Bank of Ireland Closes BDS Accounts

Talal Huesseini, Palestinian Square
October 11, 2016


“It is difficult to escape the conclusion that this attack on our ability to bank is a politically-motivated measure to silence a human rights organization that campaigns for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it fulfills its obligations under international law — a campaign the Irish Government views as entirely legitimate.”


On 27 September 2016, the Bank of Ireland (BOI) closed three accounts belonging to the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC), deeming Palestine to be a ‘high-risk country’ and declaring that IPSC no longer met the bank’s “risk appetite.” IPSC, a human rights advocacy group that seeks to “build solidarity and mutual understanding” between the Irish and Palestinian peoples, held accounts with the Bank of Ireland since the organization’s establishment in 2001. The money that IPSC raises is primarily used to fund Palestinian solidarity projects in Ireland, such as: advocating for recognition of the occupation by the Irish government and European Union; and educating Irish citizens on the boycott of goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements. This kind of action epitomizes IPSC’s objective: to peacefully promote Palestinian rights and culture. [Continue reading here . . . ]

California “Assault on Academic Freedom”

California Scholars for Academic Freedom
October 5, 2015


“The UC Berkeley case is but the latest assault on academic freedom that has increased in intensity over the last fifteen years, overwhelmingly in the interest of one foreign government, namely Israel.”


On September 13, well after the school year had begun, UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks and Dean Carla Hesse cancelled a course entitled “Palestine: A Settler Colonial Analysis” that had been vetted and approved by all the appropriate committees and authorities. It was soon revealed that 43 Zionist organizations (some of these may be organizations in name only) had sent letters of protest asking for its suppression. Faculty and student protest forced the administration to reinstate the course.  But adding insult to injury, UC Berkeley administrators have refused to apologize publicly, and have continued to conceal the obvious reasons for their caving in to outside pressures behind a veil of administrative lingo and half-truths.

Well-funded interest groups outside of the university, including AMCHA, Campus Watch, Louis D. Brandeis Center, Anti-Defamation League, Zionist Organization of America, the David Horowitz Freedom Center, the Canary Mission Website, the Middle East Forum, and the David Project Center for Jewish Leadership have kept up a continuous effort to silence open debate about a controversial issue: the Israeli occupation and Palestinian rights. It is worth noting that two of the main proponents of these organizations, David Horowitz and Daniel Pipes, were named as leading Islamophobes by the Southern Poverty Law Center. [Continue reading here . . . ]

The NY Times “Finally Realizes”

Netanyahu doesn’t care what Obama thinks

By Lisa Goldman, +972 Magazine
October 7, 2016


“For years, liberal American publications have been generally sympathetic to Israel, even when they are criticizing its governments’ policies. Now, in light of an unprecedented New York Times editorial, that attitude might be about to change.”


The New York Times editorial board has realized, about a decade too late, that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not care what the Obama administration — or any U.S. administration, for that matter — thinks about his policies regarding the Palestinians.

According to the editorial published Friday, October 7, headlined At the Boiling Point With Israel, the catalyst for this realization was Netanyahu’s decision to approve the building of a new settlement deep in the West Bank, only three weeks after the U.S. finalized a package of military aid for Israel to the tune of an unprecedented $38 billion, spread over 10 years. Israel receives more military aid than any other country, by far: Egypt, which receives $1.31 billion per year, is the second-largest recipient of direct military aid from the United States. [Continue reading here . . . ]

At the Boiling Point with Israel

The New York Times Editorial Board
October 6, 2016


“The ever expanding settlements have poisoned Palestinian hopes and functioned variously as a spark, a target and an excuse for violence, intensifying the conflict.”


If the aim of the Israeli government is to prevent a peace deal with the Palestinians, now or in the future, it’s close to realizing that goal. Last week, it approved the construction of a new Jewish settlement in the West Bank, another step in the steady march under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to build on land needed to create a Palestinian state.

The Obama administration, with every justification, strongly condemned the action as a betrayal of the idea of a two-state solution in the Middle East. But Mr. Netanyahu obviously doesn’t care what Washington thinks, so it will be up to President Obama to find another way to preserve that option before he leaves office. [Continue reading . . . ]

State Department Condemns Israeli Settlements

October 5, 2016
Mark C. Toner, Deputy State Department Spokesperson


“Proceeding with this new settlement is another step towards cementing a one-state reality of perpetual occupation that is fundamentally inconsistent with Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state.”


We strongly condemn the Israeli government’s recent decision to advance a plan that would create a significant new settlement deep in the West Bank.

Proceeding with this new settlement, which could include up to 300 units, would further damage the prospects for a two state solution. The retroactive authorization of nearby illegal outposts, or redrawing of local settlement boundaries, does not change the fact that this approval contradicts previous public statements by the Government of Israel that it had no intention of creating new settlements. And this settlement’s location deep in the West Bank, far closer to Jordan than Israel, would link a string of outposts that effectively divide the West Bank and make the possibility of a viable Palestinian state more remote.

It is deeply troubling, in the wake of Israel and the U.S. concluding an unprecedented agreement on military assistance designed to further strengthen Israel’s security, that Israel would take a decision so contrary to its long term security interest in a peaceful resolution of its conflict with the Palestinians. Furthermore, it is disheartening that while Israel and the world mourned the passing of President Shimon Peres, and leaders from the U.S. and other nations prepared to honor one of the great champions of peace, plans were advanced that would seriously undermine the prospects for the two state solution that he so passionately supported.

