God's Politics

God's Politics


Duane Shank: Reality vs. Rhetoric on Gaza

posted by God's Politics

Mark Tooley of the Institute on Religion and Democracy is so eager to attack Sojourners that he rarely pays attention to the facts. And, we usually ignore his smear tactics. But there are occasions when he steps over the line. His recent column, “Sojourners for Hamas,” in which he attacks God’s Politics contributing blogger Philip Rizk’s article, “Christians in Gaza,” is one of those occasions.
For Tooley, it seems that Rizk’s biggest sin is that he is trying to explain the reasons for the growing strength of Hamas and extreme Islamist groups in Gaza. Rizk cites a World Bank study on the desperate economic conditions in Gaza and writes, “In light of the constantly deteriorating situation in Gaza, extremism has been on the rise…” and that this situation is largely due to “the economic siege placed on the Gaza Strip because of the Hamas government.” To Tooley, simply noting this obvious reality means that Rizk (and by extension, Sojourners), “excoriates the U.S. and opponents of Hamas” for the violence in Gaza and earns us the inflammatory title of his piece.
But Rizk’s is hardly a unique observation. A new report covered in The Jerusalem Post“Rights group: Israel ruining economy in Gaza Strip” notes that in Gaza, “Eighty-five percent of the population is already dependent on food aid from international organizations and the number is growing.” The report was issued by an Israeli human rights organization, Gisha, whose “goal is to protect the freedom of movement of Palestinians, especially Gaza residents, [and] promote rights guaranteed by international and Israeli law. ”
The Gisha report was also covered by the British newspaper The Guardian in this story: “Blockade helps Gaza militants, says report.” It notes the report’s conclusion that “Israel’s latest blockade of Gaza is threatening to destroy the territory’s commercial sector and drive more people into the hands of extremists … The report by Gisha, an Israeli human rights organization, concludes that the increase in poverty and dependency will lead to a further radicalization of Gaza’s population, which will cause further violence and attacks on foreigners …”
According to Tooley’s logic, I guess that also makes Gisha—whose board of directors and staff includes Israeli law professors, military veterans, and other human rights advocates—apologists for Hamas.
Just for the record, Sojourners supports Israel’s right to exist and live in peace and security. We have consistently condemned terrorism—the deliberate use of violence against innocent civilians. And we have said that no matter what the grievances or injustices, deliberate violence against civilians must be universally and unequivocally condemned. Killing innocent civilians (often families and children) is evil and must be steadfastly opposed. We have also opposed the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the resulting human rights violations. Trying to explain the causes of extremist terrorism, as Philip Rizk did and as Gisha has, does not make them, or us, apologists. It means we look at the real world rather than an ideology.
Duane Shank is the senior policy adviser for Sojourners/Call to Renewal.



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Sarasotakid

posted July 6, 2007 at 5:48 pm


Hmmm…could Kevin S., Wolverine and Moderatelad helped to co-author the Tooley article? No, probably not although they share the same talent for misrepresenting the SOJO position.



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kevin s.

posted July 6, 2007 at 6:25 pm


“Hmmm…could Kevin S., Wolverine and Moderatelad helped to have co-authored the Tooley article? No, probably not although they share the same talent for misrepresenting the SOJO position.”
What is the Sojo position and how did I misrepresent it?



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MadHatter07

posted July 6, 2007 at 7:16 pm


All it would take for peace would be for the Palestinians to end their campaign of terror against Israel, a campaign that has gone on since before the state of Israel was even in existence. When the Palestinians learn to love their children more than killing Jews, then they will be able to start building better lives. Until then, they will not have anything else then what they have now, nor do they deserve anything better.



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Anonymous

posted July 6, 2007 at 8:12 pm


“they share the same talent for misrepresenting the SOJO position”
Sojo’s got the market on misrepresenting the positions of others, so what’s your problem?



