Episcopal Church condemns Israel’s oppression of Palestinians

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

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.”

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Ben & Jerry’s path to boycotting Israeli settlements

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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Inching toward the tipping point in the Episcopal Church

The Rev. Mike Ehmer, Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Finance & Budget, presents the 2023-24 budget proposal to a joint session of the 80th General Convention in Baltimore, Maryland.  (credit: David Pausen / Episcopal News Service)
The Episcopal Church recently passed four resolutions that will empower the church to act on behalf of Palestinians.

By Ruth McCree | Mondoweiss | July 20, 2022

In calling for human and equal civil rights for Palestinians, the Episcopal Church joins many other denominations in denouncing Israel’s continuing dispossession and discrimination against the Palestinian people.

After 20 years advocating for Palestinian human rights within our denomination, I am encouraged and happy to see that our General Convention in Baltimore earlier this month my church, the Episcopal Church in the US, passed four resolutions that will empower the church to act on behalf of Palestinians.

Briefly, these call for the following:

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No path to justice

March 16, 03. Rachel nonviolently blocks Israeli bulldozers from destroying Palestinian homes along the Rafah/Egyptian border along with nine other International Solidarity Movement volunteers. (credit: Joe Carr / Copyrighted free use, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9023868)

By Alice Speri | The Intercept | Jul 13, 2022

…while the U.S. government rejected the results of the Israeli investigation, it did nothing to ensure that such a killing would not happen again. So it did.

Nearly two decades before Israeli forces killed Palestinian American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, shooting a single bullet into her head while she was reporting from the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, an Israeli soldier drove a bulldozer over American peace activist Rachel Corrie, crushing her to death.

Both killings left little real doubt about the dynamics at play. Abu Akleh was standing with a group of colleagues, wearing a vest clearly marked “PRESS,” nowhere near the fighting that had taken place earlier that morning. Corrie was nonviolently protesting the demolition of a Palestinian family’s home in Gaza. She was wearing a fluorescent orange jacket with reflective stripes and had been on the scene for several hours, at times speaking into a megaphone.

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Palestinians face forced expulsions as Biden pledges allegiance to Israel

A picture shows a billboard, part of a campaign organised by Israeli rights group B’Tselem, in the West Bank biblical city of Bethlehem on July 13, 2022, ahead of US President’s arrival for an official visit. – US President Joe Biden was to start a Middle East tour on Wednesday in Israel, where leaders will urge tougher action against their common foe Iran, before a delicate stop in oil-rich Saudi Arabia.  (credit: Ahmad Gharabli / AFP via Getty Images)
Biden’s promises are coming up short.

By Marjorie Cohn | TruthOut | July 16, 2022

Pledging to “stand with the Jewish and democratic State of Israel,” Biden ignored the exclusion of the Palestinian people from Israel’s “democracy,” which extends only to Jewish people.

President Joe Biden’s much-heralded visit to Jerusalem has confirmed that the United States remains Israel’s enabler-in-chief. Biden promised to continue providing Israel with $3.8 billion in annual military aid (more than the U.S. gives any other country) to maintain the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory.

Pledging to “stand with the Jewish and democratic State of Israel,” Biden ignored the exclusion of the Palestinian people from Israel’s “democracy,” which extends only to Jewish people. Palestinians do not enjoy the same democratic rights as Jews. As Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem recently affirmed, Israel is an apartheid state.

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Recapping the 80th General Convention of the Episcopal Church

Photograph Source: eddiedangerous – CC BY 2.0
The Episcopal Church has completed three days of meetings yielding 4 resolutions  denouncing Israel’s treatment of Palestinians as unjust and a matter of moral and political urgency.

By Episcopal Peace Fellowship | July 13, 2022

“the President of the United States, the U.S. Congress, Governors, and State Legislatures to oppose legislation that penalizes or criminalizes support for all nonviolent boycotts, divestment and/or sanctions, especially on behalf of Palestinian human rights, as an infringement of First Amendment rights.”
— Resolution C013

The year-long delayed, and recently streamlined 80th General Convention of The Episcopal Church has completed three days of concentrated action and worship in Baltimore, yielding four reasons to be excited. During that time the Bishops and Deputies adopted an amended version of Resolution C013 on Freedom of Speech and the Right to Boycott. It also adopted an amended version of Resolution C039 entitled Justice and Peace in the Holy Land – Our Call to Action. And, it adopted Resolution D024Conditioning U.S. Military Assistance on Human Rights.  And the House of Bishops also adopted the enigmatically titled Resolution A216The Patriarchs and Heads of Local Churches of the Holy Land.

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Christians in Politics


Some thoughts on the diverse opinions and legitimate differences among Christians.

By Jonathan Kuttab | Friends of Sabeel North American (FOSNA) | July 6, 2022

As the country is seemingly ripped apart by so-called “culture wars,” Christians do not appear to be shining examples of peace, virtue, love, or tolerance, much less of caring for the poor, the needy, and the marginalized.

When I was growing up, politics was deemed a dirty word. Christians, I was taught, should stay out of politics. After all, it was Jesus who said, “My Kingdom is not of this world.” As Christians, we should concentrate on spiritual matters, on the saving of souls, and steer clear of such worldly matters.

Yet, I quickly learnt that inaction was not an option and that failure to participate in the political process was merely to support the status quo, however unjust it might be. I came to discover that politics always impacts our lives, even if we try to avoid it. For instance, our very presence as Christian Palestinians in the Holy Land was a contested political fact with serious, existential consequences, and it remained so even if we were not politically active.

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Israel and Palestine dominate the attention of the International Engagement Committee

Ruling Elder Commisioner Kaye Yearta during the International Engagement Committee meeting on June 27, 2022 at the 225th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) at the Presbyterian Center in Louisville, Kentucky. (credit: Randy Hobson)
Resolutions passed by the International Committee of the Presbyterian General Assembly 2022 bring a call to end Israeli apartheid.

By Scott O’Neill | Presbyterian Church USA | June 28, 2022

“Recognize that the government of Israel’s laws, policies, and practices regarding the Palestinian people fulfill the international legal definition of apartheid.”
— Resolution passed unanimously by the General Assembly

When the Committee on International Engagement kicked off its second day of business on Tuesday, the initial focus was two overtures related to the Korean Peninsula and Presbyterian efforts to engage with partners, both faith-based and secular, toward creating a peace treaty.

INT-12Regarding a Korean Peace Treaty was answered with action on INT-15On Advocating for a Peace Agreement in the Korean Peninsula, which passed unanimously as written. Sponsored by Cayuga-Syracuse Presbytery, INT-15 calls for an endorsement of the Korea Peace Appeal and for individual Presbyterians, presbyteries and synods to add their signature to the campaign. A financial commitment of $7,350 is attached to the overture for the Presbyterian Mission Agency to update existing resources and create new ones, including a video, that articulate the realities of the 70-year-old Korean conflict.

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