Sunday, June 26, 2011

June/July events

Bulletin no.223, 26th June 2011

This month we have the opportunity to secure a chart position for a song called 'Freedom for Palestine' by a collective of musicians put together by Dave RandalThe song's chorus has a South African gospel choir and members of the London Community Gospel Choir singing 'Break down the wall – demand justice for all – Freedom for Palestine'. Listen to the song now!

managed to
bed!/Freedom!/Freedom httlances, dded inside Gaza strip ambulances, with Palestinian - Circulate and publicise the website and Facebook page: /
- ask everybody to pre-order the song now!! Only costs 79 pence and takes 2 minutes – from the website above.
- Contact your local media, publicise the song, write letters about it, and contact your local radio stations to get them to play the song!!
- Wherever possible play the song or show the video, at events and so on..
We need all of you to make this happen.
Many thanks!!

New website
This new website, built by a local PSC member, aims to be a single place where basic facts and information can be found on a whole variety of topics. It is written in such a way, with elementary and more advanced pages, that users can logically progress, getting up to speed in learning about all aspects of the conflict. There is discussion and evaluation of issues, presented in such a way that is useful for campaigning. Please help to spread news of the site, commending it to others or creating links elsewhere to it.

The site has received much praise.
Oxford PSC website is here with, hopefully, all local events.
Upcoming Events: Local

6TH, 2011
Saturday street stall: The OPSC Saturday street stall on Cornmarket street is one of the main ways we use for raising the issue of Palestine with the public at large. It is an important activity for offering information leaflets to the public, inviting them to join PSC or leave their email for Oxford PSC updates. Generally we are there 11:30 to 13:30. Always a minimum of two people on shift. Please consider volunteering for a shift: its an opportunity to meet other PSC members, those wanting information and occasionally those wishing to challenge our views, even volunteering for one shift a year would help. Please email ali at if you're able to help.
PS ... If you can only do an hour or so, then that’s good too, email us for information and turn up on the day. Thank you to all who volunteered for vacant slots
Any help is much appreciated.


From Oxford Ramallah Friendship Society
Dear all
Very exciting news the visit of young people from Al Amari is happening soon!
Please find the draft itinerary attached.
We are really keen for people to help out with the visit.

We need drivers, lots of people for the coach trip - there are 26 seats in total - come along!
The trip to London is on a Friday and we will really need your help then if you can come.
We will need help getting the young people to Abingdon onWed 27th. To Bourton too.
... and lots more

Could you please email to say if you can help, if you gave transport and if you can give lifts or it would be good to see you at the events. Just let us know what you can do.

This is such a practical way of showing solidarity.
I have left the itinerary as an attachment and if you let me know when you are available I will add a column with the details added at the end of next week.
YOUTH VISIT July 2011 ORFA – Draft Itinerary (23/6/11)
Day 1/ Tues 19.07.11 Collection from airport. Very late arrival (Gatwick at 12:20 am). Explore overnight stay at reasonable hotel near Gatwick. Met by ORFA member and driven to Oxford Wed am.
Day 2/ Wednesday 20.07.11 Drive to Oxford. Acclimatisation to Oxford.Afternoon walk by river to city centre.Pm/Early eveningPicnic and sports – University Park.(If raining – provisional booking) Jenny asking if we could provisionally book Quaker Garden Room to use if rains.
Day 3/ Thursday 21.07.11 Am Visit to Cheney or Cherwell School to meet small group of students.Pm Mayor reception or Visit to Natural History Museum and Pitt Rivers Museum (TBC)Eve 7.30 Grease – New Theatre. Sara asking Cherwell school if visit possible.
Day 4/ Friday 22.07.11 Am Possible tour of BBC Radio OxfordPM/Eve - 4:30 pm North Wall Gaza Monologues – then party at Laila’s house (bring a pudding) Laila is exploring Radio Oxford.Laila asking Yasmin if Pegasus would like us to feed/host the young people for Gaza between their shows.
Day 5/ Saturday 23.07.11 Am Bourton-on-the-Water (The Model Village/Bird Park/Pottery) Pm Human Rights Discussion – two helpers plus four young peopleEve Hinksey Park – 8:30 pm Picnic (bring food), 9:30-11pm Film under the stars. Organised by OFVM. Older two could go to a museum am and then on to Human Rights Discussion or join part of the Bourton trip.
Day 6/ Sunday 24.07.11 Trip to Brighton: 9 am to 8.30 pm (TBC)Lunch at The Red RoasterFunfair/Pier/BeachMeet with members of Brighton PSC/ Tubas Twinning Coach cost £21 per head for 26 seater.Provisionally booked.
Day 7/ Monday 25.07.11 Day OFVM Workshop 10 am – 4 pm Animation4.30 pm Traditional Tea/ Aunt Sally GarsingtonEve Host families
Day 8/ Tuesday 26.07.11 Day OFVM Workshop 10 am – 4 pm AnimationEve 6.30 -9.00 Ceilidh with Woodcraft and Pegasus young people We could collect kids from Pegasus at 4.30 if that helps Yasmin and bring to Nikki’s until start of the Ceiilidh.
Day 9/ Wednesday 27.07.11 Day OFVM Workshop 10 am – 4 pm FlashEarly eve - visit to Abingdon for BBQ (Anthea, Belinda).
Day 10/ Thursday 28.07.11 Am OFVM Harry Potter Tour 11 am – 1 pm.PM – Harry Potter Trail with us. Eve Pizza oven party Rose Hill (Kirsten)
Day 11/ Fri 29.07.11 Day Trip to London (Science Museum, Parliament Buildings, London Eye). Train or Oxford Tube
Day 12/ Sat30.07.11 Day Shopping for gifts in Oxford and PackingEVE 7pm Meal/social for visitors and our supporters at Al-Salam restaurant – showing photos and the films made in workshops in Ramallah.
Day 13/ Sun Travel to airport and departure at 12:50 pm. Drive

