From June 4th, The ecumenical World Council of Churches launched it's Global week of International Church Action for Peace in Palestine and Israel.
I'd like to think the WCC are more than just a genteel collection of men in purple frocks and newly-ordained women fresh out of seminary. I'd like to think the WCC have stood tall and effectively for some noble issues. If their attitude to Israel is any guide, sadly it appears to be just another champion of social gospel crying for modern relevance.
Yep, we should all want peace. John Lennon wrote songs about it. It's the right thing to fight for. Sorry, did I say fight? Shame on me. The problem with peace, is that not everybody wants it. And if one side doesn't, it's pointless to pressure the side who does. Those who do may momentarily feel as though they have made a difference, but it's just the line of least resistance.
Orthodox traditional Christianity has always had an incessant desire to belong. Now they join the rest of a secular humanist society to push for a peace which cannot exist, and it's not for the first time. The WCC's Global week of International Church Action for Peace in Palestine and Israel reads like a how-to guide on coddling Islamic terrorism and Jew-hatred.
It says "me too!" to the growing number of those who are pressuring a shrinking Israel, to give whatever battered limbs they still have to a people who seek their total destruction .
Why is it that everyone, from Islamic radicals thinly disguised as moderates, to self-loathing Jews, to former Prime Ministers, current MP's and religious leaders, puts the maximum pressure on Israel? Answer: Because they can.
They can send a bunch of purple frocks to walk along the Israeli defensive wall in Judea frowning and talking about the Berlin Wall and apartheid. They can send them to be "educated" by the top five pro-palestinian groups and self-loathing Jews, and claim to have heard "all" sides of the conflict.
They can say "these groups risk public censure and their personal safety" for "speaking the simple truth about the occupation", and so on. The irony of that. If it really was true, they wouldn't be there, with their tour groups and concerned, compassionate faces, making a true difference in the world. Try pulling those stunts in Zimbabwe, Sudan, North Korea...in fact just name any Islamic state.
It's not effective advocacy. It's actually quite cowardly. The parties most deserving of pressure are the most violent. Going after them is difficult. It's the line of most resistance. Neville Chamberlain wrote the book on it. Instead of standing up to Chancellor Adolf Hitler in 1938 he handed over half of Czechoslovakia. And boy, didn't that work a treat.
It's so much easier going after the ones who don't kill you for your trouble. In layman's terms, it's called "meddling". In Christian terms, this is called "salvation by works"- atoning for one's sins by attempting something which only God is capable of doing. Pointless.
Let's look at what the Australian chapter of the WCC are asking for, and what they're not asking for;
"...persistent advocacy for a freely and peacefully negotiated solution …whether in the form of two states or one"
A two state solution has been offered. It's been refused. There was never any nationalistic ambition from Palestinian Arabs, only a desire to inflict a "war of extermination and a momentous massacre" on Jews, to quote Arab League secretary General Azzam Pasha. And they lost, each time.
A “One State” solution already exists. Israel is free for people of all ethnicities and faiths - indeed the only country in the Middle East to be so. The Palestinian Authority makes clear in its constitution that it is an Arab Muslim country, with Sharia law as the only law.
"greater recognition of the plight of Palestinians after 41 years of military occupation;"
What a perfect way to empower terrorism with the sense of victimhood. The "plight of the Palestinians" enjoys massive western media coverage, because sensationalism sells. The cultural elite build an entire industry on the "plight of the Palestinians", in doing so giving social legitimacy to savagery, murder and terrorism. The lines between good and evil have been so muddied it's hard to tell whether or not these cultural elites, WCC included, care one tiny bit for the Palestinians rather than their image.
The term “occupation” is a fashion statement. It's popular, it evokes outrage, and makes for a soundbyte heavily critical of Israel. There's only one problem with it: it's entirely incorrect and shows a flawed reading of international standards.
Firstly, in order for there to be an "occupation", there needs to be a nation to occupy. France, Czechoslovakia and Poland were occupied in 1939. Tibet is occupied. Palestine is not occupied. It was never a nation.
There are numerous other reasons why "occupation" is just plain incorrect. At best, it can be argued by international lawyers ad nauseum. At worst, it is an outright lie. The WCC fashionably and uncritically use it as a given.
