Prophetic 2017 church actions and Focus on Gaza
Presbyterian Church USA adopts historic resolutions 
 
Once again, the Presbyterian Church has passed historic resolutions at its General Assembly this past week in Louisville.  These included a resolutions in  opposition to Congressional and State Anti-BDS Legislation, creating a Task Force to examine the  NCCOP call to Ecumenical Solidarity for Justice for Palestinians , and a Resolution on  the Status of Jerusalem . The Assembly disapproved an attempt to censure and censor IPMN's new book   Why Palestine Matters, The Struggle To End Colonialism    

For decades, Christians had been held back from taking a strong, clear stand against the oppression of Palestinians by the State of Israel. In 2004, the Presbyterian General Assembly approved by a wide margin a resolution to divest church pension funds from companies implicated in the occupation of Palestinian land. The charge of anti-Semitism was not long in coming, the headlines screaming "Presbyterian Church Boycotts Israel!" The fact that this was not true was not important - what became clear was that taking a stand for Palestinian rights was going to subject Christians to this charge. And for years, it worked. Dealing with the anger and fear of the organized Jewish community and to strong forces within the church itself that opposed taking a stand for Palestine would characterize the struggle of the denomination for the following decade and beyond. At every biennial General Assembly following 2004, this issue would surface dramatically. This is what is meant by church struggle -- what Bonhoeffer meant about struggle over important, even divisive issues being key to a vibrant, faithful church (ask the South Africans about that). And this will continue, as the church on a global basis faces mounting challenges to its witness for a just world.  Read this tribute from Kairos Palestine.

Where does the church go from here?
 
According to Addie Domsky, Advocacy Coordinator for the Israel Palestine Mission Network of the PC(USA), the IPMN's strategy for the coming year is about exploring work with the denomination now that it has endorsed boycotts, made divestment church policy, and called for sanctions. One way is to pursue education within the denomination and beyond. Another is continuing to foreground the central importance of intersectionality -- lifting up the ways that the movement toward Palestinian freedom must be done cross-culturally and across movements.   See also how this issue has been represented in the recent Unitarian General Assembly in the article below.

Next month, led by the Palestine Israel Network of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, the Episcopal Church of America will bring resolutions on Palestine to the floor of its General Conference. Stay tuned. 

Action Alert
Advocate with Congress for Palestinian Children

Global Ministries of the United Church of Christ and Disciples of Christ has issued an important Action Alert on the urgent situation of Palestinian children held in detention. Momentum and pressure is growing on Capital Hill to respond to this urgent human rights and humanitarian issue.  Click here  for complete information and tools on how to advocate for H.R. 4391 - the bill to prevent US tax dollars from paying for human rights violations against Palestinian children in Israeli military detention, and for restoring UNRWA funding for Palestinian refugees.   

No Way to Treat a Child provides information about the upcoming Congressional Briefing on H.R. 4391 hosted by No Way to Treat a Child and Defense of Children International Palestine.  The notice also contains a one-step way to inform your senators and congressperson about the briefing.
Unitarians Consider Action Against Child Detention
UUJME logo
Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East
The Unitarian Universalist Church met in General Assembly in Kansas City this week and once again considered historic action in support of human rights for Palestinians.  A powerful resolution to End Military Detention of Palestinian Children was submitted by Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East (UUJME). Based on U.S. and international law, the resolution makes specific reference to H.R. 4391, calling on  "our UUA leadership, affiliated organizations, ministers, and member congregations to advocate for and act to end the detention and mistreatment of Palestinian children under Israeli military occupation."

Curtis Bell, President of UUJME, speaking before the Assembly, referenced the  forced separation of migrant children from their parents at our Southern border: 

"Something similar has been happening for years to children in Palestine/Israel where Palestinian children as young as eleven are pulled from their homes in the middle of the night and subjected to: physical and verbal abuse; threats; lack of access to parents; forced confessions; and long periods of detention. 

"The abuses of children in Palestine, as at our Southern border, are a form of collective punishment, designed to create fear and passivity in a population. In both places too, the abuses are sustained by racist ideologies."

The message of "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" was also pursued in an evening event, "Ending White Supremacy," sponsored by UUJME.

The UUJME Military Detention resolution was among six presented to the Assembly.  According to UUA procedure, the three receiving the most votes would be debated and voted upon. The three chosen were about children at the border, private prisons, and indigenous water protectors. "Unitarians in general are much more attentive to domestic issues." said UUJME's Curtis Bell.  Taking the lesson of the Presbyterian Church's long struggle and that of the other denominations, the UUJME will not cease in its campaign of witness and education to show that the Palestinian struggle is integrally linked to issues of racism, equality, and justice at home and everywhere in the world.

(Just breaking at this writing -- a motion introduced to have the assembly affirm all six resolutions passed overwhelmingly.  Clearly, the UUA delegates understand and affirm the spirit and letter of the resolution concerning Palestinian children.)

The Global Network
Kairos Sweden:  "We will continue to raise our voices."
Kairos Palestine Sweden, meeting in Sjövik, has issued an Open letter to all people of good will in Palestine, Israel and the World community.  
  • "We who live in a Europe join hands with you the many young people of Palestine and Israel, ensuring you that we will continue to raise our voices and to work with you and for your life, your rights and your dignity." The letter goes on to call on the Swedish government to demand that Israel cancel the forced transfer of Khan al Ahmar and other Palestinian communities, remove the threat to Susya, affirm the international character of Jerusalem, and stop the unbearable humanitarian situation in Gaza. Kairos Sweden affirms support for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions and issues a plea to European countries to boycott the 2019 European Song Contest to be held in Israel.
The seminar was organized by Kairos Palestine-Sweden in cooperation with Jews for Israeli-Palestinian Peace (JIPF), Swedish Muslims for Peace and Justice, Swedish Fellowship of Reconciliation, Friends of Sabeel - Sweden, Diocese of Västerås - Church of Sweden, Kista Folk High School and Sjövik Folk High School.

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