ATLANTA, GA – 7/28/17) Over twenty local organizations representing members of Georgia’s Jewish, Christian, Muslim and activist communities united on Friday, July 28th, for an interfaith prayer and rally outside Atlanta’s Israeli consulate.
“As people of faith and civil rights activists, we feel a special obligation to call for religious freedom in Jerusalem, a city holy to every Abrahamic faith,” said event organizer Jewish Voice for Peace (Atlanta) and twenty other co-sponsoring organizations, including CAIR Georgia, Black Lives Matter Atlanta, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Christians United for Palestine, and the Georgia Alliance for Social Justice.
During the Friday event, a diverse line up of faith leaders and activists plan to call upon Georgia law enforcement agencies, including the Atlanta Police Department, to stop sending their officers to the Middle East for training in police tactics. Speakers also plan to offer multi-faith prayers for peace in Jerusalem, and reveal a letter from local faith leaders to Atlanta’s Israeli consulate.
Over the past two weeks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government prevented worshipers from freely attending prayer at Al-Aqsa Mosque, installing metal detectors and other security measures at the house of worship held sacred by many Palestinians. Israeli soldiers subsequently dispersed Palestinian protesters by shooting live ammunition, unleashing attack dogs, and firing tear gas, killing several Palestinian youth.
“When Israeli soldiers targeted Palestinian demonstrators with gunfire, tear gas, batons, and attack dogs, the violence reminded us of the oppression that African-American demonstrators experienced during the Civil Rights Movement in our nation,” organizers said in a statement. “America should no longer fund un-American behavior with our taxpayer dollars, nor should Georgia send our police officers overseas to learn such tactics.”
The Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE), which is now based at Georgia State University, arranges for Georgia law enforcement officers to travel to Israel and other nations ever year to receive training in policing tactics, including urban policing. Funded by both private sources and public agencies, the program has sent hundreds of Georgia officers to foreign nations over the past 23 years.
“Georgia law enforcement agencies should not engage in training with Israel, Egypt or any foreign nation that restricts religious freedom, illegally occupies territory, or opens fire on peaceful protesters,” organizers said. “In America, law enforcement agents must protect and serve, not occupy and control.”
What: An Interfaith Prayer & Rally for Peace and Justice in the Holy Land
When: Friday, July 28, 2017 at 6:00 pm
Where: Outside the Israeli Consulate, 1100 Spring Street, Atlanta, GA
Event Sponsors Include:
- Jewish Voice for Peace – Atlanta Chapter
- CAIR Georgia
- Georgia Green Party
- Black Lives Matter Atlanta
- Project South
- Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta
- Christians United for Palestine at University of Georgia
- Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at University of Georgia
- Georgia Detention Watch
- Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) Atlanta
- Southerners on New Ground (SONG)
- Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition
- Street Groomers
- American Friends Service Committee
- Metro Atlanta Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America
- Al Quds Atlanta
- Kairos Mission Group of Oakhurst Baptist Church
- International Action Center, Atlanta
- Industrial Workers of the World General Defense Committee, Atlanta
- Unitarian University Church of America Peace Network
- Our Revolution Georgia
- Panthers for Progress