2019 Community News


ON THIS PAGE:

• Bahrain Conference and U.S. “Deal of the Century:”
Palestinian Alliance for Peace (PCAP): Statement by PCAP on the (then) upcoming Bahrain Economic Conference
SEE ELSEWHERE:
Statement from
Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP): Kushner’s Foreign Investment Plan Is No Substitute for Palestinian Freedom
Statement from American Muslims for Palestine: Trump’s Middle East Peace Plan Is Neither a Plan nor Will It Lead to Peace

Unitarian Universalist Action of Immediate Witness: Support Our First Amendment Right to Boycott
___UUJME Flyer: “Support Our First Amendment Right to Boycott”
___UUJME Petition in Support of Our First Amendment Right of Free Speech

• German Parliament Condemns BDS Movement:
Kairos Palestine: A Call for the German Bundestag to Reverse its May 17, 2019 Resolution, “Resisting the BDS movement decisively – fighting antisemitism
Palestinian BDS National Committee: Palestinians unanimously condemn German Parliament’s attack on the right to boycott Israel’s apartheid and colonization

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Statement by PCAP on the upcoming Bahrain Economic Conference

From the Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace (PCAP) – June 2019

The Trump administration is convening an “economic workshop” to be held in Bahrain on June 25 – 26.  The purported purpose of this conference is to implement an economic assistance program similar to the “Marshall Plan” with the goal of providing economic development aid to help boost and sustain a viable Palestinian economy.  Although fundamentally there is nothing wrong in holding an economic conference by itself, this particular conference is part of Trump’s so called “Deal of the Century”, in which economic aid is contingent on the Palestinian leadership to sign on to such an agreement. The Palestinian people will not be bribed into submission or relinquish their right for full sovereignty over the West Bank and East Jerusalem and to the right of return.

The Trump Administration is putting the cart before the horse because no economic assistance program can ever succeed if the Palestinian people do not have their right to govern themselves in a full sovereign nation with all its institutions. Investors prefer to operate in a stable and predictable legal and political environment with clearly defined processes for the movement of people, goods and capital.  Therefore, developing the Palestinian economy would be a positive element in a peace agreement, but cannot be a substitute for it.

The Palestinians in occupied Palestine and in the diaspora have high quality human capital, an educated and resourceful population, a tech-savvy young population and a strong inherent entrepreneurship culture.  With these characteristics and an economic environment based on tourism, agriculture, international trade, and hightech knowhow, they can build the Palestinian economy on their own once the barriers of occupation and the repressive system that comes with it are removed.

We call on the faith-based community to join us in demanding the full rights of the Palestinian people to live in their own sovereign state with peace and dignity.

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” — Mathew 5:9  v. 10

Board of the Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace (PCAP)

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Unitarian Universalist Action of Immediate Witness:
Support Our First Amendment Right to Boycott

An Action of Immediate Witness at the Unitarian Universalist Association 2019 General Assembly, sponsored by Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East (UUJME)

This Action of Immediate Witness calls on Unitarian Universalists and UU organizations to support our constitutionally protected right to boycott. The movement for Palestinian human rights has grown stronger in recent years with student groups, faith groups, unions and academic associations all coming out in support of Palestinian justice, and in many cases calling for boycotts and divestment from corporations complicit in violations of Palestinian human rights.

This growth in support for Palestinian rights has led to a backlash from all those who are threatened by criticism of Israel. The backlash has taken many forms, including a major effort to damage the movement for Palestinian rights with legislation aimed at intimidating or even criminalizing participation in boycotts directed at changing Israeli behavior. Divestment is a kind of boycott and much of the legislation refers to divestment as well as to boycotts.

Since 2014 over 100 measures targeting the use of boycotts in support of Palestinian rights have been introduced at local, state and federal levels. Twenty-seven different states have adopted such laws. Several such bills have also achieved wide support in the US Congress, although no bill has as yet passed both houses to become law. Some of the more extreme federal legislation that has been proposed calls for prison sentences of twenty years and fines of one million dollars. (see https://palestinelegal.org/righttoboycott )

This massive effort to pass anti-boycott legislation is disturbing given that the US Supreme Court determined in 1982 that boycotts are a form of free speech protected by the First Amendment (NAACP vs Claiborne Hardware), and given that such laws have recently been declared unconstitutional by Federal courts in Kansas, Arizona and Texas. The ACLU takes no position on Palestinian rights but has strongly opposed all of the anti-boycott legislation (see https://www.aclu.org/letter/aclu-letter-opposing-revised-version-israel-anti-boycott-act ).

The initiators of this anti-boycott legislation are not really concerned about constitutionality. They know that cases on appeal may take years to reach the Supreme Court and in the meantime their legislation will serve to frighten off those wishing to support Palestinian human rights with the time-honored, non-violent and constitutional means of boycotts.

