In the countdown to the launch of the new venture, our old friend the ex-vicar of Virginia Water, now ensconced in Southampton, has thrilled his faithful by bursting onto social media with this meme.
Pretty words, granted.
But actions are more eloquent than words, and NGO Monitor has the following about Sami Awad, the quotation-provider in question, who is founder and executive director of the Holy Land Trust (HLT).
The HLT, it warns,
Conducts highly politicized tours of Israel and the West Bank promoting the Palestinian narrative and targeting church leaders and the international community, claiming to provide “cross cultural and experimental learning opportunities in both Palestine and Israel.” Suggests that its participants “limit information” given to Israeli airport security and hide the reason for their visits.
HLT runs an annual summer program “Palestine Summer Encounter.” Participants have met with representatives from politicized NGOs like Breaking the Silence, BADIL, and Grassroots Jerusalem.
Sami Awad ... has stated that non-violent demonstrations are “not a substitute for the armed struggle.”
Beginning in 2010, HLT, alongside Bethlehem Bible College, has organized the Christ at the Checkpoint Conference (CATC), a bi-annual event held in Bethlehem.
CATC seeks to advance the Palestinian nationalist agenda within Evangelical Christian churches.When it comes to demonisation of Israel Sami Awad has form. His organisation
Accuses Israel of “ethnic cleansing” and signed an “Urgent call to action” during the 2014 Gaza conflict accusing Egypt of “complicity in Israel’s genocide of the people of Gaza.”
In 2014, Sami Awad joined the “Ads Against Apartheid” campaign, which created billboards displaying to “Americans the devastating human rights abuses by the Israeli military and government against the Palestinian people. When these ads go national in the United States, Americans will start to understand the depth of the suffering Palestinians have endured under the Israeli military occupation.”
In 2013, HLT sponsored a festival in London called “Bethlehem Unwrapped,” featuring “a comedy show called “Stand Up Against the Wall,” a “Bethlehem Christmas dinner,” and a debate titled “Both sides of the Barrier – Separation or Security?” that featured Jeff Halper, founder of the Israeli Committee Against House DemolitionsThe main purpose of the barrier — to protect Israelis from suicide bombings — was erased. The festival was co-sponsored by charities that have exploited the language of morality and human rights to attack Israel for many years, including Amos Trust, Interpal, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)-UK, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, and War on Want.
In 2013, Sami Awad published demonizing rhetoric in Amos Trust’s Bethlehem Packet stating “No matter where you stand in Bethlehem, you can see the effects of the cold grip of this brutal and humiliating occupation.”
Awad has also minimized Israel’s legitimate security needs as a “manipulation” of the fear of another Holocaust. In a speech given at the “Christ at the Checkpoint” Conference in 2010, Awad stated that “the [Israeli] soldier now, who’s gone through that trauma experience [of visiting Auschwitz] now is trained in this weaponry all of a sudden is also put at a checkpoint inside the West Bank, between Palestinian areas.”
In 2011, HLT produced a film called “Little Town of Bethlehem,” a 77-minute documentary that tells the story “of three men of three different faiths and their lives in Israel and Palestine. The story explores each man’s choice of nonviolent action amidst a culture of overwhelming violence.” Using a façade of multiple viewpoints, however, the film actually presents a single narrative of Palestinian victimization and Israeli violence.
Speaking at the National Leadership Conference for the Vineyard Church in 2009, Awad told the audience: “We’ve actually done training in non-violence for Hamas leaders and other militant groups as well” (at 01:20:27 in the audio). Hamas is listed as a terrorist organization by the US State Department and the EU. Further, the US Supreme Court upheld a law criminalizing material support for terror organizations. (Holder, Attorney General, et al. v. Humanitarian Law Project et al. 2010.) The law defines “material support” as including “any property, tangible or intangible, or service, including… training, expert advice or assistance…” (See above for details of US government funding of HLT.)A BDSer? You betcha! The HLT
Supports anti-Israel BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions), including signing a petition in May 2005 calling for the academic boycott of Israel.Signatory to the 2005 “Palestinian Civil Society Call for BDS,” which calls for an end to Israel’s “occupation and colonization of all Arab lands” and promotes a right of “Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties. HLT also supports the Kairos Palestine document.
The Kairos Palestine document calls for BDS against Israel, denies the Jewish historical connection to Israel in theological terms, and blames Israel solely for the continuation of the conflict. It also characterizes terrorist acts of “armed resistance” as “Palestinian legal resistance.”
Its purpose is to rally churches globally to support BDS, delegitimization, and demonization directed at the State of Israel.
Partners with Amos Trust, Nonviolence International, Interfaith Peace-Builders, and Peacemaker Gemeinschaft.
HLT is a member of Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP), which in contrast to ALLMEP’s stated goals of working toward “peace” and “coexistence,” its members include a number of highly biased and politicized NGOs that promote agendas based solely on the Palestinian narrative of victimization and completely omit Israeli perspectives. Members include: Parents Circle Families Forum (PCFF), Combatants for Peace, OneVoice International, Sikkuy, Women Wage Peace, and others.For the full information, with links, see here
Incidentally, if you haven't seen David Collier's recent footage of anti-Israel ferals outside SOAS protesting Mark Regev's appearance there, do have a look (first video below). Much of the footage is sickening, but there are delicious moments, as when London music teacher Deborah Fink is caught passing off non-Jews as Jewish opponents of the Jewish State. Also featured: soprano Ms Fink's embarrassed warbling, a gay Israel-hater reacting asked how many gay bars there are in Gaza, and an outspoken black antisemite:
This lady is prone to lend her soprano tones to demonising Israel, I'm afraid. Here's a particularly infamous instance of her minstrelsy:
More anti-Israel clowns outside SOAS: