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Stebbing, Great Dunmow, Essex, United Kingdom
The occasional blog of an Anglican priest in rural Essex

Friday, 9 January 2009


Lots of people, notably John at the Ugley Vicar and Sam at Elizaphanian posting about Israel/Palestine this week. I know no amount of blogging will actually ever solve much but ...

I've been enjoying Phil's reflections on his recent trip to the Holy Land. I was also totally blown away by Brother Andrew last summer at New Wine. He is old and frail but still brave enough to go to Gaza with Bibles and aid, and brave (or crazy) enough to meet Palestinian leaders including those Israel would call terrorists. His most challenging statement was "these are not terrorists, they are just people who need Jesus". Now Israel is never going to see that, but the Church in the West must.
I suspect Sam may have a point in saying the establishment of the State of Israel was probably a mistake - it was certainly done in the wrong way, with Palestinian villages bulldozed etc. Trouble is, we still either feel guilty about the Holocaust, or think it is a good enough reason to let Israel (the secular State, not the ethnic/religious group) get away (literally) with murder.

See, I think we need to draw a line, between the Jewish people, whose identity and faith in the 21st century is shaped at least partly by the Holocaust, and the government of Israel who, riding on the back of the millenia of conflict between Jew and Arab and cashing in their victim chips at the bank of USA, seem determined to behave like a medieval nation when it comes to their neighbours the Palestinians, who, though not without blame, are certainly without power in this whole thing, and thus (for me anyway) attract the bias of God who cares for the poor (Luke 4 14-21).
I was trying to come up with an example to show how ridiculous this behaviour appears today. I tried to think about Scotland. Remember the Highland clearances? What if Scotland decided today that those horrible times should be avenged by invading England, a close neighbour whose inhabitants have peacefully co-existed with the Scots for centuries. There would be worldwide outrage and dismissal of the cause as invalid. What if the UK/Northern Ireland had responded to IRA attacks with an invasion of the Republic? The same thing ... maybe. Perhaps we do things a little more diplomatically these days.

I do not believe it is anti-Semitic to be against the State of Israel, for that a political not a racial or religious entity. Her behaviour outrages a goodly proportion of Jews worldwide anyway. How long are we going to let Israel profit from the Holocaust by throwing their weight around like the school bully? The family of a murder victim is not allowed to exact continuous revenge on the perpetrator and his family over generations - in fact the law prevents them from doing so at all. Indeed, if it were really about an Eye for an Eye, shouldn't Israel be invading Germany?

But the UN are about as effective in stopping the carnage in Gaza as a 5 year old would be in stopping a teenage hoody with a knife. There must be dozens of UN resolutions relating to this conflict that have just been ignored. If the rest of the world (ie not counting the US of Abstainers) is serious abotu bringing about a lasting peace, we must consider a more direct intervention - NATO peacekeepers, such as were deployed in the Balkans, at the very least.

Samson couldn't see what was going on around him, but we are neither blind nor powerless ands we must stop pandering to the Israeli government.

Rant over, off to bury a good man.

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