The Honorable Revered R. Randy Day
The Honorable Bishop Peter D. Weaver
Ms. Ruth Daugherty
Sirs and Ma’am:
"The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do."
— Harvard Professor Samuel Huntington, "Clash of Civilizations"
"There are only two powers in the world…the sword of the oppressor and the spirit of the oppressed. In the long run, the sword is always defeated by the spirit."
— Napoleon Bonaparte
"The strong do as they can, while the weak suffer what they must"
"What is peculiar about the Palestine conflict is that the world has listened to the party that has committed the offense and has turned a deaf ear to the victims."
— British Historian Arnold Toynbee
"Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can."
— Reverend John Wesley
As a Muslim I share this life supporting teaching of the Reverend John Wesley. Islam teaches us to do good and prevent evil in this world.
In no region in the world should this be more applicable than in the shared Holy Land for Jews, Christians, and Muslims that has not seen peace or harmony since the violent founding of Israel in 1948 for European Jews in historical Palestine at the expense of dispossessing the indigenous Palestinians, both Christians and Muslims. I am married to a Palestinian Christian whose parents in 1948 were evicted from their Christian town of Kfer Bir’im in the northern Galilee to live as refugees in Lebanon.
We as Americans have been the main financial, military and political benefactor of Israel’s military expansionism and illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories since 1967. During Israel’s brutal bombing and devastating siege of Beirut in 1982 I saw first hand as a medical student the shrapnels removed from the innocent bodies of children, pregnant women, and the elderly emblazoned with "Made in America." That was the first time I heard grieving parents in tear choked voices utter the now famous phrase, "why do they hate us."
Israel’s expansionist policies, ethnic cleansing of Palestinians and persistent rejection of world opinion including U.S. policies and peace plan began since its founding. President Harry Truman in 1949 convened the Lausanne Peace Conference in Switzerland to deal with the expelled Palestinian refugees and to pressure Israel to honor U.N. Resolutions that led to its establishment.
Truman’s envoy, Ambassador Mark Etheridge, wrote to Truman of his 3 month long exasperation to get Israel to accept responsibility for expelling Palestinian refugees (something Israel refuses to this day) and allow their return to their homes had this to say:
“Since we gave Israel birth we are blamed for her belligerence and her arrogance and for the cold-bloodedness of her attitude toward refugees…what I can see is an abortion of justice and humanity to what I do not want to be midwife” described Israel’s “voracious territorial appetite”:, “expansionist ambitions”….”blame for stalemate at Lausanne, Israel must accept responsibility….her attitude toward refugees is morally reprehensible….Her position as conqueror demanding more does not make for peace.”
Since 1967 thousands of Palestinian homes and Olive Trees have been destroyed and bulldozed by American Caterpillar bulldozers including the deliberate murder by such a bulldozer of the young beautiful American college student Rachel Corrie who died to protect a Palestinian home. (http://www.rachelcorrie.org/ please read her emails from Palestine)
It is only now that the world is awakening to Israel’s illegal military occupation of millions of Palestinians, including its U.S. and E.U. supported siege and total starving blockade of 1.4 million Palestinians in Gaza. Since our government is unable, unwilling, and fearful of political action against Israel to pressure it to honor dozens of U.N. Resolutions, all International Laws, the Fourth Geneva Convention, the and International Criminal Court rulings, it must be left to those of us who seek to bring a peaceful change to the Holy Land where all inhabitants can live in peace, security, and prosperity. Children must not fear being killed by Israeli snipers on their way to school, or pregnant mothers and seriously ill patients dying at checkpoints, or families awakened in the middle of the night to immediately evacuate their homes to be bulldozed.
"I have seen children shot in El Salvador, Algeria, Guatemala, Sarajevo, but I have never before watched soldiers entice children like mice into a trap and murder them for sport."
— Chris Hedges, former Middle East Bureau Chief for the New York Times in "A Gaza Diary: Scenes from the Palestinian Uprising," Harper’s magazine, October 2001, p. 64
Every weapon Israel uses is paid for by us and many around the world do believe our quagmire in Iraq was pushed by Neocons whose agenda was to serve Israel and not our national interests. It is our blind support of Israel that inflames the Muslim world, as documented by many U.S. officials including President Jimmy Carter, not our freedoms and culture.
Even the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board contradicts the heresy that Muslims hate us for our freedoms, but rather hate our foreign policy.
“Muslims do not hate our freedom, but rather they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of ISRAEL and against Palestinian rights, and the long-standing, even increasing, support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan and the Gulf states. Thus, when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy.’
— US Defense Department’s Defense Science Board: (Christian Science Monitor: 11/29/2004 plus ran in New York Times)
That is why I’m writing you to wholeheartedly support the New England’s Annual Conference Voluntary Resolution for members to divest from American companies doing business in the Occupied Palestinian Territories thereby supporting the occupation. Every silent American or world citizen on the illegal occupation of the Holy Land is complicit in its decades long wars and misery, especially for the millions of Palestinians under occupation.
“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
— Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.
Christians are leaving the land of Christ where Bethlehem is under siege and divided by the illegal Separation Fence and where movement of Christian religious leaders is constrained and often totally prohibited. The Holy Land of three faiths must not become an exclusively Jewish state while the entire world out of guilt and fear remains silent on this tragedy.
Your call for divestment is courageous, honorable, and fulfills your Christian mission while serving as a strong symbolic stand that the United Methodist Church will firmly uphold its beliefs and principles and not succumb to the usual canard of "Anti-Semitism", the Scarlet Letter of intimidation and shame to protect Israel from legitimate criticism.
Your leadership on this issue fulfills the worship of all who believe in God, in justice, peace, and equality of all his creations on this earth. I beseech you to formally adopt this resolution and send a message of encouragement to all that for Israel to live in peace and security and for Palestinians to gain their independence and freedom we must take any and all peaceful actions to achieve that end. Because our government is paralyzed on this issue for domestic reasons it’s up to all citizens of conscience to act.
"A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has."
— Margaret Mead
May God guide you to what is right and just in His eyes and in your conscience.
Blessed are the Peacemakers
Respectfully and Gratefully, I remain;