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 Israel / Palestine
and related Presbyterian actions

Archive # 4
2006

For more recent reports >>
This page contains reports and links from 2006.
Reports and commentary from 2005 >>
For archives from September through December, 2004 >>

Items from July and August, 2004 >>

 

Chris Hedges comments on the attacks on Jimmy Carter’s book     [12-21-06]

"Worse Than Apartheid"

Jimmy Carter’s recent book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, has been savagely attacked by the Anti-Defamation League and many other Jewish groups for his view that Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories amounts to a kind of apartheid. He has been called anti-Semitic – and worse.

Chris Hedges has written two brief essays in response to the attacks on Carter. In "Worse than Apartheid," he argues that the Israeli treatment of the Palestinian people is in fact worse than the apartheid ("separation") practiced by the white South African government against the black people of their land.

He writes, for example:

The word "apartheid," given the wanton violence employed against the Palestinians, is tepid. This is more than apartheid. The concerted Israeli attempts to orchestrate a breakdown in law and order, to foster chaos and rampant deprivation, are on public display in the streets of Gaza City, where Palestinians walk past the rubble of the Palestinian Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of National Economy, the office of the Palestinian prime minister and a number of educational institutions that have been bombed by Israeli jets.

He goes on to say:

Israel, with no restraints from Washington, despite the Iraq Study Group report recommendations that the peace process be resurrected from the dead, has been given the moral license by the Bush administration to carry out what is euphemistically in Israel called "transfer" and what in other parts of the world is called ethnic cleansing.

Read the full article on Hedges’ blog >>                  It is also posted on Common Dreams >>

"Get Carter"

In a second article, published in The Nation, Hedges provides more details of the campaign by what he dares to call "the Israel lobby" to "get Carter."

In fact, he says, "Carter's book exposes little about Israel. The enforced segregation, abject humiliation and spiraling Israeli violence against Palestinians have been detailed in the Israeli and European press and, with remarkable consistency, by all the major human rights organizations. The assault against Carter, rather, says more about the failings of the American media--which have largely let Israel hawks heap calumny on Carter's book. It exposes the indifference of the Bush Administration and the Democratic leadership to the rule of law and basic human rights, the timidity of our intellectual class and the moral bankruptcy of institutions that claim to speak for American Jews and the Jewish state." [Italics added by your WebWeaver.]

Hedges also puts things in perspective by explaining that the place of the "Israel lobby" is on the far right of the Israeli political spectrum:

The Israel lobby in the United States does not serve Israel or the Jewish community--it serves the interests of the Israeli extreme right wing. Most Israelis have come to understand that peace will be possible only when their country complies with international law and permits Palestinians to build a viable and sustainable state based on the 1967 borders, including, in some configuration, East Jerusalem.

Read "Get Carter," in the January 8, 2007 issue of The Nation. >>

Chris Hedges, the former Middle East Bureau Chief of the New York Times, is the son of a Presbyterian minister and won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for reporting on global terrorism.

Witherspoon goes global -- supporting and learning from mission in Palestine   [12-20-06]

At our Fall board meeting, held in September at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, the Board of the Witherspoon Society voted to take some concrete steps toward engaging more directly with the big wide world. We adopted as a working title for this project the "Global Engagement Initiative."

As one step in this project we have committed to provide partial support for Shannon O’Donnell, who has recently gone as a Mission Volunteer to serve at the Sabeel Ecumenical and Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem.

We are happy to present more information about this new Witherspoon project, including an introduction by Board member Peter Barnes-Davies, a "report from Jerusalem" by Shannon herself, a statement by Sabeel of its current "points of emphasis," and more.

Click here for a page that will be devoted specifically to our partnership with the PC(USA) in its global mission, through Shannon O’Donnell and Sabeel in Jerusalem.

If you have comments or suggestions about the Global Engagement Initiative,
please let us hear from you.
Just send a note!

