They misled you and overcame you-- those trusted friends of yours. Jer 38:22
I was given a recording of a session presented by an earnest Christian at the New Wine festival, and it really spoilt my day after listening to it. I can't imagine what it felt like to be sitting in the meeting. I was left feeling, "have I been wrong all this time – have I been wasting time and effort and money in loving and supporting the Jews and Israel. But then reality started to return and I realised several things were wrong with what I had heard. I want to share these thoughts in case you find yourself on the receiving end of just such a battering.
The speaker spoke of feeling called by God to do what he was doing, which, straight away, dismissed the validity of all who might disagree. Also his claims of seeking Christian unity mean that those who do not agree with the views he put forth are guilty of provoking disunity. Such claims must be followed up with truth and accuracy, but his address was taken up with expounding an extreme version of the situation, which aligns with that of the Palestinian Authority. The speaker spoke of working for Christian unity and made token attempts at empathising with Jewish Israeli suffering, but he was not able to do so with any commitment.
The speaker’s authority to speak on the subject came from spending time working with Palestinian Christians in Palestinian areas. He speaks of them being delightful, spirit filled believers and of his feeling that Revival was near. All of this may well be true and accords with my experience of born again Arab Christians, but it was all blown away when he went on to repeat Palestinian revisionist history. The sincerity of Palestinians Christians is fine, but it proves nothing if used to campaign against Israel, since the argument fails to take into account the taint of Replacement Theology and Liberation Theology, which are widely held in most Palestinian churches.
No attempt was made to differentiate between the many cultural Christians and those with a living faith. No mention was made of the Palestinian Christians who passionately believe in the Israel’s position in God’s word and purposes. Neither was any consideration given to the intense Muslim persecution under which the Palestinian Christians find themselves which means they have to express their faith in nationalistic terms, if they want to avoid the violent attentions of their Muslim oppressors. (Islam maintains that all territory which has once belonged to Allah must never be surrendered. Thus when a Muslim says that "the land (Israel) belongs to us", he means it belongs religiously to the Uma (worldwide brotherhhod of Muslims) but we think he means it belongs legally to individual Palestinians.)
He cites some Palestinian families that can trace their ancestry way back, but this proves nothing. Zionists do not dispute that the land had both small Jewish and small Arab populations, even through the centuries the land lay desolate. The claims of a few families, even if verifiable, cannot be projected to validate the claims of all those who came into the area after its restoration began and those claiming refugee status.
Christian unity rests in the fact that God manages to love, bless and work with His redeemed children; even though some of us must be wrong about some stuff.
He spoke of a meeting seeking unity in the Middle East in which prayers were said for Israel’s Prime Minister and for Yasser Araffat. He says a Christian Zionist attempted to attack the person praying for Yasser Araffat. We all make mistakes and all groups have those whose passion exceeds their sense, but that doesn’t invalidate the whole movement. It is not known if the prayer for Mr Araffat was sound Christian prayer or political flattery and hypocrisy. (Mr Araffat and his men were Muslims, responsible for persecuting Christians) Was the prayer for Mr Araffat’s repentance and salvation?
He worked to discredit Christian Zionist sources by telling us that one story was passed on around the Internet (including the ICEJ) but was eventually traced back to malicious planting. This possibility is certainly a challenge to both sides of the debate to check their sources and weigh their validity before forwarding or quoting items, but can not be used to write off all support of Israel.
It was noticeable that he spoke entirely of Palestine as if it was a nation; a Palestine Authority fiction that has now become widely accepted in the world. Palestine is not a nation – it is a people group seeking to establish a nation state for itself within Israel.
The stories he used appeared identical to the stories regularly emanating from Palestinian media and spokesman, with no distinguishing Christian characteristics. The stories are heartrending, but are they true?
One must weigh the validity of stories with the track record for honesty of those who are telling them. Sadly, the Palestinian news machine is regularly caught fabricating stories today, so one can reasonably assume it has done the same in the past. See Palestinian Propaganda and Little Mohammed and the blogs which dismantled the stories broadcast against Israel in the 2006 war with Hizballah.
