May 20, 2021
Calls for Solidarity Mount
Kairos Palestine:
"Call things by their names."

The voice of the Palestinian Christians has grown continually stronger in the years since the release in 2009 of the Kairos Palestine "Moment of Truth" document, culmination in the call to action of the 2020 "Cry for Hope." This past week, their voice is heard again: "We call on the global Church and the international community to call things by their names, to speak truth to power, and to side with the oppressed. Given such violent and severe escalations, empty words of condemnation are not enough.”

"We call on "the Holy See, the World Council of Churches, the ecumenical movement and all churches to demand that every country meet its responsibility to put pressure on Israel to immediately stop the deadly air strikes and ground attacks against civilians in Gaza and to stop its ethnic cleansing policies that target Jerusalemites."

"In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus didn’t say, 'Blessed are the peace-prayers.' He said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” So writes Palestinian pastor Munther Isaac in his impassioned letter to Christians. His words preach and impel. "Peacemakers discern what’s really happening, call things by their names, then speak truth to power. Calling things by their names is a necessary step toward resolving any conflict. Using the words racism and apartheid may give pause — but these are the descriptors that define our daily lives."

Isaac goes on to instruct Christians on the steps that lead to peace, including: call things by their names, don't misuse Christian-Jewish dialogue, and re-examine the church's theology. "Many years from today," he writes, "when our descendants look back on the long misery of the Palestinians, they will not judge kindly the willful neglect of the global church. We Palestinian Christians will not let you pretend that you did not know."

The latest newsletter from the United Church of Christ (UCC) Palestine-Israel Network is entitled "The Ongoing Nakba." It features this painting by Gaza artist Malak Mattar titled "This is my house." Mattar writes: "This painting represents the deep connection and roots of Palestinian families to their homes that are inseparable parts of us." Visit Mattar, her art and her witness here.

This issue of the UCC-PIN features essays that go to the heart of the current situation, including the most comprehensive links to current U.S. church statements and actions, powerful news coverage, and analysis from Mondoweiss, Rashid Khalidi, and others.

In a May 13th open letter to U.S. President Biden, over 100 Democratic Party leaders have issued this unequivocal call: "We ask the United States demonstrate actual leadership on human rights instead of turning a blind eye to suffering of our brothers and sisters. We urge the United States to recognize the international standards under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Geneva Conventions, and the 1907 Hague Regulations." 

The letter calls for the end of the hypocrisy of "flowers of condolences for martyred Palestinian children" or "calls for restraint." "We must not allow U.S. tax dollars to be the currency for ethnic cleansing for Israeli apartheid. We urge President Biden to slash the defense budget instead of strangling our human rights...We demand an end to foreign aid to Israel instead of an end to the lives of our brothers and sisters." 

(In an unprecedented move, several Members of the House and one Senator have introduced a resolution that actually follows through on this call for meaningful action. See the final item below).
"It is no coincidence" writes Palestinian American historian Rashid Khalidi, "that the latest episode in the hundred-plus year war on Palestine should erupt over the issues of Jerusalem and refugees. The ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem and the incremental genocide of the people of Gaza are both entwined with the history of Israel’s efforts to dispossess and displace the Palestinian people."

In his May 13th Washington Post opinion piece, Khalidi provides his analysis of the current situation, framed in the history of the subjugation of the Palestinian people. Khalidi's hard-hitting presentation of the facts is accompanied by his deep commitment to the persistence and fortitude of the Palestinian people: "This crisis has deflated an important myth -- that the Palestinians are divided, dispirited and demoralized, and should capitulate to whatever terms Israel offers them...The unity of their resistance to dispossession and erasure has been illustrated by protests in every part of the country, whether in Jerusalem, in the mixed towns of Lydd (Lod), Ramle, Acre or Haifa, or in the Gaza Strip."

From the grassroots in Palestine:
Hear our voices: you have the power to help!
"Let’s build a new anti-apartheid movement to end Israel’s impunity" reads this call to Action from Stop the Wall and thirteen other Palestinian grassroots organizations. Specific actions for international supporters and Palestinians in diaspora include local protests, political advocacy, alliance with labor, and support for BDS. Stop the Wall coordinates national networking, research and international outreach. Read more about Stop the Wall on its website.

"Unity at last!" proclaims Palestinian journalist Ramzy Baroud, writing about the mobilization of Palestinians at the grassroots in the West Bank and Gaza.
"The hashtags #SaveSheikhJarrah and #FreePalestine, among numerous others, are now interlinked and have been trending on all social media platforms for weeks. Israel’s constant attempts at presenting itself as a perpetual victim of some imaginary horde of Arabs and Muslims are no longer paying dividends. The world can finally see, read and hear of Palestine’s tragic reality and the need to bring this tragedy to an immediate end. "The Palestinian people have risen" he writes. "It's time to rally behind them."

After 100 years of war against their national aspirations and despite unceasing attempts by Israel to erase their identity and culture, the voice of the Palestinians is being heard. Add your voice to theirs by taking the action below.
In a historic move, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and a number of House colleagues have introduced a joint resolution of disapproval (JRD) to stop the latest $735 million weapons sale to Israel.

In another unprecedented move, Senator Bernie Sanders is introducing a Senate companion to this bill. We urgently need you to contact your Senators and Representative and tell them to cosponsor these resolutions! This is unprecedented -- never before has a bill been introduced in either House of Congress to question or challenge aid to Israel. "This is landmark step toward accountability for Israel’s war crimes against Palestinians" writes AMP's Executive Direction Dr. Osama Abuirshaid. "Our collective efforts and massive pressure on Congress have gotten us to this crucial point." 
AMP has developed this advocacy tool to call, email and tweet your elected representatives. Click here -- the steps are easy to follow. Take a moment now to add your voice.
Palestine Portal is a program of Kairos USA. Support our work by making a gift today. Donate online or by check to Kairos USA, 1815 NW 27th Ave., Portland OR 97210.
Visit for newsfeeds, upcoming events, and the most comprehensive resources for education, networking, and action.