Is There Any Crime Israel Could Commit Against the Palestinian Refugees That American Evangelical Christians Would Object To?

 

“We are witnessing a dramatic transformation in the relationship between [American Evangelical] Christians and Jews, who are focusing now on the common values and the common future we both share,” Prime Minister Netanyahu

(Quoted March 20, 2012 in “Pastor John Hagee’s Christian Zionist Enterprise Hits One Million Member Mark” Truthout)

 

Bibi Christians - Gershon - 19.3.12

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressing Christians United for Israel Christian supporters with John Hagee in Jerusalem March 2012. (Photo by Amos Ben Gershon / Government Press Office)

 

~Guest Column by JUAN COLE~ 

(First Published in Alternet as “Top 10 Myths About Israel’s Attack on Gaza” – Juan Cole is a professor of history at the University of Michigan

1. Israeli hawks represent themselves as engaged in a ‘peace process’ with the Palestinians in which Hamas refuses to join. In fact, Israel has refused to cease colonizing and stealing Palestinian land long enough to engage in fruitful negotiations with them. Tel Aviv routinely announces new, unilateral house-building on the Palestinian West Bank. There is no peace process. It is an Israeli and American sham. Talking about a peace process is giving cover to Israeli nationalists who are determined to grab everything the Palestinians have and reduce them to penniless refugees (again).

Palestinians carry the bodies of Jumana and Tamer Eseifan, both under the age of four, who were killed when an Israeli warplane fired a missile at an agricultural plot near their home in the Tal al-Zatar area of Jabaliya town, 18 November. (APA images)

2. Actions such as the assault on Gaza can achieve no genuine long-term strategic purpose. They are being launched to ensure that Jewish-Israelis are the first to exploit key resources. Rattling sabers at the Palestinians creates a pretext for further land-grabs and colonies on Palestinian land. That is, the military action against the people of Gaza is a diversion tactic; the real goal is Greater Israel, an assertion of Israeli sovereignty over all the territory once held by the British Mandate of Palestine.

 

Mourners gather around the bodies of the al-Dalu family during their funeral in Gaza City, 19 November. (APA images)

3. Israeli hawks represent their war of aggression as in ‘self-defense.’ But the UK Israeli chief rabbi admitted on camera that that the Gaza attack actually ‘had something to do with Iran.’

4. Israeli hawks demonize the Palestinians of Gaza as “bad neighbors” who don’t accept Israel. But 40% of the people in Gaza are refugees, mostly living in refugee camps, from families in pre-1948 Palestine that had lived there for millennia.

They were expelled from what is now Israel in the 1948 Zionist ethnic cleansing campaign. Israelis are now living in their homes and farming their land, and they were never paid any reparations for the crimes done to them. “Israel’s failure to provide reparations to Palestinian refugees over the past six decades is in blatant violation of international law.” Israel does not accept Palestine’s right to exist, even though it is constantly demanding that everyone, including the displaced and occupied Palestinians, recognize Israel’s right to exist.

A Palestinian man sits next to the body of his one-year-old son Iyad Abu Khoussa during the baby’s funeral in Bureij refugee camp, central Gaza Strip, 18 November. The child was killed when an Israeli warplane fired a missile at the fence of his family’s home; two other small children were wounded in the strike. ( APA images)

5. Israeli hawks and their American clones depict Gaza as a foreign, hostile state with which Israel is at war. In fact, the Gaza strip is a small territory of 1.7 million people militarily occupied by Israel (something in which the UN and other international bodies concur). Israelis do not allow it to have a port or airport, nor to export most of what it produces. Palestinians cannot work about a third of its land, which is reserved by Israel as a security buffer. As an occupied territory, it is covered by the Hague Regulations of 1907 and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 on the treatment of occupied populations by their military occupier. Indiscriminate bombing of occupied territories by the occupier is clearly illegal in international law.

Palestinian medics wheel a wounded boy on a stretcher to al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, 18 November. (APA images)

6. Israeli hawks see themselves as innocent victims of bewildering Palestinian rage from Gaza. But Israel not only has kept Palestinians of Gaza in the world’s largest outdoor penitentiary, they have them under an illegal blockade that for some years aimed at limiting their nutrition without altogether starving them to death. I wrote earlier:

“The food blockade had real effects. About ten percent of Palestinian children in Gaza under 5 have had their growth stunted by malnutrition. A recent report by Save the Children and Medical Aid for Palestinians found that, in addition, anemia is widespread, affecting over two-thirds of infants, 58.6 percent of schoolchildren, and over a third of pregnant mothers. “

If any foreign power surrounded Israel, destroyed Haifa port and Tel Aviv airport, and prevented Israeli exports from being exported, what do you think Israelis would do? Oh, that’s right, it is rude to see both Palestinians and Israelis as equal human beings.

