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Christians in Palestine Call on United Methodists for Help
Bethlehem, 28th of November 2014
Dear Sisters and Brothers in the United Methodist Church,
On behalf of Kairos Palestine, co-authors of the document entitled “A Moment of Truth: A Word of Faith, Hope and Love from the Heart of Palestinian Suffering”, I send you warm greetings from Bethlehem.
Since the launch of the Kairos Palestine Document in December 2009, Kairos Palestine has reached many churches locally and worldwide and touched the hearts of a number of peacemakers of all faiths. We have encouraged theological discussions, reflections and opened up new venues of dialogue and research, seeking application and implementation of moral values as well as international law to impress upon the State of Israel the need to rectify its wrongs.
We are witnessing ever-increasing provocations by the occupying power, and the temptation to violent response is growing as well. We ask the United Methodist Church, as we have been asking the Christian community worldwide, to assist us in advocating effective nonviolent means of addressing injustice. We know that as a denomination you have been discussing boycotts and divestment for many years, and we are heartened by that discussion.
We, Palestinian Christians, believe that, as members of the one body of Christ, we are dependent on each other’s support at all times, especially when one of us is suffering. We are confident that you are aware of the ongoing injustices that have robbed us of our rights for more than 60 years, but even amidst our affliction, our spirits cannot be broken and we call upon you in faith, hope and love to hear our call. As we appreciate your prayers, we count upon your honest stewardship and your commitment to justice for all created in the image of God.
Kairos Palestine supports the global campaign for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, because we believe it is a just, nonviolent and peace-seeking tool. We are convinced that BDS is a way to pressure the Israeli government to respect international law, honour human rights and work towards a genuinely just peace.
We are grateful for your efforts and we sensed real solidarity with our struggles at the conference “Walking with Palestinian Christians,” presented by the General Board of Global Ministries and Ginghamsburg Church in Ohio in August of this year. Yet now we must tell you the situation grows ever more dire. Please know that a decision to support our struggle using nonviolent economic actions would be both welcome and timely. We call on you for help.
Rifat Odeh Kassis
Dec. 2016 – Please note that this letter refers to UMKR by our former name. Our current name is: United Methodists for Kairos Response.
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A letter of appreciation and support from Rifat Kassis,
Coordinator of Kairos Palestine
14 March 2012, Bethlehem, Palestine
Dear friends of “United Methodist Kairos Response,”
On behalf of Kairos Palestine, I send warm greetings from Bethlehem. I am very much looking forward to attending the United Methodist General Conference in Tampa. In anticipation of this event, however, I want to extend my sincerest thanks to you for your efforts, your solidarity, and your courage with respect to the divestment resolution you are submitting for approval.
As we all know, divestment is a tool easily (and often) misunderstood. Many people think of it as a form of punishment; moreover, in the case of the Israeli occupation, many people think of it as antagonistic or outright anti-Semitic. These misunderstandings are frustrating and painful to receive - not because they are merely reductive and inaccurate, but even more so because they run completely contrary to the spirit and intentionality what we are trying to do.
Indeed, Kairos Palestine believes that divestment is not a goal unto itself. It is, rather, a means to an end; an instrument towards the crafting of justice; an expression of democratic rights and responsibilities; a way to practice the very kinds of non-violence and equality that we seek to achieve through the end of an illegal occupation. Divestment, then, is not only one of the most direct illustrations of solidarity with the Palestinian people, but also a universal call for peace and justice for all human beings - Palestinian, Israeli, and otherwise. This kind of economic action is not punitive, and it is not prejudicial: it is, in fact, borne of love for all peoples and the task we share, which is to live responsibly and compassionately together.
I admire your efforts towards the passing of the divestment resolution at the United Methodist General Conference. Which is to say, I admire the solidarity you have shown with Kairos Palestine and with Palestinians, and I also admire the solidarity you have shown with each other: a group encompassing various religions, nationalities, and backgrounds, united in your fundamentally human understanding of what is right and your courageous assertion of the need to act in its honor.
Kairos Palestine thanks you for your energy, your commitment, your conviction, and your hope. It is certainly my wish that the General Conference will listen to your call, and we deeply appreciate that you have raised your voices.
General Coordinator, Kairos Palestine
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See the Letter from Palestinians
to United Methodist General Conference 2012 Delegates