November 1, 2020
A few days ago we received the latest United Church of Christ Israel-Palestine Network E-News. It resembled our planned newsletter so closely and is so well done that we could not improve on it. And so with the blessing of the UCC PIN, we are sharing it here almost in its entirety. You will find links to Advent resources, the "Keep Awake: Call to Preach Palestine" program, announcements of upcoming resources including the BDS toolkit from Global Kairos for Justice, and a wealth of other resources to keep you up to date on developments in Palestine and in our movement.

The newsletter opens with a powerful reflection by PIN editor UCC Rev. Allie Perry, and closes with an excellent and wide-ranging selection of news and analysis from the UCC PIN's Rev. Loren McGrail.

In this issue:

  • "Hope for a Great Sea-Change": Editor's Note
  • Register Now for "Objector," Voice from the Holy Land Online Film Salon
  • BDS Toolkit: Coming Soon
  • Anticipating Advent: Resources
  • Kairos Palestine Christmas Alert
  • Breaking the Stories, curated by the Rev. Loren McGrail
"Hope For A Great Sea-Change"
Editor's Note by the Rev. Allie Perry
It's been a challenge to focus on anything other than the current U.S. elections and efforts to get out the vote and secure an overwhelming and indisputable rejection of Trump and his minions with their pernicious, divisive, and corrupt practices. Democracy, as flawed as it has been in this country, is on the ballot, and so much more. Meanwhile, we are in the midst of another spike in the global Covid pandemic, with daily numbers of infected at an all time high in too many places. Equally out of control wildfires continue to devastate large tracts of land in the West, and racist practices and hate-mongering are scorching the body politic. We are living in a time of life interrupted and disrupted.

In such a time as this, I take comfort from Seamus Heaney's poem "From the Cure of Troy." Heaney reminds us that:

. . . once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope and history rhyme.
So hope for a great sea-change
On the far side of revenge.
Believe that a further shore
Is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles
And cures and healing wells.
Call miracle self-healing:
The utter, self-revealing
Double-take of feeling.
If there’s fire on the mountain
Or lightning and storm
And a god speaks from the sky
That means someone is hearing
The outcry and the birth-cry
Of new life at its term.

Surely this is a time to "hope for a great sea-change" and also to work for it as so many activists are doing; a time to keep on keeping on and also to look for and trust in signs of new life breaking through; a time to be vocal and join our voices to the chorus of outcries and birth-cries.

One way that UCC PIN is speaking out is through a resolution that we have written for the 2021 General Synod. The resolution takes its inspiration from the 1934 Barmen Declaration by the Confessing Church in Germany, the 1982 Belhar Confession of the Dutch Reformed Mission Church in South Africa, and Cry For Hope: A Call for Decisive Action issued this past summer by Kairos Palestine and Global Kairos for Justice. The resolution calls on the General Synod to adopt a declaration of conditions requisite for justice in Palestine and Israel. The declaration is designed to provide a plumb line of what we, as people of faith, affirm and what we are called to reject.

Soon, the UCC PIN will circulate the text of the resolution, inviting congregations to study and discuss it and to sign on to the resolution as an endorsing congregation. Look for more information to follow.
Coming Soon, November 15

November 15th is the launch date for a BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) Toolkit website. Commissioned by Global Kairos for Justice in December 2019, this website is now coming to fruition. It does a deep and an invaluable dive into the imperative of BDS as a tactic for achieving justice.  It describes the theological foundation for BDS, provides legal analysis, lays out the basics (BDS 101), and contains stories from around the world. At a time when many legislatures in the USA have been passing anti-BDS legislation, effectively criminalizing this non-violent, time-honored form of protest, the new toolkit will offer resources to confront such challenges and to promote BDS.  

Keep Awake: A Call to Preach Palestine

Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) has over 50 congregations that have signed up already to participate in "Keep Awake: A Call to Preach Palestine," on November 29th, the first Sunday in Advent, which this year coincides with the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Is your congregation one of them? FOSNA has set a goal of 100 participating congregations. To participate, click here to fill out FOSNA's interest form.

Keep Awake is a direct response to action steps enumerated in "Cry for Hope," issued this summer by Kairos Palestine and Global Kairos for Justice. In this video, Rifat Kassis, co-author of "Cry for Hope," speaks of the prophetic call of "Cry for Hope" and the opportunity that Advent offers for us all to Keep Awake.
FOSNA's Clergy and Seminar Action Council has collected and curated a variety of "Keep Awake" worship resources from various traditions that you can access here.
Kairos Palestine Christmas Alert 2020

Every year Kairos Palestine creates a Christmas Alert, providing resources for reflection, prayer, and action for each of the four Sundays of Advent and for Christmas Day. The 2020 Kairos Christmas Alert lifts up this powerful liberative message: "Still, the only hope of the world is in the light of a star that neither tanks nor fighter planes nor separation walls nor huge search lights can keep from penetrating the darkness."