Bishop William Shomali leads a mass to pray for the children of Gaza in the Church of the Annunciation in the occupied West Bank city of Beit Jala, 18 November. (APA images)

7. Israeli hawks demonize the Palestinian residents of Gaza as followers of Hamas, a party-militia of the Muslim religious right. But half of Palestinians in Gaza are minors, who never voted for Hamas and cannot be held collectively responsible for that party.

8. Israeli hawks justify their aggression on the Palestinians on grounds of self-defense. But Israel is a country of 7.5 million people with tanks, armored vehicles, artillery, helicopter gunships and F-16s and F-18s, plus 400 nuclear warheads. Gaza is a small occupied territory of 1.7 million which has no heavy weaponry, just some old guns and some largely ineffectual rockets. (Israelis cite hundreds of rockets fired into Israel from Gaza in 2012; but until Israel’s recent attack they had killed not a single Israeli, though they did wound a few last March when fighting between Palestinians and Israelis escalated.) Gaza is a threat to Israel the way the Transkei Bantustan was a threat to Apartheid South Africa. As for genuine asymmetrical threats from Gaza to Israel, they could be dealt with by giving the Palestinians a state and ceasing the blockade imposed on them, or in the worst case scenario counter-terrorism targeted at terrorists rather than indiscriminate bombing campaigns.

A girl holds a candle next to a photo of three-year-old Ranan Yousef Arafat, who was killed by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, as Palestinians gathered in the West Bank city of Bethlehem’s Manger Square to mourn the victims of Israeli military strikes and to call for an end to the escalation of violence, 17 November.  (Ryan Rodrick Beiler / ActiveStills)

9. Israeli hawks maintain that they were provoked into the attack. But actually Ahmad Jabari, the Hamas leader the Israelis assassinated earlier this week, had been engaged in talks with the Israelis about a truce. Assassinations achieved by the ruse of openness to peace talks are guarantees of no further peace talks.

10. Although most American media is a cheering section for the Likud Party,in fact the world is increasingly done with Israel’s aggressiveness. Boycotts and sanctions will likely grow over time. (End of JUAN COLE Article)

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QUESTIONS By Frank Schaeffer:

  • Is there any crime Israel could commit against the Palestinian refugees that American Evangelical Christians would object to?
  • Could they just kill “them” all and America would say “fine”?
  • At what point does our “closest alley” in the Middle East become such a liability we dump them?
  • And speaking as the proud father of a US Marine son who fraught in our 2 recent wars, I ask… How many Middle Eastern conflicts do Americans have to die in before we say enough is enough? 
  • Is it antisemitic to criticize the State of Israel no matter what? 
  • How can Jews and Christians join together to help bring real peace?

Please comment– 

 

About Frank Schaeffer

Frank Schaeffer is an American author, film director, screenwriter and public speaker. He is the son of the late theologian and author Francis Schaeffer. He became a Hollywood film director and author, writing several internationally acclaimed novels including And God Said, "Billy!" as well as the Calvin Becker Trilogy depicting life in a fundamentalist mission home-- Portofino, Zermatt, and Saving Grandma.

  • CrazyWorld

    So long as the Christians see themselves as the heirs to the Jewish birthright (they are under the impression that God “DIVORCED” Israel and those of the Christian faith are the true bride of God), Christians will never give up Israel, no matter how badly Israel behaves.

  • Frank Schaeffer

    Hi Crazy World, good point! But how about just actually engaging with the Israelis? I mean we give them billions in aid. Shouldn’t we get anything for that?

  • Mike

    It is really disturbing that evangelicals will practically worship this UN creation because it has the name of a Biblical coalition of 12 tribes. It is not the biblical Israel. It is a an outpost of western business made up of 3 tribes, most of whom are European not Sephardic. The kingdom of Judah, Benjamin and Levi never even referred to themselves as Israel. It occupied the Southern part of the land bridge and called itself Judah. The Northern area was called Israel and was inhabited by the other nine tribes, today known as Palestinians. Some might claim that since the other twelve tribes aren’t practicing Judaism that they have no right to the land. But Judaism is not the OT cult of Yahweh. Modern rabbinical judaism was created in the first century by Yohanan ben Zakkai as an alternative to the centralized Zadokite judaism of the day and it’s hometown is Yavnah not Ur-Salem. This whole idea of a Jewish homeland is ridiculous. Does every other religion deserve a homeland? Should mormons be allowed to persecute Christians and drive them out of Utah? Even if Jewishness did entitle a person to a homeland, why establish it in such a shithole? Wouldn’t the Americas have been a better place? Israel was considered holy in biblical times because it is a land bridge between Africa and Eurasia. All land based trade between the two continents had to pass through israel where the controlling government would charge them a toll. Now it is “Holy” because of the oil deposits.

  • CrazyWorld

    I don’t think the Christians much care about getting anything for the aid we send to Israel. Apparently because a book says that a birthright exists and Jesus is the son of God, they are under the impression that God is going to work a miracle through Israel to give the Christians the birthright and if God sacrifices Israel in the process, they will not shed a tear. Honestly, I’m ashamed of our middle east foreign policy. It seems to be driven by religious delusion and not reality at all.

