The Religious Left Targets Israel

Mark Tooley is President of the Institute on Religion and Democracy (www.theird.org) and author of Methodism and Politics in the Twentieth Century. Follow him on Twitter: @markdtooley.


Seemingly not content with its already extensive anti-Israel activism, the Swiss-based World Council of Churches, comprised of over 300 denominations, is highlighting a new anti-Israel initiative.

The WCC’s blandly but revealingly named “Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum” (PIEF) has been around a few years but has just unveiled its own website and newsletter, presumably in a new wave of protest against “The Occupation.”

According to PIEF’s new website, it plans to “catalyze and coordinate new and existing church advocacy for peace, aimed at ending the illegal occupation in accordance with UN resolutions, and demonstrate its commitment to inter-religious action for peace and justice that serves all the peoples of the region.”

Translation:  the WCC wants to fine tune its Religious Left alliances for undermining Israel’s legitimacy by faulting Israel exclusively for Palestinian suffering.  Tragically, the Religious Left’s ostensible concern for Palestinians is similar to much of the Arab world’s supposed concern.  For both, the Palestinians are mostly useful props for assailing Israel.   A more sincere and thoughtful empathy for Palestinians might them urge to follow the example of Israel’s founders 60 years ago:  take the deal available and strive to create a productive nation.

Ironically, the Religious Left’s contrived solidarity with Palestinians, like the international secular Left’s, will only help fuel unrealizable Palestinian hopes for demographically, if not militarily, deconstructing a Jewish Israel.  The ultimate beneficiaries of these anti-Israel campaigns are Hamas-style militants, who prefer unending conflict with Israel, and the West, to any decent settlement for Palestinians.

Either groups like the WCC and its PIEF are insidiously clever or simply willfully naïve, probably the latter. PIEF wants to target “government” and “public”  support for The Occupation, as well as its ostensibly “theological and biblical justifications.”  In other words, a primary objective is to discredit pro-Israel Christians in the U.S., not to mention Jewish historic rootedness to Israel.   It also wants to help uphold a “viable the Palestinian Christian presence in the Holy Land.”

Almost all the anti-Israel Religious Left groups profess to be very interested in defending the Christian presence in the West Bank and Gaza. Their interest is largely limited to identifying Israel as the anti-Christian persecutor, because they typically have little interest in often more threatened Christian communities in neighboring Arab countries.  Nor do they delve very deeply into why Christians are leaving the Holy Land, an ongoing exodus that long predates Israel’s founding, and which has accelerated since the Palestinian Authority’s creation and Israel’s partial withdrawal.   Obligingly, the Religious Left, including WCC/PIEF, quote Christian prelates in the West Bank, without admitting the political necessity for Christian Palestinians, as merely one percent of Palestinians, to burnish their anti-Israel credentials in a bid for survival among often hostile Muslims.

Radical Islam’s threat to Christians, to Israel, and to non-militant Palestinians goes unremarked by WCC/PIEF, as it usually does by the Religious Left as a whole.  PIEF’s website complains about Israel’s Gaza incursion and the “continuing blockade of the Gaza Strip” as “increasingly stringent” and a likely “form of collective punishment.”  This “blockade” has subjected 1.5 million Gazans to “unemployment, penury and malnutrition,” the WCC/PIEF bewail.  But Hamas’s misrule, terrorism and arms smuggling are naturally unmentioned as the cause for closing Gaza’s borders.  That Egypt has joined Israel in containing Hamas-controlled Gaza is likewise unnoted.

PIEF’s first newsletter focuses on Gaza’s “humanitarian and political crisis” as an obstacle to “just and durable solutions.”  Apparently Gaza would be fine if only Israel had not militarily interceded to halt rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel.   Or at least so PIEF asserts. In fact, even before the Hamas putsch against less rabid Palestinian rule, Yasir Arafat’s regime was scandalously bleeding Gaza of its already limited wealth in support of lavish living by Arafat cronies.  Theoretically, Gaza could be a thriving beach resort for European tourists, further engorged by endless international aid.  But of course its Palestinian rulers, with not inconsiderable public support from Gazans, prefer self-defeating conflict with Israel to any meaningful economic or political future.

