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Challenging the evangelical bias against Palestinians

Last week Ynetnews.com published an article by Johnnie Moore, a Christian evangelical pastor and vice president of Liberty University (the largest evangelical university in the world, founded by televangelist Jerry Falwell). Moore was visiting Israel with a group of students on a trip that ended 24 hours before the bombing in Jerusalem. A Christian tourist was killed in the bombing, and Pastor Moore was moved to write about the terror attack and his views on Israel and the Palestinians. The article, entitled “No Excuse for Brutality,” was one-sided and inflammatory, asserting that Palestinians are entirely to blame for the conflict.

Normally, as a Palestinian I would brush off such an article as an example of the natural, emotional responses that arise from tragedies and traumas like last month’s bombing. However, Moore’s article is more than a reactionary piece; his comments also reflect the views of many Christian evangelicals in the United States. As a result, I feel it is important to respond to some of the points Moore raised.

Moore opened his article by claiming that the media is biased against Israel, and has justified the terror attack. The effort of some media outlets of putting the attack in context is not to be interpreted as a bias. The political stalemate, the continuation of the occupation, the confiscation of land and demolishing of Palestinian homes, and the “price tag” attacks by settlers executed all over the West Bank explains the rise of violent tendencies. These things should not be used as a justification but rather provide contextual analysis for the cycle of violence endemic to the conflict.

Moore writes that the Jerusalem bombing “should be an embarrassment to every supporter of the Palestinian cause. Instead… this act of war will be met with cheers in Hamas’ training camps even as Palestinian leaders give lip service to the international community and condemn the attacks in English, while praising them privately in Arabic.” This is problematic, first because many supporters of the Palestinian cause did view the bombing as shameful, and second because Moore assumes that the Palestinians are praising the attack in Arabic. As a writer for Al-Quds I can testify that Arab leaders condemned the attack in Arabic just as they did in English, and many Palestinians were outraged by the bombing.

In fact, those who criticize the Palestinian Authority for failing to prevent attacks like these should take a hard look at the situation in the West Bank. The PA controls around 14% of the West Bank, and cannot even issue a building permit for most Palestinians.  However, it is expected to police the West Bank in ways that even Israel, with its vastly superior training and weaponry, has been unable to do.

Perhaps the most ill-informed statement in Pastor Moore’s article is his statement that “I knew the message [of Israeli victimization] was understood when one of our students asked, ‘I see Palestinian neighborhoods all over Israel, what is the problem with Israelis having neighborhoods (settlements) within Palestinian areas?’ [The student’s] point was poignant as it highlighted Israel’s preparedness to live in peace with its neighbors and the refusal with which this has been met.”

The comparison between settlements and Arab villages in Israel shows a complete lack of knowledge of historical context. This is not surprising, as few American Christians are familiar with the Palestinian narrative. Palestinian villages in Israel were all founded long before the 1948 war, and since the formation of the Israeli state the Israel government has not allowed new Arab towns to be created within its borders.

On the other hand, in the Palestinians territories (which currently comprise only 22% of the area of the British mandate for Palestine), all Israeli settlements were built in the last 44 years.  Moreover, settlements in the West Bank are generally built on privately owned Palestinian land that has been confiscated, while Arab towns in Israel were not built on confiscated land. Another important fact is that Prime Minister Fayyad has indicated on more than one occasion that Jews are welcome to become Palestinian citizens in any future Palestinian state.

Ironically, Moore and his student also seem unaware that many of the “Arab neighborhoods” in Israel are populated by Palestinian Christians. This is a common oversight in American Christian rhetoric about Israeli-Palestinian conflict. When Americans do recognize the existence of Palestinian Christians, it is often only to use their situation to support anti-Muslim propaganda. For example, according to a poll conducted by Zogby International, 45.9% of Americans blame Muslims for the Christian immigration out of the Holy Land, while only 7.4% of Americans cite Israeli restrictions as contributing to Arab Christian immigration. However, when Palestinian Christians from Bethlehem were asked about the primary cause for Christian immigration out of the area, 78% cited Israeli restrictions as their reason for leaving.

Ultimately, Dr. Moore concludes that Israel has a right to exist without the threat of terrorism. There is nothing wrong with this idea: Moore is completely correct in saying that Israel has that right to exist free from fear. However, rights are symmetrical, and Palestinians also have the right to live free of fear and free from the yoke of occupation.

