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WAWA/WeAreWideAwake is my Public Service to America as a muckracker who has journeyed seven times to Israel Palestine since June 2005. WAWA is dedicated to confronting media and governments that shield the whole truth.

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Home arrow Blog arrow April 2008 arrow April 18, 2008: Sabeel: The Way and Christian Zionism: The Way NOT!

April 18, 2008: Sabeel: The Way and Christian Zionism: The Way NOT!
WAWA Blog April 19, 2008: Riad was one of many Muslims I know who are better at doing what Jesus actually said than many who claim to be Christian. 

Excerpt from

Chapter 6 Sabeel: The Way and Christian Zionism: The Way NOT!

On my third trip to Israel and Palestine, 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. After opening comments and prayer we broke bread together and thus began my third journey into occupied territory.

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 in Jerusalem. Bethlehem is a ghetto, an island, an open air prison! When the gate in Beit Jala is done, it will completely isolate Bethlehem from her sister city Jerusalem which is only three miles away.

“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 still leaves 94% of Palestinian territories under the boot of the IDF.

On my second day of my third stay in the Little Town of Bethlehem in Occupied Territory my group met four of the newly elected members of Hamas, and for the fourth time I met the Mayor of Bethlehem, Victor Batarseh. The Mayor spoke once more about the dire need for tourists and pilgrims to sleep and eat in Bethlehem for unemployment was well over 50%. People have not been able to pay their taxes due to unemployment and the Bethlehem Municipality had already been borrowing money to pay its own employees.

The first time I met Mayer Batarseh was when he traveled to Orlando to meet with Mayor Buddy Dyer, with the hope to re-ignite The Twinning Agreement that was signed in May 2001 by the then Mayors of Bethlehem and Orlando. The Twinning Agreement is a sister-pact that affirmed Orlando and Bethlehem would encourage tourism to the other and promote a global community. I followed up on Mayor Batarseh’s visit with my own visit to Mayor Buddy Dyer’s office one week after the Mayors had met. I informed the Orlando Mayor’s public relations representative about an opportunity to help the city of Bethlehem and was seeking the Mayors support in getting the word out about two events that were already scheduled and my involvement with Palestinian Children’s Welfare Fund.

Palestinian Children’s Welfare Fund imports goods crafted by the artisans in Bethlehem that volunteers sell throughout the world. We return 100% of all proceeds back to the crafts people and the remaining goes to help support the children who endure in the nearly sixty year old refugee camps of the Holy Land.

Mayor Buddy Dyer did not even have the common courtesy to respond to any of my three follow up emails. I also informed The Orlando Sentinel about the opportunity for the Central Florida community to do something to make true the words of the Twinning Agreement without traveling all the way to the Little Town of Bethlehem in occupied territory.
I got no where.

Every time Politicians shake hands and smile for the camera after signing a proclamation, a resolution, a road map, I will forever more remember that Christ called politicians “foxes”, meaning they only look out for themselves.

But in March, 2006, a most unique politician, truth teller and prophet, Mayor Batarseh, informed my group, “When the occupation is ended there will be peace. If the world boycotted Israel for six months they would comply with the UN Resolutions which is all we want! There is state terrorism and Israel must be forced to recognize our right to exist. For the past ten years Hamas has worked with and helped the poorest of people, they have built schools and orphanages. The PA took the money but Hamas was providing the social services!

“Israel is a state built on religious beliefs. The US and EU and all the free world are against theocracies. But Israel has the right to do anything! The world needs to WAKE UP! If there is no peace in the Holy Land there can be no peace anywhere. End the occupation and there will be peace the very next day. All the terrorism in the world can be traced back to the Palestinian situation. All the money spent on weapons and war could eliminate world poverty.”

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. Our translator was George Rishmawi, whom I first met in June 2005 when he worked for Holy Land Trust. George is currently the Coordinator for the Greek Catholic Church Center for Holy Land Studies and he was my ‘shepherd’ when I went to Beit Jala, to meet little George for the first time.

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.”

On March 14, 2006, my group was in the impoverished Christian West Bank village of Zababdeh. That was the very same day that the Israeli Defense Forces/IDF stormed the Jericho prison and the Al Aqsa Brigade issued a warning and demanded that all USA and British citizens immediately vacate the West Bank or they would be abducted.

Ahmed Sa’adat and four other Palestinians had been detained at the Jericho Prison since 2002, despite a court decision ordering their release. They were accused of assassinating the former Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi in 2001. They had been detained under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority under the supervision of guards provided by the UK and USA in accordance with an agreement reached between the British, USA, Israel and the PA.

It was after the withdrawal of the American and British troops that the raid took place. The guards had announced their intention to withdraw from the prison but they made no alternative arrangements for their absence. The IDF then began their assault in the absence of any alternative safety-nets. After the American and British forces abandoned the Jericho prison and the IDF showed up demanding Saadate come out with his hands up, rumors began flying throughout the West Bank that the Third Intifada had begun.

Our group had planned to be in Jericho the very next day, but as John Lennon sang, “life is what happens while you are busy making other plans” we did.

Our group learned the news of Jericho while we were breaking bread with the Christians in the village of Zababdeh. I had first visited Zababdeh in June 2005, with Dr. Khaled Diab, the founder of the Olive Trees Foundation for Peace. The first-and so far only- Olive Trees Foundation for Peace’s Keep Hope Alive Olive Grove and Playground is in Zababdeh. In June 2005, the grounds around the Melkite/Greek Catholic Church were rocky and barren. Nine months later, the transformation was staggering. The priest, Frias Khoury Diab, had built a decorative stone wall that now embraces the area where one hundred trees, thick green ground cover, benches, a swing set and a slide now fill the once desolate area.

Our Sabeel group had been advised by the locals that although we were perfectly safe with them, we should leave the West Bank ASAP and forget about our plans to visit the Jenin Refugee Camp and our meeting with Badil: the Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights.  

We went to Nazareth instead and experienced two Terminals that day. We had spent the night before in Bethlehem and although we had previously been waved through that checkpoint by the IDF, on that morning the soldiers demanded that we all disembark from our bus and walk through the stone and concrete Terminal, just as all Palestinians must.

