Archive for the ‘Theology’ Category

The Christian Right pt 1

August 9, 2017

http://www.pbs.org/now/transcript/transcript_hedges.html

 

On the surface it appears to be incongruous that the Christian right would rally behind a slick New York real estate developer who is a very public serial philanderer and adulterer, has no regard for the truth, is consumed by greed, does not appear to read or know the Bible, routinely defrauds and cheats his investors and contractors, expresses a crude misogyny and an even cruder narcissism and appears to yearn for despotism.

 

SHOP

So writes Chris Hedges

Indeed it does seem strange until you begin to analyze religion under turbocapitalism. Consumer culture destroys prophetic religion. It empties the great symbols of Christianity (and Judaism) beyond recognition. Conumerism, along with nationalism, class division and tribalism literally take the prophetic dynamite out of biblical faith. They leave behind a gutted version best summed up by the old Protestant hymn, “No cross, no crown.” Reloigion becomes a mere add-on to the consumer lifestyle.It never seems to impact on daily living and social practices.

RAD

This ersatz Christianity denies the radical nature of Jesus’ politics, the preferential option for the poor and excluded. It allows a a man like Republican Paul Ryan to actually say as a putative Catholic that his greatest influence is the high priestess of selfishness Ayn Rand

 

Hedges insists that Trump-like values are actually those of the Christian right:

In fact, these are the very characteristics that define most of the leaders of the Christian right. Trump has preyed on desperate people through the thousands of slot machines in his casinos, his sham university and his real estate deals. Megachurch pastors prey on their followers by extracting “seed offerings,” “love gifts,” tithes and donations and by selling miracle healings along with “prayer clothes,””self-help books, audio and video recordings and even protein shakes.

 

Pastors have established within their megachurches, as Trump did in his businesses, despotic fiefdoms. They cannot be challenged or questioned any more than an omnipotent Trump could be challenged on the reality television show “The Apprentice.” And they seek to replicate their little tyrannies on a national scale, with white men in charge.

 
The personal piety of most of the ministers who lead the Christian right is a facade. Their private lives are usually marked by hedonistic squalor that includes mansions, private jets, limou

 

Donald Trump’s ideological vacuum, the more he is isolated and attacked, is being filled by the Christian right. This Christianized fascism, with its network of megachurches, schools, universities and law schools and its vast radio and television empire, is a potent ally for a beleaguered White House. The Christian right has been organizing and preparing to take power for decades. If the nation suffers another economic collapse, which is probably inevitable, another catastrophic domestic terrorist attack or a new war, President Trump’s ability to force the Christian right’s agenda on the public and shut down dissent will be dramatically enhanced. In the presidential election,

FAs

 

Trump embraces the white supremacy, bigotry, American chauvinism, greed, religious intolerance, anger and racism that define the Christian right.

 

Orthodox not Zionist

July 31, 2017

 

20170724-1-1

Neturei Karta International
Jews United Against Zionism

Statement by Neturei Karta International at the Al-Aqsa rally 
Toronto – Saturday 29, 2017

 

We apologize that, due to the religious restrictions of the Jewish Sabbath, we cannot speak to you on the microphone, but we are here to express our solidarity with the Palestinian people in general and to protest the recent Zionist aggression on Al-Aqsa.

Apart

From the day the Zionist movement was founded, the greatest rabbis opposed it and fought against it. This is because Judaism teaches that Jews are not allowed to rule over any part of Palestine. Jews are presently in exile and must live peacefully under the governments of other nations.

Gurion 2

To this day, the central anti-Zionist rabbinate in Palestine, the Edah Hacharedis of Jerusalem, continues to refuse any form of recognition of, or co-operation with the state of Israel. Anti-Zionist Jews frequently pay for their opposition to the state by being arrested, beaten and, at times, murdered. These rabbis speak out strongly against every Zionist provocation.

 

This is especially true when it comes to the site of Al Aqsa, the Temple Mount. Already in the 1920’s, militant Zionist groups claimed the Western Wall and the Al Aqsa compound, but in October 1929 the chief rabbi of the Eidah, Rabbi Sonnenfeld, of blessed memory, published an open letter in English and Arabic saying:

 

The Jews do not want, in any way, to take that which isn’t theirs. And they certainly don’t want to contest the rights of the other inhabitants to the places held by them in which they regard with honor and consider holy. And in particular there is no foundation to the rumor that the Jews want to acquire the Temple Mount. On the contrary, from the time that we were exiled from our land, it is forbidden for any Jew to set foot upon its holy grounds.