A quick glimpse of Christian life in Palestine:

The Voice of Christ in the Birthplace of Christ   [9-13-06]

Matt Middleton, a Presbyterian Mission Volunteer International serving in Bethlehem, offers a glimpse of hope in the midst of the conflict in Palestine, through the gathering of a community choir in Bethlehem.

Criticism of Israel equated with anti-Semitism ... again      [9-4-06]

Presbyterians may remember rather clearly the accusations of anti-Semitism that were leveled against the PC(USA) after the action of the 2004 General Assembly calling for a study of possible divestment from certain US corporations involved in the Israeli occupation of Palestine and supporters of Arab terrorist groups.

The accusations continue, though the apologies tendered by the 2006 General Assembly seem to have had some effect in easing them. But the church is in good company, at least.

Rosa Brooks writes in the L. A. Times about the fierce criticisms of Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. That highly respected group sent observers to Lebanon during the Israeli invasion, as it does during most such conflicts.

They issued a report condemning Hezbollah’s rocket strikes on civilian areas within Israel, calling the strikes "serious violations of international humanitarian law and probable war crimes." But they also criticized Israel for its indiscriminate attacks on Lebanese civilians.

Roth – who is Jewish, and whose father fled Nazi Germany – and Human Rights Watch were soon condemned by neoconservative commentators such as David Horowitz, by Alan Dershowitz and others, charged again with anti-Semitism.

Brooks asks, "How did adopting a reflexively pro-Israel stance come to be a mandatory aspect of American Jewish identity? Skepticism — a willingness to ask tough questions, a refusal to embrace dogma — has always been central to the Jewish intellectual tradition. Ironically, this tradition remains alive in Israel, where respected public figures routinely criticize the government in far harsher terms than those used by Human Rights Watch."

She continues: "With resentment of Israeli policies fueling terrorism and instability both in the Middle East and around the globe, it's past time for Americans to have a serious national debate about how to bring a just peace to the Middle East. But if criticism of Israel is out of bounds, that debate can't occur — and we'll all pay the price."

The full essay >>

Jerusalem church leaders speak out against Christian Zionism   [8-28-06]

The Patriarch of Jerusalem, along with leaders of the Syrian Orthodox, Episcopal and Lutheran churches, have declared that they "reject Christian Zionist doctrines as false teaching that corrupts the biblical message of love, justice and reconciliation."

Further they state:

We call upon Christians in Churches on every continent to pray for the Palestinian and Israeli people, both of whom are suffering as victims of occupation and militarism. These discriminative actions are turning Palestine into impoverished ghettos surrounded by exclusive Israeli settlements. The establishment of the illegal settlements and the construction of the Separation Wall on confiscated Palestinian land undermines the viability of a Palestinian state as well as peace and security in the entire region.

The full statement >>

Assembly apologizes for divestment action   [6-22-06]

This afternoon (Wednesday, June 21) the Assembly received the report from the Committee on Peacemaking and International Issues, with the issue of divestment as the star attraction.  Details >>

Jewish organizations respond to the divestment action

Clearly a variety of Jewish groups have been watching the Assembly with great interest. You may be interested to glimpse their "take" on the action of this afternoon’s session.  

For a general report on the debate and the Assembly's action, see the Presbyterian News Service report >>

Former CIA Director will urge Presbyterians to oppose divestment
[6-12-06]

From a press release dated June 10, 2006, perhaps from the Institute for Religion and Democracy, or from Presbyterian Action for Faith and Freedom, or from The Committee to End Divestment Now. The source is not mentioned.

R. James Woolsey will deliver a lecture on "Energy, Security, and the Long War of the 21st Century" at the Presbyterian General Assembly. This address by former President Bill Clinton’s Director of the CIA will be held at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, June 16th, at the Medical Forum (third floor), adjacent to the Sheraton Hotel. Woolsey is not only an attorney and public servant, having held presidential appointments under four administrations, two Democratic and two Republican. He is also a member of Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. As such he is concerned with the implications of a denominational decision two years ago to institute a process leading toward divestment from corporations doing business with Israel. His talk will address the issue of Israel, Palestine, and Presbyterians. It will touch on the multiple items of business the General Assembly is considering that would end divestment and move the church toward actions to promote peace in the Middle East.

