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Oregon Food Bank Statement Calling for a Ceasefire of Israel’s Violence against Palestinians

Oregon Food Bank calls for an immediate and permanent ceasefire of Israel’s war against Palestine — as well as free and unobstructed access to humanitarian relief efforts to deliver water, food, clothing, medicine and shelter to the people of Palestine. We also call for the release of all hostages by Hamas and condemn all acts of violence that disregard the respect for human dignity and right to life. In response to feedback from our communities stressing the importance of our stance, we acknowledge the delayed release of this statement and regret Oregon Food Bank's prior silence.

We condemn the indiscriminate attacks by the Israeli army on Palestinians, including the bombardment of neighborhoods, healthcare facilities, humanitarian aid efforts and refugee camps. The Israeli army’s months of assaults have killed over 33,000 and injured over 73,000 Palestinians, putting them at risk of genocide. We also condemn the horrific attacks by Hamas on October 7, 2023, which included the killing of over 1,200 Israelis and others, the abduction of over 200 hostages and other atrocities.

We are also deeply concerned about rising antisemitism and Islamophobia in Oregon and Southwest Washington as a result of the conflict in Gaza. As an organization committed to social justice, we condemn any and all acts of hate towards our Muslim and Jewish communities. We acknowledge that the acts of the Israeli army do not represent our Jewish communities and the acts of Hamas do not represent our Arab-American and Muslim communities. We call on all our community members to lean on one another with understanding and stand against all kinds of war, violence and hatred. We should embrace one another in such times of despair. Our voice is stronger when we are united and when we do not allow agendas of hate to turn us against one another.

We believe that war and violence are drivers of hunger. The attacks by the Israeli army led to the displacement of more than 85% of Palestinians, 2.2 million Palestinians need food assistance and over 50% of the entire population has been driven to catastrophic famine levels of starvation, increasing vulnerability to disease and enduring sustained threats of violence.

The intentional obstruction of humanitarian relief efforts as well as the deliberate destruction of Palestinian food and lifeways, such as the intentional targeting of bakeries, hospitals and housing units, exacerbates the suffering and vulnerability of Palestinians. These attacks illustrate how blocking food distribution and the weaponization of starvation is a violent tactic of war.

We are also outraged by the Israeli army’s reckless killing of food aid workers, including the individuals part of José Andrés' World Central Kitchen. This violence is unconscionable. We demand that the military personnel who participated in these brutal acts be kept accountable.

Oregon Food Bank’s mission is to end hunger and its root causes. We know that colonial ideologies are root causes of hunger, including the legacy of World War II’s antisemitism, Islamophobia and hatred, which fuel the current outbreak of violence in Israel and Palestine. They create and perpetuate the conditions that sustain hunger and poverty – locally and globally. Rooted in our values and in our mission, we condemn and wholeheartedly reject these ideologies. We remain committed to addressing the root causes of hunger and work within our scope of influence to strategically dismantle systems that perpetuate hunger and poverty.

We believe all people across the globe deserve to live safely and free of fear, with dignity and respect for our human rights. We believe food is a human right and that all people deserve access to water, shelter, medicine, and connection to the land.

We call for immediate humanitarian aid and an end to Israel’s violence against Palestinians and for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages by Hamas. Tell your elected officials to demand a ceasefire before the Israeli army starts ground operations in Rafah, where more than 50% of Palestinians, 2.2 million human beings, have taken refuge. Donate to humanitarian aid organizations in Gaza and participate in grassroots actions in your communities demanding an end to the violence happening before us.

As Oregonians, our tax dollars are funding the Israel army’s violence and other conflicts around the world. It is important, as taxpayers, to keep policymakers accountable and press them to refrain from enacting foreign policies that contribute to genocide, warfare, famine, and hunger. Violence and war cause hunger. Oregon Food Bank will continue to advocate for safe and healthy communities that never know hunger. To learn more about our ongoing advocacy work, sign up for action alerts at the link here.

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