Peace In The Middle East: Could Christians Be The Barrier?

Finding a path to peace in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is perhaps one of the greatest global dilemmas facing our generation. The issue is complex, has no easy or cookie cutter solutions, and doesn’t appear to be something that will be resolved anytime soon… unless something changes.

Jesus has called us to be peacemakers in the world– something Paul went onto say was the “ministry of reconciliation” given to all of us who follow Christ. We are all born into a world that is broken and hostile in many ways, yet when we decide to follow Jesus we accept the tough job of finding creative ways to make the world a little less broken, a little less hostile, and a little more like heaven.

In the past generation, Evangelical Christianity in America had a fatal flaw: it reduced the Gospel to being an individualistic salvation transaction whereby individuals are reconciled to God. While this is wonderful, it is what is often called the “truncated Gospel” because it is only part of the Gospel.

You see, Paul said that when Jesus was on the cross he was reconciling all things to himself. If we are to be imitators of Christ and embrace the job of the “ministry of reconciliation”, we must also be a people who are busy reconciling all things to God. Yes, we must help reconcile individual people to God, but we must also help reconcile individuals and people groups to each other, as well as reconciling creation (the environment) to God as well.

Therefore, part of living out the Gospel is helping people reconcile with each other. On a small scale, this means we must be people who help reconcile two individuals to each other (such as encouraging and supporting marital reconciliation when appropriate) but must also include entire people groups who must be reconciled– such as the Israelis and the Palestinians.

While many world leaders over the years have attempted to be agents of reconciliation, we’ve never experienced any sort of lasting peace. Some just throw up their arms and say “there will never be peace” and abdicate their role in the ministry of reconciliation, while others try… with limited results.

There is a barrier to achieving peace in the Middle East. Some would also correctly say that there are many barriers– but I’m beginning to think that there is a core barrier that makes Western influence completely ineffective in achieving lasting peace, and that the barrier in question might actually be…. us.

Christians.

It’s tough to look in the mirror and admit one’s faults, but I think if we can step back and remove emotion from the situation as much as possible, we’d see that we are a major barrier to there ever being legitimate peace agreements between Israel and Palestine.

You see, peace making and reconciliation is a complex process– something that’s more of an art than a science. However, there are a few basic elements that must be in place at the beginning of a process of reconciliation if such a process is to be remotely successful:

– Both (all) parties involved must come to the table willingly, and humbly.

– Both parties must become willing to admit mistakes and ask forgiveness.

– Both parties must be willing to work together (negotiate) a solution and path to reconciliation.

Unfortunately, Western influence often fails to encourage Israel to come to the table with these three foundational attitudes of peace making. When Western leaders actually attempt to, they catch major back-lash from the Christian powers that be and are labeled as “anti-Israel” for simply wanting to come to the table with all potential solutions open for discussion.

And, this is where I think one of the major barriers to peace in the Middle East is us: too much of Western Christianity holds to the theological view that we must be unwavering supporters of Israel unless we wish to face the wrath of God. Any hint of negotiation (such as sharing the land which most Evangelicals believe would be unbibical) earns a quick and public outcry against whatever leader had the audacity to even hint that sharing and living in peace could be a potential solution.

As a result, Western leaders are often less than supported in encouraging any legitimate and viable solutions to the crisis. If our leaders are to be of any use to a peace process, they must be empowered and encouraged to push Israel to negotiate (give a little and take a little) in order to find a solution which works for both sides.

Unfortunately, the errant “I stand with Israel” theology prohibits negotiations. Public voices such as John Hagee have made it clear that Christians must never support dividing (sharing) the land– there’s no room for any negotiations on the matter. Since this arm of Evangelicalism has so much political power in America, their attitude often becomes our corporate attitude and even foreign policy.

This is a barrier.

Furthermore, the attitudes that flow from this theology actually push us further away from peace. Unfortunately, the concept of “supporting Israel” has become “whatever Israel does, we must support it.” This faulty idea that whatever they do must be supported by the Christian powers has often given Israel carte blanche to engage in oppressive and unloving behaviors which go completely unchallenged.

A prime example happened just this week: Israeli forces showed up at Tent of Nations, a Palestinian farm, and took bulldozers to 1500 apple and apricot trees just before harvest. Why? They wanted to take the land. So, they destroyed the landowners farm, and buried the soon to be harvested food under mounds of dirt.

This is abhorrent behavior that should be unilaterally condemned. Yet, Israel does things like this on a consistent basis without so much as a peep from the power holders in American Christianity. Were these Christians (the Evangelical political power holders) actually concerned with the biblical mandate to be peacemakers, there would be a host of options at our disposal to address oppressive behavior like this. We do it all the time with other nations— but not with Israel. Israel gets a free pass with their behavior.

