Sunday, December 2, 2007

Matt Duss writes on Sabeel's History of Nonviolence

Returning once more to the terrific Sabeel Conference in Boston (October 2007) , it was great to meet Matthew Duss there. He has written an excellent analysis for The American Prospect, entitled "A History of Nonviolence."

The article is at:

A History of Nonviolence

Matthew Duss
November 15, 2007

Palestinian leader Naim Ateek has long advocated nonviolence as the only way to secure peace between Israel and Palestine. So why is he so despised by hard-line Israel supporters?

"The Palestinians need to become really conscious of and sensitive to the horror of the Holocaust. ...We must understand the importance and significance of the Holocaust to the Jews, while insisting that the Jews understand the tragedy of Palestine for the Palestinians."
- Rev. Canon Naim Ateek, founder of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem

"Naim Ateek had just turned 11 when forces of the Haganah, the pre-Israel Zionist paramilitary organization, occupied his village of Beisan in Palestine. Days later, the villagers were informed that they were to be "evacuated," forcibly moved off land that Palestine's Jewish minority now claimed for its own state. Ordered to gather in the village center, the Ateeks took what they could carry, and joined the other frightened families, all clutching heirlooms, photographs, jewelry, and awaiting an uncertain future, away from the homes in and lands on which their families had lived for generations.

It is perhaps surprising then, that even after this experience of forcible dispossession, and even after the shock of the 1967 war, in which thousands more Palestinians were displaced and the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem came under military occupation, even after years of witnessing and enduring brutality at the hands of Israeli soldiers and settlers, Ateek has been a constant advocate of nonviolence as the only course for Palestinian independence. A parish minister to Palestine's small Christian community since 1966, Ateek founded the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in 1989 for the purpose of developing a theology to help Palestinians cope with and overcome the daily oppression and injustice they continue to endure as a subject population under military occupation."

[See the complete article at]

The comments that follow the Duss article provide some interesting reading too. I don't remember if I've seen the "Tikun Olam" web site before, but this connection is insightful:

And I'm familiar with Eileen Fleming's "We Are Wide Awake" - Http:// - good to see her connecting.

Advent blessings of hope, Ann Hafften

For more bulletins from Ann Hafften, go to

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