FOTONNA Advisory Council

An Advisory Council was formed in 2010 to help FOTONNA fulfill its mission and meet its goals. A widely-diverse group of individuals was approached and asked if they would be willing to serve in both an advisory capacity and a pro-active capacity when needed. All of these volunteers are well-acquainted with the situation on the ground in Israel/Palestine and have traveled there more than once. Their work is to be greatly respected, and we feel fortunate that they are willing to work on the behalf of FOTONNA and TON.

FOTONNA Advisory Council

Description of Purpose/Roles/Responsibilities

Purpose:

  • Lend support to the mission and goals of FOTONNA as it supports Tent of Nations (TON) and the programs established there by the Nassar family.

Roles:

  • Serve as advocates of FOTONNA and TON personally and professionally.

Responsibilities:

  • Provide strategic advice to FOTONNA in order to help TON fulfill its mission and goals;
  • Assist in advocating for the mission and goals of TON to media representatives, prospective donors, and others through personal and professional roles;
  • Assist with fundraising by building relationships between FOTONNA and prospective donors; and
  • Actively pursue events where the FOTONNA and TON message can be presented.

Composition:

  • The Advisory Council will consist of not less than five and no more than 15 members.
  • Individuals will be recommended by FOTONNA Steering Committee and Board Members.
  • A cross-representation of religious faiths and genders will be pursued.

Terms of Service:

  • Advisory Council Members will serve for a two-year term and may serve for two consecutive terms (extensions can be granted upon request by any member after serving for four years).

Meetings:

  • Because the Advisory Council will consist of individuals from various parts of the country, there will be only one formal annual meeting; it will be held in the DC Metro area in conjunction with Daoud Nassar’s Spring Tour. Individuals who cannot attend this meeting will be included by telephone or will be asked to provide input on agenda items prior to the meeting. (Housing and meals will be provided for those traveling from outside the area if needed. Transportation expenses will be taken into consideration.)
  • An additional conference call meeting will take place in late summer/early fall if there is an established need.
  • Other informal meetings can take place when Advisory Council members living outside the DC Metro area happen to be in town for other purposes or if an emergency situation arises.

 

FOTONNA ADVISORY COUNCIL BIO SKETCHES

Anna Baltzer is a Jewish-American Columbia graduate, former Fulbright scholar, the granddaughter of Holocaust refugees, and an award-winning lecturer, author and activist for Palestinian human rights. Since 2010, she has worked as National Organizer with the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. Anna is familiar with TON and the Nassar family through her travels to the farm.

Relevant Background: As a volunteer with the International Women’s Peace Service in the West Bank, Anna documented human rights abuses and supported Palestinian-led nonviolent resistance to the Occupation. She has appeared on television more than 100 times (including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, where she appeared alongside Palestinian presidential candidate and nonviolence leader Dr. Mustafa Barghouti) and lectured at more than 500 universities, schools, churches, mosques, synagogues, and policy institutes around the world with her acclaimed presentation, “Life in Occupied Palestine: Eyewitness Stories and Photos,” and her full-color book, Witness in Palestine: A Jewish American Woman in the Occupied Territories. She has contributed to various other books on the subject, including Shifting Sands: Jewish Women Confront the Israeli Occupation and Letters from Palestine: Palestinians Speak Out about Their Lives, Their Country, and the Power of Non-Violence. She is also co-founder of the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee.

In 2009, Anna received theArab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee’s prestigious annualRachel Corrie Peace and Justice Award and a Certificate of Commendation from theGovernor of Wisconsin for her commitment to justice in the Holy Land.


 

James Beck works as a commercial banker in Cincinnati, Ohio.  He is active in his church where he currently serves on the Finance Committee.  He also enjoys serving on the boards of not-for-profit organizations in his community.

Jim visited Tent of Nations in February 2010, while on a week-long trip to Palestine with an ecumenical group which was considering divestment of its churches’ funds from companies which profited from, or were complicit in, Israel’s occupation of Palestine.  Following that visit, in October 2010, Jim was one of the co-founding members of United Methodist Kairos Response which, while pursuing the goal of peacefully ending the occupation, has taken decisive action in support of a just peace for both Israelis and Palestinians.  At the annual conference of the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist held in June 2011, Jim presented a resolution to divest from three companies which were complicit in Israel’s occupation of Palestine.  The resolution was narrowly passed.

Relevant Background: Jim has been host to Daoud on several of his trips to Cincinnati, helping to arrange presentations to churches, schools and smaller Bible study groups.


 

Don Christensen is a retired minister in the Minnesota Conference of the United Church of Christ.  Most of his career has been in global justice and ecumenical ministries including campus ministry, Church World Service/CROP, and international education with the Augsburg College Center for Global Education in Minneapolis.