Nikki (email and I will forward messages of help).

From Christian Aid Oxford: I am contacting you because on Wednesday 6 July at 7.30pm (at the Friends Meeting House, St Giles, Oxford) we will be joined by Gemma Houldey from one of our partner organisations in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. Addameer (which means conscience in Arabic) is an organisation that provides legal aid and counselling to Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli and Palestinian prisons. They also campaign internationally for prisoners at risk of serious human rights violations.
As well as hearing from the organisation¹s Advocacy Officer, Gemma Houldey, about the work of Addameer, there will also be an opportunity to find out more about the work of Christian Aid in the Middle East and how we work with Israeli and Palestinian partners to protect human rights, provide access to services and resources, and build a peace based on justice for all. You can find out more on the night about how you can work for justice and peace in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory.
If you would be interested in coming along on the evening that would be wonderful. Please do circulate to friends and others who you think may be interested. I have attached a poster in case you are able to display it in your church. The Friends Meeting House is on St Giles in Oxford (OX1 3LW). Parking is free on St Giles after 6.30pm, but space is limited.
We will be serving tea and coffee and baklava on the evening and we expect the event to finish at 9pm.

Upcoming Events: UK/International
PSC Weekly update =

Working Together for Palestine
Saturday 9th July 2011, 10am-5pm
University of London Union, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HY

“We are the people and this is our time: stand up, sing out … for Palestine”

Join Dave Randall, from Faithless & the Freedom for Palestine single, Dr Karma Nabulsi, Hugh Lanning, Andy Slaughter MP and many others at our Working Together for Palestine Conference. PSC members and representatives from a wide range of organisations will come together to share ideas and plans for the year ahead. This conference follows our very successful conference in July 2010, and our follow-up meeting this March with other groups.
Solidarity with Palestine is now recognised as the key international issue, and the movement in Britain is playing a vital role. PSC is organising this conference in order to strengthen our common links and ‘jump together’ when possible to increase the impact of the campaigning work that we are carrying out.
Please register for the event by emailing Martial Kurtz at with the following information
Member of PSC?: yes/no
PSC branch (if appropriate):
If no, name of organisation you are representing:
Mobile number:

I look forward to seeing you at the conference on Saturday 9th July.
Hugh Lanning, Chair, Palestine Solidarity Campaign


For the latest news from Palestine see

see also

Britain2Gaza on the Freedom Flotilla 2: You can pledge your support, and leave a message on the site.

Other Items:


Following are responses to erroneous statements made by the Archbishop of
Canterbury, Rowan Williams, citing anti-Christian Muslim extremism as the
primary cause of the Palestinian Christian exodus from the Holy Land. The
first response is from Sabeel founder/director Naim Ateek in Jerusalem.
Below his letter is a link to a letter from Kairos Palestine coordinator,
Rifat Odeh Kassis. Also linked below is the BBC News page with part of the
interview with Archbishop Williams, including an audio file.

His Grace Rowan Williams
Archbishop of Canterbury
Lambeth Palace

23 June 2011

Dear Archbishop Williams,

Greetings from Jerusalem!

Last week at Sabeel, we had the privilege of having the Anglican
Consultative Council delegation headed by Archbishop Michael Jackson. We
seized the opportunity to convey to them our response to your interview on
the BBC regarding your concern about the dwindling presence of Arab
Christians of the Middle East. The concern is genuine and sincere,
unfortunately, your words were negatively received by our people; and we
have been asked by our friends - locally and internationally - to make a
public response.