"a quadrupling of Australia’s aid contribution to the social and economic development of Palestine;"
Good grief. This is either terrifyingly naive or deliberately malicious.
Already, Palestinian territories contain the highest welfare-dependant population per capita on Earth and yet have substandard hospitals and schools, major human rights abuses by the controlling Palestinian powers, increased terrorist attacks on Israeli citizens, education and media hell-bent on indoctrinating children to Jew-hatred and violence, and persecution of Christians. Now the gatekeepers of Christian compassion insist we must reward this terrorism?
Talk about empowerment- supplying them with even more money to spend on arming themselves to the teeth, while their rank-and-file starve. No wonder they think we're stupid infidels.
So those were some of the calls of Australia's church leaders. Here's some snippets from the WCC's worldwide statements, beginning with their poetic, heart-wrenching and culturally elitist message “It’s time for Palestine” ;
"It's time for people who have been refugees for 60 years to regain their rights and a permanent home".
Are they referring to the Palestinian refugee problem created by the Arab states who marched in and called for the Arabs to flee while they annihilate Israel, beginning in 1948? Or are they referring to the 800,000 Jewish refugees driven from their homes in now-Arab lands (including Iraq, Jordan, Yemen, Egypt et al), whose property was confiscated and never returned, all of whom were successfully absorbed by Israel?
Shouldn't the Arab refugees be given a permanent home in the countries who belligerently attacked Israel, who promised them annihilation of Jews and more land...but failed? You live by the sword...
"It's time to assist settlers in the Occupied Palestinian Territories to make their home in Israel".
Isn't that nice! We need to "help" the Israeli settlers leave their own sovereign land because the Palestinians refuse to live with them (did I mention the 1.5 million Arabs who live prosperously in Israel?). Yes, we "helped" them leave Gaza in 2005 in return for peace. What Israel got instead was a massive increase in rocket attacks from Gaza.
It's time for Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities to be free to visit their holy sites.
The point is...? They currently are, at least in Israeli controlled areas where people of all faiths are free to visit their proclaimed holy sites. On the other hand, Muslim Waqf controlled areas such as the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, have highly restricted access for Jews. Remember, Palestine and it's Islamic sponsors don't believe there is anything holy to Jews here at all, and insist there never has been, despite the masses of historically verifiable documents, texts, records and archaeological finds to the contrary. Perhaps this is why they continue their total destruction of Hebrew archaeological finds on the Mount.
When the town of Nablus was under Palestinian control, the tomb of Joseph was totally destroyed. Access is not really the most serious issue here.
Here is more from the WCC's website which clarify their thin attempt to appear neutral:
"This year (2008) is 60 years since the partition of Palestine hardened into a permanent nightmare for Palestinians. It is also 41 years since the occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza overwhelmed the peaceful vision of one land, two peoples".
Such lamentations! But have these Christian leaders read Proverbs? They would find a thing or two in there about the destructive power of words.
The “partition” planned prior to 1948 was to give the Palestinian Arabs a state, the very goal they claim to have today, to hide the real goal of annihilating any Jewish presence. They failed to achieve that goal then, and have failed repeatedly since, and their welfare has degenerated as a result.
The WCC is implying that the “nightmare” for the Palestinians was their failure to wipe out Jews. What, exactly, are we supposed to be lamenting here?
And let's get something straight. There was never, at any time, a “peaceful vision of one land, two peoples”. The UN’s 1947 partition plan was for two lands, two peoples. Accepted by Israel, rejected by Arabs. Their intent was for one land, one people. One without Jews.
The WCC should know this. Their own book says they are "without excuse".
"In 1967, Israel occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza, causing further waves of refugees. There are now some 4 million Palestinian refugees scattered throughout the Middle East and Palestine, many living in permanent refugee camps".
Ah yes, 1967. No mention of how Israel fought for it's survival against 5 nations and armies 50 times their size, who lined their borders with weapons and troops while their radio crackled with the commands to "drive them into the sea". No, the impression is that Israel just walked in and put down stumps.
