Tuesday, June 05, 2018

How Palestinian Activists Manipulate Western Christians

From Times of Israel, 30 May 2018, by Daniel Swindell:

Since the recreation of the modern state of Israel in 1948, there has been a Christian doctrinal anti-semitic revolution. 

After Rome adopted Christianity as the state religion, the early forms of Christian anti-semitism were created and fixed, and remain embedded in Catholic policy. The most common forms of Christian anti-semitism were built on the accusation of deicide, the depiction of Jews as Satanic, and replacement theology.

There was very little variation in these forms until after the recreation of Israel in 1948: the rebirth of Israel presented a serious theological challenge to replacement theology. For those who wished to deny the Jewish people the right to freedom from Christian and Islamic overlords, new theological reasons had to be formulated to argue that the Jewish people should be denied a nation.

For this reason it might be helpful to divide Christian anti-semitism into Pre-Israel and Post-Israel Christian anti-semitism.

Post-Israel Christian anti-semitism is primarily defined as a method of using Scripture to argue that modern Israel should be eliminated. A great deal of Post-Israel Christian anti-semitism is being developed by Palestinian Christian theologians, who partner with western theologians in manipulating the Christian faith to deny the Jewish people the right to a nation. Some have called this new version of anti-Israel Christianity, “Christian Palestinianism.”

Christian Palestinianism was primarily developed with three goals:

  1. to invent a Christian doctrine which calls for the delegitimization of Zionism and the complete destruction of Israel, 
  2. to justify Arab claims to possess the land, and, 
  3. to justify the Arab-Islamic war against Israel. There is a network of Christian Palestinian theologians who have devoted themselves to spreading this message to western Christians.


[The source] essay is longer than the average blog in order to cover more information.... Follow the link to read the full essay

The question of whether modern Israel is the fulfillment of Biblical Prophecy.

The issue of whether modern Israel is the fulfillment of biblical prophecy is a necessary question for all three monotheistic faiths, and thus, the answer will have a direct affect on one’s position for or against Israel...

The Catholic Church developed replacement theology, which taught that God was finished with the Jewish people and replaced them with the Church. Pastor John Hagee, the founder of, “Christians United For Israel” (CUFI), explains:
Replacement theology, which is also called supersessionism, is a particular interpretation of the New Testament claims, viewing God’s relationship with Christians as superseding His prior relationship with the Jews. This destructive idea espouses the idea that the promises, covenants, and blessings ascribed to Israel in Scriptures have been taken away from the Jews and given to the church.” This doctrine, “holds that the historic nation of Israel no longer has a part in God’s divine plan for the remainder of time.”
There is also an Islamic version of supersessionism. Central to Islam is the doctrine that Mohammed is the last prophet of God, superseding all others, from Abraham to Moses and Jesus. Thus, Koranic law superseded Jewish law and created a view of Islamic triumph over Judaism. In addition, there is an Islamic teaching that Jews and Christians altered the Torah as well as the Gospels to hide the revelation of the coming of Muhammad, called, Taḥrīf (Arabic: “alteration”).

Thus, the recreation of Israel was a slap in the face to centuries of religious doctrine which did not anticipate a secular state of Israel. Since Israel’s recreation in 1948, all three faiths have been faced with a burning question: is the current nation of Israel the fulfillment of biblical prophecy? 

...Christian Zionists believe that modern Israel is the fulfillment of prophecy.

Anti-zionist Anglican Vicar Stephen Sizer summarizes the position of his opponents: Christian Zionists are, “Those who insist that the Jewish people are God’s ‘chosen people’ also insist that the promises made to Abraham and the Patriarchs concerning the land bequeathed to them are promises that apply to his physical descendants today. So the contemporary State of Israel is seen as evidence of God’s continuing protection and favour toward the Jewish people.”

Christian Palestinianism ...claims that modern Israel is not the fulfillment of biblical prophecy. As a religious-political movement, Christian Palestinianism asserts that the ancient biblical nation of Israel is not the same entity as the modern state of Israel. The goal of Christian Palestinianism is to convince the world that the promises made in the Bible to ancient Israel do not apply to modern Israel, that God is finished with the Jewish nation.

