Ramallah Monthly Meeting
To Friends everywhere,
Friends in Ramallah have been celebrating the 100th anniversary of the dedication of their Meeting house, with the participation of Friends from Norway, Palestine, Sweden, the UK and the US. This was followed by a consultation on the work of the future direction of the Friends International Center in Ramallah. We, the group that has taken part, are deeply grateful for the opportunity to meet for worship in a Meeting house filled with people from Ramallah, el-Bireh, Jerusalem, and neighboring communities, and filled with the spirit of thanksgiving for the Meeting’s witness in the past through the longstanding work of the Friends Schools, Amari Play School and the American Friends Service Committee.
We were moved in Meeting for Worship to see young Friends enact an episode from the life of John Woolman, in which Woolman, though thirsty, hungry and tired refuses to take drink, eat food or sleep in a bed prepared by a slave. Woolman’s example spoke to the condition of all present, mindful of the painful realities of life under occupation and caught up in conflict.
Woolman’s example continued to speak to us as we met in consultation to discern how to sustain and develop the work of the Friends International Center in Ramallah in partnership with the Ramallah Friends Meeting.
We heard from Palestinians who are struggling to further democracy and seek consensus among themselves in the face of forces that would divide and disenfranchise them.
We heard now and earlier from Israelis who are struggling to tell the truth about the occupation to their fellow citizens and the world.
We heard from Palestinians and Israelis who are working together to end the occupation, lift the siege on Gaza and restore their human and civil rights by nonviolent means. We have heard in particular calls to international solidarity with these efforts through a nonviolent programme of boycott, divestment and sanctions.
We are filled with gratitude and hope by the witness of these Palestinians and Israelis and are resolved to do our utmost to further the witness and work of Friends in relation to Ramallah, Palestine and Israel and the wider region.
As Woolman was resolved not to acquiesce to slavery, we are resolved not to be complicit to the many evils of the military occupation. We call on Friends everywhere to uphold and pray for the ongoing witness of the Ramallah Friends Meeting, and to join us in this witness. We ask Friends to discern what, in their own circumstances, they can best do to support those working to end this conflict and bring peace and justice to this troubled region. We ask Friends to consider adopting boycott, divestment and sanctions as we may be led to do, individually or corporately.
Ramallah, 10 March 2010
Jewish Voice For Peace
JVP is dedicated to promoting full equality and democracy for all Israelis and Palestinians. We believe that an enduring peace will remain out of reach until Palestinians as well as Israelis can negotiate from positions of strength. This requires a shift from the prevailing imbalance of power. JVP fully endorses the use of nonviolent strategies to achieve this shift. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, of which JVP is a part, plays a central role in this work.
Palestinian activists have long engaged in non-violent resistance to the Israeli occupation and to Israel’s institutional, legal, and societal discrimination against its Palestinian citizens, but they have been subjected to repressive measures by Israel, and in the past, the impact of their actions has been diminished by the international media’s focus on violent resistance.
Since 2005, Palestinians, Israeli allies and hundreds of thousands of supporters worldwide have been mobilized in response to the Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns. These campaigns include: economic, cultural and academic boycotts of West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements, and of Israel itself; divestment from companies that profit from Israel’s violations of international law and Palestinian human rights; and calls for economic sanctions against Israel.
The Palestinian civil society BDS call, now led by the Palestinian Boycott National Committee on behalf of its constituent organizations and unions, which represent the majority of Palestinian civil society, has three stated goals:
- an end to the occupation;
- equality for Palestinians now living in Israel; and
- recognition of Palestinian refugees’ right of return.
We share these aims, and believe that they can and must, in the end, be achieved in mutually-agreed ways that uphold the well-being of Palestinians and Israelis alike.
American Friends Service Committee
- Take Action! Denounce the Raid on Human Rights Organizations
- Divest from Occupation and Violence
- Act To End Human Rights Abuses in Israel and Palestine
- Hold Those Who Profit From Occupation Accountable
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June 30, 2011
The Illinois Yearly Meeting of Religious Society of Friends united with the concern brought both by St. Louis Monthly Meeting and Blue River Quarterly Meeting, to urge American Friends Service Committee to seek for the TIAA-CREF pension funds to divest from 5 corporations whose business and/or products oppose Palestinians.
Soon thereafter we learned of the favorable action from AFSC, which you can read about here: http://tinyurl.com/44kflp8
St. Louis Monthly Meeting
Minute approved by St. Louis Monthly Meeting: Palestinian civil society organizations have asked for support of a boycott, divestment and sanctions action (BDS) against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, until Israel complies with international law. The St. Louis Religious Society of Friends affirm the nonviolent nature of the BDS movement and its support of the fundamental equality of all parties in this conflict. We see BDS as a challenge to discriminatory Israeli state policies that diminish the humanity of another people. It is a nonviolent challenge to political systems and institutions, not individuals, that deny the equality of Israeli Jews and Palestinians.
In keeping with this belief, St. Louis Meeting requests that the American Friends Service Committee approach TIAA-CREF, the company which invests their employee pension funds, to insist that they divest from companies providing military arms to Israel. These arms are being used to build the “separation” wall which in fact confiscates Palestinian land and water, to maintain and augment the illegal Jewish Israeli settlements on Palestinian lands, to enforce ethnic cleansing in East Jerusalem, to harass and kill Palestinian people in the West Bank and Gaza, and to maintain the apartheid system of unequal rights, depriving Palestinians of the rights guaranteed by the United Nations to all people.
