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.

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April 6-27, 2008
O-LIVE! O-LIVE! Events to benefit Augusta Victoria Hospital, Jerusalem

O-LIVE! O-LIVE! Silent art auction and other events to benefit Augusta Victoria Hospital, Jerusalem.

Location: St. Stephens Lutheran Church, 5700 Pleasant Hill Rd., Monona, WI. For info call: Church office: 608-222-1241 or
Robin: 608-221-0809

Sunday, April 6, 7 pm: Movie The Iron Wall by Mohammad Alatar.
Refreshments and open discussion to follow. Donations accepted for the hospital benefit. For a review of the movie see: palestineonlinestore.com.

Sunday, April 13
6:30 pm: Live music and gathering
7 pm: Movie Occupation 101

Refreshments and open discussion will follow the movie. Donations toward Augusta Victoria Hospital will be accepted. For a review of the film see: palestineonlinestore.com.

Sunday, April 20
5:30 – 6 pm Monthly Prayer Vigil for Peace in the Middle East
6 – 7:30 pm Soup for schools dinner and lecture.

Dr. Jim Bailey professor emeritus Wartburg Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa will give a talk entitled: “Barriers to peace in the Middle East.” Soup and salad provided, donations accepted.

Sunday, April 27 6–8 pm: O-Live! O-Live! Closing reception
Live music, great treats, and great coffee!Join us for the final viewing of the silent art auction benefiting Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH). Reception begins at 6 pm and at 8 pm bidding will end and high bidders can pay and leave with their new art
work. If not in attendance, winning bidders will be notified and can pay and pick up their artwork from the church during regular church hours. 100% of proceeds from the auction benefit AVH.

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April 16-19, 2008
Scott Ritter Events in Madison II

“The Reality of Arms Control: From the Trenches”
Madison Committee on Foreign Relations
Wednesday, April 16, 5:30-7:30 pm
Edgewater Hotel, Rigadoon Room, 666 Wisconsin Ave, Madison

Registration and a fee required — for more information see wage.wisc.edu.

Sponsors: Madison Committee on Foreign Relations; UW-Madison Center for World Affairs and the Global Economy (WAGE) and Middle East Studies Program.

“Intelligence Failure: Why Did So Many People Think There Were Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq?”
Thursday, April 17, 12-1:30 pm
Grainger Hall Room 4151, 975 University Avenue, UW-Madison

Free and open to the public.

Sponsors: UW-Madison Center for World Affairs and the Global Economy (WAGE), Middle East Studies Program, and Global Studies; Madison Committee on Foreign Relations, and The Madison Institute.

“Overt and Covert Wars: From Iraq to Iran in U.S. Foreign Policy, 1990-2008”
UW-Madison Forum
Thursday, April 17, 7:30 pm
Wisconsin State Historical Society auditorium, 816 State Street Mall, UW-Madison

Free and open to the public.

Sponsors: UW-Madison Middle East Studies Program, Center for World Affairs and the Global Economy (WAGE), and Global Studies; the Madison Committee on Foreign Relations and The Madison Institute.

“Waging Peace: Citizenship in a Time of Unjust War”
The Madison Institute Forum
Saturday, April 19, 9 am – 12 pm
Wisconsin State Historical Society auditorium, 816 State Street Mall, UW-Madison

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A Playground for Jenin!

Playgrounds for Palestine – Madison 2008 Project: A Playground for Jenin!

PfP-Madison is excited to announce that our first fundraising project is to raise $12,000 in 2008 to build a playground in the Jenin Refugee Camp.

This camp in the West Bank — home to 12,000 refugees — was destroyed during the last Intifada and hundreds of its citizens were massacred by the Israeli Army in 2002.

Needless to say, many children have been traumatized (42.3% of the camp’s residents are under the age of fifteen). In addition, since the playground equipment will be produced in the West Bank, our projects will also help to stimulate the devastated local economy.

There are so many ways that the playgrounds will benefit the communities. Please help us succeed!

