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.)
PALESTINIAN LETTER TO CONGRESS “Our call for freedom must be heard.”
13 October 2020 – Palestinians, Palestinian-led organizations and allied groups urge the U.S. Congress to change course from the mistaken policies of decades: “Time and time again, our elected officials have excluded Palestinians from policy conversations, erasing our narratives, our dreams, and our rights. Excluding us leads to policy that perpetuates violence and prevents a just resolution for all. The U.S. continues to sideline and dehumanize the Palestinian people using racist tropes, and to criminalize any resistance to Israel’s ongoing military occupation and dispossession of our people from our land.” See the full letter SUPPORT THIS LETTER! Click here to support the letter as an individual Click here to endorse for an organization
JUSTICE FOR ALL
The Palestinian Letter to Congress (see above) is part of a joint initiative from US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR) and Adalah Justice Project: JUSTICE FOR ALL. At that website, see “Freedom is the Future” – a vision of justice grounded in Palestinian demands for freedom and self-determination, our right to return to our homeland, the space to thrive, and our right to resist for the better world we know is possible. Learn more about this Palestinian-led campaign
DON’T MISS COMING EVENTS,
IN THE COLUMN ON THE RIGHT ▶︎
WCC Olive Harvest Initiative 2020
The World Council of Churches (WCC) has launched a global initiative highlighting the spiritual, economic and cultural importance of the olive harvest for Palestinian communities, and witnessing to the impact of the occupation. This campaign also seeks to raise public awareness of the constraints and injustices Palestinians endure, along with continuous threats, harassment and vandalization of their land and property. LEARN MORE about the Initiative Join the Webinar: Cultural, Spiritual and Economic Aspects of the Olive Harvest. 21 October, 6am PT, 9am ET (US, Canada) / 1:00pm UTC) / 4:00 pm Palestine. At that time, tune in here: https://www.oikoumene.org/liveShare the Olive Harvest Initiative 2020:get a fact sheet, photos and more resources here
Rejecting Big Tech Censorship of Academia and Palestinians
Three tech giants censored an online class at San Francisco State University, after pro-Israel advocacy groups complained. The open classroom event included Leila Khaled, a leader in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), as well as prominent Black, Jewish and South African activists. It was scheduled to take place on September 23rd before being shut down by three major communications platforms: Zoom, Facebook and YouTube.
Partners in the Palestine Portal community have issued strong statements condemning this muzzling of Palestinian voices by private businesses.
SEE STATEMENTS EXCERPTS
Episcopal Peace Fellowship Palestine Israel Network (EPF PIN) “In a time when our national conversations openly tout voter suppression, refusal to guarantee peaceful transition of power, and divisive affirmations that only some lives matter, actions like that of YouTube, Zoom, and Facebook add momentum to a dangerous trend toward authoritarianism in our country. They cannot be ignored and must be opposed.”See the full statement
Israel Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) Presbyterian Church USA In a time when our politics are deeply divided and many have been accused of a “Cancel Culture” that stifles free speech, it is reprehensible that pro-Israel groups have pressured an American university to cancel an academic event. To their credit, the administration of SFSU refused many demands to censor the event, and objected to the tech censorship. President Lynn Mahoney wrote to campus, “We cannot embrace the silencing of controversial views, even if they are hurtful to others.” …. Social media erupted with protests against the cancellations, with reminders that the Irgun Gang leader Menachem Begin who bombed the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, killing dozens of civilians, became the Prime Minister of Israel. To censor an academic event based on what some would call similar violent history five decades ago stretches belief that pro-Israel groups are pro-justice. They are pro-justice for one group only; those who support the settler colonial state of Israel who now operates as an apartheid state with laws based on religion and identity. See the full statement
Jewish Voice for Peace This is an extreme example of a well-documented and deeply troubling pattern of repression against and silencing of Palestinian scholarship and advocacy, both in the academy and on social media platforms. At a time when Facebook, YouTube and Zoom are regularly criticized for their failures to halt the rabid growth of white supremacist hate speech and calls for violence on their platforms, it is reprehensible that these businesses instead chose to silence an academic discussion about the voices of political prisoners across the world – including Palestinians. See the full statement See JVP’s Campaign focused on Facebook censorship of Palestinians
Palestine Legal “This is a dangerous attack on free speech and academic freedom from Big Tech: Zoom cannot claim veto power over the content of our nation’s classrooms and public events,” said Dima Khalidi, director of Palestine Legal. “The threat to democracy is elevated by the fact that Zoom’s decision to stamp out discussion of Palestinian freedom comes in response to a systematic repression campaign driven by the Israeli government and its allies.” …. “It’s outrageous for Zoom, which has assumed such a prominent role in online learning during the pandemic, to interject itself into this university-approved classroom event by threatening to sever its contract with CSU completely,” said attorney Dan Siegel, who is representing Professor Abdulhadi.See the full statement
Palestinian Christians’ Open Letter to Bishop David Malloy of Rockford, Illinois
Palestinian Christian leaders, clergy and laity, explain to the Roman Catholic bishop why the statement of satisfaction with the normalization agreement between the UAE and Israel is misguided and condoning that agreement is harmful.
