Saturday, July 25, 2009

Update on the Conference! Watch videos and check out the organizations that participants are visiting!

The participants are still in Jerusalem and had the opportunity to listen to four very different Jewish Israeli organizations working for peace and justice.

The first organization, Rabbis for Human Rights, views their commitment to protecting the human rights of minorities and Palestinians as a religious one. They have called themselves "the rabbinic voice of conscience in Israel". The organization seeks to give voice to the Jewish tradition's concern for the 'stranger' and others vulnerable within society, and are bound by a Jewish responsibility to defy silent complicity. Check out what they do in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Participants also met with BTselem. Known for their accuracy, BTselem documents human rights abuses committed in the West Bank and Gaza and petition the Supreme Court to take action. BTselem is also known for their Camera Distribution Project which effectively gives Palestinians living under occupation a voice by providing them with cameras to document their lives. Check out some footage below!

After lunch, the participants stood in protest against the Israeli occupation with Women in Black. These brave Jewish Israeli women stand in silent protest in a public square every Friday at 1:00 pm with signs held high that call for the end of the occupation. Despite all kinds of insults hurled their way, they have maintained this tradition for over 20 years!

At the end of the day, the participants went on an ICAHD Tour. ICAHD stands for the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. ICAHD opposes and resists a practice that Hillary Clinton understatedly described as "unhelpful" to the peace process which is the Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes in occupied territory. Check out this link about ICAHD's alternative tours.

Finally, the participants moved to Bethlehem for the night and will be going to a Palestinian city heavily impacted by the occupation, Hebron. It is the only Palestinian city with settlements INSIDE of its boundaries. Therefore, there is a strong if not suffocating Israeli military presence and Palestinian movement is greatly restricted within their own city limits.

Keep reading for reflections from participants about their trip to Hebron!

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