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...]

Bursting the Bubble of “Liberal Zionism”

Dear Subscribers,When Peter Beinart's "The Failure of the Jewish Establishment" came out in the New York Review of Books last June, I was out of the country and missed the excitement.  I was bombarded with it from a number of listserves, but began to notice that I was avoiding reading it.  And I know why:  I didn't feel like getting heated up about what I suspected was in the piece.  Well, I finally read it last December, and I did get heated up, and I wrote this essay.  I submitted it to sev … [Read more...]

Two Voices from Israel

Dear Subscribers,It’s been months since you’ve heard from me. This has not been for want of things to write about. In fact I have been writing quite a bit, and it’s been the demands of these projects and time on the road lecturing that have kept me from the blog. These two pieces just came my way, and have broken through the block.I am bringing you two Jewish voices from Israel. One is a cry of despair and pain. The other is the story of a man who years ago woke up and set out to do some … [Read more...]

Peace, peace, and there is no peace

On October 6 The Washington Post ran a story entitled “A key back channel for U.S., Israeli ties.” The story informs us that “Dennis Ross, a longtime Middle East expert, has emerged as a crucial, behind-the-scenes conduit between the White House and the Israeli government, working closely with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's private attorney - and also Defense Minister Ehud Barak - to discreetly smooth out differences and disputes between the two governments.”The article goes on to descri … [Read more...]

Report from the Presbyterian General Assembly – Part 2, The Jewish Response

Goodbye to the Old RulesThere were two groups of Jewish attendees at the 219th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in Minneapolis early this month. One was composed of several members of Jewish Voice for Peace, Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, and me. We were there at the invitation of the denomination’s Israel Palestine Mission Network to support passage of the Middle East Study Committee Report, “Breaking Down the Walls” and other Middle East- … [Read more...]

Report from the Presbyterian General Assembly – Part 1

Something Wonderful HappenedI’ve just returned from Minneapolis, having attended the 219th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA at the invitation of the denomination’s Israel Palestine Mission Network. The PC(USA) is at the epicenter of the struggle of the Christian community in the U.S. to come to terms with the challenge of the Israel-Palestine conflict.A victory had already been achieved before the start of the Assembly.  Overtures from presbyteries from around the country urg … [Read more...]