A Reading with Don Wagner: Glory to God in the Lowest

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Join our brother Don Wagner for a personal, political, and religious journey from Evangelical Christian faith and conservative politics to solidarity with the poor and advocacy for anti-war, anti- racism, and Palestinian rights.
Date: Friday, September 23, 2022
Time: 7:30pm
Location: Phinney Books, 7405 Greenwood Ave. N, Seattle WA
Information: Event information here →
Tickets: Free
Event Details

After serving for five years as a pastor in a remarkable Black church, Donald Wagner comes to fully understand the original sin of racism. As his journey continues, he encounters another marginalized people—the Palestinians—and witnesses their struggle for justice and equality. Touched by their resilience and fight against injustice, he leaves the pastorate to assume full time work as an advocate for Palestinian political and human rights.

The memoir begins in mid-September 1982, with a gut-wrenching day interviewing survivors of the Sabra-Shatila massacre in Lebanon, as they wept and waited for the bodies of family members to be pulled from the rubble. Donald Wagner’s conversation with the local Imam ended with a challenge: “You must return home and tell what you have seen. This is all we ask. Go back and tell the truth.”

Glory to God in the Lowest is a metaphor for his counter intuitive journey with the victims of the “chosen people” in the “unholy land,” also called historic Palestine or Israel. The irony of the journey reminds us that God is everywhere especially with the disinherited, the victims of the powerful, including the victims of Israeli oppression.

The memoir touches on history and includes political analysis and theological reflection. In it, Donald Wagner describes Israel’s continued colonization and destruction of Palestinian lives and chronicles his involvement in a grassroots movement of resistance that demands justice based on full equality, an end to the Israeli military occupation and settler colonization project, the right of return for Palestinian refugees, and full political rights for the Palestinian people.

Filled with stories—some humorous and some shocking—as well as encounters with people of every race, gender, and religious affiliation working below the radar, this book will inspire, challenge, and offer a narrative that envisions a transformed “unholy land,” where justice, liberation, and equality for all is the reality for every citizen.

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The line separating Israel from Palestine has been erased—What comes next?

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Separate but not equal: the settlement of Modiin Illit rises behind the Apartheid Wall while a protestor waves a Palestinian flag in 2012. (credit: Majdi Mohammed / AP)
For 55 years, the Green Line has shut down our political imagination. Its disappearance gives us a chance to do things differently.

By Meron Rapoport | The Nation | Aug 10, 2022

The collapse of the Green Line, and no less important the collapse of the ability to imagine it, has set a new stage in the decades-long conflict.

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL-PALESTINE—More than a year after a wave of violence, rage, and resistance swept through the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, the events of May 2021 are still very much present in the minds of Israeli Jews and Palestinians. Two hundred and eighty-six Palestinians, most of them in Gaza, and 13 Israelis were killed during the 11 most intense days, but it was not only the number of casualties that left a mark. It was also the fact that the drama unfolded all over historical Palestine: in Jerusalem, in Gaza, in the West Bank, and most important, in Israel’s “mixed cities” such as Lydd, Ramle, Acre, and elsewhere, which was almost unprecedented since 1948.

Continue reading “The line separating Israel from Palestine has been erased—What comes next?”

Gaza: Cruelty without consequences

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(credit: Photo by Yousef Bassam)
Below is a letter about the recent (August 2022) Israeli attacks on Gaza.  NVI has long advocated for a nonviolent resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Please get involved. The status quo is horrible, particularly for the Palestinians. 

By Jonathan Kuttab | Nonviolence International | August 11, 2022

The biggest victory for Israel was in the muted response by the American media.

Israel is currently gloating over its recent operation in Gaza. It succeeded by all measures: Israel initiated the conflict, first by arresting an Islamic Jihad leader in the West Bank city of Jenin and dragging him out in humiliation, as he was bitten by a dog; then, anticipating a reaction by his organization, Israel proceeded to bombard Gaza “preemptively.” In three short days, the Israeli military managed to rain death and destruction on Gaza, assassinating another Islamic Jihad leader, killing 46 Palestinians (including 16 children), and wounding 460 others. Meanwhile, it suffered no casualties itself aside from a few lightly wounded by shrapnel. The world press largely followed the Israeli narrative, giving credit to Israeli lies that it was Palestinian fire that killed its child-victims. Israel succeeded in calculating and limiting the actions it initiated, as Hamas was both bribed and bullied into staying on the sidelines and Egypt quickly moved in to suggest a ceasefire once Israel felt satisfied.

