Muslims are pissed with cartoons and video-clips. Some Jews in Albuquerque are pissed about a conference.
The Jewish Federation of Albuquerque is alarmed about the upcoming conference called “Justice: The Path to Peace in Palestine/Israel”, even making the effort to convince a conference sponsor to withdraw support and launching a media campaign to undermine attendance.
Why is everyone so pissed these days? I wonder what the ancient prophets would think about all this.
Sabeel’s conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico later this month is chock full of speakers discussing topics such as
(1) A Question of Justice: Faith Based Approaches to the Path to Peace in Palestine-Israel
(2) Moving from Zionism to a Secular Democracy
(3) Paradise Lost: the Transgenerational Legacies of Life Under Occupation: Native American and Palestinian Cultural Survival
(4) Water Denied: Justice Denied
(5) Ending Military Aid to Israel
(6) Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. And that’s only the first morning! Check out the full two-day program here.
If this conference looks like your cup of tea, you can register online here.
When the Jewish Federation of Albuquerque first learned of the conference earlier this year, their leaders were obviously not pleased. I’m not privy to the internal discussions of the JFA but the Executive Director claimed publicly that the conference organizers are attempting to “delegitimize” Israel and even went so far as to use the “A” word. Anti-semitic. Ouch!
The media always loves a good controversy. “Sabeel meeting draws Jewish opposition.” And Sam Sokolove from the JFA provided plenty of controversy in his letter printed in the Albuquerque Journal, available here. A response was provided by Reverend Donald Wagner, available here. Wagner ends his letter with a plea “Let’s stop the bullying now – everywhere.”
I hadn’t heard of Sabeel before I was contacted by the conference organizers earlier this year. I did my little part in helping to publicize the conference, and nothing I heard at any of the meetings led me to believe that there was a goal (explicit or implicit) of delegitimizing Israel. In fact, Sabeel’s goals appeared very aligned with my own.
But after reading Sokolove’s comments in the Albuquerque Journal, I decided I’d better do my homework and find out a bit more about Sabeel. I looked through Sabeel’s website a little closer.
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 and the Kairos Palestine Ecumenical Declaration.
- Sabeel is a grassroots movement striving to develop a spirituality based on justice, peace, nonviolence, liberation and reconciliation.
- Sabeel also works to promote a more accurate awareness of the heritage and witness of Palestinian Christians.
- 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 conference, alternative pilgrimage, witness trips, and international gatherings in the Holy Land.
Nothing I’ve read about Sabeel or the Friends of Sabeel in North America (FOSNA) tonight leads me to believe that the JFA has anything to worry about. Sabeel supports a two-state solution based on international law and agreements. Sabeel acknowledges the injustices that have been perpetrated against the Jews, and wants to see a future in the Middle East where Jews, Christians and Muslims live together with justice for all.
Sokolove and every Jew in Albuquerque should consider registering and attending the conference. You may not agree with everything you hear, but you’ll get a good dose of what many people in the peace movement are saying and doing these days. And isn’t knowledge a good thing?
What we need a little more of these days is listening with respect. And a lot less bullying!