Palestinians often feel the West views Palestinian rights as less important than Israeli rights, and that our blood is valued less than Jewish blood. When American Christian leaders like Moore write articles condemning bombings in Israel but are silent about bombings in Gaza (the most recent of which resulted in the death of 3 children), it tells Palestinians that we are viewed as sub-human. However, we also bleed, just as we care for the blood of others. I myself felt disgusted at the Itamar attack and the bombing in Jerusalem.

I must say that I don’t understand Christians who value the life of one group over another. Even if American Christians consider Muslims as enemies, in the New Testament Jesus commanded his followers to love their enemies and pray for those who persecute them.  The word he used for “love” in Greek (agapao) means to entertain or to welcome in. This concept seems to be in direct opposition to the doctrine of Islamophobia spread by many Christian evangelical groups in the United States. Moreover, Isaiah says “”Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?” The scripture does not apply only to Jews, to the “foreigner” and “alien.” Hundreds of millions of Americans profess to be Christians and believe in the divine inspiration of these verses, so where are these “believers” when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

Moore’s article is a reminder that many American Christians view supporting Israel as a tenant of faith, without thinking critically about the theological and practical implications of this viewpoint. As Paul writes in his letter to the Romans, “they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.” Like many Christian groups who visit Israel, Moore’s group did not bother to visit any Palestinian towns. My guess is that neither Moore nor any of his church members have ever even met a Palestinian. Perhaps then their demonization of Palestinians is unsurprising.

When I was ten, my brother was murdered by Israeli soldiers. As a result, I understand how easy it is to seek revenge and find justifications for violence. As Solomon said, “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” However, I long to see more religious people practice these verses which speak of justice as a higher form of religion, and I long for the day when religion becomes more a tool for bringing people together than for dividing them. On that day the prophecy of Isaiah will be realized “They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.”

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    1. Renee Hoffinger

      My sense about many of the Christian evangelicals isn’t that they care so much for Jews but rather that their biblical prophesy depends on ingathering all the Jews to Israel where, as part of their “end Days” scenario, the Jews along with everything else in the region, will go up in the flames of fire and brimstone while the good christians do their Rapture thing…..

      Reply to Comment
    2. Ben Israel


      It is time that Muslims question their own biases against Jews, for example the claim that the Jewish Bible is a fraud, instead of being Holy Scripture, as the Jews and Christians view it. It is also time for Muslims to recognize the Jewish narrative…for example that Jewish towns and villages existed in the country continuously for millenia, since long before Arab/Muslim imperialist conquest came out of Arabia and in an unprecendented act of aggression, conquered much of the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Europe. Its time the Muslims open their eyes and see that not everyone thinks like they do.

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    3. Jorge

      Ben Israel, Do you regard the Quran as scripture? Are you asking Muslims to believe in your bible and accept your narrative while denying theirs at the same time. Also, if you look back at history you will find that Muslims didn’t have a bias against Jews. They lived in much better conditions among Muslims than Christians, but that is forgotten now.

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    4. Richard McFarland

      The plight of the Palestine and the problems in the Middle East has not been on the forefront of the average American’s citizen’s mind until the attack on the world trade center and on the Pentagon. Prior to the attack on the World Trade Center and on the Pentagon, Most Americans were aware of the conflict that have been apart of the Middle East and the wars that occurred in that area. They were also aware of the bombing in public places and on the buses in Israel. Most Americans had emotional support to Israel because of the holocaust. Most American had a negative view of “Arabs” because of the oil boycotts of the early 70’s. Other than that, the problems in the Middle East, as far as many American were concerned, did not concern them.

      After the attack on the World Trade Center and on the Pentagon many Americans developed a negative view of the Arabic population which included the people of Palestine. They remember seeing news reports which showed children and adults in Palestinians celebrating the attack. They heard the verbal attacks by many of the radical clerics concerning America. They also heard the silence of many of the “moderate” Muslims concerning the attack. Many Americans saw themselves being attacked like the Jews were in Israel. It was if the bombs that were placed in the restaurants and buses in Israel were placed in the United States. Many Americans developed and instant bonding to the Jewish people of Israel after the attack on the World Trade Center and the attack on the Pentagon.

      After the recent attack on Jerusalem the media showed video of people in the Palestine area handing out candy and cookies to children as a celebration of the bombing. This reminded many Americans of the celebrations the Palestinians had after the World Trade attack. Johnny Moore article was a reflection how many American still feel. The wound is still fresh.

      The reality of the situation is that atrocities have occurred on both sides of the border. The Jewish people have hurt the Palestinian people and the Palestinian people have hurt the Jewish people. No one is innocent.

