Through worship-sharing, reflection, and discussion of published and emailed writings and participants' personal experiences, we will explore the long history of Palestinian nonviolence--including the support and participation of Israeli and foreign Jews and other internationals--and ways Friends might further the aim of a just peace in the region. (HG1) HG2 should check with leader.
As a Jew who began attending Friends Meeting in 1963 (joining in 1977), I have long been interested in the role of active nonviolent resistance in the struggle for a just peace for both Palestinians and Israelis—especially when undertaken by Palestinians and Israelis themselves, separately and together--and have been committed to disseminating this knowledge as best I can. While living in Jerusalem (December 1988 - October 1995) and participating in many such initiatives--both Israeli and joint--I visited North America several times and spoke widely about these activities and issues, including the budding nonviolent movement in Israel and the largely nonviolent actions of the First Intifada.
Working at the Alternative Information Center (AIC) in Jerusalem in the early nineties as translator and occasional writer, I also wrote for other publications in Is/Pal and North America and compiled Creative Resistance, an interview-based pamphlet on nonviolent activism by Israeli and mixed groups (PDF at http://refusingtobeenemiesthebook.wordpress.com - hereafter “blogsite”).
Returning to Canada in 1996, I began forwarding emails on Is/Pal issues, especially nonviolent activism, and helped organize speaking tours for activists from the region. When the Al-Aqsa (Second) Intifada broke out in late 2000, I felt led to explore how to more concretely support Palestinian and Israeli nonviolence. On a December 2000 trip to Israel and the West Bank, I visited Neta Golan, an Israeli woman who had moved to a Palestinian village to confront the settlers and soldiers harassing the villagers. Neta's work, and what I observed on that trip, provided inspiration for a more comprehensive book project.
The outcome was Refusing to be Enemies: Palestinian and Israeli Nonviolent Resistance to the Israeli Occupation (hereafter RTBE).
Researching RTBE—and updating the presentations I've been giving since its 2010 publication--has kept me in touch and up-to-date on various aspects of Palestinian and Israeli nonviolent activism.
This background—enriched by participants' contributions and those of a variety of writers and bloggers ---will provide the basis for a workshop which, I hope, will acquaint participating Friends with:
-- the long history of Palestinian nonviolent resistance, dating from Ottoman times;
-- current Palestinian nonviolence and support for and participation in it by Israeli and foreign Jews and international nonviolent bodies; and finally,
-- Friends' current involvement,
while considering how we, as Friends, might individually and corporately contribute to a just resolution for both peoples through nonviolent means.
Readings are optional, although items marked * are strongly recommended, and I encourage you to explore/sample others. Those marked (blogsite) are accessible from the RTBE blogsite, “related articles” page unless otherwise specified. I also will e-mail suggested readings (or, in some cases, links to web pages where readings can be accessed) once I receive the participant list. Friends who require or prefer a hard copy, please note that beyond the 10 pp per participant covered by the gathering, I will need to charge approximately 3 cents per side. Charge may be greater for those registering at gathering.
I hope participants will feel led to do short presentations, thereby enhancing the participatory nature of the workshop.
Please note: The 28% "Lecture" time may also include experiential activities as appropriate.
Approximately 20 minutes of worship, followed by:
• worship-sharing concentrating on reflections on previous day's material;
• brief intro to the day's topic - based on my book research and more recent observations;
• short presentation(s), preferably by participants, based on personal experience and reading;
• discussion in worship-sharing format; longer discussion in session #5.
• a short period of worship at the end.
Journaling between sessions is encouraged
Session #1) Introductions and background - Participants share about themselves and their past/present interest/involvement in Is/Pal issues; how they were led to this, etc. As time allows, may read Palestinian and Israeli activists’ descriptions of their journeys to NV activism.
