Monday, 11 August 2014

Gaza Benefit Concert

All funds raised will go to humanitarian relief in Gaza via Amos Trust Partners.

London Gaza Demo

See more photos of the London Gaza Demo here and here.

These photos are copywrite and may not be reproduced commercially without permission. You may however freely use them for charitable or educational purposes, if the source is acknowledged. To purchase originals of any of these photographs please contact me

Friday, 8 August 2014

Zion's Christian Soldiers: The Bible, Israel and the Church - in Arabic

Zion's Christian Soldiers is now available in Arabic, as well as Korean and English.

The Arabic edition costs £8.95 plus £2.75 postage in the UK and £4.75 internationally.

Order via PayPal

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Survey of UK Christian Sympathies in Israel/Palestinian Conflict

Embrace the Middle East commissioned an opinion poll to find out what UK Christians thought about the Israel/Palestinian conflict.

Carried out in May 2014, before the current crisis started, 2,467 Christians from a cross-section of denominations answered an online questionnaire.

Key results from the survey:

Twice as many UK Christians (35.4 per cent) say they sympathise more with the Palestinians as say they sympathise with Israel (16.9 per cent).

More than a third (37.9 per cent) sympathise with neither side, or both sides equally, while almost a tenth (9.7 per cent) said ‘Don’t know’.

40.2 per cent of Anglicans, 44.6 per cent of Methodists and 56.6 per cent of Catholics said they sympathised more with the Palestinians than with Israel. Sympathy for the Palestinians was weaker among Baptists (28 per cent), but this was still greater than those Baptists who said they sympathised more with Israel (20.9 per cent).

Only a third of those UK Christians polled (33.1 per cent) strongly agreed or tended to agree with the statement that ‘God gave the land that is now Israel to the Jewish people’, while only 12.4 per cent strongly agreed or tended to agree that the biblical nation of Israel and the modern state of Israel were the same.

Some 70.1 per cent of UK Christians strongly agreed or tended to agree with the statement that the land belongs to both Jewish people and Palestinians.

Download the full story on the Press Release page.

Friday, 4 July 2014

For such a time as this: Sabeel Statement

For such a time as this, what is required?

For the last three months, approximately 200 Palestinian administrative detainees have been on a hunger strike to protest their detention without charge or trial.

On May 15, 2014, on Nakba day, a few weeks before the kidnapping of the three young Israelis, the Israeli army killed two Palestinian teenagers near Ramallah in cold blood.

On Monday evening, June 30, the Israeli army found the bodies of the three missing Israeli teenagers. On Tuesday morning, July 1, the Israeli army killed a 16 year old Palestinian in Jenin and some settlers tried to snatch a 9 year old boy in Beit Hanina, but he was rescued by his mother and some passersby. Early Wednesday morning July 2, settlers kidnapped a 17 year old boy from Shufat, killed him and burned his body. In addition, over the last two weeks over 10 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli army some of them quite young and over 500 detained and hundreds injured.

We grieve with all the families – Palestinians and Israelis. We condemn the killings whether by the Israeli army, the unruly settlers, extremist Palestinians or unknown suspects. We uphold the sanctity of all human life Israeli as well as Palestinian, Jew as well as Muslim, Muslim as well as Christian.

For those who have eyes to see, all the killings that have taken place were senseless and the major culprit is the rightwing Israeli government. Its policy has been a total rejection of peace on the basis of the demands of international law. It refuses to share the land and accept a sovereign Palestinian state on only 22% of historic Palestine that is willing to live in peace next to Israel. The government of Israel believes that it can turn back the wheels of history and create an ethnic/religious state. It believes that it can impose its will on the Palestinians because it possesses the military power and the technology that is needed. This cannot happen. It is on the wrong side of history. History itself is against it, not only the Palestinians. The future of the world is for multiethnic, multiracial, and multi-religious communities living together. History is for diversity and not for uniformity. Israel’s rightwing government is the culprit. It is responsible; it is the offender. It is cheating the Israeli and Palestinian youths of life because it is charting an ethnic and racist course of history that is untenable.

The good people of Israel, Palestine, and the international community must put a stop to this madness. Long ago Jesus quoted the Psalmist saying, “The meek will inherit the land.” The meek are the people of the land and they are the Israelis and the Palestinians, but they are not the arrogant exclusivists of this world. The exclusivists will eventually pass away and someday new leaders will emerge, an Israeli Abraham Lincoln, or an Israeli De Clerk who will lead Israel to peace based on sharing the land where every person – man and woman, Israeli and Palestinian - will live as equal citizens with human dignity.

We call on our Palestinian sisters and brothers to continue resisting every act of injustice with nonviolent action; our religious leaders, Muslim and Christian, to raise the prophetic voice against injustice and oppression; and the Palestinian Authority to remain steadfast in its commitment to a unified government.

If the Israeli government wants peace, it must be transformed. It needs to believe in the power of peace that is based on justice and equality. For such a time as this, Israeli leaders need the courage and the will to do the following:

1. They need to realize that violence can only beget violence and that despair can only beget desperate actions. Therefore the state must stop the cycle of violence and the cycle of vengeance.

2. They need to address the root causes of the problems: racist laws, the military occupation, and the illegal settlements.

3. They need to stop all collective punishments, arbitrary killings, and extra judicial executions and let the rule of law take its due course. It is unjust to punish innocent persons for the actions of a suspected few.

4. They need to work with the United Nations and the Palestinian Authority to find the resolution of the conflict on the basis of international law that will guarantee the needs of peace and security for both Israel and Palestine.

We lament the inaction of world leaders in the face of the entrenchment of the occupation. They need to realize that ultimately the resolution of the conflict requires outside intervention. World powers helped create the conflict and world powers must help resolve it.

For such a time as this, “He told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)

The Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek
Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, Jerusalem

July 4, 2014

Friday, 20 June 2014

Awareness Foundation: Catalysts for Peace

The Annual Lecture of the Awareness Foundation, held at St. George's Bloomsbury on Tuesday 17th June 2014 was a great success. Before an audience of more than 70, Ruth Gledhill interviewed Canon David Porter, the Director of Reconciliation for the Archbishop of Canterbury, and The Revd Nadim Nassar, Director for the Awareness Foundation, on 'Catalysts for Peace.'

Canon Porter drew on his great experience of the Troubles and his involvement in the peace process in Northern Ireland, while Nadim spoke about the seven years he spent in Beirut during the Lebanese Civil War and the current conflicts in the Middle East.

Canon Porter made six controversial points about reconciliation:

1. It is always about politics
2. Bad religion always trumps good
3. We are all responsible
4. History matters
5. Peace is offensive
6. Reconciliation is illusive

The message was clear: peace is difficult and the road to reconciliation is a long one, but it can be attained when all elements of a society support it. They agreed that when religion must be freed from political manipulation before faith can shine as a beacon of peace and forgiveness.

The event began with a warm welcome from the Rector of St. George's, The Revd David Peebles, and some brief introductions to the Awareness Foundation and especially its work in the Middle East.

View more photos here