  • Wadidiz

    There’s a lot to digest here and current events are forcing me to work out more-or-less what my stance is. Not easy. The “holy” connection has been painfully obvious as are most of the other points–in a good way. Does it occur to anyone else that the timing of this might be a last-window-of-opportunity thing while the Middle East is still geostrategically “important”? Due to America’s foreseeable energy independence (fossil or otherwise)? Plus the potential impact of people waking up to climate change? And accelerating progress in relatively clean energy? Perhaps connected with Obama showcasing a substantial shift in geopolitical focus to the other side of the globe? (Perhaps confirming the major energy/power/$$ shift?). I suspect there are some major rumblings in progress (like in the recent election) that the Big Monkeys have already started to see and set in motion. Time’s a-wastin’. The demographics, world-views and energy sources are changing in inevitable directions and they’ve been forced to see it and are making their Battle of the Bulge counter-offensive. Some major fossil-$$ has already been seen to be throwing their weight around, obviously propagandizing hoaxes, scaring up and praying for war. Why? Because their treasure is in the ground. And that’s where whatever’s left of their hearts are. And they ain’t giving it up lightly. Am I far off?

  • Wadidiz

    EDIT: I see there’s a break in the logic: I meant to write, while the Middle East is STILL geostrategically important, realizing that soon it won’t be.

  • Frank Schaeffer

    Good point when the oil goes all of a sudden America won’t care a damn about Israel or the Arabs, just wait. And with the demographic changes in the USA try telling your average Latino to send her son to die in whatever the neocon Israel lobby cooks up in say the year 2020. Good luck with that. I’ll bet Israel doesn’t exist by the time this century is over, and/or they will have nuked the entire Middle East, in which case same difference. So… if the Israelis were smart they’d make peace now, but then again they are not smart, just angry, scared and xenophobic.

  • Wadidiz

    This morning I was struck by Obama speaking from Thailand saying that any nation has a right to defend itself when attacked from across it’s borders. I couldn’t help but think about the B-52 sorties flown from that very land against North Vietnam. I’m pretty sure the impact of those sorties were a hellava lot heavier than rockets and mortars. I support Obama, but doesn’t that turn out to be the height of hypocrisy, historically? What if the Soviets had backed up a North Vietnamese strike against those bases in Thailand? Would that not have been support of a country’s “self-defense”?

  • CrazyWorld

    Wadidiz, I personally believe that Obama is following the playbook of past presidents who have been hamstrung into unquestioned support for Israel, no matter what their actions. It’s been that way for years, and it will not change overnight. The fact that Frank is even asking these questions seems a bit shocking to me. This is a conversation that is long overdue.

  • Wadidiz

    And while we’re in this general area, has anyone ever heard an Evangelical minister speak from the pulpit about the seriousness of deadly force and guide people about the concept of just and unjust use of deadly force? I know it was discussed in the L’Abri circles, but I–personally–never heard it brought up anywhere else. I did, however, see the US flag marched forward in church services, I have attended worship services dedicated to “our soldiers” in Iraq and Afghanistan and I heard–just last summer–”Star Spangled Stripes” played on electric guitar during another worship service. What have your sons been taught within the military regarding moral and spiritual questions of the utmost significance? When are conscientious deserters the true heroes? I ask with the greatest respect.

  • Wadidiz

    I think you are right, CrazyWorld. U R right also that this conversation has been vERy constipated.

  • j bohn

    On the other hand, is there anything that the palestinians or hamas can do that liberals object to? Frank, I think you got it wrong, it doesn’t matter what evangelicals object to; Israel is a sovereign nation and is fully within their rights to defend themselves. You are obviously anti israel, and trying to spread the word, but you don’t have your facts straight. Take a look at History, and you will get two sides of the same story since Israel began and you are on the palestinian side, obvious, but Israel has only defended itself since day one. The muslim nations in the mideast as well as the Hamas are committed to the destruction of Israel, and have been actively pursuing this for a long long time. Evangelical Christians have zero to do with it, and it’s a typical liberal tactic to pull this kind of rhetoric into the argument.

  • Wadidiz

    You have very significant points j bohn. I think what is being said here is that there has been way too much Israel right-or-wrong. Any questioning of the persistent status quo line is rewarded with lambasting from both religious and non-religious conservatives. Obama brought up the extremely salient points about stopping further settlement on the West Bank and establishing pre-1967 borders as a starting point for negotiations. Notice how he was slammed for “turning his back/cold shoulder to Israel” and how Benji tried to interfere in our election against Obama? Sure, Israel has the right to defend itself. But they won’t NEED to defend themselves if they get to the root of the problem, namely melting away the hatred that drives those desperate people to do murderous and hateful things. The only way I can see would be MAJOR, generous concessions given to Palestine AFTER putting an end, maybe withdrawing some, offending settlements. And that under hands-on supervision of a UN security force. I don’t know. Anything but business, blood and terror on both sides, as usual. Fear is expensive; love is free.