British Yearly Meeting
- Quakers to boycott products from Israeli settlements (minute on bds)
- BDSdiscussion paper v4.0.doc (QCEA)
- The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) is 10 years old (EAPPI)
- News release – Call for UK Government to ban Israeli settlement goods (quakers, Christian Aid)
- large numbers of documents related to palestine
Boycott, divestment and sanctions (Israel/Palestine)
Further to minute S/11/02/4 of 5 February 201, we receive minutes on this matter from the following Area Meetings: Southern Marches (paper S/11/04/mc i a), Sussex East (i b), Surrey & Hampshire Border (i c), Swarthmoor (i f), North London (i g), Cambridgeshire (i h), East Cheshire (i i), Ipswich & Diss (i j), North West London (i k), Bristol (i l), Hampshire & Islands (i m), Devon (i n), Manchester & Warrington (i o) and North Cumbria (i p).
Our assistant clerk has summarised the 14 Area Meeting minutes received, and we have returned to our consideration of the issues raised in the papers received at our last meeting (paper S/11/02/A prepared by Marigold Bentley, Assistant General Secretary of Quaker Peace & Social Witness (QPSW), the Kairos Palestine Document A moment of truth (paper S/11/02/B), and the Quaker Council for European Affairs Discussion Paper entitled Responses to the call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (S/11/02/C)).
We have heard of the responses of Jewish Peace Groups within Israel. We hear these Israeli citizens risk being criminalised by their government if they actively support the Palestinian call for cultural and economic boycott. We were informed that most Jewish Israeli Peace Groups support the boycott of settlement goods, and only some support a boycott of Israel.
A just peace for Palestine means security for Israel too, and nonviolent protests by both Israelis and Palestinians for the end of the occupation are heartening to observe.
For nine years Quakers have been witnessing individually and through the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) to the human rights abuses of the military occupation of the Palestinian Territories. Today we have considered whether we should add nonviolent action to our witnessing – not as punishment or revenge, but as an external pressure to achieve change.
We understand the history and the trauma of the past, but it is Israelis who are the stronger and they need to make the changes.
John Woolman’s words (Quaker faith & practice 26.61) remind us of the powerful sense we have of being brothers and sisters with people of other faiths. There are three main faiths in this part of the world, and we want to proceed in ways which allow dialogue to continue. We consider we should now act publically and, well-informed, be able to explain our action to others – because people matter more than territory, and because we approach others with a desire for peace.
Difficult decisions taken by us today can be reversed. The request for boycott comes from those who will suffer most, but a decision for boycott will give hope to Palestinians and support to those in Israel who are working for peace.
In the face of the armed oppression of poor people and the increasing encroachment of the illegal settlements in the West Bank, we cannot do nothing.
Our hearts are full of compassion for Israelis and Palestinians, all of whom are suffering from the effects of the occupation.
We are clear that it would be wrong to support the illegal settlements by purchasing their goods. We therefore ask Friends (Quakers) throughout Britain Yearly Meeting to boycott settlement goods, until such time as the occupation is ended.
We are not at this time proposing to boycott goods from Israel itself, being unwilling to jeopardise continuing dialogue with Israelis and British Jews.
We pray fervently for both Israelis and Palestinians, keeping them together in our hearts. We hope they will find an end to their fears and the beginning of their mutual co-existence based on a just peace. And so we look forward to the end of the occupation and the end of the international boycott. We envisage our future relationship with both peoples as one of loving and generous co-operation.
Although we unite in this decision we recognise that Friends have different views, and we must treat one another tenderly.
Yearly Meeting Netherlands
- Netherlands Yearly Meeting 2012 Epistle (PDF – 48 KB)
- Minutes of Netherlands Yearly Meeting 2012 on the Israel-Palestinian Conflict (PDF – 10 KB)
- Netherlands Yearly Meeting’s Answer from the Netherlands Quakers to the ‘Kairos Document’ by Palestinian Christians (PDF – 45 KB)
- Netherlands Yearly Meeting’s Letter to the Government May 2012 (PDF – 55 KB)
The Netherlands brands itself as the legal capital of the world and Article 90 of the Dutch constitution states: “The government promotes the development of the international legal order.” The Netherlands’ decision to strengthen bilateral relations with Israel therefore runs contrary to the Dutch position on international law. The Dutch Government’s decision to intensify its relations with Israel, a state which consistently flouts international law and human rights standards, conflicts with its own stance on the peace process and the international legal order of the Netherlands.
As long as Israel does not respect the relevant international law and human rights we sincerely believe that our Government instead of entering into an additional cooperation agreement with Israel should take following policy measures:
- To call on Israel once again to respect international law and human rights and apply these in Israel as well as the occupied territories (future Palestine).
- To implement a total ban on the sale, export and transit of weapons by the Netherlands and companies in the Netherlands to Israel.
- To end the cooperation with the Government of Israel in terms of research and development in the field of security- and defence policy, also in a European Union context.
- To declare a ban on goods produced in the illegal settlements in the occupied territories, preferably together with all member states of the European Union.
- To call on Israel once more to reopen the negotiations on a comprehensive peace agreement resulting in a two state solution within the borders of 1967 so as to give both peoples a chance to develop in peace and security.
In this connection we would like to draw your attention to a passage in the concluding
document of the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation held in Kingston- Jamaica by the World council of Churches last year:
“Our love for the peoples of Israel and Palestine convinces us that the continued occupation damages both peoples.”
It is against the background of this conviction that our church makes the above protests and concerns known to our Government.
Quaker Council for European Affairs