The Committee to End Divestment Now is sponsoring Woolsey’s lecture in conjunction with Presbyterian Action for Faith and Freedom. The Committee to End Divestment Now coalesced in 2005 as a diverse group of Presbyterians united in the belief that the divestment decision was a mistake that needs to be corrected. Presbyterian Action is a committee of the Washington, D.C.–based Institute on Religion and Democracy, an ecumenical alliance of U.S. Christians working to reform their churches’ social witness in accord with biblical and historic Christian teachings.

The lecture will conclude by 1:25, in order for audience members to return to the business meetings of the General Assembly committees at 1:30. No lunch will be served.

For the rest of the press release >>

Here are a couple other perspectives on Mr. Woolsey

International Relations Center’s "RightWeb" – an effort by a clearly progressive organization to trace out the links and operations of various rightist organizations – says this:

Like many of his cohorts in the hawk/neocon world, James Woolsey, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, wears many hats--he is an active member of several hardline policy organizations, he is well-connected to administration insiders and serves on an influential Pentagon policy outfit, he has advised a long line of Pentagon contractors, and he is an influential presence in the nation's media.

In a March 2003 report about the potential conflicts of interest of several members of the Defense Policy Board, the Center for Public Integrity highlighted Woolsey as a case in point: "Former CIA director James Woolsey is a principal in the Paladin Capital Group, a venture-capital firm that like Perle's Trireme Partners is soliciting investment for homeland security firms. Woolsey joined consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton as vice president in July 2002. The company had contracts worth more than $680 million in 2002. Woolsey told the Wall Street Journal that he does no lobbying and that none of the companies he has ties to have been discussed during a Defense Policy Board meeting."     More >>


From a slightly different point of view, the Zionist Organization of America announces its agreement with Woolsey’s view that "Israel's Unilateral Concessions Have ‘Failed Utterly.’"

In a press release, ZOA quotes a recent op-ed piece by Mr. Woolsey in the Wall Street Journal, in which he says:

It is ... widely assumed that Palestinian hostility to Israel is fueled by despair that can only be reduced by Israeli concessions ... [this assumption is] fundamentally flawed. The approach Israel is preparing to take in the West Bank was tried in Gaza and has failed utterly. The Israeli withdrawal of last year has produced the worst set of results imaginable: a heavy presence by al Qaeda, Hezbollah and even some Iranian Revolutionary Guard units ... Hamas assassination attempts against ... Jordan’s ambassador; rocket and mortar attacks against nearby towns inside Israel; and a perceived vindication for Hamas, which took credit for the withdrawal. This latter almost certainly contributed substantially to Hamas’s victory in the Palestinian elections.

The ZOA press release >>

Dr. Norman Finkelstein will visit GA to observe Committee 11 deliberations on divestment   [6-10-06]

Dr. Norman Finkelstein, professor of political science at DePaul University and author of Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict, The Holocaust Industry, and Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History, is a strong advocate of full human rights for Palestinians and a just peace for Israelis and Palestinians.

He is planning to visit the 217th General Assembly (2006), Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., in Birmingham, AL, and observe meetings of the Assembly Committee #11, Peacemaking and International Issues, on Friday, June 16, where various overtures from PCUSA Presbyteries relating to Israel/Palestine are to be discussed.

Dr. Finkelstein is interested in making contact with any other GA attendees who are also concerned with justice and peace for the Palestinians. He can be reached via his e-mail address, normagf@hotmail.com . Further information about him may be seen by visiting his personal web site, www.normanfinkelstein.com .

See his earlier letter to GA commissioners >>

More on Israel and Divestment   [6-9-06]

We recently posted the text of a letter sent by Norman G. Finkelstein, who teaches political science at DePaul University in Chicago, to all GA commissioners.  In his letter, speaking as a Jew, he urges them to support the Presbyterian action on to consider "a phased, selective divestment from companies profiting from Israel's occupation."

