Palestinian Nonviolence: Muslims, Not Christians, Are the Leaders

Huffington Post

Whenever I give talks on the effects of the Israeli occupation on Palestinian livelihood, the status of nonviolence as a means to resisting the occupation, and how I believe nonviolence is the only way to move forward to resolve the conflict and create a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, one of the first and immediate questions I get from foreign visitors to my office in Bethlehem is, “What you said is good, but what about the Muslims? Do they also believe in nonviolence? Do they understand it?” Even if I don’t mention religion in my presentation — and I rarely do — this question always seems to make its way in our discussions.

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WWJD? A Nonviolent Conflict Resolution for Palestine

Published in the Huffington Post June 2, 2011

How could a person living under military occupation, experiencing first-hand suffering and humiliation, even think about loving the enemy, let alone urge family, friends and neighbors to do the same? This challenging message came from a young rabbi named Jesus in his “Sermon on the Mount.”

Of course, Jesus could have suggested we make peace with our enemies or negotiate peace agreements or peacefully resolve conflict; those statements would have been as shocking to the suffering Jews of that time. Instead, he entreated them to go further: to “love” them. This was the word he chose — a command to all those who seek to follow him.

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Just Peace Campaign

Just_Peace_header

I have just returned from the United Kingdom where I was one of several speakers at the Annual Greenbelt Festival in Cheltenham (27-30 August). Greenbelt (www.greenbelt.org.uk) describes itself as an “independent Christian festival working to express love, creativity and justice in the arts and contemporary culture in the light of the Christian gospel.” It was a great honor and privilege to be with thousands upon thousands of people seeking to discover how we can truly live God’s word in today’s world.

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