Unitarian Majority for Divestment; Presbyterians Take it to the Next Level!

Anna Baltzer, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, June 25th, 2016

I cannot remember a more significant day in church activism for Palestinian rights than the past 24 hours.

The largest gathering of UUs in the country just voted on whether to endorse the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA)’s recent divestment from companies complicit in the Israeli occupation. The general assembly achieved a simple majority while falling short of the two thirds needed for passage.

Delegate reads testimony from FOSNA citing the lack of Palestinian voices on stage.

We congratulate member group Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East (UUJME), which led a dynamic campaign, building the momentum and leverage to achieve actual divestment more quickly than any other denomination has!

Just last night, the Presbyterian Church (USA) passed a series of powerful overtures by a landslide with the strong leadership of member organization Israel/Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Overtures included: 

  1. Committing the church to prayerfully consider the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) and engage with its writers; 
  2. Calling on Re/MAX, which sells homes in illegal settlements, to follow through on a new promise it made in a recent letter to the church to stop profiting from settlement sales
  3. Calling on Israel to end its gross mistreatment of Palestinian children and on the Presbyterian Mission Agency and the U.S. Senate to take active steps toward that end.
  4. Urging the IRS to investigate and possible revoke the tax-exempt status of organizations supporting Israeli settlements; 
  5. Asking the U.S. government to enforce laws requiring correct labeling of place of production of Israeli settlement goods; 
  6. Urging Congress to hold hearings into the use of U.S. military and police equipment by the government of Israel; 
  7. Recommending that the Presbyterian Foundation and Board of Pensions refrain from investments that support violence against Israelis or Palestinians.

US Campaign Steering Committee member Sydney Levy.

Supporters of Israel’s discriminatory policies tried repeatedly to introduce amendments and resolutions maligning BDS at the Presbyterian assembly. They even brought forth a resolution specifically calling on the church to distance itself from the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation because of our significant role in advancing BDS nationwide. The Presbyterian commissioners soundly rejected every one of these attempts, electing instead for Presbyterians to consider the Palestinian BDS call for themselves

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April 7, 2016
Linda Sarsour on Racial Justice & Interfaith Cooperation

 

7:00 – 9:00 pm
The Crossing
1127 University Ave.
Madison, WI

Linda Sarsour is a working woman, racial justice and civil rights activist, every Islamophobe’s worst nightmare, and mother of three. Ambitious, outspoken and independent, Linda shatters stereotypes of Muslim women while also treasuring her religious and ethnic heritage. She is a Palestinian Muslim American and a self-proclaimed “pure New Yorker, born and raised in Brooklyn!”

She is the Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York and co-founder of the first Muslim online organizing platform, MPOWER Change.
Linda has been at the forefront of major civil rights campaigns including calling for an end to unwarranted surveillance of New York’s Muslim communities and ending police policies like stop and frisk. In wake of the police murder of Mike Brown, she co-founded Muslims for Ferguson to build solidarity amongst American Muslim communities and encourage work against police brutality. She is a member of the Justice League NYC, a leading NYC force of activists, formerly incarcerated individuals, and artists working to reform the New York Police Department and the criminal justice system.

The lecture is sponsored by The Crossing Ingraham Fund in collaboration with UW-Madison Students for Justice in Palestine.

Questions, please contact:
Rev. J. Manny Santiago, Executive Director
The Crossing
1127 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53715
(608) 257-1039 ext. 1
(608) 255-1134 fax
manny at crossingministries.org

May 5 – 6, 2014
Mark Braverman in Madison

Mark Braverman, author of Fatal Embrace: Christians, Jews and the Search for Peace in the Holy Land and A Wall in Jerusalem: Hope, Healing and the Struggle for Peace in Israel and Palestine, will be speaking in Madison. Mark is an American Jew with deep family roots in the Holy Land. He is on the advisory board of Friends of Sabeel, co-founder of Friends of Tent of Nations (a nonprofit dedicated to supporting Palestinian land rights), and Program Director for Kairos USA (a movement to unify and mobilize American Christians to respond to the suffering and hopes of Palestinian Christians as articulated in the Kairos Palestine declaration).

Schedule:

  • Monday, May 5, 7:00 pm – “The Path to Peace in Israel and Palestine: A Jewish American’s Journey”, Pyle Center, UW campus [Map]
  • Tuesday, May 6, 8:30-10:00 am – Breakfast with pastors and lay leaders. Mark will talk about the role of faith communities in achieving peace in the Holy Land. No reservations necessary. Christ Presbyterian Church [Map]
  • Tuesday, May 6, 2:00 pm – “Toward a New Theology of Land and the Quest for Peace in Israel and Palestine”, Anderson Auditorium, Predolin Hall, Edgewood College [Map]
  • Sponsored by local Bright Stars of Bethlehem, the Southwest Association of the United Church of Christ Bethlehem Partnership, Memorial United Church of Christ, Christ Presbyterian Church, Midvale Lutheran Church, the Havens Center, Edgewood College, Pilgrims of Ibillin, Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, and Students for Justice in Palestine – UW-Madison.

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    March 31, 2014
    Rev. Mitri Raheb at Edgewood College


    Edgewood College
    Anderson Auditorium
    Predolin Humanities Center
    3:00 pm [Directions]

    Rev. Mitri Raheb, pastor of Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem and director of the Diyar Consortium, will be speaking in Madison as part of a tour for his new book Faith in the Face of Empire: the Bible Through Palestinian Eyes.

    Since 1992 Rev. Raheb has founded and led a number of projects and institutions serving the social needs of Palestinians living in the Bethlehem area, focusing specifically on women, children, youth, and the elderly.