We have received numerous critical notes from people who, also speaking as Jews, said that Finkelstein most definitely does not speak for them, or for the vast majority of Jewish people in America.  As a non-expert in this area, your WebWeaver will not pretend to judge between the very different points of view, but we will present three anti-divestment opinions here.

Jewish groups cooperating to head off divestment

Here’s a report from The Jewish Week ("Serving the Jewish Community of Greater New York") giving their view on the current Presbyterian debate as it comes to the General Assembly.

The article quotes Rabbi Gary Bretton-Granatoor, inter-religious director for the Anti-Defamation League, as saying that the real issue should not be divestment, but "how to deal with the structural anti-Semitism that still exists in segments of the church that allows for divestment and for this de-legitimization of Israel." We’re not sure what that means, but it seems to be a pretty serious charge.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Another supporter of Israel directly criticizes Finkelstein.  She begins:

I was frankly surprised to find a letter from Norman Finkelstein featured with approval on the Witherspoon Society page.   Finkelstein is a sort of crackpot intellectual, the fact that some of his ideas are congenial is no excuse for mistaking describing him as a responsible scholar.

The rest of Ms. Appelbaum's note >>

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Letter from 12 Jewish organizations urges commissioners to oppose divestment

Another letter has also been sent to commissioners, not by an individual, but by twelve large Jewish organizations. One friend tells us that this represents what the "real Jewish community" in the United States feels.

The organizations include the American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress, the Anti-Defamation League, B’nai B’rith International, and more.  The text of the letter >>

[5-26-06]

"SO THEY WHO RUN MAY READ . . ."
"Write the vision; make it plain upon tablets, so he may run who reads it." (Hab. 2:2)


What Presbyterians Need To Know About the 2004 GA Divestment Action


WHAT LIES BEHIND the PCUSA 2004 decision to begin a "process of phased selective divestment in
multinational corporations operating in Israel, in accordance [with] General Assembly policy on social investing"?

This decision is paragraph seven of a resolution that also reiterates and reaffirms a call of previous assemblies to end the occupation that "has proven to be at the root of evil acts committed against innocent people on both sides of the conflict" and that condemns "horrific acts of violence and deadly attacks on innocent people, whether carried out by Palestinian ‘suicide bombers’ or by the Israeli military."
 

1. LONG INVOLVEMENT: The Presbyterian Church has been involved in mission efforts in the Middle East for nearly two centuries. Since 1948 General Assemblies have repeatedly addressed issues involving Israel and Palestine, consistently affirming Israel’s right to exist within secure, internationally recognized borders and the right of Palestinians to self-determination. (The 1917 Balfour Declaration promoted "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people . . . it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine . . .") More recent General Assembly actions have called for an end to the Israeli military occupation of Palestinian lands, which has continued since the 1967 war.

2. The conflict in the Middle East is NOT BETWEEN TWO EQUAL PARTIES. On the one hand are agrarian people who have quietly lived in the land for generations, almost continuously under domination by foreign rulers. They have limited hegemony and virtually no military power. On the other hand are people who have come to the land in modern times from other countries, who now constitute the world’s fourth strongest military power, even possessing nuclear weapons, and who enjoy unwavering support, both financial and diplomatic, from the world’s only superpower.

3. The ‘ORIGINAL SIN’ of the Palestinian people was that they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, living in the land at the time of the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. For generations they owned the property, lived in villages, tilled orchards, and reared their families. More than 750,000 Palestinians were driven into refugee camps, their homes confiscated and occupied by Israelis, or their homes demolished.

4. UNITED NATIONS RESOLUTION 242 in 1967 called for Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza, effectively awarding Israel 78% of the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea and anticipating the establishment of a Palestinian state in only 22% of the land across a border that became known as the Green Line.

