Signs of hope - a new wind is blowing!
October 2015 
Divestment »
Honoring an advocate
Portland initiative
Boycott »
SodaStream leaves settlement 
Education »
Hind Khoury Tour 
U.S. Policy »

Urge Obama to avoid UN veto of French measure
Urge Congress to attend briefing on Iqrit 
UMKR Alliances »
Celebrating UM Youth
Holy Land Tourism »
New trips to offer

Bishop Brown journey
News & Commentary »
Christian school strike
Resources »
New UMKR website
Events »
Awads' Speaking Tour
Tree of Life fall series
Friends of Sabeel series
Week Against the Wall
Connect with UMKR »
Join us
Support our work
Fall greetings to friends of UMKR.

A Palestinian farmer reaches for a ripe fig  (photo by Susanne Hoder)

Autumn brings the harvest in the Holy Land, and United Methodists are among those visiting the region.  The General Secretaries of several UM agencies are taking a study trip to learn about the realities on the ground. Bishop Warner Brown invited Michael Yoshii to help lead a trip highlighting Christian communities and UM mission projects like those in Wadi Foquin. Joan Deming is leading a study tour, which includes visits to Christian schools in Israel and Palestine.

We are reaping our own harvest of blessings, as new advocates for justice from around the world join our movement. They are seeking to make a difference as the violence on the ground increases, and hope for diplomatic progress dims. Many people realize that the principled economic actions urged by Palestinian Christians and UMKR are essential to achieve constructive change.

UMKR continues to plant seeds of hope among our churches to nurture faithful witness for justice and peace. Please join us in this important work.

Yours in Christ,
Michael Yoshii and Susanne Hoder
UMKR Co-chairs and.
A Call to Action from Archbishop Tutu
Divestment played a major role in achieving freedom for South Africans. Now many South Africans are working to liberate others. Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu's passion for Palestinian freedom has made him one of the staunchest advocates for divestment today.

UMKR wishes Archbishop Tutu a Happy Birthday this month. In his honor, we share some of his most powerful words of 2015, and urge others to pass them on. They show clearly why economic actions like boycott and divestment are needed. 

"Even a decade or more ago when I was in the Holy Land I saw the marks of apartheid in the policies of the Israeli government. The Palestinians are forced to live in segregated areas, often relocated to less desirable land so Jewish settlers can live in fine red ceramic-roofed houses with paved roads while most Palestinians live in squalor in villages and refugee camps. Water is diverted to settlers so they can have nice green lawns, irrigated fields and community swimming pools while Palestinians endure shortages and dusty roads. I looked at this and I saw the ugly face of apartheid and the racism within it. I have been vilified numerous times for making this comparison to apartheid. I shrink not one step backwards. I saw and I name what I saw: apartheid, separation, segregation. I might add that these settlements are illegal under international law, as is the occupation itself, and an affront to the world."  Desmond Tutu, April 2015

Encouraging News from Portland

The Portland, Oregon Human Rights Commission (HRC) has voted unanimously to endorse a measure placing Hewlett-Packard, Caterpillar, G4S and Motorola Solutions on the City's "DO NOT BUY LIST" for human rights abuses in the occupation. Jewish Voice for Peace and other groups will submit the proposal with all their research on these companies to the City of Portland Socially Responsible Investment Committee, which makes recommendations to the City Council concerning city investments. They are planning a public education campaign to let Portlanders know what their city investments are doing to sustain Israel's occupation of Palestinian land.
SodaStream moves operations to Israel
More proof that boycott works
For months, SodaStream has been promising to move its operations out of the West Bank settlement of Ma'ale Adumim and into Israel. Finally, on September 3, the company announced that the move was complete. The global business press widely acknowledged the role that boycotts played in bringing about this decision.

UMKR was among many global groups urging a boycott of the company's products. 
Though UMKR has removed the company from its boycott lists, we note that its new location in Israel is on land that is being cleansed of its Bedouin population by Israeli authorities. UMKR shares the concern of human rights advocates over this choice and urges respect for all indigenous peoples.
Hind Khoury Shares Palestinian Despair, Hope  
General Secretary of Kairos Palestine urges audiences to act boldly for peace

United Methodists in five states heard first-hand the reality for 
Palestinian Christians living in the Holy Land during World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel, which was observed from September 20-26. Hind Khoury, former Ambassador to France and the new General Secretary of Kairos Palestine, spoke in churches, general agencies and the U.S. State Department during a speaking tour arranged by UMKR. She explained the urgent Kairos Palestine call to churches issued by more than 3,000 Palestinian Christians, and discussed why nonviolent measures like boycott and divestment are such important methods for ending the Israeli occupation. She challenged listeners to act boldly.        
         (photo by Steve Farber)                                         
In each venue, Ms. Khoury told her audience, "The major problem we face is the loss of hope.  We need your help."  After hearing her, UMKR Divestment Chair Lisa Bender asked, "For United Methodists steeped in justice and equality, how can we not respond?  Lisa's full account of her meeting with Hind Khoury in Washington is here.
   "The "T""                           
After meeting with Ms. Khoury, Wayne Rhodes of the General Board of Church and Society published an excellent article  entitled "Where is the Courage?" in the agency's Faith in Action newsletter. We urge all United Methodists to read it.
U.S. Policy
Urge Obama to Avoid UN Veto 
For decades, the United Nations has been prevented from fulfilling its legitimate role to censor members who violate its policies. This is due to the frequent use of the veto by the United States whenever any statement critical of Israel is passed by other Security Council members.

With your help, that may change. According to an article in The Times of Israel, President Obama recently told Prime Minister Netanyahu that if Israel continues to approve new construction on occupied land, he will not use the veto to stop passage of a possible resolution by France declaring the settlements illegal. France has
confirmed it intends to pursue the measure. 

