“destroy your enemies by becoming friends” (Matthew 5: 43 – 48). Let’s have tea and work toward a peaceful Israel-Palestine. If it’s possible there, it’s possible everywhere.
… I have kept my Father's commands and remain in his love (John 15: 10). What are these commandments? First, the commandment of charity: Jesus wants His followers to keep this commandment by loving one another as He loves them. He wants them to remain...
Each week we let Saint Pope John Paul II share meaningful signposts to spark socio-economic resolves through justice and righteousness combined with mercy and compassion; in short, love Listen! I speak to you from the depth of my faith, my trust, and my...
Pro-Life and Pro-Choice are Both Biblical Like wealth-creation, loosely defined as capitalism and wealth-sharing, often referred to as socialism (see Essay | For the People, Of the People, By the People), pro-life and pro-choice are also both biblical. Of course,...
Here [Homily for World Peace in Bangkok, Thailand; 10 May 1984], as a people enriched by the Buddhist tradition of your country, you are endowed with a particular predisposition to renounce violence in the vindication of personal rights. The Lord's [Jesus Christ]...
Each week we let Saint Pope John Paul II share meaningful signposts to spark socio-economic resolves through justice and righteousness combined with mercy and compassion; in short, love. "7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God....
Each week we let Saint Pope John Paul II share meaningful signposts to spark socio-economic resolves through justice and righteousness combined with mercy and compassion; in short, love. It is challenging to build a culture of solidarity. Is it a human paradox that...
Biden’s Vision for America! Isn’t it ‘America First’ all over again? Maybe! How might God respond to President Biden’s Plan to Overhaul America? Wealth-creation and wealth-sharing are biblical. Is it socialism (wealth-sharing)? Capitalism (wealth-building)? Let’s...
Each week we let Saint Pope John Paul II share meaningful signposts to spark socio-economic resolves through justice and righteousness combined with mercy and compassion; in short, love. In my Lenten Message this year , I asked Christians to place children at...
The anguish in my wife's eyes voiced volumes: "What are 'we' going to do with them … thousands, alone? Kids! Where are their parents?" "We have a choice? Bring them in! Feed them! Clothe them! Find their parents! It’s biblical!" "I once stood among a...
Each week we let Saint Pope John Paul II share meaningful signposts to spark socio-economic resolves through justice and righteousness combined with mercy and compassion; in short, love. "26-27""Don't be intimidated. Eventually, everything is going to...
16 January 2017 The Hague, The Netherlands His Holiness Pope Francis Apostolic Palace 00120 Vatican City The Holy See Open Letter from Abraham A. van Kempen to His Holiness Pope Francis Dear Papa Roma, Your Holiness, The conflict between the Israelis and the...
Each week we let Saint Pope John Paul II share meaningful signposts to spark socio-economic resolves through justice and righteousness combined with mercy and compassion; in short, love. Indeed, it is your task to pull down the walls built up during the painful...
By Michael Luo I March 16, 2021
The Wasting of the Evangelical Mind
The New Yorker, March 4, 2021
The peculiarities of how American Christianity took shape help explain believers’ vulnerability to conspiratorial thinking and misinformation.
It was among the most jarring scenes of the Capitol invasion, on January 6th. As rioters milled about on the Senate floor, a long-haired man in a red ski cap bellowed, from the dais, “Jesus Christ, we invoke your name!” A man to his right––the so-called QAnon Shaman, wearing a fur hat and bull horns atop his head, and holding an American flag—raised a megaphone and began to pray. Others in the chamber bowed their heads. “Thank you, heavenly Father, for being the inspiration needed to these police officers to allow us into the building, to allow us to exercise our rights, to allow us to send a message to all the tyrants, the Communists, and the globalists, that this is our nation, not theirs, that we will not allow the America, the American way of the United States of America, to go down,” he said. “Thank you, divine, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent creator God for filling this chamber with your white light and love, your white light of harmony. Thank you for filling this chamber with patriots that love you and love Christ.”…
By Ron Sider I February 25, 2021
Evangelical Leaders On Cristian Nationalism
Attached is an important statement by Evangelical leaders condemning Christian nationalism. I have signed the statement and I encourage you to do the same.