    • Sarah

      “Anything but business, blood and terror on both sides, as usual. Fear is expensive; love is free.”

      I can’t help suspecting that that is behind some quarters’ support and encouragement of extreme positions. There are a lot of people who benefit financially far more from war than from peace. Sickening but true, that war will profit some people, and they will be happy to agitate for more war as long as it is providing them with income.

  • CrazyWorld

    Why do so many people think that Israel having the right to defend itself equates with lobbing a firestorm of destruction over the border into Gaza? Last time I checked, that kind of behavior fell under the term “Offense.”

  • Frank Schaeffer

    Israel kills 100 to 1 ratio. This is not defense but ethnic cleansing murder.

  • Dad

    If I were to rely on a “pro-Choicer”, alone, for the truth of what goes on in Palestine, I would be more skeptical. As it turns out, I have also heard of the severe apartheid from devout pro-life Catholics. Note that I do not condemn, nor even name the individuals involved. The God of Perfect Love who knows all things will judge each of us fairly, and it is not my role judge the immortal soul of anyone. That said, somethings are still just wrong, whatever the reasons. Abortion is murder. Without the intellectual honesty to recognize that, anything else a person says is impugned. Without respect for life, credibility on political issues is squandered.

  • j bohn

    Ethnic Cleansing? Murder? Offence? Liberal bias against Israel, portrays Israel as the terrorist, portrays Hamas as the good guys? Really? Israelis have a long History in the palestine area and were actually at part of the “palestinian demographic” before the British Mandate. They have as much right to the Land as anyone else there now, at least for the last 3000 years or so. The 1947 UN Partirtion divided the land into two states, one palestiian jew, and one palestinian arab. The Jews accepted the arrangement and the Arabs did not; since then Arabs have refused to recognize Israels right to exist and have staged numerous attempted invasions, random bombings and so on… as a result Israel has defended itself and sometimes the best defence is offense. They are not perfect, but they weren’t looking for a fight when the Arab nations joined forces in 1948 and 1967 to wipe them out, unfortunately for the Arabs, they lost those wars, and the Israelis took land to help secure it’s borders. Is that unfair to the indigenous demographic? maybe, maybe not, depends on which side your’e on. To describe what is going on there today as ethnic cleansing is such a blatant denial of what is really going on and in fact the opposite of what is really going on, reminiscent of the whole holocaust denial thing, ignore the facts make up your own reality.

    • Sarah

      I don’t know anyone who portrays Hamas as “the good guys”. I do not and would never condone the hatred and violence from Hamas and groups like them, but to condemn them without also acknowledging the suffering and hardship of the Palestinians, and the fact that Israel has been complicit and sometimes has directly inflicted those sufferings, is being intentionally short sighted.

      I think the thing that way too many people, and in my experience particularly in America, cannot or will not understand is that loving and supporting Jews, even supporting the nation state of Israel, should not equate to giving them a free pass to do whatever the hell they like. Hamas are wrong to bomb innocents, they are a terrorist organisation and it is OK to say so… but to say that without recognising the desperation that leads to Hamas being in such a powerful position is stupid, frankly. Both sides have indoctrinated generation after generation with blind hatred. both sides have been wronged, and both sides have done wrong. There have also been terrorist acts on BOTH sides, do not be fooled. The ultra zionists have done some bloody awful things, too, and in general there have been many more fatalities amongst the Palestinians.

      Christians especially should be wary of hero worshipping Israel, and need to remember that there are Christians in Gaza and the West Bank… scripture says they are our brothers and sisters, and that we they suffer, we suffer. The support of Israel “no matter what” borders on idolatry. I have been to Israel, I have spent time with both Israelis and Palestinians… I love the country deeply. I do not think that makes it OK for Israel to act in ways which deliberately inflame tensions, which they frequently do.

      I think a lot of the blind support of Israel is out of guilt. We know full well as countries that we were complicit to even active in the persecution of the Jews.

      I think it is easier for people to say, Israel good, Palestine bad than to engage deeply with that problems and think seriously about what is going on. Sadly, I do not know if it is even possible to make people wake up and engage so that their opinions, however those opinions fall, are at least informed and well rounded.

      It boggles my mind that people will say, “The Palestinians should just go and live in Jordan”. I can imagine how folks would think if, say, native tribes from Mexico decided to annex portions of the Southern states, then told all the Texans and Georgians and so on, “We had ancestors who lived here before yours did. This is our land. Go and live in America, that’s your country.”

      Saying “Israel is a country, it deserves to be a sovereign state” doesn’t automatically make it OK to also say “And the Palestinians should just go live somewhere else, because we don’t want them.”

      Many of these Palestinians are stateless refugees. Historically, the countries they are being told to go live in haven’t always been terribly keen on taking them in. It’s as if the scenario I outlined above happened, and some American states refused to accept the Texans.