Continue reading “Gaza: Cruelty without consequences”

What was the point of this Gaza war?

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Palestinian children inspect the damaged to a house following Israel’s assault on Gaza, Rafah, Gaza Strip, August 8, 2022. (credit: Abed Rahim Khatib / Flash90)

By Edo Konrad | +972 Magazine | Aug 8, 2022

Counterintuitive as it may sound, Israel does not actually want to topple Hamas; it needs it to uphold the status quo…

Three days after Israel launched its latest military operation in Gaza, it still remains unclear what the hell the point of all this was.With the announcement of an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire on Sunday night, Israeli analysts have been quick to deem caretaker Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s “harmonious” campaign a success. After violently arresting Bassam al-Saadi, a senior leader of the Islamic Jihad movement’s branch in the occupied West Bank, the Israeli army put border communities around Gaza on lockdown for nearly half a week in preparation of an alleged retaliatory attack. It eventually began launching airstrikes in the strip, which were met with volleys of rocket fire from militants. The escalations have ended with 44 Palestinians killed, including 15 children, and over 350 more wounded.

Continue reading “What was the point of this Gaza war?”

The ‘NYTimes’ hides why Israel is attacking Gaza — Prime Minister Lapid is running for re-election

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Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid making a public statement regarding the Israeli attach on Gaza on August 5, 2022.  (credit:  GPO VIA APA IMAGES)
The ‘NYTimes’ bias is clear as it attempts to blame Palestinians for Israel’s latest deadly unprovoked attack on Gaza .

By James North | Mondoweiss | Aug 6, 2022

“Israel is going the extra mile to provoke factions in #Gaza. Something reeks here.”
— Belal Aldabbour,  Palestinian physician

Belal Aldabbour is a Palestinian physician who lives in Gaza. He tweets from there as @Belalmd12. He’s an indispensable eyewitness to Israel’s latest attack on the besieged territory. But even more, he — and others on the internet — are demolishing the latest biased and dishonest reports in the New York Times and other mainstream media outlets.

Yesterday he tweeted, “Israel is generously (and provokingly) sharing graphic videos of the latest strikes in #Gaza, showing the very last seconds in the lives of the victims. One was lying down. Another was having a phone call.” And he then added, “Israel is going the extra mile to provoke factions in #Gaza. Something reeks here.”

Continue reading “The ‘NYTimes’ hides why Israel is attacking Gaza — Prime Minister Lapid is running for re-election”

Meta facilitates bullying of Palestine activists

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Meta stands accused of breaking its commitment to host diverse views. (Credit Image: © Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images via ZUMA Press Wire) 
Meta’s inaction raises many questions.

By Omar Zahzah  | The Eletronic Intifada | July 28, 2022

If these are indeed values to which Meta holds itself, Palestine is apparently an exception to the norm

Tech giant Meta – owner of Facebook – is increasingly being identified with censorship and repression of pro-Palestine content.

The company has regularly targeted accounts advancing the Palestinian liberation struggle in various capacities, subjecting them to all forms of obstruction, from shadow-banning to outright deletion.

But up until now, Meta’s political bigotry has largely revolved around hiding, blocking or removing content that centers Palestine.

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Constricting Palestinian human rights and the right to health: Israeli apartheid policies

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Ali, an 11-month-old cancer patient, at the Qalandiya military checkpoint. (credit: Tamar Fleishman, The Palestine Chronicle)
Dr. Rothchild highlights the need to acknowledge the Palestinian right to health in its broadest definition.