Walking through the Terminal, which is akin to a steel cage, I thought of cattle that are forced through a similar structure on the way to their slaughter. The concrete ground descends in a circular path and one is then funneled into a single line until one faces two signs.

The sign to the right announces “Further Investigation” but we all went left and passed through the turnstiles. A fully armed soldier paced above us on a platform and cameras are attached to the wall every few yards that lead the way to the soldiers who check passports and ID as they sit inside small glassed enclosures. I was told by Palestinians, that they often are forced to wait two to three hours to exit, but my group passed through within fifteen minutes, except for the six who never made it out of the Terminal in Zababdeh.  Five Japanese and the one and only Palestinian in our group were never allowed to exit. The Anglican Father Diab [brother of the Melkite Priest, Frias Khoury Diab] had arranged and received permission that everyone in our group would be allowed to go to Zababdeh, but permission granted is not often received in occupied territory, for any soldier can deny anyone entry without giving any reason or cause.

I did learn that the Japanese did not have their Passports stamped upon arrival in Tel Aviv and were considered to be illegal. Instead of having their passports stamped, they had received a slip of paper with the stamp instead. They did not realize when they passed through customs after their flight into Tel Aviv, they should not have handed away their slips of paper to the guard who is posted at the doorway that leads to baggage claim. The Japanese did not realize that the slip of paper was their only documentation of passing through customs. Without it, they were considered to be illegal.

The Palestinian with us was from Jerusalem and she was told she could not enter because she was an Israeli citizen. She had requested and received permission before traveling with us, but she was still denied entry into the northern West Bank. We left them behind but picked them back up after we learned that there are 5,000 Christians left in all of the northern West Bank. 3,500 are in Zababdeh and over one million Muslims surround them. Father Diab stated, “We all have lived in peace together for centuries.”

Father Diab took us on a tour of the modest and clean medical clinic that the Anglican Church had built to serve the surrounding community. Over half the patients do not have any money to pay for any health care at all, yet everyone receives every service that is available and the clinic operates six days a week.

The Melkite priest Firas Khoury told us, “We need your love, we need your presence. We need your eyes and voices to share with the world the suffering of our people. We need you to come and see how we carry the Cross of Christ for we are the Living Stones; the forgotten one’s whose destiny is to love everyone, be they Jew, Muslim, Druze. We practice the love of our Lord and we ask you to tell your government we are people of peace!”

The brother’s mother had been Anglican and their father had been the only Melkite priest for Zababdeh until his death. There had not been another Melkite priest for twenty years until Frias Khoury Diab was ordained.

Father Diab, the Anglican told us, “Your problems getting through The Terminal are what we endure daily. I was assured everyone on the list would be allowed to enter. As usual they refuse some to enter just to make life difficult. My wife is Jordanian and the Israeli government demands she return to Jordan every six months and reapplies for permission to live with her husband! Permission takes seven to eight months to come and can be denied at any time for any reason.

“This part of the West Bank is where two of the four settlements that were evacuated for the Disengagement had been. The truth is there had only been one family in one settlement and the other settlers had already left before the disengagement!

“Gaza is the poorest area in the entire Middle East and the average family lives on less than $2.00 a day. There is 56% unemployment here and over 100,000 employees of the PA have not received any salary since February. One million Palestinians depend on those salaries; they are medical and police workers who are not being paid!

“I must go to Ramallah every three months to renew my permission. Ramallah is 80 kilometers away and there are five checkpoints which take five hours each way. I read the Bible while I wait.”

“To resist hatred, division, conflict, war and death is indeed divine worship.”-Henri Nouwen.

On March 15, 2006, our group traveled to Nazareth and learned from Fuad Farah, Board member of Sabeel and the Chairman of the Orthodox National Council in Israel, that “90% of Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land, never even meet any Palestinian Christians!”

While 90% of Christian visitors to the Holy Land may only visit churches made of stone, our group of over 60 ecumenical Christian Internationals from the USA, England, Wales, Ireland, Netherlands, Japan, Korea and the Philippines met many of the “Living Stones” AKA: “The Forgotten Faithful” who are the Palestinian Christians.

We had been shepherded throughout our journey by Palestinian Christians-and a few Muslims. These sisters and brothers live lives very similar to those of first century Christians, who also lived under occupation and oppression. We went from Nazareth to Mjadel, an Arab village which has two Christian churches surrounded by Jewish abodes.

Our guide, Fuad Farah informed us, “No Christians can live here anymore. They fled in ‘48 and their homes were destroyed in the ‘50’s for the settlers. Christians once were 20% of the total population of the Holy land, today we are less than 2% and maybe in thirty years there will be no Christians here if things do not change soon. There are more Christians in India and Syria than there are in the Holy Land!

“The reasons are many and include our low birth rate, migration due to lack of economic opportunities especially for the most highly educated, Muslim and Jewish fundamentalism, land confiscation and now Nazareth has become a retirement community because our young people all leave!”

I imagine if I were a young Palestinian with an opportunity to leave the country, I would too. Palestinians tell me, that is exactly what the Israeli government hopes for.

After our tour of Nazareth, our group visited the BADIL [Arabic for Alternative] Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights. The Founder, Muhammed Jaradat, told us with a grin, “I learned to speak English in prison, I was arrested first at 13 years old and spent a total of 5 ½ years in prison because I was a peace activist. I was arrested for winning a high school student union election in my village and charged with terrorism!”

“They said I was a gangster, that I was against Israeli rights, but justice for Palestinians means justice for Israelis too... The issue of the right to return is the ultimate issue. The refugee issue is the core issue and since 1948, 800,000 Palestinians have been evicted from their homes and their families land...What happened in Jericho is the beginning of the end of the occupation for the Israelis have proved they have lost their ethics.

“Two-thirds of Palestinian people are refugees. A democracy is supposed to be that the majority rules. But we have been told to SHUT UP about the refugee issue. If you really want to solve a problem you must attack the roots and that leads to the refugee issue.

“International Law, the Declaration of Human Rights and UN Resolutions all affirm the rights of refugees. For 57 years and 157 times the UN General Assembly has affirmed the right for refugees to return home, resettle with compensation or to choose a new country.

