What Jesus Would Say and Other’s Have


What Jesus Would Say and Other’s Have RE: BDS, Israel and United Methodist’s Failure to Act According to the Christian Manifesto

by Eileen Fleming

“Blessed are the Peacemakers; they shall be called the children of God.”-Jesus said in Mt. 5:9

“Violence breeds violence, those that live by the sword shall die by the sword.”-Jesus said in Mt. 26:52

“Love is not the starving of whole populations. Love is not the bombardment of open cities. Love is not killing…Our manifesto is the Sermon on the Mount, which means that we will try to be peacemakers.”Dorothy Day: Made in USA Christian Anarchist and a review of ALL IS GRACE

Palestinian Christian, Reverend Alex Awad, serves with the General Board of Global Ministries in Israel and in Palestine, and on 3 May 2012, wrote:

Methodist Voices that Prevailed

In describing the trial of Jesus before Pilate, Luke the Evangelist brilliantly described the mood of the crowd when he wrote, “But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed.” (Luke 23:23 NIV)

On May 2, 2012 at the United Methodist General Conference in Tampa, Florida, once again shouts of injustice prevailed over the shouts of those who yearned to see actions promoting justice in Palestine.

United Methodists and Jewish allies had come from around the world to stand in solidarity with Palestinian Christians who called for divestment to help end Israel’s occupation.

But opponents spread fear and misinformation that carried the day.

The delegates of the United Methodist Church considered three resolutions that dealt with the Israel-Palestine question. The first two passed in favor of justice for the Palestinians, in particular against the occupation and settlements, but these two resolutions have little practical power in them to change realities on the ground. The third resolution, which called for divesting United Methodist Pension Funds from three companies that support and sustain the occupation through their machines and technologies, was defeated with the final tally showing 39% in favor of divestment and 61% opposed.

On May 2, “…their shouts prevailed” and I watched with pain my people being crucified again.

As a Palestinian I am concerned about the occupation of my homeland, the settlements, the separation wall and all the other forms of injustices but as a Christian, I am more concerned over the health of the Church. A Church that is not ready or willing to hear the voice of the oppressed and stand with justice is out of sync with the will of her Head and Maker.

On 26 April 2012, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote:

Dear Friends of the United Methodist Church

The situation in Israel and Palestine pains me greatly since it is the place where God formed a very particular relationship with a particular group of people; Hebrews who were oppressed as slaves in another land. As time moved on, this people disobeyed God and time and time again the prophets had to call them back to their deepest values.

The Jewish Holocaust, engineered and implemented primarily by Europeans, gave some ideologues within the Jewish and Christian community an excuse to implement plans that were in the making for at least 50 years, under the rubric of exceptional Jewish security. In this way began the immense oppression of the Palestinian people, who were not at all involved in the Holocaust.

Not only is this group of people being oppressed more than the apartheid ideologues could ever dream about in South Africa, their very identity and history are being denied and obfuscated. What is worse, is that Europe and the USA are refusing to take responsibility for their actions with regard to both the Holocaust and the over-empowering of the Israelis, their disregard for the international conventions and regulatory framework of the nuclear industry and their continued oppression of the Palestinian people.

But God, who is the same yesterday, today and forever, neither slumbers nor sleeps. Prophetic voices have been calling this empowered people who were once oppressed and killed, to their deepest values of justice and compassion, but they have refused to listen even to the most reasonable voices.

The human community cannot be silent in the face of the gross injustice being meted out to the people of Palestine. If international courts and governments refuse to deal with this matter, we in the churches and in the rest of civil society really have no choice but to act in small ways and big ways.

God is busy doing a new thing. And God is using all of us to be partners with him.

Both the Israelis and the Palestinians have to be liberated, but at this stage the greater onus is on the Israelis since they are the ones who are in power, economically, politically and militarily. We have to think about ways that will allow them to reflect deeply on what it is that they are doing and bring them back from the brink, not out of spite or revenge, but because we love them deeply.

I therefore wholeheartedly support your action to disinvest from companies who benefit from the Occupation of Palestine.

This is a moral position that I have no choice but to support, especially since I know of the effect that Boycotts, Disinvestment and Sanctions had on the apartheid regime in South Africa.

May God bless your conference as you deliberate on this matter, and I pray that your decision will reflect the best values of the human family as we stand in solidarity with the oppressed.

God bless you. 
Archbishop-Emeritus Desmond Tutu
Cape Town, South Africa. [1]

Omar Barghouti, wrote for The Nation

The BDS movement is not asking for anything heroic from people of conscience. It is merely asking them to desist from complicity in oppression.

Anyone who supports Palestinian self-determination while calling only for ending the 45-year-old Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is only upholding most of the rights of just 38 percent of Palestinians while expecting the rest to accept injustice as fate. According to 2011 statistics, of 11.2 million Palestinians, 50 percent live in exile, many denied their UN-stipulated right to return to their homes of origin, and 12 percent are Palestinian citizens of Israel who live under a system of ‘institutional, legal and societal discrimination,’ according to the US State Department. More than two thirds of Palestinians are refugees or internally displaced persons.

Equal rights for Palestinians means, at minimum, ending Israel’s 1967 occupation and colonization, ending Israel’s system of racial discrimination and respecting the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their lands from which they were ethnically cleansed during the 1948 Nakba. The 2005 Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) call was endorsed by an overwhelming majority of Palestinians because it upholds all three. By appealing to people of conscience around the world to help end Israel’s three-tiered system of oppression, the BDS movement is not asking for anything heroic. It is merely asking people to desist from complicity in oppression.

