Why won’t Israel let me mourn my father?


(image: Joao Fazenda)

After my father died in Jordan in October, it was so important for me to visit my extended family in the city of Jenin, to mourn his death with them. Unfortunately, I was prevented from doing so by the Israeli government.

By Raed Jarrar | The New York Times | Nov 23, 2017

Whether or not the Israeli government agrees with my work — and, of course, I know it doesn’t — I still should have been able to take part in those most human of activities: mourning my father and celebrating his life.

My father, Azzam Jarrar, died last month. He was a proud Palestinian, a refugee, a civil engineer, a farmer and an entrepreneur. He was also my friend and mentor. He taught me the multiplication tables on our way to school in Saudi Arabia. He taught me how to question authority when we lived in Iraq. He helped me finish my master’s degree when I lived in Jordan. Above all, though, he was the gateway to my Palestinian roots and identity.

My dad fled his home with his family in 1967, when Israeli soldiers invaded and occupied the West Bank. He went first to Jordan and then to Iraq, where I was born. I was the first Jarrar to be born east of the Jordan River since our family was established on Palestinian land centuries ago.

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Panel Discussion: Peace and Reconciliation in the Middle East (Sunday)


Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon, executive director of Churches for Middle East Peace. (photo: maecannon.com)

Can multifaith dialogue help promote reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians? Can “constructive conflict” bring the two sides closer to peace?

Date: Sunday, Feb 25, 2018
Time: 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Location: Overlake Christian Church
Student Room
9900 Willows Rd NE
Redmond, WA 98052
Information: Event information here →
Tickets: Free
Event Details

The panel will discuss how multifaith dialogue and engagement in constructive conflict can help lead to a comprehensive resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. During this gathering you will also hear about work being done in Palestine, Israel, and the United States to help achieve peace and justice in the Holy Land.

If you’d like to better understand the realities affecting both Israelis and Palestinians, and how people of faith in the United States can play a positive role in pursuing peace, please join us on Sunday, Feb 25 and Overlake Christian Church in Redmond.
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Reading: Even in Victory


Please join our brothers and sisters at the Mideast Focus Ministry for this important event.

This staged reading by Palestine Up-Close explores the points of view held by “wounded warriors” who were soldiers for the Israeli Defense Forces in Palestine. We discover their struggles as they push for a way to come to terms with their own actions.

Date: Sunday, Mar 4, 2018
Time: 10:10 – 10:50 am
Location: Bloedel Hall
St. Mark’s Cathedral
1245 10th Ave E
Seattle, WA  98102
Information: Event website
Admission: Free

Event Details

Our concern is to help balance the limited and confusing media coverage of the Holy Land. We use compelling films as an entry point for reflection and discussion. As Christians, we respond to Christ’s call to seek justice and love the oppressed. As Americans, we ask: Can we reconcile this calling with our government’s massive financial support of Israeli military operations? We hope the time will come when Jews, Muslims and Christians will again come together in harmony in the Holy Land.

In this series, we see how people pushed to bring about a safe country for the Jewish people, and how today others are still push- ing for safety and change. Do our efforts for change lead to peace and justice . . . or not?

More information here →

Tell Congress to oppose anti-BDS legislation


(illustration: Marina Djurdjevic)

It is urgent that members of Congress hear from constituents who oppose these bills.

By Evangelical Lutheran Church of America | Feb 15, 2018

“As churches and church-related organizations, we reject any efforts by the state to curtail these rights. We urge you to oppose the proposed legislation, and thus support the rights of individuals and institutions to spend and invest in accordance with their faith, values, and policies.”

Dangerous bills that could undermine the work of advocates for a just peace for Palestinians and Israelis continue to make their way through Congress. These include the Israel Anti-Boycott Act (H.R. 1697 and S. 720) and the Combating BDS Act of 2017 (H.R. 2856 and S. 170) which are part of a larger effort at the federal and state levels to outlaw or penalize the use of boycotts, divestment and sanctions aimed at Israeli government policies.

It is urgent that members of Congress hear from constituents who oppose these and similar bills. The U.N. Human Rights Office recently released a report outlining progress in developing a database of businesses engaged in certain activities related to Israeli settlements, as mandated earlier by the U.N. Human Rights Council. A new House resolution critical of the council includes a call to support the Israel Anti-Boycott Act. . . .

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Unitarian group supports BDS nomination for Nobel Peace Prize


Norwegian member of parliament, Bjørnar Moxnes, nominated the BDS movement for Palestinian rights for the Nobel Peace Prize on Feb 2.

By Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East | Feb 9, 2018

Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East (UUJME) strongly supports the nomination of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights for the Nobel Peace Prize. Justice and human rights have been systematically denied the Palestinian people, and UUJME is convinced that this tragedy is at the heart of the war, violence and turmoil that has characterized the Middle East for 70 years. We are convinced there will not be lasting peace for anyone in the region without justice for the Palestinians, and the BDS movement for Palestinian rights is the world’s best hope for achieving that justice.

A member of the Norwegian parliament, Bjørnar Moxnes, has nominated the BDS movement for Palestinian rights for the Nobel Peace Prize. UULME have been asked by the US Interdenominational Palestine Working Group to support the nomination with a statement on our website. The goal is to persuade the Norwegian public and the Nobel committee that there is broad support for the nomination.

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Nov 2018 Israel/Palestine Impact Trip: Informational meeting (Next Saturday)


Do you want to better understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Do you wonder if there’s a role for Christians to play in this long-running and often violent dispute?

Date: Saturday, Feb 24, 2018
Time: 9:30 – 11:00 am
Location: Bellevue Presbyterian Church, Room S-140
1717 Bellevue Way NE
Bellevue, WA  98004
Information: More information here →
Event Details

Join us to hear about the Bellevue Presbyterian Church trip to Israel this November that explores the Biblical themes of reconciliation and social justice. Much of our time will be spent with Israeli and Palestinian guides and guests. We’ll listen to them share their stories with the hope we can glimpse what stands in the way of peace and reconciliation to the Holy Land. We will also visit the holy sites of Jerusalem and the places where Jesus spent time around Galilee.

Through a diverse array of tour guides and speakers — Israeli and Palestinian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim, political, religious and tribal leaders, policymakers, peace builders, grassroots activists, artists, journalists, musicians, writers, and many more — this trip provides rare cultural immersion for travelers of all backgrounds and perspectives.

More information here →

Two anti-BDS bills reintroduced in Washington State legislative session


A letter to Washington State legislators.

By Washington Freedom to Boycott | Feb 8, 2018

“The court has rightly recognized the serious First Amendment harms being inflicted by this misguided law. . . . This ruling should serve as a warning to government officials around the country that the First Amendment prohibits the government from suppressing participation in political boycotts.”
— Brian Hauss, ACLU attorney

To the Honorable Representative:

As Washington residents and Washington organizations, we are disturbed at ongoing attacks on our First Amendment right to boycott. In the Washington State Legislature, two measures from 2017, HJM 4004 and HJM 4009, both condemning the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, have been reintroduced into the House Judiciary Committee during the 2018 legislative session. Though these measures appear not to be moving forward, we are concerned that similar anti-boycott language might be inserted into final legislation during this busy session.

HJM 4004 and 4009 radically mischaracterize the BDS movement. BDS is a grassroots campaign to gain equal rights for Palestinians and to pressure Israel to abide by international humanitarian law. While BDS is modeled after the South African boycott and thus calls for broad boycotts against Israeli institutions, nothing in it calls for discrimination against individuals solely because of their national origin, religion, or ethnicity.

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