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jurisnaturalist

posted July 6, 2007 at 8:39 pm


The economic situation in Gaza is further evidence that use of force has one predictable response. The use of more force. And the use of force has one consistent consequence: breaking things. How can Palestinian entrepreneurs secure investment funds if they never know when one of their own is going to barrel into Israel and blow something up, prompting a destructive counter-strike which may destroy the entrepreneur’s capital? Without the accumulation of some form of capital, Palestinians will have a steadily declining economy.
The problem isn’t the people of Israel of the Palestinian people. It is the governments of these two nations. God gave his blessing to Israel, the people, not the state. Our mentalities are so nationalistic and our identity so closely tied to the government we live under that we stop seeing people as people.
I don’t support Israel’s right to exist. I do support the Jews. I don’t support the US government, but I love America. It is time to make the distinction in our minds.
I don’t support the right of any state to exist. I do support the right of all people to live, work, and own. Sovereignty flows from God to people, individuals, not collectives, states. Each of us has a right to what we have gained through peaceful voluntary transactions involving our labor and produce. Any infringement on that right is robbery.
When Israel decided to become a state (the second time) they took away the rights of many peaceful individuals, among whom were Christian Palestinians. This was robbery.
Nathanael Snow



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eileen fleming

posted July 6, 2007 at 9:04 pm


On my third trip to Israel and Palestine-and I return July 14, 2007 for my 5th- I was one of over fifty internationals who gathered in the evening of March 11, 2006 in the second floor conference room at the Bethlehem Hotel.
We had come together for Sabeel’s [Arabic for The Way] 5th International Conference and Reality Tour through the West Bank.
Mrs. Hind Khoury, the Palestinian Ambassador to France and a Representative of the Board of Directors of Sabeel, spoke with fierce urgency, “The truth has been hidden, and it has been maneuvered by an oppressive and violent occupation. Sabeel explains the Christian perspective on the occupation and Sabeel calls for nonviolent resistance. This occupation violates every single human right imaginable. Governments today are getting their own way to serve their own interests which are: money and power.
“It is ethnic cleansing that is happening..Before Hamas won the elections there were 370 checkpoints. There are now 25% more. Because of the moral bankruptcy of the PA, Hamas won the elections and they should not be feared. They have an open mind and open heart and many of them say: ‘Fight them with love.’
“The International community put conditions on Hamas, but it is not about Israel’s existence we are speaking of, it is the existence of Palestine and Human Rights that must be addressed! The world is unbalanced and the polarization just increases the violence. Civil society must become responsible.”
Reverend Chris Ferguson, Representative for the World Council of Churches received a round of applause when he stated, “I go to Bethlehem because of the Biblical injunction to visit the prisoners. In 2001, the World Council of Churches, the Middle East Council of Churches and others decided that the world ecumenical community was not doing enough about this conflict. Now, we have joined hands and are working together globally to mobilize the international society to demand policy change. The absence of settlers does not mean there is freedom in Gaza.”
He spoke those words seven months after the “Disengagement” in Gaza, but in reality the Israeli government still controlled all access to Gaza by land, sea and air. Only 25 of over 150 settlements were dismantled, and only 8,475 of over 436,000 settlers [less than 2 % of settlers] were evacuated.
As of October 2005, 12,800 new settlers had moved into the West Bank, which is 50%, more settlers than were evacuated. Gaza is less than 6% of the Occupied Territories and that leaves 94% of Palestinian territories under the boot of the IDF.
