Despite their difficult circumstances, Palestinians in Bethlehem find ways to remind the world that Israel's occupation cannot exist forever. The organizers of the Palestine Marathon, held annually in the West Bank city of Bethlehem since 2013, recently announced that its next run will take place on Friday 1st April, 2016. [tmwinpost] The event – one my most memorable highlights of 2015 – is a thrilling experience. The thousands that gathered in Manger Square, where the run kicks off, included Muslim and Christian Palestinians, internationals from dozens of foreign countries, and even some Israeli Jews. Some came to support the marathon’s…Read More... | 6 Comments
Dozens of Palestinian-owned olive trees uprooted to complete separation wall that will eventually fully encircle the Bethlehem area. Text and photos by Oren Ziv / Activestills.org The Israeli Defense Ministry renewed its efforts to build a section of the separation wall in the Bethlehem area this week, sending bulldozers and Border Policemen to uproot dozens of olive trees in Wadi Ahmed, on the outskirts of Beit Jala. The plan is to completely enclose Bethlehem and the surrounding villages — closing all entrances to the area — by the separation wall. Entire areas of the separation wall have yet be built,…Read More...
Opponents of church-based boycott initiatives often accuse advocates of unfairly 'singling out' Israel while ignoring Islamist violence in Syria and elsewhere. Here's why they're wrong. Text and photos by Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org In the coming days, three more U.S. churches will consider resolutions to apply economic leverage against the Israeli occupation. The Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA), United Methodist Church (UMC), and various Quaker bodies have taken similar actions in previous years. Now, as the United Church of Christ (UCC), the Episcopal Church, and Mennonite Church USA (MCUSA) meet for national conventions, divestment activists say their case has never been clearer.…Read More... | 30 Comments
America's largest Christian Zionist organization boasts about its numbers. But while their influence is a given, many Christians are slowly but surely seeing the justice of the Palestinian cause. Text and photos by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org Christians United for Israel (CUFI), the largest Zionist Christian organization in the U.S., recently sent an email blast celebrating the milestone of “2 million members.” The Washington Post’s right-wing blogger Jennifer Rubin dutifully reported on the CUFI press release, which included an additional list of impressive numbers: According to CUFI, it has “driven hundreds of thousands of emails to government officials, held 2,162 pro-Israel events in cities…Read More... | 31 Comments
The rhetoric of Christian Zionists consistently places loyalty to the modern state of Israel above the example and teachings of the Jesus born in Bethlehem whose birth Christmas celebrates. It's time to stop calling such groups Christian Zionists and instead use the term Zionist Christians, to more accurately reflect their priorities. Photos and text by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org For the last two years, Christians United for Israel (CUFI), the largest Christian Zionist organization in the U.S., has sent email blasts urging their supporters to fight back against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement by buying Christmas ornaments “Made in Israel.”…Read More... | 27 Comments
At Hebrew University, the narratives in Arabic and Hebrew language textbooks glorify Zionism and blur out any sign of the occupation. The next step? Using force against Palestinian students who dare to protest that very narrative. Fadi Asleh (Translated from Hebrew by Ofer Neiman) Israeli Independence Day is also Palestinian Nakba Day. This is one of those days that is charged with memories, pain, political views, identities, etc. The very choice of name for this day reveals one's culture, identity and distinct political standing. And language is a front no less important (or violent) than other fronts. According to the…Read More...
This week: Palestinian citizens of Israel march to the destroyed village Lubya, Israeli activists commemorate the Nakba, solidarity with administrative detainees, May Day celebrations, the leader of Israel's refugee movement says goodbye to freedom, and more.Read More...
Year after year, Palestinian Christians and international pilgrims face checkpoints and harsh treatment by Israeli police officers as they attempt to celebrate the Easter season in Jerusalem. Text and photos by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org Palestinian Christians and international pilgrims faced Israeli barriers and harsh treatment by officers as they attempted to celebrate the Easter season in Jerusalem this year. In scenes similar to previous years, thousands of worshipers were denied entry to the Old City of Jerusalem by police barricades as a heavy presence of security forces controlled access to the city. Despite VIP status, even Robert H. Serry, the…Read More... | 14 Comments
Last week's Christ at the Checkpoint conference in the West Bank town of Bethlehem brought evangelical Christians together with their Palestinian sisters and brothers to ask what their faith has to say about the Israeli occupation. Christian Zionists aren't happy about their answers. Text and photos by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org Two of the most potent forces insulating Israel from any political accountability for the occupation are right-wing lobbying groups, most notably AIPAC, and the Christian Zionist movement of which the largest U.S. organization is Christians United for Israel (CUFI). Recent months have seen cracks in AIPAC’s influence, most notably defeats…Read More... | 2 Comments
Addressing Christian Zionists who brush aside the occupation by saying, 'it's complicated,' an American Evangelical writes: 'Injustice is only complicated to those who don’t suffer from it.' By Alice Su What would Jesus do if he were standing at a checkpoint in Israel/Palestine today? Asked that question one year ago, I would have given you a blank stare. Growing up as an evangelical Christian, I thought of Israel only as a Bible-place of God’s chosen people, quaintly holy and surely blessed. Checkpoints, occupation, Palestine – these words meant nothing for most of my 22-year-old life. Today I write from Bethlehem…Read More... | 68 Comments
Over 70 Israeli activists publish an open letter in support of the ultra-Orthodox community, as it struggles against a new law that would draft its young men into the army or national civil service. (Translated from Hebrew by Asaf Shalev) We, civilians and activists – religious, masorti (tradition-committed) and secular - wish to express our support for the struggle of the ultra-Orthodox community against forced military enlistment. There must be an end to the empty rhetoric employed by the Israeli government and its constituent parties that are calling for the "sharing of the burden" of military service, by which they…Read More... | 8 Comments
Instead of promoting equality and the non-racialization of citizenship in Israel, right-wing MKs are adopting a classic colonial law to weaken the non-Jewish community’s 'threat' to the country's ethnic order. The Knesset this week enacted a new law that legally distinguishes between Christian and Muslim citizens of Israel regarding employment opportunities. Though the law does not make a significant impact on its own, more bills are expected to be introduced that emphasize the same distinction. The Knesset member behind the bill, Yariv Levin (Likud-Beiteinu), believes that such measures promoting the division of Palestinian citizens of Israel will allow the state…Read More... | 16 Comments
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