Friday, February 19, 2010

Pacific Sabeel Conferences

In coming weeks, many Pacific Coast Progressive Christians will gather to contemplate what justice requires of US in Israel and Palestine. Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) is hosting conferences in the Pacific Northwest, Hawai'i and Northern California for the next few weekends.

Friends of Sabeel regional conferences are an effective tool for broadening awareness among western Christians on the issues relevant to the peoples of the Holy Land. Drawing on a rich pool of expertise in the fields of theology, biblical scholarship, church social justice teaching, regional history, international law, foreign policy and political currents, these educational events are able to attract wide participation from an ecumenical audience. Our speakers are individuals who represent the Palestinian Christian and Muslim communities as well as the Israeli Jewish community--religious leaders, scholars, writers and activists. American presenters come from all three religious traditions and from secular strands within the Sabeel movement.

FOSNA is an American affiliate of Sabeel, the Palestinian Liberation Theology organization founded by Anglican Canon, the Rev. Naim Ateek. Among the speakers headlining all of the conferences are Mohammad Alatar, Naim Ateek, Anna Baltzer, Mark Braverman and Jeff Halper:

Mohammed Alatar - Filmmaker and human rights activist from town of Jenin in the West Bank. Nominated for the Martin Luther King Jr. Award for Humanity in 2002 for his work campaigning for human rights. Films include The Iron Wall and Jerusalem: The East Side Story.

The Rev Naim Ateek The Rev. Naim Ateek is an Arab Israeli citizen, founder and leader of Sabeel, (Arabic for 'the way'), and a former canon pastor of the Episcopal Cathedral of Jerusalem. He is the author of many books and articles including Justice and Only Justice: A Palestinian Theology of Liberation and, most recently, A Palestinian Christian Cry for Reconciliation. He has been called the Bishop Tutu of Palestine.

Anna Baltzer - Jewish-American granddaughter of Holocaust survivors. Fulbright scholar and volunteer with International Women’s Peace Service, where she documented human rights abuses. Author of Witness in Palestine: Journal of a Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories.

Mark Braverman is a Jewish American clinical psychologist, founder of Crisis Management Group Associates in Maryland, and activist for justice. Mark focuses on the role of religious beliefs and theology in the current discourse on Israel/Palestine and the future of interfaith relations. He has recently published Fatal Embrace: Christians, Jews, and the Search for Peace in the Holy Land.

Jeff Halper is coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) and an Israeli-American peace activist. He is also a professor of anthropology, an acclaimed speaker and a 2006 Nobel Prize nominee. He is the author of Obstacles to Peace: A Re-framing of the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict and An Israeli In Palestine: Resisting Dispossession, Redeeming Israel.

The first conference is this weekend in Seattle, WA February 19 and 20. Additional speakers include Neve Gordon, Kathleen and Bill Christison and Cindy and Craig Corrie:

Neve Gordon is a senior lecturer on Politics and Government at Ben Gurion University, the author of Israel's Occupation, and editor of From the Margins of Globalization: Critical Perspectives on Human Rights.

Kathleen and Bill Christison: Kathleen is a former CIA political analyst and has worked on Middle East issues for 35 years. She is the author of Perceptions of Palestine and The Wound of Dispossession. Bill is also formerly with the CIA. Kathleen and Bill have just published Palestine in Pieces: Graphic Perspectives on the Israeli Occupation.

Cindy and Craig Corrie are the parents of Rachel Corrie and founders of the Corrie Foundation for Peace and Justice

Among the weekend's workshops is one offered by blogger, Richard Silverstein:

... media panel on Saturday, February 20th at 3:15 PM:

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict in the Media

Richard Silverstein, author of Tikun Olam, Israeli-Palestinian peace blog
Bruce Ramsey, Seattle Times editorial writer
Larry Johnson former foreign editor, Seattle Post Intelligencer and author, Looking for Trouble, foreign affairs blog

The panel will examine the nature and quality of reporting on the conflict in both the U.S.:

Getting more & better coverage into the media
Making coverage more accessible to the average American
the collapse of print media: how does it alter the landscape for coverage
Where do people get their coverage of the conflict?
Critique of media coverage of I-P conflict: why is so much, so bad?
Political issues that should be covered and aren’t?
Improving communications between Israeli, Palestinian and U.S. media and peace activists
Role of digital media, social networking in expanding access to news about the conflict

The next conference is in Honolulu, HI February 26 and 27:

What Does Justice Require of US?
Peace with Justice in the Holy Land

a conference presented by Friends of Sabeel Hawai'i

Conference Goals: Educate others about the conflict in Palestine/israel; Provide a venue for discussion and dialogue; Empower U.S. citizens to become effectivde advocates of a just and peaceful solution.

Cathedral of Saint Andrew
Episcopal Diocese of Hawaii
229 Queen Emma Square
Honolulu, HI 96813

The last conference is in Marin County, March 4 and 5:

A Time for Truth, A Time for Action:
Palestine/Israel & the U.S. at the Crossroads

First Presbyterian Church of San Anselmo

Additional workshops are offered by guests such as Omar Barghouti, Mads Gilbert, Paul Larudee, Barbara Lubin, Edward Peck and Stephen Zunes:

Omar Barghouti - Independent Palestinian researcher, commentator and human rights activist committed to upholding international law and universal human rights. Founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and of the Palestinian Civil Society Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel. Holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Columbia University, NY.
Dr. Mads Gilbert - Norwegian doctor specializing in anesthesiology and emergency medicine. Solidarity worker with a range of international experience, including in Lebanon and Palestine. Provided emergency medical support in Gaza during Israeli attacks in December 2008 and January 2009. Has written and lectured about this experience.
Dr. Paul Larudee - Human rights advocate for peace and justice in Palestine. Active in the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a Palestinian-led movement dedicated to nonviolent resistance to the occupation. Was wounded in 2002 by Israeli gunfire in an attempt by ISM volunteers to help Palestinian families. Cofounder of Free Gaza Movement, whose boats became the first in 41 years to enter Gaza by sea, breaking the Israeli naval blockade. Founder of the Free Palestine Movement. Holds a PhD in linguistics from Georgetown University.

Barbara Lubin - Life-long peace, justice and disability rights activist and leader. Cofounder of the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA), which has delivered more than $17 million in food and medical aid to children in Palestine, Iraq and Lebanon and provided support for hundreds of community projects in the West Bank and Gaza. Has led nearly .20 delegations of North Americans to the Middle East.
Ambassador Edward Peck - Career Foreign Service officer who has held senior posts in Washington and abroad, including service in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt. Was ambassador in Mauritania, chief of mission in Iraq, deputy director of Covert Intelligence Programs, director of the Office of Egyptian Affairs and special assistant to the under secretary for political affairs. Served as deputy director of the White House Task Force on Terrorism in the Reagan
Administration. Currently president of Foreign Services International, a consulting firm working with governments, businesses and educational institutions.
Dr. Stephen Zunes - Professor of politics and international studies and chair of the program of Middle East Studies at the University of San Francisco. Author of numerous articles on U.S. policy, the Middle East, nonviolence and human rights. Has received several awards for his work. Author of Tinderbox: U.S Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism.

The conferences last for two days, but it is possible to attend just one day or the other. So if you missed today's session in Seattle, it is still possible to make tomorrow's. Sabeel conferences are great opportunities not only to learn, but to meet other activists. A few of us in the Bay Area are planning a get together for I/P bloggers after the Marin Sabeel Conference (contact me, rustdotypipesatyahoodotcom, for details).

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