My Sabeel group also met four newly elected Hamas members, but we never got to meet any terrorists. Two had been elected to the Palestinian Parliament/PLC and two to the Municipality/local government. PLC Representative, Anwer M. Zboun, lives in the Abiet refugee camp and has a Masters Degree in Physics.
Thirty-three year old Mahmoud Alkhatib lives in Aida refugee camp and has obtained a Masters Degree in Islamic Studies. Khaled Saada and Salah Shuka were elected to the Municipality/local government.
Mr. Zboun greeted us in English with a broad smile on his face and stated, “We welcome you to our home and the Holy City of Bethlehem. We are suppose to be terrorists, are you afraid?”
We all laughed then Zboun continued earnestly, “We are a Palestinian resistance movement and we are not against any people. We are against the occupation. We want to rebuild what the occupation has destroyed. Hamas was born from the suffering of the Palestinian people and we belong to the global Muslim movement. It was on December 14, 1987 after an Israeli driver killed nine Palestinians that the first Intifada [uprising] began and the Islamic Resistance movement in Palestine was renamed Hamas.
“Hamas is a national liberation movement based on Sharia; Islamic Laws and Orders. Hamas is not against any religion. We are not a terrorist movement, but we resist the occupation. Christians voted for us for many reasons and they know we are faithful to this cause: that God knows better than we ourselves know what is for our benefit. We do not force anyone to believe as we do. The public and private schools both teach Islam and Christianity.
“In November 1988 Arafat issued a birth certificate for the Palestinian State and under religion he stated: ‘None.’ This is because we are a secular state. As Muslims and Christians we live together peacefully and our attitude is citizenship is for everyone. Everybody should have freedom of belief, traditions and a personal life. Hamas does not propose anything that contradicts Christianity.
“Our slogan is: Remove Suffering for everyone. The issue of Israel is about the occupation. We have no problems with religious beliefs; our problem is that Israel is illegally occupying our land. Since March 2005, we have honored a unilateral cease-fire. But Israel martyred 200 Palestinians, injured 1,200 and has detained 3,500. Many are under the age of sixteen. In the last two weeks Israel has killed twenty-five Palestinian and yet we have maintained the cease-fire. Israel does not recognize us and recognition takes both sides.
“Abbas has stated that we do recognize Israel, but there must be clear borders and Israel does not yet have them. The PA recognized Israel ten years ago but we Palestinians are detained in an open air prison. We resist the occupation which is our right guaranteed under International Law. International Law demands Israel withdraw to the 1967 borders, release the prisoners, and stop the assassinations, illegal wall and home demolitions.
“Hamas defines terrorism as a violation of the rights of others and their property. Bush defined terrorism as evil. We are weak with resources and our voice is not heard in the West, only the voice of America and Israel gets press. America asked us to hold democratic elections and we did. We thank everyone who was involved in our transparent and democratic elections. We did what the USA asked and now they are punishing our people. Democracies are supposed to respect and not intervene in what others want.
“We had democratic and transparent elections and how are we rewarded? By the EU and the USA who have cut funds to the poorest of people who live under occupation. Hamas suggested that the International community monitor all the financial aid to assure that it went to the people and not to Hamas. We offered this suggestion to the world and we have been ignored.
“So now we look to the Arab and Muslim world to strengthen our local infrastructure and economy and hope to bring back investors. We know there are people in Europe and America who will not allow us to go hungry. We believe aid and support are in Gods hands and not governments.”
-excerpted from “MEMOIRS of a Nice Irish American ‘Girl’s’ Life in Occupied Territory” by eileen fleming
http://www.wearewideawake.org/