“The Israelis claim there is not enough room in the Holy Land but according to their own documentation in 2000, 86% of Israeli Jews live on 15% of Israel proper. 90% of state land is Palestinian land! The problem is not that there is not enough room, the problem is racism. I was born here but I am not a citizen of any country. They can revoke my residency at any moment.

“From 1989 to 1993 Israel absorbed 1.1 million new immigrants from the former Soviet Union who have illegally settled in the West Bank and Gaza. Historic Palestine is 26,000 square kilometers, about the size of Texas. The separation mentality has been at work since the 1930’s. Uniting this country with universal and basic human rights is the only way to success in the future. Israel has built the facts on the ground to not have two states. We are not stupid, we live under the harshest of conditions and we have survived. We have been divided into 28 different countries but we are united on the goal to achieve our human rights.

“The future depends on what happens to Palestinians and we are the legal owners of this land and Israel needs to get its nose down and realize they are living in the Arab world. Christian Zionists are the most destructive group of all and they want Israel to use their bomb. Who will they destroy? They will destroy themselves. The Dimona reactor is leaking and will cost more to remove than it did to build.”

On March 16, 2006, sixty international’s traveled through the West Bank and observed miles of caravans/trailer homes where more of the illegal settlements/colonies are planned. The trailers are perched upon the highest hill tops to claim the property for future construction of more illegal settlements. In 1998, Ariel Sharon admitted, “Everybody has to move, run and grab as many hilltops as they can…Everything we don’t grab will go to them.”

We arrived at the impoverished  village of A-Twani and met the people of the land and two 20 something year old Christian Peacemaker Teams/CPT volunteers, who spend 3 months at a time observing, reporting, escorting and protecting children going to and from school.

The reason these children require protection is that the settlers/colonists verbally harass and physically threaten the children. The spokesman for the village, Hafez informed us, “In 1982 there were a few caravans on our land and year after year they increased stealing more land, and now they have grabbed 70% of it. The settlers attack farmers, shepherds, women and children with sticks and chains and beat them. It was much worse before the Christian Peacemaker Teams and Operation Dove volunteers came here.

“Sometimes the settlers attack the Internationals.  A six year old girl was beaten on her way to school and a 74 year old woman spent three days in the hospital. They have shot the tires of our tractors and the settlers chop off the tops of our fruit and olive trees or uproot them. We choose to react nonviolently and call the police, but it takes at least an hour for them to arrive and all they do is write a report and nothing ever happens.

“Israeli groups like Ta’ayoush [Hebrew for co-existence] and Rabbis for Human Rights opened the window for the International community to come here and although the settlers even attack the Internationals things are not as bad as they once were.”

Ta’ayoush representative Ezra informed us, “Our activities in this area have changed the picture here. The occupation is about making life impossible for the people and evacuating them from the area. Israel thought it would be easy but since we came here we have been instruments of legal aid and have forced the Israeli police to intervene. These people are remarkable and the cooperation between them is amazing.”

24 year old Christian Peacemaker Teams volunteer, Matthew from Oregon stated, “The most common abuse is verbal but it is very dangerous when the settlers-all of them from the USA-attack with chains, rocks, sticks. One Palestinian was beaten twice and the police did nothing. After the third beating and our video evidence the police finally had to do something because we insisted and the Rabbis for Human Rights and Ta’ayoush helped with the legal assistance. The people here are committed 100% to nonviolent resistance and the Israelis have reluctantly responded.”

We walked up the hill to the illegal settlement of Ma’on which has 300 residents. The Kadima party has vowed to dismantle the most ‘religious’ settlements and Ma’on is on that list According to International Law all the settlements are illegal; it is forbidden for occupiers to build them. Yet, they continue to do so and the world is silent.

My first experience of the Qalandia checkpoint in Ramallah was in June 2005. By March 2006, it had undergone a transformation. The dark rocky unpaved road had been paved in some places and there are now street lights, but the visceral sense of oppression remained.

Our group met with Dr. Hanan Ashwari, Secretary General of Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy/MITFAH, who informed us, “We have had difficult times before but this is the worst! When people are constantly under assault and existing in a state of siege, they are too traumatized and they can no longer make rational decisions. Hamas was not just elected because of Fatah’s corruption, but because the people voted against USA policy! It was a vote of anger and revenge! Abbas wanted to postpone the elections because he knew Hamas would win. Technically our elections were free, but when people live under siege, pain and trauma they cannot make rational decisions.

“Israel has all the benefits but takes no responsibility as an occupier as stated in the Geneva Convention. Israel and the USA are perceived as the enemy and are starving the people. We are in desperate need of a viable peace process and need international intervention to control Israel...Unless the world enforces International Law and the Declaration of Human Rights there will be increasing violence and instability. We are in a battle for the soul of Palestine! When people think they are doing Gods will, like with the White House we are all in danger.

“Sharon slapped 14 conditions on the Road Map which exists only on paper. The Road Map is a club to destroy Palestinian society. Israel’s unilateral disengagement is against the Road Map. The disengagement was really just a reorganization of the occupation. The pats on the back for Sharon are amazing! Gaza is a massive prison because Israel retains control of air and sea borders.

“We have had democratic elections before Israel existed, we are not backwards people. We have always believed in the separation of church and state and have had a secular society. Hamas wants to be a credible political party and they are telling the people to maintain the cease fire and do not react to what happened in Jericho. It would be funny if it weren’t so painful!

“Hamas will be pragmatic and flexible, but what worries me is that they will change Palestinian society for the Muslim Brotherhood has taken over. I don’t want a theocracy; I want women’s rights and diversity. Hamas understands while there is injustice there cannot be the enforcing of Shiriah/Islamic Law.

“American aid never went to the PA, it went to USA NGO’s and profit making companies. The USA never paid any PA salaries...Hamas will gradually enforce Islamic Law and they will define what a crime is: such as homosexuality and adultery.

“Unless the world enforces International Law and the Declaration of Human Rights there will be increasing violence and instability. What happened in Jericho was an agreement that the PA would guard the USA and British prison guards. On March 8th it was reported that the guards were in danger and that renegotiations were needed. The Americans were off that day and five minutes after the Brits left the Israelis stormed the prison.”