Don’s first visit to Israel/Palestine was in 1965-66, when he served as a YMCA Student World Service Worker at the new YMCA in Nazareth, Israel.  He did not return to the region until 2003, when he lived and worked for three months in the Muslim village of Jayyous, in the West Bank, as an Ecumenical Accompanier with the World Council of Churches.  In 2005, Don returned to the region as part of an Interfaith Peace-Builders (IFPB) delegation and participated in a sub-group of this delegation that did nonviolence training with Holy Land Trust volunteers in Bethlehem.

Don continues his education and advocacy work for peace with justice in Israel/Palestine by serving on the Board of Middle East Peace Now in Minnesota and a new group he started in his local church called the Middle East Peace with Justice Mission Team.  Currently, this group is working on a BDS resolution to be taken to the annual meeting of the Minnesota Conference of the UCC.

Don and his wife, Rachel, live in St. Paul, Minnesota, where energy for justice and peace is renewed by time with their new granddaughter, Evangeline.

 Relevant Background: During both of Don’s IFPB trips, he visited the Nassar family farm/Tent of Nations.  In 2005, he was a delegate; in 2006, Don co-led an IFPB delegation and made his second visit to the Nassar farm.


 

Todd Deatherage is currently working as the Executive Director of The Telos Group. He also serves on the Board of Directors of Holy Land Christians Society (HLCS) which has been supportive of Tent of Nations through a couple of small grants in 2010.

His connection with Tent of Nations and the Nassar family began a number of years ago when Mark Braverman introduced him to Daoud. At that time, Todd was working with the US State Department.

Quote: “He is one of the people I respect most in the world. I’ve visited the farm on a regular basis since I left State in 2009.”

Relevant Background: Todd worked on Middle East issues, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, for six years at the State Department and has now been directly involved with this issue full time since co-founding The Telos Group in 2009.


 

Philip Farah works as an economist in Washington, DC. His current associations include serving as Vice-President of the Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace (WIAMEP). Philip has known Daoud for several years and has attended a number of Daoud’s Tent of Nations presentations. He has helped publicize these semi-annual tours through his organization, WIAMEP, and his many personal contacts.  Relevant Background: Philip was born in Jerusalem in 1952. He taught at different schools in the Jerusalem-Ramallah area as well as at Berzeit University. After the 1967 war, he helped in founding one of the first joint Israeli-Palestinian dialogue groups opposed to the Israeli occupation. He immigrated to the US in 1978 where he studied economics at the University of New Mexico. During that time, he served as president of the Arab Student Union, which built coalitions with progressive student and off-campus groups working on peace and justice issues, including New Jewish Agenda.   He has addressed audiences across the US on issues related to Palestinian rights.  Steve France works as a news editor with the Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. located in Arlington, Virginia. He serves in a variety of volunteer organizations, including the following: Leadership Council, Sabeel DC Metro; Missioner, DC Coordinator for American Friends of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem; and, Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington for Companion Partnership with the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem. Steve also works as a pro bono attorney for political asylum cases in affiliation with the Capital Area Immigrant Rights Coalition (CAIR Coalition). In addition, he is the founder/leader of the ‘Never Again Includes Palestinians’ Vigil at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Relevant Background: Steve has had one unforgettable overnight stay at Tent of Nations (April 2010), and he has known and supported Daoud since 2007 when he helped co-found Friends of Tent of Nations North America. He grew up ‘pro-Israel’ and skeptical of Arabs. In the wake of 9/11 and as part of a more general moral awakening, he came to understand the plight of the Palestinians. The 2006 Lebanon war moved him to become educated on the history and politics of the area and to take sustained action to support the Palestinian struggle and raise awareness among Americans.  Dr. Joseph Groves serves as a Senior Fellow, Interfaith Peace-Builders (IFPB), is an Adjunct Professor in the American University International Peace and Conflict Resolution Program, and a Program Director with Nonviolence International. His focus is on Palestine/Israel education and advocacy and on nonviolence training and activism through his work with IFPB and local, community-based organizations. Joe’s involvement with Tent of Nations and the Nassar family began in 2004, when IFPB started sending delegations to the Tent of Nations. IFPB has sent over 20 delegations to visit Tent of Nations and helped organize speaking events for Daoud in the US. Joe keeps the IFPB network of over 1,000 delegates up to date on the situation at Tent of Nations, including emergency alerts. Relevant Background: Joe taught secondary school in Iraq for three years (1966-69), has been involved in Middle East education and advocacy for 40+ years and has traveled to Palestine/Israel eight times, including leading two IFPB delegations. He was on the Middle East Witness Steering Committee, served on the Fellowship of Reconciliation Middle East Task Force, was the Director of FOR Middle East programs and the Director of Interfaith Peace-Builders. He has also directed the Peace and Conflict Studies Program, taught Islam and Modern Middle East Politics, Religion, and Culture at Guilford College, and taught Nonviolent Direct Action at both Guilford and American University.


