2020 Annual Report

Because of the COVID quarantine, 2020 provided challenges for individuals, families, churches, businesses, and entire communities.  The poor, those under occupation, the refugee, and those on the margins of society were impacted in the direst of ways.  This means that organizations committed to a just peace and solidarity with the oppressed needed to redouble their efforts in prioritizing those oppressed and silenced voices.  This was our charge and challenge at Indiana Center for Middle East Peace (ICMEP) for 2020, how to, in the midst of a pandemic, fulfill its mission as the “Indiana voice of peace, justice, human rights, and intercultural encounter.”

2020 was the 15th anniversary of ICMEP’s first program, with Dr. Raed Mualem, Headmaster, Mar Elias Educational Institutions, Abuna Elias Chacour’s schools, Ibillin, Galilee, Israel.  In those 15 years, ICMEP:

     + hosted 200+ programs, featuring artists; scholars; diplomats; performers and artists; religious, political, and NGO leaders; journalists; filmmakers; and others;

     + sponsored and led 14 Solidarity Tours, with 240+ travelers to Palestine and Israel;

     + screened 17 films;

     + hosted 11 concerts, performances, and exhibits;

     + began the tradition of ArabFest, now its own 501c3 organization;

     + was instrumental in the formation of Fort Wayne for Refugees, its own 501c3 organization;

     + held ArabFeast and TaybehFest;

     + established our ICMEP YouTube Channel;

     + consulted in the formation of Kairos West Michigan and Michiana Voices for Middle East Peace;

     + and more.

ICMEP suspended in-person gatherings by mid-March; before then, we hosted three programs:

     Bibi Bahrami, AWAKEN (Afghan Women’s and Kids’ Education and Necessities)

      A Thousand and One Journeys: Arab Americans in the US – documentary  

     Rabbi Brant Rosen, Tzedek Chicago

Beginning at the end of March, ICMEP began a regular schedule of Zoom programs and interviews featuring films as well as discussions with scholars, journalists, medical professionals, religious leaders, musicians, and activists both in the US and in Palestine and Israel (all are available on our ICMEP YouTube Channel).
     Zoughbi Zoughbi, Wi’am Conflict Resolution Center

     Dr. Abdelfattah Abusrour, Al-Rowwad Cultural Arts Center, Aida Camp, Bethlehem

     Dr. Jeff Halper and Awad Abdelfattah, One Democratic State Campaign

     Steve Sosebee, Palestine Children’s Relief Fund

     Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, Palestine Medical Relief Society

     Josh Ruebner, author, activist, American Muslims for Palestine

     Rev. Liz Theoharis, Poor People’s Campaign

     Rev. Graylan Hagler, racial justice activist, Plymouth Congregational Church, DC

     Rev. Carrie Ballenger; Lutheran Church of Our Redeemer, Jerusalem Old City

     William Rivers Pitt, Truthout

     Sam Bahour, Americans for a Vibrant Palestinian Economy

     Sieglinde Weinbrenner, Lutheran World Federation; Dina Nasser, Augusta Victoria Hospital – Jerusalem

     Max Blumenthal, journalist, author, filmmaker

     Dr. Andrew Bacevich, Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft

     Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intifada

     Sahar Vardi,Jewish Israeli refusenik; American Friends Service Committee, Jerusalem

     From Balfour to Banksy – documentary

     Linda Sarsour, Palestinian-American activist; Co-Chair, Women’s March on Washington DC (2017)

     Dr. Ahmed Abdelmageed, The “I” in Immigrant

     Occupation of the American Minddocumentary

     Sut Jhally, Media Education Foundation

     Dr. James Zogby, Arab American Institute

     Rifat Kassis, Global Kairos for Justice, Bethlehem

     Rabbi Alissa Wise, Jewish Voice for Peace Action

     Ronnie Malley, Palestinian-American oudist, Concert & Conversation

     Dr. Ilan Pappe, scholar, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine

     Jonathan Kuttab, Palestinian human rights lawyer, Beyond the Two-State Solution

     Garth Hewitt, Troubadour for Justice, Concert & Conversation, UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights

     Becoming Political Actors: Strategies for Palestinian Liberation As We Enter the Biden Administration, with

Huwaida Arraf, Palestinian-American human rights lawyer; Beth Miller, Jewish Voice for Peace Action; Jeff

Halper, Israel Committee Against House Demolitions, One Democratic State Campaign; Awad Abdelfattah,

One Democratic State Campaign; Robert Herbst, human rights lawyer; tribunals in Sierra Leone, Rwanda

Thanks to Ahnee Conner and her committee (Terry and Margie Dougherty, Patricia Pendleton, Linda Kerr, Pam Etheridge), we held a successful Virtual Zoom Gala, Happy Birthday ICMEP: 15 Years Faithful.  It featured:

     + An interview with Dr. Ilan Pappe;

     + On-Line Auction

     + Dance performance, Youth from Al-Rowwad Cultural Arts Center, Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem

     + Birthday greeting song from Ronnie Malley

     + Mission Partner highlights:  Al-Rowwad Cultural Arts Center, Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem; Multipurpose Resource Community Center, Nablus; Playgrounds for Palestine; Tent of Nations farm, Bethlehem; Wi’am Conflict Resolution Center, Bethlehem; and introducing our new Mission Partner, Huda al-Masri Pediatric Cancer Department, Beit Jala