On our way back to Jerusalem two soldiers with smiles on their faces boarded our bus and asked us if we had a good time in Ramallah. I have found most of the soldiers never look directly at us, but those few who do, will respond with a smile and return our greetings of shalom. Maybe they are just the new ones the job, and they certainly all look like babies!

At the Jerusalem YMCA we met Dr. Bernard Sabella, Executive Secretary of Middle East Council of Churches and Services to Palestinian Refugees who told us the best thing we can do is reach out to the children who live in the refugee camps and the rural villages.

“I challenge you all to enter a new age of reconciliation. We must address the injustice of the occupation, the problems of abuse and denial of human rights for we are in crisis! We must expose the human rights abuses because of this occupation. How can you change hearts and minds when Israel does what it wants and the USA remains silent? We are in a time of crisis!”

In the afternoon of the eighth day of our Reality Tour, the sixty international ecumenical Christians were introduced to Sabeel’s Contemporary Way of Cross. The Sabeel way, transforms the traditional Christian tradition of meditating upon the journey that Christ took after his condemnation as he carried his cross to where he was crucified with an updated meditation on empire and occupation.

In Jerusalem there are fourteen plaques along The Via Delarosa hanging on the walls of buildings depicting where Christ may have fallen three times, meets his mother, is stripped, nailed and dies.

The Contemporary Way suggests fourteen reflections beginning with 1948, The Nabka: The Catastrophe which followed the failure of the UN partition plan of ‘47 when the Irgun and Stern Gang [Zionist terrorist groups] depopulated 400 villages and forced 726,000 Palestinians to flee to Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt.

Station Two reflects on those refugees and the 460,000 more that fled during the War of 1967. Currently there are 675,670 registered refugees in the West Bank, 938,531 in Gaza and over two million in Arab countries who have never received compensation and have been denied the right to return as guaranteed in Articles 13 and 15 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in UN Resolution 194.

I was astounded to learn that in Natna, the nearly sixty year old Jerusalem refugee camp has The Wall butted up to the boy’s high school. The ‘playground’ where 780 adolescents gather is in reality a slab of cement ground about the square footage of a basket ball court. There is no view as it is walled in on all four sides by the high school, The Concrete Wall and two smaller cement walls.

A refugee informed our group that on a daily basis, “The Israeli Occupation Forces show up when the children gather in the morning or after classes. They throw percussion bombs or gas bombs into the school nearly every day! The world is sleeping; the world is hibernating and is allowing this misery to continue.”

I wander around taking photos and was warmly greeted by a teenage boy who asked my name and where I was from. I cringed when I said America, for I am ashamed that over one billion USA dollars since 1948 has supported the occupation, promoted violence and helped build the friggin’ wall.

A few miles from the refugee camp, one enters into an Orwellian Disney Land of lush green grounds in the illegal colony of the Pizgatzeev settlement. I was sick at heart and in my gut when we drove less than a mile into the illegal colony for I counted three playgrounds and a swimming pool. I still wonder how many USA tax dollars helped to build them, and why the same was not done for the refugees.

As our group was praying a gunshot issued from the Natna refugee camp, then another and another in rapid succession. I was told that the IDF was showering the refugees with gun fire and terror, and that it was just a normal daily occurrence. I lost it completely then, and sobbed uncontrollably. I felt like the Magdalena when she could not find her Lord, but then I thought of Jesus, and how he cried buckets of tears over Jerusalem.

2,000 years ago roving bands of politically radical and religious Jews rose up and openly resisted Roman rule in Palestine. They were called Zealots, and I imagine if I had lived back then, I would have joined them. But, instead, I ardently, fervently, zealously curse the empire that condones the violent terrorizing of innocent people just because they are Palestinian. I also wonder when will the Israelis wake up and see they too are victims of the occupation, the oppressed have become the oppressors and many have lost their humanity.

I pray the Jewish state would indeed be a democracy, but if they want to be a theocracy, fine with me if they would only just follow Micah 6:8: “What does the Lord require? Do justice, be merciful and walk humbly with your God.”

When Israel became a state in 1948, it was contingent upon upholding the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 13 states: Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country. Any Orthodox Brooklyn Jew can move to Israel and live there without paying taxes, but the state of Israel denies refugees whose families were born in that land, the right to return there.

On November 3, 2006, Reverend Naim Ateek, a modest soft-spoken man, 21st century prophet and the Founder and Director of Sabeel/The Way Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem, addressed over 330 international ecumenical Christians who had gathered in Jerusalem in the Notre Dame Conference Center for Sabeel’s 6th International Conference: The Forgotten Faithful.

He sent chills through me when he stated, “Israel will not survive unless it does justice! The situation is deteriorating and we must frustrate Israel’s plans and actions because they are not built on justice. All we are asking for is that they honor International Law! Israel is afraid of International law and this proves something is very wrong with Israel. We want Israel to live in peace and with security. The only way is honoring International law. That is the bottom line and what we work and pray for.”

Reverend Ateek’s classic Justice and Only Justice laid the foundation of a theology that addresses the conflict over Palestine and explores the political as well as the religious, biblical and theological dimensions. From a position of faith, Reverend Ateek seeks solutions based on justice, peace, nonviolence and reconciliation.

On November 8, 2006 Reverend Ateek spoke again, “In Israel officially speaking of Palestinians is taboo: we are referred to as Arab Christians. When I say the Holy Land I include both Israel and Palestine. Ultimately only God knows about the future of Christianity in this place. We live in the scientific world and God has given us wisdom, knowledge, technology to be used for good and our future and destiny are in Gods hands.

“There are many red lights; external and internal dangers. What can we do at the grass roots level? The Palestinian Christian community must rise above petty denominational differences. The impending dangers force us to ask what can we do, what must we do?

“There is no future in isolation or passivity. Our futures are all linked together. There is an urgent need to articulate and work with other faiths, especially Islam. Our future depends on good relations with all our brothers and sisters. We need a Committee of Christian and Muslim leaders to dialogue and work together to confront militant extremist fundamentalism.

“Our relation with Israel is the most important issue for there can be no peace without justice. There can be no effective policy without ending the occupation in accordance with all UN Resolutions. The city of Jerusalem must be shared and there must be a just solution for refugees.