      Johnnie Moore pointed out this bombing. He also pointed out a shipment of Hamas-bound weapons was intercepted in the Mediterranean, and the 54 rockets were fired into the Western Negev in a single 15-minute period. You pointed out the inconsistencies of how the Palestine are treated, The differences in the settlements, You also mentioned about the bombing in Gaza while neglecting to mention how Israel retaliated towards Gaza as a result of several rocket attacks. It appears that while pointing out Johnnie Moore’s inconsistencies you demonstrated some inconsistencies of your own.

      The problem is that it is not just the attacks and bombings; it is the emotional attachments and the emotional baggage that is as a result of the attacks. You mentioned you could not understand why Americans do not want to understand the Palestine-Israel conflict while at the same time back handed insult Americans as thinking we thought of Palestine as “sub-human” and insinuated that we do not have compassion for others. May I remind you that Americans give more to charity per-capita than any other group in the world. We care about people all over the world. This criticism is unjustified.

      Americans have emotional baggage just like any other group of people. We remember the insults and the brutal attacks on our own people. We relate to others that have been attacked. But encouraging us to see your plight by insulting us will never get us into your camp. We will not see think from your point of view.

      As an old saying goes, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth will leave everyone blind and toothless. This difficulty has been happening for a long time. People have been hurt on both sides. Revenge will never make the score even. It is time to put a stop to this violence, insults, and verbiage. It is time to start thinking about a solution that all sides can live with.

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    5. aristeides

      Ben Israel: when Muslims mention “people of the book,” what book do you think they’re talking about? Have you ever talked to a Muslim scholar about these matters, or only consulted your own prejudices?

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    6. max

      @Jorge & Aristeides, I propose that you read some studies about the history of Jews in the Muslim world. You may start with a lengthy and rich summary on en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_and_antisemitism.

      @Aziz, the article you refer to, is a typical example of the ignorance of most people dealing with the topic of Arabs-Jews relationship in Palestine-Israel. In this case, the bias is pro-Israel; in others, pro-Arab. Sadly, it’s also the case for way too many that are active participants.

      The bottom line: the solution needs to start with a dialogue, and the dialogue should be preceded with information: sharing the “narratives”, we say today.

      Or does it? An alternative is to force one side to accept the other side’s position, via external pressure. Obviously, it won’t heal the wounds, won’t build trust.
      Arguably, this is what Israel has been doing in the past 40some years, though with its own pressure. Obviously, this is what the PA is driving towards today.

      And you? You don’t write to the pastor; you preach to the convert or the non-initiated, with the same one-sidedness, despite your condemnation of murders – is it related to the audience you write to? Is it to build pressure? You fail to mention the views of so many other Palestinian leaders, and the effect they have on the Jewish – and world – impression of what’s awaiting them, the emotions and fear; you fail to address both sides of the historical context; you fail to mention the emigration of Christians from the rest of the Arab world…You also seem to not accept that for many, resorting to terrorism forfeits one’s claims for grievance.

      Why? You seem to be one of those who can help drive dialogue, and yet you keep these “narratives” as parallel monologues.

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    7. Max, I have emailed the pastor before writing the article and exchanged few emails with him. We agreed to meet in the near future to discuss the issues I raised in this article.

      I suggest you read my other op-eds where I talk about other narratives, you can find some on this link http://azizabusarah.wordpress.com/political-opinions/.

      In one op-ed I cannot fit the entire history of the conflict. In this article I wanted to cover the Evangelical bias against Palestinians which has no biblical or theological basis in Christian sacred texts.

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    8. max

      Aziz, sorry: I browsed through your blog space and couldn’t find such a side-by-side discussion. Could you please point me to those? Thanks

