Keynotes & Workshops

Keynotes

Daoud Nassar

Daoud Nassar, aDaoud_hat Palestinian Christian farmer, is Director of the Tent of Nations Project on his family farm, 6 kilometers from Bethlehem.   His one hundred acre farm is surrounded on three sides by Israeli Settlements, and below by the Palestinian village of Nehalin.   It is on this farm that the family strives to maintain a haven of peace and brother / sisterhood.  International visitors join together to plant trees, harvest olives and fruit, teach at the Women’s Education Center and pusue a just peace through non-violent activities.  Since 1991, the family has managed to maintain its legal claim to the land they have owned since 1916. On May 19, Israeli forces bulldozed the family’s groves destroying several hundred trees.

 He has a Bachelor’s Degree from the Bethlehem Bible College, and Master’s degree in Business from the Bethlehem University.  Mr. Nassar has traveled to the United States twice each year since 2007 and spoken at nearly 300 venues under the sponsorship of Friends of Tent of Nations North America. In June 2013, he was invited to preach at the well known Riverside Baptist Church in New York City.

Jeff Halper

Dr. Jeff HalHalperper is the Co-founder and Director of ICAHD, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. He was born in 1946 in Hibbing, Minnesota, attended Macalester College and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and emigrated to Israel in 1973. Since then he has been a tireless advocate for justice and civil rights for all Israelis and Palestinians. He co-founded ICAHD in 1997 to help resist Israel’s strategy of house demolitions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. He is the author of three books. In 2006 he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, citing ICAHS’s work “to liberate both the Palestinian and the Israeli people from the yoke of structural violence” and “to build equality between their people by recognizing and celebrating their common humanity.”

The Israeli Committee Against House Demolition is a human rights and peace organization established in 1997 to end Israel’s Occupation over the Palestinians. ICAHD takes as its main focus, as its vehicle for resistance, Israel’s policy of demolishing Palestinian homes in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and within Israel proper. ICAHD was awared UN Economic and Social Council Special Consultative Status in 2010.

 

Workshops

Al Nakba — Souheil Ailabouni & Stephen Bennett

“Al Nakba” — “Nakba” refers to events in 1947-48 that transpired when the British vacated Palestine and Israel became a state. What followed was catastrophic for the Palestinian people. Israeli forces pushed more than 750,000 Palestinians from their homes, confiscated their land and destroyed more than 500 of their villages.  “The Sons of Eilaboun,” which will be shown during the workshop, tells the story of the October 1948 Israeli attack on the Palestinian village of Eilaboun. The villagers were expelled from the village and forced on a five-day march to Lebanon. Speaking in conjunction with the film is Souheil Ailabouni, who is one of the “Sons of Eilaboun” and Stephen Bennett who will put the event in context.

Faiths and a Land Called Holy — Chuck Lutz

“Faiths and a Land Called Holy: Too Much Fundamentalism, Too Little Faithfulness.”  We will address the reality that fundamentalists in all 3 Abrahamic traditions (Muslim extremists, Jewish right-wingers, Christian Zionists) insist they know God’s plan for the land. Their exclusivist visions have no room for compromise. Yet without political compromise there’ll never be a just peace for all the peoples in that land. We’ll also underscore that all 3 monotheist faiths offer hopes and visions for diverse peoples living together in peace and justice—being faithful to the best in each tradition.

Conflict and Occupation: Women and Children Carry the Burden — Ibtesam Al Atiyat

“Conflict and Occupation: Women and Children Carry the Burden” — I will discuss the impact of the conflict and occupation on the lives of Palestinian children and women.  I will demonstrate how sweeping restrictions have led to unprecedented levels of poverty, unemployment and social and health problems for the entire Palestinian population in the Occupied Territories, but have had significant impacts on the quality of lives of women and children. Mobility restrictions, refusal or delay of passage at Israeli army checkpoints, blockades and curfews, have caused multiple complications for women in need of medical care, and in some cases have even resulted in the death of many pregnant women and/ or their babies. Moreover, the conflict and occupation has led to a significant transformation of gender roles. Women found themselves in the position carrying out multiple roles having to substitute for the absence of their husbands, who have either lost their lives for the conflict or sitting in Israeli prisons. The conflict has also had  negative impact on men who in light of being oppressed by the state of occupation, have grown more aggressive at home subjecting women and children to further violence. Finally, it goes without saying that the situation in which security is lacking and the denial of dignity and respect for human rights including the right to life, deprives children normal development many of their counterparts in the World enjoy and take for granted. The situation of occupation, constant destruction, death of family members or neighbors and friends, in addition to the fact that children were targets of several airstrikes and raids, affects the development of  Palestinian children, and demand a just resolution of the conflict.

Water Issues in Israel / Palestine — David Van Wylen

“Water Issues in Israel / Palestine” — Workshop attendees will learn about the geography of the Jordan River basin, the current state of water management and use in Israel/Palestine, past and present efforts to achieve fair and just allocations, and technologies being developed to address water scarcity in the region.

The Gaza Strip: A Humanitarian Crisis and the Silence of the International Community — Jehad Adwan

“The Gaza Strip: A Humanitarian Crisis and the Silence of the International Community” — I will discuss brief history and events of the conflict, and impact on the lives of ordinary Palestinians. I’ll share some personal stories. I will also discuss the local, regional, and international implications of the conflict and why it is imperative to find a political solution.

Using BDS as an Educational Tool — Sylvia Schwarz

“Using BDS as an Educational Tool” – I will first introduce BDS as a mass mobilizing tactic for justice. I will discuss some of the successful BDS campaigns and successes of the campaigns which focus on Israel. Then I will discuss some of the lesser-discussed benefits of BDS, including the use of it to educate the people doing the boycotting.

Democracy or Not!  Israel’s Laws that Discriminate — Phil Benson

“Democracy or Not!  Israel’s Laws that Discriminate” — Since it’s founding as a state in 1948, Israel has regularly passed laws that have institutionalized discrimination against Palestinians in all aspects of life. This talk will address some of Israel’s more insidious discriminatory laws which will equip you with information that you can use to immediately refute any claim that Israel is or ever was a true democracy.

Palestine-Israel in the Media : Past, Present, and Possibilities for the Future — Stephen Bennett

“Palestine-Israel in the Media: Past, Present, and Possibilities for the Future” — This presentation will provide an overview of historical mass media representations and images of Palestine-Israel. After exploring modern journalistic and entertainment media narratives of the Arab-Israeli conflict, we will then discuss motivations and methods for utilizing traditional and social media for attaining the ‘permission to narrate’ in order to forward to goals of Palestinian solidarity activism.

Challenging Zionism — Karen Schraufnagel & Ilana Rossoff

“Challenging Zionism”  Through this workshop we hope to:  Deepen our understanding of Zionism as the root cause of the oppression of the Palestinian people;  Incorporate challenging Zionism into our Palestine solidarity work and thereby transform that work;   Understand the differences between Zionism & Judaism, enabling us to simultaneously challenge Zionism and anti-Semitism.

Engaging the Churches — Bill Plitt

“Engaging the Churches in the Palestinian struggle for Justice” — In light of  injustices throughout the world, how do we capture the attention of the people in the pews, and provide ways to respond from the Christian call “to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God”?  This session will begin with a personal accounting of how a local church responded, and  identify the strategies that enabled such a commitment to occur over a five year period leading to a pilgrimage to the Holy Land.   Participants will also hear how a movement which began at the grassroots level, grew across the broader church leading to support for boycott, divestment and sanctions at the denominational policy level.  There should also be opportunities to hear how others are addressing this question.

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