News stories in recent months and opportunities for action, from and for the Palestine Portal community. (See previous news stories here. Previous action alerts are here.)
Stop the Ethnic Cleansing of Jerusalem!
In May, Israel plans to begin expulsions and home demolitions that will ultimately target over 1,500 Palestinian residents in Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan, and other historically Palestinian neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem.
The “Judaization” of East Jerusalem has been in progress since the military conquest of the West Bank by Israel in June 1967. It has included the incremental confiscation of non-Jewish property within the Old City Walls and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinian neighborhoods to the north, east and west of the Old City. The goal is not only to make Jerusalem into an entirely Jewish city, but also to encircle it with a ring of Jewish settlements, effectively cutting it off from the rest of the West Bank and preventing the establishment of a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem.
Read more here:the Kairos Palestine appeal to Pope Francis and the global church community, 14 Palestinian organizations appeal to the UN, the appeal to the ICC Prosecutor, the letter from (now) 13 Christian organizations and churches to U.S. Secretary of State Blinken, plus News & Commentary, and links to actions you can take now.
The People’s Patriarch
A new film about H.B. Michel Sabbah, Patriarch Emeritus of Jerusalem
H.B. Michel Sabbah was the first Palestinian to hold the position of Archbishop and Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem. For his entire career, he has fought for his people and today the Patriarch serves as President of Kairos Palestine, a guiding spirit for the global movement arising from the call of Palestinian Christians. In this beautifully produced film, the Patriarch shares the history of the Palestinian struggle, his views on the current situation, and his uncompromising commitment to the truth. See the film here (25 minutes) Click here for reflections on the film by Kairos USA’s Mark Braverman
New BDS Toolkit for Justice! From Kairos Palestine and Global Kairos
This fantastic new website is packed with everything faith advocates could want to teach and learn about BDS, what it is, why it’s such a vital action arena for justice in Palestine, the “nuts & bolts” of getting started, and theological foundations for this economic activism! Packed with remarkable resources, such as the unique and impressive “CHALLENGES” and “LEGAL” sections. Make the BDS Toolkit your go-to resource for educational and organizing work in your community or congregation and share it widely! Visit the website: https://bdstoolkit.org
READ MORE ABOUT IT
New Online Toolkit to Help Bring Justice for Palestine: BDSToolkit.org
November 16, 2020, Jerusalem Palestine — For the commemoration of the Palestinian Declaration of Independence, Global Kairos for Justice launches a new online digital Toolkit to help organizers and activists move Palestinian rights forward in their own settings around the world. This is a response to the call from Palestinians for solidarity in their struggle for justice and self determination.
The toolkit walks advocates and activists through theological foundations that provide just cause for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS). In a mobile-friendly website format, the toolkit answers frequently asked questions (FAQs) and addresses challenges and legal issues. There are useful videos for communities considering BDS, plus an extensive section of stories from around the world from faith-based groups who have shared their BDS experiences with Global Kairos for Justice.
In a call for solidarity in 2009, the groundbreaking document from Palestinian Christians, Kairos Palestine: A Moment of Truth, addressed all fellow Christians and all those who seek peace with justice for the Holy Land. Kairos Palestine called for nonviolent economic measures against Israel, until it complied with international law. In their own words, they call for a “resistance with love as its logic. It is thus a creative resistance, for it must find human ways that engage the humanity of the enemy.”
That 2009 document echoed the broader call in 2005 from Palestinian civil society for BDS, which fifteen years on, has now grown into the BDS Movement. It is a movement working to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians by pressuring Israel to comply with international law.
“Our new BDS toolkit is a resource developed by Global Kairos for Justice, a network that emerged from the Kairos Palestine conference held in Bethlehem in 2018,” said Rev. Jeff DeYoe, a Global Kairos member from Ft. Myers, Florida. “In December 2019, that network commissioned a toolkit for the purposes of providing important information and educating people and churches about why actions are needed to end Israel’s human rights violations against Palestine. This new toolkit aims to help justiceseeking people working for Palestinian rights and to let them know that they do not walk this road alone,” he said.
Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), are tried and true nonviolent economic measures used by many struggles for justice across the world throughout history, most notably in Ireland, South Africa, and India, for release from the grip of settler colonial powers. Also used by the civil rights movement in the United States, these nonviolent resistance tactics are a means to an end; they offer a unique and distinct witness, such as those taken up by now-revered BDS leaders Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, Jr.