Evangelical Leaders Statement Condemning Christian Nationalism’s role in the January 6th Insurrection
As leaders in the broad evangelical community, we recognize and condemn the role Christian Nationalism played in the violent, racist, anti-American insurrection at the United States Capitol on January 6.
We recognize the damage done by radicalized Christian Nationalism in the world, the church, and in the lives of individuals and communities.
We know from experts on radicalization that one of the key elements is a belief that your actions are “blessed by God” and ordained by your faith. This is what allows so many people who hold to a Christian Nationalism view to be radicalized…
February 19, 2021
Was Jesus a Zionist? (continued)
In Mark 12:13–17 (also Matthew 22:15–22 and Luke 20:20–26) the Pharisees and Herodians approach Jesus, asking if Jews need to pay taxes to Caesar. This is a political question. In AD 6, a man named Judas the Galilean (see Josephus, Antiquities, 18.1) started a political revolt. He declared that Jews should refuse to pay taxes to a pagan oppressor like Caesar. Such payment was, he argued, treason against God. The revolt was crushed, but this political resistance survived into the time of Jesus’ ministry.
In Mark 12:13–17 (and the passages cited above), Jesus is being tested, and we might paraphrase the dialogue thus: Jesus, do you agree with the political zealots who want to promote Jewish nationalism? Do you agree with the tax revolt as the way to do this? This is when Jesus delivers the famous line: “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s” (Mark 12:17 NIV). Or to paraphrase: Gentlemen, I am not interested in these political goals. My kingdom is of a different order. Here Jesus is rejecting an ancient, misguided Zionist agenda…
By Peter Beinart I February, 2021
Yavne: A Jewish Case for Equality in Israel-Palestine
Jewish Currents, July 8, 2020
WHAT MAKES SOMEONE A JEW—not just a Jew in name, but a Jew in good standing—today? In Haredi circles, being a real Jew means adhering to religious law. In leftist Jewish spaces, it means championing progressive causes. But these environments are the exceptions. In the broad center of Jewish life—where power and respectability lie—being a Jew means, above all, supporting the existence of a Jewish state. In most Jewish communities on earth, rejecting Israel is a greater heresy than rejecting God.
The reason is rarely spelled out, mostly because it’s considered obvious: Opposing a Jewish state means risking a second Holocaust. It puts the Jewish people in existential danger. In previous eras, excommunicated Jews were called apikorsim, unbelievers. Today, they are called kapos, Nazi collaborators. Through a historical sleight of hand that turns Palestinians into Nazis, fear of annihilation has come to define what it means to be an authentic Jew…
By Ilai Z. Saltzman I December 8, 2020
Reclaiming Israel as a bipartisan issue in American politics
The Times of Israel, December 8, 2020
Even though the Trump administration attempted to use it to bolster its appeal in the eyes of conservative and evangelical voters, Israel played no significant role in the 2020 presidential elections. Voters were far more concerned about the economy, COVID-19, healthcare, and racial relations than they were about foreign policy. Still, the elections were critical for the future of US-Israel relations, and more specifically, for the framing of Israel as a partisan issue.
Israel became a wedge issue in American politics during the presidency of Barack Obama, and this reality was further solidified during Donald Trump’s term in office. The shift reflects a change in the composition of the Democratic Party and the rise of its progressive faction and, in contrast, the growing influence of Evangelical Christians within the Republican Party. As political and social polarization in the US grew in the last few years, President Trump proactively and repeatedly attempted to make Israel an exclusively Republican commodity. He aligned himself with the positions of Obama’s nemesis, hardliner Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was fighting for his political future in a series of national elections and was also embroiled in several corruption scandals. Netanyahu’s domestic initiatives eroded Israel’s democratic norms and institutions, and his calls to annex parts of the West Bank to bolster his electability among right-wing voters threatened to undermine the democratic character of the State of Israel.
By Daniel Gordis I December 6, 2020
What would the Maccabees think of us?
