Saturday, December 14, 2013


Friends for more than a century have been involved in PalestineIn 1869 Friends from New England Yearly Meeting began with traveling schools to Palestinian villages. The Friends Girls School was established in Ramallah in 1889 

and then the Boys School in 1901. Subsequently, the schools were joined into one as a co-educational institution. 

In 1948, with the recommendation of Eleanor Roosevelt, the United Nations asked the American Friends Service Committee to undertake the relief program for about 750,000 Palestinian refugees in Gaza. With the establishment of Israel, they had been forced to leave their homeland. 


By 1950,  more than 100 men and women had worked in Gaza under the AFSC program, most in their twenties or early thirties, many of them with little or no experience in relief work. The AFSC work embraced nearly every aspect of refugee life including the disbursement of food, blankets, tents, and creation of schools, childbirth centers, metal shops and recreation clubs.  

afscgazaIn March 1949 AFSC submitted a statement to the United Nations indicating its wish to withdraw from Gaza stating: "It is obvious that prolonged direct relief contributes to the moral degeneration of the refugees and that it may also, by its palliative effects, militate against a swift political settlement of the problem." On April 30, 1950, AFSC handed over the Gaza relief service to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

Since 1948 AFSC has invested in peace-building and relief efforts in the region. Over the past eight years in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, AFSC has partnered with over 4,000 young people to initiate local projects identified by their communities. After the 2009 Israeli assault on Gaza, AFSC provided humanitarian assistance to hospitals, clinics, and agencies feeding orphaned and displaced children. It has also helped families to repair damaged homes with materials not subject to the Israeli and Egyptian blockades. 

Boycott and Divestment: Quaker monthly and yearly meetings have endorsed boycott and/or divestment including Britain, Netherlands, Lake Erie, Illinois and Southern Appalachian Yearly Meetings, and about seven monthly meetings in the U.S. For a comprehensive listing of such actions see Quakers with a Concern for Palestine-Israel at

TIAA-CREF Protest - SF

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