“In the tradition of Mandela, King and other leaders of non-violent resistance, we at Global Kairos hope that churches will play an active part in whatever way possible for them to contribute to this global campaign,” said Ranjan Solomon of Global Kairos for Justice from Goa, India. “We think this digital toolkit will be a useful and essential resource for finding ways of telling the Palestine story and creating solidarity in confronting the challenges that Palestinians face on a day-to-day basis,” he said.
Global Kairos for Justice, a worldwide coalition of concerned Christians from different churches, traditions and church-related organizations, always stands committed to nonviolent means of ending the Israeli colonization of Palestine. It advocates for the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people and a peace with justice for all people.
No Dough for Occupation: #Boycott Pillsbury
Tell General Mills to get out of illegal Israeli settlements!
The U.N. has named General Mills as one of the 112 businesses that are violating international law by operating in occupied Palestinian territories. General Mills is profiting from apartheid and contributing to gross human rights violations against Palestinians. Yet General Mills has endorsed the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights! They have also stated, “Respect for human rights is fundamental to our purpose of serving the world by making food people love and to our commitment to ethical business conduct.” Now, a broad coalition of faith-based organizations and secular partners are calling on this corporation to put their principles into practice. Learn more about this boycott(scroll down that page for great resources) See this article:We’re boycotting Pillsbury. Here’s why you should join us. Send a message to General Mills: Stop manufacturing on stolen land!
Cry for Hope: A Call to Decisive Action Endorse and share the Palestinian Christians’ Call of 2020
“Can you help us get our freedom back?” The Palestinians called out to the world in 2009 in the Kairos Palestine Document “A Moment of Truth: a word of faith, hope and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering.” Kairos Palestine set in motion a global movement, rousing churches to action and awakening civil society to the reality of Palestinian suffering. But the oppression and land taking did not stop.
SEE MORE and TAKE ACTION
“Cry for Hope” joins with movements of oppressed peoples around the world in taking a stand against the politics and economics of Empire, a global order of domination manifesting in racial, economic, cultural, and environmental oppression that threatens humanity and all of creation. It calls on churches, ecumenical organizations, concerned advocates from other faith traditions, and partners from all sectors of civil society to undertake these seven actions:
Initiate processes at local, denominational and ecumenical levels that lead to decisive action regarding the denial of Palestinian rights.
Confront theologies and understandings of the Bible that justify the oppression of the Palestinian people.
Support Palestinian resistance, including Boycott Divestment and Sanctions and direct political advocacy.
Demand that governments and world bodies employ political, diplomatic and economic means to stop Israel’s violations of human rights and international law.
Oppose equating criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.
Support initiatives between Israelis and Palestinians and interfaith partnerships that oppose apartheid and create opportunities to work together for justice and equality.
Come and see the reality in the Holy Land to stand in solidarity with grassroots initiatives for a just peace.
GERMANY: Contrasting responses are disturbing and prophetic
In the face of increasing resistance from church institutions and government leaders to the voice of Palestinian civil society, a country-wide network of church activists has issued bold challenges to church and civil society leaders at local and national levels. The response? Timeworn arguments against the cry of the oppressed stand in stark contrast to the prophetic response of a growing minority of church leaders.
SEE THE REPORT FROM GERMANY
On June 26, 2020, the Kairos Palestine Solidarity Network in Germany organized 20 vigils in order to personally hand over “Cry for Hope: A Call to Decisive Action” to the regional leaders of the Evangelical (Lutheran) church in Germany and the leaders of the Catholic churches. The feedback we received (19 were negative, 3 were supportive) illustrate the great challenge faced by the Kairos movement to move the churches to action on the one hand, and on the other the deep abiding force in the church to stand for justice.
The response of the Bishop of the church of Kurhessen-Waldeck was particularly disturbing. She rejected the arguments of “Cry for Hope” because: it is unacceptable to compare Israel with Apartheid South Africa; it blames Israel alone for the conflict; by supporting BDS it triggers anti-Semitism; and its reference to Empire evokes the concept of a worldwide Jewish conspiracy.
