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IPMN Condemns Xenophobia and Racist Rhetoric

no xenophobia

 July 19, 2019 — The rhetoric of racism and xenophobia continues to alarm Americans in a time of deteriorating social norms. When a crowd is encouraged to shout “send her back” at a political rally and echoes the narrative of white supremacy and xenophobic nationalism, we are in dangerous territory.

The Israel Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) of the Presbyterian Church (USA) strongly condemns any use of such language as well as the use of racist rhetoric such as “go back to where you came from”, which the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) identifies as textbook examples of unlawful bigoted harrasment. On its website, the federal agency, which enforces the government's employment discrimination laws, states that “ethnic slurs and other verbal or physical conduct because of nationality are illegal…” 

We stand with Rep. Ilhan Omar who came to the U.S. as a refugee from Somalia; as a member of Congress, she is a role model for all Americans, not just refugees and immigrants. We call for the President to immediately cease his attacks.

Nick Kristof in The NY Times said “Trump has taken two of the most ignominious threads in American history —nativism and McCarthyism— and woven them together in an outburst that is an affront to democratic norms.” 

The language of this week’s attacks is a form of ethnic cleansing and reminds us of parallels in Israel/Palestine. We are reminded that one of the those attacked, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, was born in the U.S. to Palestinian refugees, ethnically cleansed from their homeland when Israel was created.

IPMN stands in full support of the four Congressional Representatives attacked by the president and all those Americans who share their identities; they stand at the intersection of gender, racial and ethnic injustice and we cannot stay silent and legitimize and normalize the language or the attacks.

 

no to white supremacyIPMN Expresses Its Profound Grief, Standing in Solidarity with Muslims

March 18, 2019 — The Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA) strongly condemns the terrorist attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, and expresses its profound grief for the heinous crimes.

We stand in solidarity with all Muslims at this time, especially the Muslims of Aotearoa/ New Zealand. We denounce the abhorrent ideologies of white supremacy and Islamophobia that gave rise to this attack, and we see it as an assault on all believers, on our global human family, and the bonds of our shared humanity.

As people of faith, we commit ourselves with renewed vigor in our collective work against violence, bigotry, and hate. In the US alone, the FBI reported a 17% increase in hate crimes against Muslims in the latest year.

Globally, it is no better. The Southern Poverty Law Center points to a global terrorist network stating:; “The atrocity in New Zealand shows us, once again, that we’re dealing with an international [White] terrorist movement linked by a dangerous white supremacist ideology that’s metastasizing in the echo chambers of internet chat rooms and on social media networks."

As a Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA) that advocates for Palestinian rights in the interest of both Israelis and Palestinians, we recommit ourselves to the creation of a world where all people —no matter their faith, where they live, or where they were born— can feel safe and secure.

With our ecumenical partners and Presbyterian Church (USA) entities, we will work tirelessly through advocacy and education against the human tragedy of bigotry and prejudice, including Islamophobia and antisemitism.

We join the prayer ‘the whole broken and heartbroken world,’ offered by our own Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA).


Read the Stated Clerk's statement on the shootings:

J. Herbert Nelson says we need to “put love back in the center of our humanity”

boycottProtect Your Right To Boycott

a joint message from IPMN and our partner faith groups and organizations

January 17, 2019 — We are members of faith communities in the United States whose congregations or denominations have adopted resolutions to boycott products made in Israeli settlements—built on occupied Palestinian lands in violation of international law and longstanding official U.S. policy—or have implemented a screen to divest from companies that profit from the decades-old Israeli military occupation of Palestine. These resolutions affirm our commitment to a just peace for all Palestinians and Israelis.

We are alarmed by attempts to pass legislation in the U.S. Congress that would provide legal protection for states that are penalizing participation in the nonviolent, grassroots Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights.

The U.S. Supreme Court has established that boycott actions addressing injustice are a protected form of speech under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and that American citizens are free to express their political and ethical beliefs by engaging in such boycotts.

Nevertheless, twenty-six states have instituted legal provisions that would penalize Americans – often by denying them access to jobs, contracts, and other opportunities the state offers – if they support boycotts addressing Palestinian human rights or if they simply refuse to pledge in writing that they do not support such boycotts. Restricting American citizens’ access to those opportunities on the basis of our political beliefs is a severe violation of our first amendment rights.

As of November 2018, thirteen other states have considered or are considering placing restrictions on their citizens’ right to support such boycotts.

The first bill introduced in the U.S. Senate in 2019, S.1 - Strengthening America's Security in the Middle East Act of 2019, seeks to provide legality for these unconstitutional state provisions. Thus far, this bill has failed to garner sufficient support in the Senate, but that failure was on tactical grounds related to the government shutdown, and the legislation is very likely to be reintroduced.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) issued a recent statement about this bill that reads, in part, as follows:

In the midst of a partial government shutdown, Democratic and Republican senators have decided that one of their first orders of business should be to sneak through a bill that would weaken Americans' First Amendment protections.  The bill, Combatting BDS [Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions] Act, encourages states to adopt the very same anti-boycott laws that two federal courts blocked on First Amendment grounds. 

Anti-BDS legislation effectively penalizes actions taken by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the United Methodist Church, the Mennonite Church USA, the United Church of Christ, and other denominations; and tens of thousands of Muslim, Jewish, Christian, and secular Americans who support boycotts and divestment aimed at ending Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights. 

As faith leaders, we have long used the nonviolent instruments of boycott and divestment in our work for justice and peace. These economic measures have proven to be powerful tools for social change, from strengthening labor rights for farm workers to ending apartheid in South Africa. As has been warned by the ACLU and other civil liberties groups, anti-BDS legislation is an extremely grave attack on free speech that threatens the use of boycotts, divestment, and sanctions for other peace and human justice causes.