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    9. Ben Israel

      What about the biases in the Qur’an against Jews? Before worrying about supposedly illeberal things other religions think about Islam, Muslims should purge antisemitic and other similar types of attitudes from their own religion.
      Ehud Barak was prepared to hand over Judaism’s holiest place, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem over to Arafat, and he only requested that Arafat sign his name to a clause stating that the Jews view the Temple Mount as a primary Jewish holy site. Arafat flatly refused, even after having to listen to a harangue by Bill Clinton on the matter (Arafat’s refusal also insulted Christianity because the Temple Mount was the scene of various events in Jesus’ life). Who is Arafat to tell my what my Jewish holy places are? Yet he claimed Islam denied any Jewish connection to the place.
      Similary, I visited the ancient Biblical Archaeology site at Sabastia-Shomron in Samaria. Archaeologists have uncovered the ancient capital of the norther Kingdom of Israel including the palace of Kings Omri and Ahav which is mentioned in the Bible. Yet, signs put up by the Palestinian Authority and paid for by the Norweigian government only mention Sabastiya as an “important Greco-Roman site”, totally ignoring its most important role as Biblical capital city.
      In Obama’s Cairo speech to the Muslim world, he quoted the Qur’an, the Christian Bible , but the only Jewish source he quoted was from the Talmud which is a commentary on Judaism’s primary source, the Bible. Apparently he was afraid of offending his Muslim audience which apparently rejects even hearing the Jewish Bible mentioned. But I guess this is to be expected because Islam holds that the Bible is a fraud.
      I, as a Jew, don’t attempt to define what Islam’s holy books or holy places. I recognize that Islam regards the Qur’an as holy so I would oppose anyone desecrating it, even though I don’t read it myself. Similarly I recognize that the Muslims view Jerusalem as one of their holy cities. But I expect the same from them…that they recognize the Bible as being holy to us and I don’t think they should go around polemicizing against it and they MUST recognize Jerusalem as Judaism’ holiest city. They must also oppose desecration of holy sites and objects of other religious. For example, the Taliban’s destruction of Buddhist shrines in Afghanistan and the destruction of the synagogues in Gush Katif and Joseph’s Tomb in Shechem (Nablus) plus the desecration of the Jewish holy books there is a black mark that must be rejected by Muslims of good will around the world. Peace can come only through mutual tolerance.

      (Regarding the Muslim view that Jews and Christians are “ahl al-kitab” [People of the Book}-I frankly don’t understand exactly what that means since the Muslims reject the Jewish Bible as Holy Scripture. Perhaps it means only that they are monotheists).

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    10. rbmeritt

      What you don’t seem to understand about the bias of evangelicals is that it is rooted in the dollar culture. They have come to see the state of Israel as the cash cow,the golden idol. The tv reverends garner support for Israel by linking the promise of G-d “I will bless those that bless Israel and curse those that curse Israel”. This standing with Israel no matter what they do is a strong aphrodisiac that is hard to counter. They fear monger by preaching the Endtime of the World and tell of their living in exciting times with the cleansing of Israel of all but 144,000 Jews and all Muslims and they will return from their rapture to populate Jerusalem. It shows how long the crusade mentality can exist in a culture. They somehow justify the wrongs Israel does with the belief that G-d is going to destroy the Jew for them anyway so why not use them to cleanse the area for them? It is a high place indeed that they all seem to fight over. It is a story that parallels the story of Ahab and Jezebel and they know not that the outcome will be the same. The only hope for anyone is those who stand up for truth and justice and there are Israelis and Palestinians that are doing just that and those are the ones I seek G-d to bless. The ones who show up at the trials of children,the ones who protest and stand down in the face of the IDF,who’s voice of “NO” at the destroying of a man’s land mark of old echoes through the valley of the shadow of death,who know that being JUST is the holy of holy s!

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    11. Ben Israel…It might be worth it for you to read some Islamic writings both biblical and commentary. The Quran recognizes the Jewish and the Christian holy books. You might be amazed about how many Muslim scholars defended the Hebrew Bible in history.

      for biblical examples: # 40:53 (Picktall translation) And we verily gave Moses the guidance, and We caused the Children of Israel to inherit the Scripture (The Book). ….. (70) Those who deny the Scripture (book) and that wherewith we send Our messengers. But they will come to know

      3:3 (Asad translation) Step by step has He bestowed upon thee from on high this divine writ, [2] setting forth the truth which confirms whatever there still remains [of earlier revelations]: [3] for it is He who has bestowed from on high the Torah and the Gospel

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    12. Ben Israel

      As far as I understand it, Islam also has an “end-of-days” prophecy and it says that Islam will end up ruling the world. The confrontation with Israel is part of the struggle to bring that about. THe Shi’ites are quite open about the belief that their Mahdi is going to come and show the non-believers that they are wrong. I don’t see how that is any different than the Evangelicals’ beliefs.
      Most religious people that belong to religions that have messianic or apocalyptic views of the end-of-days go about their lives basically ignoring this belief as a matter of practical day-to-day life and just assume things will work out in the end. There are those, however, that want to accelerate things. It is the job of the moderates to keep the extremists in line. I don’t see how support for Israel, regardless of their motive, is any different than people of one group supporting another, though. There is much that connects Israel and Christians in the West besides this extreme apocalyptic ideology.

