5 things your Quaker congregation can do to bring about just and lasting peace in Israel and Palestine
1. Listen and learn
The conflict in Israel and Palestine is a topic that can be sensitive that many members in your faith community. A history of violence and collective human rights violations has deeply affected the way in which the larger, national dialogue around the United States' rightful role in the region takes place. Take time to learn about the ways in which Israelis and Palestinians are impacted by violence and human rights violations today and then listen to the concerns of members of your community.
- 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.
- Read posts at Acting in Faith on Israel and Palestine highlighting the work of Quakers and AFSC 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 AFSC on their efforts in the United States to end occupation of Palestinian territory.
- Subscribe to "Impact," AFSC's monthly 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 – TIAA-CREF 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 territory.
- Invite your congregation to join the campaign and watch this video of Rabbi Alissa Wise talking about the campaign.
- Boycott Sodastream and join an interfaith group of people of conscience calling on all consumers and stores to stop buying and selling SodaStream products, which are 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. Get political
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 to representatives or your local paper about the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, and call for an end to US military aid to Israel.
- Write letters to the editor to demand a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and to inform the public of the growing BDS movement.