The Uprooted and Unwanted: A Sermon for Yom Kippur

Rabbi Brant Rosen leads a newly-formed Jewish congregation, Tzedek Chicago, a congregation that pursues a "Judaism beyond nationalism...non-Zionist, openly acknowledging that the creation of an ethnic Jewish nation state in historic Palestine resulted in an injustice against its indigenous people – an injustice that continues to this day."Read Rosen's first Yom Kippur sermon, and get to know him thorough his blog.  Here he is, once again stunningly on target.  Check out the quote from James B … [Read more...]

The German church and the Palestinian call: A church challenged, Part 1

Four years ago I was in Stuttgart, Germany for my first speaking tour in that country. My book had been published in German with the title Fatal Shame: Israel’s Politics and the Silence of the Christians. Several church groups eager to bring a message supportive of the Palestinian cause to German audiences had organized my visit. But this was Germany, and they were a bit nervous. On the evening of my first lecture, the local organizer took me aside and made a request: “Don't mention boycotts,” he … [Read more...]

The Politics of Hope: One Jew’s Journey from Philadelphia, to Palestine, and Back

When I was a boy in the 1950s attending Hebrew school in Philadelphia, once a year we received cardboard folders equipped with slots for dimes. The folders were distributed by the Jewish National Fund, a nonprofit corporation founded in 1901 by the World Zionist Organization to buy land in Palestine for Jewish settlement. On the cover was a picture of a tree being planted by handsome, tanned people dressed as farmers. When the card was full, you sent it in and in return received a certificate … [Read more...]

Footnotes in Gaza — The Power of Memory


My review of Joe Sacco's astonishing Footnotes in Gaza appeared in Commonweal Magazine in October, 2011.  It was a powerful experience for me to turn to it again today.  The brilliance of the book is how it takes us back to '48, then to the near unknown (outside of Gaza) events of '56, and how these resonate so horribly and bloodily in present  time. "Present time" for Sacco, of course, and for me when I wrote the book, was the Cast Lead massacre of 2008-2009. In 2014 the power of memory grows in … [Read more...]

Gaza, 2014: Telling the Truth About Israel

Telling the truthFive years ago I attended a conference in Boston entitled “One State for Palestine/Israel.” It was March 2009. Gaza was still smoldering from Operation Cast Lead, in which 1400 Palestinians were killed between December 27th and January 18th. Israeli historian and author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine Ilan Pappe was one of the speakers, and he talked about genocide. My God, I thought, he’s saying the G word. It was not hurled as an accusation, it was not shouted for effect … [Read more...]

BDS the End of Israel? A Jewish and Presbyterian Response to Rabbi Marans

Dear Subscribers,I'm off to the Presbyterian General Assembly today. This OpEd written by Rev Jeff Deyoe and me is the first in a number of pieces I'll be sending about the important vote the Presbyterians will be taking this week and the issues it raises.[intro note:] Things have been heating up in the media discourse as the Presbyterians prepare to vote, once again, on divesting their pension funds from Caterpillar, Motorola and Hewlett Packard because of those company's involvement in … [Read more...]

Tent of Nations Orchard Destruction and Pentecost Reflections

Dear Subscribers,Three weeks ago I boarded an Amtrak train in Portland bound for Seattle.  I was on my way to meet up with my Palestinian brother and friend, Daoud Nassar -- farmer, peacemaker and owner of Tent of Nations, a 100-acre farm just south of Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Most of you know about Daoud, have heard him speak or have even been among the close to 50,000 pilgrims who have visited Tent of Nations in the past decade -- 8,000 in 2013 alone. My trip to Seattle … [Read more...]

Passover Message

Dear Subscribers,My friend Robert Cohen in the UK has just sent out his Passover message.  In it he writes:In our post-Holocaust, Israel-centred Jewish consciousness, the 'Every generation...' passage has continued to grow in significance, eating away at our moral sensibility. So much so, that we have difficulty  understanding modern Jewish history and politics without constant reference to this paradigm of oppression and threat...Read the entire message, also pasted below, which I c … [Read more...]

The Two State Illusion, Racism in Israel, and Jewish Hubris

On October 16 The Christian Century published my review of Rashid Khalidi’s Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East. (Here is the text of the review). The fact that the Century reviewed Khalidi’s book is an indication of the media’s increasing willingness to present viewpoints that challenge the very basis of Israel as a Jewish ethnic nationalist entity. This shift reflects the reality that once you address present-day violations of Palestinian rights, you see that … [Read more...]

Talking about Israel at the Greenbelt Festival in the UK – a Yom Kippur Meditation

Dear Subscribers,I'm back.  It's been a long time.  Where have I been?  Helping found and run Kairos USA, writing a new book, and moving from Washington DC to wonderful Portland OR. Lots of travel, in the US and internationally.  So there is a bit of catching up to do.  I'll begin by working backwards and posting something from my time last week in the UK at the Greenbelt Festival. How to describe Greenbelt?  How about as a Woodstock for followers of Jesus? -- a 4-day gathering of over 20,00 … [Read more...]