|MennoPIN Monthly Update: March 2022View this email in your browserMENNONITE PALESTINE ISRAEL NETWORK|
|March 2022 Monthly Update|
In This IssueIn This Issue
Jonathan Kuttab on Palestinian and Israeli Violence
Amnesty International Joins Apartheid Call
Targeting Elbit, Puma and Pillsbury
MennoPIN Online Christian Zionism Survey
Jonathan Kuttab and the Two-State Solution – April 5 Webinar
Become a Gaza Twinning Congregation
Stay Informed on Palestine
PrayerJonathan Kuttab on Palestinian and Israeli ViolenceAs Easter, the Passover and Ramadan converge in the weeks ahead, violence in Palestine/Israel is a very real possibility according to Jonathan Kuttab, MennoPIN Steering Committee member and Executive Director of FOSNA (Friends of Sabeel North America). After the recent killing of eleven Israelis by Palestinians, while not condoning the violence, Jonathan writes: “The biggest problem, however, with those who decry Palestinian violence is not just their selectivity and the higher value they place on Jewish and Israeli lives, or even their failure to examine the socio-political context that led to violence in the first place. It is that their critique of violence is limited only to death and injury by individual actors who shoot, stab, or bomb their enemies.”
He continues: “For Palestinians the violence perpetrated against them is not limited to Israeli guns and shootings, albeit significant. It is often more subtle and pervasive and covers all areas of their lives. The symbol of Israeli violence for Palestinians is often not the gun, but the bulldozer.”
Read his entire article here. Amnesty International Joins Apartheid CallOn February 1, Amnesty International released a report titled Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians: Cruel System of Domination and Crime Against Humanity. Included in the report is documentation of the Israeli government’s human rights abuses and violations of international law. Additionally, the report highlights the U.S. government’s responsibility in perpetuating apartheid, as the U.S. continues to sell arms to Israel and ignore ongoing human rights violations.
Since the report was issued, it has received a wide range of responses ranging from praise to condemnation. Criticisms of the report largely include accusations of antisemitism and claims that Israel is wrongfully demonized. In a February 1 tweet, Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) stated that the label of apartheid further incites hatred and increases antisemitism. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) called the apartheid charge an “outrageous accusation”, suggesting Israel is unfairly and disproportionately targeted by the international community. These perspectives were similarly articulated by nine Democratic House members in a joint statement.
Pushback has also come from the Israel lobby in the U.S., although differing responses taken by lobby groups expose internal divisions. For example, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) said the report was a “misguided and backward-looking effort to vilify Israel” and heighten antisemitism. J Street similarly rejected the label of apartheid; however, the organization cautioned against misplaced accusations of antisemitism, stating such charges “do a further disservice to the critical fight against the very real scourge of antisemitism.”
While the Amnesty report elicited condemnation from some members of Congress and lobby groups, it simultaneously fueled global efforts to speak out against Israel’s occupation of Palestine. In an opinion piece written by David Hearst for Mondoweiss, he applauds the report, stating that it demonstrates apartheid is not “an accident of history” but rather a systematic establishment of a Jewish majority state. Hearst argues that the Israeli government is losing support globally, in part due to reports like Amnesty’s and the advocacy efforts of grassroots movements. On January 29, Episcopalians in Washington, D.C. adopted a resolution to “oppose Israel’s apartheid,” offering another example of the global push to reject Israel’s apartheid regime.Targeting Elbit, Puma and Pillsbury
As private manufacturers continue operating in illegal Israeli settlements and further oppressing Palestinian people, global campaigns have arisen to boycott these companies and document their violations of international law. For example, General Mills produces Pillsbury products in the illegal settlement of Atarot, and therefore Pillsbury profits from the oppression and dispossession of Palestinians. In response to Pillsbury’s actions, congregations and faith-based coalitions have joined in the Boycott Pillsbury campaign. In November, Ainsworth United Church of Christ of Portland, Oregon pledged to be a Pillsbury-Free-Church in support of Palestinian human rights.
In addition to Pillsbury, Puma is complicit in normalizing Israel’s illegal settlements. Puma is the primary sponsor of the Israeli Football Association (IFA), which includes teams located in illegal settlements. Additionally, Puma has and continues to license with manufacturers located in settlements. Delta Galil, Puma’s former licensee, is listed in the UN database of illegal settlement companies.
