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The annual "mega edition" of The Response is here,
coming to you in two parts!

This issue is PART ONE:
1. Full coverage of UMKR and Methodist activities in 2018
2. A selection of the biggest news from faith communities and other partners
3. Top picks from 2018 resources: film, print, and digital

will bring you the major news stories related to Israel/Palestine
that caught the world's attention in 2018.

We know this is a lot of news, so we've also prepared a
PDF version of this newsletter for our readers!
Download and save it for

a record of what our movement has done in 2018.


2018 Resolutions: Year of the Palestinian Child
UMKR activists spearheaded the adoption or renewal of 11 resolutions related to justice in Israel/Palestine in 2018. The biggest focus by far was Children: 8 of those 11 resolutions focused on the human rights of Palestinian children and their abuse in Israeli military detention.

Some folks think that our church resolutions on social issues have little impact, especially if they are "just" actions by our regional bodies, annual conferences, rather than our denomination-wide General Conference. Not so! Resolutions in the church's Annual Conferences have impacted state legislation and can influence policies that affect the whole denomination. [See the article below on "Investing for BDS supporters."]
Read the report

See resolutions and resources UMKR provided for activists this year

Speaking together, we get their attention
For years, UMKR has been mobilizing supporters to make sure elected officials hear our concerns for the Palestinian people and now, for our own right to free speech.
Our action alerts have generated tens of thousands of messages to government leaders.

» GROWING THE OPPOSITION TO ANTI-BDS LEGISLATION, which limits our 1st Amendment rights by penalizing Americans who support a boycott that targets Israeli policy.
» ADDING CO-SPONSORS FOR H.R. 4391, the first bill ever on Palestinian human rights, specifically the abuse of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention.

» RALLYING U.S. GOVERNMENT SUPPORT FOR KHAN AL AHMAR, thereby helping to save this West Bank village continually threatened with demolition in 2018.

GET IN THE ACTION: join your voice with thousands of others!
UMKR participates in coordinated monthly actions from the Faith Forum on Middle East Policy.
These alerts give you the chance take action on current issues
along with thousands of other concerned citizens.

With the newly elected House and other big shifts in the political landscape,
we have more power than ever in 2019 to make a political impact in the U.S. government.

Subscribe now to get these alerts and make your voice heard!

UMC Investing for BDS Supporters
Wespath, the United Methodist Pension Board, manages a portfolio of over $24 billion, including one of the top 100 pensions funds in the U.S. They now offer clergy and laity pensioners the Social Values Choice (SVC) suite of investment funds. These funds reflect United Methodists' support for socially responsible investing, and they will specifically eliminate key companies that have been targeted in UMKR resolutions over several years.

Wespath reports these funds are a response to the many resolutions adopted in UMC annual conferences calling for divestment from companies that enable and profit from the Israeli occupation – in particular, three companies: Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard and Motorola Solutions.
Read the report from the Oregon-Idaho conference
Get UMKR's Q&A and Wespath's Flyer on the SVC funds

8000 Bold Women! UMKR was there
The largest gathering in the United Methodist Church takes place once every four years. Not General Conference...it's the United Methodist Women (UMW) Assembly! UMW reports that 8,000 women came to the 2018 Assembly, held May 18-20, in Columbus, Ohio.

UMKR co-chairs Rev. John Wagner and Andrea Whitmore organized a UMKR booth for education and action....UMKR had an excellent location, and our volunteers rarely had a quiet moment...Working in partnership with Rebuilding Alliance, UMKR chose a special focus for education and action at the Assembly: the lack of electricity in Gaza...in all 270 Little Suns (solar lights) were sent to Gaza. 

Read the report

Reaching "Bible belt" Christians
October 2018 – Christ at the Checkpoint conferences have been held at Bethlehem Bible College in the West Bank since 2010. They have the unique mission of reaching out to evangelical Christians, an sometimes neglected church constiuency in Israel/Palestine advocacy. For the first time, on October 15-18, Christians in the United States – specifically in the American "Bible belt" – were offered a very similar opportunity in Oklahoma City.

UMKR provided multi-faceted support for this ground-breaking conference, with funding, organizing, promotion, and resources. Rev. Alex Awad – retired Palestinian clergy and UMC missionary, and UMKR Steering Committee member – was one of the major organizers and a keynote speaker at the opening plenary session.

