Following on Jeff Halper’s visit to this colourful August Bank Holiday festival last year, this year’s line-up of speakers include Clare Short, Ilan Pappe, Abe Hayeem and Brian Klug, all associated with ICAHD UK and the struggle for a just peace in Israel/Palestine.
Greenbelt Festival trustees visited Israel/Palestine in early 2009, and seeing with their own eyes what is happening in the Holy Land, decided to make it a principal theme of Greenbelt for the next three years.
Principles of justice have always been at the heart of Greenbelt. The organisers describe the festival thus:
Our 37-year history is firmly rooted within a Christian tradition which is world-affirming, politically and culturally engaged. Ours is a belief that embraces instead of excludes. And, as such, the Festival is family-friendly celebration, inclusive and accepting of all, regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexuality, background or belief.
The festival has great impact on the lives of Christian people nationwide, people who yearn for the radical social gospel of Jesus the Jew to be reflected in our churches and in our society. Many church leaders go for an annual recharging of their spiritual and intellectual batteries for the following year’s common round of ministry. Theoretically, there should be much there to be enjoyed by people of all faiths and none.
So it is an important platform of influence on the church community and beyond. For several years, the Rediscovering Palestine network of organisations has worked actively at the festival, with ICAHD UK Director Linda Ramsden playing her usual full part.
For more information, to read a blog by Linda on Clare Short’s participation in this year’s festival, and to listen to a podcast of Jeff Halper talking to Phil Smith, a Greenbelt organiser, go to http://www.greenbelt.org.uk/about/campaign