli, Jewish, or Palestinian, we are with you in your sorrow and your grief.

We join other faith organizations in calling on the Government of Canada to seek a peaceful resolution to the situation in Israel and Gaza, one that honours international human rights agreements and our commitments to international law and international conventions.

As Unitarian Universalists, we affirm and promote “the inherent worth and dignity of every person” and aspire to “the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.” Our Principles call us to condemn all acts of violence against civilians.

“There is no context that justifies the immeasurable suffering civilians in Israel and Gaza endure. People of all ages are being wounded, killed, terrorized, and taken hostage,” says. Rev. Samaya Oakley, President of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers of Canada (UUMOC).

Vyda Ng, Executive Director of the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC) adds: “We do not believe that the solution is for more armed military, and we are in opposition to actions that violate the spirit and letter of international law. The starting point is to recognize our shared humanity and the interdependent web of life that binds us together.”

Ng quotes Valerie Kaur, author of See No Stranger and founder of the Revolutionary Love Project: “If you want to help but don’t know how: begin in relationship. Who in your life is hurting from this? Offer to walk with them, listen to them. There is no fixing grief, only bearing it together.”

We invite Canadian Unitarian Universalists and other people of conscience to write to their Members of Parliament, urging the Government of Canada to take a just, constructive, and human rights-based approach to the current conflict. (Sample letter.)


There are many organizations working to alleviate suffering and ensure justice, human rights, and peace in the Middle East, including the following.

  • Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice (CUSJ) is a national, liberal religious organization founded to promote Unitarian values through social action. CUSJ is also a stakeholder group and affiliate member of the Canadian Unitarian Council (CUC). On Sunday, October 15, CUSJ is hosting an online presentation by a representative of Independent Jewish Voices (IJV) about Gaza, Hamas and Israel. Visit their website for more information and to register for the presentation.
  • Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East–UUJME, founded in 1971, is a Unitarian Universalist Association-related social justice organization of education and advocacy siding with love with the people of Palestine-Israel.
  • Religions for Peace is a global movement which believes that religions are more powerful, inspiring, and impactful when they work together. Their inter-religious Middle East and North African (MENA) Council is comprised of diverse religious leaders from across that region. It is the only interfaith platform that is led by religious representatives (including men, women, and youth) from across the MENA. Religions for Peace MENA plays an essential role in fostering partnership and trust across diverse religious communities, civil society partners, and faith-based organizations.
  • Canada Talks Israel Palestine is the weekly newsletter of Peter Larson, Chair of the Ottawa Forum on Israel/Palestine (OFIP). It aims to promote a serious discussion in Canada about Canada’s response to the complicated and emotional Israel/Palestine issue with a focus on the truth, clear analysis and human rights for all.
  • Mennonite Central Committee MCC:  With conflict on the rise around the globe, peacebuilding skills are critical. MCC promotes reconciliation, speaks out against injustice and builds resilience through trauma healing. All over the world, MCC partners with local communities and organizations to build a brighter, more peaceful future.


~ From the CUC’s National Voice Team:

UU Ministers of Canada President, Rev. Samaya Oakley; CUC Board President, Kiersten Moore, and Executive Director, Vyda Ng.

The Canadian Unitarian Council / Conseil unitarien du Canada (CUC) is the national association of Unitarian Universalist congregations across Canada. The Unitarian Universalist Ministers of Canada (UUMoC) represents over 70 active ministers who serve congregations or work in the larger community.

We are a diverse religion bound by a common commitment to equity and justice. We covenant to a set of principles, which calls us to seek peace, liberty and compassion, to search for truth and meaning, and to respect the inherent worth and dignity of every person and the democratic process.

5 Comments, RSS

  • Dana Fisher Ashrawi

    Thanks for your statement. Thank you also for including Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East as an organization to contact. We have been providing education and advocacy since 1971. We published a study guide in 2015 that includes essays by a Palestinian UU and Jewish UUs. We have monthly calls, legislative actions, and an online class called Why Palestine Matters. We have had a booth at almost every UUA General Assembly and have introduced resolutions on key issues for UUs to engage. The fear of being labeled antisemitic has been the main obstacle for getting more UUs to engage. And we develop our statements in consultation with UUs impacted by situations that develop. In this current escalation we have offered processing spaces and will continue to do so. Onward to collective liberation without exception.

  • Shelley

    There have been many comments from people who appreciate the national CUC statement on the Israel-Hamas conflict and from many who want us to take a stronger or more forceful stance against one side or the other.

    The National Voice Team comes together from Canadian ministers, CUC Board and Staff to respond to events and critical incidents of national importance. We do so representing Canadian Unitarian Universalists as a whole. We have our Principles, Aspirations, and decades of resolutions and experience witnessing heated conversations to inform our response. For this particular response, we consulted Rev. Diane Rollert, who is Jewish, and Rev. Peter Boullata, who is Palestinian. They both approved it.

    We believe that as a faith organization that respects the inherent worth and dignity of every person and our interdependence we can strongly state that no circumstances justify the horrendous acts of violence against civilians. As well, no circumstances justify subjugation, isolation, persecution, and violence against another group of people. Our statement calls for a peaceful resolution and condemns all acts of violence. We stand by this call. As the situation changes or escalates, we may reissue this call more stridently; the Religions for Peace statement is an example we feel aligns closely with our stance.

    I urge all those who feel passionately about the situation in Israel and Palestine to write to your MPs and the Prime Minister. You can use the words grounded in our U*U faith that are supplied in the sample letter and expand on your own personal convictions. Please speak to those with the power to effect change. Use your voice to amplify the call for a ceasefire and real efforts for peace and justice with mutual humanity at its root.

    – Kiersten Moore
    CUC Board President

  • Alexander Campbell

    Don’t forget the West Bank. ALL Palestinians are aliens in their own land and daily suffer the indignity of checkpoints, searches, and,in the West Bank, attacks by the so called “settlers”. The world – and Unitarian Universalists – were very active in getting rid of apartheid in South Africa; we should be equally active in getting rid of apartheid in Israel-Palestine.

    Alex Campbell
    former lay chaplain

  • Fred Lautenschlaeger

    The sentiments expressed above are valuable and meaningful, and we can be fortunate that these organizations exist.
    But, are these organizations really helpful? Are they sufficiently pro-active? Did they have the courage to offer solutions to a predictable situation since after the II. WW? And what do they suggest for the future, which is even more catastrophic?
    What does the ‘Search for Truth’ tell us other than that it is a huge problem? Is it that we MUST overcome all religious and cultural handicaps? Or are they absolutely untouchable even when they impinge on “the inherent worth and dignity of every person”. This is where help is needed, more so than in sympathy and mourning. It is a very difficult issue. We are not more outspoken because we feel causing offense?

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