Finally, activists continue to boycott Elbit, a defense and security company. Elbit is the Israeli government’s largest security contractor, producing the surveillance systems, drones, and ammunition used to oppress Palestinians. In the UK, activists have repeatedly occupied the Elbit subsidiaries to shut down production. Despite these efforts, Elbit’s stocks have risen by 40 percent since Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine, as European nations have started updating and expanding their military operations.MennoPIN Online Christian Zionism SurveyOne aspect of our work is confronting Christian Zionism and offering resources for congregations to become more familiar with this issue. We aim to learn more about your congregation and how we can increase awareness around Christian Zionism. Please consider taking a few minutes to complete this survey.Jonathan Kuttab and the Two-State Solution – April 5 Webinar
On April 5, the Western District Conference of the Mennonite Church USA is interviewing Jonathan Kuttab about his book on the Two-State Solution to finding a solution to the seemingly intractable violence between Israel and Palestine. To register, send an email to email@example.com.Become a MennoPIN Gaza Twining Congregation
In response to the MC USA “Seeking Peace in Israel Palestine” resolution, MennoPIN launched its Mennonite Twinning Initiative with Gaza, inviting congregations to participate. Since then, several congregations have joined with groups in Gaza to share relationships, tell stories, understand better each other’s context and to share together in mission.
Manhattan (KS) Mennonite Church has teamed with the Youth Vision Society (YVS) and, in addition to biweekly Zoom calls of mutual support with YVS staff, the photo above shows one way in which they teamed with YVS to provide food and medical supplies to needy families in Gaza.
Fellowship of Hope (IN) has teamed with the Gaza City YMCA with biweekly Zoom calls and was able to help support the YMCA after Israeli bombs in May 2021 did significant damage to their building
You, too, can become a MennoPIN twinning congregation and develop similar relationships of mutual benefit. Our experience so far shows that those in Gaza feel deeply supported by the congregation and the congregation is impacted by their partner in a deep and powerful way.
You can explore becoming a MennoPIN Gaz Twinning Congregation by visiting our website here https://mennopin.org/mennonite-twinning-initiative-with-gaza/ or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with Twinning Initiative in the subject line.Stay Informed on PalestineMennoPIN keeps you informed about Palestine through our monthly update, special alerts, calls to action, important resources and tour possibilities, all from an Anabaptist perspective. But there are additional excellent organizations and web publications that can keep you informed, some on a daily basis. We invite you to explore these groups and visit the web publications as another way to keep current and active for the people of Palestine. Here are some MennoPIN recommends:
OrganizationsFriends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA)Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center (Sabeel)Mennonite Central Committee Palestine and IsraelChristian Peacemaker Teams (CPT)U.S. Campaign for Palestine Rights (USCPR)Kairos PalestineKairos USAAmericans for Middle East Understanding (AMEU)Christian ZionismPalestinian Christian Alliance for PeacePalestine PortalWeb PublicationsMondeweissThe Electronic Intifada+972 MagazineB’TselemPalestine InSightPrayerPrayer
On Monday, the 21st of March, religious leaders came together in the heart of Jerusalem to pray for peace in the Ukraine. Christian, Druze, Jewish and Muslim leaders met in Moscow Square and stood by the Russian Orthodox Church. They prayed beside a letter posted on the wall. It was written to the Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and asked him to bring his influence to bear on President Putin to take immediate steps to de-escalate the conflict. Lord, we join with the faith leaders in Jerusalem and around the world in their prayers for an end to the hostilities taking place in Ukraine. We pray for the millions of refugees and for all those who are trying to support them. Lord, in your mercy…Sabeel Wave of Prayer—
Mennonite Palestine-Israel Network
email@example.com | mennopin.org | facebook.com/mennopin | twitter.com/mennopinSteering Committee:
Bob Atchison (Manhattan Mennonite Church, Manhattan, KS)
Dorothy Jean Weaver (Community Mennonite Church, Harrisonburg, VA)
Hannah Markey (Mennonite Central Committee Washington Office, Washington, DC)
Joe Roos (Peace Mennonite Fellowship, Claremont, CA)
Jonathan Kuttab (Palestinian lawyer and human rights activist, Manheim, PA)
Lydia Brenneman (Lima Mennonite Church, Lima, OH)
Rod Stafford (Portland Mennonite Church, Portland, OR)