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Searching for Justice In Church and On Campus

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Cross-posted from Wallwritings


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In less than two weeks, elected representatives of the Presbyterian Church USA, will gather in Detroit, Michigan, June 14-21, for their biennial General Assembly.

Meeting in solemn assembly, they will debate and vote, again, on how best to speak to the state of Israel.

To those who do not follow American church politics closely, it pains me to report that, yes, the Presbyterians still remain divided on the issue.

Israeli Ha'aretz columnist Gideon Levy has delivered to the Presbyterians, and indeed, to the entire world, one of the most eloquent messages to Israel I have yet to encounter.

The fact that the statement comes from a native Israeli journalist, written for a mainstream Israeli newspaper, makes it even more compelling.

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Written in a tone of sadness tinged with hope, Levy's recent column is entitled, "International Kowtowing to Israel Must End Now." He begins:

"If there is a world, let it appear immediately. For now, there's the sense of an ending of the international intervention in Israel. The Americans folded, the Europeans gave up, the Israelis rejoice and the Palestinians are lost."

As a result, he writes, those who depart "leave the conflict to the sighs of the Palestinians and the occupation in the hands of Israel, which is sure to perpetuate it and to ground it even more firmly."

Levy writes, of course, not only to the Presbyterians, but to the entire world, which he believes is in danger of turning its collective global back on the Palestinians when he writes:

"The world's withdrawal is unacceptable: The international community does not have the option to leave the status quo as is, even if that is Israel's most fervent wish."

To call the world back from withdrawal, Levy says we must embrace "a new way, one that has never been tried before."

"Both the message and the medium must change, to a message of civil rights and the medium of punishment. The previous route included sycophancy toward Israel, one carrot after another in order to please it. It was a resounding failure. It only gave Israel an incentive to further entrench its policy of disinheritance."

Levy tells the world that it cannot "lend its hand" to Israel's "policy of disinheriting" the rights of Palestinians.

"It is unacceptable in the 21st century, for a state that purports to be a permanent member of the free world to keep another nation deprived of rights.

"It is unthinkable, simply unthinkable, for millions of Palestinians to continue to live in these conditions. It is unthinkable for a democratic state to continue to oppress them in this way. It is unthinkable that the world stands by and allows it to happen.

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http://wallwritings.wordpress.com/

James Wall is currently a Contributing Editor of The Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, Illinois. From 1972 through 1999, he was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine. Many sources have influenced Jim's writings over (more...)
 

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