 

More recently, on October 12, 2015, the Rabbinical Court of Jerusalem issued the following declaration:

 

Trembling has seized us as nationalist movements are once again attempting to ascend the Temple Mount, and to campaign for free Jewish entrance to the Temple Mount. Already back in 1967, the members of our Rabbinical Court, of blessed memory, warned in the name of the Torah that it is a severe and grave sin to enter the Temple Mount nowadays, and that whoever enters the Temple grounds is liable to Divine punishment. They repeated this admonition many times over the years, and all great rabbis, both in the Holy Land and abroad, ruled similarly. Now we have come to reiterate this ban, and we declare that the Torah cannot be changed.

Al A aUnknown

 

According to Jewish belief Jews may not even enter the Temple Mount or Al Aqsa, so certainly they have no right to control the site or regulate who enters. Orthodox Jews in Palestine as well as around the world are opposed to the recent step taken by the Zionist government to anger the Palestinian people and spark a new wave of violence.

 

In general, we wish to say: the State of Israel has no right to govern over any part of Palestine. None of their actions represent world Jewry, and certainly not the Jewish religion.

 

And Zionist provocations are not limited to Palestine. Right here in Toronto, there is a group of Zionist extremists who constantly seek to intimidate the Arab and Muslim community as well as anti-Zionist Jews from speaking up and voicing their opinions. We can only conclude that their goal is to forment hatred between Jews and Muslims. That is not the way of the Torah. These people may call themselves Jewish, but they do not speak for Jews at all.

 

We pray for the complete dismantlement of the Zionist state. We pray that this should take place peacefully, without any bloodshed or suffering to anyone. May we all reach the time when our peoples live in peace with each other, as in times past.

 

Ultimately, let us pray for the revelation of G-d’s glory, when all of mankind will join to serve G-d together, Amen.

 

Free free Palestine, Free free Palestine.

Judaism Yes, Zionism NO

For more information: http://www.nkusa.org

Costly solidarity part 2

June 22, 2017

Palestinian Christians call World Council of Churches
 and the ecumenical movement to ‘costly solidarity’
in this seemingly ‘impossible moment”
Our Call

Jus44
“God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6)

 
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness (Justice), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me”. (Matthew 5:10-11)

 
As we stand in front of this “impossible moment”, it gives us no pleasure to say that “we told you so” eight years ago when we declared the moment as a Kairos moment! We stand facing the impossible, but we have not lost hope, since as followers of the Risen One, we are the people of hope. However, we need you and we need you now more than ever. We need your costly solidarity. We need brave women and men who are willing to stand in the forefront. This is no time for shallow diplomacy Christians. We urge you to hear our call and adopt the following:

 

Kairos

 
1. That you call things as they are: recognize Israel as an apartheid state in terms of international law and in agreement of what a person like Desmond Tutu said and as the UN ESCWA report said: “Israel is guilty of imposing an apartheid regime on the Palestinian people”. We are disturbed by the fact that States and churches are dealing with Israel as if the situation were normal, ignoring the reality of occupation, discrimination and daily death in the land. Just as churches united to end apartheid in South Africa and whereby the WCC played a courageous and pivotal prophetic and leadership role, we expect you to do the same!

 

apartheid
2. That you unequivocally condemn the Balfour declaration as unjust, and that you demand from the UK that it asks forgiveness from the Palestinian people and compensates for the losses. We ask that churches and Christians to support the Palestinians in their request for justice. It was his infamous declaration, after all that laid the ground for the concept of an ethno-religious state – the very same thing our region is suffering today.

 

balfour
3. That you take a clear and the strongest theological stand against any theology or Christian group that justifies the occupation and privileges one nation over the other based on ethnicity or a covenant. We ask that you adopt and live the theology suggested by Kairos Palestine and that you organize conferences to bring awareness towards this end.

ZIO
4. That you take a stand against religious extremism and against any attempt to create a religious state in our land or region. We ask that you support us in combating the foundations of extremism and that you seek our council when acting against religious extremism so that you do not jeopardize and harm our standing here.

