Seeking truth and justice

Christ’s Burial Place Exposed for First Time in Centuries

Posted on Oct 28, 2016

“I’m glad that the atmosphere is special, there is a hidden joy,” said the patriarch. “Here we have Franciscans, Armenians, Greeks, Muslim guards, and Jewish police officers. We hope and we pray that this will be a real message that the impossible can become the possible. We all need peace and mutual respect.” –Thephilos III, the Greek Patriarch of Jerusalem

The shrine that houses the traditional burial place of Jesus Christ is undergoing restoration inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Photograph by Oded Balilty, AP for National Geographic

By Kristin Romey, National Geographic, PUBLISHED October 26, 2016

Jerusalem – For the first time in centuries, scientists have exposed the original surface of what is traditionally considered the tomb of Jesus Christ. Located in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem, the tomb has been covered by marble cladding since at least 1555 A.D., and most likely centuries earlier.

“The marble covering of the tomb has been pulled back, and we were surprised by the amount of fill material beneath it,” said Fredrik Hiebert, archaeologist-in-residence at the National Geographic Society, a partner in the restoration project. “It will be a long scientific analysis, but we will finally be able to see the original rock surface on which, according to tradition, the body of Christ was laid.”

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Americans, Israelis for Peace condemn settlement plans

Posted on Oct 28, 2016

APNOctober 5, 2016 – Americans for Peace Now joined its Israeli sister organization, Shalom Achshav (Peace Now), in condemning the Israeli government’s announced plan to establish a new West Bank settlement in the Shiloh Valley (full details on the announcement are here).

APN President and CEO Debra DeLee commented:

“This new plan appears to be a direct pay-off to settlers from the illegal outpost of Amona, who brazenly violated Israeli law by stealing and building on Palestinian private land. Prime Minister Netanyahu and his government worked for years to try to “legalize” these illegal actions, but ultimately were unable to find any means to do so. They are now looking to turn this rare win for the rule of law into a new defeat for the two-state solution, by exploiting the removal of this illegal outpost as a pretext to establish a new “legal” settlement, situated in the heart of the West Bank.

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Extremism, dialogue and peace are focus of Christian-Muslim joint communiqué

Posted on Oct 27, 2016

151126 World Council of Churches logo

World Council of Churches – Interreligious dialogue and cooperation provided the basis of talks on 30 September and 1 October 2016 addressing the theme “Towards an Integrated World,” a series of high-level discussions among the Muslim Council of Elders led by the Grand-Imam of Al-Azhar, based in Cairo, and representatives of the World Council of Churches (WCC), its member churches and ecumenical partners including the Lutheran World Federation.

The joint meeting at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva was followed by a public lecture at the WCC Ecumenical Institute in Bossey, Switzerland, where the Grand Imam spoke on “The Role of Religious Leaders in Achieving World Peace.”

Photo: Peter Williams/WCC

A joint communiqué adopted by participants in the Geneva sessions pledged a continuation of practical cooperation among religious communities.

The statement added: “The overriding concern of the meeting was peace, and particularly the role of religions, religious leaders and faith-based organizations in creating a culture of peace and practices of peacemaking. As children of Abraham, we agree that humanity was created to share the gifts of love and compassion, peace and mercy, honesty and sincerity.”

At the end of the meeting, both parties agreed to continue and convene a following meeting in 2017 in Cairo, Egypt.

Read full text of the joint communiqué of 01 October 2016

Download high resolution photos from the joint meeting

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Solemnity of Our Lady of Palestine, October 30

Posted on Oct 26, 2016

“I am Palestinian, in Faith I Resist”


INVITATION – The Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem invites you to participate in the Pontifical Mass to be presided by Archbishop Pizzaballa on the Solemnity of Our Lady of Palestine, October 30, in the Sanctuary of Deir Rafat. The Mass is at 10:30 am and followed by the traditional procession with the Icon of the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Palestine. On Saturday October 29, 2016, the day before the Feast of Our Lady of Palestine, a prayer for peace in the Holy Land and the Middle East will be held in all churches of Palestine and the world, at 5:00 pm.