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    13. Ben Israel

      Aziz, I am well aware of the verses you quoted. But you can’t just cherry-pick those, there are many that are very hostile to Jews and Judaism. For example, there is the one with the prophecy that rocks and trees are going to call out to Muslim warriors that Jews are hiding behind them so they had better come and get them. We also are constantly being reminded of the slaughter of the Jews of IIRC Khaibar, and this is often by Muslim demonstrators in Israel itself. One can say that those hostile verses are no longer “operative” but the fact is that many Muslim preachers are still quoting them and they wouldn’t do so if they didn’t think they taught Muslims something.

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    14. Max here is a link to a discussion about Jewish state with Roi where we have a dialogue about it http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/news/should-palestinians-accept-israel-as-a-jewish-state-1.6245

      Ben Israel. you stated that there is a prophecy that rocks and trees are going to call out to Muslim warriors that Jews are hiding behind them so they had better come and get them

      I challenge you to find me such a verse in the Quran. Just because some Muslims are ignorant of Islam doesn’t taint the religion or other Muslims.

      I don’t blame neither Jews or Judaism when some religious Jews or Christians use the following verses in 1st Samuel 15 to justify murder against Palestinians. ” Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy[a] all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’”

      I do believe the lack of contextual exegesis is a problem when interpreting biblical texts. I hope you don’t pick and choose from what you don’t like from other religions. We all can find things that can demonize the other or can build bridges. It is up to you to make the choice.

      I don’t blame Judaism or all Jews for the scripture

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    15. max

      Aziz, thanks again!
      I found 2 instances of the text mentioned by Ben Israel:
      Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Fitan wa Ashrat as-Sa’ah, Book 41, 6985
      Kitab al-Fitan, hadith. 2239
      So that would mean it’s not part of the Qur’an but its traditional interpretation, in this case a validated/evaluated reference.
      I think that the discussion about Islam’s view of Jews is a good parallel to the political aspect of Jews and Arabs in Israel/Palestine. One may find in Islam all the views, and I’m willing to believe that the majority of Muslims would rather refer to the benign interpretation. But if the one wielding the gun is that who sees the Jews as hindering Islam’s advance, and their fate must handled with said gun, the silent majority would be of no consequence.
      Similarly, I assume that some Arabs would have no problem with Jews living safely in Israel, within some borders (though I doubt they’ll dare say this in public in any Arab state). But if Haniyeh were to rule, the Jews won’t live long enough to enjoy a Palestinian democratic uprising.
      Hence the problem of the Jews in Israel when negotiating their future, and their insistence on security.
      Obviously, one can make an analogy to Judaism and Israel, though in all honesty I think that history shows that the internal balancing in Israel is far better than in any Arab state.

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    16. Amin NUsseibeh

      I think that one of the reasons that evangelicals support the zionist entity is the weakening of the core Christian belief of Replacement Theology, ie when the Jews rejected JC, then the covenant was awarded to the Christians. If we can revive this core belief, as Sabeel is doing a great job of, then we can erode evangelical support of the zionist entity. I think that we need to pose the fact that the existence of the zionist entity poses a theological conundrum. Jimmy Carter and Desmond Tutu also recognize this and this is why they have been able to break loose of zionist shackles

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    17. Rashid Injili

      It seems to me that Evangelical enthusiasm for Jews in Jerusalem has more to do with their belief that these events will hasten the “end times.” (as if the Creator needs any coaching about if, how, and when the world will end).

      It’s a nutty view of things — when people spend more energy “understanding the times” than they spend “Understanding G-d.”

      More important, these teaching seem to be generally contrary to the teachings of Jesus the Messiah, who refused to call hell-fire down on Samaria (Luke 9) , and later praised the woman from Samaria noting that geography was im-material to spirituality (John 4).

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    18. Piotr Berman

      Perhaps we should tell those poor innocent Christians about horrors that are hidden under the pretty facade of Israel, like the military where gays serve openly, and socialized medicine. (I am afraid that most of the stuff discussed here would be regarded as Good Things. What is wrong about apartheid if it privileges Good People?)

      Ben Israel: how ridiculous one can get? A religion does not recognize holy books of ANOTHER religion as fully accurate?

      “Internal balancing in Israel is far better than in any Arab state”. Sure! Israel is always far better. Does the state of Lebanon support any religious studies? Do they offer any friendly suggestions where women should sit on buses? Do they regulate conversions properly?