 
5. That you revisit and challenge your religious dialogue partners, and that you are willing to even withdraw from the partnership if needed – if the occupation and injustices in Palestine and Israel are not challenged.

 
6. That you lead campaigns for church leaders and pilgrims to visit Bethlehem and other Palestinian cities on this side of the wall in cooperation with Palestinian tourist and pilgrimage agencies, in response to recent attempts by Israel. We ask that you publicly challenge any attempt by Israel or other Christians that discourage pilgrims from visiting Palestinian places.

 

Tours
7. That you defend our right and duty to resist the occupation creatively and nonviolently. We ask that you speak in support of economic measures that pressure Israel to stop the occupation and go further to support sport, cultural and academic measures against Israel until it complies with international law and UN resolutions urging the ending of its occupation, Apartheid and discriminations, and accepts refugees to return to their home land and properties. This is our last peaceful resort. In response to Israel’s war on BDS, we ask that you intensify that measures.

 

Free P
8. That you create lobby groups in defense of Palestinian Christians. We ask that you publicly and legally challenge Christian organizations that discredit our work and legitimacy.

 
9. We therefore propose as a matter of the greatest urgency that you create a strategic program within WCC similar to the Program “To Combat Racism” to lead efforts to lobby, advocate and develop active programs towards justice and peace in Palestine and Israel and work on maintaining the presence of the Palestinian Christians through supporting their organizations, church work and peaceful efforts.

 
As faithful witnesses, we acknowledge, affirm and continue the long standing prophetic tradition, especially the one started by the Amman Call and articulated in the Kairos Palestine document. We fully grasp the pressure church leaders are facing here and abroad not to speak the truth, and it is because of this that we are raising this call.

 
Things are beyond urgent. We are on the verge of a catastrophic collapse. The current status-quo is unsustainable. This could be our last chance to achieve a just peace. As a Palestinian Christian community, this could be our last opportunity to save the Christian presence in this land. Our only hope as Christians comes from the fact that in Jerusalem, the city of God, and our city, there is an empty tomb, and Jesus Christ who triumphed over death and sin, brought to us and to all humanity, new life.
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Cor. 4:8-9)
12 June 2017

Costly solidarity in Palestine Pt.1

June 19, 2017

Matt22

Palestinian Christians call World Council of Churches

Occ 17

and the ecumenical movement to ‘costly solidarity’
in this seemingly ‘impossible moment”

 

This will be part one of an evangelical wake up call to slumbering Christians in Canada, the USA and Europe.

 

Our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land have been waiting far too long for some tangible expression of solidarity.
The Canadian bishops have twiddled their thumbs as Palestine burns.Their limp abstractions about peace in Israel/Palestine is never followed up by any serious discipleship.

Like so many Catholic institutions and indeed other major Christian bodies seem immobilized by the predictable blowback of tribalists in the Jewish community and the biblical illiterates who espouse Christian Zionism.
When we discuss the Middle East we are neither pro-israel or pro-Palestine. We are simply pro-justiceJustice is a central concern of Jesus’ call of the reign of God. we need not be overly concerned about some negative criticism. The cross can never be denied.
2000 years ago Jesus warned us:

Jus44

 
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. Matt.23: 23, 24
Open letter from The National Coalition of Christian Organizations in Palestine (NCCOP) to the World Council of Churches and the ecumenical movement

 

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Cor. 4:8-9)”
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. (Isa. 1:17)

 
Background

 
As we meet this month in Bethlehem in occupied Palestine, we are still suffering from 100 years of injustice and oppression that were inflicted on the Palestinian people beginning with the unjust and unlawful Balfour declaration, intensified through the Nakba and the influx of refugees, followed by the Israeli occupation of the West Bank including East Jerusalem and Gaza and the fragmentation of our people and our land through policies of isolation and confiscation of land, and the building of Jewish-only settlements and the Apartheid Wall.

 

 

Free1
We are still suffering because of one political declaration from a Western Empire, based on a twisted theological premise. Even some churches and few Christian leaders supported the establishment of the colonial state in our land, and totally ignored – even dehumanized – the nation, our people that had already existed here for centuries and paid the price for atrocities committed in Europe.

 
Hundred years later with thousands of lives lost, towns and villages razed from the face of the earth – though not our memory –, millions of refugees, thousands of homes demolished and continued incarceration of prisoners, our Nakba goes on.