Please call the White House at 202-456-1111, asking President Obama to stand by his decision to withhold the veto. Our calls can help strengthen his resolve and remove this impediment to peace. 

Urge Congress to attend Briefing on Iqrit

The people of Iqrit, a small Christian Palestinian village in the Galilee in northern Israel, were forced out of their village in 1948, promised to return after two weeks, and have not been permitted to return to their homes despite a 1951 Israeli Supreme Court ruling, governmental promises, and Israeli ministerial committee recommendations. Please call your Congressional offices 202-224-3121 to attend a briefing at 221 Cannon Office Bldg, 27 Independence Ave SE, Washington, DC, Thursday, October 15, 3:00-4:30 PM.
UMKR Alliances
Celebrating United Methodist Youth

The next generation of United Methodist leaders has embraced divestment, and a resolution submitted to General Conference 2016 by the Global Young People’s Convocation & Legislative Assembly calls for divestment from CAT, Motorola Solutions and Hewlett Packard. The resolution was approved at the group's assembly in 2014. In it, the authors acknowledged that "God has called us to act out of love for our neighbors and not stand by while our fellow human beings suffer at the hand of other human beings in acts against their humanity and basic human rights." Several young people spoke on behalf of divestment at the 2012 General Conference and serve on UMKR committees.  
Holy Land Tourism
Sign up for a trip to the Holy Land
With a tour that meets United Methodist Guidelines
"A Three-fold Cord Cannot Be Broken"
Jan 9-19, 2016

Led by Rev. Dr. Steve Jungkeit (Senior Minister of the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, Connecticut), Dr. Reza Mansoor (President of the Islamic Association of Greater Hartford), Dr. Bob Gelbach (Co-Chair of the New Haven chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace), and Jiries Atrash (Tree of Life Coordinator for Israel Palestine). For more information, visit the TOLEF website or contact Mary Tomassetti at  

A pilgrimage of discovery for United Methodists
Feb. 8
– 19, 2015   (Deposits due November 1)
For more information and a brochure, visit the UMKR
Contact Janet Lahr Lewis at

See our website tourism page for more trips that meet United Methodist guidelines.
News & Commentary
Israeli Christian schools strike for equal funding 
 Students at Mar Elias Christian school in Israel's Galilee region wait to enter class. (photo Joan Deming)
For 27 days this fall 33,000 students and teachers at Christian schools in Israel took part in a strike to protest threatened cuts to their budgets by the Israeli government.  Unlike Jewish schools, Christian schools were to see a 45% decrease in government funding and a cap on school fees. This would have made it impossible for them to continue operating. On September 7th, 450,000 students from Israeli Arab schools across the country joined the strike in solidarity. Rev. Joan Deming, Executive Director of Pilgrims of Ibillin which supports the Mar Elias Schools, kept UMKR informed as the strike progressed. 

On September 27, the schools and the government reached an agreement which ended the strike.  The settlement included a one time payment of 50 million shekels to the Christian schools, inclusion of teachers in professional development programs, and establishment of a commission to examine the legal status of Christian schools in Israel. This was widely viewed as a victory for these schools, which are among the best in Israel.

UMKR members wrote to the Israeli government to urge equality for all Israeli schools. 

New website for UMKR
UMKR has a new online look!  After undergoing a major redesign, our new website made its debut in early October, and is ready for action.  Organized by our five work areas, it makes information easy to find and retrieve.  It is chock full of good resources for churches and individuals, with PowerPoint presentations, literature, and current news. 

We want to thank Theresa Basile for this tremendous undertaking, and for her five years of service to UMKR as Communications Director. Though she has recently stepped down from this role, she remains on our Communications Committee and continues to produce amazing results as a volunteer.  It is no exaggeration to say that our global impact would not have been possible without Theresa's capable leadership in this area.                   

October - December, 2015
Holy Land Missionaries Alex and Brenda Awad are speaking around the country:
Minnesota, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Illinois, Alabama, Florida. Hear these recent missionaries to the Holy Land in your state.  Learn more.

Oct 16
, 17, and 18, 2015
"Eyes on Gaza" Tree of Life Conference
First Congregational United Church of Christ, Portland, OR
Films: "Roadmap to Apartheid" and "Where Should the Birds Fly?" with filmmaker Fida Qishta
Speakers: over twenty renowned leaders including Mark Braverman, Cindy and Craig Corrie, Barbara Lubin, Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb
Benefit Concert on Oct 18 with singer/songwriter David Morgan  Learn more.

Oct 16–17, 2015  •  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
We Refuse To Be Enemies - Struggle for a Just Peace in Palestine-Israel
Friends of Sabeel - North America (FOSNA)
Naim Ateek, Taurean Webb, Brad Parker, Daoud Nassar, Jasiri X, Don Wagner, Mads Gilbert  Learn more

Nov 9-16, 2015 •  Global
Week against the Apartheid Wall 2015: Stop the Bantustans!

Palestinian Grassroots Anti-apartheid Wall Campaign  Learn more

Nov. 20–21, 2015  •  Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota                                                          
Advocacy and Action for Palestinian Justice
Friends of Sabeel - North America (FOSNA)
Cecilie Surasky, Ali Abunimah, Anna Baltzer, Don Wagner, Graylan Hagler  Learn more

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Our work can't continue without the help of those who believe in it! Please make a donation to UMKR in whatever amount you are able - all gifts are appreciated and none are too small.
United Methodist Kairos Response is a global grassroots movement in the United Methodist Church responding to the urgent call from Palestinian Christians - in Kairos Palestine: A Moment of Truth - for effective action to end the Israeli occupation and support a just peace in the Holy Land. 

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