Among the remarkable lineup of speakers at this conference was Bishop Robert E. Hayes (photo), retired UMC bishop. Hayes described the intersections between the lives of Palestinian Christians today and his experiences as an African American in the 1960s, incorporating his knowledge of black liberation theology and his visits to Israel/Palestine.
Read the report
See the CATCUSA conference website

on the
3rd LARGEST church in the United States,
12th LARGEST in the world (we are a GLOBAL denomination).

UMKR's work has made JUSTICE in Israel/Palestine one of the top issues in our church.

As a result, The United Methodist Church was the FIRST "mainline church" in the U.S. to DIVEST – from G4S in June 2014.

Our work has led to other trail-blazing church actions
that made an impact AROUND THE WORLD:

UMKR'S success comes from  dedicated volunteer activists 
who do A LOT with relatively little.

» Unique national conferences,
Travel for speakers and organizers,
» Professional
resources for activists

- those things take FUNDING.

For UMKR to keep going this year,
NEED HELP from those
who BELIEVE in our work.

Want to know the BEST way to help?
Consider a
monthly donation!
How about $5 or $10 a month?

Try it out - you can cancel at any time.

WHICHEVER you like best, a one-time or recurring gift...

We really can't continue this vital work for Israel/Palestine without your help.

Now, back to the news...

UMKR & LYNC: We are stronger together
UMKR has taken an important step in the vital work of intersectional justice by joining the Love Your Neighbor Coalition (LYNC) in the United Methodist Church. Our partners in LYNC are: Affirmation, Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR), Fossil Free UMC, MARCHA: Metodistas Asociados Representando la Causa Hispano-Americanos, Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA), Methodists in New Directions (MIND), National Federation of Asian American United Methodists (NFAAUM), Native American International Caucus (NAIC), Pacific Islanders Caucus of United Methodists (PINCUM), Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN), United Methodist Association of Ministers with Disabilities, and Western Methodist Justice Movement (WMJM).

LYNC's mission is "to assure The United Methodist Church is fully open to the presence, love and grace of God offered to all people," and all coalition partners have agreed to work together around the intersections of common justice issues and shared values. The broad range of issues that LYNC addresses include: colonialism and occupation, full inclusion in the church for LGBTQ people, racial justice, immigration justice, and more. See what the coalition calls on the church to do in our VISION STATEMENT.

LYNC Convo Includes Workshop on Palestinian Solidarity
In July 2018 in St. Louis, MO, the Love Your Neighbor Coalition's convocation, For Everyone Born, drew hundreds of United Methodists with a theme and vision of what it means to be a church where all are welcome and celebrated. Attendees came from across the United States, as well as Africa and the Philippines. During this packed weekend, participants heard from members of the Commission on A Way Forward, met with their jurisdictional teams, and began planning the LYNC presence and witness at General Conference in February 2019.
From the UMNS report on the convocation:
"A frequent message throughout the convocation was not to abandon The United Methodist Church despite the difficulties LGBTQ members have frequently faced. The advocacy group Reconciling Ministries Network, one of the event's main organizers, sold purple T-shirts quoting John Wesley's instruction: Do Not Rashly Tear Asunder."
Read the UMNS report   Learn more at the convocation website
After this convocation, in the fall of 2018, UMKR applied and was accepted for membership in the broad LYNC coalition (see that report in this newsletter above).

Why Solidarity with Palestinians?
Two dozen workshops during that busy weekend included "Why We Should Be in Solidarity with Palestinian Christians" a presentation by Giselle Lawn, former RMN board member, and Rev. John Wagner, UMKR Co-Chair. UMKR provided support for these leaders to attend the Convocation.
      Giselle Lawn (photo) can speak to audiences from her personal experience of crossing boundaries and working intersectionally among uncommon allies. She had just returned from living in Israel/Palestine as a volunteer in the EAPPI program.
Giselle shared how she came to support the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality and what she has learned firsthand of the current facts on the ground during her time in Israel/Palestine.
      Rev. John Wagner (photo) shared how United Methodists have been answering the call from Palestinian Christians, advocating successfully for such UMC actions as the call for an international boycott and divesting from businesses that support and profit from the settlements, along with dozens of annual conference resolutions from 2018 and earlier years.

Read the UMKR report


100+ Groups to Congress: Stop IABA!
For years, UMKR has been fighting the wave of anti-BDS legislation sweeping the United States, unconstitutional laws that would would limit our free speech rights and punish those who support a boycott targeting Israeli oppression of Palestinians. We have joined with Palestine Legal and over 100 national, regional and local organizations in alerting Congress of the serious ramifications of such legislation.

