The National Committee of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship has voted unanimously to give its Peaceseeker Award for 2013 to Jewish Voice for Peace and the Israel/Palestine Mission Network.
The joint interfaith award recognizes Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and the Israel/Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for their courageous work for justice and peace in Palestine and Israel and for their prophetic witness to the Presbyterian denomination at the 220th General Assembly in Pittsburgh last summer.
The Peaceseeker Award has traditionally recognized Presbyterians on the front lines of reducing war and violence, beginning with the first award to General Assembly Stated Clerk William P. Thompson in 1970. The 2013 award will be formally presented at the Peace Breakfast sponsored by the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship in June 2014, during the 221st General Assembly in Detroit.
“In making this award to a Jewish organization,” said PPF Co-Moderator the Rev. Libby Shannon, “the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship recognizes all those in the Jewish community who see the injustice of the Israeli occupation of Palestine and who have the courage to stand up against powerful forces of prejudice and violence. Jewish Voice for Peace carries forth the faithful witness of the biblical prophets. The Presbyterian Peace Fellowship celebrates their work of nonviolence in the face of violence.”
Jewish Voice for Peace is a national U.S.-based organization of Jews dedicated to ending the occupation of Palestine. They provide leadership across the country, showing great courage and commitment in their bold effort to hold the State of Israel, Jewish and Christian communities, and the U.S. government accountable to the fundamental justice values of those faiths and nations. For more information, see www.jvp.org
The award co-recipient, the Israel Palestine Mission Network, has grown quickly to become one of the most important witnesses for peace and justice in the PC(USA). “The Israel/Palestine Mission Network,” says Peace Fellowship Executive Director Rick Ufford-Chase, “has worked without ceasing for more than seven years, showing energy, intelligence, imagination, and love as they have listened to the voices of Christians, Muslims and Jews in Palestine and Israel, who cry out for an end to the occupation and the establishment of the things that make for peace. We are grateful to consider them our partners, our teachers and our leaders.”
The IPMN is one of several dozen denominational networks that bring together local Presbyterian church members across the U.S. who share mission concerns in a common region of the world.
The IPMN members study and visit the region and have led efforts in the PC(U.S.A.) to boycott products produced by Israeli companies in the illegally occupied settlements in Palestine, as well to call the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to refrain from profiting from investments in corporations that help the Israeli government enforce the now four-decade old occupation. For more information, see www.theipmn.org
In July 2012, the 220th General Assembly of the PC(U.S.A.) voted to call Presbyterians to boycott Israeli products produced in the illegally occupied territories. The action to divest from three U.S. corporations profiting from the occupation failed narrowly. The work of Jewish Voice for Peace and the Israel/Palestine Mission Network will continue in this historic effort to end the occupation and to find a fair and peaceful resolution to the conflict.
Also supporting that goal, the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship is a national community of Presbyterians founded in 1944 to act on the gospel of the nonviolence by working to reduce war and violence in the world. For more information, see www.presbypeacefellowship.org