On July 3 I awakened and began my perusal of my email, often beginning with the daily meditation from Fr.Richard Rohr, and the internet blogs and newspapers that I read daily. I had read, with great satisfaction, that the United Church of Christ had voted in a landslide to approve divestment and boycotts targeting Israeli occupation-complicit businesses. I really didn’t expect my Episcopal Church to follow a similar path in a vote at their general convention. For some reason I turned to Facebook and saw a post by the former rector of my home church in Ft.Wayne, now Bishop of Hawaii, Robert Fitzpatrick. He referred to this story by the Episcopal News Service, Bishops overwhelmingly oppose divestment in Israel, Palestine
and said this:
I think the key item to note in the article is: “Archbishop Suheil Dawani of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem has urged the Episcopal Church not to adopt a policy that would make it more difficult for him to manage his congregations and the more than 30 social service institutions throughout Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian Territories. Those institutions include schools, hospitals, clinics and centers for people with disabilities and serve people of all faiths.” There was grave concern about the Palestinian people in the occupied territories and money is included in the budget for investment in support of Palestinians.
I disagree with Bishop Fitzpatrick regarding the “key’ to the article being Archbishop Dawani’s objection to BDS. Archbishop Dawani must comply with the increasingly racist Netanyahu government or risk severe consequences.From a Haaretz article in September 2011:
Israeli authorities have granted a residency permit to Jerusalem’s Anglican bishop, Palestinian Suheil Dawani, after months of legal wrangling, the clergyman said in a message to his supporters on Tuesday. Dawani was elected Bishop of the Diocese of Jerusalem in 2007 and as a non-Israeli is required by Israeli authorities to obtain a temporary residence permit. This was granted in 2008 and 2009, but he was turned down in 2010. “It is with great pleasure, and with God’s help, that I and my family have received our ‘Residency Permits’,” Dawani said in his e-mail message to followers .
Oh, the pathetic irony here. Archbishop Dawani, a Palestinian born in Nablus in the West Bank, who lives with his family in East Jerusalem which is increasingly being cleansed of its Palestinian residents by Jewish settlers, is being oppressed by the increasingly racist occupying Israeli government under Benjamin Netanyahu . But his Episcopal Church doesn’t dare support non-violent BDS against the human rights abuses of the State of Israel against Palestinians, a tactic that led to the fall of South African Apartheid and Jim Crow in the U.S., for fear of further oppressive reprisals against Archbishop Dawani and his ministry. Huh?