Cross-posted from Wallwritings
The Christian Century opened round one by publishing an attack on Zionism Unsettled, a study guide developed for the study of Zionism, a secular ideology formed in the 19th century, which has had a major impact on Jewish-Christian relations.
The battle will continue June 14, when the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) gathers for national deliberations in Detroit, Michigan.
The attack ran under the headline, False witness: A misguided "study guide." The guide was developed, and published in January of this year, by The Israel/Palestine Mission Network (IPMN), one of 40 networks approved by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and funded by each network's church members.
The picture above is not from Zionism Unsettled. It is from an Amnesty International blog that appeared in the Albany, NY, Times Union. It was taken in Hebron, Palestine, during a "round-up" of Palestinian children by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF).
The picture was taken by Paul Rehm, a reservist with the Christian Peacemaker Team. The Times Union blog writes:
One Israel Defense Force soldier involved in a massive sweep through the West Bank city of Hebron, told international observers: "We don't arrest normal people. They are not normal people." Reporting on that mass arrest of 27 Palestinian children -- 18 under the age of 12 -- on their way to school, the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz demanded only, "The IDF must stop arresting children."
The picture above of a child bound by the wrists, is pertinent to the discussion of the issues raised by the battle over Zionism Unsettled. (How strong is the Zionist influence in your community? Ask your local newspaper to run the blog posting and picture that ran in the Albany Times Union.)
In round one of the Zionism Unsettled battle, much to the credit of The Christian Century, the magazine has thus far run four comments as responses to False Witness, all agreeing to the basic point that the study guide is neither false nor misguided.
The print edition of the Century, in the mail this weekend, did not include the four comments, which were responses to the web posting. Presumably these, and other responses, will surface in future print editions
False Witness was written by Christopher M. Leighton, executive director of the Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies in Baltimore (ICJS).
The article is a classic hasbara (propaganda) tactic, skillfully projecting a seemingly compassionate acknowledgement that Palestinians have had it rough since 1948, followed quickly by the author's rather desperate effort to argue for Israel's righteous claim to the land which it occupies.
It also makes the classic Zionist "equal sides" argument, as though a massive military force occupying a captive population could be described as anything remotely related to "equal."
Leighton skirts that anomaly by shifting the discussion to what is "wrong" with the non-violent protest movement, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).
BDS began in the Palestinian civil society, with strong religions support. The movement is gaining political strength everywhere on the planet except among Israel's rapidly diminishing "allies," most notably the U.S., where both the Congress and the executive branch have been intimidated into submission to whatever Tel Aviv wants.
One of the four False Witness responses on the Century web site is from Nahida Halaby Gordon, a retired Case Western Reserve University professor. She was born in Palestine and now lives in Wooster, Ohio. She begins her comment: