April 2015 – Minutes

CLJP Minutes –April 14, 2015

Monticello Room, Westminster Canterbury

Present: Chip Sanders, Carroll Houle, Taylor Beard, Ed Murray, Dianne Murray, John Peale, Hal Horan, Peter Weatherly, Carol Muntz, Bill Kerner, Elizabeth Kerner, Guy Hammond, Bill Gray, Judy Sayed, Guy Vest, Bob McAdams

Guests:     Jean Hammond, Lydia Peale, Steve Wilson, Sally Telford, Helen Reynolds, Al Reynolds, Betsy Clark, Hank Bloom,

Chip Sanders opened the meeting with prayer.

The Minutes of March 10, prepared by Dave Warren, were approved.

Murray again encouraged us to visit and use the new CLUJP website (http://clujp.org/) and share our own ideas making the site an informative clearing house for links with other organizations that share our values and hopes for peace and justice as well as important papers and upcoming events.  Peter Weatherly was also praised for the work he has done so far to revamp the website.

Guest Jean Hammond, a member of the Charlottesville chapter of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, mentioned that we include that organization as a link to the new CLUJP website.  She also asked if we could make a donation of 100.00 to handle the organization’s mailing expenses.  Horan, supported by Gray, then moved that 100.00 be given to the coalition which will use it mostly for mailings. The Motion carried.

Murray also spoke of the need for all to keep a possible future forum in mind. The  last one was held on March 1, 2011,  featuring the columnist E.J. Dionne speaking on “Taxes, Liberty and the Common Good,” with respondent Douglas Smith, then Executive Director, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy. Murray estimated that it would take about a year to effectively move from the initial decision to the actual event.

McAdams announced that Blue Ridge Virginia Chapter of United Nations Association-USA will meet this Sunday, April 19, 2015 – 3:00 pm at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Church – Unitarian Universalist 717 Rugby Rd, Charlottesville, VA

Mark Slezak, a long time humanitarian preparedness and response professional will give a special presentation on the emerging potential for information management in the planning, delivery and evaluation of humanitarian responses to major human tragedies.

The event is free and open to the public.

Program: Warren Clark, Executive Director of Churches for Middle East Peace

(http://www.cmep.org/) gave a very lively presentation referring to his July 31, 2013 statement on the “impossible” dream of peace in the Holy Land:

  1. The end of Israeli occupation of the Palestinian West Bank;
  2. Secure and recognized boundaries for Israel and Palestine;
  3. A just solution of the refugee problem;
  4. A shared Jerusalem with East Jerusalem for a Palestinian state;
  5. Recognition and normal relations between Israel and the 53 member countries  of the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference;
  1. End of conflict and an end of claims

Clark confesses to seeing solutions to the above issues sometimes more encouraged than at other times.  The consistent attitude appears to be hopeful rather than optimistic—hope being a more biblical and stronger attitude where one remains faithful to the prospect that with God all things are possible.

Clark described CMEP as a lobbying enterprise engaged in influencing members of Congress, the State Department and the White House in charting practical paths toward peaceful resolutions.  CMEP also seeks to involve churches and individuals in joining forces with CMEP since there can be obvious strengths in numbers.

A current project which Clark is championing is CMEP’s the “We Support Peace” Banner campaign inaugurated in this Easter season.

“This campaign encourages houses of worship nation-wide to publicly proclaim their support for peace and justice for Palestinians and Israelis. With Easter signifying a time for new beginnings and hope, what better time could there be to start participating?”  (See Appendix to these minutes.)

CMEP also aligns itself with like minded Jewish groups

Clark spent most of the hour fielding the many questions this topic generates, answering in a lively, articulate and concise manner.

Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu’s recent re-election was high on everyone’s mind, including his behavior just prior to the election in which he both stated that there would be no two state solution while he was president, and half heartedly walking it back the day after as well playing the “racial” card in stating that the Arab voters are going to the polls in droves.

One grievous road block Netanyahu has placed in the path to a two state solution, Clark stated, is his statement that Palestine was never a state, providing a kind of left handed justification for the West Bank settlements.  It was therefore significant that both the General Assembly of the United Nations and Pope Francis, when he visited Israel in May of 2014, have clearly reminded those who clearly need it that Palestine is a state.

In response to the argument put forth by former South African Bishop Desmond Tutu that Israel is an apartheid, Clark argues that while that may be true, since Israelis enjoy far more governmental benefits than the Palestinians, using such a term gets one nothing but anger when negotiating policies.  Hard is the life of a diplomat at times.

There is much more information available on the web site http://www.cmep.org

The meeting adjourned at 2:10 pm.

Respectfully Submitted, Hal Horan

“We Support Peace” Banner Campaign

What is the purpose of the Banner Campaign?

This campaign is focused on displaying a banner in the front yard of houses of worship across the U.S. It is our hope that various religious institutions will choose to publicly reflect their congregants wishes for a peaceful solution to the decades old conflict in the Middle East. In light of the most recent war, violence and devastation, there is an immediate need and urgent opportunity to advance this cause of peace. We hope that a strong public demonstration of support for peace and justice from people all across America will encourage political leaders to make the decisions necessary to end this tragic conflict.

What is the campaign’s goal?

The goal is to encourage and help more congregations show their support for peace so that public awareness will increase and contribute to a lasting negotiation. The objective is to have at least one banner displayed by a congregation in each of the 50 states. We will encourage and support individual congregations and church offices to share their placing of the banner. In turn, we hope that others will inquire about the cause and also wish to place a banner in their public space. Click the map to the right to see where banners are displayed so far!

How do I approach my church about participating?

You can start the discussion within your church by sending a letter to the administrative council. Click here to download a sample letter which you can use to make this step easier. After deciding to participate, you can use any of our sample newsletter articles in your church’s own newsletter to inform the rest of the congregation about the campaign. Click here to download a one-column article or click here for a two-column article (or simply use our newsletter text).

Where can I place our banner and how long does it need to be there?

Since this campaign is for us to show our public support for peace, the banner should be displayed in a place where the general public can see it, such as a church lawn or near the church’s marquee or informational sign. We would like the sign to be seen for the duration of the campaign or as long as you have it (Who has extra storage space anyway?). However, sometimes this will not be possible, so two weeks even in a combination of event or public space is requested.

Who else is supporting this campaign?

The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, has given his approval and consent to placing the banner near UN premises. Click here to read his letter.

Make sure to also check out our photo gallery to see support nation-wide, as well as our Facebook page (We Support Peace CMEP) to see individuals participating in our social media campaign.

We love seeing and sharing photos of support for peace! If you want to be featured in CMEP’s photo gallery and on our Facebook page, send an e-mail with your group’s name, your banner’s location information, and a photo displaying the banner to info@cmep.org!

For more information contact Churches for Middle East Peace at info@cmep.org, (202) 543-1222, or 110 Maryland Avenue NE, Suite 311, Washington, DC 20002.