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Thirty-five children join the “Scouts and Guides of France” adventure

Posted on Oct 26, 2016

Thirty-five children join the “Scouts and Guides of France” adventure.

by Cécile Klos, Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

JERUSALEM – Recently, a group of “Scouts and Guides of France” was initially launched in Jerusalem.   The first gathering took place on September 24 and was attended by 35 children and adolescents in the gardens of Maison d’Abraham

Shortly before summer, the idea of establishing this group was initiated by French parents: “A scout group gathered some French and English-speaking children in recent years and had to stop with the departure of the responsible leaders. It was thought necessary for the group to continue.  There are already several locally existing Scout groups but there was a language constraint for the young people who wanted to be Scouts. There was a high demand among the French-speaking children and parents.  The French parents were ready to be involved and take the initiative to revive the Scouts group.”

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Violation of Sanctity in Galilee

Posted on Oct 25, 2016

Church of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor

Condemnation of vandalism act against Church of Transfiguration

Rev. Fr. Imad Twal reports from the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem:

On Monday, October 24, 2016, the Church of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor (Galilee) was robbed by unknown burglars. The intruders destroyed the tabernacle, desecrated the sacred hosts, which are very holy, as these embody the presence of Christ. The ciborium was stolen after it was emptied of the sacred hosts that were thrown on the floor. Some statues in the Church were vandalized and the contents of the donation box were also stolen.

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Book Review | America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History

Posted on Oct 25, 2016

Reviewed by Roger Bergman* in America Magazine, the National Catholic Review, October 3, 2016

Andrew Bacevich is clear about what he hopes to accomplish in America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History. He will link “aims to actions to consequences” regarding the role of the U.S. military from 1980 to the present. Bacevich, a 1969 graduate of West Point who served 23 years before retiring as a colonel, and who recently retired from teaching diplomatic history at Boston University, does not shy away from expressing his own conclusions about this war in the Islamic world, now in its fourth decade. “We have not won it. We are not winning it. Simply trying harder is unlikely to produce a different outcome.”

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Iraqi Christian Students Narrowly Escape ISIS

Posted on Oct 24, 2016

Seven students hid under beds in the same room in Kirkuk as the jihadists stormed in. Their survival was a miracle.

With five other girls, Rand Leith and Monaly Najeeb hid under beds  in the same room in Kirkuk as the jihadists stormed in. Their survival was a miracle.

by Danny Gold
10.24.16 9:35 AM ET

Erbil, Iraq — Monaly Najeeb and the other young women were hiding under their beds when they heard the ISIS fighters enter their house. Machine gun fire had woken them up around 4 a.m. that morning, and they had spent hours huddling in fear, trying to keep quiet and silently praying that the militants wouldn’t enter their house as firefights continued right outside their door.

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As battle for Mosul rages, Pope appeals for an end to violence in Iraq

Posted on Oct 24, 2016

This photograph shows the inside of the church of Saint Shmoni, damaged by Islamic State fighters, in Bartella, Iraq, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016. Iraqi forces retook the town of Bartella, around 15 kilometers east of Mosul, earlier this week, but are still facing pockets of resistance in the area. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)

Profile photoby Elise Harris

Vatican City, Oct 23, 2016 / 06:24 am (CNA/EWTN News).- With the Iraqi Army currently embroiled in an effort to liberate Mosul and the Plains of Nineveh from the Islamic State, Pope Francis Sunday offered prayers for an end to violence in the country so it can move forward on the path of hope and reconciliation.

“In these dramatic hours, I am close to the people of Iraq, in particular those from the city of Mosul,” the Pope said Oct. 23.

“Our hearts are shocked by the heinous acts of violence that for too long are being committed against innocent citizens, whether they are Muslims, Christians or whether they belong to other ethnic groups and religions,” he said, and voiced his sadness that many have been killed “in cold blood,” including children.

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‘We have faced the mercy of God’ – An interview with Cardinal Koch

Posted on Oct 24, 2016

Orthodox churches of the East and the Roman Catholic Church in the West

1K 0 1K Cardinal Kurt Koch, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.


By Paul Badde

Rome, Italy, Sep 28, 2016 / 12:34 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Hundreds of years before Martin Luther broke away from the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope in the western world, the Great Eastern Schism created a division between Rome and Constantinople.

The split of Christianity in the Orthodox churches of the East and the Roman Catholic Church in the west was formally completed in the year 1054. On December 7, 1965, Pope Paul VI in Rome and the ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras in Istanbul terminated the mutual excommunications “from memory and from the midst of the Church” and committed them “to oblivion.”