Beverly Hunter serves as a volunteer with Trinity Episcopal Church, Washington, Virginia, on the Stewardship of Creation Committee, Virginia Diocese. She is President and Founder of the Rappahannock Friends and Lovers of Our Watersheds. She is a Master Naturalist and makes maps for natural resources and conservation projects.

Bev traveled to Palestine with the Rev. Susan P. Wilder in spring of 2014 and spent a day visiting the Tent of Nations and the Bent Al-reef Empowerment Project; she spent time discussing this project with Jihan Nassar, the director of the Women’s Education Center. She traveled with Diocese of Virginia Pilgrimage to the Palestine of Jesus in March 2010 when she first visited Tent of Nations. She stayed on after the group tour and planted trees on Daher’s Vineyard. She helped host Daoud at Trinity Episcopal Church in April 2010, and she organized tours of local farms in the Rappahannock Community where Daoud was introduced to new environmentally-sound farming techniques.

Bev and others at Trinity supported the purchase of the wine press and other equipment so the grape harvest could be turned into juice for sale on the land; they also contribute to the Bent Al-reef Empowerment Project for women. You can read her comments about Tent of Nations on her blog at

http://bevhunter.com.

Relevant Background: In 1989, Bev worked briefly in Egypt with AID. She is doing some reading about the region and has a strong interest in interfaith understanding as it relates to social justice.

“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.” Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac


 

Rev. Stephen Hyde currently serves as the Senior Pastor for the congregation of Ravensworth Baptist Church in Annandale, Virginia. He is deeply involved with the church’s Holy Land Peacemaking Group. Rev. Hyde also works with The Alliance of Baptists, which includes the Bright Stars of Bethlehem in its mission projects and funding. Daoud has spoken to the Ravensworth congregation, and Rev. Hyde and some of his congregants have visited the Tent of Nations, sharing lunch with Daoud and his family in their home. Relevant Background: Since 2005, he has been to Israel and Palestine three times. The people he met there are part of his daily life, for he rarely stops seeing their faces in his mind’s eye. Rev. Hyde is a student of Middle East issues, and he has seen the face of the occupation and the inhumane strategy of daily and persistent humiliation firsthand.  

Fr. Jacek R. Orzechowski, OFM, serves as the Parochial Vicar at St. Camillus Church in Silver Spring, Maryland. He is also Chair of the JPIC Directorate of the Franciscan Holy Name Province. He works in a wide area of ministry within his local parish and the Franciscan Province with a special focus on the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Outreach. Fr. Jacek is also part of the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation, the Archdiocese of Washington Holy Land Advisory Committee.

Fr. Jacek first met Daoud in 2005 while he was on the CPT’s delegation to Israel and Palestine. Subsequently, having developed a working relationship with the HCEF, he requested that his peacemaking pilgrimages to the Holy Land include a visit to the Tent of Nations. Since then, he has taken six different groups of pilgrims there. In addition to this, Fr. Jacek and his St. Camillus parish and the nearby Holy Name College has hosted Daoud when he was here on speaking tours.

Quote: “I’ve come to deeply admire the powerful, active, non-violent witness of Daoud, his family and the Friends of Tent of Nations.”

Relevant Background: Fr. Jacek has traveled to Israel and Palestine seven times (the first time on a CPT delegation), meeting with a variety of groups involved in non-violent resistance to the Israeli occupation and promoting justice, peace and reconciliation. Furthermore, over the years, he has participated in several annual advocacy conferences organized by the Churches for Peace in the Middle East.


Rabbi Brant Rosen is the Midwest Regional Director of the American Friends Service Committee. Prior to joining AFSC, he served as a congregational rabbi for over 20 years. He is the Co-Founder and Co-Chairperson of the Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council and the Co-Founder, with Rabbi Brian Walt, of the Jewish Fast for Gaza.

Rabbi Rosen first met Daoud in 2010 during Daoud’s Educational/Fundraising Tour to Evanston, Illinois. He has subsequently kept in touch with Daoud by e-mail. In December 2010, Rabbi Rosen visited Tent of Nations with 20 congregants during their Israel/Palestine Study Tour. He and Mark Braverman (Senior Consultant, FOTONNA) have collaborated with one another in their mutual activism.

Relevant Background: Rabbi Rosen has lived in and has led delegations to Israel/Palestine numerous times and writes extensively about I/P peace and justice issues on his blog Shalom Rav. His book, “Wrestling in the Daylight: A Rabbi’s Path to Palestinian Solidarity” was published in 2012 by Just World Books.