The Israel Anti-Boycott Act (IABA) was stalled for two years because of pressure from many human rights groups and concerned citizens who oppose the punishment of political boycott activities intended to achieve Palestinian rights. In December, sponsors of the bill were attempting to include it in an end-of-year spending bill that would not be subject to debate on the Senate and House floors. Our coalition's memo to Congress was updated and sent again in December, calling on Congressional leaders to makes sure that didn't happen. Get this excellent statement on anti-BDS legislation, and the ACLU's memo.
EXTRA: THE PALESTINE EXCEPTION TO FREE SPEECH: A Movement Under Attack in the U.S. Watch the 3-minute video and get the report

Christians Speak Truth to U.S. Power
In November 2018, the General Board of Church and Society (GBCS), joined 15 other Christian denominations and organizations in an ecumenical statement that was sent to the White House and all members of the House and the Senate. The statement focuses on alarming shifts in US policy regarding Israel/Palestine under the Trump administration, including:
moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem,
cutting vital humanitarian aid to the Palestinians, and
attempting to change the legal status of Palestinian refugees
who for generations have been denied their rights under international law.

Statement Excerpt (emphasis added): "As Christian churches and organizations in the United States, we strongly oppose this treatment of Palestinians. Most Palestinians have been peacefully protesting for 70 years in the hopes of gaining international recognition and their own state. We call on people of all faiths to stand up in support of human rights for both Palestinians and Israelis, including the right to self-determination. We urge the Trump administration to restore humanitarian funding to Palestinians through bilateral assistance and UNRWA, and to pursue engagement in honest, credible, and serious efforts with Palestinians, Israelis, regional parties, and the international community, to seek a just resolution to the conflict." Read the full statement

World Methodist Council honors Palestinians
August 2018 – The General Secretary of the World Methodist Council (WMC), Bishop Ivan Abrahams, presented the 2017 World Methodist Peace Award to the Nassar Family and their Tent of Nations program in the West Bank. The WMC represents over 80.5 million members in 80 denominations. The award is made on the basis of courage, creativity and consistency; former recipients include Jimmy Carter and Nelson Mandela.

The Nassar family's farm is surrounded by illegal Israeli settlements which continually threaten to encroach on their land. Denied access to power, irrigation and other essentials, the family has done remarkable work in developing an environmental and educational program known as Tent of Nations, bringing volunteers from around the world to work and learn on the farm.   Read this WMC report

Read the WMC article: Bishop Offers Hope in the Holy Land
Learn more about Tent of Nations: www.tentofnations.org


UMKR Condemns Israel's Response to Great March of Return
June 2018 – United Methodists for Kairos Response (UMKR) condemns without reservation Israel's deliberate killing of over 100 protesting Gazans and the maiming of thousands since protests began on 30 March 2018, Palestinian Land Day, and through the following weeks. We stand in solidarity with Palestinians and all people of conscience who call for lifting the crushing siege on Gaza that has left the people without adequate drinking water, electricity, medical supplies and other necessities, all while denying them the right to travel by land, air, or water to relieve their suffering.  We cry out for justice for the people of Palestine and an end to their brutal treatment at the hands of an Israeli government that is aided and abetted, to our great shame, by some of our own governments, including the most egregious complicity of the U.S. government. See this statement on our website

UMKR Opposes Israel's Apartheid Law
July 2018 – United Methodists for Kairos Response (UMKR) joins with Palestinian civil society, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), the Israel/Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace (PCAP), and all people of conscience who decry and condemn the recent adoption by the Israeli legislature of the Nation State Law.
      This bill now enshrines in Israel's Basic Law, the Israeli equivalent to a national constitution, the denial of equal rights for Palestinian Israeli citizens who comprise 20% or more of Israel's population.
Read the full press release


President Trump's Vengeful Crackdown on the Palestinians
Oct 2018 | Washington Report on Middle East Affairs | By Alex Awad
It is an accepted fact that U.S. policy in Israel/Palestine has been pro-Israel from the days of Harry Truman's presidency all the way to Barack Obama's....However, with Donald Trump occupying the White House, a shift has taken place in U.S. policy...Whatever Binyamin Netanyahu and his far-right government ask the United States to do for them, Trump complies and hands it to them on a silver platter. Read the article