Reconciliation in any relationship cannot happen until there has been legitimate repentance and a change of heart. Yet, we’d never dare call Israel to repent– whatever they do, so the theological praxis goes, must be supported.

Funny– “love the sinner hate the sin” gets thrown around when referencing my gay friends, but with Israel it is “love the sinner and support the sin”.

How “supporting Israel” became “we must embrace and support the sins of Israel” I’m not entirely sure– but this is a major barrier to peace in the Middle East. While I do not embrace this “pro-Israel” theology, even if such a theology were true, the attitude we are seeing does not pass biblical muster.

Case in point: in the Old Testament, clearly Israel (different from the Nation State of Israel today) was chosen by God and set apart to be a blessing to all nations as a result of God’s promise to Abraham. But did God himself blindly support everything Israel did? Certainly not– he allowed them to wander in the wilderness because of sucky attitudes, allowed them to go into captivity, and at one point he even says he divorced them. Furthermore, he sent a long line of prophets– not to tell the future–  but to rebuke Israel and to tell them that he was repulsed by their religiosity because they were failing to live justly with those around them (see Amos 5). God even came in judgement in AD70 to destroy her temple.

If God can rebuke Israel for abhorrent behavior, why can’t the American Christian do so?

It seems being “pro-Israel” to God and being “pro-Israel” to an American Evangelical, look quite different.

Therefore, regardless of whether or not Israel remains a “chosen” and “separate” people by God (something I believe the New Testament rejects) even God himself historically has not blindly supported Israel’s behavior when she has rejected his ways.

I appreciate the heart and intent of the pro-Israel movement; they’re simply trying to be faithful to the scriptures as they understand them. However, when our understanding of the scriptures causes us to reject the central mandates of peacemaking and enemy love taught by Jesus, I think it’s safe to say that we’ve misunderstood the scriptures.

The peace conflict in the Middle East is in fact, one of the most pressing issues that the next generation of Jesus followers will have to deal with. If we actually want to be successful in making peace and reconciling people, we cannot continue to blindly tolerate Israeli oppression. Oppression must always be confronted with the hopes the oppressor will repent and experience a changed life– even when that is a corporate entity or an entire people group.

Let us be peacemakers. Let us reconcile individuals to God– and let us reconcile people groups to each other.

But let us first repent of being such a major barrier to peace in the Middle East. Instead, let us invite both sides to come humbly in a spirit of negotiation, encourage them to repent of the times they have harmed one another, and let us find a path to peace that respects both people groups as being bearers of the divine image of God.

"What about Achan’s family in the book of Joshua?"

Complicity: Yes, it Actually is “All ..."
"You really went off the deep end in this one."

To Those Christians Who Say, “God ..."
"Serious question - have you studied that area? (and/or elsewhere) It's stereotypical a bit, but ..."

To Those Christians Who Say, “God ..."
"Collective guilt has not shown to be a Biblical concept. You can only imply guilt ..."

Complicity: Yes, it Actually is “All ..."

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!


What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Jakeithus

    Cory, thanks for this. While I agree that the Western Christian approach to the Middle East should be reexamined (mainly in that it should speak up louder in defense of the Christians living there, whom neither Israel or its Muslim neighbours are too kind to), it’s a little simplistic to blame Western Christians as the biggest barrier to peace, or to suggest that only they are too one-sided in their support.

    Outside of Western Christians, Israel is disproportionately condemned and criticized by individuals and on the international stage. Whitewashing over Israel’s responsibility in the conflict doesn’t do any good, but the opposite happens just as much if not more so. Unfortunately, extremism only begets more extremism, and this happens on both the right and the left.

  • natsera

    Israel treats its Christians and Muslims with full equality, and they have every right that Jews have, except for the obligation to serve in the military. In fact, Arab Christians are now asking NOT to be grouped with Muslims, because they know that Israel is their country, and it is the only country in the Middle East where they are not persecuted. They are increasingly voluntarily enlisting in the military, because they know they are Israelis and they are happy about it. I can’t say the same thing for Christians in Muslim countries.

    Other than that, you are right about Israel being disproportionately condemned by people who only have a superficial knowledge of the history and legal status of the former Palestine Mandate, and the illegal actions that Jordan and Egypt took at the end of the 1948 war. Jordan renamed Judea and Samaria as the West Bank in order to dissociate the area with its Jewish history, and never accepted the Arabs there, whose roots were exactly the same as the Jordanians. All they had to do was live in what was then called Palestine for a mere TWO years in order to be considered refugees — they had originally come from Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Arabia — they were NOT the original inhabitants of the land in the vast majority of cases.