The Times of Israel, December 6, 2020
A Chanukah Appeal
The great British Jewish historian, Cecil Roth (1899-1970), makes a fascinating point about the Maccabean revolt (in the gendered language common in his generation): “It was one of the decisive events in human history. Never before had men been convinced, as they were then, that an idea was something to fight for….” The Jews have a purpose, Roth essentially says. That purpose is to fight for ideas. Because those ideas were typically ideas at odds with the prevailing ethos of the cultures in which we lived, Jews were almost by definition countercultural, a voice that stood for something different from what everyone else was saying.
To be sure, Hanukkah is about purifying the Temple — and there are many Jews today who share the Maccabees’ passion for ritual and worship. Hanukkah is also about the Maccabees defeating the Greeks — and warriors, when we need them, we also have aplenty. If we didn’t, the State of Israel would not exist. But what about Cecil Roth’s Maccabees? Are we still willing to fight for ideas? Do we still see our purpose as being a clarion call, having something important — and unique — to say to the world around us?
By Robert A. H. Cohen I August 5, 2017
Building a broad based movement for Israel/Palestine
JEWS FOR JUSTICE FOR PALESTINIANS, August 7, 2017
This is a short talk I gave this week about building a broad based movement for Israel/Palestine. It took place at the annual ‘Gathering’ of British Quakers held at Warwick University near Coventry, Thursday 3 August 2017. Thanks to the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) for the invitation to speak.
By Benny Gantz I January 2, 2020
Israel needs unity, not immunity
Netanyahu should have assured Israel that the country is more important than any person’s job; instead, he is perverting the rule of law.
These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts” (Zachary 8:16).
Yesterday was a difficult day for the State of Israel. And a sad day for me, personally.
I spent 38 years in uniform, fighting for this country. I went into politics because I care about the course that this country is taking.
By Shlomo Sand I November 25, 2020
Opinion I Antisemitism? Better Call It Judeophobia
Haaretz, November 25, 2020
There is no such thing as a Semitic race. There are only Semitic languages. I am a Semite because I speak and write Hebrew. My parents were not Semites because they spoke Yiddish
In the past few weeks, many have criticized historian Prof. David Engel for cautiously proposing to do away with the commonly used term “antisemitism.” That term was given to the world by the German ultra-nationalist publicist Wilhelm Marr in the 1870s. He didn’t quite invent it since it had been used previously, but Marr, a typical Jew hater, gave it the connotation that has stuck to it since then. Racism never was just snobbism of the poor. It has accompanied European cultural elites for centuries. Only in the mid-19th century did it become a “scientific” term.
By Avi Shilon I December 13, 2020
Opinion / This is What Real Mideast Peace Looks Like
Haaretz, December 13, 2020
One of the versions of the Messiah’s coming states that he will be poor and riding on a donkey. In other words, he won’t have the impressive appearance we would expect the world’s redeemer to have. During this horrid coronavirus year, and given a prime minister whose every act is suspected of having ulterior motives, it’s possible that we, too, are missing the fact that in many ways we are already experiencing the vision of the end of days.
When Shimon Peres promised a New Middle East during the 1990s, we imagined peace with more style; a Middle East as a new version of the European Union. But the ambition to copy the European model to our region was actually one of the reasons for the rejection of the process by the leaders of the Arab countries, who feared that Jews would spread their Western culture throughout the conservative Muslim world. The business conference held in 1994 in Casablanca, which drew dozens of Israeli economic leaders, led organizers to convey a message to Yossi Beilin and Peres, asking them to somewhat limit the Israeli presence.
By Ruth Graham I February 15, 2021
Cristian Prophets Are on the Rise. What Happens When They’re Wrong?
The New York Times, February 11, 2021
Jeremiah Johnson, a 33-year-old self-described prophet, was one of the few evangelical Christians who took Donald J. Trump’s political future seriously back in 2015.
This track record created a loyal audience of hundreds of thousands of people who follow him on social media and hang on his predictions about such topics as the coronavirus pandemic, the makeup of the Supreme Court, and the possibility of spiritual revival in America. And they took comfort ahead of the presidential election last fall when Mr. Johnson shared a prophetic dream of Mr. Trump stumbling while running the Boston Marathon, until two frail older women emerged from the crowd to help him over the finish line.
