Wednesday, May 11, 2016

An Open Letter from an American of Palestinian Christian Heritage

So often the COGs simplistically stereotype Palestinians as being filled with hatred against Jews. Is that so? Recently Phillip Farah, an American of Palestinian Christian heritage, made an open letter discussing the problems in the Holy Land and a divestment resolution in the United Methodist Church (May 9, 2016). Let us at least note how he talks about Israeli Jews and Jews in general.
Their message is one of love because it is based on the firm belief that oppression not only threatens the destruction of the oppressed, but also corrupts the soul of the oppressor.
Note the concern and hope that things will be better for Israeli Jews as well.
Jesus was crucified because he was judged to be a subversive threat to Rome, the mighty power that occupied the land of his people, but he taught a message of love even for one’s enemies. As a Palestinian Christian, I could easily understand the price that Jesus paid for his defiance towards Rome; for my people suffer daily and severely under the heels of Israeli occupiers. However, Jesus’ message of loving thy enemy was far more difficult for me to understand and accept. Today, I understand it far better than when I was a young man in an Israeli prison in 1976, subjected to frequent beatings and insults by interrogators, for the crime of rejecting the tyranny of occupation. I understand it better because of the closeness that I felt to Jewish Israeli criminals with whom I shared a prison cell for several weeks. (Criminals, after all, are people whose living conditions have forced their humanity to be pushed deeper and deeper within their souls.)
Note how sympathetically he describes Israeli Jews who were locked up in prison along with himself back in 1976.
I also understand it better because, today, I share my advocacy for Palestinian emancipation with Jewish brothers and sisters, including Israelis, who believe that the persecution of another people is destroying the soul of their co-religionists.
Note how he emphasizes that some Jews, including Israeli Jews, align with his views. Since when has the COGs ever bothered to mention or discuss those Jews? They tend to only promote Jews who they view as useful in propping up their religious dogmas. In other words the COGs exploit those Jews who are viewed as useful. If they are not useful for the COGs they are ignored.

He also quotes President Reuven Rivlin as saying that Israeli society is coarsening.
Israeli society is lurching farther and farther to the right, and its internal contradictions, let alone its conflict with the Palestinians, are ominous. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, a man whose position is largely ceremonial, said that “Israeli society is ill,” that its “epidemic of violence” is everywhere - it “permeates every area”. He elaborated: “There is violence in soccer stadiums as well as in the academia. There is violence in the social media and in everyday discourse.”
He cites an article dating from October 2014 shortly after the war in Gaza. Since when has the COGs ever bothered to note President Rivlin's concern about Israeli society? Ignoring problems is not helpful. A true friend would note problems like that and try to help address it.

Meanwhile many of those in the information bubble of the COGs will have no idea about these things.

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