5. In the 1970s and continuing today Israel has constructed SETTLEMENTS in the occupied territories in violation of international law (specifically in contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention) and has ignored numerous United Nations resolutions condemning their expansion.

6. PALESTINIAN SUFFERING continues. Homes are demolished, orchards uprooted, private lands confiscated. A separation barrier (built largely on Palestinian lands and in some places a wall more than 25 feet high) prevents Palestinians from cultivating their fields and olive groves. Mobility is restricted by countless checkpoints, arbitrary detentions and searches, roadblocks, and curfews. Israel controls all international borders, dominates airspace, and unfairly controls scarce water supplies. Discriminatory legislation keeps families apart and restricts the rights of Palestinians who do manage to travel from returning to their homes. The situation is currently exacerbated by U.S. Government action that blocks humanitarian aid from reaching those who desperately need it.

 

7. Historically, as recently as 1920,CHRISTIANS accounted for 20% of the Palestinian population, continuing the first century witness in Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, and other churches. The Christian population has declined sharply, however, to about2% in Israel proper and 1.5% in the West Bank. This Christian presence has provided significant influence in Palestinian affairs through leadership personnel and a wide range of educational institutions and other social ministries. The PCUSA maintains ecumenical partnerships with these Christian churches in the region, either directly or through the Middle East Council of Churches.


8. The PCUSA DIVESTMENT ACTION has been welcomed by these partner churches as evidence of support in their continuing suffering under occupation. The action is aimed at ending the occupation by challenging the policies of corporations that contribute to the oppression. The "process of phased selective divestment" involves four stages:

(1) Identifying target companies (Five have been identified, including one with investments in Palestine.);
(2) Engaging corporate management in discussions in an effort to get them to change their policies;
(3) Failing that, initiating shareholder action to change those policies; and finally
(4) Recommending divestment.

No divestment can take place without further specific action to do so.
                                   And none is being recommended by MRTI to the 217th General Assembly.


This statement was drafted to provide information "on the run" for commissioners to the 217th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) by the Middle East Focus Group and approved by the Peacemaking Committee of the Presbytery of Philadelphia.


>>This statement is also available in easy-to-print PDF format<<

 
World Council of Churches issues statement on Israel/Palestine:

"The time is ripe to do what is right"
[5-26-06]

The World Council of Churches Executive Committee, meeting in Geneva, 16-19 May, 2006, issued a sober call to the nations and the churches for actions to bring some kind of peace to Israel and Palestine before the situation becomes far worse.

The statement begins:

With the responsible powers and authorities providing little prospect of a viable future for both Israelis and Palestinians, with concern rising around the world at the recent course of events in the conflict, and with various peace plans and numerous UN resolutions languishing unimplemented, the World Council of Churches Executive Committee, meeting in Geneva, 16-19 May, 2006, comes to a sober conclusion: Peace must come soon or it may not come to either people for a long time.

Among the concluding recommendations, the WCC Executive Committee:

Urges the international community to establish contact and engage with all the legitimately elected leaders of the Palestinian people for the resolution of differences, and not to isolate them or cause additional suffering among their people;

Strongly supports ... two-way and equitable negotiations as the path to mutual recognition between Israel and Palestine and to the resolution of other contentious and substantive obstacles to peace as noted in the succession of United Nations Security Council and General Assembly resolutions.

Further, they call on member churches "to share solidarity with people on both sides of the conflict as a witness for peace," and so (among other things) to:

Advocate for the measures indicated above ...

Find constructive ways to address threats experienced among the Jewish people, including the nature, prevalence and impact of racism in local, national and international contexts.

Heed calls for help from the churches of Jerusalem at this time of trial, assist them in their service to society and support church aid work with people in need ...

Send church members to Israel and Palestine as part of the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel until the occupation ends.

