Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Zionism Discussed

Yesterday, in my church, our pastor along with a seminary professor taught a class on Zionism.  I was pleased. It seems that while most churches will not touch this subject because “it is too controversial,” I gathered with a couple of dozen fellow travelers in my church to discuss the goals of modern Zionism. I was glad to be involved in such a church. We did not solve much, but at least we talked about the problem.

Then I came home and read the newspaper.

Israel bombed an apartment tower in downtown Gaza City on Saturday, collapsing the 12 story building…Gaza police said a warning missile had been fired five minutes earlier and some residents were able to rush out. Still 22 people were wounded, including 11 children and five women…Witnesses said the two strikes came within seconds of each other…. About 100,000  Gazans have become homeless during the airstrikes with more than 17,000 homes destroyed or damaged beyond repair, according to U.N. figures.[1]

And while we discussed Zionism, the Zionist were attacking:

The health ministry in Gaza said that 16 Palestinians were killed and 52 wounded in Israeli strikes on Sunday…In the Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip, artillery shells or missiles hit a home, killing five people, including a mother and her three children… More than 2,000 Palestinians have been killed in the fighting; on the Israeli side, 64 soldiers and four civilians have been killed including a 4-year-old boy.[2]

While this was going on, some Jews of conscience were sounding out, “No more killing in my Name.”  The Jewish Voice for Peace, Atlanta Chapter held a vigil in front of the Israeli Consulate and honored the names of those Palestinians killed by Israel’s policy of  collective punishment  Week after week, they publicly protest bombings, assassinations, destruction of homes, saying, “We want to be clear that our Jewish values do not support a war on civilians. We view every life as equal regardless of ethnicity.”  All across the world, 140,000 members of Jewish Voice for Peace, with chapters in every state and in 100 countries oppose Israel’s occupation. And they stand up and say it out loud.

I am a Jew represented by a state engaged in unspeakable acts of inhumanity in my name. And I am filled with an anger that has not dissipated since my first visit to Palestine in 2002 where I witnessed first-hand the devastating realities of unending occupation. I am angry.[3]

Well, I am also angry. I want to say, where is THE CHURCH VOICE FOR PEACE?  I want to say “In the name of Jesus, in the name of God, in the name of common fairness and decency, let us preach from our pulpits, pray in our worship, shout from the rooftops, challenge our neighbors, write our senators and risk being absolutely obnoxious in saying   STOP THE KILLING.

Nothing will happen unless we discuss Zionism. But, if it stops there, nothing will happen.  Israel will continue to confiscate land, build settlements, construct an apartheid wall, destroy homes and assassinate those who resist, not to “defend itself,” but to continue its occupation.

God help the church be the church.

                                                                                    Thomas Are
                                                                                    August 26, 2014

[1] Karen Laub and Peter Enav, Israel Airstrike Destroys Gaza Apartment  Tower, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Sunday August 24, 2014
[2] Fares Akram and Isabel Kershner, Israel: Missle Strike Kills Hamas Official,  Atlanta Journal-Constitution,, Monday, August 25, 2014.
[3] Tema Okun, No More Killing in my Name, Published, The News and Observer, Raleigh, North Carolina. July, 23, 2014,

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