General Board of Church & Society, United Methodist Church
Peace with Justice Program
The General Board of Church & Society’s Peace with Justice Program aims to make shalom visible and active in people's lives and communities. The General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) has been assigned by the denomination to implement the program and call the church to "strengthen its capacity to act as a public policy advocate" in communities and nations throughout the world. Action Network
Mark Harrison, director of GBCS’s Peace with Justice program, supervises an “Action Network” that provides legislative updates, educational resources and identifies opportunities to act on issues such as ending the war in Iraq, overcoming global poverty and hunger, stopping new nuclear weapons proliferation, stopping global conflicts (i.e. Darfur, Philippines) and Middle East Peace. He issues “Action Alerts” periodically through e-mail.
Joining the Peace with Justice Action Network is free:
go to umpower.org or click on "My GBCS" on the General Board of Church
and Society Web site, www.umc-gbcs.org.
You can also contact Donna Brandyberry at (202) 488-5641.
Mark Harrison can be reached at (202) 488-5645.
Friends of Sabeel - North America
The chair of United Methodists' Holy Land Task Force, Arnie Sheets, is a Volunteer Coordinator for Sabeel in the United States
Sabeel is an international peace movement initiated by Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land who seek a just peace based on two states-Palestine and Israel-as defined by international law and existing United Nations resolutions. Sabeel promotes theological, moral, and legal principles for peace as outlined in the Jerusalem Sabeel Document.
Friends of Sabeel-North America (FOSNA) works in the U.S. and Canada to support the vision of Sabeel, cultivating the support of American churches through co-sponsored regional educational conferences, alternative pilgrimage, witness trips, and international gatherings in the Holy Land.
FOSNA promotes awareness and understanding of the conflict between the Palestinians and the State of Israel through educational programs for North American Christians, engaging them and their churches in efforts to nurture relationships with the indigenous Palestinian Christians of Palestine whose existence is threatened by political conflict.
FOSNA seeks reconciliation between peoples of the Holy Land in a vision of peace based on principles for a just peace as defined in the Jerusalem Sabeel Document, which emphasizes from a moral, legal, and theological basis the urgency of ending U.S. support for Israel's illegal military occupation.
US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
The United Methodists' Holy Land Task Force is a member organization in the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.
The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is a diverse national coalition of more than 325 groups working for freedom from occupation and equal rights for all by challenging U.S. policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The US Campaign is based on human rights and international law, providing a non-sectarian framework for everyone who supports its Call to Action. The US Campaign's strategy is to inform, educate, and mobilize the public so as to change the U.S. role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to support peace, justice, human rights, and international law. Whether you are a member of a local organization or an individual, you can make a difference in our campaign.
Our Principles and Purpose
* We stand for freedom from occupation, and equal rights for all. International law guarantees these human rights, including the right to exist in peace and security.
* We aim to change those U.S. policies that sustain Israel's 40-year occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, and deny equal rights for all.
* We will inform, educate, and mobilize the public regarding the U.S. Government's current as well as potential role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
* We seek to change such policies as the billions of U.S. military and economic aid dollars provided despite Israel’s violations of U.S. and international law.
* We call for the U.S. to work within the U.N. to implement a just and lasting peace.
* Our Campaign will build on existing opposition to settlements, land confiscation, house demolitions, and other violations of international law, by providing a common platform to challenge U.S. policies supporting the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
We include civil and human rights activists, faith-based organizations, peace activists, Arab-American organizations, Jewish groups opposing the occupation, students, and others who promote peace and justice in Israel and Palestine. We invite all who support this Call to contribute to the fulfillment of its purpose.
Jewish Voice for Peace
Jewish Voice for Peace members are inspired by Jewish tradition to work together for peace, social justice, equality, human rights, respect for international law, and a U.S. foreign policy based on these ideals. JVP opposes anti-Jewish, anti-Muslim, and anti-Arab bigotry and oppression. JVP seeks an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem; security and self-determination for Israelis and Palestinians; a just solution for Palestinian refugees based on principles established in international law; an end to violence against civilians; and peace and justice for all peoples of the Middle East.
Our Political Platform
Jewish Voice for Peace is a diverse and democratic community of activists inspired by Jewish tradition to work together for peace, social justice, and human rights. We support the aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians for security and self-determination.
* A U.S. foreign policy based on promoting peace, democracy, human rights, and respect
for international law
* An end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem
* A resolution of the Palestinian refugee problem consistent with international law and equity
* An end to all violence against civilians
* Peace among the peoples of the Middle East
We are among the many American Jews who say to the U.S. and Israeli governments: "Not in our names!"
