Prophetic 2017 church actions and Focus on Gaza
South African Christian Groups hold Nakba Day Vigil, launch a Commitment to Action

A group of South African Christian organizations, including Kairos Southern Africa, the South African Council of Churches, Palestine Solidarity Alliance, and the Council of African Independent Churches held a vigil on Sunday 13 May in support of Kairos Palestine and for cooperative action on the part of the global Christian community. Participants also included Muslim and Jewish groups, including South African Jews for a Free Palestine and BDS South Africa. The vigil will be one of a number of events in South Africa related to Nakba Day commemorations and in support for the Great Return March. Main events are taking place in Johannesburg and Cape Town.  

The initiative will be launched with the presentation of a South African Christian witness/message listing specific actions that will be pursued.   

The organizers  emphasize that they form part of an international network of initiatives.  

Palestinian Christians in the U.S. call on faith communities to end Israel's Apartheid against the Palestinian people.

Palestinian Christians in the U.S. have put out an Open Letter on Gaza and Jerusalem to U.S. faith communities.  It has been endorsed by a broad coalition of Muslim and Christian organizations.  

"We the undersigned, a group of Palestinian-American Christians from several church traditions, call on all faith communities to:
  • Denounce the Trump administration's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the decision to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.
  • Lift up, in your places of worship, the plight of Palestinians, Muslims and Christians alike, recognizing that Israeli policies of occupation and apartheid are leading to the virtual extinction of the indigenous Christian population in Palestine.
  • Recognize the urgency of ending Israel's genocidal siege and attacks on the entire Palestinian hostage population of the Gaza Strip.
  • Continue to use economic pressure as well as other nonviolent means to compel Israel to end its apartheid practices and policies against the Palestinian people."

Follow up story on Durham NC ban on militarized police training

The world community turns its eyes to Palestine this week as the March of Return continues in Gaza, Palestinians commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, and Israel marks 70 years of existence with the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. As these events unfold, we are mindful of the importance of the Palestinian cause for the struggle for justice and equality everywhere. Last month, we reported on the successful campaign by a coalition in Durham NC to ban local police exchanges with Israel when the city council unanimously passed a resolution opposing international "military-style" training for police officers.   An interfaith letter  signed by 72 clergy endorsed the petition, calling on the  most precious principles of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions, and citing "the brutality of Israel's military occupation and the daily violations of Palestinians' most basic human rights."  

An   excellent piece in Scalawag Magazine posted in Mondoweiss provides an in-depth analysis of the story.  Authors Zaina Alsous and Sammy Hanf write about "Southern solidarity with Palestine" that goes back to the civil rights era, when Stokely Carmichael and Ethel Minor published an article in the SNCC newsletter that described  "Zionism as a form of settler colonialism, a global injustice that necessitated solidarity with displaced Palestinians." Carmichael and Minor argued that "the occupation of Palestine wasn't a far away tragedy disconnected from their political realities in the South. Rather, SNCC members believed oppressive policies in Palestine had a direct connection to the lived experiences of Black and Brown people all over the world."  

Beth Bruch, a member of Jewish Voice for Peace and an organizer with the Durham campaign, stated that "We saw these police exchanges with Israel as an opportunity to oppose militarization of police in Durham and to oppose brutality happening in Palestine. We know police officers in St. Louis/Ferguson, Chicago, and other cities have participated in these exchanges which translate into horrible surveillance practices and violent police tactics."

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