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Anonymous

posted July 7, 2007 at 12:22 am


There needs to be a rule on the number of words allowed per post (say 1000) – Eileen wore me out. What next from Ms. Fleming, Al Qaeda isn’t a terrorist group either and just wants to peacefully exist?



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Sarasotakid

posted July 7, 2007 at 4:20 am


“Eileen wore me out. What next from Ms. Fleming, Al Qaeda isn’t a terrorist group either and just wants to peacefully exist?” (From too Chicken to post their name).
Nobody is crazy about Hamas. I doubt that even Eileen is. But she took the step of moving beyond dehumanizing them. Maybe, just maybe, if we engage them in dialog, we won’t have to fight them. It is worth a try at least. Remember, Hamas is part of that broad “democratization” of the Middle East that sprung from the new dynamic initiated by Bush’s invasion of Iraq.



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jurisnaturalist

posted July 7, 2007 at 8:21 am


“There needs to be a rule.” Is your scroll bar broken? Why impose an arbitrary law when the market can take care of a problem for free and preserve liberty? Always resist the urge to say, “there ought to be a law.”
Nathanael Snow



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Susan

posted July 7, 2007 at 10:38 am


Duane Shank, you are not facing reality either. Hamas had started to plain this takeover of Gaza since Israel withdrew from Gaza. Hamas has taken control of everything. I’m not sure whether Palestinians opinions matter or not at this point in time.
There are other causes of Palestinian extremism that all of you have ignored. The Palestinian media has been filled for years with antisemitic propaganda. Jews are portrayed as unredeemably evil. Then there are the classic antisemtic steretypes that the Islamic and Arab world, including Christian Arabs, have adopted from the West such as Holocaust denial, Jewish and/or Zionist conspiracy theories. This indoctrination goes from the cradle to the grave.
Sarasota Kid said, “if we engage them in dialog, we won’t have to fight them.” Does he think that if we had engaged with Hitler, we wouldn’t have to fight him? Does he think that we should engage with the KKK? I doubt it. Although, a lot of supposedly intelligent people did try to engage Hitler. It never works. Hamas is not different than the KKK or the Nazis. They hate ALL Jews everywhere. You may be able to engage with a single person from Hamas if he was alone, but you cannot engage with Hamas.
Eilleen, yes Palestinians are just innocent victims. The Palestinians did not reject a viable solution and launch the second intifadah in response. They used their vote to elect an antidemocratic group that want to set an Islamic state in the West Bank, Gaza and what is now Israel. Sabeel is wrong. Hamas is not democratic, and it is anti-Christian. All of that doesn’t matter. It’s all Israel’s fault. If this is your idea of reality than you live on a different planet than I do.
A poll taken the last week of June showed that most Israelis still support a Palestinian state as long as their security is guaranteed. Th
The Palestinians have never been able to stop Qassam rockets attacking Israeli cities. The Palestinian recognistion of Israel was always hazy. Right after the PLO “recognized Israel”, Palestinians leaders were interviewed in Arab newspapers and said that they didn’t really mean it. The language of recognition itself was hazy to begin with.
I could go on. Eileen, you may be wide awake, but you can’t see the truth.



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Wolverine

posted July 7, 2007 at 10:39 am


Sarasotakid:
Okay, fine, we are willing to stipulate that Hamas supporters are human.
The question is, will the humans that make up Hamas decide they love their children more than they hate the Jews? And if they don’t, what do we expect the Israeli humans to do?
There comes a point where excusing the inexcusable can itself be dehumanizing, because it denies the human ability to choose. I don’t know if Rizk quite crosses that line, but he does seem to flirt with it sometimes.
Rizk seems to be asking “Well, what else do you expect?” To which I answer, “At least some half-hearted attempt to distinguish between real foes and innocent civilians.”
Wolverine



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CADS

posted July 7, 2007 at 11:40 am


Sarasota, how can you say Hamas “sprung from the new dynamic initiated by Bush’s invasion of Iraq” when the organization was formed in 1987? They were very active long before Bush was ever elected. Hamas’ charter (written in 1988 and still in effect) calls for the destruction of the State of Israel. Until that is changed, what is there to talk about?



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Sarasotakid

posted July 7, 2007 at 12:33 pm


Sarasota, how can you say Hamas “sprung from the new dynamic initiated by Bush’s invasion of Iraq” when the organization was formed in 1987?Posted by: CADS
What I meant was that they won the Palestinian democratic elections after Bush invaded Iraq. I did not state that clearly and articulately enough for you. My bad.



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Dr. Linda Seger

posted July 7, 2007 at 2:51 pm


With a complex issue such as this, I often wonder how one balances the Biblical command not to neglect the weightier matters of the Law – justice, mercy, good faith. (Matthew 23:23). There seems not to be much good faith on either side. For every time we can say “well they did it first”, the other side does something just as reprehensible. Every promise made seems to get broken. For every injustice on one side – the poverty in Palestine and human rights abuses – we can find another abuse on the other side. Depending on who is counting, nobody comes out looking very good. And mercy? Doesn’t seem to have much around – nor compassion. As a Quaker, and a Christian, I cannot help but feel that we are not using our best people, or their best people, people trained in conflict resolution and diplomacy and how to work with these very hard issues without simply adding more hatred to the mix. And I emphasize “trained” here… not just being naive about this. We do know that adding more fuel to the fire and stirring up more hatred doesn’t work.
Dr. Linda Seger
author, JESUS RODE A DONKEY: Why the Republicans Don’t have a Corner on Christ



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kevin s.

posted July 7, 2007 at 3:56 pm


Jesus rode a donkey. That doesn’t make him an ass.
“Every promise made seems to get broken”
Telling use of the passive voice here. Stating that Hamas, by their actions (their words are almost entirely propoganda) refuses to acknowledge the right of Israel to exist does not require us to state that Israel has been perfect. Nations need not be perfect to be oppressed.
Again, if Palestine were to ever stop the violence, there would be peace. The same cannot be said of Israel.



