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What Quaker congregations can do to help end the conflict in Israel-Palestine

Participants in a TIAA-CREF Divestment Workshop
Participants in a TIAA-CREF Divestment Workshop Photo: AFSC / AFSC

Quaker churches and meetings can help support the end of the conflict in Israel-Palestine by considering the issue as a meeting and participating in several activities.

AFSC is supporting and organizing with the We Divest – TIAA-CREF Campaign urging divestment from companies and corporations that benefit from the occupation and conflict in Israel-Palestine. Quakers around the country are also involved, and several monthly and yearly meetings have considered and approved minutes on the concern, including Illinois Yearly Meeting. Anne Remley of Ann Arbor Friends Meeting has been working to organize a network of Quakers working on this issue and can serve as a resource for meetings and Friends, as can AFSC staff.

Already there have been successes in the campaign—Friends Fiduciary has divested $900,000 from the Caterpillar Corporation and TIAA-CREF has excluded Caterpillar from its social choice accounts in part due to its contracts with the Israeli military. But Caterpillar is not the only company benefitting from the occupation and conflict, and there is more work to do. (Listen to a call with Michael Merryman-Lotze and Anne Remley to learn more about AFSC's involvement and how Ann Arbor Meeting has become active.)

Invite your meeting to join the campaign. Your meeting can:

  1. As a congregation, read the document “Principles for a Just and Lasting Peace between Palestinians and Israelis” and watch the video of Rabbi Alissa Wise talking about the campaign. Consider writing a minute of support for the campaign.
  2. Dedicate one Sunday per month to letter-writing to representatives or your local paper after worship.
  3. Host a house party and invite a speaker to come and talk about the We Divest Campaign or about the situation in Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories. 
  4. Watch "5 Broken Cameras" and host a discussion using AFSC's resource guide.
  5. 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.

There are other options here. Start with the document “Five ways to engage with AFSC on Israel and Palestine.”

Below are more resources to support your meetings. Please let us know if you make use of these resources and how they worked for you.

Podcast:  Learn more about AFSC's involvement in the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. 

Here is a video of Rabbi Alissa Wise talking about lessons she’s learned while being involved in the We Divest campaign.

Listen to Lucy Duncan speak about the divestment campaign (2:00).

Listen to AFSC's Michael Merryman-Lotze and Anne Remley of Ann Arbor Meeting on how AFSC and Quakers are joining the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. (49:52).

Five ways to engage with AFSC on Israel and Palestine

Need ideas for how to get involved in peace-building efforts in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory? Here are five suggestions.

Principles for a just and lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis

AFSC has worked with Palestinians, Israelis, and the international community to achieve a just and lasting peace since 1948, and we remain committed to supporting nonviolent activism toward this end. This document summarizes the principles that guide our work in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.

"We Divest" fact sheet
Join the We Divest campaign

Are your retirement funds supporting Israeli occupation? TIAA-CREF, one of the world’s largest retirement funds and a self-described “leader in socially responsible investing,” invests nearly $600 million in corporations that profit from Israeli military occupation.

Resources on divestment

Divesting from corporations that profit from occupation and violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory is an important step towards building peace. This resource list can help you find out more. 

Film 5 Broken Camera
5 Broken Cameras discussion guide and resources

This resource guide is intended to help facilitate discussion about the film “5 Broken Cameras” by social action groups, classes, and other interested parties. We hope that discussion of this important film becomes a vehicle for developing a greater understanding of the issues involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and nonviolent resistance in Palestine.  

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