Wednesday, December 9, 2009
We quote Pastor RA anonymously as a courtesy, still hoping to make a friend of him. He did us a favor in writing to condemn as false two separate comments we made on stories about Huckabee and Coral Ridge Ministries. All three are flagrant in ignoring Jesus’ words and commands in order to follow their respective ambitions. It is likely that only Pastor RA believes the line he espouses; we think he is the victim of a bad book. Those he defends have long ago left the book behind in search of power and money.
We are a nation of churches, and if pastors taught what the Bible says about peacemaking, no politician or businessman would dare drag us into a war. War making is national economic policy, and most pastors dare not denounce it for fear of losing their tax exempt status. We only ask them to honestly teach what the New Covenant of Christ teaches in the New Testament about peacemaking and love of one’s brothers…all of our brothers, including those who are Muslim. Jesus did not exclude any race.
Coral Ridge Ministries, a once distinguished giant church and radio ministry, is promoting an issue solely for the sake of raising money. Its exaggerated anti-Islamic films make Christ-followers’ blood boil to the point where their checkbooks levitate out of their pocket, even if the accounts are empty.
We have no problem naming Coral Ridge because seven years ago we caught its business management in the act of raising money to free non-existent slaves, which contributors were told would be bought at non-existent “Arab Muslim” slave markets in petroleum rich Sudan. The byproduct of Coral Ridge’s highly successful fund raiser was mutual hatred between Muslims and Christians. Coral Ridge’s new pattern is to capitalize on anti-Islamic fervor by publishing frightening accounts of the evils of Islam and then asking readers and viewers to do their duty and write a check to support the Ministry’s ventures.
Coral Ridge Ministries was founded by Dr. D. James Kennedy, a conservative Reformed Presbyterian by theology, and in no way a Christian Zionist. But long before his death, his corporate style mission was taken over from within, during his long illness. Today Coral Ridge is all about money, and Dr. Kennedy’s wonderful sermons are a prop--recorded speeches from the grave every week on national TV. Many listeners still do not know Dr. Kennedy is dead.
Pastor RA also criticized our coverage of the story about former Baptist Pastor Mike Huckabee, who was carried by the Israel media, where he voiced a policy toward the occupied Philistines that can only lead to extermination and more war. His motive
appears to be power, for he ran well and capably for President in 2008, and is clearly preparing early for the next campaign where he will capitalize on the dreadful economy that the Obama people can only patch over.
Huckabee is a wannabe, and his strategy is to first secure Jewish Zionist confidence, and then the Christian Right vote; as a former Baptist preacher, he is well suited for the task.
Huckabee and Coral Ridge are lost causes, but in Pastor RA and 100,000 pastors like him we find both our greatest problem and our best hope. He sincerely believes what he says and has little in common with those he defends; else he would never take the risk to write to us. I do not know Pastor RA, so I am typing him based on contacts with hundreds of pastors and laymen--
Christians who talk just like him. His position (“its biblical… that no one but Israel owns the land”) is not based on avarice or his own craving for power, but on self-deception absorbed from the Bad Book of Christianity that teaches that the State of Israel is the fulfillment of Biblical prophesy, and that Israel‘s needs are more immediate than Jesus’ commands for us.
There is not just one bad book but many, for Judeo-Christianity have made end times writing a big business. False books of Judeo-Christian leaning are epidemic. However the Scofield Reference Bible is, we believe, the terrible root source of corruption of evangelical Christianity, published in 1908 by Oxford University Press, and now in about its fifth update. We have researched and written about this bible a lot. (5)
One who is taught from the Bad Book will eventually find himself placing the interest of Israel ahead of the teaching of Jesus Christ, especially relating to war and peace; the State of Israel has been at war with its neighbors and those it occupies for its entire 60-year existence. One cannot support Israel and its leaders without also supporting war.
Pastor RA’s words brand him as one who supports the two opportunists mentioned above only because they support Israel’s agenda; he supports a false doctrine promoted to control America’s huge Christian church vote. The enormous financial and media attention given to anti-Islamic fervor has probably helped to make his church at least modestly successful in harvesting converts to Christian Zionism. Mike Huckabee and leaders of churches like Coral Ridge fan the flame of race hatred to gain Jewish approval and financial rewards.
