Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Just asking questions

The recent announcement on the Israel/Palestine Mission Network web site , as well as the PNS, that IPMN and two other Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) groups are calling on the Department of Justice to stop subpoenaing “dissenting activists” opens some interesting questions and thoughts about alliances and even righteousness.

Evidently the DOJ and the FBI are interested in knowing if any of the activists groups are supporting terrorist groups. Presbyterians might be interested in the righteous questions.

According to news articles linked in the IPMN announcement, the house of Hatem Abudayyeh, Executive Director of the Arab American Action Network, was raided by the FBI as part of the ongoing investigation. While many may disagree with the Arab American Action Network's honoring of Helen Thomas after she suggested that the Jewish people of Israel should go back to Poland and Germany, it is not a crime. It is, in fact, part of the wonderful freedoms we as Americans enjoy.

And while the AAAN’s push for only one state in Palestine, and not a Jewish state, might be considered political it also belongs to our freedoms.[1] There might be some concerns about AAAN's young people being sent to the U.S. Social Forum where they learn to use divestment tactics that would seem, at least to me, to be against the law.

One young Arab American mentioned in the AAAN newsletter, “met people involved in Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns against Israel around the country and learned creative tools like de-shelving Israeli products from stores or labeling them with boycott stickers.”[2]

But what the DOJ is really concerned about, as stated above, is activists groups supporting terrorist groups. And this may be because of several connections. The conference,”Palestine: One Land, One People, One Destiny,” notice in the AAAN Newsletter was sponsored by the United States Palestinian Community Network. They write that they are anchored in the following objectives:

· Self-determination and equality for the Palestinian people
· The right of all Palestinian refugees to return to their original homes, lands, properties and villages (a natural right supported by international law and UN Resolution 194)
· Ending Zionist occupation and colonization of Palestine[3]
The USPCN grew out of the first Palestinian Conference held in 2008. That conference was endorsed by many groups including those outside of the United States. The first on that list is the Higher Committee for National and Islamic Forces a grouping of Palestine organizations united during the second intifada. (Please click on the link.)

Although not very active now, some of the groups in the National and Islamic Forces are considered terrorist groups including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. For more information see “IMPN: Stop Investigating Possible Terrorist Supporters.”

So there are questions to be asked and answered and perhaps it is the PCUSA who should ask some of them. Or answer them.

[1] Scroll down on link.
[2] Again scroll down.
[3] The USPCN workshops at the United States Social Forum can be seen here

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