News Digest special edition: Calling for Peace

This week, I have been listening to the voices of Palestinians in Gaza and around the world, and the voices of their allies of all faiths and nationalities as they call for peace. I have been moved as the family members of Israeli victims call for de-escalation in the midst of their deepest grief and despair. I am not Palestinian or Jewish – but I am an American citizen, and I believe that I have a responsibility to listen, learn, and lift up the stories of those who know what it is to live in realities of oppression and apartheid. I am full of sadness for the violence being done against innocent civilians in Israel and Gaza, and I am horrified and ashamed that my tax dollars are funding the genocide of the Palestinian people.

We did not arrive in this situation overnight. The story of how we got here has many characters, plotlines, and choice points. Most of us are not experts on this history, but we don’t need to be experts to take action. We know the value of human life; we know people should have access to food, water and care; we know babies have a right to grow old; we know violence only brings more violence. We know enough to act for peace now.

Join me in calling on elected officials to demand a ceasefire.

Here are the heartbreaking, courageous, and powerful stories I have learned from this week:

1. “Keep my stories alive so that you keep me alive.”

Read Tareq S. Hajjaj’s testimony from the field in Gaza.

“Remember that I wanted a normal life, a small home full of my children’s laughter and the smell of my wife’s cooking. Remember that the world that pretended to be the savior of humanity participated in killing such a small dream.” 

2. Minnesota Jews Against Genocide call on Sen. Amy Klobuchar to support a cease-fire in Gaza

“We’re here as U.S. Jews to say ‘not in our name’ … While we’re asking for a cease-fire now, there are broader calls to end all U.S. military funding to Israel and to end the ongoing ethnic cleansing happening not just to Gaza, but in the entire region and all of occupied Palestine.”

Watch an extended cut of the protest on CBS News.

3. Neither Palestinians nor Israelis will be safe unless all are safe

“As a Palestinian Israeli American and human rights lawyer, I know the larger context of the current violence is essential … For real and just peace, global leaders must stop treating Palestinians’ liberation struggle as a security threat to quash militarily or through “counterterrorism” and must recognize Palestinians’ legitimate rights and take action to end Israel’s system of oppression and domination.”

Read the full article from The Nation.

4. “The ‘Never Again’ of Our Lifetimes is Underway in Gaza”

“Jay Saper of Jewish Voice for Peace said that ‘it has never been more important for Jews and all people in the U.S. to rise up with literally everything we have, the way that we would have wanted others to rise up for our ancestors.’”

Read more from Common Dreams.

5. What preceded the killings in Israel and Gaza was not “peace” – it was apartheid

“As Native and Black activists and organizers, we know what it is like to be subject to a state of ongoing violence and precarity that is characterized as ‘peace’ … When the objective of killing as many Palestinians as possible means more to the Israeli government than saving the very people whose suffering Israel claims to avenge, it is clear we are talking about an endless cycle of murder and domination, the logic of which did not begin mere days ago, when Hamas took violent action.

Learn from Native and Black activists and organizers here.

6. Why a Christian pastor is marching with Jewish people to call for a cease-fire in Gaza

“As Christians, we must stand alongside both Jews and Palestinians in mourning lost lives. We must recognize our own historic responsibility for all of this horror. True repair of the past means demanding a true just peace. Right now, that means calling for a ceasefire, de-escalation, the return of hostages, a solution that addresses apartheid policies and occupation, and refusing to send more weapons that will fuel the violence.”

Read Rev. Margaret Ernst’s story here.

7. From May 2023: Palestinian organizers honor grief by practicing hope

“I do feel that there is an intense chemistry between grief and hope. It’s a sad situation, but it’s good to be hopeful. It’s what we all need. Despair is the enemy. We cannot fall for this trap at all. Despair and desperation. That’s what they want us to live through. We want to be hopeful, we want to give love and we want to do all we can to our people and to our communities. That’s what drives most of us here in Palestine.”

Listen to this audio from Palestinian organizers!

8. ‘Do not use our pain to bring death’: A plea to Israel from peace activists’ grieving families

“Noy Katsman knew the eulogy for their murdered brother would anger some who came to mourn, but did not want the violence of Hayim Katsman’s death to eclipse his life as a peace activist … ‘I have no doubt that even in the face of Hamas people that murdered him … he would still speak out against the killing and violence of innocent people.’”

Read this powerful story on The Guardian.

9. Minneapolis City Council Member Robin Wonsley’s multi-racial, multi-faith team statement

“In Minneapolis and around the country, we have been forced to reckon with the fact that we cannot police our way to safety. Now, we must confront the reality that we cannot occupy our way to peace. Palestinian lives matter. Any system that provides safety for some at the expense of others is not tenable, for as the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King said, ‘True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.’”

Review the full statement here.

10. Starbucks is Suing its Union after “Solidarity With Palestine!” Tweet

“The union’s post read “Solidarity with Palestine!” and quote-tweeted an image of a bulldozer breaking through the fence encircling Gaza. More than 9,000 workers at 360 stores have now voted to join SWU, which is affiliated with Workers United and SEIU.”

Learn more here!

11. Podcast: This is Palestine

“’This Is Palestine’ is a podcast that highlights people, issues, and events around Palestine. We bring you stories from the ground in Palestine, and we speak with experts and activists to bring you unique perspectives and analysis about Palestine from across the world.”

Listen to This is Palestine here.

What stories are you hearing, and how are you making meaning this week? How have you been able to take care and action? 

Until next time,

Jessie Lee-Bauder (she/her)

Posted in Our Blog

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