2017 Quaker Study - "Palestine-Israel, Nonviolence, and F/friends"

The CYM 2017 Quaker Study, “Palestine-Israel, Nonviolence, and F/friends” was led by Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta, author of Refusing to be Enemies: Palestinian and Israeli Nonviolent Resistance to the Israeli Occupation (refusingtobeenemiesthebook.wordpress.com). It took place at Ottawa Monthly Meeting on the weekend of October 13-15, 2017.

The weekend featured a lecture on Friday night by Maxine, a series of workshops throughout Saturday, and a panel discussion on Sunday – all presented in videos on this page.

Friday Presentation on Palestine-Israel

Maxine’s presentation on Palestine-Israel is shown below in five parts.

Saturday Workshops

The first excerpt from Saturday workshops showed some of the reflections, concerns, and hopes that participants shared.

This second excerpt from the Saturday workshops shows some of the participants’ reflections on the documentary O Little Town of Bethlehem. This film gives in-depth profiles of three nonviolent activists in Israel-Palestine: one Jewish, one Christian, and one Muslim.

The third workshop discussed “Solidarity or Joint Struggle.”

The final Saturday workshop tackled “Normalization & the Pitfalls of Dialogue.”

Sunday Panels

Sunday’s panel on Palestine-Israel is shown below in nine parts, broken down by presenter.

Further Resources

Those wanting to learn more on Palestine-Israel should look into these select resources recommended by Maxine.


Popular Resistance in Palestine: A History of Hope and Empowerment by Mazin Qumsiyeh (Pluto Press, 2011). A summary of Qumsiyeh’s important book is at qumsiyeh.org/popularresistanceinpalestine

The Politics of Protest: The Israeli Peace Movement and the Palestinian Intifada by Reuven Kaminer (Sussex Academic Press 1996). Written by an Israeli historian who is also a long-time activist, this thorough examination of Israeli peace groups active during the first intifada includes several accounts of nonviolent actions and analysis of the “family feud” between the more politically-engaged or militant “critical left” and its more “moderate” sister groups.

The Road Map to Nowhere: Israel/Palestine since 2003 by Tanya Reinhart (Verso Books, 2006). As the title suggests, this book is mainly about how “under cover of diplomatic successes, Israel is using the road map to strengthen its grip on the remaining occupied territories.” The final chapter gives a fascinating and detailed account of the first three years of Palestinian-led joint nonviolent struggle centred on the apartheid wall in the West Bank.

Refusing to be Enemies: Palestinian and Israeli Nonviolent Resistance to the Israeli Occupation by Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta (Ithaca Press, 2011). This book is an interview-based study that presents the voices of over 100 practitioners and theorists of nonviolence, the vast majority of them either Palestinian or Israeli. They reflect on their own involvement in nonviolent resistance and speak about the nonviolent strategies and tactics employed by Palestinian and Israeli organizations, both separately and in joint initiatives.

Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions? A Quaker Zionist Rethinks Palestinian Rights by Steve Chase (Pendle Hill Pamphlets, 2017). A review in the October 2017 Friends Journal concludes: “If you feel compelled to back the Israeli state as an essential protector of the Jewish people, read this pamphlet, from someone who knows and emphasizes with your perspective, to probe further into the complex story of Zionism. If you have firmly thrown your lot in with the Palestinians, read to better understand the history and nuance of Zionism and to keep from the tendency to demonize Jews. If you are deeply perplexed about the whole conflict, take this opportunity to travel with a clear-headed and compassionate Quaker who has committed to a journey through this challenging territory toward ever-greater integrity and truth.”


Little Town of Bethlehem tells the story of three men: an Israeli fighter pilot, a Christian Palestinian, and a Muslim Palestinian who all adopt the route of nonviolent resistance. littletownofbethlehem.org

Budrus is an award-winning feature documentary film about the unarmed movement to save the village of Budrus from destruction by Israel’s Separation Barrier. www.justvision.org/budrus

The Wanted 18 incorporates live action footage with stop motion animation to tell the curious story of 18 cows who became symbol of freedom and resistance, providing milk for the Palestinian residents of Beit Sahour so that they would not rely on Israeli producers. Soon the illegal cows, cherished by the Palestinians, were being sought by the Israeli army as a threat to security. www.wanted18.com


“Faces of Hope: Learn About the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict” by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). As example of a way today’s Friends are supporting nonviolence by both Palestinians and Israelis, see afsc.org/resource/faces-hope-learn-about-palestinian-israeli-conflict

“Publications” by the Israel/Palestine Mission Network. Excellent Presbyterian Church resources on Palestine and Israel like Steadfast Hope and Zionism Unsettled can be ordered from www.israelpalestinemissionnetwork.org/main/study-resources/publications

“Thoughts on normalisation in the Israel-Palestine conflict” by Rifat Odeh Kassis. Kassis is a Palestinian intellectual, activist and board member of the Alternative Information Center (AIC). This article offers a clear definition of normalization with examples of what sorts of otherwise well-meaning projects are actually forms of normalization: www.no2brandisrael.org/thoughts-on-normalisation-in-the-israel-palestine-conflict/

“Canada and Israel: The Business of Militarism,” Quaker Concern article by Sara avMaat. quakerservice.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Quaker-Concern-Summer-2016.pdf

Want More?

For an even fuller list of resources, you can look the thorough list Maxine sent out to participants in the Study:
Recommended Follow-up Readings for Quaker Study 2017 (DOC)