So when Joseph R. Biden Jr. was certified as the winner of the election, Mr. Johnson had to admit he had let his followers down…
By Talya Zax I January 28, 2021
Jon Stewart on Liberal Hypocrisy, Donald Trump and Dog Whistles
Forward, November 18, 2016
Jon Stewart may have been a much-missed voice this past election season, but he’s showed up to provide both comfort — see him coloring away his grief in this week’s “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee” — and, more recently, some uncompromising observations about understanding the result.
Appearing on CBS’s “This Morning” yesterday, Stewart sat down with Charlie Rose. The conversation was nominally about an oral history of “The Daily Show” to be released next week, but almost immediately turned to Donald Trump’s election.
“Here’s what I would honestly say,” Stewart began. “I don’t believe we are a fundamentally different country today than we were two weeks ago. The same country, with all its grace and flaws and volatility and insecurity and strength and resilience, exists today as it existed two weeks ago.”
By Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL)
January 26, 2021
What is – and what is not – antisemitic misconduct
JVL, September 24, 2018
You can download this statement for printing here.
There has been extended controversy over the adoption by the Labour Party of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism. It has been widely recognised that the wording of that definition is so loose that it requires extensive interpretation if it is to be even potentially helpful for disciplinary purposes.
Our submission is based on an understanding of the nature of antisemitism which we believe avoids the obscurities and ambiguities of the IHRA working definition:
Antisemitism is a form of racism. It consists in prejudice, hostility or hatred towards Jews as Jews. It may take the form of denial of rights; direct, indirect or institutional discrimination; prejudice-based behaviour; verbal or written statements; or violence. Such manifestations draw on stereotypes – characteristics which all Jews are presumed to share.
By Hannah Lebovits and Beth Piwkowski January 13, 2021
We’re an Orthodox Jew and evangelical Christian, and we saw the attack on the Capitol coming
Forward, January 1, 2021
We’re an Orthodox Jew and evangelical Christian. And while we were devastated and infuriated by Wednesday’s attack on the Capitol by Trump supporters, we weren’t surprised.
We first met in Ohio in 2019, after conversing on Twitter. Immediately, we were struck by how similar our experiences of the last few years had been.
We had both watched large swaths of our communities fall for a populist leader who seemed to stand for everything we’d been taught to reject. Extramarital affairs. Financial scandals. Violence.
And yet somehow he was framed as a savior.
We both felt confused. And lonely.
By PJ Grisar I January 8, 2021
The terrifying marriage of convenience between Israel and evangelical Zionists
Forward, December 2, 2020
At an August rally in Wisconsin, Donald Trump ditched the dog whistle of Jewish control and said the quiet part out loud.
“We moved the capital of Israel to Jerusalem,” Trump said to cheers at an Oshkosh airport. “That’s for the evangelicals.”
Trump then paused and mused on a fact that struck him as curious: “You know, it’s amazing with that — the evangelicals are more excited by that than the Jewish people!”
Moving the embassy, considered an act of war by some and an impediment to peace by many, was undeniably amazing. But the lobby that pushed for it, overwhelmingly led by evangelicals with the cooperation of the pro-Israel right, has an agenda that beggars belief. And it’s no mystery why many Jews weren’t so excited about it.
Maya Zinshtein’s chilling new documentary “‘Til Kingdom Come,” playing Thursday Dec. 3 as part of the Other Israel Film Festival, examines how this powerful coalition came together and how its apocalyptic theology poses a lasting threat to the region — by design.
By Yossi Klein Halevi I December 24, 2020
Netanyahu’s two Israels
The Times of Israel, December 24, 2020
He is our most talented leader and our most destructive politician, bringing unprecedented agreements with Arab countries and scorched earth in our governance
Yesterday, I received my COVID-19 vaccination, along with other over-60s in Jerusalem. The experience was stunning in its normalcy. There were no stressful lines, no stress at all. Polite and efficient young people led us through the process. There seemed to be more healthcare workers than patients. My wife Sarah and I showed up early: As Sarah put it, this is Israel, things are flexible. And they were. Our names were checked off a list and within minutes we were done, ahead of our allotted appointment. We didn’t even have to pay a fee.
