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Jul 14, 2014

Advocacy Alert: Renewed Fighting in Israel-Palestine

The news media in recent days has been awash with stories about teen killings and military action in Israel-Palestine. Media coverage has often been sensationalist, one-sided, or superficial. We've heard from LPF members asking for help in moving beyond those depictions, to connect with root causes, and explore options for both de-escalation and lasting solutions.

In fact, this crisis urgently calls for a response from us – in particular, it is important for us to reach out to others, both those who are active on such issues, and those on the sidelines or who haven’t known how they might actually help in such a complex situation. (The basics are straightforward. As one commentator put it, "you can't bomb your way to peace.")

The best of our sister organization agree that a crucial need is for us to share information that would "change the public discourse on the conflict."

We can also be calling for specific responses including disinvestment to put pressure on the Israeli government -- a strategy which played an important role in ending apartheid in South Africa. The World Council of Churches has announced its support for divestment from corporations responsible for global warming. We can be asking our church leaders to take such a stand on this issue.

Our own government needs more encouragement to play a positive role. The message can be quite simple. As Rabbi Michael Lerner of the Jewish group Tikkun puts it "My fervent prayer: Stop all the violence, end the occupation, and create a lasting peace and a reconciliation of the heart." Challenging the enormous US subsidies for Israel gives us tremendous leverage. The threat of significant reductions could make a big difference.

Below are links to several sources of reliable and balanced information, from Lutheran and other sources. They can help us explore – and share with others – how the current struggle fits into the continuing spiral of violence, key underlying causes, and what the US can do to help move things in a positive direction.

We are called to respond and to encourage others to do so. Please don’t let this one pass by! Here are some good links to help us deepen our understanding of those crucial underlying issues, help others do so, and do our part to address this important challenge:

Tikkun: "End the Violence in Israel/Palestine: Cease Fire NOW!"
http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/end-the-violence-in-israelpalestine-cease-fire-now

American Friends Service Committee: "Ending oppression to end violence: The Gaza escalation in context"
http://afsc.org/story/ending-oppression-end-violence-gaza-escalation-context
*also the source of the image used above

Lutheran World Federation: "Israel-Palestine Peace Agreement Would Be a Sign of Hope to the World"
http://www.lutheranworld.org/news/israel-palestine-peace-agreement-would-be-sign-hope-world

Democracy Now!:
"After Palestinian Unity Deal, Did Israel Spark Violence to Prevent a New "Peace Offensive"?"
http://www.democracynow.org/2014/7/15/after_palestinian_unity_deal_did_israel
"Pressuring Israel, Presbyterian Church Divests from Firms Tied to Occupation of Palestinian Land"

LPF's Holy Land Resources (dozens of more links)
http://lutheran_peace.tripod.com/holyland.html

Jewish Voice for Peace
http://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/

ELCA campaign working for justice and peace in Palestine and Israel: http://www.elca.org/Resources/Peace-Not-Walls

Please share this alert and links with friends and congregation members by email and printed copies. The situation is urgent, and it also offers an opening to help break through the misinformation and stereotypes, better understand the issues, and advocate for responsible U.S. action.