But efforts toward healing have taken place.

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Rebuilding Alliance: Please help get Palestinian villages on maps

Posted on Oct 23, 2016

On Thursday, October 13, nine Palestinian marathoners, who normally train in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, ran through the streets of Mountain View and Cupertino to convince Google and Apple to add hundreds of missing Palestinian villages to their maps. [See Marathoners Race Through Silicon Valley to Press Google, Apple to Put Missing Palestinian Villages on Maps]

Google, Apple, and Waze have not yet answered the letters delivered that day by the Palestinian marathoners, so please take a moment now to email your members of Congress to ask their help and share this link with friends. If you have an android phone, download Evincible.

Google and Apple HAVE replied to Rep. Eshoo and Rep. Honda, confirming that they had received the GPS data from BIMKOM: Planners for Planning Rights, the Israeli Human Rights Group who we partnered with in this project. Both companies have been asking for three language translations, but so far, there has been no commitment as to when they’ll add the missing villages. We need your help.

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New generation of Israeli ultra-Orthodox challenge old guard

Posted on Oct 23, 2016

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish woman sits in an employment training center in the city of Elad in central Israel. Younger ultra-Orthodox Jews are challenging tradition by entering the workforce and seeking higher education. Photo:  SEBASTIAN SCHEINER Credit: AP

By Aron Heller | AP October 4 at 2:23 AM

JERUSALEM — As the senior representative of ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel’s government, Health Minister Yaakov Litzman is unapologetic about the insular lifestyle he advocates, despite irking mainstream Israel and endangering its long-term economic prospects.

He insists that shirking compulsory military service, rejecting secular education and raising large families on state subsidies all serve the noblest of purposes: a life devoted to the study of scripture that has preserved Jewish traditions over centuries and will ultimately bring about the coming of the Messiah.

“To sit and learn is a mitzvah,” or commandment from God, he told The Associated Press. “It is the most important thing.”

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Israeli women pressuring their leaders to resume peace talks with the Palestinians

Posted on Oct 22, 2016

Israeli women wave peace walking to Metula October 18, 2016 (Photo: Avihu Shapira)

October 19, 2016 by yalibnan

About 2,000 women convened at Israel’s Lebanese border earlier this month in the first leg of a cross-country march aimed at pressuring the nation’s leaders to resume peace talks with the Palestinians, Israeli daily Haaretz reported .

The event was reportedly launched by Women Wage Peace, a non-partisan organization founded two years ago, following Israel’s last war in Gaza.
Just as the Israeli political activists began their journey by foot from Rosh Hanikra to Jerusalem, another international women’s group, by mere coincidence, was heading toward Israel’s coastal waters bearing a political message of its own: end the blockade of Gaza. The Women’s Boat to Gaza, an initiative of the International Freedom Flotilla Coalition, which had set out from Barcelona, was intercepted offshore by the Israeli navy on Wednesday afternoon.

Titled “March of Hope,” the Women Wage Peace event will span two weeks, culminating on October 19 with a mass rally in Jerusalem outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence. “We expect tens of thousands at the Jerusalem rally,” said Lili Weisberger, an activist in Women Wage Peace and organizer of the march.

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Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns: UN Security Council on Israeli settlements

Posted on Oct 22, 2016

151210 Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Oct. 20, 2016 – Commentary: World attention to the Israeli settlements in the West Bank/Occupied Territories as obstacles to peace between the Israeli and Palestinian people and to any implementation of a “two state solution” was again attained by the recent meeting of the UN Security Council. All 15 members of the Security Council, including the U.S., agreed that these obstacles have been in place for too long (50 years in 2017) and must end. The present government of Israel stands alone in its denial of and continued creation of these obstacles. The security and future growth of the State of Israel and the just aspirations of the Palestinian people for a State of their own are now challenging the international community, the UN, the U.S., the EU, Israelis and Palestinians to act decisively in the coming months or risk ever increasing and unsustainable conflict and violence.

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New technology unveils contents of ancient Biblical scrolls

Posted on Oct 21, 2016

Credit: ChameleonsEye via Shutterstock.

Louisville, Ky., Sep 27, 2016 / 08:44 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- For the first time in centuries, an ancient Biblical scroll could be read, thanks to a computer scanning technology that can reconstruct a clear text from damaged, unreadable material.