SEE EXCERPTS OF THE LETTER
“People who think that any mutual recognition between an Arab country and the state of Israel is a step forward towards peace are mistaken. …. “Establishing peace relations between Israel and Arab states starts by ending the Israeli occupation and granting the Palestinians their rights, including the right to self-determination. Any other path is a false way to peace. Isolating then cornering the “poor” to kneel before the powerful is surrender, not peace. Moreover, if the Arab regimes will recognize Israel, their peoples will refuse to normalize with the Israelis, as long as the Palestinians remain under oppression. True peace doesn’t start with forging peace agreements with Arab countries but rather with the Palestinians. …. “Some people call this accord the Abraham agreement. Here we say, enough exploiting of God and God’s prophets to side with the powerful. If we call on God and the prophets in this matter, we must then observe God’s commandments and the equality God has given to all peoples—including Israelis and Palestinians. Justice to all. Now on the ground, as the “powerful” take what is theirs and what is others, they are even supported by many churches. The weak are deprived of their rights while the powerful and the churches respond with words, but no action.” See the full letter
We are all made in God’s Image
by Rev. Dr. William Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival and President of Repairers of the Breach
1 September 2020 – In this excellent essay, Barber places the struggle for justice in Palestine in the broad framework of global struggles against racism, colonialism and white supremacy.
“The Palestinian experience is one we can relate to through our own moral and spiritual experience” he writes. “We have to address the displacement of native people wherever they are. Truth and justice cannot be found in narrow tribalism, within the lies of colonialism and white supremacy.” Read Rev. Barbers’ powerful reflections on the Christianzionism.org website. While you are there, explore the website if you have not already discovered it. It offers an exceptional introduction to the topic of Christian Zionism, geared for Christians across the theological spectrum. Written in direct, accessible language on topics such as “Was Jesus a Zionist?” — “Does modern Israel inherit the promises made to Abraham?” — “Who owns the Holy Land?” — “Who are God’s ‘chosen people’ today?” Christianzionism.org is an excellent resource for community and church education and for passing on to friends, family and colleagues.
Endorse and Share “Cry for Hope”
“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.
“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.
The Israeli Annexation
Rep. Betty McCollum has introduced another historic bill in the U.S. Congress, The Israeli Annexation Non-Recognition Act, H.R. 8050. This bill will prohibit the United States government from recognizing Israeli claims of sovereignty over any part of the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and prohibit U.S. military funding to Israel being used for further annexation of Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank. This bill is a vital step toward divesting from Israeli militarism.
PARTNERS OF PALESTINE PORTAL AMONG THE FIRST SPONSORS OF H.R. 8050
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), Defense for Children International–Palestine, Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA), Jewish Voice for Peace Action, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR), Presbyterian Church USA, National Council of Churches, Mennonite Central Committee-Washington DC Office, The United Methodist Church-General Board of Church and Society.
Those with a U.S. address:
Urge your Representative in the House to support this historic bill H.R. 8050. Take action with FOSNA
Christians in Palestine and Around the World
Oppose Israel’s Annexation Plan
Dozens of Churches, christian organizations and leaders from US, Europe, Australia, and Asia issue statements making clear annexation cannot be tolerated and calling on governments for bolder actions to deter this unprecedented looming violation of international law and universal human rights.
PALESTINIAN CHRISTIANS' RESPONSES
Kairos Palestine: The Dire Consequences of Israel’s Coalition Government “The board of Kairos Palestine raises an alarm regarding the consequences of the third failed Israeli election in less than a year. The resulting coalition entered on April 20, 2020, combines two of the most right-wing parties—Bennie Gantz’s Blue and White and Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud—in a deal that directly threatens Palestinians’ freedom, health and human rights.
“Described as an “emergency government” to address the impacts of COVID-19, and under the cover of a so-called “coronavirus cabinet,” the State of Israel is empowered to continue its policies of home demolitions, closures, arrests, child detention and settler violence.
Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem voice concern about Israel’s planned annexation of West Bank land “….We also call upon the Palestinian Liberation Organization, as the sole legitimate Representative of the Palestinian people, to resolve its internal disputes—as well as any conflicts with other factions that are not under its umbrella—in order to present a unified front dedicated to achieving peace and the building of a viable State that is founded upon pluralism and democratic values.” See the full statement
Palestinian Christian Clergy: Trump is Complicit in a Catastrophe for Christians Israel’s West Bank annexation policy, fueled by Trump’s ‘peace plan,’ may gratify extreme evangelicals, but is a mortal blow to the future of Christianity in the Holy Land
“While the world is busy fighting COVID-19, Israeli political parties have reached a government coalition agreement. Benjamin Netanyahu has succeeded in bringing annexation of occupied Palestinian territory to the table, setting a provisional timeframe — less than two months from now. He can thank the Trump plan for the confidence to push annexation so hard and so fast.
“…. Let us be clear: implementing the Trump plan would bring catastrophic consequences for the prospects of a political solution between Israelis and Palestinians, and particularly for the fulfillment of the rights of the Palestinian people, including Palestinian Christians.
“….This plan transforms the Holy Land into a “Zionist fairyland” for the enjoyment of extreme Christian evangelicals and Jews, while the local Christian population remains subjugated under Israel’s coercion. In fact, the plan maintains a cruel and artificial separation between two cities with key Christian holy sites – Bethlehem and Jerusalem.” Originally published in Haaretz See the full article online
Palestinian clergy: ‘Annexation could be the final straw for a
viable Christian presence in Palestine’ We are writing this letter in our capacity as spiritual leaders of various Christian communities in the Bethlehem Area. The Israeli Government is planning to annex more occupied Palestinian land. According to the information they have released, this process could begin on July 1 . For Palestine, Bethlehem and particularly for its Christian population, this new process of annexation will be particularly catastrophic….
One of the only areas left for our expansion, as well as for agriculture and simply for families to enjoy nature, are the valleys of Cremisan and Makhrour, both located to the west of our urban areas and are under the current threat of annexation by Israeli authorities….