But we must recognize, along with the ACLU, that all of us are threatened by this attack on our fundamental rights. Today it is supporters of Palestinians who are threatened, tomorrow it may be supporters of farm workers, Black Americans, indigenous people, immigrants, LGBTQIA people or prisoners. Broad opposition to these anti-boycott laws should be based on their unconstitutional, anti-democratic character and separate from one’s views concerning how to support Palestinians.

This Action of Immediate Witness calls on Unitarian Universalist and UU organizations to oppose these anti-boycott laws by reaching out to their representatives at state and federal levels. We also ask UUs to sign UUJME’s petition [see it below] calling on Congress to oppose this legislation (see https://tinyurl.com/defendrighttoboycott) or collect signatures via a paper version.
https://tinyurl.com/defendrighttoboycott-paper and mail them to the indicated address.

Download this document

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UUJME PETITION in Support of Our First Amendment Right of Free Speech!

We, the undersigned individuals, congregations, and organizations related to the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), oppose national laws, state laws, and executive orders that penalize participation in the nonviolent Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights.

We affirm our commitment to the constitutional right to free speech. We affirm that boycotts and divestment in support of human rights are free speech and are aligned with UU principles upholding democracy in human affairs and the right of conscience.

Our opposition to laws penalizing the use of boycotts and divestment in support of Palestinian rights is based on our support for free speech and is independent of whether or not we as individuals or organizations endorse the BDS movement.

We call on members of the U.S. Congress and all other elected government officials to vigorously uphold the right of conscience and free speech by opposing legislation and executive orders that restrict and/or penalize boycotts for Palestinian rights.

UU ORGANIZATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS ARE ENCOURAGED TO SIGN THE FORM!

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A Call for the German Bundestag to Reverse its May 17, 2019 Resolution, “Resisting the BDS movement decisively – fighting antisemitism”

From Kairos Palestine

May 23, 2019 – Christians in Palestine are saddened and confused to learn of the German Bundestag’s passage of a resolution condemning the International Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) and making it equal to anti-Semitism. The Palestinian BDS movement embraces the logic of peaceful means of resistance against the ongoing occupation and the Israeli human rights violations and discriminatory measures against our people. It means inviting Israel to the ways of peace, even by instituting some kind of pressure to help the government to open its eyes and see the injustice it is imposing on another people, the Palestinians.
While the Bundestag intends to protect Israel, by the anti-BDS law; putting Israel above the law will not help Israel; on the contrary, by doing this you are justifying and legalizing its unjust measures against Palestinians and help them to sustain the occupation and state of war. Israel needs people and states who can help it reconcile with Palestinians and put an end to its permanent way of war.
Therefore, we ask with heavy-laden hearts, “What other avenue would our German brothers and sisters ask us to take in order to overcome this historic injustice, the uprooting of our trees, the confiscation of our land, the forced transfer of our people, the denial of our human rights, the indiscriminate killing and the denial of self-determination for Palestinians and their right to live in freedom and dignity, free of foreign control and occupation.?”

As to the false charge of anti-Semitism, the BDS movement is rooted in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It unconditionally opposes all forms of racism, including Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.

A just and peaceful resolution to our plight is only possible with international support. But Israel is able to whitewash its many abuses of human rights and violations of international law because the governments of the world have turned a blind eye to the plight of Palestinians and failed to hold Israel accountable. This is why, in the first place, we called and call on citizens of the world to embrace BDS as a way to hold Israel accountable and pressure it to move towards a just peace.
Regarding the resolution, “Resisting the BDS movement decisively—fighting antisemitism”, which singles out Palestinians, we ask you why there is no mention of:

● Israel’s strangling blockade of the Gaza Strip for 13 years;
● Israel’s declared annexation of Israeli settlements in the West Bank built on stolen Palestinian land;
● the daily humiliations to which our children are subjected at military checkpoints as they make their way to school; and to which women have become captive and restricted from accessing jobs and services;
● the unjust system of military law; a network of Israeli settler-only roads that restrict Palestinian movement and trade;
● and a separation wall judged by the International Court of Justice in 2004 as “a breach of international law”;
● the nearly 700 Palestinian children who annually are detained and prosecuted in the Israeli military court system, in contravention of international law;
● and most importantly the denial of the right of return, the right for reparations, and right to self-determination for Palestinians that will guarantee their dignity and freedom from foreign domination and occupation.

The State of Israel, institutions and companies that are complicit in the denial of Palestinians’ human rights are the targets of the BDS movement. Everyone has the right to criticize the unjust actions of a state and a corporation. The Palestinian BDS movement does not boycott or campaign against any individual or group simply because they are Israeli.

Finally, as written in the Palestinian churches’ cry for justice (www.kairospalestine.ps), we believe that every human being is created in the image of God and that love is seeing the face of God in every person. We wrote in Kairos Palestine document” We do not resist with death but rather through respect of life. And we affirm that every citizen must be ready to defend his or her life, freedom and land.”