      Note also that although the Palestinians are largely Muslim, there are also Christians among them. There also used to be Jews (I don’t know if there still are) and I’m pretty certain there are still Druze. Why do we assume they will automatically be accepted and at home in Muslim states?

      Saying “Oh the Palestinians should just go live in the Arab states” shows a dismaying lack of understanding of the situation.

      The reason so many “Liberals” try to lay out the unsavoury facts about some of the things Israel has done and is doing is because so many people seem to be locked into the “Israel Good, Palestine Bad” mindset that assumes all Palestinians are terrorists and all Israelis are “good guys”. It’s just not true.

      Personally I do not “take sides”, because neither side has a monopoly on the truth. To take sides in a bloody conflict seems incredibly unchristian, and to arm either side… sickening.

      We should be peacemakers, not warmongers. To be peacemakers, we must recognise that neither side is blameless.

    • http://None Sameh

      Sarah – The Jewish people made up a very small minority in that Pr-mandate Palestine you are talking about and true they have as much right to the land as the Arab Muslims and Christians there. No Palestinian ever disputed that fact. The Question is about the remaining Jewish population that migrated to Palestine and did a hostile-take over of the land, when none of them ever had a link to the land before that point, they are not even Semites. And those Jews even treat Arab Jews of old Palestine as second class citizens and discriminate against them – did you know that?

      I’m a Palestinian and my family lived in Palestine for centuries upon centuries, and you should hear the stories of how Muslims, Christians and Jews lived in Harmony in Palestine prior to the formation of Israel. Jews used to go to their synagogs and leave their children with their Muslims neighbors for baby sitting. Does that sound like something mortal enemies would do?

      No, Israel was never defending its right to exist, Israel has always been trying to fabricate an existence at the expense of the lands true inhabitants and owners, stealing, killing and employing deception along the way.

  • Wadidiz

    So we’ve thrown up the names, labels and definitions of what’s going on–in accordance with the language and rhetoric of the different sides. Some are very provocative (for some) and thought-provoking. We’ve waxed prophetic. But what about moving on to solutions? The blame-game, attempts to unravel history and continuation of the totally polarizing rhetoric can keep on until they or we are all dead.

    The old ads I used to see in National Geographic apply here: There are no easy answers; only intelligent choices.

    There are some great minds here. Suggest action that might lead to sustainable resolution of this mess! Let’s find a new language to break down the barriers rather than perpetuate the old, worn ones. I’m disappointed so far.

    • MK Gundlach

      Great commentary Wadidiz…and agreed. Intelligent discourse around this subject is long overdue. It seems to always be reduced to religious ideals, then turns into an argument that sounds like “he started it!”. Anyone who really believes that America’s standpoint on support for Israel is based on Christian ideals is fooling themselves. Follow the money (aka power). It always boils down to that. The powers that be prefer if we ignore that fact, so they just keep us distracted by turning us against each other over a battle of belief systems. This should be about our humanness, not what piece of dirt we label as ‘home’.

      • Sarah

        Yes – one cannot help suspecting that there are those who are encouraging the war and bloodshed, and the attitudes that perpetuate it, because war is profitable to them :(

  • DWS

    J Bohn with all due respect, when the kill ration is consistently in the favor of one party, always. When children are being killed in EVERY offensive Israel engages in. When homes are being targeted deliberately, not accidentally, and when those homes have innocents in them who have nothing to do with what HAMAS says or does other than having the misfortune of being married or the child or elderly family member of the HAMAS member, then I have a problem with it. Just as I have a problem with HAMAS lobbing unguided munitions into Israel that kill people who have nothing to do with it except living in the area.

    My problem is I personally do NOT believe the Bordered, physical nation of Israel should even exist. Yes what the people of Jewish descent suffered in WW II was horrendous, but we compounded that horrible crime by ‘creating’ a new nation as reparations. The ‘Nation’ of Israel had ceased to exist nearly 2000 years ago and in my mind, should have stayed dead. A People are not a Nation. They are merely part of a nation if they live in it. Following some asinine book of Fables written by a bunch of psychotics that ate too much Rye bread 2000 years ago and pretending you have some ‘holy destiny’ is what we lock people up in Psychiatric Hospitals for because they have lost their grip on reality.

  • http://customgemworks.com Dian

    Even if you deeply believe Israel is the chosen people, (or whatever pro-Israeli words you choose,) it doesn’t mean they should be excused for having no mercy. I can fully support Israel without agreeing everything they do is right. If they are indeed chosen, shouldn’t they be even More merciful and compassionate to humanity? Stealing land, restricting access to food, water, and medicine is not the behavior of a holy people.

    • Sarah

      Well put, Dian.

      Israel now exists – it has a culture, it has a national identity. Just as two wrongs didn’t make a right in creating Israel after the Holocaust, neither would two wrongs make a right by now destroying Israel. But that doesn’t mean that Israel should be allowed a free pass like a spoiled child to kill indiscriminately. Hamas are terrorists. That doesn’t make it OK for Israel to behave like terrorists.

