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...]

Will Israel’s tent protesters awaken to the tents that came before theirs?

The following appeared first in Zochrot, was then picked up by Mondoweiss, and I humbly follow in their footsteps.  Take the time to read this piece by a young Jewish Israeli woman -- it is the only-just-begun-to-be-spoken unspoken heart of Israel.Will Israel’s tent protesters awaken to the tents that came before theirs?by OFRA YESHUA-LYTH on AUGUST 2, 2011It is the corner of Shenkin and Rothschild Boulevard, Friday afternoon. We and our Palestinian guests – a group of "Illegal Sojo … [Read more...]

My visit to South Africa, part 2: A Moment of Truth for the U.S. Church

Part 2:  A Moment of Truth for the U.S. ChurchThe first task of a prophetic theology for our times would be an attempt at social analysis or what Jesus would call "reading the signs of the times" (Mt 16:3) or "interpreting this Kairos" (Lk 12:56). Kairos is actually a moment of truth, of discernment, of discovery. It is a revelation of the reality we live in, of what is at stake and our responsibility in that moment.Allan Boesak, “Kairos Consciousness,” 2011A moment of truthIsra … [Read more...]

My visit to South Africa Part 1: A confessing church,1985-2011

Part 1:  A Confessing Church, circa 1985This is the KAIROS, the moment of grace and opportunity, the favorable time in which God issues a challenge to decisive action.Challenge to the Church (“Kairos Document”), Johannesburg, South Africa, 1985The mission of the Church is prophetic, to speak the Word of God courageously, honestly and lovingly in the local context and in the midst of daily events.Kairos Palestine Document, Bethlehem, 2009Johannesburg, South Africa, April 2011 … [Read more...]