JVP supports peace activists in Palestine and Israel, and works in broad coalition with other Jewish, Arab-American, faith-based, peace and social justice organizations.
Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP)
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Established in 1984, Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) is a coalition of twenty-two U.S. Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant national church bodies that works to shape a more constructive United States policy toward the Middle East – one that is developed and implemented in cooperation with the United Nations and with other nations in and outside the region. Since its founding, CMEP’s overarching themes are respect for human rights based on international law, equitable development and humanitarian assistance, regional arms control, and recognition of the religious importance of the region to Christians, Jews and Muslims.
CMEP’s central purpose is to communicate the positions of the churches on Middle East issues to U.S. policymakers. In its address of U.S. policy on the Middle East, CMEP serves as the official ecumenical voice of its member institutions.
CMEP’s judicious style is an important model in the highly charged debate on Middle East issues. We reject polarizing strategies and language that dehumanize either Israelis or Arabs and consistently urge our leadership and grassroots activists to work for the mutual interests of both peoples. Progress toward Israeli-Palestinian peace is absolutely necessary for development and reform of the region, for improving interfaith relations, and for diminishing anti-American sentiment.
CMEP provides educational tools, issue analysis, and careful policy guidance for well-timed advocacy by individuals, congregations, and organizations. CMEP spearheads public letters to U.S. officials from prominent church leaders and provides a faith-based message to our churches for use in educating the public and advocating with policymakers. In all efforts, CMEP promotes policy grounded in the pursuit of justice and peace and remains committed to security and peace for Israelis, Palestinians, and all persons in the Middle East.
Jewish Fast for Gaza
The Jewish Fast for Gaza is an ad hoc group of rabbis, Jews, and people of conscience who have committed to undertake a monthly daytime fast in support of the following goals:
1. To call for a lifting of the blockade that prevents the entry of civilian goods and services into Gaza;
2. To provide humanitarian and developmental aid to the people of Gaza;
3. To call upon Israel, the US, and the international community to engage in negotiations without pre-conditions with all relevant Palestinian parties - including Hamas - in order to end the blockade;
4. To encourage the American government to vigorously engage both Israelis and Palestinians toward a just and peaceful settlement of the conflict.
Do not stand idly by when your neighbor’s blood is being spilled (Leviticus 19:16).
As Jews and people of conscience, we can no longer stand idly by Israel’s collective punishment of the Palestinian people in Gaza.
Since Hamas’ electoral victory in January 2006, Israel has subjected the Gaza Strip to an increasingly intolerable blockade that restricts Gaza's ability to import food, fuel and other essential materials, and to export finished products. As a result, the Gazan economy has completely collapsed. Most of Gaza's industrial plants have been forced to close, further contributing to already high levels of unemployment and poverty and rising levels of childhood malnutrition.
On three things the world stands: on justice, on truth, and on peace (Mishnah Avot 1:18).
From this we learn that justice, truth and peace are interdependent and irrevocably intertwined. Thus we cannot separate our call for justice in Gaza from the painful truth of this conflict and the ongoing tragedy of war in this tortured region. We condemn Hamas’ deliberate targeting of Israeli civilians. Out of the same ethical commitments we also condemn the use of much greater violence by the Israeli government, causing many more deaths of Palestinian civilians. Since the end of Israel's recent military campaign, the severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza has grown all the more dire.
Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke?” (Isaiah 58:6)
In Jewish tradition a communal fast is held in times of crisis both as an expression of mourning and a call to repentance. In this spirit, Ta’anit Tzedek – Jewish Fast for Gaza is a collective act of conscience initiated by an ad hoc group of rabbis, Jews, people of faith, and all concerned with the ongoing crisis in Gaza.
This water-only fast will take place on the third Thursday of the month, beginning on July 16, 2009, from sunrise to sunset. In addition to signing on to the statement above, participants are asked to donate the money they save on food to the Milk for Preschoolers Campaign of the American Near Eastern Refugee Aid (ANERA). This important relief campaign combats malnutrition among Gazan preschool children through daily provisions of fortified milk and high energy biscuits.
Those who are unable to fast for the entire day are encouraged to engage in a partial fast or to find their own meaningful ways to observe the day. Participants may also initiate public events in different communities that will further the goals of the fast.
We invite additional rabbis to join our minyan and all people of conscience to join in the fast.