      Israel is much better than Lebanon because the correct religion gets the support from the State that it deserves. Lebanon has 30 ministries, and yet, none for Religious Affairs. Pure anarchy.

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    19. Piotr Berman

      McFarland: “They remember seeing news reports which showed children and adults in Palestinians celebrating the attack … After the recent attack on Jerusalem the media showed video of people in the Palestine area handing out candy and cookies to children as a celebration of the bombing. ”

      I do not doubt McFarland, yet the source of those memories is a total mystery to me. A search for “children cookies murder” returns only one source: McFarland here.

      Actually, the chain of events here is clear. We organize our memories in patterns. There was a cookie story. In USA, there are occasions when cookies are given to children, so McFarland reconstructed a detail that he did not remember according to an American stereotype.

      The chain is actually a chain reaction. At the start we have a long list of condemnations of the killing in Itamar by assorted Palestinian public figure which vanishes like water after a rain in a desert. Then some obscure website has two cryptic photos titled “Palestinians in south Gaza strips passing cookies to celebrate …”. One shows an old lady thanking for an offer sweet with a smile. The second shows two somber policemen taking sweets from a tray. This was amplified by hundreds of websites and news programs and morphed to an entire Gaza strip, old, young, hale and decrepit celebrating with joy on the news on the “massacre”. Because this fits a pattern.

      Our ability of fitting seemingly unrelated pieces into meaningful pattern lead to puzzles like: why Mars is covered by an intricate network of canals?

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    20. aristeides

      Ben Israel should certainly read the Quran if he’s going to pontificate about what Islam says. Every person who doesn’t want to remain ignorant about these issues should read it.

      Islam can no more “purge” what they regard as the direct word of God than Jews could purge the Torah of the verses ordering genocide against the Amelekites.

      The verse about the rock refusing to hide the Jew is not in the Quran, and it seems to be promulgated for the most part these days by Islamophobic hate sites.

      It’s generally believed that the verse refers not to Jews in general but to the Arab Jewish tribe Banu Qurayza, which the Muslims charged with breaking the peace treaty with them in 627.

      The treaty, btw, states:
      ” “Whosoever among the Jews follows us shall have help and equality; they shall not be injured nor shall any enemy be aided against them…. No separate peace will be made when the Believers are fighting in the way of Allah…. The Believers shall avenge the blood of one another shed in the way of Allah ….Whosoever kills a Believer wrongfully shall be liable to retaliation; all the Believers shall be against him as one man and they are bound to take action against him.

      “The Jews shall contribute (to the cost of war) with the Believers so long as they are at war with a common enemy. The Jews of Banu Najjar, Banu al-Harith, Banu Sa’idah, Banu Jusham, Banu al-Aws, Banu Tha’labah, Jafnah, and Banu al-Shutaybah enjoy the same rights and priviledges as the Jews of Banu Aws.

      “The Jews shall maintain their own religion and the Muslims theirs. Loyalty is a protection against treachery. The close friends of Jews are as themselves. None of them shall go out on a military expedition except with the permission of Muhammad, but he shall not be prevented from taking revenge for a wound.

      “The Jews shall be responsible for their expenses and the Believers for theirs. Each, if attacked, shall come to the assistance of the other. “

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    21. max

      Aziz, forgot to say: thanks for the link

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    22. Ben Israel

      I am aware of all the apologetics that go with discussion of Islam.
      For example, recently in Britain a television documentary showed all the race hate being taught in Muslim schools in Britain against Christians, and primarily, Jews. They were bringing the quotes from the Qur’an and other basic sources. A British Muslim group complained that these quotes were being broadcast without the famous buzzword “CONTEXT” being explained…in other words, these negative comments about Jews must be understood in “CONTEXT”, that supposedly, it is not referring to all Jews, perish the thought, but merely to a certain group of Jews who didn’t get along with Muhammed. Fine. Then we can now ask “if these verses are no longer operative and relevant, WHY ARE THEY BEING TAUGHT AT ALL IN MODERN BRITAIN?”

      Of course, there is Sayyid Qutb’s famous commentary on the Qur’an, called “In The Shade of the Qur’an”. There he states openly, in his commentary on the sura “Al-Baqqara” (The Cow) that “the Jews have been conspiring continuously against Islam since the time of Muhammed”. That’s pretty clear, and it doesn’t refer to “context”. Qutb is one of the main theologians of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Is that what the Brotherood is teaching its followers there?