The players in the network:

Image result for Naim Ateek+terrorist
Naim Ateek

The godfather of Christian Palestinianism is Rev. Naim Ateek, an Arab-Israeli citizen who self-identifies as a Palestinian. He is the founder of Sabeel (Arabic for “the way”), an Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center based in Jerusalem. Sabeel has become one of the leading international headquarters to spread anti-zionism into many western churches. Ateek is calculating and has devoted his life to developing a strategy to separate the Bible from Zionism. He wrote,
“The center should go beyond the immediate area of conflict to reach Christians abroad, especially the West. This outreach should aim at… de-Zionizing the Bible.”
Ateek has partnered with western theologians, pastors and activists, such as Walter Brueggemann, Stephen Sizer, Mary Gray, and Mark Braverman. Over the last couple of decades these Palestinians and western theologians have created a new systematic reading of Scripture to attack every foundation which can be used to support Israel. Theologian Walter Brueggemann wrote,
“It is my hope that the Christian community in the United States will cease to appeal to the Bible as a direct support for the state of Israel.”
The Jerusalem Sabeel Document contains a section called, “The Vision for the Future,” which states, “the ideal and best solution has always been to envisage ultimately a bi-national state in Palestine-Israel.” Sabeel seeks, “One state for two nations.” This is also known as the “one state solution,” which means that Israel would be removed and replaced with an entirely different bi-national country. In other words, the best solution is for Israel to disappear.

Another major headquarter promoting Christian Palestinianism is Bethlehem Bible College, founded in 1979 by local Arab pastors under the leadership of Bishara Awad. The college sponsors the “Christ at the Checkpoint,” conference. Most of its speakers claim to be pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian, yet they blame Palestinian suffering on  Israel alone.

Another lead organization is Kairos Palestine, a coalition of Palestinian Christians. In 2009, they produced The Kairos Palestine Document, which singled out the Israeli military occupation as a “sin.” These Palestinian organizations also marketed an American version; for example, Sabeel created Friends of Sabeel North America, and Kairos Palestine created Kairos USA. These Palestinian groups collaborate with western theologians, pastors and activists, attempting to spread their message throughout churches.

Kairos Palestine promotes the boycott movement against Israel in major American churches. As the anti-Israel publication, “Electronic Intifada,” reported in 2012,
“This summer, headlines about Palestine dominated news from gatherings of Christian churches. North America’s United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA), and United Church of Canada voted to boycott products from Israeli settlements.” And, “At the center of these efforts lay a document… known as the Kairos Palestine Document.” And, “Over three years the document and Kairos Palestine, the organization behind it, have infused church-based activism for Palestine.”
Millions of Christians travel to Israel to visit the Holy Land. The standard tours bring Christians to see the holy sites, such as the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Palestinian Christians have established a number of Palestinian social justice tour groups, which piggyback on the tourism industry. These tours visit places where Jesus walked, as well as Palestinian areas. One website lists all of the standard Christian sites, but adds a, “Geo Political tour of Bethlehem including Palestinian refugee camps, youth centers, the wall and checkpoints.”

The Palestinian network has worldwide influence through the World Council of Churches (WCC), which represents roughly 600 million church members. The WCC has established several groups “aimed at ending the illegal occupation of Palestinian territories.” In 2008, the WCC and Sabeel published a booklet titled “Imagine Peace,” which claimed that Christ’s promise of peace is unfulfilled because, “this part of the world is under the domination of American/Israeli military power.” In 2013, the WCC issued the following statement: “Christians who promote ‘Christian Zionism’ distort the interpretation of the Word of God and the historic connection of Palestinians—Christians and Muslims—to the Holy Land, enable the manipulation of public opinion by Zionist lobbies, and damage intra-Christian relations.” Allied with the Palestinian organizations, the WCC wages church warfare against Israel.

There are seven major pillars of both Judaism and Christianity which had to be attacked in order to argue that the modern nation of Israel should be destroyed....

Follow the link to read the arguments in the full essay...

Islam’s New War on Christians

...In more recent times, Christians are being ethnically cleansed across the entire Middle East, except for Israel. 

