My dear brothers, I remain committed to speaking at your conference next May in Bethlehem regardless of how you respond to this appeal. But the spirit of truth, justice and love compels me to write. Do you really seek reconciliation and mutual understanding, or do you seek to gain sympathy for your cause by delegitimizing and demonizing Israel?
You say on your Facebook page, “We believe that one of the first hallmarks of discipleship is love for both our own community and for our enemies. We wish to find Jesus at the center of everything we do and to make his life our life. Which means finding courageous love for Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews alike.”
That is an admirable goal indeed. And it is a goal that I share. But, as I wrote to you on Oct. 16, virtually every post on your Facebook page is meant to question Israel’s right to the land, to criticize Israel’s treatment of your people and to underscore the hardships of your life under “the occupation.”
There’s not a syllable about Israeli suffering (either terrorist attacks or children living in poverty), not a syllable to support the idea that God has restored to the Jewish people to their ancient homeland – despite our many flaws and failings – not a syllable that would create any sympathy for the Israelis at all.
Instead, we read quotes like this: “We don’t live a normal life. Our guard is always up; we’re always under pressure. We can’t even eat normally; there is no stability in our lives because of the [Israeli] settlers and the soldiers.”
Or this: “Imagine working hard for years and saving money to purchase a piece of land to secure your future and the future of your children, only for an occupying army to arrive in this land and confiscate it by force for the use of the ’empire’. In Palestine, this is not imagination. This is reality under occupation.”
Or this: “The language of Netanyahu and his cabinet increasingly references a Bible-citing and religious, rather than political, war against the Palestinians. And American evangelicals are his enthusiastic foot-soldiers.”
Or links to articles like this: “Banksy throws a street party for Palestinian refugees as an ‘apology’ for 100 years of British support for Israel.”
And this: “As Bethlehem’s mayor, I ask: Why are U.S. Christians celebrating Israeli policies strangling Jesus’ birthplace.”
Then there are quotes from some of your senior leaders claiming that Christian Zionism is antithetical to following Jesus. And on and on it goes.
So, my appeal to you is simple: Either state clearly the purpose of your conference, which appears to be anything but reconciliation and understanding, or else make a radical change to your Facebook page (and conference schedule) allowing for equal presentation of both sides of this important debate. At this point, I would dare say that, if you posted an article like this on your page, it would be quickly overwhelmed with hostile comments.
Many of my Messianic Jewish friends in Israel are actively involved with reconciliation movements with their Arab Christian brothers – in the Land and beyond – yet they do not participate in Christ at the Checkpoint. Why? It is because they see no genuine attempt to reconcile and understand but only to bash and criticize Israel and to reject God’s eternal promises to the Jewish people.
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Source: Christian Post