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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.

Palestinian Outrage at Romney Is Understandable


During his visit to Israel last week, Mitt Romney remarked that Israel was so much further advanced than the surrounding

Stateless Palestinian refugees, 1948

Stateless Palestinian refugees, 1948 (Photo credit: BlatantWorld.com)

nations, comparing “her” quite clearly with Palestine… which, due to Israel’s control, isn’t permitted to have the status of being a state or nation.

One Democrat here at home commented that if Romney made such gaffes while he was a tourist, imagine what he would do as President.

I’m fed up with both the GOP and the DEMS, to be honest, but to blame the victim for being poor and “uncultured”, touched a nerve. Below, you’ll find two articles by others who reacted unfavorably.

Dear Mr. Romney: Palestinians are Poor Because You Stole from them and Kept them Stateless.

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.

http://www.tentofnations.org/

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.

Israeli PM Netanyahu: “Such behavior does not characterize IDF soldiers.”


Flickr - Israel Defense Forces - Suicide Bombe...

Flickr - Israel Defense Forces - Suicide Bomber Stopped in Gaza (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Israel's Special Forces in Camouflage

Israel's Special Forces in Camouflage (Photo credit: Israel Defense Forces)

I wish this title were true, or even wishful thinking. There are two sides to the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict and this incident illustrates it well.

I’ve heard that at this time when the Palestinians are increasing their efforts at non-violent negotiations and protests, the Israelis are increasing their aggressive behaviors.

As I watched the following short, YouTube clip sent by a Christian friend, several thoughts ran through my mind.

What is Done in Secret?  uL-GmYBNDqY

Sure, the young protesters were there to provoke a response, but they were non-violent. They were present in Israel to call attention to the violence and injustice done towards Palestinians, something seldom seen in the Western press, and not deemed important by American Christians.

That there are real security concerns in Israel is a fact.  The IDF is trained to suspect all Palestinians of the most egregious crimes and behaviors.  They do not differentiate. Imagine an entire nation labeled “Terrorist Killers”! This includes small children, pregnant women, old women and hard working farmers who are Muslim and Christian.

That there is an over diligence and over reaction often to the point of bullying on the part of the IDF and the Government is a well documented fact.

Let’s give the Lt. Col. who over reacted, the benefit of the doubt: PTSD, Family troubles, Stress, Depression, Economic problems may have entered in.  But, consider what happens in similar situations to a lone Palestinian farmer who doesn’t have a camera following him, when he argues with a soldier about the confiscation of his land?

Read what blogger Emily L. Hauser, who left Israel because of their policies toward the Palestinians, has to say.

Israeli PM Netanyahu: “Such behavior does not characterize IDF soldiers.” « Emily L. Hauser – In My Head.