    I am saddened by all the people who come to strong opinions without knowing the facts.

  • Jakeithus

    Natsera, while I understand your defense of Israel, it’s bordering on the whitewashing that I speak of in my post. One can be a supporter of the state of Israel (which I am), without having to absolve them of all wrongdoing. The fact is, there are numerous Palestinian Christians who find themselves in a bad situation thanks in large part to the actions of both Israel and Muslims.

    The real world is messy, realizing and accepting this makes for a better resolution than insisting everything be treated in black and white.

  • natsera

    I am not whitewashing. Just stating some facts. And not all of them. But here’s an additional one: if Jews are found committing crimes against Arabs, they ARE prosecuted. Of course, not all Jews who commit crimes are caught, nor are all Arabs. But the law and the courts are there to protect everyone. There are protests going on at this moment against the Jewish Tag Machir (Price Tag) acts of vandalism, and while it is notoriously difficult to catch vandals, the Israeli police is working to find and make operational ways to catch them.

    I would like to know some specifics about how Christians are mistreated in Israel, and separately, in Judea and Samaria — I have heard plenty in the mainstream press about mistreatment of Christians in Egypt and Syria, for example, but nothing about Israeli mistreatment. You would think such reports would be widespread, considering the general bias against Israel that we see in the West.

    I am in no way asserting that Israel is blameless, but I am asserting that Israel bears far less of the blame than the Palestinians and Arab states do.

  • yasalaam
  • WonkishGuy

    Do you realize how hypocritical it is to deny that someone who has actually lived for two years in Palestine is not entitled to staying/returning there, while also presumably supporting the Law of Return which has no residence requirements?

    I understand where religious people, whether Christian or Jewish, actually get their blind support of Israel from: they’re convinced that God has given this land to the Jewish people and that the Palestinians are mere intruders. But it frightens me when I see people who are not believers adopt a “might makes right” attitude that assumes that because the Jewish people once held the land, they now have a right to displace whomever occupied it after them. But why should it be the case? That land was ruled by so many people that it seems bizarre from a secular perspective to consider that the Jewish people has a unique claim on it because it ruled it for a few hundred years a very long time ago, and not even continuously.

    The Romans also ruled this part of the world for quite a long time. But it doesn’t mean that the Italians could have decided to invade. Various Muslim populations also ruled that part of the world for a long time. Why are their claims any less legitimate?

    NOTE: I fully support Israel’s right to exist, if only because anything else would lead to massive human suffering inflicted on innocent people who are fully entitled to live their lives in the country that they love.

  • Matthew Bade

    I know next to nothing about Middle Eastern conflict, so I might be off base, but I do have one thought to offer the discussion. If American Christians would start with the premise that every cubic inch of the cosmos is sacred space, then maybe we would be less inclined to defend the claim that Israel’s land is given to them by God. Of course, they have a right to their own space, but maybe not necessarily the space they want. Maybe we as American Christians would be more fair-minded if we could see that all space is God-given, and it’s given to all people.

  • guest

    Even black holes? Lave fields? The acid atmosphere of Venus?
    Gee thanks God. What a beautiful sweater. I’ll wear it…later.

  • natsera

    I notice that you, like many Americans and Europeans, are content to place the entire blame for the lack of peace on the Israelis, without a glimmer of acknowledgement that there has been and is a lot of wrongdoing on the part of the Palestinians. THAT, my friend, is where the failure of the peace process lies. How do you think *I*, as an American Jew, feel when I watch videos posted by MEMRI, which translates Arabic and Persian language telecasts into English, and listen to Arabs shouting “Death to all Jews!” or “Jews are monkey and pigs”, or watch a Palestinian children’s show where a tot is praised for wanting to grow up and kill Jews? If I find that frightening, as an American, how do you think the Israelis feel?

    Secondly, you provide no context for what you show as a horrible misappropriation of land. WHY did this happen? For the fun of it? I doubt it.

    The legal context of Jewish life in Israel and what was the Palestinian Mandate is very clearly delineated in the agreements as to the disposal of the Ottoman Empire. The Palestinians got 78% of the Palestinian Mandate, but they refused to accept the approximately 650,000 Arabs, who, for whatever reason, did not stay in their homes. Israel DID accept the Arabs who stayed, as well as approximately 850,000 Jews who were expelled from Arab countries. The Arabs who ended up in refugee camps were intentionally kept in misery for use as pawns in the Arab struggle to destroy Israel. Then they were encouraged to commit acts of violence against Israel, which was NOT responsible for their misery. I can’t see that as Israel’s fault.