“This work opens a new window through which we can look back through time by reading materials that were thought lost through damage and decay,” Brent Seales, a University of Kentucky professor of computer science, said Sept. 22.

“There are so many other unique and exciting materials that may yet give up their secrets — we are only beginning to discover what they may hold,” Seales added, according to the University of Kentucky.

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“Peace Bells for Aleppo” ring throughout Finland, spread worldwide

Posted on Oct 20, 2016

World Council of Churches

At five o’clock in the evening today – and every day – in Finland, church bells are ringing across the country, symbolizing people’s sadness and solidarity with the people of Aleppo, Syria.

The war-torn city of Aleppo has been embroiled in violence as air attacks continued this week. Scores of civilians have perished while marketplaces and medical facilities have been reduced to rubble.

Reacting to this situation, a member of the Kallio Parish in Helsinki had the idea to ring the church bells to commemorate the victims in Aleppo, explained Lari Lohikoski, director of digital communication in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. That parish asked others to join, setting a time of 5 p.m. every day through 24 October, United Nations Day.

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The Franciscan Order calls for ending hostilities in Aleppo, Syria

Posted on Oct 20, 2016

A look at the Syrian city of Aleppo

The Catholic Center for Studies and Media in Jordan, October 4, 2016 – Franciscan Minister General Fr. Michael Perry, alongside the superior of the Franciscans based in Syria and Custos of the Holy Land Fr. Francesco Patton, on Tuesday, October 4, issued a statement calling on the international community to take the necessary measures to help bring relief to the people of Aleppo.

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TIME SENSITIVE: Congress Calls for Gaza Doctors

Posted on Oct 19, 2016

Donna Baranski-WalkerDonna Baranski-Walker, Executive Director of Rebuilding Alliance, writes:

It is Kafkaesque.

Five psychiatrists from the Gaza Community Mental Health Program were invited to attend the 63rd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry that starts this Monday in New York City. Their goal there, at UPenn Medical School in Philadelphia and at Sheppard-Pratt Hospital in Baltimore is to learn about breakthroughs in treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). They return home by November 10th.

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The Holy Synod of the Syriac Orthodox Church demands peaceful and immediate resolutions to the wars of the region

Posted on Oct 19, 2016

Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch

Patriarchal Residence – Atchaneh, Lebanon, October 1, 2016

At the invitation of His Holiness Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East and the Supreme Head of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church, the Holy Syriac Orthodox Synod of Antioch convened from September 27 to October 1st, 2016.

The members of the Holy Synod, discussed the matters listed on the agenda. The most important matters discussed are:

1- The situation of Christians in the Middle East and the persecution which they face as well as forced migration due to the war in Syria and Iraq. The Fathers prayed for peace in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. They urged the International Community to seriously seek immediate peaceful solutions for the conflicts, and to work hard to liberate the two abducted Archbishops of Aleppo Boulos Yaziji and Mor Gregorius Youhanna Ibrahim, who are forcefully kept away from us and from their Archdioceses. Moreover, the Fathers demanded the international organizations to help Christians remain in their homeland and live in dignity. They urged the Syriac faithful to remain in the Middle East and expressed their commitment to help their people in all possible ways to live in dignity, preserving their roots in the land of the forefathers. The Fathers affirmed the importance of the ecumenical relations among the churches and the Christian-Muslim dialogue that deepen the peaceful coexistence based on the principle of equal citizenship. Therefore, it was decided to convene a conference in which the Fathers of the Holy Synod will participate as well as selected specialists and experts in politics, economy, and social sciences who will be invited from the different Archdioceses of the Church throughout the world. The conference will study and discuss the current situation and the future of Christians in general and Syriacs in particular, in the Middle East.

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Iraqis hopeful in battle for Mosul, yet cautious of what lies ahead

Posted on Oct 18, 2016

An Iraqi woman holding a rosary. Credit: Elise Harris/CNA.

By Elise Harris

Erbil, Iraq, Oct 17, 2016 / 11:06 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Hours after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced a ground offensive to retake Mosul from the clutches of Islamic State, a priest working in the thick of the country’s refugee crisis said people are happy with the advances, but unsure what the future will hold.

“We are so happy because yesterday the war began between the Iraqi army and the Peshmerga with ISIS,” Father Roni Momika told CNA Oct. 17.

