Recovering Evangelicalism – Seeking a Justice-based peace in the Middle East –

Posts tagged ‘Justice’

CATC 2018 – Michael Brown – my perspective

In his presentation at Christ at the Checkpoint 2018, Michael Brown remarked on what he termed the ‘Palestinian celebration of violence’ asking, “Will you renounce the celebration of terrorism?” On the face of it this seems a reasonable request, even a demand. However, the remark and request could be reversed to ask the same of Zionist Israel. Will Israel stop celebrating violence, will it renounce and cease its terrorising activities in Gaza and in the Palestinian Territories? Sadly, like too many Messianic Jews, Michael Brown’s compassion seemed limited principally to Jews.

Let’s dig a little deeper. Mr Brown was speaking to an international audience but directly to Palestinian Christians. Palestinian Christians renounced violence over 30 years ago, even though resistance to occupation is legal under international law. In 1940 Britain approved and supported the French resistance movement against Nazi Germany, and, more recently, when Saddam Hussein’s Iraq occupied Kuwait the US formed an international force … (to read more … )

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We Didn’t Know …

… is what they said; is what they’ll say –

and I wonder ‘Why?’  How come I, a mere pew-Christian know of the  crimes against the Palestinian people this Eastertide of 2018?    And Christian Leaders stay silent (with the noble exception of Christian Aid).

Don’t they know? How can they not know? Of what, of whom are they afraid? Doesn’t the Word tell us, “Don’t be afraid, I am with you” So what is holding you back from speaking out?

Jewish Terrorism: pre- Israel

MY TELEGRAM 1119   WEEKLY INTELLIGENCE APPRECIATION

RECENT JEWISH MILITARY SUCCESSES (IF INDEED OPERATIONS BASED ON THE MORTARING OF TERRIFIED WOEMN AND CHILDREN CAN BE CLASSED AS SUCH) HAVE AROUSED EXTRAVAGANT REACTIONS IN THE JEWISH PRESS, AND AMONG THE JEWS THEMSELVES A SPIRIT OF ARROGANCE WHICH BLINDS THEM TO FUTURE DIFFICULTIES …

Apologies for the Uppercase, but that is how telegrams were formatted in 1948.  The full text of this ‘TOP SECRET’ telegram from the High Commissioner for Palestine to the British Secretary of State is available in The National Archives (a link is available from the ‘History’ page of my website where this blog is relocating. You can get to the document HERE

 

Posting this link because Robert Cohen is spot on.

 

Balfour ‘celebration’ reflection

Last evening, Nov. 7th 2017,  people gathered at London’s Royal Albert Hall to celebrate the Balfour Declaration of 2nd Nov. 1917, as ‘Partners in this great Enterprise’. Christians and Jews together celebrating the creation of modern Israel and the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous population. Maybe some of my readers will be upset by that description but if we are honest it is difficult to put any other interpretation of the facts.

Gathering inside, a mighty congregation; well, actually not so mighty. One member of ‘Raised Voices’ commented that there didn’t seem to be many people going in. I’d calculate no more than 2000 including performers, (a 600 member choir from Denmark?), in a venue that can hold over 5,000.

Outside? A very mixed bunch. Handing our leaflets was difficult, especially when RAH security backed by a massive police presence insisted we could not hand out leaflets on private property. When I was able, most people refused, were not interested in a Palestinian Christian viewpoint. Some, did take leaflets and some, a very few, seemed genuinely interested in a different perspective; they were mostly younger people.

There were pro-Israel demonstrators outside as well, including the couple from Ireland who’d ‘entertained’ us on Saturday, (not sure whether they’re sectionable, but probably harmless). One woman and her friend became quite aggressivly verbally angry when she read the banner I was carrying. The text ran as follows: ‘Biblical Christians reject imperialist, exceptionalist, Zionism. Exceptionalism is racism, “There is no distinction …” If God will not, we must not.’

What infuriated her, I believe, is that I was, ‘standing on her ground’ – ‘Bible-believing’ Christians take all God’s word seriously, and that means Zionism, the rest of us must be ‘liberals’ who don’t really believe anything and can’t really be Christian. So when I say I am a bible-believing Christian she refuses to believe it, I must really be a ‘toy’ of the ‘Muslim extremists’ who were chantinf ‘Free Palestine’ just a few metres away. More to say maybe, later, but now it’s time for a little relaxation and a coffee.

Deceit, Terror, Racism – and hope?

The State of Israel was founded and has been sustained on deceit, terror and racism, (I expect many will disagree but the facts are well established). With ‘Balfour’ round the corner, what is there to celebrate?

Are Jews safer? Than what – Bergen-Belsen? Of course they are; but, if their own reports are to be believed, they are not safe. They don’t seem to feel safe; in London, Paris, not even in Jerusalem. That they are better protected than 80 to 150 years ago is beyond question and is right. But, in establishing a Jewish state on another people’s land, in the process killing many, expelling a multitude and producing the largest and longest refugee crisis in modern times, ‘Jewsishness’ lost its soul. In becoming Zionism, as Zionists insist, Judaism became a contradiction.

Atheistic men used a promise from a god in whom they didn’t believe to justify Judaism’s right to land occupied and possessed by Arabs, the Palestinians. They claimed a messianic ‘right of return’ in the absence of the ‘messiah’ contrary to Rabbinic teaching that had sustained the community for over 1700 years.

The part played by Christians in this disaster cannot be under-stated. Evangelical Christian support for Zionism and Zionists was crucial in moving it from being a tiny and rejected minority view to becoming what is now the centre ground. Many Jews at the time suspected that what has happened would happen. That Jews outside of Israel would be suspected of favouring the ‘Jewish’ state over their own home nation. Oddly too, considering that Christians are supposedly ‘Gospel’ (good news) people, a version of Zionism is now ‘mainstream’ for many Christians. Criticize Israel and you are likely to land in hot water with the leadership.

What is to be done?

Despite the seeming negative tone above, let’s look at the positives.  Whatever we may think about its beginnings, the state of Israel exists. Similarly, many of our modern nation states seem to have been put together rather in the manner of a three-year old playing with his older brothers’ left-over Lego bricks.

What we need is a more just, a more even-handed approach, and that cannot be left to our leaders, whether in government or church. A solution is needed that brings justice for Palestinians, including the many millions of refugees, without creating further injustice for innocent Jews. There will be some; there are; who claim that there are “no innocents on the other side”. That won’t do. It will be wiser, more generous, more hopeful, more truthful, more just, for all to accept some of the blame. There are some, no doubt, who must be held to account, although how that should happen must be carefully thought through. There is no point laying up more trouble for the future.

And it does mean that we should demand from the media and from our leaders, whether in church or government, that they be less one-sidedly strident in criticism of Palestinians, and more functionally critical of Israel, which is by far the more powerful agency in the situation. By ‘functional’ I mean not just talking the talk. We have been quick enough to punish the weaker party when they seem to support terror, but we have done nothing when the stronger party acts provocatively.

Hearteningly there are people of peace on both, (or is it all) sides, and their voices need to be heard. Let us find them, make space for them, and give them the support they need. The centenary of Balfour should be a time for reflection, not celebration, a time to determine to work with what is best in Judaism, in Christianity, in Humanity, for peace with justice.

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