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Dear Friend,

We are experimenting with the idea of action alerts. We are therefore sending you our first action alert on Israel/Palestine issues. The purpose is two-fold. First, if you feel able to do so, please take the proposed action – which is to send an e-mail to one or more MEPs representing your country/area. Second, please let us know if you would like to continue to receive action alerts either on Israel/Palestine issues or on any of the issues we work on. We will not send you another alert unless we hear from you. This is an opt-in, rather than an opt-out.

The message below, which we have sent to our list of MEPs who are in some way involved in Middle East issues, is intended to encourage them to sign the written declaration to which it refers. What is a written declaration? This is a process in the European Parliament by which a statement can be adopted as a statement of the whole of the European Parliament if it is signed by half the MEPs. It is very hard to get any such declaration adopted; they are open for signature for 3 months and not a day longer; if they don’t reach the number of signatures needed they lapse.

This declaration is a good one. It would provide a very useful advocacy tool at national level (to support calls for customs services to adopt a stricter regime of controls, for example) and therefore we are trying to assist in getting the number of signatures to the required level.

Please send an e-mail or letter to your MEP on this issue. You can of course use the text below if you want and adapt it a little to make it more personal. Please also send the action alert to anyone else you know who might support it. It is important that MEPs get these letters quickly to make sure they can sign the written declaration before the 6th of December 2010 when it lapses.

You can find the e-mail address of your MEPs on the European Parliament Website here:;;jsessionid=C7DE065EF83A25ACA14A0A08A6515160.node2?language=en
From there, you click on your country and for those countries which have constituencies on your constituency. Then you get the full list of MEPs. The e-mail addresses on the personal page for each MEP.

Thank you for taking action; if you get responses from MEPs, please forward them to us.

In Friendship

Martina Weitsch

Text of QCEA e-mail to MEPs:

Written Declaration on the labeling of goods from the Occupied Palestinian Territories

I am writing to alert you to the fact that MEPs Arlene McCarty, Hélène Flautre, Sirpa Pietikéinen, and Eva-Britt Svensson have put down a written declaration on the labeling of goods from the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

This written declaration will lapse on 6 December 2010 unless it is signed by half of the MEPs in the European Parliament.

The written declaration calls on the European Commission to produce guidance to ensure that the legal requirements enshrined in the Association Agreement between the EU and Israel and the decision of the European Court of Justice are fully implemented and it calls on the Member States to ensure that the legal requirements are implemented.

It further asks that this declaration is then forwarded to Member State parliaments to ensure that the elected representatives of citizens at national level are alerted to this issue and are able to take the necessary action to ensure that the governments of Member States do follow this call and the guidance to be issued.

This is an entirely sensible declaration; if adopted, it will contribute to the adherence of Member State customs services to EU law and treaties; it will enable EU citizens to make informed purchasing decisions on the basis of accurate information.

I would urge you to sign the declaration and to encourage colleagues to do likewise.

The written declaration – Number 0064/2010 of 6 September 2010 – is accessible on the internet at:;

In Friendship

Martina Weitsch
Quaker Council for European Affairs
Square Ambiorix 50
1000 Brussels

Italian Members in Parliament

Rick Seifert
Location: Portland, Oregon, United States
I’m a semi-retired journalist and former college teacher of journalism. Much of my time is devoted to volunteering in my Portland neighborhood of Hillsdale, where I publish an on-line newsletter, The Hillsdale News ( As a Quaker, I am active in the Multnomah Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. In addition, I maintain a typewriter collection and am fascinated by the lore, aesthetics and workings of these wonderful old machines. I occasionally try my hand at painting and drawing.
In our Quaker meeting are folks who accept Jesus as their personal savior.

In our Quaker meeting are fervent atheists and non-theists.

In our Quaker meeting are those who have found numerous other spiritual places, each as different as the individuals themselves.

And yet, in our Quaker meeting we thrive on and even rejoice in our differences.

How is this?

Consider two Quaker practices.
Our shared spirit
We share and proclaim the undeniable experience of an inexplicable spirit. It is self-evident in each of us and in our relationships.

It is a constant. It defines life. It is life.

Some call this spirit “God.” Early Friends proclaimed it, and most still do, as “that of God in everyone.”

For me the word “God” is burdened with associations. My list is long: the “Thou shalt” Father, a flowing white beard, fear, “a mighty fortress,” cloudy thrones, retribution, etc.

