A Message from Kairos USA Executive Director Mark Braverman

Braverman headshot
Mark Braverman
The Church Movement for Palestine in 2021 – A message from Kairos USA.

By Mark Braverman |  Palestine Portal  |  Dec 30, 2020

“…the release of “Cry for Hope: A Call to Decisive Action” has spurred the churches on national and denominational levels to challenge Christian Zionism as theology and as political policy.”
— Mark Braverman, Executive Director

The year 2020 was pivotal for the kairos movement. One legacy of the departing Trump administration is that the veil was ripped from the illusion of the United States as standing for self-determination and the restoration of human rights for Palestinians. We report briefly below on how action by churches to keep Palestine on the agenda of the incoming administration has begun. On the global front, the release of “Cry for Hope: A Call to Decisive Action” has spurred the churches on national and denominational levels to challenge Christian Zionism as theology and as political policy. As reported previously here, the debate over Christian Zionism has begun on every continent, with dialogue with church leaders taking place in Germany, Scandinavia, and the UK and open political debate beginning in the U.S. and in South Africa. In India, West Asia and Latin America, kairos organizations and their affiliates in the churches and the human rights community are organizing in support of “Cry for Hope” and in solidarity with Palestinians. Kairos USA will continue to cover these developments in the national and global arenas.

Continue reading “A Message from Kairos USA Executive Director Mark Braverman”

An appeal to my liberal Zionist friends (who have No Program for Palestinian rights)

Flags at Peace Now rally May 27, 2017, Rabin Square, Tel Aviv. (photo: Phil Weiss)
A truth telling call to moral action.

By Philip Weiss  |  Mondoweiss | Dec 30, 2020

And 30 years of “peace process” later, aimed at creating a Palestinian state, the settlements continue to propagate, more than ever, engulfing Palestinian neighborhoods around Jerusalem. It’s a joke.

Dear liberal Zionist friends,

We’ve been friends for a while in a cordial but wary way, and as this tumultuous year ends, I wanted to appeal to you to change your stance. While your attitudes are well-meaning and and even idealistic, you have done nothing to change Israel’s conduct in some 40 years now; and the fact that you have not altered your messaging beyond Frustrated Wheedling with some Anger thrown in now and then is deeply disappointing to me.

The sad truth is that: You have no program at all for ending the occupation, you just hope Israel will change.

Continue reading “An appeal to my liberal Zionist friends (who have No Program for Palestinian rights)”

US guns are being aimed at Palestinian kids. Washington can take them away

A Palestinian boy walks near Israeli soldiers in the West Bank city of Hebron, on the first Friday of the Muslim month of Ramadan. July 04, 2014. (photo Nati Shohat / Flash90)
The impunity enjoyed by Israeli soldiers has fostered an increasingly trigger-prone policy against Palestinian children. Americans have ways to prevent it.

By Brad Parker  |  +972 Magazine  |  Dec 28, 2020

In analyzing these incidents, we discovered an alarming trend that began in 2014, in which Israeli forces have increasingly targeted Palestinian children with live ammunition to quash protests.

Earlier this month, an Israeli soldier shot and killed Ali Abu Aliya in the village of al-Mughayyer in the occupied West Bank, during a protest against an Israeli settlement outpost that was recently established on the village’s land. According to an investigation by Defense for Children International – Palestine, Ali was about 50 meters away from Israeli forces and did not present any threat when he was shot. He was struck in the abdomen with live ammunition and died shortly after in a Ramallah hospital. It was his 15th birthday.

Ali’s killing is disturbing, but not exceptional. Since I began working with DCI-Palestine in January 2013, we have documented 155 Palestinian children killed by Israeli forces with live ammunition or crowd-control weapons. Another 570 Palestinian children have been killed in Israeli military offensives and other attacks, according to our documentation. Growing up in a hyper-militarized context, including going about daily life near Israeli settlements and barriers, Palestinian children like Ali easily become targets.

Continue reading “US guns are being aimed at Palestinian kids. Washington can take them away”

Biden won’t advance ‘two-state solution’ but try to keep idea alive, somehow

Joe Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu in New Orleans in 2010. (photo: Israeli Government Press Office)
Here is what the Democratic Party’s Israel lobby sees as Israel/Palestine policy under a Biden administration.

