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New York Jews Blast De Blasio Over AIPAC Speech

Rethinking Foreign Policy

A group of prominent Jewish leaders in New York have sent a letter to the city’s new mayor, Bill De Blasio sharply criticizing him for the fawning and kowtowing speech he secretly made to AIPAC. It’s short and to the point–AIPAC doesn’t speak for these Jews and, I’ll add, AIPAC doesn’t speak for most Jews or Israelis. It’s high time these people, who are not only causing immense harm to Palestinians but are also determined to lead Israelis over a cliff and US Jews to the end of the era of our history most free of anti-Semitism were confronted in no uncertain terms. They have money and hate, and nothing else. They represent no one but themselves.

Here is the letter:

View original post 302 more words

The Hazards of Speaking Up for Palestine

Security Barrier between Israel and West Bank/...

Security Barrier between Israel and West Bank/Palestine (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve told my story before, how I grew up unreservedly Christian in the United States and accepted the importance of Israel in our (Christian) lineage and prophecy.

When I met a Nazi prison camp survivor during my college years, I was overcome with emotion. He was sitting across from me at a “dish-to-pass” we held each week at the Messianic congregation I attended in Philadelphia.

These were the years when the JDL (Jewish Defense League) was threatening to attack Messianic congregations in Philadelphia. Each Sunday, as we worshiped in our little storefront building on Chestnut Street, danger was palpable.  Heads would cautiously turn towards the front door each time it opened during the sermon, wondering what to expect.

I counted it a privilege and honor to be a part of my Jewish friends’ suffering for their rights to worship as they wished.

For years, I never questioned my high view of Israel. Meeting a Jewish person was, for me, like meeting a celebrity, because they were “God’s Chosen”.

The first time I realized others in the world didn’t support Israel in the same way that Americans did was in Indonesia. A good friend asked us why America always sided politically with Israel against the Arab world.

I hadn’t realized there were sides.

This was the first step in my education which continued as we traveled across the world and then returned home to host international students who held very different opinions from traditional American views.

This was especially clear as we discussed international issues with our Arab students, especially the one from Palestine.

We selected Ahmed because he listed his home as the “West Bank“, and we wanted to learn about him.

His stories were wildly different from the beatific scenes we associated with Israel. Were they possibly true? We began to read up on this area and ask questions. One book was unforgettable, “Blood Brothers”, by Brother Elias Chacour.   http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Brothers-Dramatic-Palestinian-Christian/dp/0800793218

Blogs were written about life in Israel contrasting it with the very poor conditions behind a wall separating it from the West Bank/Palestine.

I wanted to see for myself, so Jon and I took several trips to visit our Palestinian students, and then met Palestinian Christians who told the same stories about Israeli abuses.

When one is meeting a diverse (Christian, Muslim, educated, working class) group of people and all writers from that area are telling similar stories you cannot afford to dismiss their story lines as fantasy.

So, I resolved to return home as an advocate for the Palestinians to tell their stories. I am not

Bantustans, Palestine 2006

Bantustans, Palestine 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

anti-Israeli, but I will not cover up what they do.

It hasn’t been popular to speak up for Palestinians, but I’ve had it easy.

Others, like Steven Sizer, who has a prominent place in the UK, has his way of life threatened.

Read on:

Stephen Sizer: Craig Murray Responds to anti-Semitism Allegations.

“The Most Hated Woman in Israel?”

Read about Haneen Zoabi n the articles and links below.

The Most Hated Woman in Israel – By Larry Derfner | Foreign Policy.

Oxfam project in chaos after secret meeting | The Jewish Chronicle

Protesters at a Freedom for Palestine March

Protesters at a Freedom for Palestine March (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We have visited OXFAM in Israel/Palestine. Christians and Muslims work there.

Sadly, it seems, Israel is intent on shutting every possible “door”, even aid to the poor, rather than deal with its own internal issues.

Oxfam project in chaos after secret meeting | The Jewish Chronicle.

Guilt By Association?

English: Israel criticism not allowed

English: Israel criticism not allowed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is a lot of talk these days about Anti-Semitism. The following article in The Atlantic,  by Robert Wright, addresses the use of this term to prevent any and all criticism of Israel.

Anti-Semitism exists. Neo-Nazis and some Muslims do want to push Israel into the sea. But, to claim that discussion of an entire nation’s politics is immune from criticism is ridiculous.

I’m just now reading Peter Beinart‘s book, The Crisis of Zionism, which discusses the growing awareness of this generation’s Jewish young people who are viewing Israel’s activities with an eye towards justice.  Perhaps there is hope for the Palestinian/Israeli conflict when these young adults come into power.

Neo-McCarthyism – Robert Wright – The Atlantic.

60 Minutes on the Plight of Palestinian Christians

I have a proposal at the end of this blog. I hope some of you will take me up on it!

Even I am curious about why Israel and Palestine are appearing in my blog posts to such an extent lately! I guess we can say it’s because they keep coming to the forefront of world events!

If you missed the segment about Palestinian Christians done by Bob Simon on

60 Minutes

60 Minutes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

60 Minutes, last night, here it is, within an article about it in “The Atlantic“. Click on the video to watch it.

60 Minutes on the Plight of Palestinian Christians – Robert Wright – International – The Atlantic.

I’ve said that you can only learn the truth about what is going on in the West Bank by going to Palestine and hearing from the people there, but this is almost as good!

