Israel and Bonhoeffer a status confessionis

My friend Murph told me  that the King of Jordan was on Jon Stewart   the week of September 24.He stated that “until Israel and Palestine are settled (Pun intended) the rest of the Middle East is at risk.”

Many people believe this and refuse to be marginalized by Israel firsters whose main justification for its barbarous treatment of the Palestinians seems to be.”Why pick on us—why not the Sudan. Syria etc.” It is a fatuous argument which basically admits  “Yeah, we know it’s not nice but look at other countries’ behaviour.

The King of Jordan is nearer to the truth.This shocking treatmenrt of a largely Muslim people, surrounded by other Muslim countries cries out for justice.The resolution of this one-sided conflict would dampen temperatures in the whole Middle East.

For Christians it appears to me a status confessionis a make or break issue. The church of Jesus Christ must side with the oppressed people where Jesus locates himself. The Latin expression comes out of Nazi Germany and the witness of underground “Confessing” Church of which the brilliant theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a key figure. Appalled by the collusion of much of the church, its silence over the demonization and oppression of Jews in Germany, the confessing church stated, there is no two sides to this issue. The identity and the integrity of the church depend on siding with the victims. Failure to do so is to betray the gospel. It is literally a matter of faithfulness.He himself was martyred by the Nazis in April 1945.

Bonhoeffer put this stance  in dramatic terms to his Lutheran seminarians  told his seminarians the day after Kristallnacht (Nov 11, 1938) , “Only those who cry out for the Jews can sing the Gregorian Chant.” Ironically enough the Hebrew Scripture reading for that day was one that Dr King used to quote: “I hate, I despise your festivals … but let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream.” (Amos 5: 21-24)

Make no mistake.It is not to justify violence in Israel/Palestine. But it is to lend solidarity to the just cause of the Palestinian  people—for their right of return, for the return of lands taken in war. All of these are covered in UN resolutions ignored for far too long

It is the “Christian” nation, the USA which is  not only betraying the hope for peace here. For Christian s in the USA justice for the Palestinians must be  a status confessionis..


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