It was one of those Israeli moments of quiet pride, of knowing I made the right decision when, four decades ago, I’d entrusted the state of Israel with my future and the future of my family. This was the Israel of the Entebbe rescue and Operation Solomon, the Israel that surprises the world and most of all itself with its capacity for greatness.
By Etan Nechin I December 22, 2020
With the Nation-State Law, Israel’s religious right is deciding who is a Jew
+972 Magazine, December 22, 2020
Israel’s Nation-State Law does not see Judaism as a diverse religion, but as an identity that guarantees supremacy over other people — including other Jews.
srael’s Supreme Court is expected to hold its first hearing on 15 petitions against the Jewish Nation-State law this week. Passed in July 2018, the Basic Law, which officially defines Israel as the exclusive national homeland of the Jewish people, is increasingly being used to dispossess Palestinian citizens and exclude their language and culture from Israeli society.
As a self-described “Jewish state,” wide parts of Israeli law have been based on the exclusivity of a particular people since its very inception, including the Absentee Property Law (1950), the Law of Return (1950), and the Citizenship and Entry into Israeli Law (2003). In that sense, the law is not a perversion but a continuation of the state’s policy vis-à-vis Palestinians for the past 70-odd years.
By Steven Paas I April 9, 2019
Looking for the Brothers and Sisters of Jesus: Challenging the Ideas of Israelism (including Christian Zionism and Replacement Theology)
This article is meant as an introduction to Dr. Rob Dalrymple’s These Brothers of Mine, 1 The author of that book is a Presbyterian minister in California and a member of an Evangelical Network, which looks for peace and justice in the Middle East. The book contributes to the debate in the Christian world about the relationship between Israel and the Church.
Opinion by Gideon Levy I November 8, 2020
Look at Trump and You’ll see the
Standing on line Friday in the Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat Aviv Gimel to pick up the weekend edition of Israel Hayom, affluent residents discussed the likely defeat. “We’re screwed,” one man said sadly; his companions nodded in agreement. It’s a dark day for Israel: Donald Trump has lost the election.
No other country in the world, with the possible exception of the Philippines or Nebraska, was as saddened by his fall…
By John Paul Lederach I January 10, 2021
The Stone of Hope
On Being with Krista Tippett
Given the events of recent days, we asked our friend and teacher John Paul Lederach to offer a reflection for this week’s Pause. He’s spent his life walking with people in many cultures through violent conflict towards transformative change. I’m so grateful for the perspective he opens here, and the fierce/gentle way he invites us into the truth of our time and ourselves.
From John Paul Lederach:
The images of this week remain seared in our minds. While painful, they will not and should not be unseen, precisely because they help us look more carefully at what peers back at us from our national mirror.
We are not looking at a fringe few. We are gazing upon ourselves.
The images reminded me of the action and the words of Zechariah when pondering the question, “What are these wounds between your arms?” With hands moving toward heart the response emerged, “the wounds I received in the house of a friend.”
By Alon Pinkas I January 8, 2021
Analysis I With the 25th Amendment, Trump Could Become a Martyr for the Cristian Right
Haaretz, January 7, 2021
If members of Trump’s cabinet invoke Section 4 of the 25th Amendment and remove the president from office, it may ensure Trump’s legacy among his millions of evangelical followers
Christians love Jesus. That goes without saying. They regard Jesus, who died for our sins, as the archetypical martyr. But right-wing Christians in America also love Donald Trump. Maybe “love” is a strong term here, but they cut a convenient deal with him.
With Trump nearing the “end of times” phase of his chaotic presidency, they have one chance of immortalizing him as a martyr: Have Mike Pence, a devout evangelical himself, invoke Section 4 of the 25th Amendment and remove Trump from office in the aftermath of the January 6 insurrection on Capitol Hill.
Nothing will constitute a more enduring legacy for Trump than “They couldn’t deal with me, so they rigged the election and then removed me.” Soul food for the believers, a narrative for the ages.
By Amira Hass I December 28, 2020
Covid Has Given Israel an Excuse to Tighten the Blockade of Gaza
Haaretz, December 28, 2020
Attending the wedding or funeral of an immediate family member is a valid reason to permit entry or exit from the Gaza Strip, but the pandemic has given Israel an excuse to ignore that
“I’ve worked in the Carmel Market in Tel Aviv since I was a kid,” Issam Barakeh told me on the phone, and I pictured him as a young boy hauling crates, husking corn, culling overripe tomatoes, sweeping the shop at the end of the day, and picking up Hebrew all the while.
