The Palestinian Rights Subgroup of the Peace Action Group at First Unitarian Church works for a just peace in Israel/Palestine. We believe that such a peace is essential to the region and in the world. We also believe that the only way to such a peace is through a clear recognition of both the human rights of Palestinians and the security needs of Israelis and Palestinians. The goals of the subgroup are to increase understanding of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and to act in support of the human rights of Palestinians. The subgroup also functions as a chapter of Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East (UUJME – http://www.uujme.org), the national Unitarian Universalist organization that works for Palestinian justice.
The subgroup seeks to open up the issue of Palestinian human rights, a controversial issue, for consideration by UU’s. We organized an all church dialog with the theme “Taking the fear out of talking about Israel/Palestine.” We invited local Jewish Americans and Palestinian Americans to speak at forums on “Pathways to peace in the Middle East: a progressive Jewish perspective,” and “Pathways to peace in the Middle East: a Palestinian perspective.” We have sponsored Israeli, Palestinian and American speakers, and shown several films. We have sold Palestinian olive oil and made informational material available at the Peace Action table during coffee hours.
We also encourage action for Palestinian justice:
1) We encourage UU’s to sign the petition that UUJME has initiated nationally among UU’s calling on the giant investment company, TIAA-CREF, to divest from companies that maintain or benefit from Israel’s illegal and oppressive occupation. TIAA-CREF manages the retirement savings of the staff of UU organizations and congregations, and UUs should not be complicit in the breaking of international law and denial of human rights. More information about the petition campaign can be obtained at the UUJME website, http://www.uujme.org; and the petition can be signed online at http://tinyurl.com/uujme-tiaacref .
2) We support a national interfaith campaign calling for a boycott of the Israeli company Sodastream (http://sodastreamboycott.org/ ), which makes a home appliance for carbonating water in the illegally occupied West Bank.
There is much to understand and much to do about a just peace for Israel/Palestine. We encourage all interested UUs to join us in these efforts.