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September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Sabeel’

Seeking ‘Peace’ by Waging War?

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

All along this has been the modus operandi of the Palestinian-Arabs and their supporters.  They have fired thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians; committed shootings, stonings and bombings; and incited hatred and violence among the Palestinian-Arab population.  Outside of the region they seek to defame or delegitimize Israel or punish Israel economically.  This onslaught has been incessant. Hardly the ingredients for “peace.”

A major conference taking place in Philadelphia on March 28 and 29 by supporters of the Palestinian-Arabs looks to perpetuate the attacks rather than end them.

Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) is staging “The Role of the US in Israel-Palestine: Current Realities and Creative Responses” at the American Friends Service Committee (the Quakers) headquarters in Center City Philadelphia.  FOSNA is a support arm of a radical Christian Palestinian-Arab group based in Jerusalem called Sabeel.

Sabeel is a stew of Christian liberation theology and replacement theology that politicizes religion to advance a political agenda.  In this case, that agenda is an end to the Israel we know and love; an Israel that serves as a vital ally to America.

Rather than truly seeking ways to co-exist or to build up a normal Palestinian-Arab society, FOSNA has assembled a roster of Israel haters and antagonists to present discussions and workshops geared toward delegitimizing and defaming Israel, hurting the Jewish state economically and eroding support for Israel – particularly among American Christians.

Based on a conference schedule posted on its Web site, the FOSNA conference will encourage the termination of American military aid to Israel; recast “the Israel-Palestine conflict as a civil rights struggle, with parallels to South Africa and the American South;” seek to increase anti-Israel activities on campuses; and promote the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.  FOSNA believes that the mainstream media is not already biased against Israel and thus will discuss strategies to make it more unfavorable to Israel, and to turn more Christians against Israel.

According to its Web site, conference sponsors include: Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel, American Friends Service Committee (Quakers), the Catholic Peace Fellowship, the Philadelphia Coalition for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel, the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Jews for a Just Peace, and the Peacemaking Committee of the Presbytery of Philadelphia.

To the Jewish community, the lack of a consistent position regarding Israel within Christianity can be confusing.  Groups including Friends of Israel (founded in 1938), Christians United For Israel (founded about a decade ago) and smaller groups such as Delaware’s Olive Tree Ministries are fervently pro-Israel, while other Christians such as the Quakers and “Main Line” Protestant denominations have been antagonistic toward Israel.  This divide is as old as the modern State of Israel itself.

When the State of Israel declared its independence in 1948, many Palestinian-Christian clergymen abandoned the Hebrew Bible because they believed it was too Zionist.  In an effort to reclaim it for their people, they replaced the Israelites with Palestinians in the narrative.  For example, instead of adhering to the biblical context of the Exodus, they supplant that with an interpretation of the Palestinian-Arabs going to the Knesset, saying: “Let my people go!”

“Palestinian Liberation Theology” takes interpretive liberties with the biblical accounts and prophecies of the Hebrew Bible in order to mold it to specific political and theological agendas.  It maintains that certain Torah passages are outdated and irrelevant, claiming they reveal a primitive way of understanding G-d’s revelation to man.  A majority of these “irrelevant” sections often involve G-d’s promise to give or return the Jewish people to their land.

“Palestinian Liberation Theology” is still considered fringe within mainstream Christianity.  Its proponents wish to advance the cause of the Palestinian Christians, who desire to create a Palestinian state.  The impetus for the movement stems from “Replacement Theology,” a faulty method of biblical interpretation that claims the church has replaced the role of Israel in the Bible.  Denominations that commonly hold to “Replacement Theology” to a degree include some Catholics, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Lutherans, and Methodists.

New Anti-Semitism Tailored for Evangelicals

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

In what was dubbed an “unprecedented advisory,” Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a warning to Christians to steer clear of the “Christ at the Checkpoint” [CATC] conference that took place from March 8th-15th in Bethlehem, and coincided with Israel Apartheid week there. Israel Today , a publication that investigated the conference, concluded that it could pose “a long term threat to Israel’s security.” According to the official statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

“The attempt to use religious motifs in order to mobilize political propaganda and agitate the feelings of the faithful through the manipulation of religion and politics is an unacceptable and shameful act. Using religion for the purpose of incitement in the service of political interests stains the person who does it with a stain of indelible infamy.”

A ministry official stated that, “the conference is designed for the evangelical Christian leadership leadership — an extremely important audience to us.” Christians around the world should pay close attention to the Israeli government’s concern about the dangerous propaganda being fanned and fueled at “Christ at the Checkpoint.” According to the conference website: “the checkpoint and the wall become a focal point and symbol of the conflict.” Yet the reason for the wall and the checkpoint is never mentioned — not the daily incitement to destroy Israel, the countless terrorist attacks against it which necessitated the barrier, nor the seemingly corrupt leadership of the Palestinian people.