By Philip Weiss  |  Mondoweiss  | Dec 24, 2020

The United States must also take early steps to deter Israeli annexation and settlement expansion by expressing unambiguous opposition to both….As part of this approach, the United States should make clear that it will not shield Israel from international consequences it might face when it takes actions, such as settlement construction, that are contrary to U.S. policy.
— Center for a New American Security report

Happy holidays and a happy end to 2020! This is Phil Weiss and I’m filling in for Michael Arria on this newsletter this week, and the best value seemed to me to relay what the Democratic Party’s Israel lobby sees as Israel/Palestine policy under a Biden administration.

What will Biden do on the conflict? What should he do?

And there’s a consensus from Israel’s liberal supporters. Biden won’t push for a two-state solution because there won’t be a Palestinian state in the next few years (or ever!). But he will take measures that keep the idea of two states on life support. I’m a cynic about these policies; I think the two-state solution is a charade that prolongs Palestinian suffering but allows American politicians and others to maintain the claim that they stand behind Palestinian human rights. But I’m putting on my reporter’s hat here, because these are D.C. insiders.

Continue reading “Biden won’t advance ‘two-state solution’ but try to keep idea alive, somehow”

Conservative Christians remain silent about suffering Bethlehem

Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Pierbattista Pizzaballa greets young Palestinians as he arrives in the Israeli-occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, on December 24, 2018. The banner reads in Arabic reads: Occupation does not differentiate between Christians and Muslims. (photo: Hazem Bader / AFP / Getty Images)
Powerful conservative Christian groups overlook the plight of Palestinian Christians to avoid criticizing Israel.

By James Zogby |  Common Dreams |  Dec 21, 2020

To most in the West, Palestinian Christians are simply invisible. To conservative Christians, they are at best a nuisance who stand in the way of their unquestioning ideological attachment to Israel.

As we enter the final week before Christmas, my thoughts turn to Bethlehem, its struggling people, and the shocking disregard for them displayed by many Christians in the West. This is not to say that that these same Christians don’t love Bethlehem. But the city they love is the one of the story that’s 2,000 years old.

In that story, we are told of how Mary and Joseph, living under Roman occupation, were required to travel to Bethlehem to enroll in a mandatory census. Because the town had become overcrowded, Mary and Joseph could not find housing and were forced to stay in a cave where Mary gave birth to Jesus.

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How “Pro-Israel” orthodoxy keeps US foreign policymaking White

Raphael Warnock addresses supporters during a rally with Jon Ossoff in Atlanta, GA, December 14th, 2020. (photo: AP Photo / Ben Gray)
Raphael Warnock is the latest example of being criticized for sympathizing with the Palestinian cause and then pulling back to moderate his position.

By Peter Beinart |  Jewish Currents  | Dec 22, 2020

Year after year, decade after decade, these attacks have forced Black politicians to either mute their sympathy for Palestinians or risk losing a seat at the table. In this way, the Israel debate has helped keep American foreign policymaking disproportionately white.

In October, Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who is seeking re-election in Georgia, released an ad called “Birds of Prey” attacking her Democratic opponent, Raphael Warnock. The title refers to a sermon Warnock gave during protests in the Gaza Strip in 2018, in which he accused the Israeli government of shooting “unarmed Palestinian sisters and brothers like birds of prey.” In a statement accompanying the ad, Loeffler called Warnock “the most anti-Israel candidate anywhere in the country.” The next month, she unveiled a new commercial, which again denounced Warnock as “anti-Israel.” When the two candidates debated in December, she accused him of having “called Israel an apartheid state.”

Black politicians often face such accusations. In June, the Republican Jewish Coalition accused Jamaal Bowman, who ousted longtime incumbent Eliot Engel in New York’s 16th Congressional District, of supporting “anti-Israel policies.” In April, the right-wing Jewish newspaper The Algemeiner alleged that California Rep. Barbara Lee had “a clear anti-Israel voting record.” Last year, Republican congressional leaders demanded that Rep. Ilhan Omar be removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee for her “anti-Israel statements.” In 2018, Florida gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis called his Democratic opponent, Andrew Gillum, “anti-Israel.” And in 2017, the American Jewish Congress sent letters to members of the Democratic National Committee warning that if they chose Congressman Keith Ellison as the party’s chair, it “could threaten the relationship between America and our ally Israel.”

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A new side to the holy city of Bethlehem

Bethlehem is best known for being the hometown of King David and the birthplace of Jesus Christ. (photo: Efesenko / Getty Images)
Written towards the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, there is hope for a return to a new miracle afoot: a renaissance of Palestinian culture and coolness.

