TGUC Justice Activities

“United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine and Israel” Gathering – May, 2022

Between May 5th and May 8th, approximately 65 participants from across Canada attended the UNJPPI gathering in London, Ontario.  Although attendees were mainly people from the United Church, others participated as well, including Palestinians from various backgrounds and people from other Christian  traditions, including Mennonites and Presbyterians.  Wendy Gichuru, Beth Baskin and Lori Neale attended from the national church.  Throughout the weekend, stories were shared, connections were made and lots of learning occurred.  

On Thursday evening, there was a public event at King’s College, entitled “How Are the Children?”.  There were speakers from “Defense for Children International”, “Stand up for Palestinian Children’s Rights” and “Oakville Palestinian Rights Association” and the event was well attended.  

George Bartlett talked a little bit about UNJPPI, and people from across the country shared what was going on regarding Palestine/Israel in their areas.  At one point during the gathering the youth who were present spoke about the work they were doing as young activists.  Callum, who is associated with Trinity Grace, spoke about his work with the Samidoun Prisoner’s Association.  

We learned about BDS – Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.  Different participants contributed to this, and topics included the history of boycotts as well as some early examples; ways to encourage our government to get involved (often through sanctions); and some history around divestment as well as some current examples (Norway’s largest pension fund has divested from Israeli companies operating in the settlements).  We also talked a bit about the United Church’s ‘Unsettling Goods’ campaign and some of its successes.  

Many of you will be familiar with Zatoun Olive Oil.  Robert Massoud from Zatoun was at the gathering, both as a participant and as a seller of Palestinian fair trade goods.   

Throughout the gathering, we had several opportunities to watch videos and to be present for zoom calls and ask  questions of the speakers.  Below are several brief summaries and links to these: 

We watched a video featuring Rev. Dr.  Munther Isaac who is the pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethelehem, as well as the Dean of the Bethlehem Bible college.  His talk was based on the Sermon on the Mount and focussed on the qualities of peacemakers, particularly in the context of the Palestine/Israel conflict.  The link to this video is below if you are interested in watching it.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=eNYiYBx-a7Y

Marianna Harris interviewed Jewish psychologist, physician and author Gabor Maté.  Born in Hungary during the second world war, he was deeply impacted by the Holocaust (his grandparents were killed in Auschwitz and his father was in forced labour).  As a young man,  Maté was a Zionist, but over time rejected this philosophy and became a staunch advocate for Palestinian rights.   The link for this video is below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aySv68DYl6M

One of the evenings, we  watched a lighter video, The Alternativity – artist Banksy sends filmaker Danny Boyle on a mission to the original town of Bethlehem to stage a Nativity play at a hotel close to the separation wall in the West Bank.  Link is below:  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JzgVzUaPU4

On Sunday morning, before the gathering ended,  a young Palestinian women participant (who is a journalism student in Canada) did a Zoom interview with Mariam Barghouti, a young journalist based in Ramallah.  She talked about the conflict in terms of colonization, reasons for hope and the dangers of her work.  This was a particularly poignant conversation, in light of the killing of her colleague Shireen Abu Akleh just 3 days later.   Hopefully, there will be a link available soon to view this interview.

Over the next little while, Trinity Grace will be thoughtfully considering our next steps with regards to supporting a just peace for Palestine – stay tuned for further information.  

To learn more about the United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine and Israel, check out the link below.

https://unjppi.org/index.html

And now, here is an action you can take…

PayPal denies Palestinians in the occupied West Bank (excluding East Jerusalem), and Gaza its services, while providing full access to users in Israel and illegal settlements in the West Bank, which are in violation of international law.  Sign the petition or write a letter to PayPal, by going to the link below:

https://paypal.7amleh.org


In our part of the world we tend to take abundant and clean water for granted.  It’s easy to forget that globally, approximately 1 in 9 people still have no easy access to a healthy water supply.  This number includes Indigenous people living in communities here in Canada.  This week, we will focus on three organizations that help to provide accessible and clean water in a number of African countries, the Americas and in the Gaza Strip.  

Gracie’s Thrift Store donated all proceeds ($930) from last Saturday’s sales to Water Aid Canada.  This non-profit has teams in 35 countries, and partners with local communities to provide clean water, decent toilets and hygiene education, ultimately impacting the lives of millions of people on the African continent and in the Americas.  If you wish to make a donation to Water Aid Canada, you will receive a tax receipt.  Check out the link below to learn more:


The Water Project is another  non-profit organization that works with impacted communities to invest in and provide appropriate and long-term solutions to the water crisis in sub-Saharan Africa.  To learn more about The Water Project and the good work they do, visit the website below:


Another part of the world where access to clean water is a serious problem is Gaza. 84% of the people who live in Gaza require humanitarian aid to survive, and for many, this includes the ability to access clean water.  The Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East Foundation is currently raising funds to build a well in a southern suburb of Gaza City.  This well will provide water for 15,000 to 25,000 Gazans and will also feed clean water to Gaza’s existing municipal water network distribution system.  For further information, check out the link below and if you wish to donate you will receive a tax receipt (since this is a Canadian Charity). 


Food and Hygiene Kits for Ukraine

You can help families fleeing from Ukraine by gifting food and hygiene kits through Gifts with Vision.

A gift of $25 will provide fleeing families with a hygiene package containing items like toothpaste, laundry detergent, and disinfectant. A gift of $38 will provide one food basket with staples such as cooking oil, buckwheat, canned fish, dried peas, and condensed milk; and $40 will provide one hygiene package plus a supply of incontinence products.


Want to take action right now?

Anti-racism

Sign the petition below that seeks to redress the displacement of Vancouver’s Black Community

Racism in the Health Care System greatly impacts Indigenous people, especially women.
Consider making a donation to the DTES Women’s Centre
, whose clients are seventy percent Indigenous women

Environment

Sign the petition on the David Suzuki Foundation to urge our government to take immediate action to reduce emissions

Refugees

Support the CCR (Cdn Council for Refugees) on Canada refugee sponsorship and the campaign to restart the resettlement of refugees