The Philos Project: a modern version of a colonial missionary project for the Arab world

Robert Nicholson presenting to the 2018 conference on Jews and conservatism on October 28, 2018. (screenshot: Jewish Leadership Conference / Youtube) 
The Philos Project is the latest Christian Zionist organization seeking to drive a wedge between Muslim and Christian Arabs.

By Rev. Alex Awad & Haher Massis | Mondoweiss | Feb 19, 2021

As Arab Christians, we say to the Philos Project that we refuse to be swayed by an ideology that seeks to separate us from our Muslim brothers and sisters.

The Philos Project is a well-financed outfit that is repackaging a worn-out colonial missionary ideology in a revamped format. With the financial backing of well known pro-Israel donors, the organization purports to “equip a new generation of Western Christians to support … liberty and justice” in the “Near East.” It does this by organizing highly subsidized tours of Israel and some Arab countries; pamphlets, podcasts, and video documentaries; and “networking and advocacy opportunities.”

It seems targeted to younger people and minorities who are less likely to swallow a straight-up Christian Zionist ideology that is totally oblivious to any kind of “worldly” rights. Similar to some of the more sophisticated figures on the right wing of the American political spectrum, it borrows from civil rights language to advance its agenda. For example, its Facebook page features a quotation from Martin Luther King, Jr, attacking antisemitism, next to another quotation from Danny Danon, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations. Danon’s political views are well to the right of Benjamin Netanyahu’s, so much so that an Op-Ed in the Times of Israel said: “It is hard to conceive of a more short-sighted, shameful and damaging appointment than that of [Danny Danon as] UN envoy.”

Continue reading “The Philos Project: a modern version of a colonial missionary project for the Arab world”


Screen Shot 2021-02-15 at 6.49.12 PMPlease join our brothers and sisters from St. Marks Episcopal Church (Seattle) Mideast Focus Ministry group for a series of films over the next 3 months.  The next film:

East Jerusalem/West Jerusalem


Israeli singer-songwriter David Broza sets out to realize his dream of cooperation and dialog between Israelis and Palestinians through music. During 8 days and nights of joint creation by his mixed Jewish and Muslim band in an East Jerusalem studio, a hopeful message of equality and unity arises. Featuring Steve Earle and Mira Awad.

with host: Filmmaker David Wild

very special guest: David Broza, one of the musicians in the film, joining from Israel

Date: Friday, March 5, 2021
Time: To get a link to watch the film at your convenience, send a message to

You will get the link around 4pm on Wednesday, March 3rd and have until 8:00 on Friday, March 5 to watch the film. The discussion will begin at 8:00pm

Information: Additional information and list of all films here →
Tickets: Free, must register
Event Details


  1. Send an email to to get a link to the film
  2. Watch the film between 4pm on 3/3 and 8:00pm on 3/5
  3. Join the discussion on 3/5 at 8:00pm via this Zoom link.
  4. If you are watching the film right before the discussion, then start it by 6:30pm since it is 80 minutes

More information here →

Opinion | A dirty but effective way to start ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Snow in Jerusalem.  (photo:  ILAN ROSENBERG /  REUTERS)
Coexistence in Jerusalem isn’t equal, but could there be some benefit to improving enhanced cooperation and integration between the different local authorities.

By Anshel Pfeffer | Building the Bridge | Feb 22, 2021

That reality is Jerusalem as a shared city. And the very limited decisions of the Biden administration offer a key to engaging with that.

We can all breathe. Four weeks after his inauguration as President of the United States, Joe Biden finally gave Benjamin Netanyahu a call, and all is fine with the extra-special relationship.

And now that the long wait is over, we can finally get down to more relevant question of what plans, if any, does the new U.S. administration have for us.

One thing seems pretty clear by now. Biden’s team are on a collision course with the Netanyahu government over their intention to rejoin the nuclear agreement with Iran, pretty much on the same lines as the original deal signed by the Obama administration.

What’s less clear is their plans on the other potential minefield: the Israel-Palestine conflict.

For now at least, it looks like the administration doesn’t have any plan. For now, they seem content to stick with Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the U.S. embassy there, while balancing that somewhat by reopening the separate consulate in Jerusalem that dealt directly with the Palestinians.

Read the full article here →

Israel must provide COVID vaccines to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza

Palestinian doctors receive the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine at the Ministry of Health, in Gaza City on February 22, 2021. (photo: ASHRAF AMRA / APA IMAGES)
The JVP Health Advisory Council calls on Israel to assume its responsibility to distribute vaccines to Palestinians in the occupied territory: “As health workers, it would be a violation of our professional ethics to stand by in silence as this form of discrimination occurs.”

By Jewish Voice for Peace Health Advisory Council  | Mondoweiss | Feb 22, 2021

As health workers and American taxpayers, we are extremely distressed that our nation fails to hold Israel to any level of accountability for a health system that systemically discriminates against Palestinians.
— Jewish Voice for Peace Health Advisory Council

The Jewish Voice for Peace Health Advisory Council (JVP HAC) issues this statement of urgent concern for the health of the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza during the COVID-19 pandemic. Israel holds a legal and moral obligation to assure full and equitable COVID vaccine distribution to the Palestinian health authorities in the West Bank and Gaza to enable vaccine administration to begin immediately.