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St. Yves Demands the Israeli Ministry of Health to Cancel Discriminatory Health Insurance Payment Imposed on Palestinians Holding a Family Unification Permit

Posted on Oct 18, 2016

The Israeli Ministry of Health issued regulations on the 1st of August 2016, allowing Palestinians holding family unification permits to access health services with the condition of making a retroactive “initial payment”. If the person applying for family unification holds a “permanent residency”, i.e. Jerusalem ID, his/her partner need to be holding a family unification permit for 27 consecutive months and to pay an “initial payment” of 7,695 NIS to access health services. On the other hand if the applier holds an Israeli citizenship, his/her partner need to be holding a family unification permit for 6 months and pay 1,710 Nis, which constitutes a clear discrimination against the Palestinian residents living in East Jerusalem. Those new regulations are part of an ongoing Israeli policies against Palestinians aiming at denying them their basic rights, including right to health services.

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St. Yves launches “Right to exist?!” film

Posted on Oct 17, 2016

The Society of St. Yves,  Catholic Center for Human Rights, held a film launching event for its short movie entitled “Right to exist?!” at Yabous Cultural Centre, in Jerusalem. The launching witnessed the participation of Patriarch Emeritus, his Beatitude Michel Sabah, in addition to a number of diplomatic missions and representatives, civil society and church organizations as well as UN organizations.

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Syrian Refugee Rebuilds Life (and Confidence) as Avon Rep

Posted on Oct 16, 2016

Ani Apelian fled war-torn Syria and is now rebuilding her life in California as an Avon rep. (Photo: Courtesy Ani Apelian)

by Beth Greenfield

Ani Apelian was living the good life with her husband and son in the small Syrian-Armenian resort town of Kessab — operating the family’s organic olive oil soap factory, managing various rental properties, and heading a local Christian school — until it all ended abruptly on a chilly March morning in 2014. That’s when al-Qaida rebels seized the town and her family fled for their lives. After a quick stay in Dubai with Ani’s daughter, they resettled with her brother in Corona, Calif., with nothing of their own. But when Ani’s husband stumbled upon an Avon employment ad when he was searching for work, she thought, “I can do that,” and she applied to be an independent sales representative. Now, she tells Yahoo Beauty, it’s her lifeblood. She’s part of the changing face of Avon’s sales force of 400,000 — along with one entire team made up mostly of Colombian immigrants. Looking to them and others, Ani, 59, says, “It gives me hope that I can be something again one day.” Here, in her own words, as told to Yahoo Beauty, is Ani’s story:

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Yom Kippur: Atonement Day

Posted on Oct 15, 2016

On the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur, all of Israel shuts down. A silence full of penitence and reflection.

(Leviticus 16:30)

October 12: a silence full of penance for all of Israel. A solemn day, the most important of the Jewish calendar: Yom Kippur.

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NY Times Bureau Chief Serves Israeli Agenda: Distorting History, Ignoring Oppression

Posted on Oct 14, 2016

The tenor is one of fatigue and cynicism, which does a disservice to readers and to the cause of honest journalism.


by Barbara Erickson, September 27, 2016

One month into his stint as New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief, Peter Baker has struck a world-weary tone: In his telling, the turmoil of Palestine-Israel is nothing more than an ancient feud, and the United Nations has grown tired of hearing about it from two intransigent leaders.

The effect of this jaded stance is to leave readers with the impression that Palestinians and Israelis face off over a level playing field and they have been doing so for millennia, two notions that serve to benefit Israel above all.

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A Jerusalem bishop’s insights on peacemaking in the Holy Land

Posted on Oct 13, 2016

But unconditional U.S. support for Israel negatively affects the situation.

— Bishop William Shomali

Bishop William Shomali, an auxiliary bishop of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Credit: Paul Fifield/CNA.

by Tony Magliano*

(Catholic News Agency) September 29, 2016 – Recently I emailed questions to the auxiliary bishop of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Bishop William Shomali, asking him to share his first-hand insights regarding the many injustices and violent environment in the land of the Prince of Peace. He graciously sent back a recorded audio response upon which this column is based.

Bishop Shomali said one of the most pressing problems facing Palestinians is Israeli imposed restrictions on movement. For example, he said Palestinians living in Bethlehem or Ramallah need to obtain a permit to go just six miles to Jerusalem. And permits are only given during principle feasts.