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    23. A. Cowan

      Thank you for writing this. I accessed it through Aletho News.

      I live in the heart of evangelical dispensationalism in America. I hope this theology’s salad days come to a close soon. Getting folks to realize that there are indeed Palestinian Christians is the first step.

      Thank you for your work!

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    24. aristeides

      Ben Israel – nothing you say about Islam can be credible if your only sources are Islamophobic hate sites and you refuse even to read the Quran. What are you afraid of?

      Google that verse, and you’ll find one hate site after another, most of them connected to Israel, using it to demonize Islam. That’s your “awareness of the apologetics.”

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    25. Ben Israel

      I have read selected parts of the Qur’an. I am aware that the Meccan suras which have a lot of verses urging tolerance towards other religions. I am also aware that these were followed by the Medina suras which are much less so. I have also heard about the concept of “Abrogation” which says that if there are contradictory verses, the later ones “abrogate” the earlier ones, so Medina verses abrogate Meccan ones.
      I am also aware that Obama quoted the famous verse (taken directly from the Talmud) that says “one who saves one life is as if he saved the whole world and one who kills one person is as if he killed the whole world”. The only problem is that only quoted the first part of the verse, and the part he omitted said that it is permitted to kill troublemakers, however that is defined (who are the troublemakers today).
      Finally, I am aware that no religion can be judged only on the material in its primary sources. The question is how the religion’s scholar deal with these problematic (as we see it) sources and how religious believers live their lives day-to-day. It is undeniable that the fratricidal slaugther between Shi’ites and Sunnis in Iraq and Pakistan, between Sunnis and Sufis in Iraq and Pakistan and murderous attacks against Jews and Christian in the Middle East are encouraged by extremist religious preachers using the Qur’an and other sources. The question is what are the moderates doing theologically to confront these extremists. When highly regarded theologians like Qaradawi advocate slaughter Jews in Israel, I think we have grounds for worry and simply saying “read the Qur’an” isn’t going to solve the problem, as you well know.

      Reply to Comment
    26. aristeides

      The problem is why you would refuse to read it instead of excerpts cherry-picked to make Islam look bad. It seems that you WANT it to look bad to give you the excuse to exercise your prejudice.

      If I want to learn about Judaism, I don’t go to David Duke.

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    27. Ben Israel

      You have not addressed a single point that I have made. It is a FACT that Muslim preachers use intolerant verses from the Qur’an and other basic Muslim sources to stir up hatred for Jews and others. Qaradawi called for slaughtering us all here in Israel. Is he quoting Islam incorrectly? Is some other theologian challenging his statements? Are there those who oppose Qutb’s theology?

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    28. A. Cowan

      That’s not all Obama omitted.

      Babylonian Talmud tractate Sanhedrin 37a actually states:

      “Whoever saves a single life in Israel, Scripture regards him as if he had saved the entire world.”

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    29. aristeides

      Ben I – and it seems to be a FACT that you prefer to repeat propaganda from Islamophobic hate sites than engage in an honest study of the religion.

      This is why people ignore the points that you make. Your willful ignorance on the subject makes you entirely non-credible.

      It wouldn’t be hard for me to cherry-pick a bunch of quotes from reactionary rabbis and other “scholars” (eg the King’s Torah) and wave them around to foment hatred against Judaism. But no one with understanding of Judaism would take this seriously. Likewise, no one should take your ignorant views of Islam seriously.

      Reply to Comment
    30. Ben Israel

      As Strother Martin said in “Cool Hand Luke” – “what we have here is a failure to communicate”.
      I shall once again ask:

      I am not the one who needs to be “credible”. I am asking questions based on anti-Jewish statements made by recognized Islamic preachers. It is YOU who need to be credible to show that they are NOT “representative” of Islamic scholarship, or that they are intentionally misquoting from the Islamic sources, or that these verses do not exist at all and were made up by Islamophobes.
      Saying things like you don’t talk to ignoramuses like myself is not doing your side any good….it makes it seem like you are afraid to answer.

