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Rabbi Visits Spokane To Speak About Palestinian Relations

A Jewish rabbi who is visiting Spokane this weekend is hosting a presentation and sermon on his views of Israel, the Palestinians, and his own thoughts as his view changed from that of a Zionist to Palestinian solidarity activist.

Rabbi Cantor Michael Davis presently lives in Chicago, but was born in England from Jewish parents that fled Europe in advance of the Nazis.

His family, described as Zionists, then emigrated to Israel in the 1970s.

Davis moved to the US, settling in Chicago, where he has served the Jewish community since 1995.

The rabbi says he feels discussion about a possible separate Palestinian state detracts from a need to act immediately on their behalf.

“I feel our job is to uphold human rights and the crisis that’s ongoing, the violence that’s used against the Palestinian people on a daily basis, and to stand up for those rights. How that’s translated to sovereignty in one way or another, that feels like a pipe dream, and doesn’t address the issues today. In some ways it is a distraction from dealing with the human rights crises that is happening while we speak," he said.

Rabbi Davis says he is concerned by efforts here in the U.S. to put a limit on discussion of the issue.

“Across the United States, in state legislatures, and the House and Senate in Washington, legislation is moving through and has been passed that would criminalize Palestinian solidarity. So American citizens are being barred from expressing commitment to Palestinian justice,” he said.

Rabbi Davis is holding two talks and also a service and sermon at the Universalist Unitarian church in Spokane on Saturday and Sunday. You can find more information about specifics at the church website.


Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.