Christians make up only some 1.5% of the Palestinian population. They live in an overwhelmingly Muslim atmosphere and are, given the threats they face from Muslim extremists, naturally loath to express a Christian narrative that differs from the dominant Palestinian narrative, which openly rejects many fundamental Christian beliefs. It is commonplace for Palestinians to express denials of history. Thus, it is repeated that there were never any Jews in the Holy Land before the 19thcentury and that the first and second Jewish Temples never stood in Jerusalem. Not only do these claims fly in the face of over a century of archaeological work and the records of Greek, Roman and other historians in antiquity, they flatly contradict and annul the texts of both the Old and New Testaments.
Jesus, it would seem, was not a Jewish teacher but a Palestinian Arab who never set foot in Herod’s Temple because it did not exist, and there were never any Jews in the Holy Land. Mitri Raheb, pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem, has actually argued that there is no DNA connection between Jews (ancient or modern) and Jesus, but that he himself, as a Palestinian, has such a link. By associating themselves closely with this Palestinian historical fabrication and never asserting the Biblical record (as to do so might be regarded as supportive of the Jewish right to a homeland), many Palestinian Christians are in danger of supporting by omission the Qur’anic claims that the Torah and Gospels have been falsified by rabbis and priests.
Last September, during the World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel — an initiative of the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF) of the World Council of Churches, St. Thomas’ Church in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, hosted an event titled “Wall Will Fall”.
For anyone unfamiliar with the history, legal issues, and distortions of the Israeli-Arab and Jewish-Muslim conflicts, the deeply one-sided presentations and literature of the event may seem reasonable in the lack of such a context, and this report will, therefore, attempt to rebalance the narrative.
There are, broadly speaking, two clashing narratives about historical and current events in the region. By presenting only one side of the conflict, Wall Will Fall served only to exacerbate the root cause for the failure of peace negotiations: Palestinian rejection of the two state solution. Although Israel was repeatedly condemned — often very harshly — for its treatment of Palestinians, not once in the presentations or in the literature available were the Arabs ever censured for their series of aggressive wars against Israel, or the Palestinians criticized for their decades of terrorist attacks on Israelis, their preaching of anti-Semitic hatred in school textbooks, mosque sermons, summer camps, government-controlled media, and elsewhere. During the event, guilt was placed on one party only: Israel. As we shall argue, Israel is the least likely candidate for censure at such a high level.
January 27th is Holocaust Memorial Day. Don’t stand by is the theme for Holocaust Memorial Day 2016.
The Holocaust and subsequent genocides took place because the local populations allowed insidious persecution to take root. Whilst some actively supported or facilitated state policies of persecution, the vast majority stood by silently – at best, afraid to speak out; at worst, indifferent. Bystanders enabled the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and subsequent genocides.
Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel has written powerfully about the impact of bystanders:
I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor,never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.
Over the summer, tour groups come to our house in Mitzpe Yericho to meet “real settlers” and hear about life in Judea and Samaria — what the world calls the West Bank. Looking at our glorious view of Jericho, the Jordan Valley and the Jordanian mountains, I talk about the religious, legal and national right of the Israeli people have to live in this small strip.
During the Q & A part of one group’s visit, I was asked if I have empathy for Palestinian suffering. I answered that of course I had empathy for their suffering — Jews wish suffering on no one. I expressed my hope that one day there would be peace between our people and all suffering would stop.
Inspired by that interaction and many more left wing friends’ challenges to see things from the Palestinian perspective, I joined an uberleft wing organization, “Machsom Watch” to take a tour around the West Bank and see the “occupation caused” suffering of the Palestinians. The goal, as our guide quoted President Obama’s charge to Israeli University students, was to “Put yourself in the [Palestinian’s] shoes. Look at the world through their eyes.” Read more »
Only weeks after a deal was reached between the world powers and Iran that will lift international sanctions in exchange for some restrictions on and monitoring of its declared nuclear program, which Iran largely developed in secret. in a new published book, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (pictured) outlines a “slow and painful” strategy to annihilate the State of Israel.
He claims that his plan would promote “the hegemony of Iran” while removing “the West’s hegemony” from the Middle East.
Iranian leaders regularly and openly call for the destruction of Israel. Iran has intercontinental missiles apparently capable of striking Israel, and past intelligence has indicated that Iran had researched fitting one of those missiles with a nuclear warhead.
In this 416-page book edited by Saeed Solh-Mirzai, entitled “Palestine,”Khamenei recommends rather than wiping Israel off the map through conventional warfare a plan of terrorism and everlasting chain of low-intensity attacks that will ultimately make life unbearable for Israelis, who would largely respond, Iran’s Supreme Leader hypothesizes, by packing their bags and relocating themselves out of the country.
Khamenei makes his position clear from the start : Israel has no right to exist as a state. He uses three words : one is “nabudi” which means “annihilation”, the other is “imha” which means “fading out’’ and finally there is “zaval” meaning “effacement.”