He said the ongoing illegal building of Israeli settlements on Palestinian land in the Occupied Territories is an extremely serious roadblock to a peaceful solution.

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This Week in Palestine: The Diaspora

Posted on Oct 12, 2016

tina Basem

Tina Basem

Tina Basem, editor of This Week in Palestine, writes:

About half of our Palestinian brothers and sisters live outside of historical Palestine – and many of them not by their own choice. The plight of refugees is gaining in poignancy and we must remember that for them, we can make a difference through much-needed aid, support, and activism!

This issue, however, focuses on the diaspora outside of refugee camps. Many of its members left to escape hardship or against their free will as well. Most have adapted to their new surroundings in ways refugees never could, established successful businesses, built careers in a variety of fields, and reached high levels of education, wealth, and prestige. We in Palestine look to them for support under increasingly difficult economic and political conditions (although some are “fed up with requests for aid,” as one of our authors was told of a successful business empire). But to be fair, many members of the Palestinian diaspora are deeply committed and, or eager to help. Much gratitude goes to these businesswomen and –men, to the volunteers and activists for their support and engagement!

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The Passions of Medieval Jerusalem

Posted on Oct 11, 2016

At the Met, a captivating show displays the visual evidence of a time and place roiled by dozens of ethnic and religious constituencies.

Detail from a choir book depicting the prophet Isaiah outside the city. Courtesy Terra Sancta Museum, Jerusalem, and Marie-Armelle Beaulieu

By Peter Schjeldahl, staff writer at The New Yorker and the magazine’s art critic

“Jerusalem, 1000-1400: Every People Under Heaven,” at the Metropolitan Museum, is a captivating show of some two hundred objects from the era of the Crusades. There are manuscripts, maps, paintings, sculptures, architectural fragments, reliquaries, ceramics, glass, fabrics, astrolabes, jewelry, weapons, and, especially, books—in nine alphabets and twelve languages. The works, from sixty lenders in more than a dozen countries, express the Jewish, Islamic, and Christian cultures of the time, the three great Abrahamic faiths sharing a city holy to them all, when they weren’t bloodily contesting it.

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Wrong on Doctrine of Discovery, Wrong on Christian Zionism

Posted on Oct 10, 2016

On this day, all over the United States, a routine ceremony of colonization takes place. If we see today as a celebration of Christopher Columbus and his legacy and not of Standing Rock, then Palestine will have a long road to freedom.




At FOSNA, we see Christianity as a vehicle to liberate the oppressed, challenge modern empires the way Rome was once challenged, and construct justice for the present and the future. It is a theology in direct opposition to the church that accepted the Doctrine of Discovery—exploited by Columbus—and the Christian Zionism that is sustaining the Israeli state. We wrote this statement of solidarity with the indigenous protectors because we know that the destruction of Native American land and sacred sites goes hand in hand with the demolition of Palestinian homes and farms.

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The struggle for indigenous rights extends to Palestine

Posted on Oct 10, 2016

“They can change facts on the ground with the building of settlements, expropriation of land, and expulsion of families from homes.”

“Smyrni” the 2,000 ton Greek motor freighter packed with 1,750 immigrants from Constanza, Romania, is seen 20 miles off the coast of Haifa, Palestine, May 14, 1946. CREDIT: AP Photo/Davidson

by Justin Salhani, World Reporter at ThinkProgress focusing on human rights

Up until quite recently, colonialism was not seen as a bad thing. For at least a few hundred years, colonialism was assumed to benefit native and indigenous peoples. Predominately European colonizers viewed other people as “uncivilized,” and often rationalized colonialism with the idea that they were bestowing civilization upon savages.

It’s through this lens that Americans have celebrated Columbus Day since the 1930s. But with the realization that the Native American people may not have appreciated acts of genocide or ethnic cleansing, Columbus Day is now increasingly being shunned for Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

But the struggle of indigenous activists isn’t limited to the Americas. Much as the Native Americans view Columbus Day, the Palestinian people view the creation of the state of Israel, a day they commemorate on May 15 each year as youm al-Nakba, which means “day of catastrophe” in Arabic.

On May 14, 1948, David Ben-Gurion declared Israel a state. “We hereby proclaim the establishment of the Jewish state in Palestine, to be called Israel,” he said at a reception at the time.

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