Greetings from Boston, where World Series fever blends with a fervor for peace and an angry opposition to Sabeel's event. Here is a link to the Boston Globe article by Michael Paulson:
The report that follows is my own, highlighting Naim Ateek's keynote address.
Oct. 27, 2007
OCCUPATION IS EVIL, NAIM ATEEK TELLS BOSTON CONFERENCE
Boston -- “In the past five years, in 21 conferences in American cities, we have condemned occupation. It is evil and it must end,” the Rev. Naim Ateek, director of the Sabeel Center, said last night. Ateek welcomed a record 750 participants to the Sabeel Conference in Boston. “We have condemned violence and terrorism, whether it is carried out by the Israeli government and army or by Palestinian extremist groups,” Ateek said.
“Peace is knocking at our door," Ateek said. “Israel and Palestine can life in peace side by side.” Sabeel is an ecumenical liberation theology center in Jerusalem.
Sabeel represents “voices of peace and justice for Israel and Palestine,” said Ateek, “We are Palestinians and Israelis, Jews Christians and Muslims.” Together all these are witnessing Israel's “blind obsession for Palestinian land, a desire to ethnically cleanse the land,” he said. “Is is no longer merely occupation but racism,” he said, “and even Jewish writers are using the work apartheid to describe it.”
Ateek said that South Africans who have visited the occupied West Bank say the situation surpasses apartheid, exceeds apartheid practices. There is not a Separation Wall in South Africa,” he said.
Dispossession of the Palestinian people is Israel's objective, according the Ateek. “It is a crime against God and against fellow human beings."he said, “As apartheid ended in South Africa, so the God of justice and peace, mercy and love, demands that we combine our efforts against occupation. It must end. Human dignity must be restored to the Palestinians. Justice must be done, based on pre-1967 borders, with the creation of a Palestinian state living in peace and security alongside Israel.”
South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu opened the Sabeel conference with a blessing, saying, “God believes in you, looking down on this assemblage, God smiles a little and says, `Thank you for wanting to help me make this a slightly better world.'” Tutu will present a keynote address Saturday afternoon,