    The road to peace, in my mind, would be for the Palestinian Arabs to renounce their goal, as specifically written in both PLO and Hamas charters, to destroy Israel, and spend their money on economic development rather than rockets and munitions. They are not going to destroy Israel, and they are only destroying themselves.

    And finally, I would say the Arabs ALSO need to approach the situation with the same 3 attributes you mention — you say ALL parties, but then specifically single out Israel. Not acceptable.

    – Both (all) parties involved must come to the table willingly, and humbly.
    ********So far, Palestinians have NOT done that — they have had to be cajoled into coming to the table.

    – Both parties must become willing to admit mistakes and ask forgiveness.
    ********Palestinians admit to no mistakes, and therefore, feel no need to ask for forgiveness.

    – Both parties must be willing to work together (negotiate) a solution and path to reconciliation.
    *********Since Palestinians do not acknowledge Israel’s right to exist, they are not interested in negotiating a path to reconciliation.

    Unfortunately, Western influence often fails to encourage Israel NO!! the Palestinians!! to come to the table with these three foundational attitudes of peace making.

    I would like the progressive movement, both Christian and non-Christian, to take a more even-handed approach to the situation, instead of being so quick to demonize Israel. Israel is not perfect, but I see NO effort on the part of these movements to report on and chastize the great imperfections of the Palestinian and Arab side of the quarrel.

  • Kathy K-m

    Ah, so Israel has NO culpability in this matter? Typical Zionist thinking. (and please don’t confuse my anti-Zionism, with anti-Semitism, as some are wont to do)
    I have watched Israeli grow; holding out hope after hope that the land settlement claims would be resolved. I was ardently pro-Israel, for decades. Who wouldn’t be, after the Holocaust?
    Here’s what I’ve seen….Israel developing a nuclear program, which they actively hid, from their own allies. Then imprisoned the brave man, who exposed their treachery.
    Israeli “hit squads”, assassinating people, at will, in other nations, without regard for due process. From former Nazi’s, to the Munich “terrorists”, to, well, anyone who might, possibly, could be deemed a “terrorist”. No proof required, and in one well known incident, they did it with passports stolen from tourists to Israel.
    And, in a gesture of absolute hypocrisy, they have taken a lesson from the Nazi’s, and created a ghetto, worse than the one in Warsaw, with that damned Wall and the restrictions.
    Human Rights are non-existent in Israel. They can, and do, lock one up, without charges, trials or access to counsel, for as long as they chose.
    Israel is a rogue nation, but the West doesn’t just watch…nope, they provide them with weapons and funding.
    But hey…you just go ahead and blame the people they are oppressing. From whom they’ve stolen and continue to steal. Heaven forbid, they should dare fight back, right?
    South Africa used the same logic, to enforce THEIR apartheid.

  • natsera

    Yes, Israel HAS gone after terrorists, in much the same way that the US went after Osama bin Laden. When there was proof aplenty that these people had committed crimes. You don’t think the Munich murderers deserved to be hunted down? Sometimes, as in the case of bin Laden, due process is impossible. As far as Nazis, almost all of them have gotten due process. Eichmann, whose guilt was indisputable, at least got a trial, and was protected from any crazy who might try to kill him before the trial was over.
    But you think it’s OK for Iran to be developing a nuclear bomb, but condemn Israel for the same thing (which has never actually been proven, and extremely unlikely to be used)?
    And as far as the wall — don’t you think that the innocent civilians of Israel: Jews, Arabs, Bedouins, Baha’is, Christians, Druze, Circassians, etc. deserve to be protected from Arab suicide bombers? Israel had had enough of the murders, and the wall has been extraordinarily successful in markedly decreasing the number of casualties, although not 100%.
    Human rights in Israel are the best in the whole Middle East. Are you not aware of Arab doctors, lawyers, judges, Miss Israel, and the valedictorian of the medical school class last year? They have EVERY right that Jews have, except the obligation to serve in the military. But Christian Arabs are starting to realize that their future lies with Israel, and are starting to ask to serve, and become a well-respected part of Israeli society (military service is regarded with honor there).
    Israel pulled out of Gaza completely, physically tearing people out of their homes, in the hope that the Gazans would respond in kind by creating their own government and making peace. HA! Over 10,000 rockets have been fired at innocent civilian populations since Gaza was “liberated”, and the rhetoric about destroying Israel has only been getting worse. Now that Hamas and the PA (AKA PLO) have a “unity government”, it’s only going to get worse.
    Israel makes sure that Gazans get food, water, medicine, electricity, and everything that they need for humanitarian reasons, but neither it, nor EGYPT will allow munitions in, so they smuggle them through tunnels, all on the Egypt side, because the Sinai Peninsula is a hotbed for Al Qaeda terrorists.
    And finally, as far as apartheid, talk to ANY black South African, and they will teach you what apartheid is. Which you obviously don’t have a clue about. If you really wanted to solve the situation, instead of singling out Jews and Israel for unfair treatment, you would know your facts, but you don’t, and it’s unlikely that I’m going to be able to teach you.

