The Israel/Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) of the Presbyterian Church has outdone itself with the publishing of yet another reference book on Palestine/Israel, Why Palestine Matters: The Struggle to End Colonialism. This must-read chronicle unabashedly takes on the key issues underpinning the Palestinian struggle for freedom and independence. Correctly framed in international law, the book places front and center the case of refugees, Palestinian citizens of Israel, and resistance, in light of the all-important dynamic of intersectionality. The preeminent list of writers contributing to this edition are individually leading practitioners in the field and collectively comprise a treasure-well of knowledge. The light they shed and the clarity of their thoughts will guide another generation of peace and justice activists.
Palestinian-American writer, businessperson, activist living in Ramallah
It is not surprising for IPMN to produce such a necessary guide to understanding the question of Palestine and to appreciating the full picture of Palestinian suffering, sumoud and popular resistance. IPMN has been at the forefront of the struggle within the Presbyterian Church USA to do no harm, to transform charity into costly solidarity, and to divest from corporations that profit from Israel's regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid.
This precious collection transcends description to offer prescription. It offers piercing, factual analyses not just to educate but, crucially, to empower and mobilize people of conscience into morally-consistent action to stand with the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality.
Palestinian human rights defender, co-founder of the BDS movement and co-recipient of the 2017 Gandhi Peace Award.
Why Palestine Matters is a powerful articulation of the Palestine solidarity narrative, as expressed by some of the finest writers on the subject, offering a three-dimensional context to global solidarity on intellectual, legal/political, and cultural levels. A particularly unique element in this book is the fact that it offers a roadmap for global solidarity based on the values of intersectionality, which rightly views all human struggles for liberation and rights as essentially intertwined. Why Palestine Matters elevates the discussion to match the growing global consciousness regarding Palestine, as championed by the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which has grown to be a truly global movement that is both impactful and self-propelling.
Internationally syndicated columnist and author,
Editor, Palestine Chronicle
Why Palestine Matters does a masterful job of placing the Palestinian situation within the larger global struggle for freedom and equality. It shows how the struggle of the Palestinians is intertwined with US movements for racial justice, immigrant rights and more. The Israel/Palestine Mission Network has established itself as a leader in the struggle for Palestinian rights. Why Palestine Matters provides not just education for its readers, it is a manual on how to achieve peace and justice in Israel/Palestine and around the world.
Co-founder, Code Pink
This book is an important wake-up call to thoughtful Americans who have been too much narcotized by the dominant ideology of US foreign policy, with its satellites of Zionist “doctrine” in Israel and so-called “evangelical” faith in the United States. The wake-up call alerts us to the reality that Palestinians are real people who have real human needs and real political legitimacy, who live under an oppressive system of colonial occupying exploitation. This important book summons us to a new awareness that carries with it a mandate to policies and actions that bespeak compassion and embody restorative justice. This book features a remarkable assemblage of well-informed passionate witnesses. Attention must be paid!
Columbia Theological Seminary
Why Palestine Matters: The Struggle to End Colonialism provides an essential compass for peoples’ struggles for justice globally, whether one is a seasoned activist in movements for social justice or new to the work for a more just and peaceful world. Placing the quest for Palestinian self-determination squarely within the framework of international law, every chapter delves deeper, connecting the struggle for Palestinian human rights with interconnected struggles for justice around the world, including Indigenous justice, Black Lives Matter, the Women’s Movement for gender justice, and LGBTQI rights. It challenges us to de-colonize our solidarity and our theology because without justice for Palestinians, justice for all is incomplete. As people of good will confront rising tides of oppression ranging from fascism, racism and misogyny to homophobia and xenophobia, Why Palestine Matters helps us to build our capacity for co-resistance. As a study guide for individuals or groups, it is accessible, challenging and mobilizing…a must-have.”
Program Coordinator, Africa & The Middle East, Church in Mission Unit
The United Church of Canada
I was moved and inspired by this heartfelt and honest account of the daily suffering and challenges of the Palestinians and their courage to resist their oppressors through their “sumud,” kufiyah and hummus branding, hospitality, culture, theology and more. Why Palestine Matters stresses through its comparison to other colonial projects and injustices that, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." The book reminds us that “the project of human emancipation is not limited to Palestine, but it also cannot proceed without Palestine”. This reaffirming message of truth, hope and healing is a must read and a gem to be treasured. I fully recommend this teaching book to anyone wishing to understand the plight of the Palestinian people.