In the 1970s and ‘80s, Israel respected the Palestinians’ right to freedom of movement: With a few exceptions, and except for during periods of curfews, they could freely move between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and back and forth from the occupied territories to Israel. Israel had its own economic and political incentives to permit the freedom of movement, but still many youths from Gaza, like Barakeh, who is now 56, were able to use their school vacations to help support their families. Many Israeli families owe their own wealth to Palestinian workers and the low wages they were paid.
By RAPHAEL AHREN I December 6, 2020
Saudi prince: Bully Israel steals land, puts Palestinians in concetration camps
The Times of Israel, December 6, 2020
A Saudi prince and former senior government official on Sunday launched a blistering attack against Israel, describing the Jewish state as a belligerent and apartheid-practicing occupier, and saying that peace will remain elusive until the creation of a Palestinian state along 1967 lines.
“Israeli governments have arrested thousands of the inhabitants of the lands they are colonizing and incarcerated them in concentration camps under the flimsiest of security accusations — young and old, women and men who are rotting there without recourse or justice,” said Turki al-Faisal al Saud, the former head of the kingdom’s intelligence service, at panel discussion in Bahrain that was also attended by Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi.
By Gideon Levy I December 8, 2020
Opinion / Israel’s War on Palestinian Children
Haaretz, December 5, 2020
Last week, we were in the Al-Arroub refugee camp, searching for an open area in which to sit, for fear of the coronavirus. There wasn’t one. In a camp in which house touches house, whose alleys are the width of a man and strewn with garbage, there’s nowhere to sit outside. One can only dream of a garden or a bench; there isn’t even a sidewalk. This is where Basel al-Badawi lives. A year ago, soldiers shot his brother dead, before his eyes, for no reason. Two weeks ago, Basel was snatched from his bed on a cold night and taken, barefoot, for questioning. We sat in his family’s cramped home and realized there was no “out” to go to. While we were there, Israeli soldiers blocked the entrance to the camp, as they occasionally do, arbitrarily, and the sense of suffocation only grew.
By Sam Bahour I July 4, 2019
An Open Letter To My Fellow, Civil Servant Jared Kushner
From one American to another: Get out of the car. Go home.
The White House today finally released the much-anticipated economic plan of what the Trump administration has infamously coined “the deal of the century.” This release is being made days before the planned economic workshop called for in Bahrain on June 25 and 26. The Economic Plan is three parts: a website, which has an executive summary, a 40-page narrative of the plan, and a 96-page detailed listing of the programs and projects of Peace to Prosperity. I just read them all.
By Yumna Patel I February 3, 2020
Understanding the Trump ‘Deal of the Century’: what it does, and doesn’t say
After years of anticipation that began on US President Donald Trump’s campaign trail in 2016, the “Deal of the Century” was finally unveiled last week to Israeli fanfare and Palestinian outrage.
The 181-page plan, complete with conceptual maps, proposed land transfers, and economic incentives, touched on a number of the critical issues surrounding the Israeli Palestinian conflict for decades.
Opinion by Kyle Meyaard-Schaap I September 29, 2020
Young evangelicals are defying their elders’ politics
It goes something like this. A young Christian is raised in a close family, is regularly involved in various church activities and often even attends a Christian K-12 school. She is taught values like compassion, love of neighbor and a high view of scripture. Yet, she is handed few tools for how these values should be brought to bear in the public square. Her political formation is uneven, mostly implicit and almost wholly yoked to Republican politics.
Twitter I April 22, 2019
RT 972mag ““Israel is increasingly restricting movement between Gaza and the West Bank so as to deepen the separation between Palestinians torn between parts of the occupied Palestinian territory,” according to Gisha_Access. https://972mag.com/easter-gaza-permits-blockade/141104/ …”
by Ben White
“the decision is based on political considerations…and the limitations are part of Israel’s “separation policy,” which seeks to widen the divide between geographically disconnected Palestinian