Thanks for all your prayers, and more, while I was away with my hip replacement surgery. It is great to be back, out of the fog of anesthetic, the discouragement one feels wondering if healing will ever come and the isolating sense of dependence. All of it however reminds me of my need to accept the grace that God, through you, offers, in a time of feeling helpless and unable to give back. It did me good to again be reminded of how we cannot earn God’s care and presence. To simply rest in weakness, appreciating God’s offering is humbling and healing and filling. Thank you for helping me remember.
On January 15, my sermon gave you some background about my being an overture advocate at the Presbyterian level for: Boycotting Ahava Beauty products (Dead Sea Laboratories) and Hadiklaim (an Israeli Date Growers Cooperative). This overture was accepted by the presbytery to pass on to our General Assembly this summer in Pittsburgh, PA. I will go there to present this overture. Here is some reasoning for it:
After visits to Israel/Palestine in 1985, 2006 and 2009, I came to the conclusion that Israel is ethnically cleansing Palestine. I decided that I could not be silent and no longer collaborate with injustice.
The PCUSA has long valued the boycott as a tool against child labor, racial discrimination, apartheid and food unjustly harvested. If a practice is held as unjust, we seek to use any moral means, to conform to God’s purpose. Our beliefs display responsibility toward consumption and possessions. Faith and action are not separate.
This boycott is a strategy of nonviolence that advocates economic pressure to end the oppressive military occupation, by not buying from corporations who profit from it and is a nonviolent move for peace for Israelis and Palestinians.
Israel’s occupation deprives the Palestinian economy of 85% of its gross domestic product. Palestine gets no profits from these two products, Ahava & Hadiklaim dates produced from their land. The settlements in the West Bank are illegal under international law, yet two weeks ago, the Israeli supreme court stated that their illegal production of west bank resources was now acceptable, due to the longevity of the occupation.
Boycotting allows all a voice, revealing we know what is going on – that no state is above the rule of international law and the scope of human rights. You don’t have to go any further than your local store to help – stolen products by Israel have come to you. With this overture we will counter the lie that things come from Israel, when they come from Palestinian land.
Since 2005, the boycott has been significant – with major support in Canada, Europe & now the US, & US Jewish community. This Christmas, the mayor of Bethlehem called the international community to boycott. In Israel, most Jewish Peace Groups support the boycott of settlement goods, risking being criminalized by their government if they actively support the call for boycott. The request for boycott comes from those who will suffer most by it.
In the face of the armed oppression and the increasing encroachment of the illegal settlements in the West Bank, we cannot do nothing. What Israel is doing is illegal. We can’t be accomplices in crimes against humanity, we can speak up for the oppressed in demanding justice. If not now, when? Did your parents tell you to go along with the crowd, no matter what, set aside your values, so you won’t be called names? We may not be popular, but we can be just. We will not be swayed by name calling.
We say we want to be impartial, don’t want to upset – are there two sides to oppression, racism, human trafficking, ethnic cleansing? Failure to act perpetuates our up-until-now complicity. We’re already adding to the problem when buying these products. Our faith and integrity is not based on theological correctness. We need to not be concerned about what will happen to us if we take action, but what will happen to our Palestinian brothers and sisters if we don’t act. We follow Jesus example of confronting authorities nonviolently using the force of love.
On January 22, Rabbi Alissa Wise shared a sermon that challenged us to speak to all our Jewish and Arab Muslim and Christian neighbors of acting justly, especially when it is difficult to share this and difficult for others to hear it. I am grateful for her courage. If you did not hear the sermon, I am posting it again. http://us4.campaign-archive2.com/?u=5d6af22c768b84cc207e514bf&id=fb3abfc95a&e=d1d3d18a92
We walk and speak, not with a bold arrogance, but as humble and weak children of God, seeking God’s provision of peace and healing for all people. Thank you for being faithful healers on behalf of God’s household.