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jurisnaturalist

posted July 8, 2007 at 2:09 am


“if Palestine were to ever stop the violence, there would be peace. The same cannot be said of Israel.”
I have to beg to differ with this. Israel is a state, a government with arbitrary laws. It goes beyond defending rights and contracts to regulating and subsidizing various special interests. It engages in taxation – theft, and forced conscription – slavery. It does these things to its own citizens. So does every other state. All are evil.
Nathanael Snow



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Sarasotakid

posted July 8, 2007 at 7:44 am


Rizk seems to be asking “Well, what else do you expect?” To which I answer, “At least some half-hearted attempt to distinguish between real foes and innocent civilians.”Wolverine
The same can be said when Israel dynamites the homes of the family members of Palestinians who carry out out attacks. It is not necessarily their fault. They might not have even known. The point being, it is not just one side that is acting wrong. Both sides have their share of guilt and both must be called on the carpet to make real efforts at peace.



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Chris

posted July 8, 2007 at 9:11 am


Susan,
To be anti semitic, one must simultaneously be against Jews, Christians, AND Muslims (all are semitic in that they are descended from Abraham, who was descended from Shem). That said, the Palestinians only want what is theirs and which was stolen from them by the nation of Israel (and we Americans helped them do it). You want to end the terrorism in the region? Make the Jews pay for what they stole, and for the women they’ve raped, and for the children that have died because they were not allowed past the checkpoint to go to a hospital. Make the Jews give back what was not theirs and what the Palestinians did not give them or sell them. Do that and the rationale for Islamic terrorism around the globe will dissipate. Unless you really want more of the same…
Before you call me anit-semitic, first read the very top of my post. Then watch the documentary “Palestine is still the issue” . Yes, the Jews suffered before and during WWII. So did the Chinese, so did the Native Americans, so did the Finns, so did the French, so did the British, so did the Tunisians, so did the Japanese, so did the Indians, so did everyone else on the planet. Suffering is part of life. As soon as the Israelis start to follow the law (UN resolution 194), and give the Palestinians back their homes and land and pay reparations for those who cannot go back, then they can expect the Palestinians to live in peace with them. That will never happen, as it denies the Jews their majority and most of Israel.



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Susan

posted July 8, 2007 at 9:54 am


Chris, I know that Hebrew is a Semitic language and Semites are defined as a group by the origin of their languages. Even so, the dictionary defines antisemitism as prejudice about JEWS. No dictionary defines antisemitism as prejudice against all people who speak Semitic languages, and you know that.
You don’t say anything about the fact that there are more Jewish refugees from Arab countries than Palestinian refugees from Israel. What about reparations for them? Somewhere in a Beliefnet blog, I posted information about what happened to Iraqi Jews in 1942. You can go to http://www.farhud.org to find out more.
Terrorism in the Middle East will not end with a solution to the Palestinian/Israel problem. Islamic extremists are equally opposed to Arab regimes and want to set up Islamic states under sharia law all over the Islamic world. Not every problem in the Middle East is about Israel and Palestine. A lot of the terrorism in the Middle East is about issues between Muslims.
I have always accepted that a Palestinian state should exist besides Israel. You want to paint me as pro-occupation becuase I disagree with you. I completely disagree with you as to the reasons why there is not a Palestinian state. The blame lies on the Palestinian side. I suggest that you read Dennis Ross’s book, The Missing Peace.



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Mick Sheldon

posted July 8, 2007 at 4:18 pm


Chris the way you look at this issue leaves many of the facts out . Too mnay in my opinion for a conclussion that you promote . C
an you name me a country in the Middle East where Jews can vote ?
In Israel Palestinieans vote . I know this will not convince you of much , but it is something that I believe has value . If you are not anti Jew , and I will take your word for that , read the newspapers of Hamas , you can find web sites that have them translated . They still deny Israel’s right to their nation .. Notonly to the area you speak about . You seem to have left that out also . So you want to allow people land , that will inch closer and still believe what is behind the next border is theirs . To me that does not even get close to the solutiuon .
When you have one side saying our policy is to defeat your nation , it just gets kind of silly going further into this discussion without you considering that as the MAJOR problem in this .