  • http://theologyoflove.wordpress.com John Arthur

    Hi Frank,
    “Is it wrong to criticize the State of israel no matter what?”

    The prophets of Israel and Judah critiqued their societies for social injustice, idolatry and religious ceremonialism, so I don’t see why Christians can’t critique Israel’s unjust actions today.

    I cannot fathom why so many American Evangelicals are supporters of Israel no matter what.
    I cannot see any promise in the NT of the return of Israel to the land of Palestine. This Fundamentalist view seems to be predicated on the false assumptions of dispensationalism.

    Of course, some of these people would rejoice if Israel were to get the USA into a global nuclear war because they would see a mushroom cloud over New York as a sign of the second coming of Jesus to rapture them from the tribulation.

    This theologyof Israel “no matter what” is very dangerous and stark raving mad. Let the church be peacemakers following the prince of peace.

    Shalom,
    John Arthur

    • MK Gundlach

      Yes, John Arthur. And Christians forget this point as well…if God wants Israel to have a certain piece of property He is certainly capable of providing it. He doesn’t need anyone down here to force the issue. “Ye of little faith”. I really think God is more concerned with how we treat each other than a parcel of land. “Israel no matter what” has become the battle-cry of the same segment of our population that also expresses contempt (I am putting it mildly here) for the belief system of choice for those living in Palestine. And for the record I am Christian. It is way past time for this madness to end.

      • Sarah

        YES!

        It boggles my mind that we think we can force God’s hand, and do so by allowing one nation to oppress and kill another nation indiscriminately. The OT made it quite clear that God supported Israel’s rights to the land as long as they held to his covenants, and that God banished Israel into exile or brought them back to the land as he saw fit. He didn’t need us then – yet we assume that he needs and wants our help now, and that the end justifies the means…

  • RL

    Just a simple (and not meant to be provoking) question – who chose the pictures to accompany this article? As they are not included in the original Juan Cole posting, I am curious as to whether he or someone else chose the images (as the images used here do have an impact on how the words are understood and meanings construed).

  • William

    Christian support for Israel is, for the most part, fear driven based on the teachings of the church that claim not to do so will bring the wrath of God and some terrible calamity. Also, a belief in the false endtime prophecies of some huge cataclysmic war in the that region.

  • Jack R

    I read your thought-provoking comments with great interests where I am completely ignorant about what is happening between Israel and palestinian. My question could be native as follows… why or what prompts palestinian not to recognize Israel as a country? What ticks them?

    • Andrew D.

      @ Jack R. Jack, the answer’s simple – it WAS Palestine and Palestinian land up to 1948, when it was taken away from the Palestinians by force, and with the connivance of the West, acting out of guilt at the way they’d allowed the Jews to suffer under Hitler. The falsehood that Palestine was “A land without people, for a people without land” is simply that – a falsehood, for Palestine was epopled by Arabs, who were pushed out of Palestine – ethnically cleansed, I’m afraid to say – to form Israel. The argument that Israel is “the Promised Land”, because the Bible says so, so that Jews have a prior right to live there is a specious and dangerous argument – after all, Muslims argue that the Q’uran allots the land to Muslims. This means that religion needs to be taken out of the argument – and I pseak as a practising Christian – and the real politics need to be examined, which is that Jews DO need somewhere they can call their own, but NOT at the expense of the existing inhabitants. America should bend its powers to devising a REAL Peace Settlement, permitting a REAL Palestinian State, and sanctioning Israel if it hampers, harms or interferes with that State. Then the Arabs and Jews – who are BOTH Semitic, and speak related languages – could begin to leanr to live alongside each other.

  • http://singingwithcrows.blogspot.com Marian L. Shatto

    This statement from the National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine was just posted by Churches for Middle East Peace. Please read it, and take action as suggested. http://www.cmep.org/sites/default/files/NCOOPGazaStatement111912.pdf

  • http://verizon.net Robert Borrego

    When a people live in a state of utter hopelessmess as do Palestinians, forced on them by Netanyahu and the Israelites, they become desparate and will take any action to get out of the misery in which they live.

  • Matt

    Criticism of Israel will not stop being perceived as antisemitic until antisemites who try to use it as cover are regularly called out by pro palestinian activists themselves. Sorry, it’s not fair, but nothing about the twisted relationships among Jews, Christians, and Muslims is fair. A related point is that Americans in particular must overcome and call out the daffy religiosity that informs both sides of the argument. Evangelicals must come to terms with the fact that the Israelis today are not identical with the Noble Hebrews of the Bible. Conversely, more liberal religious or latently religious people who tend to sympathize with the Palestinians need to avoid conflating the Israelis or Jews of today with the Evil, Tricksy Pharisees Who Crucified Our Lord. In other words forget everthing you fell asleep listening to in Sunday School.