Israelis must ultimately decide between expanding settlements and preserving the possibility of a peaceful two state solution. Since the recent Quartet report called on both sides to take affirmative steps to reverse current trends and advance the two state solution on the ground, we have unfortunately seen just the opposite. Proceeding with this new settlement is another step towards cementing a one-state reality of perpetual occupation that is fundamentally inconsistent with Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state. Such moves will only draw condemnation from the international community, distance Israel from many of its partners, and further call into question Israel’s commitment to achieving a negotiated peace.

[Read the statement here. . . ]

Celebrating a New Jewish Diasporism

A Sermon for Rosh Hashanah 5777

Rabbi Brant Rosen
October 4, 2016


“While we appreciate the important role of the land of Israel in Jewish tradition, liturgy and identity, we do not celebrate the fusing of Judaism with political nationalism. We are non-Zionist, openly acknowledging that the creation of an ethnic Jewish nation state in historic Palestine resulted in an injustice against its indigenous people — an injustice that continues to this day.”


As I’m sure you know, Tzedek Chicago has received a great deal of attention — some might call it notoriety — for calling ourselves a “non-Zionist” congregation. But contrary to what our most cynical critics might say, we didn’t choose this label for the publicity. When we founded Tzedek Chicago last year, we used this term deliberately. We did so because we wanted to create an intentional community, based on specific core values. Our non-Zionism is not just a label. It is comes from our larger conviction to celebrate “a Judaism beyond nationalism.” [Continue reading here . . . ]

The Land That Remains: Photographing Nostalgia and Existence

Source: Palestine Square | ميدان فلسطين

The land has been swept away, her history has been broken by another’s reality.


Italian photographer Federico Busonero recalls an allegorical moment: Traveling along the West Bank’s Route 60, he came across a Palestinian man sitting on a cement block on the side of the road apparently waiting for a ride. Next to him were three bags; from one protruded an old-fashioned black wall clock. The man spoke neither Italian nor English, and Busonero speaks no Arabic. The photographer signaled to the man that he would like to photograph him by pointing to his camera. The man agreed to Busonero’s request. For 15 minutes, Busonero relayed, the man sat there with “his hands crossed on his legs, pensive eyes looking at me. Everything was halted (…). The man did not move.” Neither, of course, did the clock. [Continue reading here . . . ]

Shepherding under Occupation

By the Jordan Valley team, Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI)

“We have been living next to the settlement for many years and we don’t do any harm to anyone, we just want to live and to be able to walk with our sheep and have access to the land”


We arrived early, just after sunrise. We met with Abu Sami [pseudonym] and his family along with members of Ta’yush, an joint Israeli and Palestinian organization. Abu Sami lives close to a settlement in the North of Jordan Valley and his family looked very afraid of the consequences of the land action that was about to take place. Abu Sami and his family were preparing to graze their sheep on land that the settlers have taken control of in Khirbet Tell el Himma. The land is privately owned by a Palestinian family and Abu Sami rents it from them to graze his sheep, however, because of frequent harassment from settlers, the family are no longer able to use it. Today was going to be different. [Continue reading . . .]

USAid in Palestine

“It’s not about solving the world’s problems but people’s daily ones.”

Former USAid Mission Director in Palestine, Dave Harden, talks about the challenges of achieving effective development in the West Bank and Gaza over his long career with USAid. (The Guardian, Oct 3, 2016)


Looking back on the decade he spent supporting development in Palestine, Dave Harden says the challenge was “getting people past the psychological barrier.”

Harden joined USAid’s West Bank and Gaza mission in 2006 as its deputy head, before becoming its leader in 2013. It was a time of particular tension — in 2005, the Israelis had pulled out of occupying the Gaza strip, withdrawing their troops along with 10,000 settlers. Power was meant to be left to a united Palestinian Authority, governed by the moderate Fatah party in the West Bank.

But in 2006, in a surprise twist, the militant organization Hamas was democratically elected to power. Their refusal to recognize Israel as a state, and a civil war with the Fatah party, led to Hamas governing Gaza and Fatah controlling the West Bank. A blockade of Gaza by Israel soon followed, as did three conflicts, three new peace envoys and Congress freezing USAid funding temporarily in 2011, reportedly because of the Palestinians’ appeal to the United Nations for statehood.

All of this only intensified a longstanding political and humanitarian crisis [pdf] across the Palestinian territories. Today 80% of Gaza’s residents and more than 50% of the West Bank are reliant on humanitarian aid.

[Continue reading here. . . ]

Diocesan Convention, Oct 21–22, 2016

Date:   Friday, October 21 – Saturday, October 22, 2016

Time:   Friday, 10:30 AM – 6:30 PM, with banquet following; Saturday 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Location:   Hilton Seattle Airport & Convention Center


The 2016 annual convention will be held Friday-Saturday, October 21-22, at the Hilton Seattle Airport & Conference Center, 17620 International Blvd, Seattle, WA, 98188.

The Diocese of Olympia Convention meets annually to conduct the business of the diocese. It elects to diocesan offices; ratifies a budget; sets assessment levels; admits congregations as missions or parishes; votes on resolutions; elects a General Convention deputation; and hears the bishop’s annual address. Clergy and elected delegates from congregations attend. Convention information is distributed via newsletter and this webpage; bookmark and check-back often for updates.