5 things your Quaker congregation can do to bring about just and lasting peace in Israel and Palestine
1. Listen and learn
The violence inherent in the Palestinian Israeli conflict, the harm that has been done to both Palestinians and Israelis, and the often contradictory information that is presented about the conflict make this a difficult issue to discuss. It is likely that addressing this topic will raise political sensitivities and political concerns among members of your faith community. The best way to address these concerns while promoting learning and action is to take time to listen to Palestinians and Israelis and to learn about the ways in which Israelis and Palestinians are impacted by violence and human rights violations today.
- Read AFSC's "Principles for a Just and Lasting Peace" and discuss the document as a community or in your adult religious education curiculum.
- Watch 5 Broken Cameras as a community and host a discussion using the Discussion Guide.
- Organize a book group to read short stories from “Gaza Writes Back,” and view our conversation with the authors.
- Read posts at Acting in Faith on Israel and Palestine highlighting the work Quakers and AFSC are doing to make change.
- Invite a speaker to talk about the region and what you can do to get involved. Email Madeline or Lucy for ideas.
2. Join a national network
All around the country, Quakers are taking action in their communities to help bring about peace with justice in Israel and Palestine.
- Join the Quaker Palestine-Israel Network to stay connected and learn more about the work of others around the country.
- Become an AFSC Meeting/Church liaison and participate in calls with AFSC staff about how you can partner with us on our efforts in the United States to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.
- Subscribe to "Impact," AFSC's monthly online newsletter with resources for action on Israel and Palestine.
3. Take economic action
In 2005, over 170 Palestinian organizations issued a call to the international community asking for the implementation of boycott and divestment initiatives (BDS) to stop human rights abuses against Palestinians by the Israeli government. The initial Palestinian call was signed by a broad coalition that included unions, academics, political parties, cultural groups, and civil society organizations. AFSC is supporting and organizing with the We Divest Campaign urging divestment from companies and corporations that benefit from the occupation and human rights violations in Israel and Palestine.
- Listen to an audio documentary "Seeds of an Occupation," about AFSC's involvement in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement to end the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories.
- Invite your congregation to join the campaign and watch this video of Rabbi Alissa Wise talking about the movement.
- Boycott Sodastream and join an interfaith group of people of conscience calling on all consumers and stores to stop buying and selling SodaStream, a carbonate beverage maker which is manufactured within an Israeli settlement in occupied Palestinian territory.
4. Write a minute or statement of support
Once your congregation has taken time to learn about the issue and become involved with efforts in the United States and around the world to end human rights abuses against Palestinians, consider writing a minute or statement of support for the BDS movement.
- Read the minutes and statements from other meetings, churches and faith organizations supporting the use of economic activism to end the conflict.
- Bring the topic to your Business Meeting or other decision making body to consider.
- Take time to season the appropriate language, and then share your minute with the wider faith community.
- If and when approved, share with the larger Quaker community! Email Madeline or Lucy to help spread the word.
5. Become an advocate
The United States foreign policy is deeply enmeshed in the politics that perpetuate injustices towards Palestinians, and it is critical that our representatives know more about what their constituents would like to see change in the region.
- Dedicate one Sunday per month to letter-writing after worship elected officials or your local newspaper about the need to end to US military aid to Israel, highlighting the negative aspects of militarism on the prospects for peace.
- Write letters to the editor calling for just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and inform the public about ways to engage in economic activism to end corporate profiting from military occupation and war.