Session #2) Palestinian nonviolent/popular resistance – *Palestinian Nonviolent Resistance to Occupation Since 1967 (AFSC monograph - blogsite)
Also recommended: Selections from Mazin Qumsiyeh's Popular Resistance in Palestine: a history of hope and empowerment; intro to Omar Barghouti's BDS – Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions: the global struggle for Palestinian rights; essays from RTBE: Ghassan Andoni -“Nonviolence in Historical Context” and Jonathan Kuttab – “Palestinian Nonviolence: a Pacifist Palestinian Perspective.”
Session #3) Israeli and Jewish involvement - * One or more of: Jeff Halper, An Israeli in Palestine; RTBE, especially chapters 4, 5, 7, Conclusions, Epilogue, and Afterword; “The Badil-Zochrot Study Visit to Cape Town”: Introduction and discussion papers (blogsite)
Additionally any of: selections from Refusenik!, Checkpoint Watch; items from websites such as those of Rabbis for Human Rights, ICAHD, Ta’ayush, Tarabut, Zochrot, Jewish Voice for Peace, Independent Jewish Voices – Canada, AIC, Combatants for Peace, and blogs by—for example--Rabbis Brant Rosen and Lynn Gottlieb.
Session #4 International involvement - * Some of: Selections from CPT website, reports from Quaker EAPPI volunteers; e.g., Jane Harries' blog (http://janeharries.wordpress.com/ ), Helen Griffith's report (blogsite);
Additional: International Solidarity Movement, Holy Land Trust . . . URLs of these and several other Palestinian and Israeli initiatives involving internationals on blogsite, “Useful Website.s”
Session #5 - Friend, What Canst Thou Do? - * Ramallah Friends Meeting 2010 Epistle.
Additional suggestions: Kairos Palestine document (http://www.kairospalestine.ps/sites/default/Documents/English.pdf ) ; CPT and EAPPI material as above; 2011 Britain Yearly Meeting Minute on BDS; BDS material circulated to CYM Friends for discernment; Friends Fiduciary Corp’s Caterpiller/ HP/ Veolia divestment and similar info; Earlham boycott of Sabra humous; AFSC involvement in divestment campaign led by JVP; Other US and European Friends involvement (see BYM Minute for references to latter. ##
If you are a half-Gathering participant for the second half : Since our discernment of ways Friends might participate in nonviolent activities promoting a just peace in the region will grow out of our earlier discussion of past and present nonviolent activism by Palestinians, Israelis, and internationals, Friends wishing to join this workshop for the second half only should be familiar with Palestinian nonviolence and have some knowledge of Palestinian joint activism with Israelis and/or internationals.
About the leader :
I was born and raised in San Francisco, but left in 1963 and now hold dual citizenship in Canada and Israel. My interest in Israel and Palestine dates back to my teens--when I was an ardent, if naive, Zionist, who regarded the Palestinians displaced in 1948 simply as refugees, unfortunate victims of war for whom neighbouring countries should provide a humane solution. My ambition was to live on a kibbutz. But after participating in a kibbutz-based youth program in Israel following high school, capped by six months with a group of Israeli young people on another kibbutz, I returned home somewhat disillusioned about the "pioneering" nature of kibbutz life - and a year of university divested me of most of my nationalistic (including Zionist) sentiments.
For me, though, the really big change came in 1979, when I participated in a 3-week work-camp in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank--led by Max Carter. There I met Palestinians "on their own turf" for the first time and gained a gut feeling for the attachment they feel for this land that I'd been taught that my people--the Jewish people--had yearned for for millennia. It became clear to me that we--Jews and Palestinians--would have to find a way to share this land that we both loved and both considered to be our homeland.
I made more visits during the eighties, and in ’89, after seven months in Jerusalem with Peace Brigades International–Europe, I decided to combine my love for both peoples with my commitment to nonviolent resistance to injustice by moving there and joining with other activists—doing “trainings” and hoping to raise awareness of the fact that both Israelis and Palestinians were practicing nonviolence, even though they didn’t call it that. In 1995 I returned to Canada, but Palestine and Israel wouldn’t let go of me – I’ve been back 10 times, and keeping presentations about my book and ongoing nonviolent efforts up to date keeps me going back.