“Pressure on Israel must be done with nonviolent needs and the way is the way Christ taught: nonviolent and forgiving. The achievement of peace is not the end; but the beginning of reconciliation. The survival of Christianity in the Holy land is through true democracy. We must avoid the minority complex. We cannot depend on the good will of people in power. We want to be protected by a constitution with full citizenship and nationality must be combined. Only in Israel is there a distinction between nationality and citizenship. Only good democracy can guarantee all citizens are treated equally under the same law.”

“What can the West do? There is an urgent need for education about the roots of Christians in Palestine and to challenge the myths. Seek out Palestinian Christians in your midst and relate to them. Be aware of Palestinian concerns for justice and human rights. Work for a just solution of the conflict which is equal human rights for all. Support projects to increase the Christian witness: visit the Holy land and meet with Palestinian Christians. Forge closer links with churches in the West and in the Holy Land. Challenge Christian Zionism. Think Creatively!

“In the beginning the Jesus movement was very small. It began with 12 committed citizens. It began with love and Christ addressed his followers: FEAR NOT little flock! You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. To capture the essence of what Christians should be is to be salt and light. You don’t need a lot of salt to add flavor and even a small light can illuminate the way for many.

“To be salt and light is to be truthful, honest, have integrity and to be of service and do it with humility. Salt affects change: it is active, never passive. To be a light is a global challenge and when the light is seen clearly so is the glory of God. Sabeel means the way, and the way is to love all your neighbors and labor on with God.”

Every birth begins with labor and pain but joy and love follow. Only when there is justice for Palestinians will there be security for Israelis and that will be the beginning of the way to win the “war on terrorism.”

On the morning of March 18, 2006, the eighth day of my third journey to Israel and Palestine began with a tour of the Old City of Jerusalem. A sacred hush filled the cypress canopied stone streets of The Noble Sanctuary that lead us to the Dome of The Rock, the site where Abraham offered to sacrifice his first born son Ishmael and where it is reported Mohammed ascended to heaven. We all remove our shoes and all the women cover their hair with scarves, then we silently tread the crimson carpet inside the Mosque. I am awed by the domed mosaic ceiling, geometric designed stained glass and massive crystal chandeliers above my head and silence is the only sound I hear although the mosque is filled with people.

Our group is split into two: some take the basic tour but a few Dutch, Japanese, Canadians, two Brits and I go the political route. Our guide is Mahmoud whose father was from Chad, his mother is Palestinian and he was born in Jerusalem.

Mahmoud tells us with a smile, “I was at the Ambassador Hotel for the public meeting the other day and was arrested and detained for eight hours. The Israelis will not allow Hamas and the PFLP to have public meetings at all. At that same time they claim this is a democracy, but how can that be if they do not allow political groups to meet and discuss the situation and search for solutions?

“When I was nineteen I was arrested for being a member of the PFLP/Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and spent the next 17 years in jail. I was nervous when I got there and I was tortured for months. Then a strange thing happened. They gave me a shower, clean clothes, then put me in a clean room and spoke to me like a human being. Then the French Ambassador came in and told me he could get me out because my father had French citizenship. He asked me where did I want to go and I answered; Jerusalem! He said it was impossible, I was not allowed. I told him I would rather remain in prison if I could not go home and so I spent 17 years and that is where I learned there is no justification for anyone to take another life. Those who kill are not Muslims.

“I was an eyewitness on October 8, 1990 when a group came to put a cornerstone where they want to rebuild the Temple. The Dome of The Rock is also what the Israelis call The Temple Mount, [the site where Abraham went to sacrifice his second born son, Isaac]. They want to destroy our Holy site but no archeologist has been able to say exactly where The Temple had originally been and they have been digging for seventy years.

“On that day they came I heard women shouting and crying. They were fainting from the tear gas! People got angry and threw stones at the soldiers and guards. Then hundreds of guards came onto The Noble Sanctuary and started shooting and 17 people were killed and 1,500 injured. They claimed we were throwing stones at the Wailing Wall but a Rabbi who had been over there said it wasn’t true at all.”

We walked the narrow stone streets that wind around and into an alley and come to a site known as the “Little Western Wall”, which is in the heart of the Muslim quarter. Construction has begun for a synagogue for women that will also prevent access in and out of the inner area, which is an apartment building where two or three Muslim families share one toilet.

Throughout the tour of the Muslim quarter Mahmoud points out the many cameras on the ancient stone walls and where the colonists/settlers have illegally confiscated Palestinian homes. “Within the Muslim and Christian quarters there are 70 locations where 1,000 Jews now live. We are under occupation and trying to have a better life and we have had some success. Before 1967 we had no universities and now we have twelve in the West Bank. I am a citizen of the Universe, but I live in Jerusalem.”
We climb to the roof of Al Quds University in Jerusalem where short courses in Arabic are taught. The ancient stone buildings are marred by satellite dishes and lookout towers...

After saying goodbye to the Internationals at our final dinner at The Tent Restaurant on March 20, 2006, I traveled alone three hours away from the Little Town in Occupied Territory of Bethlehem to the Mount of Beatitudes in Israel. This awe inspiring site sits above the shimmering Sea of Galilee where Christ preached the Sermon on the Mount. The Sabeel Reality Tour had concluded and I needed to be alone and silent...

But I ended up delivering my own Sermon on the Mount!

Four Franciscan Sisters, one each from Syria, Jordan, Malta and Italy care for the shrine and the pilgrim guests at the Hospice Center where I spent two nights and a day of silent reflection of all I had witnessed the previous nine days.

At dinner a Catholic Pentecostal from Scotland introduced himself and asked me why I was there and what church I was from. I responded I have Irish Roman Catholic, Polish Jew, Russian Orthodox and Episcopal roots but that my rock is The Beatitudes.

He looked even more perplexed when I told him I came to the Mount of Beatitudes to decompress and reflect upon my nine days in Occupied Territory. I asked him if he were aware of the work of Sabeel, the Palestinian founded organization that promotes a theology of liberation based on justice, peace, non-violence and reconciliation for all, regardless of faith path or nationality.

He sternly admonished me, “God gave this land to the Jews! The Bible never mentions Palestine, and that is that! God gave this land to the Jews and that is that!”