One story recounted of Israeli brutality turned out to be that of the incident at Netzarim Junction in September 2000 in which Mohammed al Dura died, allegedly from Israeli bullets. The speaker said, "we know it happened because we saw it on TV in the report from France 2". This speaks volumes about what he is willing to accept as fact. What we saw was 59 seconds of pre edited, shaky and confused action, produced from a whole weekend's footage. Investigation and analysis of the evidence that had been excluded told an entirely different and much darker story, suggestion the deliberate creation of a young martyr (Little Mohammed) to get the "Intifada" up and running.
The history also appears to come entirely from Palestinian sources. While it is true that History is not an objective subject, and that all accounts will be told from one side, Palestinian textbooks and information sources are notorious for containing the most blatant lies. You only have to visit the PA website and see the map; the whole land is Palestine and Israel does not exist! The consumer must decide who he is prepared to believe.
The speaker recounted horrifying stories of Jewish terrorism – but are they true, and are the stories getting embroidered with time? Certainly his telling of the regrettable events at Deir Yassin was considerably embellished beyond the account at the web site set up to remember the incident. This site is sympathetic to the Arabs, not the Jews. Concerning the belief that Israel practiced "terrorism" please see the page on Britain's role and responsibility for Israel.
He also spoke of some DNA research about a special identity of Palestinians, which is close to Jews. However, checking on the internet reveals plenty of dodgy science seeking to support Palestinian connection to the territory. While Palestinian and Jewish DNA might well be closer than expected, one should not use this to pursue spurious arguments.
He recycled accusations of Ethnic Cleansing; a popular accusation since the conflict in the Balkans. In fact, population exchanges were practiced in several areas in the twentieth century as a result of conflicts. (for example India and Pakistan, by the British) The population exchange that occurred naturally between Jews and Arabs as a result of Arab dispossession and expulsion of Jews from Arab lands and the Arab advice to Arabs to leave Israel while their armies destroyed it was not deemed acceptable. In fact the only "ethnic cleansing in Israel has been the removal of all Jews from Gaza in an attempt to appease the world which was siding with the Palestinians.
It is difficult to reply to such violent antipathy towards Israel, from a speaker who claims to be working for Christian unity. That Christian speakers should be so hostile towards Israel reminds one of the cautionary tale of Balaam. It is worth pondering.
Somebody recently spoke of Israel uniting Christians, and I pray this will be so. But Israel is also a subject which is deeply dividing Christians, and since it is so important in God's purposes it is important that we are united facing in the right direction ( God's direction ; not facing in the same direction as His enemies. ) However, while Christians are divided about Israel within churches and denominations, Israel is uniting Christians from across all denominations.
Even if the Jews of Israel were proved guilty of some of these charges, should that change anything?
Are we called to comfort (Isaiah 40) and bless Israel (Genesis 12) only if they are perfect?
Does God love me only if I am, and always have been, perfect?
Of course not!
Strapline " Greenbelt Festival - Where arts, faith and justice collide " www.greenbelt.org.uk/
Greenbelt is ...
Engaged with culture, inspired by the arts, sustained by faith, we aspire to be an open, generous community.
“Greenbelt ranks alongside Glastonbury as my favourite festival gig of the summer.”Think ahead and be prepared to debate the things that matter
— Mark Thomas
Greenbelt is a festival of dialogue and discovery. It’s a festival of a multitude of talks and debates that cover a wide range of topics. And, there’s always plenty of opportunity to join in the discussion.
And yet - in spite of launching the Kairos Britain network of Churches with its anti-Israel agenda described below, they denied the request from the Jewish community allow them a speaker.
Probably the most liberal, left leaning conference/festival is seeking to influence a new generation of young Christians with non-Biblical and untrue accusations against Israel and perversions of Bible truths. (Replacement Theology etc.)
In August 2013 the Greenbelt Christian Youth Summer Camp held at Cheltenham Racecourse hosted Reverend Lucy Winkett the Chair of the Amos Trust who will launch, on behalf of the trust, the Kairos Britain network of Churches.
This network, which is also being launched in other countries around the world is targeting Israel as an oppressive unjust and racist nation who give no rights to the Palestinians.
These speakers condemn Israel and call out for Justice for Palestinians.