    Sponsored by local Bright Stars of Bethlehem, the Southwest Association of the United Church of Christ Bethlehem Partnership, Memorial United Church of Christ, Christ Presbyterian Church, Midvale Lutheran Church, Pilgrims of Ibillin, and Edgewood College.

    For more information contact Bonnie Van Overbeke at bonnievano (at) aol.com.

    Quakers Call For Israel Boycott & Divestment

    Breakthrough! Quakers Spanning 3 States Call For Boycott & Divestment

    Anna Baltzer, US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation National Organizer, September 4th, 2013

    Quakers Call for Boycott & Divestment!
    Quakers call for boycott & divestment!

    Exciting news! Lake Erie Yearly Meeting, a regional Quaker organization encompassing Ohio, Michigan, and Western Pennsylvania, has become the first Quaker Yearly Meeting to officially endorse boycott and divestment targeting companies complicit in the Israeli occupation. The recently adopted minute states:

    “Lake Erie Yearly Meeting calls for Friends to join the boycott of products made in Israel’s illegal West Bank settlements and to divest from companies that support Israel’s military occupation and repression of the Palestinian people.”

    Congratulations to member organization Palestine-Israel Action Group of Ann Arbor Friends Meeting and the many others who helped achieve this breakthrough, the latest in a string of Quaker decisions and actions in support of Palestinian rights, including (click here for a complete list):

    • Last year, the Friends Fiduciary Corporation, which manages more than 300 Quaker institutions, divested more than $1.2 million in holdings of Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard and Veolia following advocacy by Ann Arbor Friends working for Palestinian rights.
    • The American Friends Service Committee implemented a screen banning investment in 29 companies that benefit from the Israeli occupation. Earlier this year, the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) U.S. unanimously adopted the same screen!
    • Illinois Yearly Meeting, Blue River Quarterly Meeting, St. Louis Monthly Meeting and Colorado Springs Monthly Meeting all came out in support of the We Divest Campaign (check out the new website!) urging financial giant TIAA-CREF to divest from the Israeli occupation.

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    Israeli rabbi remarks on Palestinians deeply offensive: US

    Agence France Presse, 29 Aug 2010

    WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States on Sunday condemned as deeply offensive remarks by an influential Israeli rabbi who said he hoped Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas would vanish from our world.

    We regret and condemn the inflammatory statements by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said in a statement.

    These remarks are not only deeply offensive, but incitement such as this hurts the cause of peace.
    Ovadia, who heads a religious party in Israel’s ruling coalition, expressed hope in his weekly sermon Saturday that all the nasty people who hate Israel, like Abu Mazen (Abbas), vanish from our world.
    “May God strike them down with the plague along with all the nasty Palestinians who persecute Israel”, he said.

    Crowley pointed out that the remarks did not reflect the view of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is due in Washington this week for direct peace talks with Abbas.

    The talks will be the first face-to-face discussions since December 2008, when the Palestinians broke off negotiations over a deadly Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip.

    Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat condemned the remarks as an incitement to genocide, and urged the Israeli government to do more about peace and stop spreading hatred.

    Netanyahu’s office dismissed the comments in a statement that said the government wants peace with the Palestinians.

    Yosef’s comments do not reflect the views of Benjamin Netanyahu or of his government which seeks a peace settlement with the Palestinians, it said.

    According to Shas MP Nissim Zeev, whose party has 11 seats in the 120-member parliament, Yosef was trying to express the wish taken from Jewish holy texts that God would eliminate the enemies of Israel to clear the way for peace.

    In the past, Shass’ powerful mentor, a Baghdad-born rabbi now in his late 80s, has referred to Arabs and Palestinians as snakes and vipers who were swarming like ants.

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    February 23, 2010
    Bridging the Divide: Kobi and Aziz

    Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010
    7 pm, Room B1B
    Lowell Center, UW Madison [Map]

    Aziz Abu-Sarah is a former Fatah Youth Member and now a veteran Palestinian peacebuilder. Kobi Skolnick is an ex-Kahana settler turned Israeli peacemaker. Together they talk about their path-breaking peace work across enemy lines.

    National tour sponsored by The Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution (CRDC) at George Mason University. Local sponsor Kavanah UW student group.

    Biographies
    Aziz Abu-Sara
    Kobi Skolnick

    United Methodist Divestment Efforts

    Your help is urgently needed. In the face of many false attacks, United Methodist volunteers have put up a web site to explain the concept of divestment from companies that sustain the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. This site contains information on Israeli apartheid, and explanations of proposals that will be before the United Methodist General Conference (our policy-making body) later this month.

    This web site has been prepared by clergy and lay volunteers from the United Methodist New England Conference, Baltimore Washington Conference, New York Annual Conference, Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference, and Rocky Mountain Conference. It answers questions about divestment proposals before the 2008 General Conference and responds to the many misrepresentations that have been made about these proposals. We hope you will find it helpful. If you have additional questions, please contact us at UMDivestment at aol.com.

    Time is short, and we need to get the word out. There have been many false reports about these proposals and about Methodists who support them. It is urgent that we respond. The site is www.unitedmethodistdivestment.com.

    If you have a web site of your own, please place a temporary link to our site on yours, and be sure to click on it to visit our site. Linking our site to others is the surest way to move it up in the Google listings. Having many visits to the site will also help. Please also share the information in our site with others.

    With many thanks,
    Susanne Hoder
    Member, Divestment Task Force
    New England Conference of the United Methodist Church
    www.unitedmethodistdivestment.com