Is the Church Committed to Middle East Peace?
An Open Letter to UMC Bishops and Leaders
May 2018 | UMKR | by Alex Awad
UMKR Steering Committee member, retired Palestinian clergy and UMC missionary Rev. Alex Awad challenges our bishops and leaders to renew what he feels has been lost: dedication to peacemaking in the Holy Land. With a review of the church's history in this role and the current urgent situation in Israel/Palestine, Awad also gives concrete suggestions for action today. Read the letter

Soccer and Settlements
February 2018 | The Hill |  By Michael Yoshii
The Israeli occupation interferes in every corner of Palestinian life, including children's ability to play in their own village. A delegation from Wadi Foquin briefed U.S. congressional offices on the latest encroachments upon their lives. Mayor Ahmad Sokar stated: "We come to speak to you as Palestinians—but more importantly, we also come to speak to you as human beings. Our children and youth deserve a future just as much as any other children and youth in the world." Read the article


Episcopal Church will end complicity in Israeli occupation
July 2018 – The Episcopal Church adopted legislation to divest from the Israeli Occupation, the result of years of tireless organizing by EPF PIN (Episcopal Peace Fellowship-Palestine Israel Network). The General Convention 2018 "…directs our Executive Council's Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility to develop criteria for Israel and Palestine based on a human rights' investment screen and the actions of General Convention and Executive Council over the past seventy years…" With this landmark action, The Episcopal Church has joined nine other U.S churches in divestment and boycott actions directed at ending the Israeli occupation.
Read the news in Mondoweiss
Read an EPF PIN leader's reflections on this achievement

Quakers in US expand their boycott of Israeli occupation
March - 2018 – Friends Fiduciary Corporation, the Quaker investment management company with assets of $400 million, has announced it will exclude all companies from its investments that contribute to any and all internationally recognized conflict zones and occupations – including Israel's military occupation of Palestinian lands. In 2012, Friends Fiduciary was one of the first faith-based institutions in the US to divest from the occupation, specifically from three high profile occupation profiteers: Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard and Veolia.  Read the report from PIAG, the Palestine Israel Action Group, Ann Arbor Friends Meeting

UK Quakers will not profit from Israeli occupation
November 2019 – Quakers in Britain announced that they will not invest any of their centrally held funds in companies that are profiting from Israel's occupation of Palestine, making it the first church in the United Kingdom to do so. [UMKR note: other UK churches have taken some actions of boycotting or divesting from the Israeli occupation, but have not adopted such a comprehensive policy.] In their statement: "With the occupation now in its 51st year, and with no end in near sight, we believe we have a moral duty to state publicly that we will not invest in any company profiting from the occupation."
Read the report at Quaker.org 
Read the news in Middle East Eye

Presbyterians adopt 10 Israel/Palestine resolutions
June 2018 – At their General Assembly 2018, the Presbyterian Church (USA) forged ahead on many fronts for justice in Israel/Palestine. An impressive slate of legislation spearheaded by the church's Israel/Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) included: 
» Opposing anti-BDS legislation at the state and federal level  
» Urging RE/MAX to stop facilitating sales in Israeli settlements 
» Opposing Israel's illegal annexation of Jerusalem and its discriminatory practices against Palestinians
» Encouraging authentic Jewish-Christian relationships that recognize systemic inequality and are grounded in a mutual commitment to work together for justice 
Read the report by USCPR    Read IPMN's press release

EXTRA: Get the Big Picture on 2018 Church Successes
Around the world, there are DOZENS of Christian denominations and other faith-based organizations that have endorsed economic actions such as boycott and divestment to end the Israeli occupation and achieve a just peace in Israel/Palestine.
See UMKR's GLOBAL list of faith-based bodies that support some form of BDS action.

At the USCPR website, "BDS at 13: 250 US Victories" has details and links for 250 of the biggest BDS successes in the U.S., including many in faith communities.

Three Victories for Deadly Exchange campaign
April 2018 – The City Council of Durham North Carolina voted unanimously to ban training exchanges for their police force with Israel, the first such ban in the U.S. Read JVP's report: Durham Unanimously Votes for Nation's First Ban on Police Exchanges with Israel

November 2018 – In two more, almost simultaneous firsts, both the Vermont State police and the Northampton, MA police department pulled out of a "counter-terrorism seminar" sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to be held in Israel in December.  Read the news at Mondoweiss: ADL invites police forces to train in Israel

IMPORTANT: What this is about
A little known source of the alarming militarization and violent tactics in American policing and immigration enforcement is widespread training with the Israeli military and police. Since the 1990's, thousands of the highest ranking police officials and law enforcement leaders across the United States have participated in exchange programs that bring together U.S police, ICE, border patrol, and the FBI with Israeli military and police.