      Reply to Comment
    31. Jos McQuaid

      Really, this is very sad. A lot of people killing each other over books of stories. I’ve read the Bible, the Q’ran, and many other scriptures, and honestly, I think that anyone who takes them as ‘history’ or ‘literal advice’ is blindly simplistic. It seems to me that in order to believe these things, one must be deliberately anti-rational (as Kirkegaard advises or mocks in turn) or, forgive me, and idiot.
      To actually kill people over the interpretation of some ancient public health advisory (which is what much of these books delivers) is the work of simple minded, blinder-wearing, nitwits.
      I am not surprised by the fundamentalist Christian interpretation… my own understanding of that ‘faith’ is that it is anti-intellectual and has more in common with Amway multilevel sales than with the faith of the authors of Christianity: it is an interpretation of a complex idea made for simpletons. Kind of like Wahabi ‘interpretation’ of Islam… (Do not think. Just read. Pray. Follow. Submit. Commit.)
      I hold very little hope for Palestine. Since the Israeli machine has imprisoned any intelligent leadership and stolen the levers of thier civilization, it is no surprise that the population bristles with uneducated religious zealots who kill people. Desperate people do desperate things.
      Want peace? Start by letting the leadership out of jail. Provide education. Palestine will reject simple Islam in favor of intelligent, progressive secular accommodations of the faithful. You want more war? Give more power to the Israeli Zealots.

      Reply to Comment
    32. Palestinian violence and hatred against Israel since and even before 1948 is well documented.

      If you want peace with Israel, do not bomb it and demand all its land, with the death of its inhabitants.

      No one forces you to send your children into the streets with suicide belts.

      When Jews settled in the houses they lived in, it was Jewish land at the time, and therefore legitimate.

      Only Jews have evacuated their homes for peace. The Palestinians have done nothing for peace.

      The only reason much of the land Palestinians have now is theirs is because it was forfeited later to them. They did not even have to pay anything for the property.

      The entire land of Israel has never belonged to the people now called Palestinians. It belonged to either the Ottomans, British, Romans, etc.

      Many of these current inhabitants arrived later from different surrounding areas, and never had a heritage there.

      Those that fight against Israel should be expect resistance. Israel will defend itself.

      It is a shame that the “leadership” in the Palestinian territories has no concern for the welfare of its people. It has constantly robbed them of money given in charity. Yassar Arafat is a good example.

      The Jews are supposed to be there. Even the Quran admits this. Instead of demands, made out of hatred, for separation FROM Israel, arabs should work to live in cooperation WITH Israel. But Arabs do not want peace. They want land and conquest. They admit this.

      Because of this, conflict will continue until the Messiah comes. Sadly, He will be someone neither Israelites nor Palestinians expect. But when He does come, they will be glad he did.

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    33. JosMcQuaid

      See what I mean?

      Religious people have no concern about facts, (witness Marianne whose ‘facts’ are almost all incorrect and LOADED) they have only their ‘faith’.

      It is very very sad to read that someone believes that the Jews did not occupy the homes of Palestinians. It’s a bit like hearing that Germans didn’t hate Jews. Denial of history is not the same as reversal of history; it’s simply a badge of ignorance.

      Sad. But not unexpected by someone who believes that a messiah will come and melt the Palestinians with his lazer vision…

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    34. The ignorance of the American Evangelical is alarming as regards Israel and its many abuses over 70 years. Israel was promised , in the NT, a spiritual future:land was never mentioned as part of this.

      Evangelicals regard Israel as blameless folks deserving of OT blessings. Fine. Now what about Israel’s OT obligations? Oh no…You don’t hear about that cause one should never criticize a Jew or Israel! What ignorant, blinded people the American Evangelicals are. They say nothing if new settlements are built that take away land that has been in a Palestinian family FOR CENTURIES. They say nothing if Palestinians have no water, jobs, roads to travel on, meds, etc. A settler- usually A Jew from the Bronx – comes over and decides to be an Israeli. He sets up a trailer with his children and wife. Soon another such family comes – also very Jewish – ( ahem…)from Jersey. And then another and so forth. Soon the Israeli government days:”Heavens, these folks need a school, a park and a library. We’ll have to bulldoze those 500 year old olive trees that the Palestinian family has had in their family; we need LAND AND WHO CARES THAST THEY HAVE LIVED THERE FOR 500 YEARS? THEY’RE NOT JEWS! THEY HAVE NO RIGHT TO THEIR FAMILY LAND! WE’RE THE REAL McCOY! AFTER ALL , THESE FAMILIES CAME FROM JERSEY AND THE BRONX!!!

      Now, imagine this happening in the US…Really…?

      Shame, shame , shame on the ignorant Evangelical who is too lazy to pick up a history book and out the truth.

      Lord Jesus Christ… Show us the truth about the last 70 years between the European Zionists and the Palestinians !!!!

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