WE CALL ON ALL AMERICANS to join us and the ACLU in defending our First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

Urge your Senators to reject anti-BDS legislation as an infringement on the rights of American citizens.

 

Signed,

The Alliance of Baptists

American Friends Service Committee, AFSC

Disciples Palestine Israel Network of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

The Episcopal Peace Fellowship’s Palestine Israel Network- EPF-PIN

Friends of Sabeel North America, FOSNA

Israel Palestine Mission Network PC(USA)

Kairos USA

Mennonite Palestine Israel Network, MennoPIN

Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace, PCAP

Quaker Palestine Israel Network, QPIN

Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East, UUJME

Palestine Israel Action Group (PIAG) of Ann Arbor Friends Meeting (Quakers)

 

 

Endorsed by:

American Muslims for Palestine, AMP

 

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IPMN Responds to Recent Methodist Vote Against LGBTQI+ Community

Hymn LGBTQ

March 8, 2019 — The recent vote by the United Methodist Church (UMC) against LGBTQI+ Community brings to mind a verse in the hymn “They Will Know We are Christians by Our Love”:

We will work with each other
We will work side by side
And we’ll guard each one’s dignity
And save each one’s pride...
 
We grieve with our United Methodists friends whose dignity and pride is once more under attack by their church.  No change was made in The Book of Discipline. The list of those who are welcome includes almost every marginalized group except LGBTQI+.  It still reads: “The practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church.” (Para. 304.3)  
 
We also grieve with all LGBTQI+ people everywhere, whether Christian or not, whose very lives may be threatened and whose wounds of rejection are reopened by yet another homophobic decision on the part of a large and prestigious Christian denomination.
 
We confess that until only recently, our own denomination maintained a similar standard of discrimination for decades, creating for many people and their families a purgatory of silence, fear and shame. As advocates for the human rights of the Palestinian people who have been fighting for their rights for the better part of a century, we know full well about a community living with suffering and indignity. Just as we support Palestinian rights, the Movement for Black Lives, and stand against racism and hate, we support equality and full rights for the LGBTQI+ Community. It is past time for the whole Church to show the love of Jesus Christ to this beloved community, rather than push them out and away.
 
In a week in which the US House of Representatives found it necessary to formally condemn all forms of hatred and bigotry, we find it tragic to have to issue a statement of solidarity for a struggle that the nation has already passed a tipping point on, and on which the Supreme Court has come down on the side of equal rights. The LGBTQI+ community is no stranger to long and tough battles and they/we will prevail. Until then, we pledge to stand by in solidarity, in grief and in struggle.
 
 
The Israel Palestine Mission Network
of the Presbyterian Church (USA)
 

 
Read March 4, 2019 statement

Office of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

PC(USA) asks for prayer for the United Methodist Church Special Session of the General Conference

 
Excerpt:

We pray that we are a witness to all who are rejected by the world, that God’s loving arms are wide open to receive and to bless. We follow the example of Jesus in standing with those who are hurting, marginalized, and oppressed. We will continue to work for a world in which all are safe and have space to live the divine dreams for their lives. No fear of loss should prevent us from reaching out in love to a hurting world.

 

Vernon Broyles letter to BCRI on Revoking Angela Davis' Award

 
 
January 14, 2019
Board of Directors
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

520 16thStreet North
Birmingham, AL 35203

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I write to you admittedly angry over your decision to revoke the fully justified and, perhaps, belated Fred Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award to Dr. Angela Davis, a child of the Dynamite Hill neighborhood.

As a life-long Minister of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), I served congregations in Dothan and Montgomery for over 20 years. It was my honor to know leaders of the civil rights struggle like E. D. Nixon, Ms. Johnnie Carr, Mrs. Virginia Durr and many others. One of my beloved parishioners was Judge Richard Rives, who presided over the Montgomery Bus Boycott decision. 

As an advisor, currently, to the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), with whom I have discussed this matter, I have spent a great deal of time emerged not only in civil and human rights here in the U.S. but also in places around the world where racist injustice prevails over oppressed indigenous populations. One of the most egregious examples is in the plight of the Palestinian people, who suffer daily under the draconian policies of the Israeli government. The greatest irony in this tragedy is that Israeli authorities march steadily toward a Zionist vision of total control and ultimate occupation of the whole “Land of Israel.” 

We all must be appropriately sensitive to the impact of the Holocaust on our Jewish colleagues., but we dare not give a “blank check” to Zionist racism of the type that has been brought to bear on your board. It amounts to little more than the “playing of the race card.” The pressure put on your board because of Angel Davis’ advocacy for the cause of Palestinian freedom, including her support for economic pressure through boycotts, divestment and sanctions, can easily be traced to this kind of extreme Zionist rhetoric.

To suggest that this trumps her eligibility for this distinguished award is disingenuous and wrong. While “this horse is out of the barn” as far as your board’s influence in this instance, some form of apology should be offered to Dr. Davis, in the hope that the BCRI’s credibility can be salvaged. It is appropriate, but unfortunate, that the Birmingham Committee for Truth and Reconciliation is taking the “mantle” from BCRI and offering appropriate recognition to Dr. Davis for her contributions to the civil rights struggle.  

In the hope for a more just future for us all,

Rev. Vernon S. Broyles, III    
Advisor to the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly                                           
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)                                                      
100 Witherspoon St.                                                                 
Louisville, KY 40202-1396                                                            

  

cc:  Rev. Jay Wilkins, General Presbyter
Presbytery of Sheppards & Lapsley 
3603 Lorna Ridge Drive Rev.
Birmingham, AL 35216 

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