By Richard Morgan  | BBC  | April 7, 2020

…Bethlehemites have rewritten their narrative by reappropriating and reclaiming their uncertain, uneasy lives. ‘Tuz’ is far from apathetic resignation; rather a daring declaration of persistence along with the canny awareness both that art is the most seductive form of violence and that living well is the best revenge.

The Singer Café is like a lot of hipster haunts you might find in the nearby cosmopolitan corners of Israel: a family sharing a shakshuka brunch; a European traveller writing a screenplay on his laptop; and a dating couple getting to know each other over a sumptuous mezze platter. There’s striking local art on the walls, and the cafe’s whimsical, upbeat vibe is epitomised by a sign that reads “more espresso, less depresso”.

But Israelis are by and large forbidden by their government from visiting this particular oasis of cosy calm. That’s because Singer is in the suburb of Beit Sahour on the walking-distance outskirts of Bethlehem – itself on the outskirts of Jerusalem – in the occupied West Bank, which has been controlled by the Israeli military since the Six Day War of 1967. Singer serves arguably the best espresso con panna in any conflict zone on the planet.

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US votes against UN Resolution condemning Nazis, labels it “Russian Disinformation”

Volunteers of the ultra far-right Azov Battalion at a rally marking Fatherland Defender Day in Kiev, Ukraine, Oct. 14, 2016. (photo: Efrem Lukatsky | AP)
The US has voted against similar resolutions every year since 2014, dismissing them as Russian attempts to delegitimize the Ukrainian government.

By Alex McLeod  |  MintPress News  | Dec 18, 2020

While this could be seen as another example of Donald Trump refusing to condemn the far-right, it is highly doubtful that the incoming Biden administration would have voted any differently.

The United States and Ukraine were the only two nations to vote against a United Nations resolution Wednesday on, “Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.” The resolution passed 130-2.

The resolution featured 70 fairly bland statements condemning the crimes of Adolf Hitler, while also expressing concern at the rise of contemporary Neo-Nazi groups.

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Israel is starting to vaccinate, but Palestinians may have to wait months

Suhad Saidam adjusts one of her face masks on a youth at her sewing workshop in Gaza City, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. (photo: Adel Hana / AP)
Both the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a growing gap between rich and poor countries could keep vaccines from the West Bank and Gaza as the virus surges.

By Steve Hendrix and Shira Rubin |  The Washington Post  |  Dec 18, 2020

‘Israel bears moral and humanitarian responsibility for vaccinating the Palestinian population under its control,’
— Physicians for Human Rights appeal 

JERUSALEM — Israel, like many high-income countries, is moving quickly to roll out newly approved coronavirus vaccines, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scheduled to get the symbolic first shot Saturday. But next door in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the prospects for vaccinating almost 5 million Palestinians are far less certain, as financial, political and logistical hurdles could delay inoculations against the raging pandemic for months.

The split highlights not only the tense disparities between Israel and the Palestinian populations it effectively controls, but the growing divergence between vaccine haves and have-nots as the world enters the pandemic endgame.

The United States, Britain, Russia and other developed countries have already begun administering vaccines to health-care workers, the elderly and other priority groups. Other nations are receiving shipments now.

Continue reading “Israel is starting to vaccinate, but Palestinians may have to wait months”

Democratic lobby group defends Israel’s demolition of Palestinian hamlet

Abdul-Ghani and Fadwa Awawdeh are seen among the debris of an Israeli demolition in the Palestinian community of Humsa al-Fuqa, in the occupied West Bank, November 4, 2020. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz / Activestills)
Blaming Palestinians for their own displacement, Democratic Majority for Israel is pushing back against its party’s criticism of the largest West Bank demolition in a decade, memo reveals.

By Alex Kane |  +972 Magazine  | Dec 16, 2020

‘It’s completely unjustifiable to be rationalizing kicking people out of their homes in the middle of a global pandemic,’
— Emily Mayer, political director of the anti-occupation Jewish group IfNotNow

When Israeli bulldozers stormed the West Bank community of Humsa al-Fuqa (Khirbet Humsa) and demolished its structures on Nov. 3, leaving 11 Palestinian families homeless, some Democrats in Washington, D.C. took notice.

Two weeks after the Israeli demolition, which took place under the cover of U.S. election day, Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.) and 39 of his Congressional colleagues sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticizing Israel’s actions as “a serious violation of international law” and an example of “creeping annexation.” Pocan’s letter also demanded that Pompeo examine whether Israel had utilized U.S.-made equipment during the demolition operation.

Continue reading “Democratic lobby group defends Israel’s demolition of Palestinian hamlet”