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  UMHLTF in the Cal-Pac Update
The Cal-Pac Update is the weekly e-newsletter of the California-Pacific Conference, sharing news and opportunities from across the local and national United Methodist connection.
Use this link to subscribe: http://www.cal-pac.org/site/stayconnected

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Cal-Pac Update
June 11, 2010

United Methodists' Holy Land Task Force:
New Ministry in the Cal-Pac Conference


The United Methodists' Holy Land Task Force (UMHLTF) are laity and clergy who care deeply about the continuing Palestinian-Israeli conflict, for the suffering of these peoples and the consequences their struggle has had for the entire world. We are United Methodists in the California-Pacific Conference, a task force of the Cal-Pac Board of Church & Society, and we are working with UMs in other conferences, as well as Jewish and Palestinian advocates of peace with justice in the US and Palestine/Israel.

We have two invitations for everyone in the Cal-Pac conference:

• Visit us in Cyberspace at our new website, www.umhltf.org, and learn more about our mission.  You'll find an abundance of information to help you understand what is happening in Palestine and Israel, and ways that you can become part of the solution - on your own, or in tandem with many other United Methodists in the US.  Contact us for help in organizing an event at your church, to discuss the issues, to support our work or make any inquiry; email us at: info@umhltf.org

• Meet us in person at Annual Conference. Come to our introductory meeting for all who are interested in our work, during Breakfast on Saturday, at 7:00am.  Just get your meal in the dining hall and carry your tray over to Hunsaker Lounge - the building right across the plaza from the dining hall.  You will find us right inside the entrance. Get involved with our education and advocacy mission, ask questions and make suggestions.

Visit our booth not far from the MFSA Food Tables and booth, to enjoy our middle eastern hospitality, learn some basic history of the Holy Land conflict, ask whatever questions you've been wondering about, get to know us, and take home a gift for our visitors. 

The members of the Task Force have joined together to share with United Methodists the message: “It's time for Palestinians and Israelis to share a just peace!”And that we all can have a role in helping them reach that just peace.  Many of us, like you, have spent a lifetime watching the seemingly endless cycle of violence in the Middle East. But we have an abiding faith in God's transformative power, and we also see that times are changing around the globe.  We know that it is possible, with encouragement and participation by the world community - in particular by Americans - for Israelis and Palestinians to find their own way to reconciliation. We envision the day when all the people of the Holy Land will enjoy a peaceful coexistence based on justice and equality.

The first step in helping that day arrive is to learn what really has been going on for the last century of this struggle, and to listen to voices that usually are not heard in the United States. From there, you will find there are many ways we, as United Methodists and as Americans, are uniquely positioned to make an impact on the status quo.




 
Cal-Pac Update
July 23, 2010

GBGM Executive Secretary David Wildman Speaks
August 1st in Culver City on Israel and Palestine

 
The United Methodists' Holy Land Task Force, of the Cal-Pac Board of Church & Society, presents an evening with David Wildman, GBGM Executive Secretary for Human Rights, Racial and Global Justice, on Advocacy for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine.
 
Don't miss this valuable opportunity to learn what is happening in this decades-long struggle from one of our church's most knowledgeable leaders in justice and peace advocacy. As Americans and as United Methodists, we are positioned to have a real impact on this currently shifting conflict whose effects have radiated around the globe. Hear about new plans for UMC action over the next two years, and how both individuals and congregations in our conference can be involved.
 
We just found out very recently that Wildman would be able to extend a visit to Southern California, and he generously has made his time available for this presentation in the Cal-Pac conference. So the notice is short, but the opportunity is rare and not to be missed by all who are interested in current Mid East realities and the next big steps in the UMC toward a just peace for Israelis and Palestinians.
 
We hope you will join us at Culver-Palms UMC, 4464 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City, on Sunday, August 1, starting with dinner at 6:00 pm. The program will begin during the meal; Wildman's presentation will start about 7:00 pm. A donation of $8 is requested; no one to be turned away. For preparation of the meal, RSVPs would be much appreciated. Please contact Theresa Basile at basilenow@aol.com, or leave a message at 323-253-9087. For directions to the church and other information, visit the Task Force website at: www.umhltf.org
 
In addition to his work at GBGM, David Wildman is a co-founder of US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, and currently serves on its Steering Committee. The US Campaign is a diverse coalition working for freedom from occupation, support of international law and equal rights for all by challenging and changing the US role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They inform, educate and mobilize the public with help from more than 300 member organizations, including the UMC’s Global Ministries, Women’s Division, several UM local churches, MFSA and the United Methodists’ Holy Land Task Force.
 
Wildman participated in the launching of the landmark Kairos Palestine Document in December 2009, the worldwide call for help by Palestinian Christian church leaders, available at the Task Force website home page. Read David Wildman’s article "Why Divestment? And Why Now?” at the website: https://www.umhltf.org/Why_Divest_Wildman.html.    Wildman also is co-author with Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies of a book published in Jan. 2010: "Ending the US War in Afghanistan: A Primer."