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neuro_nurse

posted July 8, 2007 at 5:47 pm


“an you name me a country in the Middle East where Jews can vote ?”
“Ironically, in a region filled with religious tension, the Jews in Bahrain feel comfortable and welcomed. Bahraini Jews have equal rights along with their Muslim neighbors.”
“Indeed, those Jews remaining in Bahrain today claim they feel no discrimination.”
“During World War II, Turkey served as a safe passage for many Jews fleeing the horrors of the Nazism. While the Jewish communities of Greece were wiped out almost completely by Hitler, the Turkish Jews remained secure.”
“Turkey continues to be a shelter, a haven for all those who have to flee dogmatism, intolerance and persecution.”
“The Jewish Community is a very small group in Turkey today, considering that the total population which is 99% Moslem exceeds 57 million. But in spite of their number the Jews have distinguished themselves. There are several Jewish professors teaching at the universities of Istanbul and Ankara, and many Turkish Jews are prominent in business, industry and the liberal professions.”
“Today, the 1,300 Jews comprise the country’s largest indigenous religious minority. “The Government [of Tunisia] “assures freedom of worship for the Jewish community and pays the salary of the Grand Rabbi” of the community.
“…before his death in 1999, King Hassan tried to protect the Jewish population, and at present Morocco has one of the most tolerant environments for Jews in the Arab world. Moroccan Jewish emigres, even those with Israeli citizenship, freely visit friends and relatives in Morocco. Moroccan Jews have held leading positions in the business community and government.”
“Morocco is perhaps Israel’s closest friend in the Arab world. King Hassan often tried to be a behind-the-scenes catalyst in the Arab-Israeli peace process.”
For some reason, BeliefNet blocks my posts when they include several URLs – all of the above were taken from The Jewish Virtual Library http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/index.html
Seek peace and pursue it.



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neuro_nurse

posted July 8, 2007 at 5:52 pm


Nathanael Snow,
You are one of those people who regularly post here with whom I frequently disagree, but am always impressed with your posts. Keep up the good work!
All that aside, this time I agree with you.
Peace!



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kevin s.

posted July 8, 2007 at 5:55 pm


“Before you call me anit-semitic, first read the very top of my post”
Very well. You aren’t an anti-Semite, but rather simply a Jew-hating bigot.



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jurisnaturalist

posted July 8, 2007 at 6:20 pm


“where Jews can vote”
Why do we suppose voting is always a good thing? The Jews in ancient Israel couldn’t vote, but they did have a good set of laws and a decent legal system. Voting is an extension of the franchise called power. Once one group manages to acquire a little piece of it, everyone else has an incentive to form new special interest groups which would not even exist under basic law. Extension of the franchise further divides us. If we all work to manipulate power for ourselves we encourage everyone else to do the same. We should work to further limit the franchise and to avoid the use of power in every way possible. Voting is not the beautiful thing it is often made out to be. It more closely resembles the process Shirley Jackson describes in her short story, “The Lottery.”
Neuro-Nurse,
Thanks for the props. I just try to fight fair and think clearly. I always appreciate being challenged, and work hard not to become defensive. I also try to avoid phrases like, “Jew hating bigot” although I have been known to toss the term “fascism” around from time to time – meaning of course the broader use of the term which applies to anyone who adopts a “whatever seems necessary” tactic to politics.
Nathanael Snow



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Wolverine

posted July 9, 2007 at 9:13 am


Sarasotakid wrote:
The same can be said when Israel dynamites the homes of the family members of Palestinians who carry out out attacks. It is not necessarily their fault. They might not have even known. The point being, it is not just one side that is acting wrong. Both sides have their share of guilt and both must be called on the carpet to make real efforts at peace.
This was his reaction to my argument that Hamas fails to make even a half-hearted attempt to distinguish between foes and innocent civilians.
Well, if the IDF has intel saying that the brother of a terrorist is himself part of a terror cell (entirely possible — the apple frequently lands close to the tree) then his home is likely to be a terrorist meeting place and a legitimate target.
Look, it’s admittedly a hazy line and I don’t pretend that the IDF hasn’t killed innocents. But the typical IDF target at least has some connection to terrorism. By contrast, the typical terrorist bombing is directed at civilians without regard to their support or opposition to Israeli policy towards Palestine.
This is not merely evil, it’s stupid and patently self-destructive. For the sake of Palestinians themselves it’s time we quit trying to make excuses for terror.
Wolverine