IN THE US: CHURCHES, FAITH-BASED GROUPS and PARTNERS
27 Christian Leaders Write to Congress Opposing Unilateral Israeli Annexation of Occupied Palestinian Territory
As of this writing, there is no evidence that President Trump and his administration will reverse course and reject annexation. Warning about the Administration’s current trajectory, Rev. Munther Isaac and Father Jamal Khader, Christian leaders in the West Bank, wrote in Haaretz in early May, “Let us be clear: implementing the Trump plan would bring catastrophic consequences for the prospects of a political solution between Israelis and Palestinians, and particularly for the fulfillment of the rights of the Palestinian people, including Palestinian Christians.”
We call on Congress to wield its power of the purse and not allow any United States funds provided to Israel to be used for the recognition, facilitation or support of annexation, or for denial of Palestinian rights and violation of international law, including continuing occupation. Download the full letter
Opposing Israeli annexation, UCC and Disciples leaders amplify Palestinian ‘Cry for Hope’ The General Ministers and Presidents of the Disciples and the United Church of Christ, as well as the two churches’ Co-Executives of Global Ministries, having received the statement from Palestinian Christians “Cry for Hope: A Call for Decisive Action,” have reached out to their members and offered ways it can be studied and acted on by church members. They also reiterate their strong opposition to anticipated Israeli efforts to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, and to occupation.
“…We also acknowledge that such Israeli de jure annexation would be devastating to any hopes for peace with justice between Israelis and Palestinians while also an extension of decades of de facto Israeli annexation of Palestinian lands. In addition, we continue to work against Israel’s continued blockade of Gaza and its denial of rights of Palestinian refugees, and are deeply troubled by its 2018 basic law identifying the country as “the nation state of the Jewish people,” which openly discriminates against Israel’s one-fifth Palestinian Christian and Muslim population.” See their full statement
Amplifying the Message in Word and Deed: Liberation not Annexation
by Kathryn Mary Lohre, Executive for Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Relations & Theological Discernment, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) “The government of Israel has declared its intention to annex West Bank settlements and the Jordan Valley, as soon as July 1. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu depends on the backing of the US presidential administration to legitimize what would be considered illegal under international law.
“The Palestinian people, who have lived under Israeli military occupation for nearly 53 years, are crying out once again. They are calling us to recognize yet another looming pandemic: the dissolution of prospects for peace with justice for Israelis and Palestinians – Jews, Christians and Muslims….
“….To our Palestinian family, and especially our Palestinian Lutheran family: the ELCA hears your cries. This cannot be overstated – to you, and to anyone else who is listening. Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton has spoken out clearly on behalf of the ELCA, and also with ecumenical partners. This is critical.” See the full statement
IPMN stands with the Movement for Black Lives, #BlackLivesMatter and the BNC call for Solidarity
Israel Palestine Mission Network (IPMN), Presbyterian Church (USA) IPMN stands against racism and white supremacy and strongly condemns the tactics used by the white police officer in Minneapolis. The disregard for human life on the part of our so-called “Law and Order” officials, especially when it comes to African Americans, is intolerable and must stop. As advocates for Palestinian rights, we know all too well that the same ” knee-on-the-neck” is used against Palestinian victims by the Israeli police and military. (See picture here). Israel trains police forces of American cities to act like soldiers and the impunity in Palestine translates to worldwide impunity for acts of police brutality. We stand in solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter and call for an end to all police brutality and for an end to Israeli training of American police forces. See the full statement
Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) Opposes Israeli Annexation and Secretary Pompeo’s Greenlighting on Behalf of U.S. Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) strongly condemns the Trump administration’s support for Israeli annexation of the West Bank and calls for the U.S. government to work instead for a viable and just peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Absent leadership from the Administration, Congress must immediately take concrete legislative action to make clear the U.S. government will not fund or otherwise support annexation. President Trump’s plan, issued in two parts in June 2019 and January 2020, proposes that Israel annex some 30 percent of the West Bank regardless of Palestinian actions. After issuing the second part of the plan, the U.S. government sent a team to work with the Israeli government in a joint commission to map out the areas for annexation. The commission began work in February. See the full statement
Jewish Voice for Peace: No annexation. No apartheid. This is the day, we’ve been told, that Israel can begin formally annexing Palestinian land. That, with the explicit blessings of the U.S. government, Israel can expand its land theft, forcibly expel Palestinians from their homes, and concretize an apartheid regime over Palestinian families.
This is the day, we’ve been told, that all we can do is say NO. That, despite our petitions and our demonstrations and our lobbying efforts and unprecedented gains with our elected officials and the incredible work of Palestinian activists across the world, that despite all of that, Israeli annexation can move ahead. And Jewish Voice for Peace is proud to join the massive international movement of Palestinian solidarity in saying NO. See their full statement
Hundreds of Jewish clergy members pen open letter opposing unilateral annexation More than 600 rabbis and cantors in conjunction with seminary students have penned a public letter to the Israeli government stating that they unequivocally oppose annexation, according to a J Street statement.