Raymond Ibrahim is a Christian of Coptic descent. He is a leading expert on the motivation behind Radical Islam and the author of “Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians.” He described the current situation in the Middle East,
“One hundred years ago, 20% of North Africa and the Middle East, the birthplace of Christianity, was Christian. Today, Christians make up 4% of the population. Much of that decline has occurred in the last decade. In essence Muslims are rendering North Africa and the Middle East free of Christians.”
 As the Christian organization Open Doors reported, the pattern is exactly the same in the West Bank and Gaza.
“The percentage of Christians has dropped from ten percent of the Palestinian population in 1920 to little over one percent today.”
In sharp contrast, since the creation of Israel in 1948, the Christian population has increased by nearly 300 percent. 

The numbers demonstrate that Israel is the only country in the Middle East where Christians are protected and granted equal rights. The numbers also demonstrate that Arab Christians are being ethnically cleansed in the same exact pattern under Islamic authority in Gaza and the West Bank as they are under Islamic authority in the rest of the Middle East. This pattern demonstrates that the Muslim Palestinian authorities are to blame for the decrease in the numbers of Christians in Gaza and the West Bank, and not the Israeli “occupation.”

All of this is to demonstrate that the behavior of Palestinian Christians is circumscribed within the Palestinian war with Israel, their unofficial status as dhimmis, and the ethnic cleansing of Arab Christians in the Middle East. Western Christians do not realize that Palestinian Christians lack the civil rights of westerners and are not free to speak their minds.

Palestinian Christians are surrounded by a Muslim majority which is engaged in a violent struggle against Israel. If they side with Israel, they would be seen as a fifth column, and they are totally helpless to defend themselves. If they want to maintain somewhat normal lives, they must repeat the same message as the Muslim majority, which blames Israel for the lack of peace – even if the facts demonstrate that Israel treats its Christian population far better than Palestinian society.

Palestinian Christians who honor terrorists are rewarded, while Palestinian Christians who condemn terrorism are persecuted.

The effect of the physical and psychological reality of the unofficial system of dhimmitude, as well as the dangers of the ethnic cleansing and the persecution facing the Palestinian Christian population can be seen in concrete terms. A tiny minority of Palestinian Christians speak out against Islamic terrorism and seek genuine peace with Israel. The main leaders in this movement are Evangelical Pastor Naim Khoury and his son Pastor Steven Khoury; both have Israeli citizenship, but both have chosen to minister amongst the Palestinians.

The concrete reality of the situation for Palestinian Christians can be seen by comparing the treatment of Pastor Mitri Raheb with Pastors Naim and Steven Khoury. In 2017, two Druze-Israeli policemen were shot to death near the entrance to the Al-Aqsa Mosque. In response, Israel attempted to install some new metal detectors, which are common at every holy site in the world. However, the Palestinians held protests against the installations of these metal detectors. Pastor Mitri Raheb joined in these protests. In a video posted two days after the attack, Raheb declared that his visit to Al Aqsa was an “unforgettable night… demonstrating… Christian-Muslim unity as a tool of creative resistance.”

Dexter Van Zile reported, “Raheb’s rhetoric was almost enough to make people forget that the drama surrounding metal detectors at the Temple Mount began with Palestinian terrorists shooting two unsuspecting Israeli police officers.” If the policemen, “had not been ambushed by murderers who had been lying in wait for them on the Temple Mount, no metal detectors would have been installed, no protests would have taken place, and Raheb would have no ‘creative resistance’ to celebrate.”

Van Zile further reported, “Because of his ties and utility to the Palestinian Authority, Raheb has been able to build something of an empire in the West Bank. In addition to serving many years as pastor at the Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem… Raheb is founder and president of the Diyar Consortium, a non-profit that provides social services to people in the West Bank. He is also founder and president of Dar al-Kalima University College of Arts and Culture in Bethlehem, often described as the third largest private employer in Bethlehem.” By continuing to support the kind of people who celebrate the murder of Israeli policemen, Rehab has become quite powerful.