Cal-Pac Update
September 10, 2010

Call for United Methodist Engagement in
the Divestment Movement

From United Methodists' Holy Land Task Force 
www.umhltf.org
 
The divestment movement is a non-violent response to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It unites many Christians, Jews, Muslims, Israelis, Palestinians, Americans and citizens around the world who are seeking a new path toward peace with justice in the Middle East.  Janet Lahr Lewis, is the United Methodist Liaison to Israel and Palestine; she also serves on the Advisory Committee of the UMHLTF. Janet works on the ground in Bethlehem with both Israeli and Palestinian communities in her assignment through the General Board of Global Ministries.

In a May 11, 2009 statement, she shared the following:
 
“As the United Methodist Liaison in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories I am daily faced with conflict; the external conflict involving hi-tech weaponry against home made rockets, and the internal conflict of living a life of contradiction.  As a church we are supposed to “do no harm,” and yet I see daily the harmful effects that our investments are having on the Palestinian people who are suffering under oppressive conditions in an illegal occupation.

Companies who do business in Israeli settlements are there illegally.  Companies whose equipment is being used to uproot trees, demolish homes, or whose technology is being used in weapons inflicting death and destruction on a people with no army are doing so in violation of International Law and 4th Geneva Conventions.

As a church, we cannot stand by and allow our investments to counteract our beliefs and the very basis of our faith.  As followers of Christ we are called to use his example of alleviating suffering and standing on the side of the oppressed.

Therefore, I appeal to all people of conscience, as members of our United Methodist denomination, to put an end to our complicit involvement in this illegal occupation through investments that may be contributing to the conflict and the oppression of an entire population in a land we call holy, and to reinvest instead in companies that recognize the importance of freedom, equality, and the human rights of all people.”
 
Companies of Concern: did you know?
Israel's hundreds of checkpoints for Palestinians (500+) has decimated their economy and made the maintenance of a normal life impossible, blocking access to medical care, employment, family members, agricultural land and more.  The Hewlet-Parkard Company owns Electronic Data Systems which is providing biometric monitoring of checkpoints including those built inside the West bank in violation of international law.

It is also the source for the Israeli Navy IT infrastructure. The Israeli Navy has attacked ships carrying humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza. It regularly attacks Gaza’s fishermen within Gaza’s own territorial waters and has often shelled civilian areas in the Gaza Strip, killing Palestinians.  Hewlett Packard subsidiary, HP Invent outsources IT services to a company called Matrix, which employs settlers in the illegal settlement of Modi’in Illit to do much of its IT work.

Learn more about the BDS movement and Companies of Concern at our website:
https://www.umhltf.org/Boycott_Divest_Sanction.html

Read official statements from the United Methodist Church:
https://www.umhltf.org/United_Methodist_Church.html


 

Cal-Pac Update
January 27, 2011

Divesting from the Occupation: Home Demolitions
Part of a series from United Methodists' Holy Land Task Force

 
In 2004 and again in 2008, the UMC General Conference adopted the resolution “Opposition to Israeli Settlements in Palestinian Land."  This resolution clearly states the opposition of the United Methodist Church to “continued military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, the confiscation of Palestinian land and water resources, the destruction of Palestinian homes, the continued building of illegal Jewish settlements, and any vision of a 'Greater Israel' that includes the occupied territories and the whole of Jerusalem and its surroundings.”

You can find this UMC resolution and others that pertain to Israel and Palestine at: umhltf.org/United_Methodist_Church

The building of illegal Jewish settlements on Palestinian land is also opposed by churches and governmental bodies around the world and has been repeatedly declared illegal by the United Nations and the International Court of Justice. That land confiscation and settlement building is accomplished with the help of major corporations who supply the equipment for demolition of existing structures and crops.

 Did you know?
The Caterpillar Corporation supplies bulldozers and earth-moving equipment to the Israeli military (IDF).  As the corporation knows, this equipment has been used for massive destruction in the Occupied Territories: well over 20,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished to make possible the confiscation of Palestinian land*.  In addition, agricultural  experts estimate that over 1 million olive trees, a staple of the Palestinian economy, have been destroyed**.     

Caterpillar is one of the primary corporations identified for divestment by financial firms, churches, governmental bodies and advocacy groups.  Learn more about the call for selective divestment at: umhltf.org/Boycott_Divest_Sanction

United Methodists' Holy Land Task Force (UMHLTF) is a task force of the Cal-Pac Board of Church and Society. Visit us and learn more at: umhltf.org

Sources:
* Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions: Maps and Stats: http://www.icahd.org/?page_id=76
** "Heritage Uprooted" by Sonja Karkar: electronicintifada.net/v2/article8970.shtml