 
Hundred years later and there is still no justice in our land!

 

Discrimination and inequality, military occupation and systematic oppression are the rule. Today, we stand in front of an impasse and we have reached a deadlock.

 
Despite all the promises, endless summits, UN resolutions, religious and lay leader’s callings – Palestinians are still yearning for their freedom and independence, and seeking justice and equality. Humanly speaking – we have reached the “moment of impossible”, as Emeritus Latin Patriarch Sabbah said recently:

 
Could it be that we have reached this “impossible moment” because things were built from the very beginning – a hundred years ago – on an unjust premise? Should we expect that such an unjust declaration will create anything but strife and destruction?
Today is also an opportunity to remember the Amman Call which was proclaimed ten years ago. We are thankful to those who stood with us back then in costly solidarity; those who stood for truth and justice. We are also concerned that ten years later the situation has been worsening on on the ground and still deteriorating. Like other initiatives advocating end of occupation, the Amman Call did not achieve its goals in building and achieving just peace and we must ask ourselves today – why?

 
We are also concerned by Israel’s systemic assault on Palestinian creative resistance, and on our partners worldwide who use this method to pressure Israel to end the occupation. Many new laws were issued in Israel and around the world to oppose this creative non-violent resistance unlawfully, and to stop all effort towards peace. Not only is this an attack on the freedom of conscience and speech but it is also an assault on our right and duty to resist evil with good. Israel is even now trying to prevent pilgrims from visiting Bethlehem – the city of Emmanuel!

 
While we are grateful for the ‘costly solidarity’ articulated in the Amman Call and exercised by many churches around the world, we are concerned that some churches have weakened their positions in the last ten years as a result of this manipulating pressure. Many still hide behind the cover of political neutrality, not wishing to offend their religious dialogue partners.

 
Finally, we meet in an environment of religious wars and persecution in our region. Religious extremism is on the rise, and religious minorities have paid a heavy and painful price. We thank you for your efforts towards the refugees and towards ending the conflicts in our region. We also thank you for your support of persecuted Christians in places like Iraq and Syria.

 
As we stand in front of this “impossible moment”, it gives us no pleasure to say that “we told you so” eight years ago when we declared the moment as a Kairos moment! We stand facing the impossible, but we have not lost hope, since as followers of the Risen One, we are the people of hope. However, we need you and we need you now more than ever. We need your costly solidarity. We need brave women and men who are willing to stand in the forefront. This is no time for shallow diplomacy Christians. We urge you to hear our call.

The messianic vision

June 13, 2017

Weiss

Daniella Weiss, the voice of the the extreme most religious zealots settlers appeared on Israeli radio when Trump descended on Israel.

 

Evidently the Hebrew Scriptures are apparently a real estate deal.

She began by saying that Trump will bring no change because even Trump the great deal maker cannot undo what was agreed upon between God and the Jewish people when He promised “us” the Land of Israel. Then she stated that now there are 750,000 Jews living in Judea and Samaria, and not one of them can or will ever be removed.

 

Such was the justification of the atheist Ben-Gurion in 1937 when asked by Sir Robert Peel what gave  Jews the right to all of Palestine Palestine, given that the Palestinians he interviewed all had land deeds from the Ottoman Empire. He then asked  the Jewish leader where he was from. Russia. Then the atheist leader simply held up up the Bible.Case closed.

Papp
“What about three million Palestinians?” Weiss  was asked and she made it clear that they are not part of the messianic vision that she holds.

 

Jewish nonviolence: “The world is watching.”

May 31, 2017

lana Sumka is the director of the Center for Jewish Nonviolence who works out of Belgium. She is also a “Jewish Jew” not an Israeli who turns her back on injustice, not a tribalist originally from America who has a hard time reconciling what Israel has become.

SUMK

Sumka is a Jewish hero one committed to ending the Israeli occupation. She was the first by being the first Jewish person to receive an honorary Bethlehem “passport” as part of the international Open Bethlehem campaign.

None of this prevented her from being manhandled by israeli soldiers whom she was taught were superheroes “who’d protect me from harm.”
She recently described her journey in Haaretz from being young and Jewish in the USA 70s to her present role as an anti-occupation activist.
While the rest of the world was preparing for the new American president’s first visit to Israel, in a small village called Sarura deep in the West Bank, 130 American, Canadian, European and Australian Jews were standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Palestinians, taking blows from Israeli soldiers.

