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5 things your Quaker congregation can do to bring about just and lasting peace in Israel and Palestine

AFSC Friends Relations, in an effort to create a more substantial level of engagement between Friends and AFSC, is piloting a program called Quaker Social Change Ministry to support and facilitate Spirit-led, social justice work in Quaker meetings/churches. This program is based on the work of Kelly Dignan, Kierstin Homblette, and Deborah Holder, three Unitarian Ministers in the Denver area who created this model to support congregations doing powerful social change ministry.

Please fill out an interest form to learn more about the program.

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 Lucy for ideas.

- Join a delegation to Israel and Palestine with our partners at Interfaith Peace-builders.  Four delegations are planned every year!

- Listen to Steve Tamari, Associate Professor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, who serves on the Steering Committee for the Quaker Palestine/Israel Network, provide a powerful, concise history of Palestinian resistance from 1948 to the present. You can listen to the entire conversation by clicking here.

- Watch Quakers and Israel-Palestine, a QuakerSpeak video. Share it with your networks.


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 various actions and campaigns and have developed an investment screening tool for individuals and groups to review their investments:

- 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.

- Join AFSC in supporting the boycott of Hewlett-Packard and sign a petition calling on the CEO of HP to stop the company from profiting from the illegal Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory.

- Check your own investment portfolio using AFSC’s new investment screening tool.

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 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.

- Host the “Boycott! The Art of Economic Activism” poster exhibition in your community. AFSC and the Center for the Study of Political Graphics created the exhibition to educate audiences about economic activism and to inspire people to act on their principles. 61 political posters from 20 past and present economic campaigns and movements are included.  Visit the "Boycott!" website and email us for more information.

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