But that's not even the main problem with the statement. There are not 4 million Palestinian refugees. There are some 750,000 refugees who had children and grandchildren. The UN definition of refugees clearly defines refugee status as not extending to children born in exile. Only in regards to the Arab-Israel conflict is an exception to this definition made. Why?
"Palestinians have the right of self-determination; their duly elected governmental authorities must be recognised, including the current leaders"
They MUST be recognised? Unconditionally? Because Hamas was "duly elected"? No mention that Hamas are a terrorist organisation who openly advocate and practise the destruction of Israel and the spilling of Jewish blood? Israel is, quite correctly, boycotting Hamas until it recognises Israel's right to exist and renounces violence. That the WCC demand one without the other is starting to look like more than simple ignorance.
"Settlements are illegal, as is their expansion; they are prohibited by the Fourth Geneva Convention and incompatible with peace. Israeli soldiers and settlers must be withdrawn".
"The Fourth Geneva Convention"- words almost as popular as "occupation" and equally as abused.
It is precisely the often-quoted fourth Geneva Convention which defines all Israeli settlements as totally legal. The Fourth Geneva Convention pertains to territory conquered in an offensive attack. Israel was not the aggressor. It also refers to situations where the conquering force expel the conquered population. Israel never expelled Arab population from 1967 to 1994. In fact, the Arab population increased by over 1 million during this time.
Israel removed it’s settlements from Gaza in 2005, and were “rewarded” with a massive increase in attacks. There is no mention of this on the WCC website.
"The Separation Barrier is illegal. It is a grave breach of international law and humanitarian law, and must be removed from occupied territory".
I presume the WCC mean the West Bank security fence built to protect Israeli citizens from constant rocket attacks, snipers and homicide bombers. The mainstream press use "quotation marks" to de-legitimize it. After all, if Israel says it, it must be suspicious. Of course, if you were an Israeli citizen being peppered by rockets, or whose children are sniped by gunfire, you wouldn't question the term security fence.
Well, at least the WCC don't use quotation marks. Instead they give it a name which associates it with apartheid. So they've read Jimmy Carter's book. And they're just as wrong. The security fence’s illegality has never been established. It's another fashion statement.
It's not a separation barrier, an apartheid fence, the Berlin Wall, a Palestinian misery wall, a Pink Floyd wall, or any such like. It's a security fence. No quotation marks. It works. It has successfully reduced the number of fatal terrorist acts against Israelis by 90%.
However, in order for this to be relevant, you would need to first acknowledge that these attacks actually take place, and then you'd have to care about them. To the WCC, are the lives of Israelis of lesser importance than the convenience of Palestinians?
"Certain economic measures are legitimate forms of pressure for peace. The WCC encourages member churches to avoid investments or other economic links to illegal activities on occupied territory, and to boycott settlement products".
It's disturbing how much the WCC resort to obfuscated wording to give the illusion of impartiality, when in fact they are pointing the finger in only one direction.
They mean a boycott of Israel. The WCC base their policies and advocacy on the popular non-truths of “illegal occupation and settlements”, among many other misconceptions. Given this, the WCC is encouraging church congregations to unjustly prejudice Israel, a nation which is in desperate need of our support.
In fact, couldn't that be called a form of "collective punishment"? Doesn't the WCC themselves say “It's time to name the shame of collective punishment and to end it in all its forms”?
There's only one pattern forming here. The same old, tired calls for action based on perceptions which are without truth, aiming for a goal of peace without a partner, and with only one common thread of consistency; Israel is always to blame. The same types of people; some who hold to a faith, some who don't, but all trying to atone for their sins and gain salvation by works- the works of uncritically accepting the claims of a minority and "bravely" opposing their alleged enemy- namely those who will never harm you for criticising them.
Forget salvation by works, and try compassion. Compassion is more than philanthropy. Compassion is empowering people to be free from the influences which cause them hopelessness- drugs, prostitution, hatred or terrorism. It may entail pressuring them to renounce something. Compassion is advocating for moral clarity, not blithely apportioning blame based on the political claims of the oppressed. That's only the line of least resistance.
In the case of these poor, wretched Palestinian Arabs whose welfare and grief has been shamelessly exploited to make the world hate Jews even more, compassion does not mean political support and empowerment. Only the opposite will actually help.
So, World Council Of Churches...what's really your point?