T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights Statement on Potential Vote to Annex Parts of the West Bank
“T’ruah reiterates our opposition to annexation, and our commitment to a negotiated agreement, and calls on Netanyahu and Gantz to cease planning for annexation. A global pandemic does not justify a move that will create a permanent occupation, and further codify the denial of basic human rights, including civil and political rights, to the millions of Palestinians living under Israeli military rule. Indeed, the current health crisis has reminded us that the health, safety, and security of Israelis and Palestinians is dependent one on the other.” See the full statement
MECC and WCC Letter to European Union Sent to the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and all the Foreign Ministers of the EU nations
“….We concur with the statement by Dr Michael Lynk, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, that the looming annexation is “a political litmus test for the international community”, and that it “will not be reversed through rebukes”. We appreciate High Representative Josep Borrell’s clear affirmation that the EU does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Palestinian territory and that it will “continue to closely monitor the situation and its broader implications, and will act accordingly.”
“Accordingly, the WCC and the MECC are calling on the EU to ensure that any such annexation is met with real consequences, at least commensurate with those adopted by the EU in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.” See the full letter
Nonviolence International Statement on Annexation: Unilateral annexation of portions of the West Bank by Israel is a path of oppression and injustice. The whole world must say no.
“….There are two major arguments against annexation from the Jordan Valley or near Jerusalem: The first is that it basically violates the bedrock of international law, which holds that you cannot annex territory that comes into your possession as a result of war. After WWII, with the creation of the United Nations, 75 years ago, the international community cannot tolerate “border adjustments” taken unilaterally no matter what the justification.
“….For the Palestinians, nonviolent resistance to occupation, annexation, and 2 nd class status will continue and strengthen. Our NVI partners, including the Holy Land Trust, the US Boats to Gaza, We Are Not Numbers, the Center for Jewish Nonviolence will redouble their efforts. Palestinians make up 50% of the population between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Palestinians and much of the world will relentlessly push for equal rights and dignity. Surrender or mass emigration would be a form of cultural suicide. As Dr. King said, we have a choice between nonviolence or non-existence. We know which choice the Palestinians are taking. In the meantime, how much monumental suffering and injustice must happen before the world says no to injustice and yes to peace.” See their full statement
Kairos Canada: Continue to take action for international human rights and against annexation ….Although this initial date has passed, the ongoing threat of annexation remains real, particularly in the context of occupation. If Israel proceeds with its plan, these acts would greatly exacerbate the suffering of the Palestinian people and put prospects for just and sustainable peace in even greater jeopardy. Furthermore, this plan constitutes a clear violation of International Law, of which Canada is a party. See the full statement and actions called for
Letter from Atlantic Regions of United Church of Canada to Prime Minister and Other Party Leaders Re: Canada’s response to Israel’s threat to annex parts of the occupied Palestinian territory
“….You need to know that Palestinian and Israeli human rights organizations have urgently called on the international community to condemn the proposed annexation. PalestinianChristian leaders, in KAIROS Palestine, have said, “Clear decisions are already taken by the UN. So why further waiting to apply what is already decided?” Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem is asking, “How can the rule of law have any meaning when it is determined, interpreted and applied in accordance with the interests of those who control and oppress their subjects with the intention of perpetuating their rule by means of this same ‘law’?” The Council of Patriarchs and Heads of Holy Land Churches urge the government of Israel to restrain from unilateral annexation plans which would surely bring about the loss of any remaining hope for the success of a peace process.” See the full statement and actions called for
UK’s most senior church officials oppose Israel’s annexation plans The two most senior church officials in the United Kingdom Friday expressed their opposition to any Israeli move to annex West Bank territory in separate letters to the British prime minister and Israel’s envoy in the UK. “The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster wrote to both the Israeli Ambassador, Mark Regev, and the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, expressing their opposition to any move by the Government of Israel to annex West Bank territory after 1 July 2020,” according to the joint statement released by both churches.
Archbishop Justin Welby and Cardinal Vincent Nichols said their opposition followed warnings from the leaders of Churches in the Holy Land that pushing ahead with the annexation would “bring about the loss of any remaining hope for the success of the peace process.” See the report in Al Arabiya See the report in Vatican News
Church of Scotland: Churches Call on UK Government to Deter Annexation of West Bank The Moderator has joined church leaders from across the UK in calling on the Westminster Government to help deter annexation of the West Bank, which could begin on 1 July. Rt Rev Dr Martin Fair joined representatives from the United Reformed Church, Quakers in Britain, the Methodist Church, the Church of England and Catholic Church in signing a letter sent to the UK government. The letter said: “We stand alongside the Holy Land’s Christian leaders, who have warned that the Israeli Government’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank after 1 July “would bring about the loss of any remaining hope for the success of the peace process. See the full statement
Sabeel-Kairos UK: Annexation is illegal, morally corrupt, and threatens the lives of all in the Holy Land. Churches and civil society must speak up. “….Last week over 140 MPs wrote to Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling on him to place sanctions on Israel should it proceed with annexation plans. This falls in-line with the expectation of states to uphold international humanitarian and human rights law, and follows the precedent set by the EU when Russia annexed Crimea. However, MPs alone cannot change the course of action, and neither can the UK government. A global, moral outcry against this illegal action is needed, and it is needed fast. “….We call on civil society, including the individuals and Churches which we work with, to continue, or begin, an unprecedented campaign to Boycott, Divest from, and Sanction Israel with immediate effect, until it ends its illegal occupation of Palestine and complies with international law. Below we have outlined how you can do this in practical ways.” See their full statement and all actions they call for
Kairos Ireland: Letter from John Parkin, Chairperson ….Countries that are pledged to uphold international law and uphold standards of justice and human rights should take a stance against any such annexation policy. In Sweden a number Christian, Jewish and human rights activists have called on the Swedish Government together with the European Union to ensure that Israel’s annexations policies do not go unchallenged but are met with concrete consequences equivalent to those taken against Russia after annexing Crimea. Simon Coveney as acting Foreign Minister has condemned the annexation plan in a Department of Foreign Affairs statement. Eleven ambassadors, including the Irish ambassador have warned against the proposed Israeli action. In the UK a cross party group of around 130 MPs have written to the Prime Minister demanding action against Israel if annexation proceeds.” Download the full letter
Friends of Bethlehem (Denmark): Letter to Foreign Minister Regarding Israeli Annexation of Occupied Territories “….We therefore appeal to the Government of Denmark to consider concrete measures that can put pressure on Israel, so that Israel abstains form further annexing Palestinian and Syrian territories.