I don’t want THAT within me.

So, I, and others, say there is “that of the spirit in everyone” and some add ”and in everything.”

Other Friends have successfully freed “God” of such baggage. Or it simply no longer matters. “That of God in everyone” works for them. Some Friends have told me they don’t consider my “baggage” to be baggage at all. They find it divinely essential or historically significant or quaint or compelling or curious or simply irrelevant.

Worshipping without words
And that brings me to the second reason that Quakers are, as Friends say, “radically inclusive.” In our worship we put words, and the differences they define, aside. We unite in silence. We connect and unite with the one, unifying spirit (or “God” if you choose) in stillness.

At times we are sorely tested, but we know silence leads to the healing spirit.

We return again and again to this stillness. It is our great solace. It is our guide. It compels us — as individuals and as a community — to decide and ultimately to act.

As for the rest of it, the religious part, it’s words which often fail us. But we listen and rejoice. One Friend’s description of the spirit that is true for him or her gives me joy! I shouldn’t be surprised or angered if those words don’t match my own. The ineffable spirit is the same. Why should I not rejoice?

I know the communal celebration of that joy, our joy, resides in the shared, wordless stillness and unity of our silent worship. From that centered gathering emanates unity, truth and leadings of the spirit which spread to all, both in our community and the greater community beyond.

I share all this because I believe there is a profound universality to “radical inclusiveness.” Today, as always, it urgently needs to be celebrated and practiced in a world threatened by division and strife.

Established in 1990 the GANDHI INFORMATION CENTER has been freely available for Education and Culture. It has more than a hundred members at home and abroad, amongst them well-known scientists, artists and authors such as the Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Count Serge Tolstoy (1911-1995) and Professor Joseph Needham (1901-1995).

The Gandhi Information Center became well-known all over the world on account of the distribution of the Manifesto against Conscription and the Military System. This Manifesto revives attention to two manifestoes signed by Gandhi, Einstein, Buber, Freud and Tolstoy’s assistants Birukoff and Bulgakov against military training of youth. In the meantime this Manifesto has been translated into 25 languages and has been signed by more than 200 outstanding personalities from over thirty different countries.

Since 1990 the Gandhi Information Center for Research and Education on Nonviolence, has organised educational activities with publications about the Life and Achievement of Mahatma Gandhi. The Gandhi Information Center has made contacts all over the world and contributes to an international network.

The nonviolent, active resistance as developed and lived by Gandhi is to serve as focus and support. Connected with this the active members wish to document the origins of Nonviolence in multifold traditions (e.g. the nonviolent doctrine of Tolstoy in Russia, the Civil Disobedience of Henry David Thoreau, the Civil Rights Movement of Martin Luther King in the USA, the Social Ethics of John Ruskin in England, the Arc communities of Lanza del Vasto in France as well as the reasons of conscience of religious conscientious objectors in Austria and Germany).

Satyagraha was the title under which the Gandhi Information Center has recently published information for its members. The first two issues were dedicated to the commemoration of Gandhi’s 125th birthday and our correspondences to the followers of Leo Tolstoy in Russia.

Support the Gandhi Information Center, P.O.Box (Postfach) 210109, 10501 Berlin

Our e-mail-address is:

Our internet website is:

The annual membership is 180 Euro, reduced membership is 60 Euro.

Financial support of the volunteer work of our Center is requested for account number 495283-106, Postbank Berlin, Bank Code 100 100 10 – – BIC: PBNKDEFF – IBAN: DE77 1001 0010 0495 2831 06

This manifesto has been translated into more than 25 languages and it has been signed by many signatories, among them four Nobel Peace Laureates. It is aimed to have the Manifesto signed by more individuals who are publicly active in Peace, Ecology and Human Rights issues or in Scientific and Cultural spheres.

Please address your signatures (with name, address and date) to the:

Gandhi Information Center, P.O. Box (Postfach) 210109, D-10501 Berlin

We have signated on internet web site and you?

Pogrom is a Russian word meaning “to wreak havoc, to demolish violently.” Historically, the term refers to violent attacks by local non-Jewish populations on Jews in the Russian Empire and in other countries. The first such incident to be labeled a pogrom is believed to be anti-Jewish rioting in Odessa in 1821. As a descriptive term, “pogrom” came into common usage with extensive anti-Jewish riots that swept Ukraine and southern Russia in 1881-1884, following the assassination of Tsar Alexander II. In Germany and eastern Europe during the era of the Holocaust, as in Tsarist Russia, economic, social, and political resentment of Jews reinforced traditional religious antisemitism. This served as a pretext for pogroms.