     + Presentation of first annual Joan N. Coslow Beacon of Peace Award to the Muslim Alliance of Indiana

Prior to the Gala, we showcased the work of ICMEP through:

     + Six Slide Show 15-Year Retrospectives (Diplomats & Scholars; Jewish & Muslim Voices of Conscience; Concerts, Films, & Performances; Activists; Palestinian Guests; Solidarity Tour Highlights) – with birthday greetings from ICMEP members and supporters, as well as friends and partners across the US and in Palestine and Israel

     + a Slide Show, They Matter: Black & Palestinian Voices, that was shared nationwide by other Palestinian rights organizations and denominational Palestine-Israel Networks (PINs)

We also accomplished the following during 2020:

     + We were co-signers on three CodePink Open Letters (first, to the Democratic presidential candidates, opposing the criminalization of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions, and the redefinition of anti-semitism; second to President-elect Biden, urging him to stop the Saudi-led war in Yemen; third, to Formula 1 driver, Lewis Hamilton to boycott the 2021 race in Saudi Arabia); a Friends of Sabeel North America petition on supporting divestment from Procter & Gamble, and other companies benefitting from Israel’s occupation; and endorsing the Global Kairos for Justice “Cry for Hope”; and a Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy petition to the International Criminal Court to provide justice for murdered Palestinians (whose deaths Israel has refused to investigate and their bodies Israel has refused to return to their families);

     + Dr. Spath serves as a member of the Global Kairos for Justice Coalition, based in the Christian community in Palestine, with representatives from South Africa, India, the Asia-Pacific, Germany, Norway, Canada, the US, and others; and on the US Task Force, including representatives of denominational Palestine-Israel Networks, to implement the Global Kairos for Justice “Cry for Hope”;

     + Dr. Spath serves on the ICAHD-USA board, and as an adjunct to the One Democratic State Campaign;

     + We recruited denominational Palestine-Israel Networks (PINs) and other national Palestinian rights groups as co-sponsors for a number of our programs;

     + We co-sponsored and/or participated in programs and initiatives by: Poor People’s Campaign; Jewish Voice for Peace Action; Jewish Voice for Peace-Detroit; various denominational Palestine-Israel Networks; Joining Hands for Justice in Palestine and Israel-Atlanta; Pilgrims of Ibillin; Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace-Washington DC; and Friends of Sabeel North America;

     + Thanks to the vision and expertise of Board Chair, Terry Dougherty, we implemented a new platform,

            Network for Good, to enhance our relationship-building and communication with our members;    

     + Thanks to the expertise of Board Vice-Chair, John Detraz, we created an ICMEP YouTube Channel, a virtual

library of interviews, presentations, musical performances, and more, which increased our national presence;

     + We bid farewell to our dear board member and friend, Joan Coslow, and named our “Beacon of Peace” Award in her honor;

     + We enthusiastically added two new board members, Linda Kerr and Pam Etheridge;

     + Through our Zoom interviews, through participating in national programs, and through Dr. Spath’s involvement in national and international organizations, ICMEP has grown its national and global presence and influence.

A word about 2021. 

We recommit to our mission as “the Indiana voice for peace, justice, human rights, & intercultural encounter.”  To do this, we will:

     + For the foreseeable future, meet virtually, continuing to host Zoom programs, performances, and interviews with change-makers, justice-advocates, and peacemakers, in the US, the Middle East, and around the globe;

     + Grow and strengthen a broad spectrum of relationships, partnerships, and coalitions with:

  • local faith and interfaith communities, especially Christian pastors and churches;
  • local community social justice, human rights, and peace groups;
  • denominational Palestine-Israel Networks (PINs);
  • statewide Palestinian rights organizations, eg. Jewish Voice for Peace-Indianapolis; Michiana Voices for Peace & Justice in the Middle East; Emmaus Road Mennonite Fellowship-Berne; Students for Justice in Palestine; Muslim Alliance of Indiana; Manchester University Peace Studies Program; groups in South Bend, Lafayette, Bloomington, and others;
  • national organization, eg. Poor People’s Campaign; Jewish Voice for Peace, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, American Muslims for Palestine, Washington Report for Middle East Affairs.

     + Increase our virtual presence – upgrading our webpage, our Facebook friends and Twitter followers, YouTube Channel, and other web resources;

     + Work strategically to influence the political process locally, statewide, and nationally.

With gratitude for our ICMEP board, for our Palestinian partners, for Jewish, Christian, Muslim voices, and those of all people of good will, and for our friends, benefactors, and supporters!  WE THANK THEM ALL!

L. Michael Spath
   L. Michael Spath, Executive Director

Terry Dougherty
   Terry Dougherty, Board Chair

On behalf of the board:

     Terry Dougherty, Chair: John Detraz, Vice-Chair; Patricia Pendleton, Secretary; Ahnee Conner, Treasurer
     Ahmed Abdelmageed, Ron Caldwell, Pam Etheridge, Sam Jarjour, Linda Kerr, Amar Masri, Barbara O’Connor, Loren Woody