WhatsApp-Image-2017-05-19-at-09.32.33
Sarura was a Palestinian village in 1999 and on the pretext of it being “a military firing zone,” 700 were evicted.In 2001. Across from this village the extremist settlers moved in and established an illegal outpost now linked to the electric and water grid. Last week, a coalition of Palestinians, Israelis and Diaspora Jews came together to reclaim Sarura. We called the project “Sumud: Freedom Camp. ‘ Sumka describes her “awakening.”

Like many Jews around the world, it took time for me to realize I couldn’t reconcile this reality of Israel’s occupation with the Israel I thought I knew. For me, it took living in Israel for seven years, studying and eventually traveling in the West Bank every day to witness first-hand the rise of settlements and the on-going displacement of Palestinians to reach a conclusion that terrified me, and that I had not been able previously to accept.   Israeli policy in the West Bank is based on racial and ethnic discrimination in which Jewish rights and Jewish access to land are privileged over and at the expense of Palestinian rights and Palestinian access to land.

SUM

There is no moral case to be made that justifies the separate legal systems, the unequal access to basic resources, the impunity that settlers enjoy or the constant harassment, violence, and displacement that Palestinians face. There is certainly no Jewish case to be made for this. Two years ago I founded the Center for Jewish Nonviolence to bring Jews from around the world to join the Palestinian grassroots nonviolent movement on the ground, alongside our Israeli counterparts.
On May 20 at midnight the brave IDF moved in to dismantle the camp and manhandle the protestors.

But oh how things have changed. Israel can no longer hide what it has been doing for decades.The computer, cell phones, cameras, Facebook has shattered the mendacious israeli narrative and exposed the stunning persistent cruelty of a settler colonial state.

The presence of hundreds of Jewish Americans, Europeans and Australians changed the equation. We linked arms, stood shoulder to shoulder – Palestinians, Israelis and Diaspora Jews – and took out our cameras.  Rabbis, Jewish academics, Jewish day school graduates, Jewish summer camp counselors were all there, filming and livestreaming to our friends, family and communities back home, and the Israeli army knew it.  When these confrontations happen to Palestinians alone, the Israeli army can count on no one watching. We were there to make sure the world was watching.

This brave woman concludes:

It will take more than busloads of American Jews standing in solidarity in the West Bank to end the occupation. But tonight, my Palestinian, Israeli and Jewish American friends are sitting around a campfire drinking hot tea, showing the world an alternative to the status quo. When we turn our privilege into power for our oppressed sisters and brothers, and when we value justice and shared humanity over displacement and discrimination, we win.

Marc Ellis offers sight to the blind

April 27, 2017

30 years ago Jewish theologian Marc Ellis launched his first philippic at Israel’s blindness and inability to confront the “original sin” of dispossessing another people.In 1948 Israel ethnically cleansed 750,000 people and refused despite international law to allow these people back into their Palestinian homes.

What ellis did was very brave. Virtually alone among Jewish theologians he challenged Israel to own up to its radical biblical failure. Using the Exodus story of Pharaoh and the slaves, he wrote Toward a Jewish Theology of Liberation.

ELLIS888

The central problem facing us as Jews is justice for and reconciliation with the Palestinian people. “Without both we as Jews are nowhere, at least ethically speaking.”

He still asks the question today—still a pariah in almost every Jewish community. Ellis’ s steady drumbeat of books on this theme continues to send Zionist theologians into fury. Rabbis never invite him to their synagogues. As one rabbi told me, it was simple,”He’s not a Zionist.” In other words he refuses to buy into Jewish nationalism and holds up the age-old code of Jewish ethics, best expressed ion Deuteronomy: “tzedek,tzedek tirdof.” (Justice, justice you shall pursue.)

Tzed
Biblical faith hears another story, has memories that others do not have, and as Hebrew scripture scholar Walter Brueggemann says, “one needs to nurture a historical imagination.” In this way of thinking, Pharaoh comes to be a symbolic reference to every form of oppression. Every liberation movement thus is a new dealing with Pharaoh. Zionism for Ellis is the negation of the biblical justice tradition of “Tzedek, tzedek tirdof,” Deut. 16:20. Zionism, because it acts like Pharaoh in oppressing and displacing another people, in stealing their land, has become the horrid example of a master/slave relationship.