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Palestinians Fear Two-Tier Road System

“There is already a separate legal system in the territories for Israelis and Palestinians,” said Limor Yehuda, who argued the recent case for the civil rights association on behalf of six Palestinian villages. “With the approval of separate roads, if it becomes a widespread policy, then the word for it will be ‘apartheid.’ ”

ETHAN BRONNER, The New York Times, 28 March 2008

BEIT SIRA, West Bank — Ali Abu Safia, mayor of this Palestinian village, steers his car up one potholed road, then another, finding each exit blocked by huge concrete chunks placed there by the Israeli Army. On a sleek highway 100 yards away, Israeli cars whiz by.

“They took our land to build this road, and now we can’t even use it,” Mr. Abu Safia says bitterly, pointing to the highway with one hand as he drives with the other. “Israel says it is because of security. But it’s politics.”

The object of Mr. Abu Safia’s contempt — Highway 443, a major access road to Jerusalem — has taken on special significance in the grinding Israeli-Palestinian conflict. For the first time, the Supreme Court, albeit in an interim decision, has accepted the idea of separate roads for Palestinians in the occupied areas.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel told the Supreme Court that what was happening on the highway could be the onset of legal apartheid in the West Bank — a charge that makes many Israelis recoil.

Built largely on private Palestinian land, the road was first challenged in the Supreme Court in the early 1980s when the justices, in a landmark ruling, permitted it to be built because the army said its primary function was to serve the local Palestinians, not Israeli commuters. In recent years, in the wake of stone-throwing and several drive-by shootings, Israel has blocked Palestinians’ access to the road.

This month, as some 40,000 Israeli cars — and almost no Palestinians — use it daily, the court handed down its decision, one that has engendered much legal and political hand-wringing.

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Interfaith Peace-Builders

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Since the founding of Interfaith Peace-Builders in 2001, one of our main goals and priorities has been bringing diverse groups of Americans to Israel/Palestine

As our 26th delegation prepares to leave for the region, this remains one of our foremost concerns.  We need to meet the challenge of giving low income Americans and individuals from diverse communities the same possibilities of understanding, empathy and change that IFPB delegations provide to those who can afford the full price. 

This goal is even more important now, with the current crisis in Israel/Palestine becoming ever more unstable.  Recent journalism has increasingly implicated US policymakers in the humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip and the political stalemate gripping the Palestinian leadership.  At the same time, more Americans are asking for the opportunity to join IFPB’s delegations, and many are unable to afford the rising costs.

IFPB has always maintained a scholarship fund to provide low income delegates with travel stipends so that they can more easily meet the costs of the delegation.  However, this fund is currently dangerously low.  With three more innovative and important delegations scheduled this year, we are in need of further support.

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April 3, 2008
Amira Hass in Madison

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008
7:30 pm
Pyle Center, UW Campus

Amira Hass is a world-renowned Israeli journalist, and the only one who actually lives among the Palestinians that she reports on. She is a courageous and articulate voice on the Israeli occupation and oppression of the Palestinians.

Hass covers Palestinian affairs for the Israeli daily Haaretz. She is the author of Drinking the Sea at Gaza and Reporting from Ramallah. Known for her honest and often brutal portrayals of the impact of Israeli occupation on the lives of ordinary Palestinians, she received the 1999 International World Press Freedom Award in recognition of her work in the Gaza Strip. She gave this talk as part of the “Reporting the Middle East” lecture series at UW-Madison in October 2003.

Hass will also be a guest on A Public Affair on Friday, April 4th from noon to 1:00 p.m. on WORT 89.9 FM with host Judith Siers-Poisson.

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March 22, 2008
Ilan Pappe Reading-Discussion Series

March 22, 2008
2 – 4 p.m.
Escape Java Joint
916 Williamson St.

Paul Beckett, Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, 21 March 08

This is addressed to people interested in the Israel-Palestine situation and its history. I am reading Ilan Pappe’s The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2006). It is a concise, easy to read history that is of really dazzling quality. I think it is the most important work done on the history of Israel and the Palestinians in many, many years. Pappe is a distinguished Israeli historian and, among other things, this is an amazingly courageous book for him to write. I should think that Israeli historiography can never be the same.

The book is now in paperback and I heartily recommend it.

There will begin a reading-and-discussion series centered around the book. This first meeting will be this Saturday, March 22, from 2 till 4 p.m. at Escape Java Joint (916 Williamson St.). Discussion will cover the first four chapters of the book (co-led by David Williams and Steve Wolvin).