They ignore the rights of Israel to defend herself and to live on land rightfully her own.
They call for what they describe as an end to oppression and injustice by Israel but refuse to address the oppression of Christians in Gaza or the removal of Human rights of women and young men or the summary executions in HAMAS governed areas.
They don’t condemn the firing of 29,000 rockets which have been fired at Israeli communities since 2000 or the suicide bombings which are now being prevented by the security fence.
They don’t address the increasing teaching of hatred in Palestinian Arab schools.
Meanwhile, the body count in Syria passes 100,000 (Muslim Arabs (and Christian Arabs) slain by Muslim Arabs) and Chemical weapons (WMDs) are being used but this is, apparently, of no concern!
What is it? - in their own words
The much anticipated Kairos Britain statement will be launched at Greenbelt on Sunday 25th August. It is a response to Kairos Palestine's Moment of Truth which is available in 20 languages. We also anticipate a response from Kairos Ireland soon.
Kairos is going global:
Kairos South Africa
© Amos Trust
Introducing 'Kairos Britain'...
Kairos Britain is a network of organisations and faith communities formed in response to the Kairos Palestine document, ‘A Moment of Truth’. The network continues the work of the Christians who met on Iona in May 2012 and issued the Iona call to the Christian communities in Britain and Ireland.
We seek a just and lasting peace in the region based on the realisation of full human and political rights for all.
We call for an end to oppression and injustice.
We realise the urgency of the situation and stress that the time to act is NOW.
The network is linked to the global Kairos movement.
If your church or organisation would like to join the network, click here.
The network is facilitated by Amos Trust, a small organisation promoting human rights and nurturing local responses to situations of injustice.
The following is an approved, abridged version of the Kairos document, issued by Palestinian Christians in December 2009.
We, a group of Christian Palestinians, after prayer, reflection and an exchange of opinion, cry out from within the suffering in our country under Israeli occupation, with a cry of hope in the absence of all hope.
The reality on the ground is one of the Israeli occupation, and all that results from this situation: the dehumanizing effect of the Separation Wall; the effect of the Israeli settlements that ravage our land in the name of God and of force; humiliation at checkpoints; restrictions on religious liberty; and the suffering of Jerusalem where homes are being demolished or expropriated.
There is also the reality of the refugees, waiting for their rights to be realised, as well as the Palestinians who are citizens of Israel waiting to enjoy equality.
The Iona Call
The Iona Call challenges Christians in Britain to speak out for justice in Palestine
At Pentecost 2012, over seventy Christians from many parts of Britain and beyond gathered on the Scottish island of Iona to respond to the challenge of the Kairos Palestine document ‘A Moment of Truth’ Kairos is a Greek word meaning ‘a moment to be seized; a time of critical opportunity’.
Under the inspiring leadership of American Jewish author and peace activist, Mark Braverman and Palestinian church leader, Naim Ateek, the group recognised both the urgency of the present situation in Palestine and Israel and the need for British Christians to respond with a matching urgency.
At the end of a momentous week, the group signed a statement addressed to the churches of Britain & Ireland.
What does the Iona call say?
It CHALLENGES the deafening silence of most churches in the face of the continuing denial of basic human and political rights for the Palestinian people.
It AGREES with the writers of the Kairos Palestine document that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories is not only illegal under international law, but a sin against God and humanity.
It CALLS churches and theological colleges to challenge the way in which the Bible can be used to justify oppression and injustice.
It URGES Christians to respond to the sincere invitation from our Palestinian brothers and sisters to ‘Come and See’; but to participate only in those pilgrimages which give opportunity to listen to the experiences of Palestinians and engage with the harsh realities of occupation.
It CALLS Christians to put pressure on national governments and the European Union, to demonstrate a commitment to justice for the Palestinian people as an essential pre-condition of security for all.
It ENDORSES the call of Kairos Palestine to support Palestinian and Israeli peace groups in their non-violent resistance to injustice and oppression, particularly in their call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) and other forms of non-violent direct action.
It calls us to hear those who cry out in hope in the absence of all hope.
All the usual tired recycling of the anti-Israel lies from Palestinian sources!