“Denmark and the EU have over time condemned Israel’s behavior in the occupied territories as breaches of UN resolutions, international law and the Geneva Conventions. But we need more than words of condemnation, that have not had a great effect. We need action in terms of concrete sanctions. And the rapidly growing 10-year old global network, Kairos Palestine, now appeals that protests are followed up by direct BDS action, from businesses, organisations and governments. We are aware that there is a EU meeting on May 6, 2020 where the question of Israel’s possible annexation of occupied territories will be discussed. We appeal to you that Denmark also at these meetings applies pressure on the other EU countries in order to come to an agreement about concrete measures to be taken with respect to Israel’s policies of occupation.” Download the full letter in English
German Coalition Letter to High EU Representative for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Ministers of the European Union “….Instead of repeated expressions of concern or verbose protests without consequences, the European governments and the EU must take effective steps such as the above-mentioned measures to ensure that the State of Israel finally respects international law and grants human rights to the Palestinians. Israel’s insistence on occupation, expansion of settlements and annexation not only violates international law, but also makes a peaceful future between the two peoples impossible.” Download the full letter
Kairos Sweden: European Union has to be prepared to use sanctions against Israel The situation calls for the European Union (EU) to examine its policies in relation to international law. When Russia annexed Crimea, the EU reacted with sanctions and restricted relations. If principle of proportionality applies, the EU should act in similar ways now. That would mean e.g. limitations to visa-free travel between Israel and the European Union as well as limitations to the EU-Israel Association Agreement for trade, which in its second article demands the observance of human rights and democratic principles. Published in Aftonbladet 6 May 2020, a major daily newspaper in Sweden and Nordic countries. Download the full statement in English
Christian Leaders in Sweden to EU: Stop Israeli Annexation “….Annexation of the West Bank will turn the Palestinian people – including fractions of Palestinian Christians and other groups intrinsic to the community – into a people without legal protection, without access to fundamental civil and democratic rights. The name for such a system, in Afrikaans and in International Law, is apartheid. Such a system is a crime against humanity and demands the intervention of the international community.
“Israel’s annexation comes timely – as the world is focused on ending the Corona pandemic. But the annexation also has the unprecedented and vital backing of the USA, consenting to Israel’s breach of International Law. The Christians of the holy land have time and again exposed Trump’s so-called ‘peace plan’ for what it is – a plan that takes neither International Law nor the Christian community in to account.” Publ. in Swedish at Dagen, May 14, 2020 Download this statement in English
A statement by the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network (Australia): Israeli annexation: an anathema to peace “….We note the many voices who have spoken out against these latest unilateral annexation plans. Voices from European governments, from the World Council of Churches, from the Heads of Churches in the Holy Land, and from Palestinians and Jewish people the world over. :….To these voices we add our own, to implore our Foreign Minister and Australian government not to remain silent but to pressure the Israeli Government to cease these latest land grabs and to comply with international law and UN resolutions. It is time to defend the Palestinian peoples’ inalienable rights to their own homeland. If the Australian government continues to assert its position for a Two-State solution, then it needs to step up and recognise the State of Palestine on 1967 borders, including East Jerusalem as its capital.” Download their full statement
68 Progressive Organizations Tell Congress: Divest from Violence, Invest in Justice for All
Dozens of progressive organizations responded to the Black Lives Matter uprising and Israel’s threat to annex more Palestinian lands by calling on Congress to divest from militarism and policing, from the US to Palestine. The initiative was ed by US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR), Adalah Justice Project, MPower Change, Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA), Jewish Voice for Peace Action, Democratic Socialists of America Palestine Working Group, Students for Justice in Palestine: University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and Eyewitness Palestine. “….Firstly, we call on you to take concrete steps to hold the Israeli government accountable for its ongoing human rights violations and oppression against the Palestinian people by ending the annual flow of $3.8 billion in military and weapons funding….
“Secondly, we call on you to uplift the vision of safety first advanced by the Movement for Black Lives….See their full letter and who signed it
Tell the U.S. Congress: Divest from violence; Stop funding Israeli apartheid!
by Rev. Dr. Munther Isaac, Academic Dean, Bethlehem Bible College “We also cannot breathe,” writes Palestinian pastor and theologian Munther Isaac from Bethlehem. “The wall, the colonies and checkpoints suffocate us. They took the land, water and air from us, and with covetousness they still want even more. They make the laws and are the rulers and executioners of them.”
Isaac continues with a profound reflection of the meaning of George Floyd’s suffering and death, the suffering and deaths of Palestinians, and of people everywhere “suffering under the yoke of sin and darkness.” See the full Pentecost essay
Our struggles are one: Palestinians respond to killing of George Floyd and Rising of Black Lives Matter movement
In addition to the powerful piece by Dr. Munther Isaac (see above), many Palestinians leaders and movements spoke quickly and with conviction of their solidarity with Black Americans and all BIPOC struggling against the powers of Empire.