I responded just as fervently that the Palestinian Christians are the descendants of those who first followed Christ and they have been denied inalienable human rights by the Israeli government. I told him the Christians in the Holy Land have shrunk from 20% of the total population to less than 1.3% since 1948 and if things don’t change soon, there will be no Christian witness in the land where Christ promised that it is the peacemakers who are the children of God.
He sputtered, “But the Jews have suffered! God gave this land to the Jews and that is that!”

This really got my Irish up and I retorted, “Yes they did because good people did nothing for far too long, and now the oppressed have become the oppressors. In the 21st century good people are unaware, ignoring or are in total denial of the injustice in the Holy Land. And what about all the Hebrew prophets, such as Micah who reminded the Jews of what the Lord requires: To be just, to be merciful and to walk humbly with your God!”

I could NOT shut up although I knew that that Scotsman was trying to get away-he also looked a bit terrified! But, I was on a tear and barely took a breath as I told him that instead of staying in Israel for his entire visit, he should go and witness life in the occupied territories; go and see the effects of The Wall on his spirit and see what it has done to the Palestinian economy. I told him he should go and tour some of the 58 year old refugee camps and see the ruins of all the uncompensated home demolitions. I brought it on home by telling him that I also doubt that God was ever in the real estate business!

His eyes had bugged out and his mouth had dropped open while the torrent of words spewed out of me. After I finally shut up, he stammered, “But there is suffering everywhere!”

“Yes there is and Christ always stood up for the poor and the oppressed. And he told us what ever we do or don’t do for the least and the outcast; we do it or don’t do it unto God.”

He shook his head and turned and walked quickly away and never again looked my way. Nobody else spoke to me the rest of the evening or the next day. That was fine with me, for I was listening to the voice within and what I kept hearing was Luke 23:34:

“Father forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”

But when you know, if you are of good will, you must do something. The fastest growing cult in the USA-and also perhaps in Scotland: is the cult of Christian Zionism.

What is Christian Zionism?

Christian Zionism is an extremist Christian movement which supports the claims of those who believe that the State of Israel should take control of all of the land currently disputed between Palestinians and Israelis. It views the creation and expansion of the modern state of Israel as a fulfillment of biblical prophecy toward the second coming of Jesus.

Christian Zionism is a modern theological and political movement that embraces the most extreme ideological positions of Zionism, thereby becoming detrimental to a just peace within Palestine and Israel. The Christian Zionist program provides a worldview where the Gospel is identified with the ideology of empire, colonialism and militarism. In its extreme form, it laces an emphasis on apocalyptic events leading to the end of history rather than living Christ’s love and justice today.

What is the Christian Zionist connection with the Holy Land?

Believing that God fights on the side of Israel, Christian Zionists call for the unqualified support for the most extreme political positions related to the Holy Land. Christian Zionist spokes persons have attributed Hurricane Katrina to God’s wrath over our failure to stop Israel from pulling out of Gaza. They consistently oppose any moves towards a solution to the conflict which would validate the political aspirations of both Palestinians and Israelis.

Who Supports Christian Zionism?

Christian Zionism has significant support within American Protestant fundamentalists, who number between 10 and 20 million. Its reach is broad, by virtue of its favorite themes related to the “End Times” and an Israel-fixated Christian media.  Christian Zionism is both a political movement and a way of interpreting current events. Its focus is on Israel and the Middle East, as much an ideology as a “movement.” Its promoters share many beliefs but are not organized through any one institution.

Throughout history Christians have at times twisted scripture to justify violence: for the Crusades, for Anti-Semitism, and for slavery. Too often the church has been slow to respond to these biblical distortions with disastrous results.

Today Christian Zionists - particularly those with dispensationalist leanings - are at it again. Although their motives are couched in terms of compassion toward the Jewish people based on a literal reading of scripture the political agenda of territorial expansion advocated by Christian Zionists has given rise to injustice against Palestinians and added fuel to the fire of conflict in the Middle East. For some time, individuals, and theologians have spoken out against Christian Zionism. In the past few years, whole church bodies are adding their official voices to the distortions and injustices perpetuated by Christian Zionism.

The GOOD NEWS is that some mainstream churches have spoken out against this inherently anti-Semitic theology. What follows are but a few words from some of those who have.

The Presbyterian Church in the USA at its July 2004, National General Assembly issued a statement on Confronting Christian Zionism: “Christian Zionism promotes a theology that justifies grievous violations of basic rights of people who are also made in the image of God, and is contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

The United Church of Christ in July 2003, at its National General Synod offered An Alternative Voice to Christian Zionism: “We believe that the tenets of Christian Zionism neither reflect the intention of the teachings of Jesus and the prophets, nor promote peace in the Middle East, and respectfully recommend …an alternative voice to this theology.”

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, in June 2005 at its Chicago Metropolitan Synod issued a Resolution to Encourage the Study of Christian Zionism: “the movement of Christian Zionism based on these biblical interpretations seeks to influence U.S. policy toward Israel in a manner that would arguably facilitate mistreatment of Palestinians, continued occupation of the land, opposition to a two-state solution, and exclusive Israeli control of Jerusalem.”

The United Methodist Church, in June 2005 at its Illinois Conference on Unwrapping the Rapture warned, “Every household should give prayerful consideration as to how God will actually judge us for our silence about and complicity in the crushing of the Palestinian people.”

The Episcopal Church, in November 2004 at its Diocese of Chicago Confronted Christian Zionism: “A partial response to Christian Zionism would be to say that we read Scripture in light of [Jesus’] two great commandments - to love God and our neighbor.”

In 2006, The Nation reported that Christians United For Israel/CUFI pressed White House officials to adopt a more confrontational posture toward Iran, to refuse aid to the Palestinians and to give Israel a free hand as it ramped up its military conflict with Hezbollah.

The White House has not revealed the names of the officials who met with the CUFI lobbyists, which is a venomous tentacle from the Armageddon-based foreign-policy view of its founder, John Hagee.  Hagee is a fundamentalist, fire-and-brimstone preacher and a leader of the fastest growing cult in America: Christian Zionism, which is inherently anti-Semitic.