The full text of the statement >>

 
"Mainstream" Jewish website comments on PCUSA divestment debate   [5-16-06]

Eric Geller, who has frequently sent comments to us about the divestment issue, has sent an article posted recently. He describes the article as "an interesting piece from a well-read ‘mainstream"’ website that deals with zillions of issues of interest to Jews. Today's feature story is sort of a summary of Jewish reaction to the whole divestment discussion ... [which] presents a decent summary from the mainstream Jewish perspective. In fact, someone raises an issue in the article about that panel discussion with Mark Pelavan which is being held at the GA."   Read the article >>

This article has also been a matter of discussion in a Presbyterian online network that deals with Israel/Palestine concerns.

One participant there comments, "I'm not understanding why those of us that are for "divestment" are considered ‘Anti-Israel’ ."

Another says "It's really quite sad – the same tired old stuff they've been saying for the past 2 years . . . over and over again . . . quoting the same old spokesfolk like Mr. Bretton Granatoor ad nauseum. In fact, we have encountered not a few in our area who, through these years, have come to change their perspective, as they have become aware of the full story."

We invite your comments. 
Just send a note, to be shared here.

Peacemaking Educational Event begins in Israel/Palestine    [5-1-06]

On Wednesday, April 26, Sara Lisherness, associate director of the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, greeted the Presbyterians gathered for dinner at the Strand Hotel in Jerusalem with the words, "Christ be with you. We are here."

"And there are one hundred of us," observed Barbara Battin, conference coordinator. After three years of planning and multiple hours of travel, the travel/study conference in Israel/Palestine has begun.

Over the next few days participants from thirty-three presbyteries will pray and worship together, visit a number of sites, and listen to a variety of speakers. They will join in presbytery teams to process what they see, hear, and experience and to plan for ministry together.

Find periodically updated reports from the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program >>

In Israel/Palestine, violence cuts both ways   [4-25-06]

We recently carried a report of the stoning by Israelis of Palestinian children and along with five foreign activists, including members of two church-sponsored monitoring teams, who were escorting Palestinian girls from a school in the divided West Bank city of Hebron. A few days before that, a Palestinian suicide bomber had blown himself up in Tel Aviv, killing and injuring many.

Stated Clerk Clifton Kirkpatrick responded to that incident with a statement in which he asserted that "It is our unwavering belief that the use of terror and the killing and maiming of innocent people are never justifiable."

And addressing Hamas, he wrote: "We (condemn) all forms of terror and violence that have led to such unspeakable human tragedy in the region…. All forms of violence, whatever their purported justification, have only hardened the resolve of the victims on every side and rendered lasting solutions ever more remote."

Kirkpatrick’s full statement >>

Schoolgirls stoned by Israeli settlers

Crowd of young men attacks attacks group of students, accompaniers in Hebron   
[4-21-06]

A group of Jewish settlers attacked five foreign activists, including members of two church-sponsored monitoring teams, who were escorting Palestinian girls from a school in the divided West Bank city of Hebron, team members said.

The story from Presbyterian News Service >>

"Visions of Peace and Justice in Israel and Palestine"    [4-3-06]

Pre-assembly educational event slated for June 15th in Birmingham

This pre-assembly event will share visions and perspectives regarding justice and peace in Israel and Palestine. It is not a forum for or against proposed items of GA business. The program will include a current assessment of human rights; a panel of Jewish, Muslim, and Christian leaders sharing their visions for a just peace; a description of Presbyterian ministry and mission; and time for general discussion.

Confirmed speakers include Mr. Mark Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; Mr. Salam Al-Marayati, Director of Muslim Public Affairs Council Bishop; Dr. Munib Younan, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land.

The ticket price of $25.00 includes a boxed lunch. To register for this or other events at GA, go to http://www.pcusa.org/ga217/register.htm.