Palestinian people need to hear that they have not been abandoned by American Christians. All too often the silence of the world reinforces the oppression which crushes Palestinian freedom. This book from the IPMN will open eyes and ears to sights and voices which need to be seen and need to be heard if the confict in the Middle East is to be understood; and will open lips to cry for the justice without which peace will never come. This book will be welcomed by other churches across the world, and it will say a vital word of shared discipleship to our Palestinian Christian brothers and sisters.
Very Rev. Andrew R C McLellan
Former Moderator of the General Assembly, Church of Scotland
In the face of the December 13, 2017 announcement by President Donald Trump announcing Jerusalem as the capital of the Israeli State, the comprehensive work that is Why Palestine Matters is very timely. The level of anxiety and tension seems constantly on the rise in the Middle East and the unilateral U.S. move is controversial and complicates Middle East politics, contradicting the very nature of Jerusalem as a “city of peace.” This book then is needed now more than ever, in order for people to see, read and comprehend why Palestine is at the crux of it all. I not only recommend this work, but hope people take a vested interest in its subject.
Fr. Bernard Poggi
Priest of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Chaplain to the
Arab-American Catholic Community in Northern California
Because any serious understanding of Israel/Palestine, past or present, must be grounded in an honest framing, Why Palestine Matters provides us with a significant contribution, challenging the traditional Zionist narrative of a national movement for Jewish self-determination with the facts of settler colonialism. This book explores the perspectives of international law and human rights and the power of intersectionality which establishes the Palestinian liberation movement within the discourse of other oppressed groups and liberation struggles. These perspectives support the actual facts on the ground, the ongoing Nakba which is the reality for Palestinians, from Israeli citizens to refugees, while challenging the usual Israeli hasbara, creating space to consider a future where both peoples live free from an apartheid system and benefit from a resolution to decades of injustice and disappointment.
Physician, Author, Filmmaker
Palestine has always mattered and it is so heartening to finally see the uncompromising and straight up approach in the important new book Why Palestine Matters: the Struggle to End Colonialism - As indigenous people we have always understood what is happening to the Palestinians and we stand with them against the the genocide they are facing. Free Palestine!"
Madonna Thunder Hawk
Lakota community organizer, Water Protector,
co-founder of Women of All Red Nations, and lifelong member of the American Indian Movement
I am writing this letter at a time of tremendous political change in South Africa, a “second transition”, if you will.
For the last ten years, Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu’s vision and dream for a new South Africa has been corrupted to the extent that Tutu had to denounce the former liberation movement and its president in very strong terms. And when Tutu speaks, it is best to sit up and listen!
On August 9, 2014, at a march of 200 000 people in Cape Town to protest the war against the people of Gaza, I stood on a truck next to the Arch when he called Israel a bully and told them to stop the oppression of the Palestinian people. This march and Tutu’s speech raised the level of hope for people in Gaza. Unbeknownst to us, ITV was beaming the speeches and the march to a hospital in Gaza, where Dr Mads Gilbert from Norway was working at the time, and he later told us about how, when people saw it on television, this march in Cape Town gave the people of Gaza so much hope!
It is important for us to hear the voices of the Palestinian people. While analysis is always good, it should not lead to paralysis. It is therefore important that the poems, the pictures, the stories and the analysis in this book be reflected upon and that a continuous process such as “see-judge-act” should be embarked upon by all those who read this excellent book.
In South Africa, we understand and appreciate transnational solidarity. We also understand and appreciate the way in which different people justify oppression, sometimes simply by being neutral. But solidarity arises from deep love, and because this love is written into every person’s DNA, injustice can never have the last word. Christians, who claim to follow the God who is nothing else but love, should therefore understand this intuitively. From our experience, it is clear that Christians who read the same Bible and who claim to follow that young Jewish Palestinian, Jesus the Christ, often come to different conclusions.
This book gives clear guidance and should inspire us all towards non-violent action. USA citizens have a special responsibility towards the Palestinian people, and my prayer is that you will take this responsibility seriously and share your love and your faith and your hope with the people of Palestine. Because they are oppressed, Christ suffers with them and because Christ suffers with them, they will experience the resurrection that only Christ can give! Good Friday will never have the last word. Easter is coming. Freedom is coming.
May the words in this book and Nelson Mandela’s words be the seeds of a new dawn: “Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again expression the oppression of one by another”.
May God bless the publication and distribution of this great book.
Rev Edwin Arrison
Kairos SA General Secretary
February 23, 2018