 

Mary Kay Turner formerly served as President of Holy Land Christians Society (HLCS) and is part of the Leadership Council for Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) and The Telos Group. She is also presently on the White House Commission for Presidential Scholars. Recently she completed an appointment to the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS). Her major focus is providing Advocacy for Peace in the Holy Land and support for the diminishing Christian community in Palestine and Israel.

Mary Kay visited with Daoud at Tent of Nations in March 2010. She also hosted Daoud in her home in 2009 to raise awareness for the work and needs of the programs at the farm.

Relevant Background: In her last year of teaching (25 years), she had a Palestinian Christian student who asked if she could help the Christians in the Holy Land who have felt abandoned by so many fellow Christians around the world. She knew very little about the situation, so she made a trip to the Holy Land with two priests, learned about the struggle and founded HLCS to raise awareness in the US about the plight of the Christians. HLCS now provides scholarships, microfinance, education infrastructure, medical care at an orphanage and water projects at Tent of Nations. They have also met with about 60 members of Congress and many Administration officials to tell the story of the Christians in the Holy Land.


 

Paul Verduin is co-chair of Sabeel DC Metro, the Washington DC affiliate of Friends of Sabeel-North America.  Sabeel DC promotes BDS, sponsors trainings in nonviolence, and holds symposia such as the 2011 program “Jesus, Justice, Palestine-Israel: Challenging the Politics of Empire” which drew more than a hundred people, and the November 1, 2014 conference, “Jews and Christians, Palestine and Israel: A Call for a New Conversation.”  A confirmed ecumenist, Paul is currently active in advocacy in the ELCA Metro Washington DC Synod’s Middle East Working Group, the National Capital Presbytery’s Middle East Concerns Team, the Israel-Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) of the Presbyterian Church, the Peace Not Walls (PNW) national network of the ELCA, and the Palestine Israel Network (PIN) of the United Church of Christ.  Paul holds memberships in local Lutheran and Presbyterian-UCC congregations. He is the author of the provocative essay on the late Professor Krister Stendahl’s misguided support for Zionism and Israel’s oppressive occupation of the Palestinian territories which appears in the 2013 book, Zionism Through Christian Lenses: Ecumenical Perspectives on the Promised Land. A former General Secretary of the Abraham Lincoln Institute – a nonprofit he founded in 1997 – Paul holds an M.A. in nonprofit management and a B.A. in psychology.

Relevant Background:  Paul’s concern for justice in Palestine-Israel began in 2002 and by 2006 had become a major element in his life.  On fact-finding trips in 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2013, he covered the length and breadth of the West Bank and Israel.  During the 2008 and 2009 trips, he visited the Tent of Nations farm, meeting members of the Nassar family and becoming familiar with their stories.  He has supported Daoud and Jihan Nassar on their tours in the United States and has included narratives about the Tent of Nations in power-point presentations here in the DC area.


 

Rev. Susan P. Wilder is a consultant to the Faith Forum on Middle East Policy. She also serves on the Advisory Council, Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace (WIAMEP), is a Member, Israel/Palestine Mission Network, PCUSA and is Chair, Middle East Working Group, Grace Presbyterian Church in Springfield, Virginia.

She was “moved and impressed,” she said, when she met Daoud and heard him tell the story of Tent of Nations. Since that time, she has followed the Nassars’ work with interest and has taken groups she has led to visit the farm.

Relevant Background: Rev. Wilder has served in ecumenical and interfaith networks as a grassroots organizer, speaker and educator, working to raise awareness about the Israeli/Palestinian situation and to further advocacy for a just peace. She lived in Jerusalem from 1999 to 2002. She is ordained in the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., and has served several churches in the Washington, DC, area. Rev. Wilder graduated from Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington, and received her M.Div. from Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, California.


 

Christy Wise is an essayist, poet, and devotee of ancient Greece and Rome. She just completed a master of liberal studies degree at Georgetown University for which she wrote a thesis about the poetry that Ovid composed from exile in Tomis. With her mother, Nancy Baker Wise, she co-authored a book of oral histories from women who worked in non-traditional jobs during World War II titled A Mouthful of Rivets: Women at Work in World War II.

Christy’s essays have been published in numerous literary magazines and the Wall Street Journal. Her essay, “Memory Book,” published in Bayou Magazine, was selected as a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2010. Christy has also worked as a congressional press secretary and legislative assistant, newspaper reporter, freelance magazine writer and arts administrator.

Relevant background: Christy is an active member of the Middle East Committee at Westmoreland Congregational UCC in Bethesda, particularly with the Olive Oil Ministry. Westmoreland coordinates a seven-church coalition for the sale of Canaan Fair Trade Palestinian olive oil and donates much of the annual proceeds to the Tent of Nations. Christy traveled to Palestine/Israel in July 2011 with Interfaith Peace-Builders (IFPB) and regularly volunteers in IFPB’s Washington D.C. office.