Saturday, September 17, 2011

Minute on Israel Palestine

The Ann Arbor Friends Meeting wishes to share with you its position on handling the present conditions between Israel and its Arab brothers and sisters. This issue has been a difficult one for us to consider for many years. The fact that we were able to come to unity in this statement is something we are proud of. Please join with us in finding a way to peace in this crucial area of the world.

Bill Riccobono, Clerk, Ann Arbor Friends Meeting
Helen Fox, Convener, Palestine Israel Action Group, Ann Arbor Friends Meeting

Minute on Israel Palestine
Adopted by the Ann Arbor Friends Meeting (Quakers) July 17, 2011

The Ann Arbor Friends Meeting recognizes the complex international dynamics that feed the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict, creating fear on both sides and putting both Palestinians and Israelis at risk. We are concerned about the safety and well-being of all affected by this conflict. We wish to ally ourselves with those in Israel and Palestine working to bring peace.

We believe that one key step towards stability and safety for both Israelis and Palestinians depends on a just agreement regarding the Palestinian lands that Israel has occupied, illegally, according to international law, since 1967. Successive U.S. governments have generously supported Israeli military occupation of these lands, and have turned a blind eye to illegal tax exemptions for U.S. charitable organizations that support Israeli settlements.

We urge our government to exhibit equal concern for the well-being of both Palestinian and Israeli people by:

¨ Supporting a United Nations resolution recognizing a Palestinian state

¨ Withholding U.S. tax dollars that support the Israeli military

¨ Enforcing U.S. tax law regarding charitable organizations that support Israeli settlements

We also urge Friends worldwide to unite with Britain Yearly Meeting in its call to boycott products made in Israeli settlements, “not as punishment or revenge, but as an external pressure to achieve change.”

With Britain Yearly Meeting, Ann Arbor Friends Meeting considers that “we should now act publicly, and, well-informed, be able to explain our action to others,” in order to “give hope to Palestinians and support to those in Israel who are working for peace.” We agree with Britain Yearly Meeting that “in the face of the armed oppression of poor people and the increasing encroachment of the illegal settlements in the West Bank, we cannot do nothing.” We too are clear that it would be wrong to support the Israeli settlements by purchasing their goods.

In order to exert more than symbolic pressure on the Israeli government to negotiate a just peace at this critical time, Ann Arbor Friends Meeting joins with religious and civil society organizations throughout the world in a boycott of corporations that support the Israeli military.


Supporting Documentation

Illegal U.S. Tax Exemptions
For more information about the U.S. tax law regarding charitable organizations that aid Israeli settlements, please see:
Tax Exempt Funds Aid Settlements in West Bank. New York Times, 2010, July 5

Israeli settlement products
AHAVA beauty products are produced using salt, minerals, and mud from the Dead Sea – natural resources that are excavated from the occupied West Bank. The products themselves are manufactured in the illegal West Bank settlement Mitzpe Shalem. Please see CODEPINK’s “Stolen Beauty” campaign for action steps.

Other settlement products sold in the U.S. can be found here:

Some corporations that support the Israeli Military
Please join the American Friends Service Committee in divesting personal and institutional funds from these and other U.S. corporations that support Israel’s Occupation.

Caterpillar Corporation
General Electric Corporation
Lockheed Martin
ITT Corporation
Silicon Graphics

The full, annotated list of corporations boycotted by AFSC and the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church can be found here:

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