According to PIEF, millions of dollars in international aid for Gaza has not helped Gazans because “essential supplies to Gaza are cut off.”  But Gaza’s declining fortunes began well before the Israeli and Egyptian border restrictions. “Churches must intercede in a way to guarantee that aid reaches the suffering swiftly,” PIEF implores.  “There needs to be concerted insistence on the assertion of accepted humanitarian practices and policy which guarantee that aid reaches those who need urgent without impediments of any sort.”

The Religious Left’s professed humanitarian concerns would be laudable, absent the crass political calculations behind it.  The Religious Left has long championed relief for impoverished Cuba, only because U.S. sanctions can be faulted.  The Religious Left similarly was supposedly very concerned about the Iraqi people under United Nations sanctions against Saddam Hussein, but only because the U.S. was the ultimate villain.  North Korea’s deplorable poverty and starvation periodically arouse Religious Left interest, but again only because of the U.S. angle.   The Palestinian Authority’s failed regime in the West Bank, and even more deplorable Hamas despotism in Gaza, with all the consequent suffering, would likely never cross the Religious Left radar screen, or generate groups like the WCC’s PIEF, were Israel and its U.S. ally not the final targets.

  • poptoy

    This religious left stuff need to stop. Throw the Kenyan and his cronies out. To all the Jews out there that are against Israel I would like to ask……..are you stupid or something?

    • Grog

      Thanks for a short answer — to the point. This stuff is getting to the point where theres not enough time in the day to read the lengthy explanations – we all know the facts by now . (yes, they are worse than stupid)

  • andres de alamaya

    I would like to see the faces on the Religious Left if and when the Palestinians get Jerusalem and like in all Muslim countries destroy all the churches and forbid the building of anything but mosques.

    • Grog

      Agreed, but like many in Democratic countries, they won't see this until it's too late and then critic those who "didn't do anything " or didn't see it coming . -it' never be their fault –Cripes!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/cjk cjk

      They would just convert to mohammedanism, it's not like they have any integrity.

  • William Smart

    PIEF’s newsletter is a white-wash, claiming that Gaza's problems are due to Hamas and the rockets.

    But the blockade on Gaza started in 2005 from the moment well-intentioned westerners spent $14 million to rescue the greenhouses left by the settlers. James Wolfensohn, former World Bank president, and special envoy for the quartet of Middle East mediators — the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and Russia. gave $1/2 million himself.

    Israel refused to open reliable channels to ship goods out of the strip, despite continuing negotiations mediated by Wolfensohn's team. In Sept 2005, Wolfensohn criticized Israel in a letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, saying it was ''almost acting as though there has been no withdrawal" with its policy of continuing to seal off Gaza and delaying talks.

    Without a guaranteed path to send Gaza's high-end vegetables and flowers onto the world market, the greenhouse project collapsed. The enterprise, originally projected to generate up to $100 million in annual revenues for the Palestinian Authority, was killed as perishable cargo rotted inside Gaza's sealed borders.

    After the letter from Wolfenshon, Karni,.the only route into Israel was closed for 14 days (late September to early October). Even when the crossing was open, Israeli soldiers forced the perishable cargoes of vegetables and seafood to be spread out on sun-exposed tarmac for "inspection" – ruining them completely.

    Note that all this was well before Hamas was invited to put up candidates for the 2006 election, which it won.

    • Rick Geiger

      Mis-information campaigns may work outside of the US, but in the long term they do not work in the US. The fact is that Israel gave its arch enemy land and money and industry and what Hamas did with that from the minute they had it was to start sending rockets to attack and kill Jewish children. So when the Jews try to protect their children from rockets people like you Mr "Smart" get all offended. When in history has it been the responsibility of victims of terrorist attacks (the Jews) to help and enable the terrorist murderers (the Islamists)?.

      Hamas is most often very clear on what they want…they want a brutal theorcracy in all of Israel and they want all the Jews dead. People like Wolfenshon are more interested in their personal lives and cocktail parties with leftists than they are about humanity. When Hamas used trucks supposedly with flowers on them to actually carry weapons and terrorists, the Jews stopped them, thank goodness.

      Hamas needs to be decapitated and destroyed for the Arabs in Gaza to have any chance of a decent life. Or do you think that the gov of Egypt is also anti-Arab???

    • aspacia

      No, Gazans immediately destroyed the greenhouses and desecrated all the synagogues. Evidently, you missed the Arab rampage after the Israel expelled their brethren.

