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Faith Based

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Aims | Why | Do it yourself

 

Institutions as well as groups and individuals of different religious creeds engage in BDS activism through involvement in a religious body.


Aims

· Raise awareness in religious groups and organizations about the Israeli occupation and the struggle of the Palestinian people.
· Ensure an understanding that religion is not the issue in Palestine and instead activate religious moral principles for the defence of human rights in Palestine.
· Call on religious leaders and members to speak out for Palestinian rights publicly and in their places of worship.
· Encourage individuals as well as higher bodies (board members, investment committees, etc.) to engage in divestment of companies that support and profit from the occupation of Palestine.
· Link faith-based groups, organizations and institutions with Palestinian communities.
· Work toward achieving the full participation in the BDS campaign.


Why?

Religious institutions are seen in many communities as embodying important moral and ethical principles. As such, their support of the Israeli state imparts a sense of legitimacy onto its actions. Religious institutions must understand that the Israeli state operates on exclusionary basis and actively discriminates against non-Jewish religious faiths. This applies especially to Palestinian Christians and Muslims, who find their places of worship attacked and are banned from entering some of their most holy sites. More importantly, the Israeli state violates the central tenets of religious faith by engaging in murder, land theft, and the like. Members of faith-based organizations and their leaders can speak out for Palestinian rights, basing their language in fundamental religious precepts of peace and justice.

Major religious organizations often have large investment portfolios, and in the case of major Christian denominations, this sum totals in the billions. Furthermore, these institutions are often guided by policies of peaceful investment and have in the past divested from companies involved in the manufacture of landmines, small arms and the like. Divestment campaigns that target companies such as Caterpillar have been initiated in a number of major Christian churches. Not only will successful divestment campaigns financially weaken the Occupation, but will raise both the public profile and legitimacy of the BDS campaign.


Do-it-yourself

1. Raise awareness within your place of worship and communities

Organize discussion groups, film showings and the like focusing on human rights, Palestine, and the religious commitment to peace and justice. Religious institutions can also be used as venues for relevant speakers from Palestine to come and speak to both the congregation and the public.

2. Lobby for divestment and constructive investment

Groups within a particular religious establishment should push for divestment from companies that profit from the Occupation while encouraging investment in companies that engage in peaceful business practices. This is a process that takes time, preparation and proper organization. Those involved in the process of divestment need to understand all the dynamics of the Israeli occupation in order to not be swayed by the attacks of pro-Israel apologists and the charges they have and will level at supporters of Palestinian rights.

3. Build links with Palestinian communities

Many religious organizations, especially churches, sponsor trips to the Holy Land. Use these travel opportunities to meet with local Palestinians living in the Galilee, Jerusalem, Bethlehem and other places of pilgrimage. Churches and mosques may also want to link with and support a Palestinian congregation.

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