In these programs, "worst practices" are shared on the racist and repressive policing practices: extrajudicial executions, shoot-to-kill policies, police murders, racial profiling, massive spying and surveillance, deportation and detention, and attacks on human rights defenders. Jewish Voice for Peace, trailblazer in the U.S. movement for Palestinian rights and valued UMKR partner, is leading this campaign to alert Americans and put an end to this truly Deadly Exchange.
The Deadly Exchange website: deadlyexchange.org
See: Revealed: Deputy Director Of ICE Was Sent By The ADL For Training With The Israeli Military

More about ICE: ICE and Deadly Exchange
The Truthout article: US and Israeli Police Are Sharing Violent and Repressive Tactics

Kairos Palestine Calls for Action to End Apartheid
On December 6-7, 2018, more than 300 people met in Bethlehem, the West Bank: Palestinian Christian leaders, representatives of Palestinian civil society, hundreds of international Christians in the global Kairos movement and other people of faith.
Included in that body were two United Methodist Church staff who are also Liaisons to the UMKR Steering Committee: Mark Harrison, Peace With Justice Director at The General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) and David Wildman, Executive Secretary for Human Rights & Racial Justice at The General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM).

The conference issued a statement calling for these actions:
Recognize Israel as an apartheid state in terms of international law, and act with it accordingly; take a clear and the strongest theological stand against any theology or Christian group that justifies this apartheid; take a stand against religious extremism and against any attempt to create a religious state in our land or region; defend our right and duty to resist the occupation creatively and nonviolently; speak in support of economic measures that pressure Israel to embrace the way of justice and peace and stop the occupation; stand with those who speak for the right of Palestinians in response to the attacks and create lobby groups in defense of Palestinian Christians; and, to publicly and legally challenge organizations that discredit our work and legitimacy.
See the full statement: "Hope where there is not Hope"
Get Kairos Palestine's latest study and devotional resource
UMKR takes its name and guiding call to action from Kairos Palestine:
Learn more about Kairos Palestine

THE Seminal Conference of 2018 Makes Clear:
The Future of Justice Activism is Intersectional

The September USCPR national conference, Together We Rise, brought together the most diverse lineup of presenters yet seen in the movement for Palestinian rights, put remarkable women in the limelight, and unmistakably set the intersectional path for the movement's future. UMKR is a member organization in US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR), as are our denomination's General Board of Church and Society and General Board of Global Ministries.
Excerpts from UMKR's report:
"Many people came to this conference with high expectations for the opening keynote address on Friday, Sept 28 by renowned Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, national co-chair of the 2018 Poor People's Campaign….His central message focused on the belief that all people are imago dei, made in the image of God, and as such are deserving of equal rights and equal protection from the destructive power of empire manifested in colonialism and ethnic cleansing."

"In the Saturday evening session on Sept 29, Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) became the first sitting Member of Congress to name Israel as an apartheid state, during her speech in acceptance of USCPR's Congressional Leadership Award…."

"USCPR's entire program unmistakably demonstrated their commitment to intersectional gender, economic, environmental, cultural, religious, and racial justice….Presenters in the plenaries and workshops throughout the weekend were overwhelmingly indigenous peoples, persons of color, queer activists, and others from marginalized communities, with an appropriately large representation by Palestinians. Perhaps most notable was the preponderance of women among the speakers throughout the conference."

"….there was another stirring event, especially for United Methodists...a Letter of Welcome written by UMC Bishop Bruce R. Ough described the evolution of United Methodist advocacy on Israel/Palestine…"which eventually led to the managers of our [denomination's] pension funds deciding to divest from the private prison firm G4S as well as five Israeli banks that fund illegal settlements in the West Bank. As a denomination, we have also approved boycotts of products from these settlements.""

USCPR's seminal conference has clearly set the path for the future of justice activism for Palestinian rights: our moral and strategic power will be found in our intersectional work across movements, as we embrace and unite the common struggles of diverse marginalized and oppressed communities."

