"You write that former president Jimmy Carter's use of the word 'apartheid' in the title of his new book is 'irresponsibly provocative' ('Jimmy Carter vs. Jimmy Carter,' editorial, Dec. 16). This would make for a rather puzzling list of 'irresponsibly provocative' commentators on the Israel-Palestine conflict.
"For example, a study by the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem concluded: 'Israel has created in the Occupied Territories a regime of separation based on discrimination, applying two separate systems of law in the same area and basing the rights of individuals on their nationality. This regime...is reminiscent of...the apartheid regime in South Africa.'
"The roster of irresponsible provocateurs would also include the editorial board of Israel's leading newspaper Haaretz, which observed in September that 'the apartheid regime in the territories remains intact; millions of Palestinians are living without rights, freedom of movement or a livelihood, under the yoke of ongoing Israeli occupation.' Indeed, the list apparently includes former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon. Pointing to his 'fixation with Bantustans,' Israeli researcher Gershom Gorenberg concluded in 2003 that it is 'no accident' that Sharon's plan for the West Bank 'bears a striking resemblance to the 'grand apartheid' promoted by the old South African regime.'
"Sharon reportedly stated around that time that 'the Bantustan model was the most appropriate solution to the conflict." -end Finkelstein
Many good and intelligent Christians remain closed minded to these facts on the ground in Israel Palestine. Many also do not know their own history, nor what is happening on Valentines Day in Congress this year.
A little history:
In 1891, Christian fundamentalist and lay-preacher, William Blackstone appealed to President Benjamin Harrison to help establish a Jewish state in Palestine. Blackstone was a disciple of Dwight L. Moody and they both were influenced by the father of pre-millennial dispensationalism, John Nelson Darby.
Darby had great success in connecting with the post-Civil War survivors and was able to transmit his new heretical theology into the heartland of America. Despite the horrifying news of Czarist pogroms that could have been the catalyst to establishing a Jewish state before the Holocaust, the Christian fundamentalists moved onto the Scope's Trial and forgot about the Jews for a while.
Fifty years later and after six million innocents were exterminated because good people did nothing for a very long while. And when the British Mandate ran out, Israel was born.
Most Evangelicals interpreted the establishment of Israel to be the fulfillment of--how they understood and interpreted--certain prophetic scriptures. They interpreted the Israeli victory in the 1967 War and the capture of Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, Sinai and the Golan Heights to be an act of God and never considered the fact of Israeli superior military might and USA Intelligence.
The American Bi-Centennial in 1976 was a watershed year for the Religious Right. While mainline churches declined in stature, Evangelical fundamentalist churches became the fastest growing sect of Christians in America. TIME magazine named 1976 as The Year of The Evangelical and suddenly they became a legitimate political and religious force.
Following the War of 1967, Israel gained an increased portion of USA foreign aid and military budgets, becoming the 'western pillar' of the USA strategic alliance against Soviet incursion into the Middle East...During this period AIPAC and other pro-Israeli lobby agencies began their ascent to power in shaping USA foreign policy.
The Roman Catholic Church and mainline Protestant denominations began to develop a more balanced approach to the Middle East, bringing them closer to the international consensus on the Palestinian question. Pro-Israel organizations interpreted this shift as being Anti-Israel and in turn began to court the conservative Christians.
In 1977, when President Carter stated "The Palestinians deserve a right to their homeland," the Christian fundamentalists and Israeli lobby responded with full page ads stating: "The time has come for evangelical Christians to affirm their belief in biblical prophecy and Israel's divine right to the land...and affirm our belief in the Promised Land to the Jewish people."
The Reagan White House hosted a series of seminars from the Israeli lobby and Christian right. This was when Hal Lindsay, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and the Moral Majority infiltrated the West Wing.
Falwell received a Lear Jet from the Israeli government for his personal travel...When Israel bombed the Iraqi nuclear plant in 1981, Prime Minister Begin called Jerry Falwell--before he called Reagan--to ask him to explain to the Christian public the reasons for the bombings.