All in all, the Christian Zionists make themselves heard loud and clear, ignoring Jesus’ words about peace and love of brother. There is no excuse for those who believe Jesus’ words to remain silent. An easy and hardly disputable good stewardship that all military aid (paid for by US taxpayers) to both the Israelis and the Philistines, be stopped immediately. At present, Israel gets much and the Philistines nothing! Only food and clothing, cloaks and tunics, as Jesus condoned, should be given. This formula might also help us clean up our own financial and political messes: that really makes it our business.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Background: In late July, FBI Special Agent Robert J. Cooke filed a criminal complaint in US District Court (District of New Jersey) against Levy Izhak Rosenbaum. The complaint alleges that Rosenbaum unlawfully conspired "to acquire, receive, and otherwise transfer human organs for valuable consideration for use in human transplantation ... and did an act to effect the object of the conspiracy." Rosenbaum is quoted as indicating that he had been procuring human organs for "ten years" and that there are "people over there [in Israel] hunting" for organs. The Rosenbaum case was part of broader corruption and money-laundering case that garnered international media attention.
On August 17, 2009, a Swedish newspaper, Aftonbladet, published "Our sons plundered for their organs," an article by veteran Middle East photojournalist Donald Boström. Boström indicates that the organ trafficking charges against Rosenbaum inspired him to bring to light his experiences in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the 1990s. He writes: "I then travelled around interviewing a great number of Palestinian families in the West Bank and Gaza – meeting parents who told of how their sons had been deprived of organs before being killed. ... The families ... felt that they knew exactly what had happened: 'Our sons are used as involuntary organ donors,' relatives of Khalid from Nablus told me, as did the mother of Raed from Jenin and the uncles of Machmod and Nafes from Gaza, who had all disappeared for a number of days only to return at night, dead and autopsied." Although Boström does not assert the factuality of the Palestinian accusations he does note that the charge that Palestinians are being used as Israel's "organ reserve" is "a very serious accusation, with enough question marks to motivate the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to start an investigation about possible war crimes."
It requires no great leap of logic or imagination to go from "support and direct involvement of the Israeli Ministry of Defense" in illegal Israeli organ transplantations abroad to Israeli military involvement in the harvesting of organs from Palestinians in territories under Israeli military occupation. And as it turns out, just a little more than a year after Scheper-Hughes gave her testimony, Israel's Chief Pathologist and Director of the national Institute of Forensic Medicine in Tel Aviv, Dr. Yehuda Hiss, was investigated for "for suspicions including the removal of organs from 81 deceased persons without familial consent." The Israeli news network, Arutz Sheva, reports in 2005, Hiss agreed to a plea bargain with Israel prosecutors. It say: "In all of the 125 cases, Dr. Hiss and his subordinates removed organs, bones and tissue without the permission of, and in many cases, against the expressed wishes of the families of the deceased."
As people deeply concerned with human rights, we believe it is essential to listen respectfully when many members of a population speak about war crimes committed against them. Therefore, we support Donald Boström and the editor and publisher of Aftonbladet in their decision to publish "Our sons plundered for their organs." We salute the Swedish government in refusing to submit to Israeli pressure and undermine the fundamental rights of freedom of the press and freedom of expression. We support calls for a thorough investigation into allegations that Israelis have removed organs from Palestinians in violation of international humanitarian law. We urge the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Court of Justice, and other competent tribunals to undertake a thorough, impartial investigation of these charges.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Archbishop Elias Chacour is a rotund 69 year old dynamo. As a child of eight he was made homeless by the Israeli army, but against all odds he stayed in Israel long after most of his villagers became forced refugees elsewhere. He went on to become one of the most important educators of Arab children, and a Christian citizen of Israel. There he built schools that teach some 4000 thousand children in Galilee, northern Israel. Now he has been appointed Archbishop over several Melkite Catholic Churches that are sanctioned by Israel within its territory. Bishop Chacour is author of “Blood Brothers” (Arabs and Israelis) and is a proven advocate of peace, preaching love of all races as his “only weapon.”
Archbishop Chacour pulls no punches in describing his background. He remembers vividly when, in 1948, the state of Israel drove them from their home the family had owned for generations. He relates with the vivid memories of a child how the Israelis separated the village men from their families, shipping the men including his own father to the borders of Israel. The men gone, they ordered the women and children out of their homes to seek refuge wherever they could find it. Later, Israel’s new Air Force bombed the empty homes to rubble so no one could not sneak back to live. It is this part of his life's story that, in part, seemed to arouse the ire of Christian Zionists in his audience.
Elias Chacour’s life seems to demonstrate peace, love and sacrifice. But he also challenges Israel’s right to take life and property from his Christian and Muslim Arab friends. And he speaks with passion to his belief that his Christian God hates killing regardless of what race of human is being killed. And he emphasizes that God has no favored race held above His Commandments.
It seems these statements, which Chacour made with indelible clarity, were enough to elicit a charged response from a dozen or more who attended his talk at SBC. We can guess at their number by counting those who either spoke out or walked out! We will examine this strange and un-Christ-like reaction to this unimpeachable presentation because it is We Hold These Truths goal to expose and reclaim Christian Zionists, most of us having once had and rejected this virus.