Read UMKR's full report

FOSNA Conference Empowers Faith-based Organizing
Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) hosted Prophetic Action: Christians Convening for Palestine in St. Paul, MN on Sept 27-28: a gathering of over 100 leaders and activists for Palestinian rights from across the United States who came together to explore how to strengthen local and national organizing for Palestine, with an appropriate and strong focus on church activism.
Excerpts from UMKR's report:

Reverend Traci Blackmon, a nationally renowned speaker, leader in the Black Lives Matter Movement...spoke powerfully on the treatment of people with dark skin in the United States and Palestine….Describing how these mutual struggles against oppression are characterized by those in power, Blackmon shared a story about a hunter and a lion, concluding with: "The hunter speaks of uprising, the hunted of occupation." ....she said [people of faith] must take responsibility for the ways that their own scriptural texts are used to serve or excuse oppression.

 "Another popular workshop was No Way to Treat a Child: A Model for Congressional Advocacy, co-presented by Linda Kateeb…and UMKR Steering Committee member, Paula Roderick (photo)….the NWTTC campaign spearheaded the first-ever Congressional bill for Palestinian human rights…." Learn more about the No Way to Treat a Child campaign.

"Joining these diverse U.S. speakers was Palestinian organizer Omar Haramy, the Administrator of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem, who traveled to St Paul from Palestine to present Sabeel's ambitious new program, Kumi Now....weekly actions from a broad and diverse network of groups in Palestine and worldwide, including some refreshingly innovative ideas for action.
Learn more about Kumi Now, watch their introductory video, read the Bible study, and sign up to participate in the weekly worldwide action, at their website: https://kuminow.com.
Read UMKR's full report

Christian Leaders declare Jerusalem must be a shared city
Historic commitments to Jerusalem as a city for two people of three faiths are being threatened, along with the hope for peace. This national conference on October 11, 2018 brought together faith leaders and justice advocates from around the country to Houston, Texas to discuss the realities that exist in Jerusalem today, the latest analyses of the situation for Palestinian Christians, as well as the prospects for peace in the aftermath of the American embassy move to Jerusalem, the massive increase in settlements in the area of Jerusalem, and Israel's new Nation-State law.
Speakers at the conference included: Jim Winkler (photo), President of National Council of Churches (former General Secretary of the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society, 2000-2013); Dr. Mitri Raheb, President of Dar al-Kalima University, West Bank; Jim Wallis, President of Sojourners; James Zogby, President of the Arab American Institute (AAI); and Rev. Dr. James Forbes, Senior Minister Emeritus of the Riverside Church.

The day culminated in an evening of Palestinian Arts and Culture at St. Paul United Methodist Church featuring music, art, culinary arts and performances by the Bright Stars of Bethlehem Dance/Theater Troupe from Palestine.
Read "Jerusalem: A city that made the Lord cry, by Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb
Read National Council of Churches President Jim Winkler's account of why faith leaders must confront injustice in Jerusalem

Excerpts from the conference statement: "Affirmation for an Inclusive Jerusalem" (Emphasis added)
"The increase in the Israelization of East Jerusalem, the move to annex major settlements within the Jerusalem Municipality, and new Israeli Jewish Nation-state Basic Law are in direct defiance of International law and threaten the vision for an inclusive and shared Jerusalem."
"Thus, together with all churches in the Holy Land we continue to advocate for Jerusalem as an open and shared city for two peoples and three faiths based on equality and mutuality, a cosmopolitan city with an international dimension as well."

"As US Christian leaders, gathered together at this Jerusalem Conference, we:
"Urge our President and his administration to recognize East Jerusalem as the Capital of the State of Palestine…."
"Urge the US Congress to support international laws and reaffirm the critical role of the United Nations...."

"Call on commercial, governmental, and non-governmental actors— including faith groups and churches--to exert economic leverage to end unfair and unjust practices and policies that violate international laws…."
"Educate our constituencies regarding the damaging consequences of premillennial dispensationalist theology (Christian Zionism) and fundamentalist Christian teachings that create obstacles to peace...."
Read the full statement

UMKR really needs your help to sustain this movement for another year and expand our reach in the global UMC.


Why Palestine Matters: The Struggle to End Colonialism
From Israel/Palestine Mission Network, Presbyterian Church (USA)
This much-anticipated book from IPMN presents the liberation struggle of the Palestinian people within the context of other global justice struggles.  With a foreword by Richard Falk, former UN Special Rapporteur of Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories, the book is grounded in international law and brings Palestine into focus through a lens of intersectionality.