In 2002 Jonathan Sacks the Orthodox Chief Rabbi of the UK stated the obvious:

You cannot ignore a command that is repeated 36 times in the Mosaic books: ‘You were exiled in order to know what it feels like to be an exile.’ I regard that as one of the core projects of a state that is true to Judaic principle. And therefore I regard the current situation as nothing less than tragic, because it is forcing Israel into postures that are incompatible in the long-run with our deepest ideals.”
For Marc Ellis  the situation is much graver.

As Jews, darkness surrounds us. We have entered an abyss. There is also hope. I have witnessed that too in struggles I have participated in and the struggles that Jews of the new generation are waging. Years ago a Palestinian told me that the Jewish prophetic would never die. He was – is – right. The prophetic is our indigenous. It is exploding right before our eyes.
The prophetic is also in exile. As old as our scriptures. Yet it is important to think through what both the prophetic and exile mean for Jews today. That is for Jews of Conscience who seek to practice Jewish in an age where Empire Judaism seems triumphant.”

When Mahmoud the sieve maker rose up against injustice in Persia in the 13th century he said his army was partly visible, consisting of men, and partly invisible, consisting of the heavenly hosts, which fly in the air, and of the tribe of the jinns, which walk on the earth.

This is till the case with Jews of Conscience called forth by the ruah, the Spirit (the invisible) of the liberating God who chafes at all injustice.

Radu

In this sense the prophetic never dies modern Jeremiahs male and female rise up today against the new Pharaoh, the state of Israel

Cornel West on Israel’s failing democracy

April 14, 2017

“I am afraid of the inner damage Judaism will sustain – especially from the development of a narrow nationalism within our own ranks, against which we have already had to fight strongly, even without a Jewish state.”

Albert Einstein, Our Debt to Zionism 1938

In early March in  Israel’s conscience newspaper Haaretz, theologian Cornel West voiced concern for the future of democracy in Israel. Earlier in the month the Knesset adopted a new law denying entry to foreigners who call for a boycott of Israel or the settlements The legislation, he suggests, is a betrayal of a tradition of Jewish philosophers committed to human rights, such as Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, a Jewish theologian who marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma.

CORN

Dr.West’s comments were not reported in North America.

“lt’s a sign of panic, a sign of hysteria, a very sad response to an intense situation,” said West. “Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel would turn in his grave thinking about the spiritual blackout that is occurring in Israel. Einstein turns over in his grave, too.” Both Rabbi Heschel and Einstein, he says, “had deep commitment to Jewish self-determination, Jewish self-respect, but always had a universal vision, and embraced Arabs, Palestinians and others.

bds2

“With this particular act, Einstein could not go to Israel. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, if he were alive, and had a critique of the occupation, or said people have a right to boycott, he could not go. Does this mean that Israel actually is ready to turn its back on some of its prophetic figures, who themselves were Jewish?… it’s a sad moment when an Einstein would not be able to get into the country of his own people.”

Einstein36

West has publicly supported BDS for years, and as such, is one of the prominent public figures who could be denied entry under the new law. “BDS is not a homogenous movement,” he said. “There are a lot of different voices, but it is the only non-violent response I can see to the very ugly occupation, and I would do exactly the same if there was a Palestinian occupation of Jews. It’s a moral issue, a spiritual issue”.

 

Asked whether he would consider visiting Israel to speak about BDS and the occupation, in spite of his support for a boycott, West says he would have, before the ban. “I could not get in now. But I consider Israelis my brothers and sisters, whether they are Jewish or Arab, just as I consider Palestinians, who are wrestling with the Israeli occupation”. The law “shows that BDS is getting stronger but it also shows that any critique of the settlements, any critique of the ugly occupation is grounds for excluding people from the country,” he said.

 

Unknown

Abraham Joshua Heschel

“What about the people inside the country?,” he asked. “Are you going to have internal aliens? Critics of the occupation, people who live right there, in Tel Aviv, are you going to say they don’t have the right to be inside their own country? That is what authoritarian regimes do. It’s just sad to see Israel move more and more in that authoritarian direction…Is the occupation now devouring the very democratic soul of Israel itself? That is the kind of question that Albert Einstein would raise, that Rabbi Heschel would raise, that Gertrude Stein would raise, that Susan Sontag would raise, these are questions inside the context of Jewish life.”

