|MennoPIN Monthly Update: October 2022View this email in your browserMENNONITE PALESTINE ISRAEL NETWORK|
|October 2022 Monthly Update|
In This Issue
Did the WCC Silence Palestinian Voices?
A New Free Film called “Boycott”
Ben & Jerry’s and Book.com call out Israel
Google’s Complicity in Israeli Apartheid
Stay Informed on Palestine
Did the WCC Silence Palestinian Voices?
The World Council of Churches (WCC), representing over 350 global denominations and church bodies from 120 countries, met in August 2022 for its 11th General Assembly since its founding shortly after World War II. Under the theme, “Christ’s Love Moves the World to Reconciliation and Unity,” it was not until the final day of the nine-day assembly that the issue of Palestine and Israel came up, but unity was nowhere to be seen. During the deliberations there was both the good and the bad.
The Good. The Anglican Church of South Africa brought forth a resolution naming Israeli apartheid and encouraging the assembly to stand with Palestinians as well as Israelis. The resolution was supported by 17 church bodies. But the Evangelical Church of Germany (EKD) strongly opposed the use of the word “apartheid” in the resolution.
After vigorous debate, the resolution was edited to say, in part: “[N]umerous international, Israeli and Palestinian human rights organizations and legal bodies have published studies and reports describing the policies and actions of Israel as amounting to “apartheid” under international law. Within this Assembly…We are not of one mind.” Even lacking unity on the use of the term “apartheid,” the WCC agreed to study the issue of Israeli apartheid, which could at some point have a positive impact.
The Bad. One of the primary objections to the edited resolution was the priority of unity over justice. Rev. Chris Ferguson, former General Secretary of the World Communion of Reformed Churches, put it this way: “The German church leaders did not succeed in closing the door on the WCC’s study of apartheid, even though they effectively reframed the suffering of Palestinians as a question of church unity rather than justice.”
Emphasizing the priority of justice, Rev. Tyrone Pitts, General Secretary Emeritus of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, stated bluntly: “I was raised under Jim Crow laws in the U.S. During my time in Palestine, I saw Palestinians suffering under apartheid.”
An equally troubling question arose from the Kairos Palestine Solidarity Network in Germany: Were Palestinian voices silenced at the WCC assembly? There were only three opportunities for Palestinians to speak. One young Palestinian woman was disallowed because her remarks were deemed unacceptable because it included the word “apartheid.” She was offered a reworded statement that did not include “apartheid” and she, out of conscience, would not read it. She was then told she could not speak at all. One workshop on Palestine, led by biblical scholar and pastor Munther Isaac was held at a hotel outside the assembly area, attended by very few people. Isaac said that Palestinians were “disheartened” by the relatively week resolution wording: “What is happening is apartheid. The facts are on the ground.”
A New Free Film Called “Boycott”Voices from the Holy Land has just released a new film entitled: “Boycott.” They are promoting it as “A bracing look at the far-reaching implications of anti-boycott legislation designed to penalize companies and individuals that choose to boycott Israel due to its human rights record…Boycott is an inspiring tale of everyday Americans standing up to protect our rights in an age of shifting politics and threats of freedom of speech.”
To register to see the October 9 viewing of Boycott, register here.
Ben & Jerry’s and Book.com Call Out Israel
PALESTINIAN ARTISTS PAINT A MURAL IN GAZA CITY TO HONOR BEN & JERRY’S DECISION TO BOYCOTT ISRAELI SETTLEMENTS. JULY 29, 2021.
(PHOTO BY YOUSSEF ABU WATFA)Airbnb backed down after promising to not have listings in Israeli settlements, but Ben & Jerry’s and Book.com are not letting up. Ben & Jerry’s is suing its parent company Unilever to block the sale of its Israeli business, stating that “we continue to believe it is inconsistent with Ben & Jerry’s values for our ice cream to be sold in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.” The suit states that “the company’s core values of advancing human rights and dignity, supporting social and economic justice for historically marginalized communities…are integral to Ben & Jerry’s identity.
Bookings.com recently decided to display a safety warning on its listings in the illegally-occupied West Bank. It said it notify customers traveling to Israeli settlements that the areas are “conflict-affected or high-risk…and may pose greater risks.” Hopefully, Bookings.com will stick by its commitment.
Google’s Complicity in Israeli ApartheidAriel Koren, a Jewish Google worker, was recently reassigned to Brazil after she registered a protest with the company for Google’s Nimbus Project, a joint effort with Amazon and the Israeli government and military. She charged that “Google systematically silences Palestinian, Jewish, Arab and Muslim voices concerned about Google’s complicity in violations of Palestinian human rights.” 700 coworkers signed a petition siding with her in Google’s act of retaliation against her.
On Democracy Now! Koren stated that she and other Google co-workers started to organize a group they called Jewish Diaspora in Tech. Google’s retaliation against her and others there, Koren said that Google is putting forward “false narratives of antisemitism that are designed to squelch folks who speak out for Palestinian rights. And this is a tool that Google is using to protect its business interests with Israel, and in this case, to silence opposition to Project Nimbus.” Koren chose to leave Google.
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
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)