SEE PALESTINIANS' STATEMENTS
We can’t breathe until we’re free! Palestinians stand in solidarity with Black Americans The Palestinian BDS National Committee “The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the largest coalition in Palestinian society that leads the global BDS movement, stands resolutely in solidarity with our Black brothers and sisters across the US who are calling for justice in the wake of the latest wave of insufferable police murders of Black Americans, including George Floyd in Minneapolis, Tony McDade in Tallahassee, and Breonna Taylor in Louisville.” ….
“The genocidal destruction of native American nations, the pillage of their wealth and resources, and the savage enslavement of millions of Africans constitute the most profound pillars of what became the US. The deeply-seated white supremacist ideology that has guided and attempted to whitewash these crimes is still alive, albeit in different forms. This exclusionary ideology is encouraged by the flagrantly racist Trump White House and an insidious, less-audaciously racist liberal establishment that rhetorically condemns racism, even spews some empty promises, yet consistently fails to act on reparations, racial and economic justice, and ending the horrific system of criminalization and mass incarceration of Black Americans. ….
“We call on the Palestine solidarity movement in the US and elsewhere to stand with the Movement for Black Lives and other Black-led organizations in their righteous struggle for justice, and for an abolitionist approach to police reform, reparation, and liberation. We endorse calls for targeted and strategic boycott, defunding and divestment campaigns against institutions, banks and corporations that are implicated in the system of racial injustice.”….
“The system of structural racism in the US is violently enforced by paramilitary police departments, many trained by Israel, including the Minnesota police. These police forces have been tasked with doing whatever it takes to protect this rotten system of white supremacy and Black, Latinx and Indigenous disenfranchisement.” See this powerful statement in full
Black Lives Matter: A Declaration of Solidarity by Kairos Palestine “Love is seeing the face of God in every human being. Every person is my brother or my sister. However, seeing the face of God in everyone does not mean accepting evil or aggression on their part. Rather, this love seeks to correct the evil and stop the aggression.” The Kairos Palestine Document: A confession of faith and call to action from Palestinian Christians, Paragraph 4.2.1 “Kairos Palestine expresses its unequivocal support for the Black Lives Matter movement and everyone working for racial justice in USA, the demands of which have resonated in communities around the world. The movement has opened an opportune moment—a kairos moment—for citizens in the United States and people of faith and civil society around the world to name and address places of systemic racism, economic inequality, food deprivation, lack of access to health care, and state-sanctioned violence that strip human beings of their dignity, equal rights and far too often their lives. We invite you to join us as together: · We listen and learn from our Black and Brown brothers and sisters; · We lament that Black Americans and people of color daily endure injustice and discrimination, police brutality, and systemic racism; · We confess and repent of our share in the brokenness that divides humankind; · We renew our commitment to work for the freedom and wholeness of all people; · We bind ourselves anew, like leaders in the Black Lives Matter movement, to a resistance grounded in the power and logic of love that seeks to liberate both the oppressors and the oppressed in our own context and around the globe.
We give thanks for the many expressions of Black-Palestinian solidarity over decades. The oppression of both our peoples is rooted in the sin of settler-colonialism and the disinvestment of resources in the wellbeing of our people and communities. So we embrace the Black Lives Matter movement as a moral one — its importance, its growing strength, its successes and its unmet demands. And we look forward to opportunities to join in the work of other diverse communities to realize the value, the humanity and the rights of all people to justice and peace. Kairos Palestine Board of Directors See this statement on the Kairos Palestine website
Palestinians In Solidarity With African Americans Statement signed by Palestinians around the world “We understand that violence against Black bodies is endemic in the United States. And, in fact, anti-Blackness has been a mainstay of the nation’s political, economic and social structures since its inception. We also recognize that the struggle for Black liberation is the single most important force to shape the features of justice and democracy in the United States. Without the struggles and sacrifices of African Americans, the United States would not have the constitutional amendments or multitude of laws that prohibit exclusion and further demand inclusion, hard-won rights that have benefited every other marginalized group in the U.S.” ….