      • William Smart

        You can believe whatever ridiculous accusations you like – just remember that Der Sturmer was published so that Jew-hating Germans could have their antisemitism reinforced. The stories about the trashing of the greenhouses are more malicious in their way, since they're covering for an easily confirmed outrage. Only censorship in your media has prevented you from knowing all about it before.

    • seels4truth

      Smartass you have once again exposed yourself as another Jew hater. The Gazans destroyed the greenhouse within hours of seizing control. You are trying to excuse away any Arab culpability. Obviously you subscribe to the Joseph Goebbels theory of the big lie. The Arabs of Gaza have done this to themselves and stop trying to blame the victim.

    • Lyone

      Dear Mr. Smart,

      This is revisionist history at its finest!! Don't you read newspapers? First of all, that $14 million was largely contributed by JEWS not "Westerners". Secondly, those beautiful greenhouses were completely destroyed by a rampaging mob within one week of Israel's full withdrawal. The greenhouse project collapsed because there were no greenhouses left.

      Note that the blockade is in place for the same reason that ambulances are inspected at checkpoints–not to hurt Palestinians, but because Palestinians have allowed these channels to be used to transport weapons and terrorists. Note that all sorts of boats and shipping and transportation was allowed into and out of Gaza before these deceptive means were used to target Israeli children.

    • http://www.themadjewess.wordpress.com MAD JEWESS

      William:

      I think that you need to leave the occupied home you are living on in Indian land.

  • Crystal S.

    Joe has given a great article for you to read….I will add to your comment with a link that clearly shows, "The Big Picture." With maps, photos and easy to understand facts, this web-site can be found here;

    http://www.masada2000.org/geography.html

    Israel is an oasis of Western Democracy and Judeo/Christian morality in the middle of an otherwise totalitarian Arab/Muslim Middle East.

    Did you know that Israel could fit into Florida SEVEN times!

    Surrounded by 22 Arab countries and some very nasty Arab Islamic terrorist organizations; Israel is one of the tiniest nations on the face of the earth and has had no other choice than to fight to protect it's land given as a promise.
    Arab propagandists call Israel "expansionist" and the "aggressor" against all Arab peoples. For those unfamiliar with the Arab interpretation of "aggressor," it means one who dares fight back against Arab aggression!! So even though Israel may have fought only defensive wars, the mere fact that she resisted total destruction is viewed as an "act of aggression." That's a case of wacky logic but, unfortunately, Israel doesn't have the luxury of picking her enemies!
    ….
    again, the link is here;

    http://www.masada2000.org/geography.html

    For over decades, since she became a nation in 1948, Israel has sought peaceful coexistence with neighbors dedicated to her destruction. Any peace-making must be at the negotiating table and not upon an autopsy table!

    The Arab's Islam's Koran, commands Muslims to force the entire planet to submit to literal control by Islam. The Jewish Torah in promises the children of Israel a modest and reasonable allotment of land.

    How can the 13 plus million Jews in the world (almost 5 million fewer than they were in 1939!) be blamed for the problems of the 300 million Arabs, who have brotherly ties to 1.4 billion Muslims worldwide?

    Land Mass Comparisons'

    Israel
    20,770 km
    .

    Arab World
    13,486,861 km

    Do we really need another Arab State, and is Israel reallly trying to take over the Middle East?

    • Crystal S.

      The article is Harvard professor Ruth Wisse from the New Republic of May 22, 1989,-'Why Jewish Liberals Blame Israel'.

      • Stephen D.

        Crystal, Very good posting. I am not a Jew but know that Israel has no choice but to be proactive against all these that threaten their existance. Why are not the Religous Left asking after the Coptic Churches in Egypt? As we speak they are being burnt out of their homes, businesses and churches and children being raped and murdered for their faith. Instead, these “religous” representatives wish only to help murdering Islamists against Israel. Deplorable. They do not and never have spoken for me. Long Live Israel!!

