In continuing programming at GA related to the conflict between Palestine and Israel, a large room nearly filled with UUs listened Friday afternoon to five speakers urge justice for Palestinians. The workshop, “Broad-based Coalitions for Palestine-Israel Solidarity,” included Rabbi Brant Rosen, co-founder and co-director of the Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council; Reema Jallaq, a Muslim and Palestinian-American activist; Mary Yoder, a nursing professor in Columbus, Ohio, who has lived in Palestine; and Farrell Brody, a UU member of Jewish Voice for Peace of Central Ohio. It was moderated by Dana Ashrawi, a member of the board of UUs for Justice in the Middle East.
The speakers, and most in the audience who spoke up, said they support the business resolution that delegates will vote on on Saturday, directing the Unitarian Universalist Association to apply a human rights filter—including rights for Palestinians—before investing in any companies. All of the panelists, especially Jallaq and Yoder, went into detail about the lives of Palestinians including their lack of basic human rights. “As a Jew, I’m sensitive to anti-Semitism. Criticizing Israel is rooted in my belief that Israel can change,” said Brody. Rosen said that the Boycott, Divest, Sanctions (BDS) movement is not blocking the two-state solution for Palestine and Israel, adding, “What’s making the two-state solution impossible is the settlement going on with impunity [on Palestinian land] for so long and no one holding them accountable.”