I’m also adding a link to, “Tent of Nations”, a Christian farming enterprise in Palestine, surrounded by three settlements. I’ve wanted to give you their perspective for quite some time.


What do I hope to accomplish with my blog posts?

One small, but realistic goal is that Christians in the United States who visit Israel might do a simple thing. When you tour Israel, let your tour guides know that you want to attend an Evangelical or Orthodox Church in Bethlehem, the West Bank, on Sunday morning. Be persistent. Some guides discourage these visits.

These visits will encourage the “Living Stones”, Christians who remain in the Holy Land, and present an opportunity to learn directly from them. It seems like a small thing for a visiting Christian to do.

I will publish a list of churches in Bethlehem (a short drive from Jerusalem) soon.

We Christians are exhorted in our Holy Book to “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!”

If we haven’t already been doing this, it’s a good time to begin.  Peace is not within reach anytime soon, but at least, long established misconceptions are being uncovered.

Tel Aviv is Not Vilna

This just in from Emily Hauser. I’m reprinting it here because it is so truly important for people to read. The Holocaust was a terrible and historical event. Politicians are misusing it to manipulate people.

Tel Aviv is Not Vilna

by Apr 20, 2012 12:01 PM EDT

On the Eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day, Israel’s Prime Minister chose—as so many have done before him—to compare a current geopolitical circumstance to the dark days of Nazi Germany.

“People who make light of the Iranian threat have learned nothing from the Holocaust,” Prime Minister Netanyahu said on Wednesday, adding that during a recent trip around the country, “for a moment I replaced Tel Aviv with Vilna, Haifa with Białystock, Degania, Nahalal, Be’er Sheva with Plonsk, Riga, and Odessa.”

Warsaw Ghetto monument in Warsaw, Poland, Wojtek Grzedzinkski / AFP / Getty Images

There’s nothing new here, of course. Nasser, Arafat, Ahmadinejad—they’re all Hitler. Palestinian nationalism is Nazism. The 1967 borders are Auschwitz Borders. On and on Israel’s leaders go, misusing and abusing the memories of the six million, even as they claim to be fighting in their memory.

The words “false equivalency” come up a lot in discussions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but arguably the worst case of it is perpetrated by successive Israeli governments when they compare the Jews in the Jewish State to the Jews in mid-century Europe.

Can there be any equivalency more false than that drawn between a starved, terrorized population without access to hope or help—and the Middle East’s most successful country, its borders guarded by the Middle East’s most powerful army, its people fed, clothed and housed in the Middle East’s most successful economy? In what way, exactly, is a nation bristling with armaments like people gunned down by the Einsatzgruppen? How, precisely, are Israel’s internationally recognized borders even remotely like the gates reading “Arbeit Macht Frei”?

These are ahistorical and frankly grotesque comparisons, and the damage they cause cuts deep, in many directions.

In turning the Holocaust into the centerpiece of the Israeli narrative, Israel’s leaders feed the misapprehension that Jewish nationalism is a direct result of the Shoah, the establishment of Israel a gift from an international community wracked by guilt.

Yet this reading of history erases the evolution of Zionism—which was, in point of fact, concurrent with the rise of nationalism around the globe—and frankly denies the Jewish people agency. Does the 1909 establishment of the city of Tel Aviv count for nothing? How about the 1918 establishment of Hebrew University? Or, indeed, centuries of praying three times a day to return home? When we make the Holocaust the starting point of Jewish nationalism, we play into the hands of those who would deny Jews the right to build a home in their own homeland.

Furthermore, when leaders on the international stage consistently make patently ridiculous claims, it’s all too easy to turn a deaf ear. Israel has real, verifiable security concerns. Even presuming a sudden break-through on peace talks, it’s entirely reasonable and only responsible for Israel to maintain a strong defensive stance and negotiate iron-clad security arrangements. Decades of war and their consequence don’t just drop away.

But when Israel, a nuclear power, compares itself to Vilna and Białystock, and equates a state that doesn’t yet have a nuclear bomb to the Wehrmacht, it’s very easy for those who would deny Israel’s every claim to continue to do so. Moreover, such hyperbole bolster’s Ahmedinijad’s position with Iran—an outcome that is surely not in Israel’s best interests.

But for me, the worst damage is in the sheer contempt these facile comparisons demonstrate toward the six million themselves.

The children who watched their parents shot, the parents who watched their children starve, the wives and lovers and grandfathers and students and all the humans, the endless parade of human beings who lost and lost and lost and were then lost—they deserve more. They deserve better.

The Holocaust is and remains a story of slaughter, wave upon wave of Jews killed for their noses and their language and their God. Ground up in a malevolent machine engineered precisely for their destruction, killed and killed and killed, their blood nourishing the European earth even today, their ashes caught and held in the corners of buildings and roots of trees, even today.

Whatever our politics, whatever our thoughts on Israel’s position in the Middle East, the Shoah’s victims deserve, at the very least, genuine respect, and deep humility.

The Jewish people—each and every one of us—is a living testament to something much bigger than political wrangling and ideological disagreement. We are and will be testament to the fact that though Hitler tried—he failed. We are Jews, and we are alive. We will carry the blood and the names of the six million forward.

Offensive, dishonest Holocaust rhetoric will not help us achieve that end, nor will it keep Israel safe. It will only serve those who question Israel’s right to exist, and disgrace the memory of those we claim to honor.

Tel Aviv is Not Vilna – The Daily Beast.