Chacour’s lecture, at which perhaps a hundred attended, was not, we are told, a formal function of SBC, but was arranged privately and without church advertising, nor was the meeting even noted in the Church bulletin. This seems to suggest that the church leadership had reason for concern about the reaction to Chacour’s words. The invitation was spread, not by the church, but by word-of-mouth through sponsors, Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding, and friends, including We Hold These Truths.
In contrast to Chacour’s life of self-sacrifice, Israelists, the most extreme of which call themselves “Christian Zionists,” are invariably preoccupied with what they consider political Israel and its absolute right, as they see it, to take any and all land in the Middle East. And, if taking or holding land involves killing Arabs they feel the Bible justifies killing. And, they invariably believe that political Israel and its Jewish settlers are favored by God, and are still the “chosen people” of God. Finally, they wrap these three beliefs around their borrowed “end times” eschatology, to come up with "Israelism," posing as evangelical Christianity.
Monday, May 11, 2009
For peace between Israel and the Philistines each side must have a government with an honest intent to represent its own tribe and to negotiate in good faith with the opposing one. This seems self evident, and we will assume it is so.
This writer believes Israel's two year blockade and the December holocaust in Gaza demonstrates that Hamas is the only qualified government, and that the United States and Israel must allow it to negotiate. Instead, the negotiating has been done by the Palestinian Authority (formerly the Palestinian Liberation Organization), which the people rejected two years ago in a free election. Corruption has been exposed at the very top of the PA, just as it was in Yasser Arafat’s PLO, a blow to the PA, and affirmation for Hamas.
Israel’s reputation for honesty in office is worse. A Google search on the words “Israel corruption” turns up no less than 688 articles containing the exact phrase. A broader search reveals thousands of articles in Israeli publications about graft and criminal acts at the top of every administration in Israel’s history. Ehud Olmert stands officially accused of massive financial misdeeds. Ariel “The Butcher” Sharon slipped into a coma three years ago; his crimes can be more easily forgotten if he is kept on life support for the next 10 years.
From its very beginning, the Likud has a history of constant wars on its neighbors, and it has campaigned on more war. Israel’s wars have destroyed two smaller, more helpless neighbors--Lebanon and Gaza--in as many years; occupation and division have destroyed the West Bank. The 2009 coalition government’s Avigdor Lieberman publicly boasted that the US Government will do anything Israel wants it to do. He wants to bomb Iran tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the noble and historical ancient Philistines, who populate two provinces but have no nation, are led by two separate and opposing movements, each claiming to represent the people: the Palestinian Authority and Hamas.
Americans are constantly reminded that the PA leaders are well-meaning but bumbling drones who don’t cause much trouble and are ready to compromise for peace; Mahmoud Abbas seems to be just such a drone…dull, pliable but honest. But we are learning that Mr. Abbas is a profiteer, like his predecessor, Yassar Arafat.
Hamas has faults. It has often dealt violence when faced with violence. Some, including American Arabs with long memories, believe Hamas was at one time backed and funded by Israel in order to create a counterbalance to PLO growth and power. This was probably true at one time, but it does not matter now because it is clear from the Gaza holocaust that Israel has a bull’s eye on every Hamas leader, who must be dedicated to want the job. Hundreds have been killed and arrested, so it is safe to say these were not Israeli agents.
It is also well known that PLO leaders were at times protected by the USA government. The Philistines only supported the PLO as long as there was no one else. It is natural they would turn to Hamas because the PLO had a long history of losing ground every year while its leaders became more wealthy.
We Hold These Truths listened to Jimmy Carter when he said the election that brought Hamas to power in 2007 was legitimate and represented the will of the people. His team had talked to the voters. Carter said democracy demands that the world recognize Hamas and let the people work out their own problems. Carter stood for self-determination--a decidedly American principle, and some Israeli's now agree.
We went a step farther after the December annihilation of the Gazans, when we stated Hamas appeared to be an amazingly efficient and accepted governing body, functioning under impossible conditions. We based this conclusion in large part on Hamas’ development of the tunnel system that is saving the lives of the men, women, and children in the gulag called Gaza.
What more can a government do than help its citizen feed and care for themselves under impossible conditions? For their life-saving efforts, many Hamas leaders and their families have been systematically hunted and killed by Israelis. Whoever and whatever Hamas is, it has support because it delivers.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
These graduates of IDF sniper school came out wearing t-shirts that promoted killing children, women, and especially graphically about killing pregnant women.
A soldier knows he can get away with any murder, so long as he does not do it at point blank range in front of a camera held by an Arab news service like Aljazeera. If he makes this mistake, then some minimum discipline may make him out as one bad apple in the Israeli barrel.
Arabs have families in both
But the real villains who enable
The American Government must cut loose the anchor and let
What can we do personally about