  • Jawbohn

    Wadidiz, absolutely right, there needs to be a solution. What that solution is, well, that’s going to be difficult because even if Israel gave up some land, the palestinians would not be happy, they are only going to be happy with the destruction of Israel. Israel is obviously not going to go for that.
    DWS, I really don’t think it matters what any one of us thinks about whether or not Israel should be a nation. You are essentially right that the kingdoms of Judah and Israel of old are no more, but The fact is that Israel is a Nation today, like it or not, and for whatever reason the land was given to them makes no difference today either, the point could be argued, but to what end? America is a nation, should it’s borders be withdrawn because it was unfair to take it away from its indigenous people? I suppose if you are an anti colonialist, like Juan Cole, you think that to be true. But seriously what nation hasn’t been overrun by some other nation? Including the Arab nations.

  • Greta

    I pray “GOD’s” prophecy comes to pass, to this day they (Jews) have no shown any humility “GOD” will annihilate them. Deuteronomy 28:29 states that “no one would be able to save Israel”; furthermore, all of these curses would continue upon Israel and her descendants forever (Deuteronomy 28:45-46).
    In fact, God told Israel “up front”, that if they persisted in disobedience, they would forfeit the blessings He offered them, and would receive curses instead (Deuteronomy 28:15-68). These curses included disease, drought, crop failure, hunger, thirst, nakedness, persecution, plundering and enemy invasion; even to the point of their resorting to cannibalism of their own children because of their hunger. And, within these curses, God clearly and specifically stated that Israel would not receive their promised blessings, but would receive the exact opposite, which was the curses. Instead of becoming as the “stars in multitude”, as God had promised (Genesis 15:4-5), Israel would be reduced to being “few in number” (Deuteronomy 28:62). Instead of being the “head”, and other nations being the “tail”, as promised within Israel’s “blessings” (Deuteronomy 28:13), Israel would become the “tail”, and their enemies would become the “head” (Deuteronomy 28:44). Instead of Israel receiving “continual blessings” everywhere and in every way, as also promised within Israel’s “blessings” (Deuteronomy 28:1-12), Israel would receive “continual curses” everywhere and in every way (Deuteronomy 28:15-68). Instead of God “elevating” Israel high above the other nations, as had been promised (Deuteronomy 28:1), God would rejoice in “destroying Israel” (Deuteronomy 28:63). Instead of Israel having their land “forever”, as previously promised (Genesis 13:14-15), they would be “plucked from their land” (Deuteronomy 28:63). Instead of Israel defeating their enemies and “possessing their gates”, as God had promised (Genesis 22:17; Deuteronomy 28:7), Israel would be destroyed by their enemies and would serve them, and Israel would be “brought to nothing” (Deuteronomy 28:48; Deuteronomy 28:63).

    Let’s be clear: this tragedy didn’t’t start with the Qassams. It didn’t’t start with the election of Hamas. And it didn’t’t start with the “instability” that followed Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza.
    No, this is just the latest chapter of a much longer saga that began in 1947-48, when scores of Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from their cities and villages in the coastal plain and lower Galilee and warehoused in a tiny strip of land on the edge of the Mediterranean.
    I suggest you ppl look up the Balfour Declaration of 1917 get educated on the subject before writing lies and destorting the truth.
    If my memory serves me right I don’t think the Nazis EVER proclaimed to be “god’s” chosen ppl, unlike these vile so-called Jews, who have NO freaking semitic blood in them, and are in NO way descendent from Abraham, like Israel or Judea!
    For these malicious, pernicious, mendacious, parasitic scourge-of-the-earth “ppl” to consider themselves to be “god’s” chosen, is the height of obscenity!
    BTW, I’m not talking about? all “Jews”…just the 99.999999% of those who subscribe to the Talmud and its Laws and who think every Gentile is tantamount to an animal i.e. cattle!
    And our “LIAR IN CHIEF” is not only looking on – he is defending Isra-Hell’s war crimes by saying that Isra-Hell had a right to “self-defense in light of the barrage of rocket attacks being launched from Gaza against Israeli civilians.”