  • UWIR

    How in the world is developing a nuclear bomb “treachery”? They have made no promises to not develop nuclear bombs. Unlike Iran, who signed the non-proliferation treaty. You put scare quotes around the word “terrorists”, as if killing Jews is not terrorism, and then claim you’re not an anti-Semite. The Munich terrorists didn’t get due process because the Germans cowardly let them go. What, the Israelis were supposed to just let them get away with it?

  • yasalaam

    Natsera, every time peace talks occur, Israel builds more settlements and expropriates land from Palestinians. “Peace talks” fail, because they are doomed from the beginning. Israel will never change its policies until they are forced by the international community! Did you see the reason why the recent talks failed? John Kerry laid the blame squarely on Israel.

    The reason why we must focus on Israel is because this is not a “conflict.” It’s an occupation! The Palestinians have no recourse for their abuses. Even the Palestinian Authority is just a rubber stamp for Israel’s demands and has no legitimacy among Palestinians. This is about human rights abuses that continue because of American Christian blind support of Israel.

    As for the videos of Arabs or Iranians shouting “Death to Israel or Jews,” you’ve got to understand the wider story of Israel’s history and the culture of the region. I cannot go into all of it here, but do you know any Arabs living in the Mideast? Iranians? I have several Iranian friends who have told me repeatedly that Iranians have no issue with Jews. In fact, did you know that there is a Jewish population that still lives in Iran unmolested? If you want to find dirt, you’ll find it anywhere. If I want to accuse Jews of being bad, I could easily find examples. It has been said, “The problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete.” http://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story

    Have you read the historical accounts of Israeli terrorists throwing bombs into Iraqi Jewish crowds during Purim to scare them into moving to Israel? Read Ilan Pappe, and Israeli historian.

    All humanity faces the test of justice in every age. Justice demands that we call political Zionism by it’s rightful name…a racist and discriminatory plan that has ruined lives since BEFORE the holocaust. It’s no good for Jews, nor for anyone else.

  • natsera

    Peace talks fail because the Arabs have no intention of compromising or recognizing the existence of Israel as a Jewish state in their midst. You are using settlements (of which the legal ones on ground that was designated for Jews are built, and illegal ones on land designated for Arabs are TORN DOWN and the settlers evicted).
    The Arabs are the ones occupying the land. Or are you not aware of the history — Jews are the oldest extant indigenous people; they were conquered and decimated by, in turn, Romans, Arabs, and Ottoman Turks. As with Native Americans, they were robbed of their homes, their land, forced out, and their holy sites desecrated. So don’t talk about occupation when all it took for people to become so-called “Palestinian refugees” was a measly 2-year residence in the land. They came from Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and what is now Jordan, and THEY are the ones who should go back to the land of their ancestors.
    And of course, any Arab or Iranian will tell you that there were no problems with Jews in their lands. Just like many Americans will tell you that there are no problems with blacks in our country. It’s not necessary to talk to majority populations to learn about discrimination and oppression; you need to talk to the minorities. There ARE almost no Jews in Arab lands and Iran nowadays, because they got out, partly because they were expelled, and partly because they knew they would have a better life in Israel as full-fledged citizens, and not dhimmis. Muslims do NOT have a tradition of treating non-Muslims very well — look at the discrimination and murder of Coptic Christians in Egypt, and the way that “Palestinians” treat their own Christians. The oppression is horrific, and you would know it if you took the time to research it.
    I have studied the history of the Middle East, and of the Jewish people in depth, so not impressed by your condescending comment of knowing the wider story.
    There ARE Israeli “historians” who spout nonsense, just like David Barton, who pretends to be a historian here in the US.
    And I just don’t believe that “Israeli terrorists” threw bombs into crowds celebrating Purim in order to convince them to emigrate to Israel. That has the ring of a made-up story, and I would need some intensive verification of that before I could put any credence in it.
    So in summary, I don’t find your arguments very helpful or credible — you need to be looking at both groups of people in order to find a way to peace, not just facilely placing all the blame on Israel.