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Deryll

posted July 9, 2007 at 2:06 pm


[This is not merely evil, it's stupid and patently self-destructive. For the sake of Palestinians themselves it's time we quit trying to make excuses for terror.]
Wolvie:
Recognizing the reasons for terror is different from excusing that terror. Jesus’ command to not retaliate to evil is not an excuse for that evil; but rather a command to overcome the evil with good.



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Sarasotakid

posted July 9, 2007 at 2:40 pm


This is not merely evil, it’s stupid and patently self-destructive. For the sake of Palestinians themselves it’s time we quit trying to make excuses for terror.Wolverine
I would agree. I have made no excuses for Hamas terror. Would you be willing to meet halfway and cease making excuses for Israel?



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hb

posted July 9, 2007 at 4:28 pm


“Conditional biblical Zionism.”
The complete possession of all the land promised to Israel is conditional on her return to the Lord.
Ezekiel saw a time when Israel would return from her exile, not because she had turned her heart to the Lord, but “for the sake of my holy
name, which you have profaned among the nations where you have gone. I will show the holiness of my great name then the nations will
know that I am the LORD” (36:22-23).
We who embrace what we believe to be a biblical view of “Zionism” are correct when we state that the whole land promised to Abraham,
Isaac and Jacob, and reaffirmed to Joshua, will one day belong to the nation of Israel. Then why is it not her inheritance today? Is God
weak that He cannot give them the entire land of Judea and Samaria as well as the inheritance across the Jordan? No, of course not.
God’s promise to Abraham was an unconditional promise. The land belongs to Israel. But the right to live in the land was dependent on
Israel’s faithfulness to God. Moses closing words to Israel (Deut. 28-30) warn them that unfaithfulness will be “rewarded” with exile, that
only faithfulness to God will assure them the right to live in the land God has given them for a thousand generations. God has brought Israel back “for the sake of my holy name” so that “the nations will know that I am the LORD.” He will complete the transaction when Israel’s spiritual
return is complete. What lies between the partial return and the complete possession of the
Land? According to the prophetsthere will yet come times of great distress such as the world has neverknown. The whole world will be in
upheaval. “I will be like a lion toEphraim,” the Lord says (Hosea5:14-15), “like a great lion to
Judah. I will tear them to piecesand go away; I will carry them off,with no one to rescue them. ThenI will go back to my place until they
admit their guilt. And they will seek my face; in their misery they will earnestly seek me.”
Isaiah says that when the Lord sends judgments upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness (26:9). God’s judgments
will bring redemption to Israel,purification to the church, anddamnation to the unrepentant.
These are serious times. May the Holy Spirit seize control of ourhearts! May we be strong in body,soul and spirit! Your will be done,
Lord, on earth as it is in heaven!
WE MUST HONOR GOD’S CHOSEN PEOPLE.



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Ted Voth Jr

posted July 9, 2007 at 4:34 pm


No, you and SOJO are actually apologists, in the older sense of apology: ‘explanation’; or, not at all remarkably, a modern apologist in the long line of Christian apologists. It’s simply that in the heated rhetoric of our opponents, there’s no room for fault on their part, no room for virtue on ours.



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hb

posted July 9, 2007 at 4:36 pm


I can’t support an organization that doesn’t understand Israel’s biblical inheritance in the land. This doesn’t make Israel perfect, but without the Jewish race our Messiah would not have come. Remember his geneology. I’m cancelling my subscription, and I’ll be praying that your eyes will be opened to the truth of scripture.



