Serving our Global Community
In this issue:

  • Sabeel addresses inter-religious dialogue
  • United Church of Christ: How are the children?
  • National Council of Churches statement on Israel and Palestine
  • Mondoweiss job openings
  • Eyewitness Palestine "Eyes on Jerusalem" delegation
Sabeel Addresses Inter-religious Dialogue
In last month’s newsletter we covered the conversation sparked by Rep. Ilhan Omar’s comments on the power of AIPAC. We observed that although the idea of criticism of Israel and Zionism is “the new anti-Semitism” has been around since the 1970s, the controversy challenging this notion is new -- and overdue. Sabeel’s latest issue of Cornerstone titled “Staying in the Conversation” is a collection of bold, probing essays on the topic of inter-religious conversation. It is a valuable companion to the current controversy.

The issue’s lead piece on the story in Luke of the Woman at the Well lifts up the value of humanity vs. ethnic or religious identity: “Jesus reached out beyond barriers created by humanity, often in the name of religion. We are his true disciples when we do the same.”  Taher Herzallah, writing " On Jewish-Muslim dialogue in the US and the Israel-Palestine question" challenges the myth of a historical enmity between Jews and Muslims. He expresses the hope "that both communities can truly stand together and fight all forms of white supremacy, including Zionism, in order to create a better world for us here in America and for Palestinians in our indigenous homeland.”

British writer Robert Cohen issues a call to his fellow Jews “to recognize that a denial of the injustices inflicted on the Palestinian people is undermining our ability to engage with integrity on issues of racism, discrimination and the plight of refugees around the world. If we continue to think of Zionism as a virtuous and victimless undertaking, it will eventually undo us, both from without and from within." Mustafa Abu Sway questions the efficacy of interfaith dialogue in the face of the need for direct political action: “Unfortunately, interfaith and inter-religious dialogue remain elitist, which in turn could translate into the possibility of being hijacked by the powers that be.”

United Church of Christ asks: How Are the Children?
Developed by the United Church of Christ Palestine Israel Network (UCC PIN), the video "How Are the Children?" is designed to educate church and community groups about Palestinian children held by Israel in military detention. The comprehensive companion website provides links to the video, curriculum materials, instructions for presenters, resources for further study, the 2017 UCC resolution on incarcerated Palestinian children, prior UCC resolutions, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):  and more.

National Council of Churches Group Pilgrimage Statement on Israel and Palestine

The National Council of Churches of Christ in the USA recently sponsored a joint delegation of leaders from historic black denominations in the U.S.A. and the South African Council of Churches. Their statement reflects strongly the perspective on the Palestinian struggle of “representatives of African American communities, descendants of those who survived slavery and Jim Crow and who work now to dismantle the new Jim Crow of mass incarceration and militarization of police in our communities, and representatives of the South African people, who lived through the indignity of over 300 years of dehumanizing dispossession, colonialism, segregation and apartheid.”

Although the statement includes language typical of the ecumenical statements we have seen in the recent past, e.g. support for a “two state solution” and the need to honor the histories and experiences of both Jews and Palestinians, this statement expresses a sharp shift toward direct action to end the abrogation of Palestinian rights: “T he different narratives notwithstanding," it reads, "the justice, equality and human rights issues cry out for attention.” Pointing to “an unstoppable gobbling up of Palestinian lands to almost render the proposed two-state solution unworkable,” the statement closes with a call to “work alongside the oppressed Palestinian people” in advocating with governments on behalf of Palestinian rights and for “utilizing economic pressure as a means of bringing recalcitrant dominant forces to the negotiating table . ” 

These leaders are calling on their churches to pay attention, calling for visits to the region that include contact with both Israelis and Palestinians, and for “ a greater presence of international observers as a ministry of presence.”

Mondoweiss is growing
If you are not familiar with Mondoweiss, consider making this website and excellent news service part of your weekly, if not daily reading. Founded thirteen years ago and still growing its base of reporting, analysis, and readership, Mondoweiss is a priceless resource for the justice movement and a valued sister organization of Kairos USA and other groups devoted to the Palestinian struggle.

Mondoweiss is growing and seeks to fill two new positions:

"Both openings require, above all, a passion and dedication to the mission of sharing the facts about Palestine with a global audience, in order to strengthen the struggle against systematic oppression. Neither job is an entry-level opening; we are looking for people with well-developed technical skills and experience in the relevant fields."

"All Eyes on Jerusalem" delegation 
Eyewitness Palestine (formerly Interfaith Peacebuilders), founded in 2000, has without doubt been responsible for introducing more North Americans to the Palestinian struggle than any other single organization. Its delegations combine exposure to the facts on the ground with connecting peacebuilders and centers of resistance in occupied Palestine. Learn about Eyewitness Palestine.

From the website: "The upcoming "All Eyes on Jerusalem" delegation includes a special focus on the deeply divided city of Jerusalem, providing an in-depth look at the situation in Jerusalem including the effects of displacement and gentrification on the Holy City. Jerusalem is a flashpoint where Palestinian communities face intense pressure from the Israeli state and military forces. As a result, the future of Jerusalem is one of the most contentious issues to be resolved under any peace agreement."

"This Spring, join Eyewitness Palestine for an unforgettable journey to Jerusalem and other areas in Palestine/Israel. As with all Eyewitness Palestine delegations, you will also meet additional Israelis and Palestinians working for peace and justice as well as visit many important historical sites."

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Thanks to all who responded to Kairos USA's end of the year fundraising drive. We are still in need of funds to meet the goals for 2019 outlined in the December 2018 appeal. Now, more than ever, as voices within our government begin to speak up and the issue of justice for Palestine is on the table as never before,
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