Day 6: Time To Act
We’re posting blogposts from Greenbelt director Paul Northup about our recent trip to Israel and Palestine. Here’s his final post, about how best to respond to what those on the trip experienced…
In this, my final blog off the back of our recent Greenbelt trip to Palestine and Israel, I want to highlight the two calls to action that stood out most clearly during our time there. They were to:
- Commit to and shout about Kairos Palestine
- Steel and consider deepening our commitment to BDS
I’d like to quickly outline what these two things are about and what they might mean for Greenbelt and Greenbelters.
In the communion service at Greenbelt last year we used some words from the Kairos Palestine document. But they might have passed you by. Kairos Palestine (Kairos means ‘a moment of truth’) is a call to the global Christian community to stand with the Palestinian Christians in calling for peace and justice in the land called Holy. It echoes the Kairos call which hastened the end of the Apartheid Regime in South Africa. (You can read Desmond Tutu’s support for Kairos Palestine here »)
We had the privilege of meeting those who coordinated the document and its call when we were in Bethlehem this March. Please urge your churches and denominations to get behind the Kairos call. You can see a list of the organisations that are standing with Kairos here and you can add your name to the supporters list. We’ll make sure that Greenbelt shows its support by signing up to the document.
And then, while we were in Ramallah, we had the privilege of meeting Omar Barghouti, a founding committee member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and the leading voice in the BDS movement today. As a Palestinian living in Israel, he stands to lose everything under the latest Israel anti-boycott laws because of his work and writing. I am not sure if I have ever met someone so clear in their thinking, so committed to their cause, so compassionate in their manner. Omar is a deeply impressive person.
He reminded me of our Greenbelt Settlement Boycott statement, made last autumn in which we stood with our partners at Christian Aid and The Methodist Church in urging Greenbelters to consider this particular campaigning course of action.
But, to be honest, on a personal level – and I know there will be many other Greenbelters out there affected in a similar way – he steeled me to be bolder in my approach to BDS. I’ll leave that to you decide. In the meantime, we’ll work with our partners to see if we can move towards a united wider call for BDS – in time.
And just a note in conclusion to my blogs from our trip. Greenbelt is an arts, faith and justice festival founded in response to a belief in a God of Justice, compassion and hope and as such we believe that a just peace for Palestine provides the best hope for Israelis to enjoy peace and security.