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jurisnaturalist

posted July 9, 2007 at 6:20 pm


I don’t know whether hb will be back or not, but his perspective is a common one, and one I shared until recently.
The issue must be address. “Israel” can mean many different things. It can mean the Jewish people, wherever they might live. It can mean Jewish Christians and gentile Christians, in an allegorical sense. It can mean the political Nation-State currently exercising jurisdiction over Palestine, or Caanan, or whatever you want to call it. It might also refer to the Jewish people living in said land, not necessarily its government.
Of these the only one I can’t support is the political entity. God never intended for Israel to have a centralized government, let alone a secular one with the power to write arbitrary laws. God intended for Israel to be a loose federation of cooperating tribes, welcoming to strangers, and united under a single rule of law interpreted and enforced by judges.
If your eschatology is dependent upon a political entity utilizing force to harm innocents I have to question whether you can mesh it neatly with the non – aggression principle implicit in the Christian ethic. I don’t like to get into eschatology too much, but adoption of non – aggression led me away from statism and simultaneously away from dispensationalism, premillenialism, and Zionism. It was frustrating to me because I had to discover the common bond among these outside the Church, and many churches teach a statism alongside non – aggression and amillenialism. Indeed, Sojourner’s seems to adopt such a position.
Again, I support the right of Jews to voluntarily purchase property anywhere in the world they choose to do so. I believe it is a good idea for them to do so in Palestine. I believe there is a mystical purpose in Jews, but only believing Jews, occupying that land. But I oppose the use of force first and foremost. This is the single most important ethic, to love one’s neighbor as one self in order to demonstrate one’s love of God. Justification for breaking this code results in myriad convoluted theologies and political philosophies. It is just so difficult to give up the pagan worship of the state. The cry always goes out, “Give us a king.” Or, as Derek Webb has put it, “I want a new law!”
Nathanael Snow



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canucklehead

posted July 9, 2007 at 8:22 pm


I don’t understand how anyone remotely conversant with the OT finds it so hard to accept that modern day Israel may also be out to lunch on some of their thinking and doing!



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Sarasotakid

posted July 10, 2007 at 9:02 am


WE MUST HONOR GOD’S CHOSEN PEOPLE.
Posted by: hb
Few of us here have a problem with honoring Israel and the Jewish State, myself included. But we draw a line at saying “amen” to everything they do and in so doing enabling them to be unjust.
If your definition of “honoring” Israel is to refrain from any criticism, I would posit that that is not honoring Israel at all. The more common term for that attitude is “idolatry.”



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Anonymous

posted July 10, 2007 at 3:47 pm


If your definition of “honoring” Israel is to refrain from any criticism, I would posit that that is not honoring Israel at all. The more common term for that attitude is “idolatry.”
Posted by: Sarasotakid
Yes , Israel is not perfect , that is for sure . They are also becoming more secular and handling that culture change as we are in many ways .
Being in an area where people are blowing up bombs in grocery stores, etc must play an important role in your decision making . I would expect it to be wrong at times . Would not you , look what we did after 9/11 !
You seem to ignore people promoting a philopsy that Isreal has no right to their country . Without that in your understanding , there is little understanding . That will change how to negotiate treaties , if the opposing person from the other side of the table believes the ultimate goal is your destruction , that is contray to negotiations is it not ?
Israel and Egypt get along quite nicely now , have you considered it was Egypt allowing Israel to be free from attack from as an important part of that peace ?



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Anonymous

posted July 10, 2007 at 4:08 pm


You seem to ignore people promoting a philopsy that Isreal has no right to their country . ???
I don’t ignore that. I have been to Israel. I just don’t believe that Israel has the right to do whatever it wants either. It is called being even-handed. Since I seem to “ignore” people promoting a philosophy of the destruction of Israel, I accuse you of not being fair and even-handed. See, that really moved the discussion forward didn’t it?



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Kristi

posted July 11, 2007 at 3:35 pm


hb states that the right to live in the land is dependent on Israel’s “faithfulness to God”. In an earlier post about Gaza, I stated that this is EXACTLY the reason why they have no right to occupied territory—the Israeli government is entirely secular. So what are you arguing about hb? I do not believe that Sojo has stated that Israel has no biblical right to the occupied territories, just that the state of Israel as it stands, is not in line with the biblical Israel, and therefore, as it stands, has no right to occupied territories. Notice the difference?



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