Churches for Middle East Peace
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Israel bars Omar, Tlaib from Entering Country, as Trump Lashes Out

A look at the barring of U.S. representatives from visiting Israel, weekend holiday clashes at holy sites, and more news in this week’s bulletin.

Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) listen to President Trump's State of the Union speech in January. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

omar tlaib

Israel bars Omar, Tlaib from Entering Country, as Trump Lashes Out

"Israel’s government on Thursday barred Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from entering the country as part of a landmark visit, in a move that quickly set off a political firestorm in Washington. Omar and Tlaib — the first two Muslim women in Congress — were slated to arrive this weekend, but President Donald Trump had lobbied Israeli leaders to block them from entering the country and again lashed out at the pair on Thursday. Omar hit back, saying, 'Trump’s Muslim ban is what Israel is implementing, this time against two duly elected members of Congress.'" 

But on Friday, the Israeli government said it would allow Ms. Tlaib to enter on humanitarian grounds so that she could see her 90-year-old grandmother, who lives in the West Bank.

See CMEP’s statement in response to the barring of Omar and Tlaib here

Image: Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) listen to President Trump's State of the Union speech in January. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)


Palestinians and Israeli police clash at Jerusalem holy site

“Israeli police fired sound grenades to disperse Palestinians during confrontations on Sunday outside Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque where tens of thousands of Muslim worshippers gathered for the Eid al-Adha holiday, witnesses said. A Palestinian ambulance service said that at least 14 Palestinians were taken to hospitals for treatment. Israel’s Kan public radio said four police officers were injured. Facing off with police in the packed compound outside Islam’s third-holiest site, Palestinians chanted ‘With our soul and blood we will redeem you, Aqsa’.”

Image: The Dome of the Rock is seen in the background as Israeli police clash with Palestinian worshippers as Muslims mark Eid al-Adha, in Jerusalem’s Old City August 11, 2019. (Reuters/Ammar Awad)


Rep. Betty McCollum has become one of the strongest critics of Israeli policy in Congress

“Israel’s staunchest critic in Congress is from Minnesota. She has spent years talking about putting an end to human rights abuses around the world, including looking at human rights violations in Israel. It’s not Rep. Ilhan Omar, who has been the target of criticism for her comments on Israel. It’s her colleague: Rep. Betty McCollum. This year, McCollum, who represents Minnesota’s Fourth District, introduced the second iteration of a bill that would prohibit the use of U.S. military funding by Israel to detain Palestinian children: the Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act or H.R. 2407. Like most members, McCollum has said that she is pro-Israel and supports Israel as a key U.S. ally. But she is different from other members of Congress in her consistent, vocal criticism of Israeli human rights abuses — and for taking legislative action to try to address them.” 

Join CMEP in support of HR 2407 and encourage your representatives to cosponsor the proposed legislation by adding your voice here.

Image: Rep. Betty McCollum. (Lorie Shaull)

What's Happening at CMEP

Tell Congress: This August Support Palestinian Children and Cosponsor HR 2407!

Rep. McCollum (MN-4) has introduced legislation to protect Palestinian children detained in Israel’s military court system from human rights abuses. Encourage your representatives to join her in standing up for Palestinian children and cosponsoring H.R. 2407.


Preparing for 2020: Advocating for Rights, Justice, and Freedom in Palestine and Israel:

Join CMEP’s executive director and observer member organization American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) for an exciting two day gathering in Washington D.C. on September 7th and 8th.

Travel with CMEP: 

In this article by the Middle East Research and Information Project, our executive director explains why education is vital to the conversation of peace in the region. One of the ways we do this is through travel. CMEP pairs with MEJDI to provide the chance to hear multi-narrative perspectives through the use of two local guides, one Israeli and one Palestinian. Click the "Learn More" link below to read more about our trips. 



While Congress is in recess, CMEP is busy planning our advocacy priorities for when our reps return. Help keep our legislative work strong with your donations. 


ELCA churchwide assembly passes assembly actions related to Israel and Palestine

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is one of CMEP’s member denominations.

“On August 6, 2019, at the ELCA’s 2019 Churchwide Assembly in Milwaukee, the assembly approved by 96% (YES-829; NO-33) four Assembly Actions related to Israel and Palestine (the memorials were presented en bloc with other memorials). The Assembly Actions deal with the human rights social investment screen, the detention of Palestinian children by Israel, funding for Augusta Victoria Hospital, and continuing to listen to various perspectives on the conflict. The Assembly Actions include urgent requests for advocacy related to the Lutheran World Federation’s Augusta Victoria Hospital and the military detention of Palestinian children by Israel. The Peace Not Walls team will continue to provide resources for education and advocacy related to both.” 

Image: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America logo


Israeli MKs to Congress: thanks, but BDS bill ‘dangerous for Israel'
J Post

“Twenty-one members of Knesset from right-wing parties sent a letter to members of Congress on Monday thanking them for their recent pro-Israel anti-Boycott Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) resolution but warning them that the resolution's endorsement of a two-state solution is harmful, because the repercussions of a Palestinian state would be "far more dangerous for Israel" than the BDS Movement. The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved Resolution 246 opposing boycotts of Israel on July 23. Some 350 legislators, 175 from each party, cosponsored the resolution, which opposes the BDS movement, ‘including efforts to target United States companies that are engaged in commercial activities that are legal under US law, and all efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel.’”

Image: Lawmakers across the US have sought to restrict Israel boycotts (AFP/File photo)


Fordham University must allow pro-Palestine student group on campus, judge rules

“Years after the dean of students denied a pro-Palestine student group official recognition because their values were contrary to the school's, a judge ruled Fordham University must allow the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) on campus. After the dean denied their request, a group of Fordham students filed a lawsuit, asking a judge to require the school to recognize them. On Tuesday, Judge Nancy Bannon agreed with the students, writing that the dean of the private New York City university didn't provide a rational basis for his conclusion that SJP would be disruptive or encourage violence on campus. ‘We really do hope that this decision sends a message to other colleges and universities being pressured to censor speech supporting Palestinian rights,' Radhika Sainath, senior staff attorney for Palestine Legal, who co-represented the students. 'The courts will not stand for it.’"

Image: A protester waves a Palestinian flag during a demonstration against U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in front of the United States embassy in Santiago on December 11, 2017. (Pablo Vera/AFP/Getty)


CMEP's Bulletin is a weekly round-up of news from the Middle East and represents an array of perspectives on the issues we cover. CMEP does not necessarily agree with all the views expressed in the articles, and they do not speak on CMEP's behalf.

Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP)
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