While Jewish Zionism began with the hope that all Jewish people would have a safe and peaceful dwelling place, these corruptors of the gospel Christ preached, adhere to a 200 year old convoluted interpretation of disparate scriptures that they have chosen to weave together to support their fear based judgmental narrow minded doctrine.

Hagee has mesmerized nearly 18,000 misled Christians at his Cornerstone Church with his take on whom the anti-Christ is. He also hosts a major TV ministry where he explains his views of how the end times will unfold. He blatantly corrupts and denies the message that Christ preached. Hagee, Hal Lindsay and the Left Behinder’s are doomsday false prophets who believe that the only way to defeat-what they and the Bush Administration refer to as- “Islamist fascists” is with a full-scale military assault.

The cult of ‘Christian’ Zionism is what the concept of the Anti-Christ is all about. This heretical theology of Premellenial Dispensation worships a god of Armageddon and not the God of love, forgiveness and compassion that Jesus/AKA The Prince of Peace modeled even while being nailed to a cross.

The Left Behind series of fiction is the epitome of what millennia of theologians have always understood to be what the term anti-Christ is truly about

The term “antichrist” only appears five times in the Bible, but a cult not based on sound theology has created an urban legend that seeks Armageddon. The term “antichrist” never appears in John’s Revelation or Daniel, two disparate works of literature written three centuries apart and under very different circumstances, yet the Left Behinder’s weave them together.

The small texts that mention the “antichrist” were written to attack the Gnostic understanding of who Christ was. A Gnostic relies on intuition and not on dogma and doctrine. Gnostic’s were most certainly free spirits and most all of the writings we have about Gnostics, have been the attacks upon them. That all changed when the Nag Hamadi Library was translated and published, for what had been deemed heretical by those in power in the fourth century can now be read in most every language.

Biblical scholars today agree that many books of the Bible were written by others in the name of an apostle, for the quickest way to gain credibility is to trade on another’s reputation. We may never know if the author who coined the term “antichrist” was actually the apostle John who wrote I John and 2 John-the only sources where the term appears.

John also say’s much more: “Dear Children, as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many have come.”- I John 2:18

“This is how we know who the children of God are not: anyone who does not do right; nor anyone who does not love his brother.”-I John 3:10

“If anyone has material possessions and see’s his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?  Let us love with actions and in truth.”-I John 3:17

“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. There is no fear in love. Perfect love drives out all fear because fear has to do with punishment [and God is love].”-1 John 4:18

The theology promoted in the Left Behind fiction is a theology based on fear and punishment. These misinformed Christians worship a punitive father as God. They do not have eyes to see that nature is God’s primary temple, and war the greatest abomination.

During the time when John was writing about the spirit of antichrist, Gnosticism was still in its evolution and far from the intricately developed system of the second and third centuries when the church and its institutional hierarchy became firmly established. During the time John was writing against false teachings, the Gnostics were by and large libertines who denied Christ’s humanity. Some Gnostics claimed that Christ only appeared to have a body; others said the divine Christ joined the man Jesus at his baptism and left him when he died.

The Gnostics left no testimony in their behalf, so all we have to go on is what was written against them until the discovery of the Nag Hamadi Library. These Gnostic texts offer no new information, they provide no answers, but they do illuminate us to the fact that 2,000 years ago that follower’s of Christ were very diverse and engaged in lively debates on who he was and what was his purpose.

The Armageddon groupies believe they will be lifted out of the misery of the world, and neglect to reflect upon the antichrist within their own heart. The term anti/against Christ means to be anti/against his teachings. A neglected and ignored fact is that Christ is quoted in fact Matthew 12:31-32, Mark 3:28-29, and Luke 12:10 which are all simpatico with the Gnostic gospel of Thomas saying 44:

Jesus said: “Whoever blasphemes against the father will be forgiven, whoever blasphemes against the son will be forgiven, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven either on earth or in heaven.”

The Holy Spirit has always been understood to mean the spark of the Divine within all beings, for the spirit of God is within all created things. One should wonder what spirit is driving those that want to bomb another, for just who would Jesus bomb? Just who would Jesus torture?

Jesus has been hijacked by the right wing fundamentalists and the time has come to liberate him. Christ was no Christian, that term was not even coined until three decades after he walked the earth. But, Christ was a social justice radical revolutionary Palestinian devout Jewish road warrior who rose up/intifada and challenged the job security of the temple priests by claiming there was no need for ritual baths and animal sacrifice to be ok with God. Jesus was crucified because he disturbed the status quo of the occupying forces of Rome by teaching subversive concepts such as all people are equal and valuable. Christ taught that to be his sister and brother one must forgive to be forgiven and that one must love ones enemies. He modeled that one must always work for peaceful resolutions, even to the point of returning violence with forgiveness and compassion as he did while being nailed to a cross.

Christ always dealt compassionately with sinners and outcasts, but hypocrites received his wrath. Compassion, which is sorrow for the suffering of others accompanied by the urge to help, is what should define the Christian attitude.

If there is no compassion within a Christian, then it is the spirit of the antichrist that rules. Christian Zionists desire to convert the Jews to Christianity or leave them behind to perish in a nuclear holocaust, for they believe that is Gods desire.

A short history on where this corruption of Christ’s message came from:

In 1891, Christian fundamentalist and lay-preacher, William Blackstone appealed to President Benjamin Harrison to help establish a Jewish state in Palestine. Blackstone was a disciple of Dwight L. Moody and they both were influenced by the father of premillenial dispensationalism, John Nelson Darby.

Darby had great success in connecting with the post-Civil War survivors and was able to transmit his new heretical theology into the heartland of America. Despite the horrifying news of Czarist pogroms that could have been the catalyst to establishing a Jewish state before the Holocaust, the Christian fundamentalists moved onto the Scopes Trial and forgot about the Jews for a while.

Fifty years later and after six million innocents were cold bloodedly murdered because good people did nothing for a very long while-and only after the British Mandate ran out, Israel was born.

Most evangelicals interpreted the establishment of Israel to be the fulfillment of -how they understood and interpreted- certain prophetic scriptures. They interpreted the Israeli victory in the 1967 War and the capture of Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, Sinai and the Golan Heights to be an act of God and never considered the fact of Israeli superior military might and USA Intelligence.