Sinful church and synagogue

April 13, 2017

I always start with my own collusion in the sinful architecture of all institutional religion. I bear some responsibility personally and for the church I belong to.In this manner I am with Pope Francis who defines himself as a sinner.

Fra

We must acknowledge that the Roman Catholic church the carrier of so much wisdom, visionary dreams and sacramental impulses is also partially deformed. Here I am constantly edified by the writing of William Stringfellow. He was not the first nor will he be the last to write about the wrong turn the apostolic church took under the Constantinian arrangement, the church’s alliance with state power.

Ever was it so…when we mounted Crusades, landed on Hispaniola and planted both cross and flag, stayed silent in the wake of the holocaust, when, as Americans refused to challenge Reagan’s assault on the poor (“I’m all right. Jack”), Nixon’s massacres in Vietnam, (“My country. right or wrong”), Bush’s catastrophic crusade in Iraq and latterly 56% of Catholics voting for Donald Trump. And in Canada we might mentionour toleration of assaults on indigenous life and Mother Earth.
.
We have often corrupted our biblical integrity. As a teacher I watched in sadness as so many good young people fell for the blandishments of a consumer culture . The church in Stringfellow’s wise words became “virtually indistinguishable from from the worldly principalities.”

STRI

Vatican ll was so right. The ecclesia must be ‘semper reformanda”, always updated and conformed to the way of Jesus. In this way Diarmuid Omurchu is correct:

We have come a long way from the fiery prophetic figure Jesus of Nazareth who shocked and disturbed the conventions of his day in the name of justice and liberation. Our respectability has taken a terrible toll on the authentic calling of Christian life.

We have lost sight of the deeper vision and lost heart for the passion and enthusiasm of God’s New Reign. The following of Jesus is not a respectable religion.

So now, the synagogue, an institution I cheer on. Everybody wins when the synagogue hangs on to universal values. Then there is Israel where many Jews become both conflicted and defensive. Non-observant Jews have raised israel almost to the godhead that is the state has become an object of idolatry and the principal source of Jewish identification. In one word, Zionist.

Robert Cohen, a Jewish British blogger focus on another delegitinization taking place: the gnawing away, year by year, at our right to uphold the most universal values of our Jewish heritage…Delegitimization” is the favorite attack word used by defenders of Israel’s unique (mis)understanding of democracy. All who dare criticize this human idol “want to wipe the Jewish state off the map. All who call for justice to Palestinians are ant-Semitic. Ridiculous, of course, Israel is here to stay but like most states it needs a reboot, a conversion from its racist existence.

Theologian Marc Ellis:

ELL
Passover arrives once again, the occupation continues, fifty years now and counting, with no end in sight. For all practical purposes, the Israeli occupation of Palestine is permanent. How can Jews celebrate Passover in such a context?

Passover began April 10. Cohen:

Today it has become little more than an annual act of communal hypocrisy. And in this year of bitter anniversaries (Balfour, the UN partition plan, the Occupation of the West Bank, the siege of Gaza) we’ll be taking that hypocrisy to depressingly new heights.
Zionism, which set out to create a modern redemption of the Jewish People, has slowly and surely destroyed the integrity of our Passover remembrance. The ongoing persecution of the Palestinian people in the service of a misguided notion of Jewish national self-determination has delegitimised our right to proclaim our foundational story of religious and political freedom. Why would anyone take seriously our right to speak out as Jews on the great moral issues of the day when we fail to face into the moral catastrophe of our own making?

He laments:
What’s different in this generation is that we have become the Pharaoh, we have become the oppressor and destroyer of others.

This did not go down with some in Great Britain
First, the Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis said I wasn’t Jewish because I’m not a Zionist.
Then, Prime Minister Theresa May said I’m antisemitic because I question Zionism’s notion of Jewish national self-determination.
And now, the Israel Knesset has decided I’m a would be terrorist because I support non violent protest in support of human rights.

Cohen suggests abandoning the traditional haggadah.

My recommended reading for your Passover celebration is the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) report on Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid. Its authors are Professor Richard Falk, a former United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied and professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University; and Virginia Tilley, professor of political science at Southern Illinois University.
Their report is not a rant or a “hate fest” against Israel. It’s measured in tone and scholarly in the presentation and analysis of international law. It even anticipates and addresses the main objections to its findings.