“We are angered and outraged. We are also inspired by your strength, defiance, and perseverance in the face of violent, oppressive systems that have terrorized you for 400 years. Racist discrimination cannot function without the capitalist material infrastructure that underpins and abets it. We therefore recognise radical disruption as an effective and legitimate means of undermining this infrastructure. We support you however you choose to resist your oppression, for that is your natural right. From Palestine and our diaspora, we echo your demands and know that our freedom is incomplete without yours. We will not stop fighting until both our peoples are free, and indeed until all peoples and other sentient beings are free!” See the full statement
It’s Our Duty to Defend Black Life Message from Adalah Justice Project “This rebellion is rooted in love. “To protest for Black life, to demand dignity, to cry out for justice, is love. Today, rebellions out of love are happening throughout this nation, an empire built on the backs of Black people who were kidnapped from their homelands and subjected to violent repression for over 400 years. We stand in full support of this Black uprising. We remain fully committed to Black liberation and defending Black life across the globe and within our own communities. “There is a long legacy of Black-Palestinian solidarity and a radical understanding that the Black liberation struggle is an anti-colonial fight that is transnational and connected to the struggles of oppressed peoples across the globe. As we recognize the connections between the Palestinian and Black struggles, we must also recognize that there are historical and contextual differences between our struggles…. “What does justice look like? A world in which Black people no longer have to fear for their lives and where Black communities thrive. All our knowledge, critique, and resistance to Israeli state violence can help us grab at the root of structural racism in the United States to weed it out permanently. We understand that all racism and oppression, including white supremacy and Zionism, are underpinned by anti-Blackness. It is our duty to resist. We encourage you to find ways to be a part of this rebellion of love for Black life. ” See the full statement
Statement in Solidarity with the Anti-Racism Movement in America by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Theodosios Atallah Hanna “Long live our brothers in humanity in your fight against hate and racism everywhere in this world….From the City of Jerusalem, the City of Peace, we stand firm, in solidarity and support, with the peaceful demonstrators who are fighting to end racism, prejudice, and police brutality all over the United States and around the world….We condemn and reject the heinous murder of George Floyd. We condemn the systemic and institutional anti-black racism in America. Racism is evil and must be rejected, confronted, and resisted by all peaceful means. We – your brothers and sisters in Palestine, through this message, not only express our solidarity and condemnation of this crime but also affirm that we have a common suffering from the forces of evil and oppression in all its fascist forms whether religious, social, political and economic apartheid.” Read this full statement
Black Lives Matter : American Palestinian Women’s Association Stands Shoulder to Shoulder with Our African American Brothers and Sisters “As mothers, sisters, aunts, and grandmothers we are filled with a wide range of emotions provoked by the cold and heartless murder of Mr. George Floyd. When Mr. Floyd said that he could not breathe, our hearts ached with deep sorrow. We cried when he called for his mother. And we were filled with anger when no one responded to his pleas and came to his rescue. And we are also heartened by the ongoing battle for justice, equality, and peace waged across our nation.”….Equal Justice for all Americans is a non-negotiable right, and absolutely yes, Black Lives Matter!” See the full statement
We Must Support and Defend Black Life Rachel Corrie Foundation “At the Rachel Corrie Foundation, we believe that injustice must be challenged and that human rights and resistance to oppression must be included in the way we define ourselves as a community. We unequivocally stand in solidarity with Black communities in their fight for justice. Specifically, we support demands emanating from these communities, such as respect for the rights of protestors, divestment from police forces and investment in Black communities, immediate material relief, and direct community control over the laws, institutions, and policies that are meant to serve them.
“This commitment to Black liberation is deeply connected to our commitment to Palestinian liberation. The white supremacy and systemic racism that pervades all aspects of American society is exactly that which reinforces Israel’s oppressive policies. Specifically, the violent and anti-Black policing system in our country is materially connected to Israeli police forces through mutual training and co-development of technology. Since 2002, thousands of American police officers and officials, including members of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), have traveled to Israel for these purposes. We see the results of this cooperation in the brutal murders carried out by law enforcement from Minneapolis to Jerusalem.
“With an unprecedented sense of urgency, we ask our friends and supporters around the world to take on the work necessary to support Black communities. Playing an active role in the protection of Black life is our duty. See this statement at their website
UMKR Endorses BMCR Call to Action, Pledges Partnership with BIPOC United Methodists for Kairos Response (UMKR)
UMKR wholeheartedy endorses the eloquent Call to Action issued by Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR) in response to recent events in the United States, including the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. We call on all United Methodists to join us in taking this powerful statement to heart and taking action on the measures BMCR has put forth.
Both the Biblical values we embrace and the Christian principles set forth by the United Methodist Church have taught us to recognize racism, individual and systemic, as sin. We know it is our responsibility to identify, oppose, and strive to eradicate this sin and heal this brokenness wherever it arises: in ourselves, in our movement, in our church, and in our institutions and societies.
The UMKR Steering Committee commits to pursuing the long-term work of identifying and dismantling racism on multiple levels, beginning with ourselves and our movement. As we engage in that work, we pledge to hear the voices and acknowledge the leadership provided by Black people, indigenous peoples and other people of color, within our denomination, in our local communities, and around the world. See the full statement
Israel and the Murder of George Floyd
Mennonite Palestine Israel Network (MennoPIN) “For many, many years Israel has been exporting the brutal tactics they use against Palestinian citizens. In cities all over the United States, personnel from the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have come to teach police in this country the very repressive measures they use in their occupation of Palestine. “The U.S. group Deadly Exchange describes the exchange of practices this way: “One of the most dangerous places where the regimes of Trump and Netanyahu converge is in exchange programs that bring together police, ICE, border patrol, and FBI from the US with soldiers, police, border agents… from Israel. In these programs, ‘worst practices’ are shared to promote and extend discriminatory and repressive policing in both countries. These include extrajudicial executions, shoot-to-kill policies, police murders, racial profiling, massive spying and surveillance, deportation and detention, and attacks on human rights defenders…. “The enormous, nation-wide opposition to militarized police forces coming from all sectors of U.S. society has potential for change never seen before. The decision by the Minneapolis City Council to dismantle their police force is a deeply encouraging sign. How they will do that remains to be seen. See their full statement in their June Newsletter
Justice for George Floyd, Solidarity with Black people American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) “….Muslim-Americans, one-third of whom are Black Americans, are painfully familiar with the scourge of racist and discriminatory practices that impact lives, human rights, and dignity on a daily basis. Today, we virtually link arms with our Black sisters and brothers demanding justice and an end to white supremacy, which underpins both police violence and vigilantism. “A genuine commitment to solidarity with marginalized groups and their struggles for justice and liberation must be rooted in universal principles of justice and human rights. We must speak out passionately against the human rights abuses directed at Black America… “The resurgence of Black-Palestinian transnational solidarity began in the summer of 2014, when Palestinians in Gaza experienced their worst massacre to date by Israel and Black Americans continued experiencing numerous acts of police brutality.The motto “From Ferguson to Palestine” resonated with many activists who understood the significance of resisting racialized state violence and oppression.” See AMP’s full statement here
Justice for George Floyd Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) • 27 May 2020 “On Monday George Floyd, like Eric Garner five years before him, was suffocated by a policeman, who put his knee on George’s neck for five minutes and killed him.