In contrast, the reply of Bishop Cornelius-Bundschuh of the Church in Baden reads: “As Protestant Christians in Germany, for theological reasons and against the background of our catastrophic history of anti-Judaism, our turn toward reconciling with the Jewish people has been of essential importance to us. As a result we have often not perceived the situation of our Palestinian brothers and sisters with appropriate clarity, fervor and commitment.” The Bishop affirmed that the the Bible must not be used to legitimize dispossession and oppression, and the legitimacy of boycott as resistance. The letter concluded with a commitment to bring “Cry for Hope” and its seven action steps to the next meeting of the Regional Synod. Download this bishop’s letter
NORWAY: Taking aim at Christian Zionism The theological harm created by Christian Zionism is a key theme of “Cry for Hope” and indeed for the Palestinian Christians ever since they issued the Kairos Palestine Document in 2009. The recent letter from the Church of Norway is a groundbreaking official statement of a state church taking direct aim at Christian Zionism with respect to the Palestinian liberation struggle.
MORE ABOUT THIS STATEMENT
In a statement on Christian Zionism released on 30 October, the Church of Norway Bishops Conference declared that “Christian Zionism is theologically unacceptable and incompatible with human rights.” Describing some groups as “particularly large in the United States, but are also found in Norway,” the statement continues: “They practice a political theology that ignores international law and human rights. Directly or indirectly, they oppose attempts to create a just peace.”
“There is disagreement about how the land promises in the Bible should be interpreted. But we find it unacceptable to interpret the Bible without regard to the ethical consequences. It is problematic to read ancient prophecies so that all political events today are predetermined by God…Christian Zionism complicates the situation for the churches in Palestine and Israel. This calls for solidarity from the Church of Norway.” See the WCC Report on this statement. See the full statement(for English, scroll down that page)
• Palestinian Letter to Congress: Our call for freedom must be heard. and Justice For All , the joint initiative of USCPR and Adalah Justice Project • Ten Mennonite Congregations Are Twinned with Communities in Gaza • WCC Olive Harvest Initiative 2020 • Rejecting Big Tech Censorship of Academia and Palestinians
• Palestinian Christians’ Open Letter to Bishop David Malloy of Rockford, Illinois
• We are all made in God’s Image, by Rev. Dr. William Barber II
• Should Evangelicals Terminate Their Affair With the State of Israel? by Rev. Alex Awad
• H.R. 8050: The Israeli Annexation Non-Recognition Act
• 68 Progressive Organizations Tell Congress: Divest from Violence, Invest in Justice for All
• Christians in Palestine and Around the World oppose Israel’s Annexation Plan – Palestinian Christian Responses – In the US: Churches, Faith-based Groups, and Partners – Worldwide Responses • U.S. Christian Leaders Write to the Democratic and Republican Parties
• Corona-Floyd-Hallaq-Day of the Pentecost
• Our struggles are one: Palestinians respond to killing of George Floyd and Rising of Black Lives Matter movement – Palestinians’ Statements – Statements by Palestine Advocacy Groups
• Fourteen church agencies and organizations urge Trump to lift sanctions and other restrictions on health care during Covid-19 pandemic
• Unitarian Universalists Commit to Vigorous Use of Investor Power for Human Rights
• TAKE ACTION: Israel Must Release Palestinian Child Detainees Amid Covid-19
• TAKE ACTION: Open Letter to Church Leaders, from Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace (PCAP)
• U.S. Congressional Action for Palestinians in the time of COVID-19
• Faith leaders and organizations stand up to the U.S. Plan for “Peace to Prosperity” Find them all here
Learn more about these events at our EVENTS PAGE, or click the links below for each one
Palestine Digital Activism Forum 2021
Digital Conference • 29 March – 1 April 2021
7amleh, The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media Learn more and register here
Every week, Christians around the world join in prayer with Palestinian Christians, through the Wave of Prayer from the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem. Below are recent prayers as well as news bites from Sabeel: use the scroll bar to see more of them and click on any item, to read more at Sabeel’s website.
TODAY activists deliver the #StopJerusalemExpusions petition (over 204K signatures!!!!!!) to @SecBlinken & @HadyAmr @StateDept_NEA. Over a dozen members of Congress are sending Blinken the same msg! #SaveSheikhJarrah PLS AMPLIFY this tweet - ensure the US govt gets the message!
#StopJerusalemExpulsions ✋This month, Palestinian families are being forced from homes they have had generations. And that danger is facing thousands more this year in East Jerusalem neighborhoods. #SaveSheikhJarrah We have 3 ways to help-TAKE ACTION NOW! https://umkr.salsalabs.org/actionalert-april2021
12 Churches & Christian Orgs call on Sec'y of State Blinken for "immediate action to halt the imminent displacement of up to 2,000 Palestinians in Jerusalem." https://bit.ly/3gQqRgV #StopJerusalemExpulsions Support their call! SIGN THIS PETITION TODAY: https://bit.ly/3e2bFM2