My heart breaks for all that is happening in Palestine – the murders, the bombings, the home demolitions, the loss of innocent lives and the ongoing acts of ethnic cleansing – from 1948 to today. My anger burns at the lies being told about what is happening and the misrepresentations of Palestinians who are defending themselves, their homes, their resources and their land from the attacks of both Israeli military and settlers. As a human being, I am appalled at the inhumanity of what is taking place. As a U.S. citizen, I am outraged that my tax dollars are helping fund what is happening. As a Christian, I am furious that Christian Zionists are abusing my religion to provide political support and cover for Israel’s war crimes.
While international news is full of horrific accounts of all that is taking place, here’s a personal account I received this morning from a friend in Jerusalem:
Yesterday my youngest grandson, who turned 15 at the beginning of this month was walking in our neighborhood, towards the barber shop to have a hair cut, when he was stopped by 10 soldiers who beat him up before letting him go. Why? Can anybody who has any common sense answer me. There were no demonstrations, and the people in our neighborhood were going about their own business. The soldiers were in their full gear and were not in any danger. Yet the US continues to buy the gimmick of PM Netanyahu that Israel has the right to defend itself, and it cannot tolerate that his people are being attacked. Does he think we can tolerate our children being hurt, and brutalized by a sick army who shows up out of the blue in our residential areas. Seeing whole families and children killed by the raids on Gaza, we are grateful for the safety of our children. Maybe the PM should hear some of the voices of his own soldiers from “Breaking the Silence movement,” and should read some of the Israeli press that are accusing him of flaring up the region so he can stay in office and avoid going to jail for his corruption charges. Not at all surprising; nothing is beyond him.Samia
It was powerful to be part of last Saturday’s Protest for Palestine. I stood with 10,000 people in San Francisco, marching alongside and rallying behind Palestinians who have appealed to the international community to rise up in solidarity and joint struggle. This was just one of 120 such events that took place across the globe. At the protest I issued the following call to the Christian community to act boldly in support of Palestine. I share it with you so we can work together to answer this call.
I am Pastor of Public Witness at Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church in Oakland and a clergy leader with Friends of Sabeel North America who offers a Christian Voice for Palestine. I’m here representing the Christian community that stands with Palestine.
We know that our faith has been misused and distorted to support colonization in Palestine, here on Turtle Island and throughout the world. We know that it is Christian Zionists who are wielding their power in Washington to help fund and provide political support of Israel’s war crimes. We know that there are 10 times more Christian Zionists than Jews in the U.S. and that they are pushing a racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic agenda. We decry the evils they are doing in the name of Christianity and commit to challenging Christian Zionism however we can. Christianity at its core is a religion of freedom from oppression and true followers of Jesus are about the work of liberation.
We take our lead from Palestinian Christians who have offered a Cry of Hope and Call to Action to the international Christian community. They remind us we have a responsibility to name the evils of Empire, to challenge evil from a logic of love, and to embody hope in our joint struggles for liberation.
To be a follower of Jesus requires bold action for Palestinian self-determination and liberation.
To all who consider themselves Christian in this crowd, I call on you – on us – to act boldly in naming the evils of Christian Zionism, challenging the evils of Empire, and embodying hope as we stand alongside our Palestinian brothers and sisters working for justice, freedom and equality for Palestinians and for all people.
In addition to the unique work for Christians, there are powerful opportunities for interfaith action. Here are two clear asks from organizations I partner with to support Palestinians in this moment:
Sign the petition to Stop Jerusalem Expulsions and Save Sheikh Jarrah
Tell President Biden and Vice President Harris to oppose violence and evictions
As usual, Palestinian resistance is inspiring and inviting – let’s follow their lead and join hands as we work together for a just peace in the Holy Land, in our land, and in every land.