Therefore, we join our Jewish, Muslim and Christian friends and people of good will around the world in calling on the Bundestag to revise its resolution and to realize that Israel needs friends who can pressure and advice it to take the road of real peace and reconciliation. “In the absence of all hope, we cry out our cry of hope. We believe in God, good and just. We believe that God’s goodness will finally triumph over the evil of hate and of death that still persist in our land. We will see here “a new land” and “a new human being”, capable of rising up in the spirit to love each one of his or her brothers and sisters”. (Kairos Palestine 10.)

Kairos Palestine document is the Christian Palestinians’ word to the world about what is happening in Palestine. It is written at the time when we wanted to see the Glory of the grace of God in this land and in the sufferings of its people. In this spirit Kairos Palestine requests the international community to stand by the Palestinian people who have faced oppression, displacement, suffering for more than seven decades. Our word is a cry of hope, with love, prayer and faith in God. We address it first of all to ourselves and then to all the churches and Christians in the world, asking them to stand against injustice, urging them to work for a just peace in our region.

Source: http://kairospalestine.ps/index.php/resources/statements/275-a-call-for-the-german-bundestag-to-reverse-its-may-17-2019-resolution

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Palestinians unanimously condemn German Parliament’s attack on the right to boycott Israel’s apartheid and colonization

From the Palestinian BDS National Committee

May 24, 2019 – Through statements issued by both the Palestine Liberation Organization, the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, and Palestinian civil society groups, and protests at German Representative Offices in Ramallah and Gaza, Palestinians have unanimously condemned the German Parliament’s May 17 resolution that falsely labeled the Palestinian-led BDS Movement as anti-Semitic.

In a May 19 statement, The Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization called the German Parliament’s resolution “an attack against the Palestinian people and their  legitimate and inalienable rights.” The PLO Executive Committee said that the BDS movement rejects “racism and discrimination,” and called “on the German Parliament to withdraw this decision,” and on “German parties to reject the decision.” They further warned that “the PLO’s Executive Committee will reconsider its relations with German unions, parties and institutions if Germany continues its complicity with the occupation and standing against our people’s rights.”

In a tweeted statement on May 17, the day of the Parliament’s resolution, the BDS Movement described the resolution as “based on outright lies. It’s not only anti-Palestinian McCarthyism, it is a betrayal of international law, German democracy and the fight against real anti-Jewish racism.”

At a protest with 200 participants on Wednesday, May 22 at the German Representative Office in Israeli-occupied Ramallah, Palestinian civil society groups delivered a letter signed by representatives of over 200 Palestinian civil society organizations. The civil society letter said that the groups “condemn in the strongest terms” the Parliament’s resolution, “reject the baseless allegations and fabrications of  the Bundestag,” and call for the German Parliament to “repeal this anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab resolution.” A Thursday protest at Germany’s Representative Office in the Gaza Strip, where two million Palestinians live in an open-air prison under Israel’s siege, echoed those same messages.

The civil society letter said that, “Denying Palestinians the right to non-violently advocate for freedom, justice and equality is anti-Palestinian and puts the Bundestag at odds with international law, with universal democratic principles and even with the formal position of the European Union.”

Palestinian civil society groups reaffirmed the principles that the Palestinian BDS National Committee had laid out in  2017 statement  entitled “Racism and racial discrimination are the antithesis of freedom, justice and equality”,  saying that “the BDS movement rejects all forms of racism and discrimination, including Islamophobia, anti-semitism, sexism, anti-Black racism and homophobia, and is inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement and the US civil rights movement. BDS targets complicity, not identity.” They called on “Germany to end all forms of complicity in Israel’s illegal occupation and apartheid by banning Israel’s illegal settlement products and services, ending all military trade and military research with Israel and supporting the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement.”

A second Palestinian civil society letter, issued Thursday, called on “the German Government to refrain from adopting this resolution and passing it into law”, saying that doing so “would further threaten the relationship between Palestinian and German civil society.” The letter also called on the German government to impose a military embargo against Israel, and to cooperate to realize the rights of the Palestinian people, including the right of return of Palestinian refugees.

In another statement, the Palestinian Christian group Kairos Palestine said that, “Christians in Palestine are saddened and confused” by the German Parliament’s resolution. Kairos explained, “the State of Israel, institutions and companies that are complicit in the denial of Palestinians’ human rights are the targets of the BDS movement. Everyone has the right to criticize the unjust actions of a state and a corporation. The Palestinian BDS movement does not boycott or campaign against any individual or group simply because they are Israeli.”

The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) is the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society. It leads and supports the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for Palestinian rights.

Source: https://bdsmovement.net/news/palestinians-unanimously-condemn-german-parliament%E2%80%99s-attack-right-boycott-israel%E2%80%99s-apartheid

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