As the Rev. Dr. Munther Isaac, pastor of Bethlehem's Christmas Lutheran church, writes in his reflection for the fourth Sunday in Advent, "When God came to our world, God chose to come as one of the helpless and oppressed. Jesus came to build a different kind of kingdom, not like that of the Emperor or the Caliph or a Crusader’s king or khedive or Turkish sultan. He came to build a kingdom that is definitely not like that of Netanyahu or Trump. It is a kingdom for the peaceful, the lovers of good and justice. It is a Kingdom with the cross as its symbol, not like that of the Crusaders, but like that of Golgotha—a cross of love, sacrifice and redemption."  

Documentary Film Presented by Voices from the Holy Land: Register Now
The Middle East Committee of Westmoreland Congregational UCC is partnering with Voices from the Holy Land to present Objector, a powerful documentary film which tells the story of a young Israeli woman, Atalya Ben-Abba, imprisoned for her conscientious objection to serving in the Israeli Defense Force. UCC PIN is a co-sponsor of this not-to-be-missed opportunity to view the film and then to join an online film salon, Sunday, November 15th. Three young women will lead the virtual discussion, including Atalya Ben-Abba herself, speaking from Jerusalem, the film director and co-producer Molly Stuart, and the Rev. Kaeley McEvoy, UCC clergy and justice advocate, moderating. Pre-registration is required.

Here are the steps for participating:

1. Click on this link to register.

2.  You will receive confirmation with instructions for viewing Objector, free of charge, at a time of your choosing from October 30 to November 15.

3.  On November 15th (3 pm ET/12 noon PT) join the panel discussion.

Here is a link to the flyer for the event. Please download it and share it widely to members of your congregation and to peace and justice activists. Organizers are especially eager for young people to learn of and be inspired by the courageous activism of Atalya.

For more information or if you have questions, please email Maryn Goodson at

curated by the Rev. Loren McGrail

The Palestinians need an alternative vision

The alternative vision Palestinians have to embrace is a geopolitical production that challenges the space newly drawn by the United States, Israel and their Arab allies – the so-called new Middle East – and puts forward a new map of secular-democratic Palestine, in the heart of a democratic Arab world. Here.

Biden is copying Clinton in embracing the pro-Israel lobby

The future that the US has planned for Palestine is already determined, no matter whether President Donald Trump is re-elected or Joe Biden replaces him in the White House after next month’s election. Nevertheless, it is Biden, with a sizable lead over Trump in the national polls, who Palestinian leaders are championing in the hope that he will tone down Washington’s pro-Israel policies. The Palestinians are overly-optimistic.

This is a familiar scenario for America’s Democrats. Four years ago they saw their presidential candidate Hillary Clinton embracing the pro-Israel lobby in the election campaign. Clinton, in fact, has never hidden her support for the occupation state, and Biden is unlikely to reverse his own decades of staunch backing for Israel. Read about it here.

WCC: Olive harvest initiative reaffirms commitment to justice and peace in the Holy Land

Olive trees know neither religious nor territorial boundaries and bear fruit even under occupation. With the annual olive harvest season commencing, the World Council of Churches (WCC) launches a global initiative this week, highlighting the spiritual, economic and cultural importance of the olive harvest for Palestinian communities, and witnessing to the impact of the occupation.  Read about it here.

More Resources

Concerned for the life of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Maher al-Akhras, human rights organizations demand his release Here.

EXCLUSIVE: Israel stops granting visas to UN human rights workers. Here.

Why the UAE deal is not ‘peacemaking’ Here.

Palestinian premier: ‘God help us’ if Trump wins re-election Here.

Endless warnings of Gaza’s collapse are why we’re failing to prevent it. Here.

Normalization cannot silence Arab resistance forever. Here

Black Lives Matter and lessons from Palestine. Here.

Keith Ellison under pressure to drop out of Yitzhak Rabin event Here.


Holding General Mills accountable for profiting from the occupation Here.

November 9: 4th Global Day of Interaction for a World Without Walls Here.

Root resistance by planting an olive sapling and supporting USCPR's work! Here.

Media Resources

Hollywood Star Mark Ruffalo Calls out Israel’s Apartheid (VIDEO) Here.

Palestine Fully Furnished (video by Amer Zaher) Here.
Palestine Portal is a program of Kairos USA. Visit for newsfeeds, upcoming events, and the most comprehensive resources for education, networking, and action.