“Police are killing Black people. And months into a global pandemic, it’s abundantly clear that our healthcare system is killing Black and Brown people. George Floyd repeatedly said to the police, “I can’t breathe.” His life mattered.
“Jewish tradition teaches us that the loss of a single life is the loss of a whole world. At JVP we are in shared mourning with everyone who is impacted by this senseless death – with our Black community members, with our movement allies and partners, with every parent who woke up to this news with fear and terror. We join together to fight for a future where Black people can be free from violence, to live long abundant lives.
Open Letter by BIJOCSM to Defund the Police JVP-BIJOCSM Network “We are Black Jews, Indigenous Jews, non-Black Jews of Color, Sephardim and Mizrahim Jews, (BIJOCSM), and we write to you at a juncture when the centuries-long oppression of Black people in this country, and around the world, can no longer be denied or dismissed…. “As BIJOSCM, we call on all American Jews to divest from police, and urge that all Jewish institutions, community centers, synagogues and Jewish spaces of prayer end their partnerships with the police. We invite you to work with us to collectively imagine ways to keep each other safe, ways that pose no danger to Black Jews in our shuls or to Black people in our communities and neighborhoods…. “As BIJOCSM, we are painfully aware of the rise of antisemitism and white supremacy. We understand the fear of being attacked simply for being who we are – and we still believe in our capacity to show up for each other…. “Divesting from police and ending all partnerships with police forces is the bare minimum we can do. It is just one step in a much larger fight against anti-Blackness, racism, antisemitism and white supremacy.” See their full statement
Focusing on Black Liberation Palestine Legal “This is a critical moment for all of us. As at many points in U.S. history, it’s a moment of reckoning with this country’s deep roots in white supremacy—in the genocide of Indigenous people, in a system of racial hierarchy that brought millions of African slaves here, that lynched countless thousands of Black souls, that enforced racial segregation for decades, and that now maintains the hierarchy through brutal policing of Black communities, mass incarceration, disinvestment in Black neighborhoods, and stark inequalities in education, housing, and healthcare….
“Today, it’s our responsibility to make or renew our commitments to investing in the movement for Black liberation and other justice movements. It’s not enough to point to connections in our struggles. It’s not enough to point to Israel’s training of our police forces. We have the ability and the responsibility to confront and challenge all of the ways that we are complicit in, benefit from, and help to maintain a system built on white supremacy.” See their full statement
Black Lives Matter Is Not Just a Hashtag UNRWA: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees
in the Near East “First, to our black community: we see you, we hear you, we love you, and we’re with you. UNRWA USA stands with our black beneficiaries, colleagues, supporters, partners, friends, and loved ones and echoes the call for justice and an end to systemic, institutionalized racism so that all people can live free. As individuals and as an organization, UNRWA USA commits to antiracist principles and action so that Black Lives Matter is not just a hashtag. We’re starting by reading and discussing Dr. Kendi’s “How To Be An Antiracist” as a staff. To our non-black supporters: we join you in listening, learning, unlearning, engaging, and acting — just as we have done all these years for Palestine refugees. We cannot and will not remain passive. Our staff has found the following resources useful….” See this statement and UNRWA’s resource list here
Israel Must Release Palestinian Child Detainees Amid Covid-19
This petition from Defense for Children International–Palestine calls on Israeli authorities to take immediate action to release all Palestinian child detainees in Israeli prisons due to the rapid global spread of the COVID-19 virus.
SEE MORE & SIGN THE PETITION
Palestinian children imprisoned by Israeli authorities live in close proximity to each other, often in compromised sanitary conditions, with limited access to resources to maintain minimum hygiene routines, according to documentation collected by DCIP. COVID-19’s impact is exacerbated by these living conditions making Palestinian children in Israeli prisons and detention centers increasingly vulnerable. SIGN THE DCIP PETITION
Kumi Now is hosting weekly video gatherings to connect activists around the world with the organizations working for Palestine. Each session features at least one speaker from the co-host organization, and often additional speakers from Sabeel or other organizations. Gatherings happen every Tuesday at 6:00pm Palestinian time (GMT+3), see more times above. To sign up for the webinars, use this link and see the form at the bottom of the page:https://kuminow.com/online See all of Kumi’s past webinars here: https://kuminow.com/online-archives/
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.
"Kairos Palestine & the Global Church: Standing at the Crossroads." KP General Coordinator, their founding leader, Rifat Kassis with David Wildman: Middle East Liaison & UN Representative for the United Methodist Church. Oct 14th, Register now! https://umkr.salsalabs.org/alert_oct-webinar
Covid1-9 rising in Gaza, still living under siege! Gaza needs medicine, electricity, drinkable water!! Tell Congress to act now with the Israeli gov't AND to restore U.S. humanitarian aid to Palestinians, never more desperately needed than now. https://umkr.salsalabs.org/alert-sept2020
NEW: A second Palestinian child detained by Israeli forces has tested positive for COVID-19. The 14-year-old tested positive in mid-September after spending two days in Israeli custody. http://ow.ly/V5Ws50BFzTY
Tell Facebook - STOP CENSORING PALESTINIANS! Palestinians must be allowed FREE SPEECH on Facebook and not muzzled. #FacebookCensorsPalestine #DropEmiPalmor. @oversightboard Sign the Petition: https://bit.ly/3mMoIDI