  • Joy

    I once thought that the Episcopal Church in North America was still a bastion of relatively conservative religious and political beliefs, but no more!! "Activist"-styled new leaders are being trained for the ministry in seminaries throughout NA – and natural ties to an independent and SAFE Israel are often being eroded within the Episcopal Church hierarchy (not as much among regular parishoners, of course). "Social Justice" is the total misnomer and mantra of the Left in too many "mainstream" Christian churches these days – and the good ol' Episcopal Church is no exception (one strong reason for so many parishes to have abandonned the Church for the newly-empowered Allliance with the worldwide Anglican Community). Sadly, the many recent desecrations of Christian churches in the Holy Land seem to go virtually uncriticized by the World Council of Churches. In fact, their hated IDF forces are often the only protection of those churches still standing. It would appear that ignorance is at the top of the WCC's list of sins!

  • Peachey

    The march to a One World Religion controlled and dictated by a New World Order is within sight. The hatred of Israel, and soon Christians will be "replaced" by a universal, bastardized demonic-controlled "religion of peace". Universal, mandatory belief and worship will be enforced by penalty of death. A Progressives ideal religion.No Christians or Jews allowed.

  • Don L

    The sad part is that Christianity and not the Marxism ingrained in this bunch will get the blame.

  • Don L

    Sometimes I think this is just enemy (secularist) combatants dressing up in the uniform of their enemy (Christians) so they can act evil and blame Christianity.

    • Peachey

      Don, you are not far off. These "Christians" miss the Jesus Christ part of their religion, and have avoided the Bible altogether. The deterioration of many "Christian" faiths and the choice of their leadership to substitute a "new" interpretation of G_d's word with "relative" and "new society" doctrines has been occuring for some time. In an attempt to "drag" what they perceive as irrelevant scripture into the 21th century, they have left behind G_d. By embracing Progressive values, they hope that their church congregations will grow and prosper.Unfortunate, but already part of prophecy that addresses the apostate church that leaves the word of G_d and embraces the ways of the secular world.

  • USMCSniper

    They all support the Gospel accoeding to Marx.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Stephen_Brady Stephen_Brady

      Sniper, a church that used to be considered "fundamentalist" … the Church of the Nazarene … started paying people like Anthony Campolo to lecture its college and seminary students on what "holiness" truly is, back in the early 1980's.

      According to Campolo, holiness could be defined as a "Christ-like support for the suffering people of the Third World, as they struggled for freedom, justice, and equality against their American-sponsored oppressors."

      After one of his "lectures", I sat in on a class of students singing the praises of Campolo. Finally, the professor leading the class looked at me and asked, "Prof, what do you think of Mr. Campolo?"

      I replied, "The guy's a commie." You don't get much more direct than that!

      The religious Left has expanded to include churches that were once considered fundamental Christian, and are still considered evangelical. While the political left is entrenched and fighting for their lives, the religious left is growing in power and influence.

  • Joy

    If true, Steven Brady's wise observation is discouraging, to say the least. Finally, after decades of pre-iminence on the political scene, the political Left IS finally being exposed and is in the process of being dethroned – at least, to the extent that it's not the only game or the only voice in town. But, as Brady points out, the RELIGIOUS Left is just coming into its own and politicizing too many Catholic and Protestant churches today (they've already had a huge head-start in Reform Jewish synagouges). We had a terrific youth director at our local Episcopal Church, but who is now in seminary and – besides some regular family and friends gossip – is beginning to share (on Face Book) some really whacked-out "progresive" ideas & ideals that are obviously being enforced by associations at seminary. I can't believe the Leftist drivel she often employs in just casual conversation. Perhaps I never listened to her very often when she was still on staff at the local church, but her "calling" is definitely in the swamps of "social justice" (God save us from THAT oxymoron!!).

  • bushlikesdick2

    My HVAC Subcontractor is a Palestinian Christian Pastor and he has to be one of the most men I have ever met. I plan on going to his home in Palestine someday and I will give him and his people as much support as I can give them. In my opinion, his people should no doubt be a priority for our country. We wouldn't get any international arguements from that.

  • LouAnn

    Pretrib Rapture Trivia

    Who's the "Protector of the Principality of Pretribulatia"?
    Edward Irving? John Darby? C. I. Scofield? Tim LaHaye? Someone else?
    Media figure Joe Ortiz knows the answer. It's in his "End Times Passover" blog. The one dated Dec. 29, 2009.
    If you're Calvinist, you're predestined to see his blog. If you're Arminian, you can choose to see it.
    It will be too late to find out the answer to the above trivia question if the rapture happens!
    For dessert Google "Pretrib Rapture Diehards," "Pretrib Expert John Walvoord Melts Ice" and "Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty."

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