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Home arrow Blog arrow May 2008 arrow May 21, 2008

May 21, 2008
WAWA Blog May 21, 2008: A pastor from Maine and NOT from Jerusalem #10.  


Dear Friends,


...As most of you know this “Not From Jerusalem” series of messages, written from my home in Virginia, is a continuation of the “From Jerusalem” series of letters I sent during my four years in Jerusalem’s Old City as Pastor of the English-speaking Congregation of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer.-Russ Siler

Not From Jerusalem # 10

15 May 2008

                When I lived in Jerusalem, I was often asked by Palestinian friends, “Why does Mr. Bush hate us?”

When I protested that he does not hate them, even I knew that what I said sounds hollow and untrue when one looks at the policies and positions of the United States government. It always seems as if there is a clear double standard by which Israel is allowed to continue its practices of land confiscation, settlement building, and total control of Palestinian movement in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem—with scant, obviously toothless U.S. protest—while the Palestinians are blamed for every halt or detour in any attempts at peace-making.

These conversational confrontations—many of them—function as the lens through which I witness the unfolding of the drama which will climax in the Presidential election this November 4.


                Try as I might, I simply cannot focus adequately on the domestic economy or the environment or even the war and devastation in Iraq while the bloodshed and daily agony of fear and oppression in the Holy Land are so vivid in my personal experience. I am not really comfortable with that narrow vision, and I often ask myself what lies behind it. Obviously the years spent mingling my tears and fears with both Palestinians and Israelis forged a passionate link with their hopes for peace with justice that will not be dissolved by distance.

But I know there is more. When I reflect on the conflict in Iraq, I have no idea how to pull our troops out without leaving a stage set for even greater violence. I cannot even comprehend the complexities of what appears to be global economic chaos. And while I genuinely want to do my part for restoring the vigor and vitality to what our natural world once was, my pitifully small attempts at recycling and turning off unused lights seems so much like the proverbial “using a peashooter to fight a mountain lion.”

But the warfare in Israel-Palestine is different. A rocket falls in the Israeli town of Sderot, scattering the people and bringing nightmares to their children. A house is demolished in pre-dawn East Jerusalem by the Border Police while the mentally challenged children who live there cling to their caregivers for security and comfort as they are forced to flee. Israeli parents cope with the cold dread in their stomachs as they see their children’s bus disappear into the distance. Palestinian parents watch with helpless anguish as their child dies because medical supplies could not pass the fierce Israeli blockade into Gaza. And on and on and on. These problems overwhelm me not with their complexity and their enormity, but with their tragedy…and the ease with which the rest of the world loves to throw up its hands and cry, “What can we do. This has gone on for so long!”


                But I am convinced that there is much we can…and must do. So I have questions to ask the new President, whoever it may be, and to ask, through that person, the whole world. It is my sincere conviction that if we can help most people understand what is really happening—not merely the self-perpetuating image that is so prevalent—they will begin to comprehend that peace with justice is a real possibility. Some questions…

                Why do so many people celebrate this month as the 60th anniversary of the founding of Israel without the parallel recognition of The Nakba—the Catastrophe—in which at least 750,000 Palestinian people had to lose their homes before the initial conflict would end? Why do our leaders continue to demand “recognition” of Israel without first, or even simultaneously demanding that Israel tell the world exactly what its borders are? Then we would have a solid reality on which to begin negotiations.

                Can we request that newspaper, magazine, and TV reporters—after they utter the obligatory phrase about Hamas, “…who seized military control of Gaza in June of 2007…” add some information about the how the United States not only pushed for that armed confrontation, but also supplied no small measure of arms to Fatah, the other party to the civil strife?

                When we call for the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit by his captors in Gaza, why is it that we never call for the release of those hundreds, maybe thousands of Palestinians in Israeli prisons who have never been found guilty of any crimes? Or the legislators from Hamas similarly held?

                How is it possible to have real talks about peace when Israel, with U.S. approval and support, will only talk with Abu Mazen and Fatah, seemingly pretending that the people in Gaza can be totally excluded from any negotiations? And what in the world is Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas [Abu Mazen] thinking as he continues to act as if Hamas—for better or worse—weren’t democratically elected to represent the Palestinian people?

                Perhaps this time we will elect an American President who will insist that we look at all the facts and factors and that we will work tirelessly to achieve a lasting peace with justice and security for both the peoples who call that land their home!

