Day three, check.
Lots of talking, check.
Whew, today we spent a good deal of time talking with folks. Our brains were full by the end of the day, but after a great dinner and fellowship, all was good. I think the jetlag has almost been conquered.
We started this morning speaking with Dr. Mustafa Abu Sway, Integral Chair for the Study of Imam Al-Ghazali’s Work at the Holy Al-Aqsa Mosque and Al-Quds University. We had a great time hearing a bit about his story, his take on the conflicts in the region, and the challenges for Muslims during this time. Some of his gems:
As a Palestinian, you cannot reconcile yourself with occupation.
The source of hope is God.
Colonialism deprives both the occupier and occupied their humanity.
We then moved on Sabeel for conversation and communion. A long time ecumenical center for Palestinian liberation theology, Sabeel was an organization that I had heard quite a bit from colleagues, but had not been connected to until now. Our conversation was with Omar Haramy, on staff for over a decade. A Palestinian Orthodox Christian, Omar shared the stories of his growing up during as a child during the first intifada, including his family’s faith journey and struggles with the Christian Zionist messages that were being preached about whose land was whose. His grandfather,
How can I follow a God who not only enslaves me, but a God who commands it?
After lunch at Sabeel, we then went to Rabbis for Human Rights where we heard from Arik Ascherman. A Zionist, his work was around how to have an Israel that is just and open to all. We didn’t have as much time to talk with him as we were part of a larger group, but def a good perspective to hear.
After a quick walk outside to combat lingering jet-lag, we headed to Bethlehem to talk with Israeli activist, Sahar Vardi. Nothing short of amazing, Sahar broke down the cultural and institutional issues around the militarization of Israel. Having served time for refusing to serve in the military, she broke down everything from how movement leadership is centered, issues of having an economy driven by militarization, and the future of negotiations between Israel and Palestine. Too many good quote to list.
We ended the evening with a great meal with our hosts, a time filled with laughter, conversation, and wine.
See you tomorrow.