  • Greta

    From my perspective, National Israel does not own one inch of land by divine right. She owns it by National right only. It is not an exaggeration to say that during the Roman/Jewish war of A. D. 67-70, God removed forever the divine right of Jews to possess physical land—as a nation. They may no longer possess and rule by divine right.
    Another interesting thought, and one we have not as yet touched upon but should, is that God’s promise to give Israel natural—terrestrial—land was literally fulfilled under Joshua. “So the Lord gave Israel all the land He had sword to give their forefathers. Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled” (Joshua 21:43-45).
    I make note of this because many supporters of National Israel today claim that the land promise is yet to be consummated or completed. The promise relating to physical land was fulfilled under Joshua, but because of their continual rebellion God removed all the land He had given them during the Roman/Jewish war of 67-70 A. D. In a spiritual sense, the promise pertaining to their possessing the land forever is still valid, but, as noted in this feature, not in the configuration it was originally conferred.
    As most of you are probably aware, many evangelical leaders and ecclesiastics within the various Baptist factions and other evangelical sects make a distinction between “Israel and the church”? They believe that many prophetic statements in the old and new covenant scriptures apply literally to the physical nation of Israel and have yet to be fulfilled. They also maintain that the modern re-establishment of Israel as a nation, against overwhelming odds, supports their view because, according to the belief, God is going to remove the Church from the earth and then finish His plan with the nation of Israel.
    If God still has some “business” with Israel as a nation, as most evangelicals believe, and if there are yet prophecies and promises contained in the old covenant scriptures relating to Israel as a nation that have not been fulfilled, as they affirm, they are going to have a demanding task clarifying and reconciling Joshua 21:43-45, as commented upon above.
    As noted in the Joshua passage, all the promises relating to physical land and other matters were fulfilled under Joshua, but because of the Jews’ continual and chronic rebellion against God, He amputated all of the land He had given them during the Roman/Jewish war of 67-70 A. D. Let it be noted that God never promised to give Israel land, or anything else, but on condition of obedience.
    The Lord, after much patience and longsuffering with Israel, nullified what He had promised her and finally divorced her when she, after a long period of waywardness, rebelliousness, and spiritual adultery turned her back upon Him and rejected Him as King. God used the Roman Army in A. D. 67-70 to remove Israel’s Temple, her sacrifices, her rituals, her ceremonies, her feast days, her form of religious and political government, her Holy City Jerusalem, her dominion, her kingdom, and everything else in between.
    It was over—forever—for Israel as a nation! God had had enough of His one-time wife who persisted in spiritual adultery. They had become a stiff-neck people. “You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers—you always resist the Holy Spirit” (Acts 7:51).
    Even Jesus foretold of the disaster that would come upon His one-time wife when He said, “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near…They [Jews] will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations” (Luke 21:20-24). Jesus made it plain that all this punishment that came upon the Jews was “in fulfillment of all that has been written” (v. 22). The path of Israel as a nation had ended, never to rise again.

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  • http://@TippyToesJones Jeanette J.

    These beautiful words were written by a Palestinian.

    I have challenged my fellow Christian believers to take a second look at Zionism.

    As Christians, we should seek out middle eastern believers and support their messages of peace.
    ———
    “We, as believers, are called to seize the time, whatever the situation. If it’s a time of peace or time of war, it is always a chance for us to glorify God through our deeds and actions and through our statements, but more than that, through our outreach to the people in need through the love of Christ.

    As believers in the midst of the storm, what should we do? How should we react? How can we control our emotions?

    1. We need to be involved in intercessory prayer.

    2. We need to stop being apathetic and get involved in active service for our people.

    3. We need to realize the importance of the Gospel. The worst tragedy of all is not war; it’s not destruction. It’s people going to die without a chance of meeting the savior, Jesus. That’s why we need to be involved in an active way in sharing the Lord Jesus with those who don’t know him.

    4. We need to take initiatives in building relationships with brothers and sisters of a people with whom we are at war, such as Palestinian believers and Israeli believers. There should be multiple initiatives for dialogue, fellowship & prayer. This could serve to become a bridge for peace. We need to encourage it more; we need to be involved more and more.”

    By Rev. Jack Sara, Alliance Church, Jerusalem, occupied Palestine

  • Mary Pishney

    Hi Frank,
    I just this past weekend recommended your book, “Crazy for God” to a searching soul. He’s been through the fires of fundamentalism and I knew, from personal experience, that your book would be a spiritual balm. I am so glad you are dealing with this issue concerning the Jewish state of Israel that has a cart blanch to kill as many Palestinians as they can, with no accountability! What a farce and how unchristian that we feel intimidated to even question their cruelty! I would guess that Christ isn’t giving them the green light for such callous, murderous behavior! Just last week I saw a spokesman for Israel bemoaning the fact that thousands of missles have hit Israel…Oops, did he forget the Iron shield that cancelled out all for 10-15%? Sure sounds more dramatic if you count the duds! Also, just a tidbit about the exposed evils of Bob Jones University! Seems that they are having to answer (or hide) from the numerous cases of sexual abuse perpetrated on campus by the high and holy leadership! I’ve been aware of that since the ’60s and how the victims are shipped for lying…just another reason why I don’t go to church..

  • Dave Mafi

    The point is that Israel would not ‘just kill “them” all’ – Israel is committed to their remaining alive (or at least to their existence). But go and check the Hama’s website (the arabic version) where they state their manifesto – they are crystal clear in their stated intention to wipe Israel off the map. Give Hama’s the same firepower that Israel have and they WOULD ‘just kill them all’, regardless of what America or any other western power said. Israel do have blood on their hands and ultimately they will have to give an account for their actions. But as long as Hama’s are a ruling authority in Palestine, we ought to be thankful that Israel still holds the balance of power.

  • Dale

    Personally, I always thought Hagee and many fundamentalist Christian leaders are “stirring the pot,” ensuring this part of the Middle East remains on the brink of war in order to hasten the return of Christ. Stephen Colbert, in his book, ‘I Am America (and So Can You!)’ suggests this tongue-in-cheek.

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