Pittsburgh Conference Planned on Nonviolent Responses to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

15 Oct 2015


A sign at the entrance of a family farm near Bethlehem reads “We refuse to be enemies.” The farm belongs to Daoud Nassar, a Palestinian Christian who operates a peace center there known as the Tent of Nations that has welcomed Christians, Jews and Muslims from all over the world. Although his family has farmed the land since the Ottoman era, he has battled in the courts for over 20 years to keep it from being confiscated by the Israeli government.

Mr. Nassar will be a keynote speaker at a conference over the weekend of October 16-17 held at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. The conference is being organized by Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA). Sabeel, an ecumenical organization seeking justice and peace in the Holy Land, was founded in Jerusalem in 1993 to draw the world’s attention to the struggles endured by Palestinian Christians living under Israeli military occupation. FOSNA promotes the vision of Sabeel by holding ecumenical conferences in cities throughout the United States and Canada.

FOSNA shares Mr. Nassar’s conviction that the best way to oppose the Israeli occupation is by following the path of nonviolent resistance, pursuing issues of justice and international human rights. The conference will focus on the links between racism in the United States and Israel, the crisis in Gaza, and the treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli prisons.

In addition to Mr. Nassar, keynote speakers will include Pittsburgh native Rev. Taurean Webb, Assistant Pastor at the Second Baptist Church of Evanston, IL and Scholar in Residence at the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference; Dr. Mads Gilbert, Professor of Emergency Medicine, University of Tromso, Norway, who worked as a trauma surgeon in Gaza during Israel’s 2014 incursion; and Brad Parker, International Advocacy Officer and attorney for Defense for Children International Palestine.

The conference, entitled “We Refuse to be Enemies: Struggle for a Just Peace in Palestine-Israel,” will be hosted by the Metro Urban Institute and the World Mission Initiative at the seminary. It will include plenary sessions, an interfaith panel discussion, and workshops led by Muslim, Jewish, and Christian activists, including Pittsburgh’s own Jasiri X. Workshops will include discussions of boycott, divestment and sanctions, art and activism, and holding “difficult discussions” about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek, founder of Sabeel, will also speak at the conference. His most recent book, A Palestinian Christian Cry for Reconciliation, was described by Dave Robinson of Pax Christi USA as one that “can finally open a clear path to justice, reconciliation, and forgiveness for all the peoples of the Holy Land.”

Event Date: 
Friday, October 16, 2015 (All day) to Saturday, October 17, 2015 (All day)
Sponsored By: 
Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA)
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary is located at 616 North Highland Avenue in Pittsburgh
Target Audience: 
General Public