From Theologian Walter Brueggemann: "This important book summons us to a new awareness that carries with it a mandate to policies and actions that bespeak compassion and embody restorative justice." 
Learn more, see the discussion guide, get the book.
Be sure to check the menu under "MORE" for some great videos. 

Love their intersectionality poster! » "The tendency has been to consider Palestine a separate—and unfortunately too often marginal—issue. This is precisely the moment to encourage everyone who believes in equality and justice to join the call for a free Palestine." Angela Davis, Freedom Is a Constant Struggle, 2016

The Heart of It: Messaging for the Palestinian freedom movement
One of the best and clearest resources we've seen for activists who are communicatorsand who doesn't communicate? – this handbook has been updated for the current political moment.
The key principles it presents in simple language with helpful examples:
1. Keep it simple, 2. Bring people in,  3. Lead with shared values,  4. Describe what you seek, not just what you oppose, 5. Be proactive, not reactive, and 6. Know your audience/platform

Download this resource

FAQS about Israeli-Palestinian Issues and US Policy
From US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR)
This excellent resource helps to clarify common misconceptions about Palestine/Israel and identify key issues in US policy. Find answers to such questions as:   • Isn't Israel the only democracy in the Middle East?   • Will a two-state resolution—the establishment of a Palestinian state—resolve the Israeli-Palestinian issue?   • Doesn't Israel have a right to exist and wouldn't a one-state resolution deny this right?   • Didn't Trump simply recognize the reality that Jerusalem is Israel's capital?   • Why are people boycotting for Palestinian rights and should the United States try to stop it?
Download this resource

Quick Facts: Jerusalem
From IMEU: Institute for Middle East Understanding
Trump's fateful decision to move the U.S. Embassy in 2018 put Jerusalem front and center in international news. IMEU's Fact Sheet succinctly provides basic information to understand the issues surrounding this divided city. Get the facts on Jerusalem

EXTRA: IMEU has a treasure trove of useful resources.
In their Fact Sheets, they just added Palestine: 2018 in Review. Other topics include "The Crisis in Gaza" and many more.

See more IMEU Fact Sheets

EXTRA EXTRA: See IMEU's great "Palestine 101" resources for learning and activism.
Topics include:
Nakba & Refugees, Settlements, Activism, Palestinian Citizens of Israel,
Christians, U.S. Role, West Bank, Gaza, and Jerusalem

From Betrayals and Warnings to Future Visions

From Al-Shabaka, The Palestinian Policy Network
Al-Shabaka is a Palestinian think tank ranked among the top in the world. With these fourteen essays (just 4 to 7 pages each), they have given us a valuable collection of their cutting-edge analysis: reviewing the past 100 years, dissecting the present, and looking ahead to a better future.
Some of the topics in this book:
• After Balfour: 100 Years of History and the Roads Not Taken
• Decades of Displacing Palestinians: How Israel Does It
• The Myth of American Pressure
• Which Jerusalem: Israel's Little-Known Master Plans
• To Achieve One State, Palestinians Must Also Work for Two
• BDS: A Global Movement for Freedom and Justice

Get this free book now and enjoy one eye-opening one essay at a time – your Palestine "primer" for 2019!


South Africa and Palestine: Striking Parallels
From Visualizing Palestine
Not content with "a picture is worth a thousand words," Visualizing Palestine combines pictures AND words to bring home essential facts about life for Palestinians in more powerful ways. In 2018, they produced several more of their popular informational graphics.

This one we've featured is the Summary graphic in a SERIES OF 6 GRAPHICS that show striking similarities between Apartheid policies in Israel today and South Africa in the past.

See and download the Apartheid graphics
Check out the other graphics at their site - they can be kind of addictive!


This valuable website examines and challenges the teachings of Christian Zionism in an easily accessible question-and-answer format. Explore such questions as: Is contemporary Israel the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy? Are the Jewish people God's chosen people today? Has God promised the land of Palestine exclusively to the Jewish people as an everlasting inheritance? How should Christians view the Palestinians and especially the Palestinian church?