  • yasalaam

    I am merely sharing information that is rarely told. We can go back and forth about who has more knowledge. I’d suggest your comments are even less helpful to others who are truly coming here to learn truth.

    The following videos are just the tip of the iceberg documenting the fruits of Zionsim.

    Widening the definition of “extremism”:
    https://vimeo.com/54295216

    Israel linked with Apartheid South Africa:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LGogkbjpRw&list=PLD6D247076445907C

    Israeli “Defense” Forces use of terrorism in Gaza:
    http://whereshouldthebirdsfly.org/

  • Margo Beerbower- Glunt

    Well said….and Peace to YOU!!! Love what you wrote…I hope what you said comes true…

  • nabil89

    I am a Lebanese-Palestinian.
    Both my grandparent were kicked out of their land in 1948 by Zionist militias. Before that the people of the land (the Palestinians…my family) were living in peace. Every second that passed after that saw israelis living on STOLEN land. You may deny it till the sky becomes orange, but that does not mean it did not happen.

  • guest

    Saying that Israel has some cupability (and American christians have some) doesn’t rule out the palestians doing bad things. Both palestinian and Israeli parents have lost their children.
    There is an imbalance of power though. Israel has a modern army. The palestians do not. Israel surrounds palestine and controls it’s borders. Israeli soldiers have shot children for throwing rocks at them. Someone has to make the first move. The one with power is the best choice for that.
    Yes, of course Hamas must recognise Israel’s right to exist. And Israel must recognise Palestine.

  • Margo Grace Carr

    I am increasingly concerned with the current trend toward blaming Israel and wanting to label Israel as an “apartheid” state and those that STILL cry for the destruction of Israel as the downtrodden. I will grant you that Israel is not pure as the wind driven snow, but they have not been the ones who have fought to deny the right to life of Christians or Jews or Muslims. How can anyone negotiate with anyone who does not even acknowledge your right to exist?

  • yasalaam

    Margo, the question as to Israel’s right to exist is totally a creation of Israel that has no logical basis. However, the way it is articulated is very effective, because it creates the fear that the very existence of Jews is at stake. Never confuse Zionism with anti-Semitism! This is not a question about whether people want to annihilate Jews. Talk to Palestinians. They just want to live in peace and freedom. Not only this, the political frankenstein of political Israel has NEVER been under existential threat militarily. Not in 1973, nor 1967 and not even in 1948. The Zionist plan was carefully schemed and even exploited the hospitality of the Arabs in the beginning.

    Back to Israel’s “right to exist.” I highly recommend you read Ali Abunimah’s latest book, “The Battle for Justice in Palestine.” It will shock you. He has an entire chapter titled, “Does Israel have a right to exist as a Jewish State?” One implication of this view is that Palestinians are abusing Israel’s right to exist simply by having babies! And did you know that there is a law in Israel whereby it is illegal for Arab Israelis to marry Palestinians? Have you heard of Jim Crow? Imagine a law in the US forbidding Anglos from marrying Africans! The point is, it is unfathomable that we live in a world where this kind of thing goes on, and yet it does. And why? Largely because of American evangelicals!

  • UWIR

    The fact that you refuse to acknowledge the fact that there are large numbers of Palestinians who want to kill Jews, that you claim that Israel has never been under existential threat, show how dishonest you are. And there is no ban on marriage, rather Palestinians are not allowed to live in Israel, even if they marry an Israeli.

  • Guest

    So they’re not allowed to live with their spouse in their home country of Israel? That’s so much better.

  • UWIR

    Standard grammar indicates that you are saying that Israel is the home country of the Palestinians. If that is not what you are saying, you should phrase your sentences more clearly.

  • yasalaam

    Let’s not resort to character defamation, please. Can we keep this respectful?

    Would you believe the US Department of Defense’s historical reports? In 1967 the war was considered a “miracle” of the Jewish “David” beating the Arab “Samson”. However, the US DoD concluded before the war started that Israel would wipe all the Arab armies out in two weeks. They were wrong, it took less than half that time. No existential threat. In 1948, plan Dalet was carefully crafted and went through 14 or so iterations until they pulled the trigger. What were the reports coming back to Ben Gurion? “The Arabs don’t want to fight us.” Read it in Ilan Pappe’s book.

    There is a ban on marriage.

    The following videos are just the tip of the iceberg documenting the fruits of Zionsim.