The American Bi-Centennial in 1976 was a watershed year for the religious right. While mainline churches declined evangelical fundamentalist churches became the fastest growing sector of American Christianity. TIME magazine named 1976 as The Year of The Evangelical and suddenly they became a legitimate political and religious force.

Following the War of 1967, Israel gained an increased portion of USA foreign aid and military budgets, becoming the ‘western pillar’ of the USA strategic alliance against Soviet incursion into the Middle East...During this period AIPAC and other pro-Israeli lobby agencies began their ascent to power in shaping USA foreign policy. The Roman Catholic Church and mainline Protestant denominations began to develop a more balanced approach to the Middle East, bringing them closer to the international consensus on the Palestinian question. Pro-Israel organizations interpreted this shift as being Anti-Israel and in turn began to court the conservative Christians.

In 1977, when President Carter stated “The Palestinians deserve a right to their homeland,” the Christian fundamentalists and Israeli lobby responded with full page ads stating: “The time has come for evangelical Christians to affirm their belief in biblical prophecy and Israel’s divine right to the land...and affirm our belief in the Promised Land to the Jewish people.” [Ibid]

The Reagan White House hosted a series of seminars from the Israeli lobby and Christian right. This was when Hal Lindsay, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and the Moral majority infiltrated the West Wing.

Falwell received a Lear Jet from the Israeli government for his personal travel...When Israel bombed the Iraqi nuclear plant in 1981, Prime Minister Begin called Jerry Falwell -before he called Reagan- to ask him ‘to explain to the Christian public the reasons for the bombings.

In 1996, Netanyahu and Likud ideology dominated Israeli policy and 17 evangelical USA pastors pledged their support of the illegal colonies in the West Bank, Gaza, the Golan Heights and full support for a Jerusalem under sovereignty of Israel.

The Christian Zionists launched a PR campaign under the banner: “Christians Call for a United Jerusalem.” They ignored the fact that they were in conflict with American policy and the Oslo process as well as a direct attack on Roman Catholic and mainline Protestant unity with the Churches for Middle East Peace that called for a Shared Jerusalem.

“The coming nuclear showdown with Iran is a certainty,” Hagee wrote in 2006, in the Pentecostal magazine Charisma. “Israel and America must confront Iran’s nuclear ability and willingness to destroy Israel with nuclear weapons. For Israel to wait is to risk committing national suicide.”

The theology of the fictional Left Behind series is the epitome of the spirit of the anti-Christ:  which is the evil within ones own heart that leads one to fear “the other” and compels them to violence.

Thomas Jefferson did America and the world a great service when he penned The Jefferson Bible: The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth which illuminates just how far these Christians have strayed from the message Christ delivered and modeled with his life: which was consistently compassionate and nonviolent.  To be just: justice comes from virtue which comes from the heart.

 To treat people the way we want to be treated. To always work for PEACEFUL resolutions, even to the point of returning violence with COMPASSION. To consider valuable the things that have no material value. Do not judge others, do not bear grudges, be modest and unpretentious. To give out of true generosity, not because we expect to be repaid and that being true to ones self is more important than being loyal to ones family, and those who think they know the most are the most ignorant.

According to Christ, to be his follower, one must do what the Father requires. The Hebrew prophet Micah summed it up best: “What does the Lord require? He has already told you o’man: Be Just, Be Merciful and walk humbly with your God.” -Micah 6:8:

To be just is to be fair and reasonable. To be merciful means to treat all people the way we want to be treated. To be humble is knowing oneself; the good and the evil, for both cut through every human heart.

Christ taught that the only way to resist evil is with good and he modeled that one must always work for peaceful resolutions, even to the point of returning violence with compassion and forgiveness. Jesus did just that, even after being mocked, whipped and nailed to a cross for he prayed:  “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”

Chapter 7 is Brother V and I will be in the studio of RADIO BULLS EYE Midnight EST April 21 until 2 AM talking with Mordechai Vanunu; Icon for a Nuclear Free World and a Christian held captive in East Jerusalem, on the fourth anniversary of his release from 18 years in an Israeli jail -most all of it in solitary- because he dared to listen to the voice of his conscience and inform the world in 1986 of Israel's secret underground WMD Program in the Negev Desert.

This exclusive interview is also a direct challenge to the Israeli Government which has forbidden Vanunu the right to speak to foreigners in this their 60th year of statehood that was contingent upon their upholding of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

Article 13.
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Article 19.
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

*Clearwater Florida station WTAN 1340 AM


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"HOPE has two children.The first is ANGER at the way things are. The second is COURAGE to DO SOMETHING about it."-St. Augustine

 "He who is not angry when there is just cause for anger is immoral. Why? Because anger looks to the good of justice. And if you can live amid injustice without anger, you are immoral as well as unjust." - Aquinas

BEYOND NUCLEAR: Mordechai Vanunu's Freedom of Speech Trial

Published 10/30/10

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Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.


The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

© 1968, 2001 Kent M. Keith

" In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway."-Mother Teresa

“You cannot talk like sane men around a peace table while the atomic bomb itself is ticking beneath it. Do not treat the atomic bomb as a weapon of offense; do not treat it as an instrument of the police. Treat the bomb for what it is: the visible insanity of a civilization that has obey the laws of life.”- Lewis Mumford, 1946

The age of warrior kings and of warrior presidents has passed. The nuclear age calls for a different kind of leadership....a leadership of intellect, judgment, tolerance and rationality, a leadership committed to human values, to world peace, and to the improvement of the human condition. The attributes upon which we must draw are the human attributes of compassion and common sense, of intellect and creative imagination, and of empathy and understanding between cultures."  - William Fulbright

“Any nation that year after year continues to raise the Defense budget while cutting social programs to the neediest is a nation approaching spiritual death.” - Rev. MLK
Establishment of Israel
"On the day of the termination of the British mandate and on the strength of the United Nations General Assembly declare The State of Israel will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel: it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion it will guarantee freedom of religion [and] conscience and will be faithful to the Charter of the United Nations." - May 14, 1948. The Declaration of the Establishment of Israel
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posted 3/25/2009

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