AIW to end the blockade of Gaza fails

The Action of Immediate Witness to end the blockade of Gaza and growth of Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory failed to achieve the needed majority to pass.

Debate was at times, emotional.

David Keppel, a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington, Ind., argued that it was important to bring peace to Israel and Palestine. “Hope lies in a multilateral and peaceful settlement to this dispute,” he said. “We are not free to walk away from our responsibilities. The U.S. is the enabler of these policies. We must be active for peace.”

William Turner, a member of the UU Church of Miami, said “I stand equally on the side of love and against oppression. . . . I don’t think we can take a stand on this issue. But we can take a stand on actions. Israel is vulnerable while at the same time they’re culpable of some bad mistakes and some sad violence. They’re surrounded by violence and receiving violence with dedicated groups of people wishing their destruction.”

Pat Moor-Pickett, a member of the UU Church of Davis, Calif., said that her congregation was engaged in similar debates about the issue, and supported the AIW. “I’m here to support this vision of peace,” she said. “A blockade of the Palestinians and the walls preventing their crossing are not a way to build peace. I’m here to support peace for Palestine, Israel, and Gaza.”

Greg Robinson, a member of the UU Congregation of Little Rock, Ark., criticized the assembly for thinking that it could create policy for another country. “Many of us may think we’re well informed but may be using biased sources,” he said. “That’s the danger of trying to come up with a solution for another country. I oppose this from a multicultural basis”

Denny Davidoff, a member of the Westport, Conn., UU congregation agreed. “We’re on the verge of winning the chutzpah award for having the blindsided temerity to think we can influence whole governments in the space of a 30-minute debate. The problem is that our caring for the people of Israel and Palestine is very real. What we need to be about is working out a way to stand in solidarity with all the oppressed people of the world.”

  • neil_nachum

    All the Middle East is intertwined. The United States has good relations with Turkey as it continues to oppress its Kurds in the East and denies history for its Amenians. Sudan supports its Palestinians as it suppresses ethnic minorities South and West. And Iran……too long for a short comment.

  • David_Keppel

    I'm grateful we had this discussion on the floor. I don't think we can leave it. What I do hope is that we can return to it in a way that reaches more of us. Even if we can't reach unanimity, I hope we can reach much greater mutual understanding. In that sense, this year's defeat tells us there's work to do. A number of us would like to be in dialogue with those of all views to see what we can craft together. It's not too early at least to have a preliminary email conversation. I don't think it would be appropriate to use any existing UUA list serve, so I simply invite those interested to email me at yes2uncertainty@gmail.com. Please, wherever you're coming from, join us in exploring where we can go together.
    Thanks and peace,
    David (Keppel)

  • David_Keppel

    PS: Just a reminder: An AIW represents the view of one year's GA; it does not carry the weight of a denominational statement, such as a Statement of Conscience. Member congregations and their task forces do not have to act on an approved AIW, and they are free to take independent action on an AIW that does not carry. This AIW got, I believe, a narrow majority but fell short of two thirds. (I did not count voting cards; it could have been 49%.)
    Member congregations interested in taking action will find useful ideas at http://www.fcnl.org/issues/issue.php?issue_id=36 and http://cmep.org/.
    Thanks and peace,
    David

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