1265855908
Its conclusions are well argued: In different ways, Israel operates policies, with clear purpose and intent, that create an apartheid situation for Palestinians in Israel itself; in annexed East Jerusalem; in the Occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza; and for Palestinian refugees.
The outrage from the Trump and Netanyahu administrations was so instantaneous that they clearly hadn’t had time to read the report they were condemning. But putting the words “Israeli” and “Apartheid” in the same sentence was more than enough.  Two days later on the 17th March the report was removed from the ESCWA website at the insistence of the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Rima Khalaf, the head of ESCWA, resigned her position saying: “… it is my duty not to conceal a clear crime, and I stand by all the conclusions of the report.”
Once again, the truth is too painful, too difficult, too political to face.

But the report is a worthy Passover text for this year. If we read it, carefully and faithfully, if we pay attention to its descriptions and analysis, it can free both Jews and Palestinians from our joint (but very differently experienced) modern slavery to Zionism. And, if enough others join this movement of liberation, then we Jews may even find a way back to a legitimate Jewish Passover.

Marc Ellis points out “that Jews of conscience are writing counternarratives where ”even Diaspora Palestinians are invited to Passover and attend. This expansion of the Exodus story is important. It reflects and represents a turning point in Jewish history.

Perhaps the preface to the Seder should be stated starkly: “What we, as Jews, have done to you, the Palestinian people, is wrong. What we, as Jews, are doing to you, the Palestinian people, is wrong.” Though confession won’t end the occupation, it states clearly the context of whatever Passover narrative follows.

Regardless of the particular telling, our Passover confession is a judgment on Jewish history and the present. It will remain for the future.

The prophetic stirs in the Jewish community

Shaftesbury and Palmerston

April 6, 2017

Palmerston

I don’t mind that the streets of my city are named after the sons of the British Empire.That’s simply part of our history.
My boyhood home was on Palmerston a street named after Henry Temple the former Prime Minster (1855-1865), a biblical illiterate and anti-Semite who for political reasons wanted to see Jews return to Palestine “There exists at the present time among the Jews dispersed over Europe, a strong notion that the time is approaching when their nation is to return to Palestine… the Jews could be useful in buttressing the collapsing Ottoman Empire, thus helping to accomplish the key object of British foreign policy in the area.”

Palmerston’s illegitimate daughter married Anthony Ashley Cooper (Lord Shaftesbury) a real true believer of end time theology. It turns out that Palmerston (Lord Cupid) was a real sexual libertine almost totally ignorant of the bible. He admired the zeal of his stepson Shaftesbury, a genuine reformer and promoter of seemingly lost causes. He was the real deal while his father-in-law was a crude imperialist. The Jews for Palmerston were simply pawns which could be used against Russian and French influence in the holy land.

LORD
Shaftesbury for all his good intentions was a Christian Zionist who fell under the sway of Protestant fundamentalist millenarianism—end time nonsense now known as Christian Zionism. In this scenario the Jews would return to Palestine and be converted before the Second Coming of Jesus. This phantasmagoria, believed by 50 million Americans, has caused chaos in Palestine today. Sadly it has propped Israel up despite its blatant anti-Judaic theology.

No serious Jew could possibly buy into this trivialization of their ancestral faith.

Gershom Gorenberg, an Orthodox commentator in Israel, had this to say about Christian Zionism in his book The End of Days:

The Jews die or convert. As a Jew, I can’t feel very comfortable with the affections of somebody who looks forward to that scenario…..They don’t love real Jewish people. They love us as characters in their story, in their play, and that’s not who we are, and we never auditioned for that part, and the play is not one that ends up good for us. If you listen to the drama they’re describing, essentially it’s a five-act play in which the Jews disappear in the fourth act.”

No matter Netanyahu, Sharon and the AIPAC crowd are happy to dance with this fundamentalist abuse of scripture and which sends millions to Israel and writes blanket checks to the apartheid state

Shaftesbury was beside himself with evangelical fervour.

I shall always remember that God put it into my head to conceive the plan for His honour, gave me the influence to prevail with Palmerston and provided a man for the situation who can remake Jerusalem in her glory.”

Inadvertently this decent man became the embodiment of Shakespeare’s wisdom placed in the mouth of Antony in Julius Caesar:

 
The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.

ZIO