In This Issue

Mennonite Teacher Goes to Court in Kansas

MennoPIN Signs Letter Affirming Right to Boycott, Divest and Sanction Israel

MennoPIN Joins Cross Denominational Palestine Israel Network Leadership Group

Urge Congress to Support the End of the Gaza Blockade

HP-Free Churches

Read More

Prayer

 

Mennonite Teacher Goes to Court in Kansas

Esther Koontz is a math and science teacher in the Kansas public schools and a member of First Mennonite Church in Hutchison, Kansas. After being chosen to train other math teachers in the state, Esther was asked to sign a document stating that she does not boycott Israel. Based upon her conscience and the MC USA “Seeking Peace in Israel-Palestine” resolution, passed just last July in Orlando, she declined to sign the document and was disinvited from her appointment as a math trainer. With Esther’s full cooperation, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a federal lawsuit challenging a Kansas law requiring anyone contracted by the state “to not engage in boycotting Israel.” Watch how this case develops.

 

MennoPIN Signs Letter Affirming the Legal Right to Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS)

Affirming a long-standing use of nonviolent boycotts, divestments and sanctions as an effective tool to bring about social change, many denominations and organizations have signed on to a letter opposing anti-BDS legislation. The letter reads, in part, “We call on all Americans to join us and the ACLU in defending our First Amendment right to freedom of speech and on our state representatives and members of Congress to reject anti-BDS legislation as an infringement on the rights of American citizens.” Please contact your state and national representatives, encouraging them to oppose this kind of legislation.

 

MennoPIN Joins Cross Denominational Palestine Israel Network Leadership Group

On September 28, 2017, Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) convened the first meeting of the “Cross Denominational Palestine Israel Network Leadership Group.” Omar Barghouti, a co-founder of the BDS movement, offered insights into BDS and strongly emphasized that “BDS is not a punishment; instead, it is a step toward healing.” The gathering clearly articulated the goal of BDS to be a nonviolent resistance campaign in support of basic rights for the Palestinian people, all affirmed by the Geneva Convention, including: (1) the right to political self-determination; (2) the right to equality and (3) the right to return and reparations in contrast to the occupation, apartheid and refugee status. The gathering also stressed the importance of grassroots movements, strength from the intersectionality of human rights groups, the treatment of the State of Israel as a human rights offender and the amplification of Palestinian voices. Further resources are listed below.

 

Urge Congress to Support the End of the Gaza Blockade

The blockade of Gaza by Israel has created a time of dire humanitarian crisis for Palestinians in the Gaza strip. Shortages of food, electricity and other necessities promise to make Gaza uninhabitable by2020. The factional infighting between the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas authorities in Gaza have also contributed to the crisis Gaza is facing. A recent reconciliation agreement between the two is an important first step towards change in Gaza and a needed move before blockade issues between Palestinian and Israeli can be addressed. Let’s nurture the seeds of hope that present themselves now. Please contact your members of Congress to tell them that the U.S. should offer full diplomatic and political support to this reconciliation process and should support an end to the Gaza blockade. For more information, see the link below.

 

HP-Free Churches

Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) has called for U.S. churches to join them in a boycott of Hewlett Packard (HP) products. As one of the largest contractors for the U.S. defense industry, HP provides the registration and surveillance technology necessary for certain measures of state repression in Israel and the United States. FOSNA offers information about the activities of HP and how to mobilize your church at their website. Your congregation can also sign a pledge to indicate solidarity with the boycott movement.

 

Read More

Esther Koontz and the State of Kansas

Judith Butler on attempts to label Palestinian human rights activism as anti-Semitic

Resource page for HP Free Church Campaign

End the Gaza Blockade

 

Prayer

Hamas and Fatah have signed a landmark reconciliation deal in Cairo in a key step towards ending the ten-year-long rift. The deal will see administrative control of the Gaza Strip handed to a Fatah-backed unity government.

Lord, we thank you for this latest move towards peace and reconciliation among the Palestinian people. We pray that a united Palestinian government will be a step forward to our liberation from the Israeli occupation. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer…

Sabeel Wave of Prayer, October 19, 2017

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