Looking further into the agenda of this event, the Jewish National News Service pointed out that “Christ at the Checkpoint” emphasizes replacement theology, which teaches that the Christian Church has replaced Israel and the Jewish people in God’s purpose and plan so that the Jews are no longer God’s “chosen people,” and that Christians have replaced them. This is a source of division in the Churches and a stance many Christians resolutely oppose.

Bethlehem Anglican Canon Rev. Naim Ateek , president of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, spoke at the inaugural CATC in 2010; he is one of the first church leaders to connect Liberation Theology with the Palestinian cause. Liberation Theology is a political movement in the Catholic church that stresses liberation from unjust economic or political circumstances; in the Palestinian cause, it replaces the Jewish Messiah in scripture with that of a Palestinian Jesus or martyr. As an aggressive anti-Israel campaigner, Ateek stated in an Easter message he once delivered: “In this season of Lent, it seems to many of us that Jesus is on the cross again with thousands of crucified Palestinians around him. It only takes people of insight to see the hundreds of thousands of crosses throughout the land, Palestinian men, women, and children being crucified. Palestine has become one huge golgotha. The Israeli government crucifixion system is operating daily. Palestine has become the place of the skull.”

Executive Director David Brog of Christians United for Israel described the speakers of CATC as the “who’s who of the new anti-Israel narrative…in a guise of love…. who claim to be “pro-Israel, pro-Palestinian, pro-peace.” Just before the conference convened, Brog warned that “almost every speaker will blame Palestinian suffering on Israel and Israel alone.” He calls CATC a “dangerously one-sided propaganda campaign against Israel.”

According to a World Net Daily report, Brog later lamented about the conference that: “They are so careful about excluding possible justification for Israel’s actions that not a word was uttered about the 60 missiles fired from Gaza into southern Israel. … they are so disconnected from real Christian suffering that there’s been no mention of the besieged Christian communities of Egypt, Iraq or Syria.”

Anti-Israel Church Groups Slam Scarlett and SodaStream

Friday, January 31st, 2014

While most Israel supporters were celebrating the rebuff of Oxfam International and the rest of the anti-Israel crowd by movie actress Scarlett Johansson, several anti-Israel church groups had the opposite reaction.

When SodaStream, the company that produces a home-use product to make carbonated drinks, announced that Johansson was its new spokesperson a few weeks ago, members of the BDS movement – Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel – cried foul.  SodaStream has been a popular target of the BDS crowd both because it has a manufacturing plant in the disputed territories and because it is a highly visible product.

It doesn’t matter to the BDS crowd that, as Johansson pointed out, SodaStream employs large numbers of Palestinian Arabs who are paid the same salaries and receive the same benefits as do Israeli workers.  The BDS crowd would prefer those Arabs join the huge percentage of unemployed amongst their brethren.

The church groups involved in the BDS crowd include the Palestinian liberation theology group Sabeel, and several agencies and caucuses within the United Methodist Church, along with the Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the United Church of Christ Palestine/Israel Network and the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, all of which are members of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (USCEIO).

Anti-Israel church groups sought to pass a divestment resolution at the United Methodist General Conference and Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly in 2012.  The measure failed, but informed observers such as those at the Institute on Religion and Democracy anticipate another divestment measure will be introduced and voted on at this years General Assembly which will be held in Detroit, Michigan in June.

“It is revealing that Israel is the only country targeted for divestment,” IRD President Mark Tooley commented on anti-Israel activity by certain church groups.

“Why are these church activists typically silent on grievous violations in Syria, Egypt and bombings in Kenya and Nigeria? Is the focus here on human rights violations, or is it actually opposition to Israel?”

For those unfamiliar with some of those anti-Israel church groups, just consider what members of that anti-Israel church group Friends of Sabeel came up with to sing at a seminar held at the Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. in November, 2012, as reported at the IRD site:

“When Zionists Came to Palestine” (Tune: When Israel was in Egypt land)

When Zionists came to Palestine, Free Palestinians now. They said, “let all the land be mine,” Free Palestinians now. Tell all Israel, end the occupation now. Israel, Bibi, end the occupation now.

“Ode to Liberation” (Tune: Ode to Joy)

Israel, end your occupation,
There’s no peace on stolen land.
Well sing out for liberation,
‘till you hear and understand
Ethnic cleansing and apartheid
should belong to history.
Human rights cannot be silenced,
Palestine will soon be free.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/anti-israel-church-groups-slam-scarlett-and-sodastream/2014/01/31/

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