    Widening the definition of “extremism”:
    https://vimeo.com/54295216

    Israel linked with Apartheid South Africa:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LGogkbjpRw&list=PLD6D247076445907C

    Israeli “Defense” Forces use of terrorism in Gaza:
    http://whereshouldthebirdsfly.org/

  • UWIR

    It’s not “defamation” to make true statements. You are being disrespectful by lying. A large portion, if not the majority, of Palestinians, want to kill Jews. That is a fact. Just because Israel had, in someone’s opinion, superior firepower doesn’t mean they can’t lose. In the US Civil War, the South was completely outmatched in industrial capacity, but a wide gap in generalship led to the war dragging on for years. As for the marriage thing, simply repeating it isn’t nearly as convincing as an actual cite.

  • yasalaam

    “Lying” assumes dishonesty. You may call me ignorant or stupid, but you cannot accuse me of lying by sharing an honest view.

    If the DoD determined the war would be won completely in 14 days (when again, it took less than half that time!) that is the strongest indicator that there was zero existential military threat. That does not mean zero risk of harm. I’m talking about “existential threat” that is often thrown around haphazardly. This was not the “miracle” Zionists claim. One does not send a tank to take on a boy with a stone and call it a miracle.

  • yasalaam

    On marriage, keep in mind the entire Zionist project is devoted to removing (even illegally) Arabs from the land. So everything can be seen in that light. It is systematic discrimination. Just because the wording is not exactly the same as Jim Crow laws, does not negate the intended result.

    If I lived in the US under Jim Crow laws and wanted to marry a woman of color, I would be unable to do so. If I want to leave the US to marry her, that’s up to me. But I am forbidden to pursue a natural human right to marry and live with my spouse.

    Further, Israel’s “right to exist as a Jewish state” asserts that Palestinians are “trampling all over Israel’s right to maintain a Jewish majority by having children, and their babies, by virtue of not being born to Jewish parents, are violating Israel’s right merely by living and breathing.” (Abunimah, “The Battle for Justice in Palestine”) Can you see that everything is systematic racism and discrimination?

    Read the following short article about soldiers that deliberately harass (my word) Arabs that are with Jewish girls at checkpoints. This is systematic discrimination and racism.

    http://972mag.com/idf-soldier-passes-ids-of-jewish-girls-who-socialize-with-arabs-to-anti-assimilation-ngo/79349/

  • yasalaam

    “A large portion, if not the majority, of Palestinians want to kill Jews.”

    Question: How did you arrive at this conclusion?

  • http://thephyseter.wordpress.com The_Physeter

    What nonsense. Find me some Israelis who think the Palestinians have the right to exist.

    In fact, Israeli propaganda goes farther than that. They say Palestinians DO NOT exist…they claim the Palestinians moved in from other Arab nations and just pretended they had a right to live there. How can you negotiate with anybody who thinks you do not exist?

  • natsera

    It’s true that most of them moved in. The ruling as to what constituted a Palestinian refugee in 1949 was that they only had to have lived there 2 years. Doesn’t that imply that they came in from elsewhere? Otherwise, why the ruling?

  • http://thephyseter.wordpress.com The_Physeter

    You make my point quite nicely. In the eyes of a Zionist, ladies and gentlemen, the Palestinians have no right to exist because they DO NOT exist.

  • CroneEver

    There is another factor in the Hagee type of total, 100% support of Israel – that Jesus Christ is returning soon and that somehow God needs our help to make that happen. There are all sorts of strange thinking that comes out of that (my personal favorite is the Texas guy who’s breeding red cows for the post-Return Temple sacrifices), but one pervasive idea is that, since anyone except (some) Jews and (some) Christians in the Holy Land will be destroyed in the coming Tribulations, they can all be ignored. This thinking is also part of the reason why environmentalism is treated with more or less disdain: since there will be a new heaven and a new earth, and no more sea, what does it matter what’s done to the earth and sea we have?

  • Harmony

    Yeah, I was just thinking of talking about that. It’s like fundamentalists want Israel to succeed so they can set the stage for Armageddon, or lure the Anti-Christ out or start the Rapture or whatever.

  • guest

    In some ways they would actually welcome a war in the middle east. Frightening, isn’t it?
    Look at things like the ‘rapture index’.

  • CroneEver

    Exactly. Rapture enthusiasts scare the heck out of me, because they’ll do anything to bring about the Second Coming – except love their neighbors as themselves…

  • yasalaam

    This article does not give the fuller story of the Tent of Nations. This was a grassroots Palestinian movement designed to build mutual respect for all people. They truly lived by their motto, “We refuse to be enemies.” Does Israel truly want a “Palestinian partner for peace” when they keep crushing Palestinian nonviolent movements? Actually, there are many reasons why Israel wants the occupation to continue indefinitely.