Moreover, given the billions of dollars lavished by the US on Israel annually, American taxpayers are subsidizing Israel’s violations of international law at a time when American social programs are undergoing severe cuts. Striving to end US complicity in the occupation is good for the Palestinians and for the 99% struggling for social justice and against perpetual war.” [2]

Tikkun is Hebrew for mend, repair and transform the world.

In the Sept/Oct. 2007 issue of TIKKUN Magazine, the well-known Zionist, Rabbi Lerner wrote:

“From Moses to Jeremiah and Isaiah, the Prophets taught…that the Jewish claim on the land of Israel was totally contingent on the moral and spiritual life of the Jews who lived there, and that the land would, as the Torah tells us, ‘vomit you out’ if people did not live according to the highest moral vision of Torah. Over and over again, the Torah repeated its most frequently stated mitzvah [command]:

“When you enter your land, do not oppress the stranger; the other, the one who is an outsider of your society, the powerless one and then not only ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself’ but also ‘you shall love the other.’” Page 35.

The ancient Hebrew prophet Micah warned, “What does God require? He has told you o’man! Be just, be merciful, and walk humbly with your Lord.” -Micah 6:8

In his book, PALESTINIAN MEMORIES, Rev. Awad explained:

“Christian Zionism is a contradiction in terms…Zionism deviates from the heart of the New Testament…Christian Zionism is adding fuel to the tensions between Muslims, Christians and Jews…If the Christian Zionists’ agenda is realized, it will mean the death of Palestinian Christianity in the Holy Land…
“Zionism is militarizing the church…Christian Zionists overwhelmingly supported the war in Iraq and continue to support oppressive Israeli measures in the West Bank…
“The ‘blind spot’ of Christian Zionists is the fact that the Palestinian people, every day and in every aspect of their lives are living under an oppressive military occupation…
“Unlike the prophets of the Old Testament Christian Zionists have no prophetic words of reprimand for the State of Israel.” [3]

As a Senator Joe Biden spoke with Shalom TV and stated that, “There is this inextricable tie between culture, religion, ethnicity that most people do not understand…You don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist, I am a Zionist.”

Sen. Joe Biden I’m a Zionist

Zionism began as a nationalistic philosophy that developed among European Jews in the 19th century, which aspired to create a safe secure homeland for Jewish people.

Christian Zionism is an extremist movement, which supports the claims of those who believe that the State of Israel should take control of all of the land currently disputed between Palestinians and Israelis. It views the creation and expansion of the modern state of Israel as the fulfillment of biblical prophecy toward the second coming of Jesus.

Christian Zionism is also a modern theological and political movement that embraces the most extreme ideological positions of Zionism, thereby becoming detrimental to a just peace within Palestine and Israel.

The Christian Zionist program provides a worldview where the Gospel is identified with the ideology of empire, colonialism and militarism. In its extreme form, it laces an emphasis on apocalyptic events leading to the end of history rather than living Christ’s love and justice today.

Believing that God fights on the side of Israel, Christian Zionists call for the unqualified support for the most extreme political positions related to the Holy Land that preclude a just peace between all of its citizens. Some Christian Zionist spoke-persons have even attributed Hurricane Katrina to God’s wrath over America’s failure to stop Israel from ‘disengaging’ in Gaza. Many also consistently oppose any moves towards a solution to the conflict, which would validate the political aspirations of both Palestinians and Israelis.

Christian Zionism is both a political movement and a way of interpreting current events with the focus on Israel and the Middle East and its promoters share many beliefs but are not organized through any one institution.

Throughout history Christians have at times twisted scripture to justify violence: for the Crusades, for Anti-Semitism, for slavery and the church has been too slow to respond to these biblical distortions with disastrous results.

Christian Zionists – particularly those with dispensationalist leanings – whose motives are couched in terms of compassion toward the Jewish people- adhere to a literal reading of scripture that promotes a political agenda of territorial expansion which has given the green light to injustices against Palestinians and added fuel to the fire of conflict in the Middle East.

In 2005, The United Methodist Church, at its Illinois Conference on “Unwrapping the Rapture” warned, “Every household should give prayerful consideration as to how God will actually judge us for our silence about and complicity in the crushing of the Palestinian people.”

Tikkun researched to discover that there are three distinct elements energizing the Christian Zionists:

1. A strong commitment to conservative and ultra-nationalist American politics (so strong, I believe, that if the U.S. were to decide to break with Israel, this part of the Christian Zionist leadership would go along with that and drop its defense of Israeli policies).

2. Dispensationalist religious commitments that lead many of the Christian Zionists to yearn for a cataclysmic “end of history” eschatological war in the Middle East that will precipitate the second coming of Jesus and the Rapture in which all true Christians will go to heaven and all Jews who have not yet converted to Christianity will burn in hell for eternity.

3. A widespread understanding among many Christians that atonement and repentance is needed for 1700 years of murder, rape, and oppression of Jews that was frequently generated by the Church (though, of course, the Evangelicals do not recognize that church as their church). In this category are many Christian Zionists who genuinely feel terrible about what has happened to the Jews and genuinely want to help the Jewish people. Their philo-Semitism is real and sincere. [Rabbi Lerner, Tikkun Magazine page 9, Nov/Dec. 2007]

The BDS movement was inspired by the teachings of Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, Jr.

The move to Boycott Divest and Sanction Israel until Israel ends the military occupation of Palestine and honors the equality of all citizens will not and cannot be defeated because it has taken up roots in the consciences of global citizens beyond the bounds of religiosity.

The struggle for this struggling Christian Anarchist and citizen of conscience for US HOUSE of Representatives from Florida; is bearing the cross caused by willful ignorance and the pervasive apathy in the US Body of Christ.

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