The Action of Immediate Witness to end the blockade of Gaza and growth of Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory failed to achieve the needed majority to pass.
Debate was, at times, emotional.
David Keppel, a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington, Ind., argued that it was important to bring peace to Israel and Palestine. “Hope lies in a multilateral and peaceful settlement to this dispute,” he said. “We are not free to walk away from our responsibilities. The U.S. is the enabler of these policies. We must be active for peace.”
William Turner, a member of the UU Church of Miami, said “I stand equally on the side of love and against oppression . . . I don’t think we can take a stand on this issue. But we can take a stand on actions. Israel is vulnerable while at the same time they’re culpable of some bad mistakes and some sad violence. They’re surrounded by violence and receiving violence with dedicated groups of people wishing their destruction.”
Pat Moor-Pickett, a member of the UU Church of Davis, Calif., said that her congregation was engaged in similar debates about the issue, and supported the AIW. “I’m here to support this vision of peace,” she said. “A blockade of the Palestinians and the walls preventing their crossing are not a way to build peace. I’m here to support peace for Palestine, Israel, and Gaza.”
Greg Robinson, a member of the UU Congregation of Little Rock, Ark., criticized the assembly for thinking that it could create policy for another country. “Many of us may think we’re well informed but may be using biased sources,” he said. “That’s the danger of trying to come up with a solution for another country. I oppose this from a multicultural basis”
Denny Davidoff, a member of the Westport, Conn., UU congregation agreed. “We’re on the verge of winning the chutzpah award for having the blindsided temerity to think we can influence whole governments in the space of a 30-minute debate. The problem is that our caring for the people of Israel and Palestine is very real. What we need to be about is working out a way to stand in solidarity with all the oppressed people of the world.”