Nakba Day
May 15,2021

In this issue:

  • The Ongoing Nakba: Editor's reflection
  • Breaking the Stories, curated by Loren McGrail
"This painting represents the deep connection and roots of Palestinian families to their homes that are inseparable parts of us."
Malak Mattar, now back at her home in Gaza
The Ongoing Nakba
by Allie Perry, UCC PIN Steering Committee
As I write these words, the world is witnessing -- in horror and heartache --the escalating violence unleashed in Israel and Palestine, as Israel seeks to crush and punish Palestinian resistance, with police force on the streets of Jerusalem and brutal IDF aerial bombing and ground assaults on Gaza. And Palestinians, who as an occupied people have the right to resist under international law, are fighting back.

In a May 13th New York Times op-ed, based on a longer Jewish Currents essay, “Teshuvah: A Jewish Case for Palestinian Refugee Return” (see Breaking the Stories below), Peter Beinart asks ‘why.’ “Why,” he queries, “has the impending eviction of six Palestinian families in East Jerusalem drawn Israelis and Palestinians into a conflict that appears to be spiraling toward yet another war?” His answer is this: “Because of a word that in the American Jewish community remains largely taboo: the Nakba.”

In naming and breaking the ‘silence’ that surrounds that word for the American Jewish community, Beinart asserts the reality that the Nakba is not just a point in time but has been ongoing ever since 1948. The catastrophe continues, as Israel seeks to erase Palestinians, through expulsion, dispossession, land grabs, home demolitions, discriminatory laws, transfers of population, and killing. As of this writing, Israel has killed over 130 Palestinians in Gaza, the place where so many refugees fled for their lives in the Nakba of 1948. More than 30 of those killed in these past few days were children.

This is a Kairos moment. Horrified by the current eruption of violence, the whole world is waking up to the injustice of this ongoing Nakba. And, the world is speaking out. The United Church of Christ and the Disciples of Christ issued a statement earlier this week, opposing the impending evictions from Sheikh Jarrah, condemning Israeli police violence against civilians in the streets and at Al Aqsa, deploring the rapid escalation with Israeli’s strikes on Gaza, and calling on the U.S. to intervene to restrain Israel’s use of force. See Breaking the Stories below for statements by many other groups in response to the Palestinian resistance movement.

This current crisis reinforces the timeliness and relevance of the UCC PIN resolution, “Declaration for a Just Peace Between Palestine and Israel.," submitted by six UCC congregations for the upcoming General Synod. The resolution urges the UCC to take a prophetic stand, rejecting Israel’s occupation, its annexation of Palestinian land, and its apartheid system of laws and legal procedures. The resolution urges us to stand for justice, affirming the right of return of Palestinian refugees, the right that all people have to self-determination, and the dignity and sacredness of all people living in Palestine and Israel. 

In a recent Washington Post op-ed entitled, “Israeli and Palestinians can’t go on like this. Weep for us,” Israeli historian and journalist Gershom Gorenberg writes: “Weep, damn it, weep for us. Weep for this place in the season of wildflowers when it should be beautiful, weep for the dead and the living, weep for God who can’t get us to stop, weep for humanity.

