Protesters disrupt world’s largest Christian Zionist summit over Israeli occupation of Palestine

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Security staff were kicked out by security forces for interrupting speeches of delegates. (Supplied)
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Protesters chanted anti-Zionism slogans. (Supplied)
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Protesters chanted anti-Zionism slogans. (Supplied)
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Demonstrators blocked an entrance to the conference center. (Supplied)
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Protesters prayed, sang and read out the names of Palestinian children they believe were harmed by Israeli policies. (Supplied)
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Demonstrators blocked an entrance to the conference center. (Supplied)
Updated 13 July 2019
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Protesters disrupt world’s largest Christian Zionist summit over Israeli occupation of Palestine

  • Over 100 Christians, Jews and Muslims joined the protests
  • The demonstrators interrupted the speeches of various plenary speakers

AMMAN: Interfaith peace activists heckled speakers at the summit of the world’s largest Christian Zionist organization in a protest over the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Demonstrators were forcibly ejected from the Washington meeting by security staff after disrupting the speeches of key convention delegates.

More than 100 Christian, Jewish and Muslim protesters chanted slogans and waved banners inside and outside the annual conference of Christians United for Israel (CUFI), which had CUFI founder John Hagee, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and US Vice President Mike Pence as plenary speakers.

The joint action by faith leaders and community members was in protest over CUFI’s support for the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Several protesters disrupted the speeches of Hagee and Pence with Tarek Abuata, director of Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA), standing up and shouting, “Zionism is racism.” He was handcuffed by security officials and carried out of the convention center while calling, “People of God, wake up! Protect the Palestinian people.”

 

Christian and Jewish faith leaders also interrupted the US vice president’s address, chanting, “Jews and Christians say no to Zionism.” They too were dragged from the hall by conference guards.

One of them, Jonathan Brenneman, an American Palestinian activist, told Arab News that his actions were carried out in order to expose the occupation and express his views that Christian Zionists were not adhering to the true Christian faith.

FOSNA national organizer, Rochelle Watson, who also disrupted Pence, said: “We have reached a point where remaining faithful requires us to take bold action by speaking truth to power.”

During Hagee’s speech, protesters shouted, “Israel imprisons children, our God liberates” and “Israel demolishes homes, our God shelters.”

Outside the summit, demonstrators blocked one entrance to the conference center, and later an intersection. They prayed, sang, and read out the names of Palestinian children they claimed had been killed or injured as a result of Israeli policies, while holding up posters that read, “Reclaim Our Theology” and “Thou Shall Not Kill.”

The coalition of faith groups included the FOSNA, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), and the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR).

Jonathan Brenneman, a Palestinian-American Christian with the Mennonite Church, said: “I’m here in sacred witness for Mohammed, a 14-year-old Palestinian boy, whose leg was amputated after he was shot by Israeli soldiers.”

Another protester with Queers Against Israeli Apartheid, in New York, said: “I’m here because I have been struggling against the messaging that ‘all Jews support Israel.’ We just need to resist in a holistic way against the forces of empire that are using religion to do this work.”

Abuata said of the action: “We are here to bear sacred witness and hold CUFI accountable to a theology of love.”


Widespread blackout hits Venezuela, government blames ‘electromagnetic attack’

People pour to the streets in Caracas on July 22, 2019 as the capital and other parts of Venezuela are being hit by a massive power cut. (AFP)
Updated 15 min 42 sec ago
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Widespread blackout hits Venezuela, government blames ‘electromagnetic attack’

  • Venezuelan Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said the outage on Monday was caused by an “electromagnetic attack,” without providing evidence

CARACAS: More than half of Venezuela’s 23 states lost power on Monday, according to Reuters witnesses and reports on social media, a blackout the government blamed on an “electromagnetic attack.”
It was the first blackout to include the capital, Caracas, since March, when the government blamed the opposition and United States for a series of power outages that left millions of people without running water and telecommunications.
The blackouts exacerbated an economic crisis that has halved the size of the economy.
Venezuelan Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said the outage on Monday was caused by an “electromagnetic attack,” without providing evidence. He added that authorities were in the process of re-establishing service.
Power returned for about 10 minutes to parts of southeastern Bolivar state, site of the Guri hydroelectric dam — the source of most of Venezuela’s generation — but went out again, according to a Reuters witness. Electricity was still out throughout Caracas.
“It terrifies me to think we are facing a national blackout again,” said Maria Luisa Rivero, a 45-year-old business owner from the city of Valencia, in the central state of Carabobo.
“The first thing I did was run to freeze my food so that it does not go bad like it did like the last time in March. It costs a lot to buy food just to lose it,” she said.
The oil-rich country’s hyperinflationary economic crisis has led to widespread shortages in food and medicine, prompting over 4 million Venezuelans to leave the country.
Venezuela’s national power grid has fallen into disrepair after years of inadequate investment and maintenance, according to the opposition and power experts.
“These blackouts are catastrophic,” said 51-year-old janitor Bernardina Guerra, who lives in Caracas. “I live in the eastern part of the city and there the lights go out every day. Each day things are worse.”