Israel/Palestine issues will loom large at GA

Numerous measures would rescind, refine controversial 2004 divestment action 
[3-31-06]

Presbyterian News Service offers a survey of the nearly 20 overtures going to the coming General Assembly, about how the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) should deal with the conflict in Israel and Palestine, actions on divestment and more.   Read the report >>

PresbyAction Middle East Bulletin:
JERUSALEM: EYE OF THE STORM

[2-24-06]

Corinne Whitlatch, of Churches for Middle East Peace, provides a clear survey of the situation in Israel/Palestine in the wake of the Hamas victory in the Palestinian election.  She looks at the complexities and ambiguities in both Palestine and Israel, and concludes with these bits of policy advice for Presbyterian advocates for peace and justice to share with their legislators:

Toward the goal of peace, we ask you to 1) reject unilateral actions by Israel that would prejudge final status negotiations on borders and the status of Jerusalem, 2) urge the Palestinian government to commit to nonviolence, to recognize Israel and to accept previous agreements, 3) continue to engage the moderate Palestinian leadership and help the Palestinian people, 4) provide assurances that Jerusalem will be shared, and 5) promote religious freedom in the Holy Land and recognize the important role of the Christian community.

Three observations on the Hamas victory in the Palestinian election --
[2-22-06]

-- A Palestinian priest in Zababdeh, in the Northern West Bank, who is also the principal of the Latin Patriarchate School there, offers a realistic view of the Hamas victory, some of the reasons for it and some of the possible consequences.  And he concludes, "We should not be afraid."

-- Former Pres. Jimmy Carter urges the U.S. not to punish the Palestinians, but to maintain humanitarian aid, and to urge moderation on all parties.

-- There's a new kind of "revolutionary" in Palestine -- people getting training in non-violence as a better way of resisting the Israeli occupation.

This page contains reports and links from 2006.
For more recent reports >>

Reports and commentary from 2005 >>
For archives from September through December, 2004 >>

Items from July and August, 2004 >>

 

GA actions ratified (or not) by  the presbyteries   

A number of the most important actions of the 219th General Assembly have now been acted upon by the presbyteries, confirming most of them as amendments to the PC(USA) Book of Order.

We provided resources to help inform the reflection and debate, along with updates on the voting.

Our three areas of primary interest have been:

bullet Amendment 10-A, which  removes the current ban on lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender persons being considered as possible candidates for ordination as elder or ministers.  Approved!

bullet Amendment 10-2, which would add the Belhar Confession to our Book of Confessions.  Disapproved, because as an amendment to the Book of Confessions it needed a 2/3 vote, and did not receive that.

bullet Amendment 10-1, which  adopts the new Form of Government that was approved by the Assembly.   Approved.
 

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Some blogs worth visiting

PVJ's Facebook page

Mitch Trigger, PVJ's Secretary/Communicator, has created a Facebook page where Witherspoon members and others can gather to exchange news and views. Mitch and a few others have posted bits of news, both personal and organizational. But there’s room for more!

You can post your own news and views, or initiate a conversation about a topic of interest to you.

 

Voices of Sophia blog

Heather Reichgott, who has created this new blog for Voices of Sophia, introduces it:

After fifteen years of scholarship and activism, Voices of Sophia presents a blog. Here, we present the voices of feminist theologians of all stripes: scholars, clergy, students, exiles, missionaries, workers, thinkers, artists, lovers and devotees, from many parts of the world, all children of the God in whose image women are made. .... This blog seeks to glorify God through prayer, work, art, and intellectual reflection. Through articles and ensuing discussion we hope to become an active and thoughtful community.

 

John Harris’ Summit to Shore blogspot

Theological and philosophical reflections on everything between summit to shore, including kayaking, climbing, religion, spirituality, philosophy, theology, politics, culture, travel, The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), New York City and the Queens neighborhood of Ridgewood by a progressive New York City Presbyterian Pastor. John is a former member of the Witherspoon board, and is designated pastor of North Presbyterian Church in Flushing, NY.

 

John Shuck’s Shuck and Jive

A Presbyterian minister, currently serving as pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Elizabethton, Tenn., blogs about spirituality, culture, religion (both organized and disorganized), life, evolution, literature, Jesus, and lightening up.

 

Got more blogs to recommend?

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