1. As Palestinian Christians, we perceive ourselves as an integral part of
the Palestinian people. We might be a very small religious community
nowadays but due to our long rootedness in our land, we do not refer to
ourselves as a minority. Moreover, as Palestinians, whether Christian or
Muslim, we equally live under the oppression of the illegal Israeli
occupation of our country. As Palestinians - Christians and Muslims - we
share the same hopes and aspirations and we struggle for freedom and human
dignity together.

2. Although as Palestinian Christians, we appreciate the fact that you
raised the issue of the vulnerability of the Christian presence in the
Middle East -- a subject that is dear to our hearts and of great concern to
us - you singled out the extremist Islamists as a threat to Christian
presence, but neglected to mention two other extremists groups, namely,
Jewish extremists represented by the religious and racist settlers on the
West Bank that are encouraged directly by the present extreme rightwing
Israeli government, and Christian extremists represented by the Western
Christian Zionists that support Israel blindly and unconditionally. With
candor the last two groups of extremists, i.e. Jewish and Western Christian
Zionists are a greater threat to us than the extremist Islamists. In fact,
these extremists have more military power and clout to uproot all
Palestinian presence both Christian and Muslim from our homeland.

3. In 2006, Sabeel conducted a survey of the Christians in Israel and
Palestine with the help of Bethlehem University. The survey clearly
indicated that the primary causes for the emigration of Christians from the
West Bank are both political and economic conditions. "Those who are
leaving...because of the bad economic and political situation represent
87.3% of the total respondents" (p.34). Only 8% of the respondents
attributed emigration to religious extremism.

4. As you are well aware, if Muslims are leaving Hebron, it is largely due
to the violence of the Jewish religious settlers that has made the life of
Palestinian Hebronites miserable and intolerable.

5. The area of Bethlehem, Beit Jala, and Beit Sahour has sufficient space
for Palestinians to live in; but most of their land (largely Christian) has
been confiscated by Israeli settlement expansion including the settlements
of Gilo and Har Homa.

6. The separation Wall has broken up families and closed businesses. It has
devoured land and torn communities apart. And with the checkpoints and
permit system it has greatly restricted people's movement especially to
Jerusalem their Holy City. The Wall is a big "push factor" for Palestinians
out of Palestine.

We are saddened that a great opportunity was missed by not revealing the
oppressive consequences of the Israeli occupation on the Palestinian people,
both Muslim, and Christian.

If the church - local and international - does not raise the prophetic
voice, who will stand for justice and truth?

In the absence of the prophetic, and as the rightwing Israeli government
continues to spurn all international efforts for a just peace, we implore
you to champion the cause of the oppressed Palestinians. The desperate
situation needs the courage and clarity of an Amos, "Let justice roll down
like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream."

Respectfully yours,

Naim Ateek
Director, Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center

CC. Anne Clayton
Coordinator, Friends of Sabeel - UK

- END -

Kairos Palestine response:

BBC News article, interview, audio file:

"Now it’s all gone": Women cope with siege in Jordan Valley
Nora Barrows-Friedman
The Electronic Intifada
24 June 2011

Israel’s destruction of Palestinian property in the occupied Jordan Valley has particularly impacted women residents.
Anne Paq
Israeli military forces have demolished 27 houses in the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank over the last two weeks. More than 140 Palestinians have been rendered homeless by the demolitions, while Israeli settlement expansion continues to threaten more land and restrict water access — affecting the vitality of dozens of Palestinian villages in the area.
According to the Jordan Valley Solidarity (JVS) campaign, an organization …

Alice Walker: Why I'm sailing to Gaza
By Alice Walker, Special to CNN
June 21, 2011 -- Updated 1324 GMT (2124 HKT)

· Our boat will be carrying letters of solidarity to the people of Gaza
· I am indebted to Jewish civil rights activists who came to the side of black people in the South in our time of need
· I see children, all children, as humanity's most precious resource
· If Israel attacks us, what is to be done?
Editor's note: Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker will join an international flotilla of boats sailing to Gaza to challenge Israel's blockade of the territory. Here, Walker, best known for her 1983 novel "The Color Purple," explains why she will be taking part.
Why am I going on the Freedom Flotilla II to Gaza? I ask myself this, even though the answer is: What else would I do? I am in my sixty-seventh year, having lived already a long and fruitful life, one with which I am content. ..

Goodbye, Melanie!
Posted by Mehdi Hasan - 24 June 2011 13:35
Phillips leaves the Spectator as the complaints pile up.
Poor ol' Melanie Phillips. In today's Guardian, the Conservative Party chair Sayeeda Warsi goes on the offensive:
"I don't read her, actually. I call her Mad Mel," Lady Warsi says of Daily Mail columnist Melanie Phillips, who has denounced her as "stupid"…

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