Gorenberg’s words bring to mind Luke’s description of Jesus weeping as he looked over the city of Jerusalem and then said, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace” [Luke 19:41-42]. May we all recognize and then do the things that make for peace. The Kairos is now.
Breaking The Stories: May 2021
curated by the Rev. Loren McGrail,
UCC PIN Steering Committee
Opinion: What we’re seeing now is just the latest chapter in Israel’s dispossession of the Palestinians by Rashid Khalidi
(Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images)
It is no coincidence that the latest episode in the hundred-plus year war on Palestine should erupt over the issues of Jerusalem and refugees. Both are entwined with the history of Israel’s efforts to dispossess and displace the Palestinian people. In recent weeks, Israel’s brutal actions in and around Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque, and its attempts to forcibly displace Palestinians in the nearby neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, were triggers for another violent, asymmetrical confrontation (illustrated by the greater than 10-to-1 disparity in casualty figures). Both issues go to the core of this one-sided struggle against dispossession, and both have long been diligently swept under the rug by U.S. policymakers charged with bringing it to an end. Here.
Over 100 Democratic Party leaders demand White House recognize dignity rights in Palestine instead of another hollow Eid greeting
May 13, 2021
Dear President Biden:
In lieu of flowers or condolences for martyred Palestinian children or even a White House Eid celebration, we request the United States recognize dignity rights worldwide. A first step in recognizing our humanity would be to not allow a policy of mass slaughter in the sacred Islamic month of Ramadan. Muslim communities have historically been viewed with suspicion and as sub-human. Our communities seek to live and worship like everyone else. Here.
Teshuvah: A Jewish Case for Palestinian Refugee Return
(Photo: Yousef Masoud/INA Photo Agency/Sipa USA via AP Images)
In April, when Joe Biden announced that he would restore US funding for The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides education, health care, and other services to Palestinian refugees, establishment American Jewish groups reacted with dismay. A letter signed by Hadassah, B’nai B’rith, and the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) blamed UNRWA’s schools for teaching Palestinian refugees “lessons steeped in anti-Semitism and supportive of violence.” AIPAC accused the organization of “inciting hatred of Jews and the Jewish state.”
But AIPAC and the ZOA did not merely accuse UNRWA of miseducating Palestinian refugees. Along with Israeli government officials, they have questioned whether most of the Palestinians that UNRWA serves are refugees at all. AIPAC has slammed UNRWA’s “misguided definition of refugees.” ZOA called UNRWA’s clientele “the descendants of Arab refugees.” Israel’s Ambassador to the US and the UN, Gilad Erdan, declared that, “this UN agency for so-called ‘refugees’ should not exist in its current format.” Here.
Statements in response to the Palestinian Resistance Movement
UCC and Disciples Leaders Express Concern and Prayers in Current Crisis in Israel/Palestine Here.

Stated Clerk condemns recent violence gripping the Holy Land Here.
Quakers call for end to violence Here.
125 Years Of Displacement: An ICAHD Statement On The Israeli Assault On Occupied Palestine Here.
Joint Statement Calling on Biden Administration to Condemn Israeli government plans to Forcibly Displace Palestinians in Occupied East Jerusalem 
Tell President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris to oppose violence and evictions in Israel/Palestine Here.
Action Alert: International Community Must Take Immediate And Concrete Measures To Halt Israel's Aggression Against Palestinian Jerusalemites Here.
Middle East Council of ChurchesHere.
Patriarchs and Heads of Jerusalem ChurchesHere.
YWCA of Palestine (whose Jerusalem office is in Sheikh Jarrah)Here.
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land (ELCJHL)Here.
World Council of Churches - Here
Churches for Middle East PeaceHere
More Resources

Progressive groups call for Biden to denounce evictions of Palestinians as 'war crimes' Here
The Untold Story of Sheikh Jarrah Here
This Is Not Fine: Why Video of an Ultranationalist Frenzy in Jerusalem Is So Unsettling Here
Zionism’s Endgame has Begun Here
Biden is blocking a UN statement calling for a ceasefire Here
 ‘Operation Guardian of the Walls’ Will Not Fix Israel’s Apartheid Walls Here

Israeli Media Incites Against Palestinian Citizens
It looks like there’s finally daylight between U.S. and Israel– thanks to American progressives Here

Israelis and Palestinians can't go on like this. Weep for us Here
Media Resources
Poet Mohammed El-Kurd Detained in Sheikh Jarrah After Condemning Israeli Apartheid on U.S. TV
MohammedElKurd on CNN Sheikh Jarrah - Palestine
Let’s Talk About the Israel-Palestine Conflict | The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Here
Omar Baddar lays out the brutal reality Palestinians are living under right now, as Israeli mobs stalk the streets, hunting Palestinians, and as Israeli warplanes bomb Gaza.
Tell Congress: End U.S. complicity in Israel’s abuses of Palestinians Here