The perpetrators of pogroms organized locally, sometimes with government and police encouragement. They raped and murdered their Jewish victims and looted their property. During the civil war that followed the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, Ukrainian nationalists, Polish officials, and Red Army soldiers all engaged in pogrom-like violence in western Belorussia (Belarus) and Poland’s Galicia province (now West Ukraine), killing tens of thousands of Jews between 1918 and 1920.

After the Nazis seized power in Germany in 1933, Adolf Hitler publicly discouraged “disorder” and acts of violence. In practice, though, street violence against Jews was tolerated and even encouraged at certain periods when Nazi leaders calculated that the violence would “prepare” the German population for harsh antisemitic legal and administrative measures implemented ostensibly “to restore order.” For example, the orchestrated nationwide campaign of street violence known as Kristallnachtof November 9-10, 1938, was the culmination of a longer period of more sporadic street violence against Jews. This street violence had begun with riots in Vienna after the Anschluss of Austria in March. Kristallnacht was followed by a dramatic surge in anti-Jewish legislation during the autumn and winter of 1938-1939. Another period of street violence had covered the first two months of the Nazi regime and culminated in a law dismissing Jews and Communists from the civil service on April 7, 1933. The summer before the announcement of the Nuremberg Race Laws in September 1935 saw frequent violence against Jews in various German cities. Such street violence involved burning down synagogues, destroying Jewish-owned homes and businesses, and physical assaults on individuals. Kristallnacht was by far the largest, most destructive, and most clearly orchestrated of these “pogroms.”

During World War II, Einsatzgruppen (popularly known as mobile killing units) received orders from Security Police Chief Reinhard Heydrich to tolerate and even encourage the indigenous populations living in newly conquered Soviet territory in launching pogroms. The pogroms (with varying degrees of spontaneity) in towns such as Bialystok, Kovno, Lvov, and Riga complemented the German policy of systematically eliminating entire Jewish communities in the Soviet Union. On June 29, 1941, as Nazi Germany and its Axis partner, Romania, invaded the Soviet Union, Romanian officials and military units, assisted at times by German soldiers, killed at least 8,000 Jews during a pogrom in Iasi, in the Romanian province of Moldavia. On July 10, 1941, Polish residents of Jedwabne, a small town located in Bialystok District of first Soviet-occupied and then German-occupied Poland, participated in the murder of hundreds of their Jewish neighbors. Although responsibility for instigating this “pogrom” has not been fully established, scholars have documented at least a German police presence in the town at the time of the killings.

By late summer of 1941, increasing instances of corruption, plunder, settling of old scores, destruction of important economic resources, and the infiltration of former communists into groups that perpetrated the “pogroms” led the German authorities to abandon the practice on the Eastern Front. German SS and police units purged hastily recruited auxiliary police units and began to carry out systematic and controlled massacres of entire Jewish communities in the occupied Soviet Union.

Although the Germans abandoned them as a tool of annihilation policy, pogroms did not end with World War II. In Kielce, Poland, local residents launched a pogrom against surviving and returning Jews in the city on July 4, 1946. Mobs attacked Jews after false rumors spread that Jews had abducted a Christian child whom they intended to kill for ritual purposes. The rioters killed at least 42 Jews and wounded approximately 50 more.

The pogrom in Kielce was one of the factors that led to a mass westward migration of hundreds of thousands of Jews who had survived the Holocaust. Known as the Brihah, this movement brought Jews from Poland and other countries of eastern Europe to displaced persons camps located in the western zones of occupied Germany and Austria, and in Italy. A fear of violent pogroms was one motivation that led the vast majority of Jews to seek to leave postwar Europe.

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer

We must act and dare the appropiateness and not whatever comes to our mind not floating in the likelihood but grasp the reality as brave as we can be freedom lies in action not in the absence of mind obedience knows the essence of good and satisfies it, freedom dares to act and returns God the ultimate judgment of what is right and what is wrong, Obedience performs blindly but Freedom is wide awake Freedom wants to know why, Obedience has its hands tied, Freedom is inventive obedient man respects God’s commands and by virtu of his Freedom, he creats new commands. Both Obedience and Freedom come true in responsability (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

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