By Alice Rothchild | The Palestine Chronicle  | July 26, 2022

This right to health is endangered when the dominant power is able to weaponize unsubstantiated security risks and labels of terrorism to shut down civil society organizations…

There is a growing consensus that the behaviors of the Israeli government fulfill the definition of an apartheid regime. There is also a growing consensus that Palestinians who are Israeli citizens or stateless in the occupied Palestinian territories or refugee camps lack civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights as a manifestation of the settler colonialism that characterizes the Israeli state.  These structural issues, grounded in the colonialism and racism of the early 20th century British Empire and Zionist ideology, are distinctly threatening to Palestinian human rights and their right to health.

This right to health is endangered when the dominant power is able to weaponize unsubstantiated security risks and labels of terrorism to shut down civil society organizations, especially when this framing is accepted and unchallenged by external actors. The false October 2021 designation of six prominent Palestinian human rights and civil society groups as “terrorist” organizations with militant links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, using “secret evidence” collected by the Israeli Ministry of Defense, is a manifestation of that settler colonial violence on a national scale.

Continue reading “Constricting Palestinian human rights and the right to health: Israeli apartheid policies”

Episcopal Church condemns Israel’s oppression of Palestinians

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Wadi Qelt, Between Jericho and Jerusalem, Palestine. (credit: Nour Tayeh on Unsplash)

By The Episcopal Diocese of Olympia| July 19, 2022

Growing concern among faith institutions mirrors the same conclusion in the secular world as human rights organizations including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have recently concluded that Israel’s treatment of Palestinians constitutes apartheid.

The Episcopal Church voted at the 80th General Convention to condemn Israel’s occupation and oppression of Palestinians and urge the United States to take action to oppose Israeli laws and practices that result in unequal rights for two peoples. The resolution was initially drafted in the Diocese of Olympia and passed at its convention last fall.

The Convention also passed a resolution opposing the criminalization and penalization of boycott, divestment and sanctions movements as infringements of First Amendment rights. (Approximately thirty states currently have laws limiting people’s ability to boycott Israel.)

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Taking on the “charities” that fund Israel’s settlers

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The Palestinians of Masafer Yatta are fighting an attempt to eliminate them. (credit: Mamoun Wazwaz / APA images)
 Targeting the financial resources of the settler-colonial movement.

By Sami Huraini | The Electronic Intifada | Jul 26, 2022

As Palestinians confront a matrix of Israeli violence – bullets, batons and prison – we are calling on solidarity activists to connect awareness-raising efforts with activities that can cut off the financial resources of the Israeli settler movement.

The pending erasure of the Indigenous people of Masafer Yatta isn’t solely about the “occupation,” as liberal Zionists would lead you to believe.

Palestinians are fighting much more than an “occupation.” We are fighting Israel’s program of settler-colonialism.

We are fighting against efforts to eliminate us.

Deep down, every Palestinian knows it’s not solely about the “occupation.”

Continue reading “Taking on the “charities” that fund Israel’s settlers”

Ben & Jerry’s path to boycotting Israeli settlements

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A Ben & Jerry’s store in Times Square. (credit: John Nacion / NurPhoto via AP)
The president of the Ben & Jerry’s Foundation speaks about the impact of visits to the occupied territories.

By Alex Kane | Jewish Currents | Jul 26, 2022

“We believe it is inconsistent with our values for our product to be present within an internationally recognized illegal occupation.”
— Jeff Furman, Ben & Jerry’s 

About four decades ago, Ben & Jerry’s board member Jeff Furman, who helped draft the initial business plan for the ice cream company, assisted in expanding operations into Israel. But in 2012, Furman went on his first trip to occupied Palestine, which opened his eyes to Israel’s human rights abuses. In subsequent years, Furman brought Ben & Jerry’s employees and board members to the region to educate them on the human rights situation in Israel/Palestine. Last year, the company decided to end its agreement with its Israeli licensee in order to halt the sales of its ice cream to Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. “We’re a values-led company with a long history of advocating for human rights, and economic and social justice,” the company said in an FAQ explaining its boycott of Israeli settlements. “We believe it is inconsistent with our values for our product to be present within an internationally recognized illegal occupation.”

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