    This Christian is thrilled to see more articles like this educating folks on the true nature of the problem.

    Christians, read Brian MacLaren, Elias Chacour and Naim Ateek. Then read Ilan Pappe, Max Blumenthal and Ali Abunimah. The reality of Israel’s ethnic cleansing is well documented.

  • Anna Marion Howell

    Let’s be real here… what problems (global or societal) is American Evangelical Protestantism NOT complicit in causing, or at least complicit in exacerbating?

  • irena mangone

    Thank you for verbalising what I have often thought. I think it all stems from World war 2. Holocaust. Therefore we must not. Censure what they do no matter how outrageous like the above bulldozing of the orchard. Etc.

  • http://thephyseter.wordpress.com The_Physeter

    Thank you so much for this. I’ve noticed that too … when Israel comes to the table, it’s always to negotiate Palestinian surrender, not any sort of compromise peace.

    Does the USA want peace in the Israeli Palestine conflict? Then we should immediately impose economic sanctions against Israel for flagrant disregard of U.N. resolutions and international law. That would go a long way toward letting them know we are serious, I think.

  • Margo Beerbower- Glunt

    Where does it say that those who FOLLOW Christ through Paul are Peace makers?

  • http://www.formerlyfundie.com/ Benjamin L. Corey

    Paul says we have been given the ministry of reconciliation– reconciliation, by nature, is peace making and restoring God’s shalom.

  • natsera

    So, I would like you to do your part toward peacemaking by increasing your knowledge of all sides of the conflict, and understanding why the Israelis do what they do, instead of simply pointing the finger, as you did in your article.

  • Margo Beerbower- Glunt

    WHERE…in the Bible? Where in Paul’s Letters… However GOD does say in Genesis that HE will bless those who Bless Israel and cruse those who cruse Israel and HE did give Israel distinct boundaries when He gave the Land to Abraham.

  • http://www.formerlyfundie.com/ Benjamin L. Corey

    Have you read the New Testament? There is no more separation of Jew or Gentile to God, and Isreal has become those who are “circumcised of the heart.” God’s not a racist- he’s not playing favorites with one group over another.

  • Margo Beerbower- Glunt

    Jesus’ mission was to the lost sheep of Israel. There are only two Gentiles that Jesus “preformed” miracles for .DO a word search on “Jew only” in the Bible. Furthermore Paul claims to be the apostle to the GENTILES. Also GOD gave much more land to Abram then what Israel has right now. And God will see to it, that they, Israel gets it ALL BACK! “A racist” seriously? AND yes HE does play favorites. The CHOSEN PEOPLE are still HIS CHOSEN PEOPLE<period

  • http://www.formerlyfundie.com/ Benjamin L. Corey

    Good thing that’s a relatively new position in Christianity and not the historic, orthodox position or the position of the NT. If that were true, call me an atheist.

  • gimpi1

    I think Margo is illustrating your point very well, Ben.

  • nabil89

    Thank you Benjamin for this article. We need more American voices to speak the truth. I am a Lebanese Palestinian and both my grand parents were kicked out of their land in 1948 by Zionist militias. It pains me to see our brothers and sisters in the US (the church) stand with the oppressors (the occupied state of Palestine, or as some call it, israel) against the oppressed (Palestinians). Please keep writing and telling the truth. We want peace and justice!

  • Steve

    Sorry, I’ve been a peace activist for the Israel Palestine conflict for years ater turning from Christian Zionism.

    In answer to your question: Hell yes!!! Christians who believe in the recent presence of Jews in the Holy land and the resulting conflict are enabling and facilitating the dispossession and subjugation of the indigenous people of the region. It is anti Christ and unbiblical.

  • guest

    Are you prepared to recognize the state of Palestine?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Palestine_recognition_only.svg
    This is a good article. What you say is very true. As an atheist I don’t believe god has given any land to anyone. We all live together on this planet. It’s the only planet we’re likely to have- space is big and hostile. So, we either get along or we destroy ourselves in pointless wars.
    I think Israel has a right to exist. However the state came about, it’s there now and re-locating all the Israelis would be wrong. But Palestine and Palestinians also have a right to exist.
    Christianity isn’t the only religion to blame. Judaism obviously is the root of zionism and the idea that palestinians are ‘less-than’. And Islam demonises the jews and enflames sectarian hatreds. It would be nice if these religions, which claim to worship some form of the same God, could find a way to get along together.