My Blog

A Fish is Born Expecting Water … What About Humans?

The psychologist Michael Tomasello says: "A fish is born expecting water; a human is born expecting [social] culture." Humans evolved as beings with the need to touch and be touched; talk, debate, laugh together; smile and flirt with one another; and communicate in...

Self-evident Truth … Make God Look Good Again

Christlike thoughtfulness will inevitably overtake and displace Radical Christian Nationalism. America's direction of freedom and democracy will lead to renewed prosperity and progress in the wake of her traditions. Permit me to paraphrase Saint Pope John Paul II,...

Wind and Fire …

Not that long ago, and indeed, in my youth, I would have spit fire into the mindset of Ultra-radical Christian Nationalists, fire to purify and homogenize their views. Now I realize and accept; God has created us all with unique minds and entitles each person to their...

Remembering Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks …

This morning I heard that Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, the former Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth for 22 years, has passed on. Tears! The world will miss his wisdom. To quote Krista Tippett of OnBeing.org:              "Rabbi Sacks was...

Alleluia is Our Song …

9For he spoke, and it came to be; commanded, and it stood firm. God is firing up the nation. Divine lightning sparks and kindles America’s vibrant tapestry. The people of the United States are more diverse than divided, more akin than disparate. Try to orchestrate 331...

Democracy Unglued?

Beyond the shores of the 'from sea to shining sea,' the rest of humanity wonders why a Democracy would want one party-rule. Should one political party rule the Presidency, the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Supreme Court notwithstanding all local and state...

Are Christian Zionists the ‘Largest Pro-Israel Lobby’?

Who's counting? Grant F. Smith, the director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy,  Washington DC hops and skips to oppose and dissuade the presupposition, "Are Christian Zionists the 'Largest Pro-Israel Lobby'?"  Smith, its author, starts his thesis...

Rediscovering the Gospel About the Kingdom of God …

I'm working on my third book, 'A New Reformation … Our Damascus Moment', while working on my second book, 'Christ [Not Crisis] Management.' 'Christ [Not Crisis] Management' is derived exclusively from The Book of Revelation. No, it won't be about 'End Times.' It's...

Judaism … An Enigma More Puzzling than God?

Believe it or not, the notion that Christianity is a 'more' perfect form of Judaism stupefies most Christians. Is Christianity a 'fulfilled' form of Judaism? Ask Jesus!                "I realized how few of my students and people in Christian congregations understood...

Welcome!

Welcome! Thanks for letting me come into your heart. It feels as though it was yesterday that I mailed out my first blog. Also, more and more people are now starting to read my blogs. To all of you, WELCOME and THANKS! I might not have started to write my blogs had it...

America … Toward Our Damascus Moment

Why the distrust, the disconnect, the animosity among neighbors? Should Christians help unify America? Why the divide? Democracy is like a tug of war. Sometimes the country pulls to the left. Other times, its citizens yank the rope to the right. The nation loses its...

Beyond Confirmation Bias … A New World Order?

If there is one pandemic more diabolical – brutal, vicious, and malicious –  than Covid-19, it is the global plague of robotic 'Confirmation Bias.' People everywhere are like mindless sheep following other mindless sheep. Can today's Christians break out of "an...

Guest Blog

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

https://forward.com/opinion/461823/orthodox-jew-evangelical-christian-trumpism-capitol-attack/?utm_source=PostUp&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Sunday%20Newsletter%20RSS&utm_maildate=01/10/2021

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.

Guest Blog

By Ilai Z. Saltzman I December 8, 2020

Reclaiming Israel as a bipartisan issue in American politics

The Times of Israel, December 8, 2020

https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/reclaiming-israel-as-a-bipartisan-issue-in-american-politics/?utm_source=The+Daily+Edition&utm_campaign=daily-edition-2020-12-08&utm_medium=email

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.

Guest Blog

By Daniel Gordis I December 6, 2020

What would the Maccabees think of us?

The Times of Israel, December 6, 2020

https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/what-would-the-maccabees-think-of-us/?utm_source=The+Blogs+Weekly+Highlights&utm_campaign=blogs-weekly-highlights-2020-12-10&utm_medium=email

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?

Guest Blog

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

https://jfjfp.com/94171-2/

“IT’S ABOUT EQUALITY, AND THAT’S WHY I CAN’T WORK WITH YOU ON THIS.”

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.

Guest Blog

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.

Guest Blog

By Shlomo Sand I November 25, 2020

Opinion I Antisemitism? Better Call It Judeophobia

Haaretz, November 25, 2020

https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-antisemitism-better-call-it-judeophobia-1.9326080

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.

Guest Blog

By John Paul Lederach I January 10, 2021

The Stone of Hope

On Being with Krista Tippett

https://engage.onbeing.org/20210109_the_pause?utm_campaign=20210109_the_pause&utm_medium=email&utm_source=onbeing#share

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.

— Krista

___________________________________________________

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.”

Guest Blog

By PJ Grisar I January 8, 2021

The terrifying marriage of convenience between Israel and evangelical Zionists

Forward, December 2, 2020

https://forward.com/culture/459497/the-terrifying-marriage-of-convenience-between-jews-and-evangelical/

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.

Guest Blog

By Yossi Klein Halevi I December 24, 2020

Netanyahu’s two Israels

The Times of Israel, December 24, 2020

https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/netanyahus-two-israels/?utm_source=The+Daily+Edition&utm_campaign=daily-edition-2020-12-24&utm_medium=email

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.

Guest Blog

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

https://www.972mag.com/nation-state-law-judaism-religious-right/

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.

Guest Blog

By Avi Shilon I December 13, 2020

Opinion / This is What Real Mideast Peace Looks Like

Haaretz, December 13, 2020

https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/reclaiming-israel-as-a-bipartisan-issue-in-american-politics/?utm_source=The+Daily+Edition&utm_campaign=daily-edition-2020-12-08&utm_medium=email

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.

Guest Blog

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.

Guest Blog

Twitter I April 22, 2019

by 

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.

by 

“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

Guest Blog

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

https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-with-the-25th-amendment-trump-could-become-a-martyr-for-the-christian-right-1.9432919?utm_source=mailchimp&utm_medium=content&utm_campaign=haaretz-news&utm_content=ce4ef570db

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.

Guest Blog

By Amira Hass I December 28, 2020

Covid Has Given Israel an Excuse to Tighten the Blockade of Gaza

Haaretz, December 28, 2020

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-covid-has-given-israel-an-excuse-to-tighten-the-blockade-of-gaza-1.9404281?utm_source=mailchimp&utm_medium=content&utm_campaign=haaretz-news&utm_content=a279d54ef1

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.

Guest Blog

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

https://www.timesofisrael.com/saudi-prince-bully-israel-steals-land-puts-palestinians-in-concentration-camps/?utm_source=The+Daily+Edition&utm_campaign=daily-edition-2020-12-06&utm_medium=email

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.

Guest Blog

By Gideon Levy I December 8, 2020

Opinion / Israel’s War on Palestinian Children

Haaretz, December 5, 2020

https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-israel-s-war-on-palestinian-children-1.9350708?utm_source=mailchimp&utm_medium=content&utm_campaign=daily-brief&utm_content=bffcb0bf7a

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.

An Open Letter To My Fellow American, Civil Servant Jared Kushner

Guest Blog

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 summarya 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.

Guest Blog

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.

Guest Blog

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.

Guest Blog

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…