 

Russell O. Siler, Retired



Dr. Stan Moody, a
Pastor in Maine is the founder of the Christian Policy Institute and served in the Maine House of Representatives. He is an Advisory Board member of "Jews-On-First" and the "Institute for the Study of Christian Zionism." Dr. Moody is the author of several provocative books, including, "Crisis in Evangelical Scholarship" and "McChurched: 300 Million Served and Still Hungry."


“Nazi Appeasement” And the Cringe Factor

By Stan Moody
May 19, 2008

 

I must confess that I cringe in embarrassment every time our President steps in front of a microphone – embarrassment for America, embarrassment for the once-dignified and balanced Republican Party and embarrassment for a Bush-sponsoring Christian Church that has sold its soul to the god of sound bites.

 

Our swashbuckling President, only recently divinely “delivered” from the comatose condition of drug and alcohol addiction, has been the right guy for the times as we tread water in the cesspool of “world copdom.”  The dead and dying stand as a grim Show-‘n-Tell of the narcissism of unchecked nationalism, patriotism and lust.

 

In a speech before the Knesset on the 60th anniversary of Israel’s founding, President Bush gave as his mocking example of the futility of negotiating with the “enemy” the 1939 statement by Idaho’s Sen. William Borah, “Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.”

 

Setting aside the possibility that over time we create our own enemies in our inexplicable search for international boogeymen, our President’s worldview equates diplomatic negotiation with appeasement, a policy of succumbing to hostile demands in exchange for peace.  The most referenced example of appeasement is British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s Munich Agreement in which Britain and France accepted that the Czech region of the Sudetenland should be ceded to Germany.

 

The target of Bush’s ridicule of negotiation was made purposely obscure in the hope, I suspect, that Sen. Obama would take the bait.  Take the bait he did, and he jammed it down the throats of both Bush and McCain.  Advantage Obama!

 

Let’s be honest; Obama got it right.  Bush’s diatribe before the Knesset on appeasement was targeted for the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee – not the customarily-gentile and grandfatherly Jimmy Carter.

 

Appeasement or Preemptive War; America stands at the crossroad. Make no mistake about it; that is the looming focus for the 2008 Presidential campaign.  McCain vs. Obama – imperialism vs. civility; the past vs. the future; Old Testament Law vs. New Testament Grace; fear vs. hope.

 

That inevitable debate, only temporarily postponed in the unlikely event of a McCain/Clinton contest, is sorely needed in America as she struggles from the hidden agendas of a colonialist empire to the freewheeling information age.  Failure to act responsibly as a member of the international family of nations cuts instantly across cultural and class barriers worldwide, from the rice paddies of China to the cotton fields of America.

 

Aside from acting in poor taste by airing our domestic dirty laundry where it cannot be defended nor retrieved, our swaggering President demonstrated a profound ignorance of history – that of his own family.

 

Robert Perry, in the May 18, 2008 edition of consortiumnews.com, reveals a Bush family secret that would drive any of its descendents to drink:[1][1]

 

The archival evidence is now clear that Prescott Bush was a director and shareholder of companies that profited from and collaborated with key financial backers of Nazi Germany.

 

The business relationship continued after Hitler invaded Poland in 1939 and even after Germany declared war on the United States following Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941.  It stopped only when the U.S. government seized assets of Bush-connected companies in late 1942 under the “Trading with the Enemy Act...”

 

Protected by layers of well-connected friends, Prescott Bush (the President’s grandfather) brushed aside the Nazi scandal and won a U.S. Senate seat (1952) from Connecticut, which enabled him to start laying the foundation for the family’s political dynasty.

 

In recent years, however, the archival records from the pre-war era have been assembled, drawing from the Harriman (Averill Harriman) family papers at the Library of Congress, documents at the National Archives, and records from war-crimes trials after Germany’s surrender.

 

At the expense of poor old Sen. Borah, who died in 1940, the Bush family super-appeasement strategy of aiding and abetting the Nazis well into 1942 remains one of America’s best-kept secrets, according to Perry.

 

The righteousness of the free enterprise system masking occasional greed, our President may well enjoy the family fruits of appeasement.

 

The problem, of course, is that the American people will suffer the consequences for decades to come.

 

Stan Moody
http://www.christianpolicyinstitute.org
207/626-0594



              

 
 
 
 

 
   
 
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