In sharp contrast, Pastor Naim Khoury and his son Pastor Steven Khoury have been persecuted for simply preaching that Jesus was Jewish and for condemning Islamic violence. The Jerusalem Post reported, “Steven Khoury was born in Jerusalem and grew up in Bethlehem. Today he is the pastor of Calvary Church in east Jerusalem. His father, Dr. Naim Khoury, is the founding pastor of First Baptist Church in Bethlehem. Both men are Israeli Arabs. Together their umbrella ministry is called Holy Land Missions… Their message never changes: Jesus was born a Jewish baby in Bethlehem, (and) died an observant Jew in Jerusalem… Taking this stand is hazardous. Because of it, the Khourys have seen their places of worship firebombed and defaced. Church members have been attacked. Property has been stolen, stones thrown, shots fired. Steven’s uncle was murdered. And his father, Dr. Naim, has been shot at four times over the past 10 years.”

During an interview on The 700 Club, Steven Khoury was asked why Christians are leaving Bethlehem. He replied, “Christians are leaving because they are seeing that nobody is standing with them, they are seeing that extremism is growing, anti-Christian agenda is growing.” And, “Unfortunately, a lot of people’s mindsets, who are considered jihadists or extremists, that is their ultimate goal, is to put fear and submission in the heart of every single Christian in the Middle East.”

Within 24 hours of the interview Steven Khoury was given an eviction notice, giving his Church one month to vacate, even though the rent had been paid for a full year. He explained, “The family that we are renting from have been pressured by the extremists in the community.” Steven Khoury struggles to maintain a permanent church building. Evidently, any Palestinian pastor who honors terrorists is rewarded while any Palestinian pastor who condemns terrorism is persecuted.

Conclusion: Christian Palestinianism does not lead to peace:

There is a question of whether Christian Palestinianism can even be considered a form of normative Christianity. The average American Christian has nothing in common with the message of Christian Palestinianism, although both are called, “Christian.” In fact, it is immoral for western Christians to partner in good faith with those who rewrite Jewish and Christian history for political reasons.

In essence, Christian Palestinianism is a cynical distortion of the Christian faith, created after the restoration of Israel and based on a new version of Palestinian replacement theology, with the express political purpose to deny the Jewish people the right to a nation. It is a twisted reading of the Jewish Bible to deny the prophecies of restoration. It is a twisted reading of the Christian Bible to claim that Christ would command his followers to only support the Palestinians. It was created to be compatible with Islamic supersession doctrines over Jewish scripture. It was created to be submissive to Islamic apartheid laws and to avoid being the target of radical Islamic violence. It was created to justify the Arab claims to own the land, and to be compatible with the greater Arab-Islamic war against Israel. In conclusion, Christian Palestinianism was not created to express the Christian faith, but rather designed to be a Christian doctrinal weapon to erase Zionism, and ultimately the state of Israel, from the planet.

Second, the teachings of Christian Palestinianism do not call for peace. The problem with all of the organizations in the network is threefold: First, they ignore the fact that the Arabs started the 1948 War. Second, they deny the role that Palestinian terrorism plays in necessitating security checkpoints and restrictions on movement. The checkpoints do not target Palestinian Christians or Palestinian Muslims; the checkpoints look for Palestinians who wish to carry out attacks.

Third, their message is that Zionism is evil. But, Zionism is simply the belief that Jewish people have the right to self-determination. The claim that Zionism is evil is equivalent to saying that the existence of a Jewish state is evil. The Palestinian Christian network promotes the message that Jewish people should not have the right to self-determination, while arguing for the right of Christian and Muslim Palestinians to own the land. They use the term peace but are not promoting peace: by definition, peace means recognizing Israel, not denying it’s right to exist.

Fourth, the Middle East is comprised of roughly 20 countries, and Christians are being ethnically cleansed from all of them, except for one country – Israel. The Jewish State has emerged as the singular example of how to protect Christians in the Middle East. Yet, pro-Palestinian western Christians reverse reality, condemning the single Middle Eastern country which protects Christians, while not bringing to account the countries which actively persecute Christians.

By condemning the protector of Christians, these western Christians draw attention away from ongoing ethnic cleansing in Muslim countries, as well as in the Palestinian territories. The end result is that they aid and abet the persecution of Christians in the Middle East. If these western Christians really care about their fellow Christians in the Middle East, maybe they should start caring about the fact that they are disappearing and partner with the Israelis who are protecting them.
Post a Comment