BRIEF HISTORY OF JOINING HANDS FOR JUSTICE: PALESTINE/ISRAEL PARTNERSHIP
Presbytery of Greater Atlanta – October 2013
2007 – REACHING OUT TO INTERFAITH PARTNERS
For five Sundays during Lent (February 25 to March 25, 2007) at the request of the Presbytery to provide a series of educational events aimed at broadening Presbyterian understanding of the situation in Israel/Palestine, JHFJ organized a series of panels with local Israeli, Palestinian, Islamic and Muslim communities. The fifth panel featured representatives of Israeli and Palestinian human rights organizations. Panelists who shared their perspectives were Rabbi Yoav Eichenberg-Eilon, Mr. Ephi Eyal, Mr. Yehuda Mor, Mr. Mohammad Braiwish, Dr. Hani Khoury, Dr. Omar Lattouf, Imam Plemon El-Amin, Dr. Aisha Jumaan, Ms. Tayyibah Taylor, Mr. Rich Breitkopf, Rabbi Mario Karpuj, Ms. Carla Michalove, Ms. Anat Biletzki, and Ms. Maureen Clare Murphy. Moderators were Margaret Aymer, Charles Easley, Rick Neale, Beverly Ostrowski and Scott Weimer. Host churches were Druid Hills, Hillside and McDonough.
Panelists responded to two questions: What is your vision for a just peace in Israel/Palestine and how do we achieve it? What can the PCUSA do to make that vision a reality?
The following General Assemble Overtures came out of the dialogue:
1. The General Assembly will produce a video and study guide including participants from the Jewish, Islamic, Palestinian, Israeli, and human rights communities (both Israeli and Palestinian) addressing the above questions.
2. The General Assembly , through the Mission Responsibility through Investment Committee, will produce a “how to” guide to examine what is “near and dear” to us, including our investments, and how to bring those investments in line with our Biblical and theological principles.
3. The General Assembly, through the Office for Interfaith Relations, will produce a “how to” guide to help Presbyterian congregations and members seek out and live into intentional friendships with Jews and Muslims in our communities.
4. The General Assembly will continue to lift up the plight of the dwindling Christian community throughout the Middle East, especially that in Israel/Palestine, and will continue to seek ways to support and pray for the church in the land of its birth. The General Assembly commends the ongoing work of the Israel/Palestine Mission Network in its efforts to do just that.
5. The General Assembly urges the President of the United States to appoint a special envoy for Israel/Palestine, based in Jerusalem, to begin immediately as a sign of active, principled U.S. engagement to solving the Isreali-Palestinian conflict.
2008 – EDUCATE THE CHURCH/COMMUNITY
Sponsored Conference “Listening to Our Partners: Palestinian Voices for Peace” (July 2008) with Palestinian Partners, American Jewish Author and Activist Anna Baltzer and others as guest speakers — Rana Qumsiyeh (YWCA), Zoughbi Zoughbi (Center for Peace and Reconciliation), Susanne Hoder, Doug Whitmore (UMC) and Michele Finseth (Mission Co-worker).
Three members represented PGA JHJP partnership at International Consultation in Orange, CA
Anna Baltzer (Author/Activist) at North Decatur Presbyterian
Arranged visits for Rana and Zoughbi to churches, Emory U, Columbia Theological Seminary, Calvin Center, Presbytery JH and Peacemaking Committees, and with Presbytery staff.
Sponsored Sixth trip to Israel/Palestine in March 2008 (8 people)
Co-sponsored US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation’s Separate is Never Equal Tour, with AFSC’s Middle East Peace Education Program. Speakers were Rev. Eddie Makue, General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches and Diana Buttu, former PLO legal adviser and attorney.
Hosted Shehadeh Shehadeh, International Peacemaker, NDPC.
Attended IPMN conference in Chicago.
2009 – FOCUS ON EDUCATION AND ORGANIZATION
Hosted Michele Finseth, Mission Co-worker in Palestine/Israel.
Hosted Naim Ateek (Sabeel) and Stephen Sizer (Anglican Priest, Author).
Sponsored Annual JHFJ Conference, with speakers Mark Braverman (Jewish Author), Greg Khalil (the Telos Group), Jerusalem Women Speak, Sam Jones/Nathan Stock (Carter Center).
Celebrated Sarah’s 22 years work at Presbytery of Greater Atlanta.
Supported John Morgan with his Free Gaza March.
Organized to continue without staff support of PGA.
2010 SUPPORT RELATIONSHIPS
Sponsored Seventh trip to Israel/Palestine in April 2010.
Thanked Middle East Study Committee for their work/report “Breaking Down the Wall.” Recommendations were adopted by GA.
Provided Funds to Bethany Kindergarten.
Provided educational presentations at PGA and NE GA Presbytery meetings.
Elected Judy Davis Chair (May).
Recognized Sarah Humphrey as Annual Peacemaking Award Recipient.
Held service to recognize World Week for Peace in Palestine/Israel.
Sponsored Annual Conference, Niam Ateek (Sabeel), speaker.
Sponsored Susanne Hoder in locations in PGA.
Met with staff in Rep. Hank Johnson’s and Senator Johnny Isakson’s offices.
Hosted Mark Braverman in PGA churches.
Supported AAPER Film Festival, GA Tech (April)
Provided educational presentations at NE GA Presbytery meeting (Fahed, Braverman).
Requested/received Partnership designation from PGA.
Started “Steadfast Hope” study sessions (7).
Co-sponsored Sabeel Conference.
Heard from African Heritage Delegation on their trip to Israel/Palestine.
Met with US Reprentatives Johnson and Price.