From About Us (emphasis added): "We are professors, pastors, leaders of church-related organizations, and laity all working together toward one purpose: to examine a theological teaching called Christian Zionism...many want to wed politics to our Christian faith and apply it to the Middle East. This concerns us....We hope that this website will help other Christians navigate these currents...." Discover this website

AFSC (American Friends Service Committee) brings us a unique tool for our own socially responsible investing and for boycott and divestment campaigns. Knowing what you own is the first step to aligning your investments with your values.

Check to see if your investments - or your pension or an institution's holdings - include companies involved in serious human rights violations, like the criminal punishment industry, the Israeli occupation, or the US/Mexico border wall. You can search for information about specific companies or about harmful industries. Discover who profits from mass incarceration and immigrant detention, from walls and borders, from illegal Israeli settlements, and from weapons used against civilians. Then use this knowledge to create change! Investigate.afsc.org

Adalah Justice Project is a Palestinian advocacy organization that can transform American perception, policy and practice. The Project presents key human rights issues for the Palestinian citizens of Israel, connects Palestine/Israel to other social justice movements, and builds power across movements.

This website has a strong focus on Intersectional/Solidarity justice work, to "de-exceptionalize" Palestine/Israel and counter the "tendency to separate the Palestinian struggle from other movements for justice, or to characterize Israel as a wholly unique historical and legal regime."
In their menu, see LEARN where you can connect to Freedom, Bound and a gallery for 10 Lessons Learned from a Legacy of Solidarity - significant moments from decades of transnational Black-Palestinian solidarity.    
      Check out the report on Netroots Nation 2018: Demanding Political Coherence of the Left: "If you're not progressive on Palestine, you're not progressive. If you're not progressive on queer rights, you're not progressive. If you're not progressive on Black lives, you're not progressive."  There's a lot to explore at adalahjusticeproject.org.


Gaza: Can you imagine?
From IMEU: Institute for Middle East Understanding; 90 seconds
Very short and very powerful! Use this video to introduce people to the unimaginable living conditions in Gaza, which the UN has said will become unlivable by 2020 (and many have said that day has already arrived): a humanitarian catastrophe that is growing worse every day as the world allows it to continue.
See it on Youtube

The Danger of Neutrality
TEDxTalk, 11 mins
Staying neutral in controversial situations is the moral high ground, right? Wrong. It's the exact opposite. Author and inspirational speaker Anna Baltzer explains how neutrality is a dangerous trap -- and an illusion. Taking a side, not impartiality, is what really helps resolve conflicts. Framing her message in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Baltzer shares how taking a side is the best thing that can happen to us. Not only is it the right thing to do, but our own liberation depends on it.

Anna Baltzer is an award-winning author and the Director of Organizing & Advocacy at the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR), who has lectured at more than 500 universities, churches, parliaments, and policy institutes on five continents and is quoted widely in the U.S. and international press. Watch it on Youtube

The Occupation of the American Mind:
Israel's Public Relations War in the United States

From the Media Education Foundation
Three lengths: 84 mins, 45 mins, or 21 mins

The most acclaimed (and attacked) film on Israel/Palestine in recent years reveals the devastating public relations war that Israel has been waging in the U.S. for decades: a stunning exposé of how the Israeli government, US government, and Israel Lobby have shaped American media coverage, to minimize the occupation, vilify critics of Israel, and dehumanize the Palestinian people. In addition, this film also educates viewers about Israel's dispossession and occupation of Palestinian land.

In 2018, the producers gave the world a gift:
Don't have time for the full length: 84 mins?
They also have
SHORTER VERSIONS: 45 mins and 21 mins. 
Learn more and watch the film

Use this film for a discussion group in your congregation or community!
Scroll down their website page to find the DISCUSSION GUIDE, in "Screening Resources."

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UMKR is an international grassroots peace movement of laity and clergy in the United Methodist Church. We are responding to the Palestinian Christians' urgent call, in Kairos Palestine: A Moment of Truth, for effective action to end the Israeli occupation and achieve a just peace in the Holy Land.

UMKR seeks – through nonviolent action and in partnership with our Palestinian sisters and brothers in Christ – freedom, justice and equality for all Palestinians and Israelis.
Learn more about UMKR

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Our email address: info@kairosresponse.org
Our website: www.kairosresponse.org

Mailing address, general correspondence:
Rev. John Wagner, 120 South Broad Street,
Middletown, OH 45044

Mailing address, donations and financial:
William P. Aldrich, 42 Gaspee Point Drive,
Warwick, RI 02888
Please make checks payable to our fiscal agent:
Open Table of Christ UMC.
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