In 1996, Netanyahu and Likud ideology dominated Israeli policy and 17 evangelical USA pastors pledged their support of the illegal colonies in the West Bank, Gaza, the Golan Heights and full support for a Jerusalem under sovereignty of Israel.
The Christian Zionists launched a PR campaign under the banner: "Christians Call for a United Jerusalem." They ignored the fact that they were in conflict with American policy and the Oslo process as well as a direct attack on Roman Catholic and mainline Protestant unity with the Churches for Middle East Peace that called for a Shared Jerusalem.
"The coming nuclear showdown with Iran is a certainty," Hagee wrote in 2006, in the Pentecostal magazine Charisma. "Israel and America must confront Iran's nuclear ability and willingness to destroy Israel with nuclear weapons. For Israel to wait is to risk committing national suicide."
The theology of the fictional Left Behind series is the epitome of the spirit of the anti-Christ: which is that the evil within ones own heart leads one to fear "the other" and compels one to violence. While this type may not pick up arms, he or she will support and vote for politicians who will order others to do it.
On Jul. 27, 2006, THE JERUSALEM POST reported: "The United States Congress announced the establishment of [Covenant Alliances] an Israel Allies Caucus, meant to mobilize Christian support for Israel around the world. Two Republicans, Dave Weldon of Florida and Trent Franks of Arizona, and two Democrats, Eliot Engel of New York and Gene Green of Texas believe that the Land of Israel and its eternal capital, Jerusalem, are the inheritance of the Jewish people forever, and have taken concrete steps on behalf of Israel" and what they imagine will bring peace in the Middle East and the world.
On February 14, 2007 a Congressional reception for members of the Knesset will be hosted by Engel and Weldon.
The Three Pillars of Covenant Alliances affirm:
1. In accordance with the provisions of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 enacted by the U.S. Congress, build a new embassy in Jerusalem within two years, in acknowledgment of the eternal truth that an undivided Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, the homeland of the Jewish people.
2. Vigorously work for the resettlement of the Palestinian refugees to the lands of their Arab kinsmen in order to rescue them from the purgatory of refugee status and restore to them the hope of a better future.
3. Demand the Palestinian Authority disarm the terrorists in their midst, and halt all violence, propaganda, and incitement against the people of Israel, failing which the Oslo Agreements shall be null and void.
It was on September 4, 2005, that these misguided, ill-informed Congressional Representatives signed onto Covenant Alliances in the City of Fort Worth, Texas and decreed: "We hereby agree and declare that the Land of Israel is promised by God to the Jewish people."
Thomas Jefferson did a great service for Christianity, America and the world when he penned The Jefferson Bible: The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth which illuminates just how far these mis- and ill-informed Christians have strayed from the message Christ delivered and modeled with his life: which was consistently compassionate and nonviolent.
Among the lessons: one is to treat ALL people the way one wants to be treated; always work for PEACEFUL resolutions, even to the point of returning violence with COMPASSION; consider valuable the things that have no material value; Do not judge others; do not bear grudges, be modest and unpretentious; give out of true generosity, not because one expects to be repaid; being true to oneself is more important than being loyal to ones family; those who think they know the most are the most ignorant.
According to Christ, to be his follower, one must do what the Father requires. The Hebrew prophet Micah summed it up best: "What does the Lord require? He has already told you o'man: Be Just, Be Merciful and walk humbly with your God." -Micah 6:8:
To be JUST is to be fair and reasonable.
To be MERCIFUL means to treat ALL people the way one wants to be treated.
To be HUMBLE is knowing oneself; the good and the evil, for both cut through every human heart.
Even after being mocked, whipped and nailed to a cross Jesus prayed for his tormentors, "Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing."
It is apparent that these members of Congress believe that God is in the real estate business.
It is also apparent that they do not know what they are doing.