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Your Hard-Earned US Tax Dollars and Church Pension Funds at Work for IsraelJames M. Wall Salem-News.com
On American Mothers’ Day weekend, Palestinian teenagers and mothers offer support to prisoners on lengthy and dangerous hunger strikes.
(CHICAGO) - Mass demonstrations in support of 2500 Palestinian hunger strikers swept through the West Bank this weekend.
Marchers moved through the streets of Hebron, Kafr Qaddoum, Nablus, Nabi Saleh, Ni’lin, Ramallah, al-Walaja and outside of Ofer prison. The picture at right was taken in Hebron.
It shows an Israeli soldier with his knee firmly planted on a young Palestinian’s neck.
The picture also shows how American tax dollars and church pensions are at work on this Mothers Day weekend, a commercially-driven event in which American teenagers and their families annually honor mothers with gifts and family meals.
On this particular American Mothers’ Day weekend, a large contingent of Palestinian teenagers joined their mothers and other family members to offer their support to prisoners on lengthy and dangerous hunger strikes.
Laura Kacere wrote in A Nation of Change, that Mothers Day had a different meaning when it was initially launched. In fact, the Palestinian mothers who marched this weekend in support of hunger strikers, some of whom may have been their children, are demonstrating in a manner more akin to the original purpose of Mothers Day.
Amira Hass, the Ha’aretz columnist who has watched Israeli duplicity at work for decades, explains how Israel makes use of ”administrative detention”:
American tax-payers and church members should care. But do they? The record is not good.
The Methodist General Conference ended its once-every-four-years confab in Tampa last week with a small step toward caring. They will not have this opportunity again for four years in a governance system first established in the early 1800s by John Wesley.
In their 2012 Conference the Methodists voted to call for a boycott of US companies supporting the occupation. They failed, however, to pass a specific divestment resolution removing church pension funds from three US corporations, Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard and Motorola Systems.
Why did the 2012 Methodists only hit .500? The Methodist Board of Pensions and their allies roamed about the floor of the conference spreading the lie that divestment from these companies would threaten Africa University’s funding. Those prevarications were aimed at Central Conferences (overseas) delegates, who are very protective of their continent’s Methodist University.
There were even reports that some Methodist delegates were told they could be sued if they voted for divestment. Would church leaders act in this manner? Hard to imagine, but then, there have also been reports (a tape recording to be exact) that Mitt Romney cannot recall a teenage incident which his classmates insist involved young Mitt cutting the hair of a classmate suspected of being gay.
Now it is the Presbyterians’ chance to divest from three US corporations that support the Israeli occupation. Will they join the Episcopalians and urge tea and cookies with their local rabbis, or will they look more closely at how the Israelis are spending their pension funds?
Meanwhile, the Palestinian hunger strikes continue.
Why hunger strikes? How else does a prisoner reach the outside world, at least that part of the outside world willing to look up from its tea and cookies long enough to notice?
There are currently 2,000 Palestinian inmates on a mass hunger strike in the Nafha, Ashkelon, Gilboa and other prisons around Israel. Amira Hass writes that it is “the very fact of their decision to refuse food and their willingness to risk being punished by the authorities [that] stands as a reminder of their humanity”.
The US public remains blissfully ignorant during this Mothers Day weekend that 2000 Palestinians hunger strikers, some near death, are refusing food to protest their treatment and their unfair and unjust incarceration.
The bulk of the Israeli public, safe and secure behind a massive Security Wall, remain largely indifferent to the strikers.
Amira Hass explains:
Richard Falk and Noura Erakat have written about the history of the Israeli use of administrative detention, which in case you have not noticed, is a practice the US Congress is currently planning to add to the American legal arsenal against its own citizens.
And how does the US government view the hunger strikes?
When one persistent journalist (identified as “Said”) demanded, politely, that US State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland, answer a question about the Palestinian hunger strikes, this is how Nuland handled his query, according to the transcript from the State Department:
If, or when, a hunger striker dies in an Israeli prison, the US State Department will have an answer ready to go. It will express regret at the death and urge “all parties involved” to resolve their differences.
One “party” involved is the IDF, shown in action at the pictures above and below. In this picture, smoke makes it difficult to determine if the IDF vehicle is a Caterpillar product. Perhaps not, since it is smaller than the Caterpillar tractors that built the Wall, and continues to demolish Palestinian homes.
But there is no question that the battle between the rock-throwing teen aged Palestinians and their IDF enemy serves as a metaphor for a US and church supported occupation force and a defiant civilian population.
Karl-John N. Stone and Thomas A. Prinz have just written an article for The Christian Century magazine, “Invest, Not Divest” which argues just what the title suggests it would argue, a misguided solution which embraces a market faith rather than a religious faith.
Stone is assistant to the bishop in the Upper Susquehanna Synod (ELCA) in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Prinz is pastor at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Leesburg, Virginia. They ask:
Stone and Prinz close their argument for “hastening that political solution” with this bit of capitalist stock market cheer leading:
They conclude their market-driven argument:
Give our Lutheran brothers credit, they do offer us a choice between “a black-and-white concept of justice”, and “a model of empowerment and reconciliation”.
Prinz and Stone may think they are channeling Reinhold Niebuhr with that division. I suspect they are really channeling the Episcopal Church’s Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who is quoted in their piece.
Speaking of quoting, there is no sign that Prinz and Stone discussed this matter with any Palestinians under occupation. They do cite the New York Times‘ quote from Fayez Husseini, manager of Abraaj Capital’s $50 million Palestine Growth Capital Fund. But that doesn’t count.
Next time Prinz and Stone offer advice to Palestinians, they might want to talk with Palestinian Baptist pastor, Dr. Alex Awad, who told Methodists when they were debating their divestment resolution:
Journalism was Jim Wall’s undergraduate college major at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. He has earned two MA degrees, one from Emory, and one from the University of Chicago, both in religion. An ordained United Methodist clergy person; he and his wife, Mary Eleanor, are the parents of three sons, and the grandparents of four grandchildren. They live in Elmhurst, Illinois.
Jim served for two years on active duty in the US Air Force, and three additional years in the USAF (inactive) reserve. While serving with the Alaskan Command, he reached the rank of first lieutenant. He has worked as a sports writer for both the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, was editor of the United Methodist magazine, Christian Advocate for ten years, and editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine for 27 years, starting in 1972. Time magazine wrote about the new editor, who arrived at the Christian Century determined to turn the magazine into a hard-hitting news publication. The inspiration for Wall Writings comes from that mindset and from many other sources that have influenced Jim’s writings over the years, including politics, cinema, media, American culture, and the political struggles in the Middle East. Jim has made more than 20 trips to that region as a journalist, during which he covered such events as Anwar Sadat’s 1977 trip to Jerusalem, and the 2006 Palestinian legislative election. He has interviewed, and written about, journalists, religious leaders, political leaders and private citizens in the region. You can write to Jim Wall at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Jim's Website: Wall Writings
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