As health workers we understand that there must be equitable vaccine distribution to all nations and people of the world in order to stop this lethal pandemic, which recognizes no borders. However, as Israel has rolled out a robust vaccination campaign for citizens of Israel, so far they have only made about 5000 doses of vaccine available in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. There is no justification for politics to create obstacles to vaccine availability.

Continue reading “Israel must provide COVID vaccines to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza”

‘Leaving Aside’ International Law: Why Democrats are as dangerous as Republicans to a just peace in Palestine

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken (R) Meets with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris (photo: Ron Przysucha, via US State Department Website)
The change in US administration may not produce significant shift in foreign policy relationship with Israel.

By Ramzy Baroud | Palestine Chronicle  |  Feb 17, 2021

…while Republicans increasingly ignore the rights and, sometimes, the very existence of the Palestinians, Democrats, who continue to support Israel with equal passion, use more moderate – although inconsequential – language.

Motivated by their justifiable aversion to former US President Donald Trump, many analysts have rashly painted a rosy picture of how Democrats could quickly erase the bleak trajectory of the previous Republican administration. This naivety is particularly pronounced in the current spin on the Palestinian-Israeli discourse, which is promoting, again, the illusion that Democrats will succeed where their political rivals have failed.

There are obvious differences in the Democrats’ approach to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, but only in semantics and political jingoism, not policy. This assertion can be justified if the Democratic administration’s official language on Palestine and Israel is examined, and such language considered within the context of practical policies on the ground.

Continue reading “‘Leaving Aside’ International Law: Why Democrats are as dangerous as Republicans to a just peace in Palestine”

Palestinian evangelicals in confrontation with Christian Zionism

Evangelist Christian volunteers harvest Merlot wine grapes on September 23, 2020, for the Israeli family-run Tura Winery, in the estate’s vineyards located at the occupied West Bank Har Bracha settlement. (photo: Menahem Kahana / AFP)
Palestinian evangelicals call on all evangelicals to reexamine the claims of Christian Zionism.

By Rev. Alex Awad | Washington Report on Middle East Affairs |  Mar/Apr 2021

Arabs and the Palestinians have not only lost the balance of power militarily, but they have lost the hearts of evangelical Christians…

A FEW MILESTONES in my personal life have led to my confrontation with Zionist Christianity. I was born in Jerusalem and grew up in the embrace of conservative evangelical missionary churches. I’ve always been active in my evangelical church, where I learned about God’s love and salvation for me and the whole world, and the principles of love for neighbor and enemy as well as the command to seek peace, justice and goodness for all.

When I graduated from high school, I decided to attend a Bible College in Switzerland to prepare for service in the church in Palestine. During my theological studies in Europe, I noticed that my fellow students and teachers believed that the land of Palestine was promised by God to the Jewish people. I also learned that my colleagues and their teachers were convinced that believers in Christ should contribute to the realization of these biblical prophecies, which relate to the second coming of Christ, by supporting the State of Israel.

Continue reading “Palestinian evangelicals in confrontation with Christian Zionism”

Breaking the Silence – A Poem

Protest against the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of Antisemitism in London. (photo: Video Grab)
This poem was written in response to the pressure being put on organizations to accept the IHRA definition and working examples of Antisemitism.

By Timothy McCord | Palestine Chronicle |  Feb 17, 2021

“Yet if you care to listen, you can still hear the calls, behind barriers, check-points and prison walls…”

There’s come a time
when it becomes a crime
to speak truth of another’s.
When false claims damage good names
and cause an outcry:
the baying for blood and broken bones
so others are shown, beyond doubt,
how fast the axe can fall.

Continue reading “Breaking the Silence – A Poem”

Facebook might censor criticism of Zionists. That’s dangerous

Facebook graphic. photo: Dado Ruvić / Reuters
By making ‘Zionists’ a de facto protected category, Facebook would shield the Israeli government from accountability and harm efforts to dismantle antisemitism.

By Rabbi Alissa Wise | The Guardian  | Feb 11, 2021

…Facebook is weighing whether “Zionist” should be considered a proxy for “Jew” or “Israeli”.

Scrolling through images of the white nationalists who overran the US Capitol last month, I was horrified, if not entirely surprised, to see so much flagrant Nazi paraphenelia. One man wore a sweatshirt reading “Camp Auschwitz”; another wore a T-shirt printed with the slogan 6MWE, which stands for “6 million wasn’t enough”, referring to the number of Jews murdered in the Holocaust. There’s no denying Trump’s presidency stoked a profound resurgence of antisemitism in this country. Even with a new administration in Washington, antisemitism remains a real and growing threat in America, and the world.

A broad coalition of progressive organizations, activists, and faith communities are working to dismantle antisemitism along with all other forms of racism and oppression. I was incredibly moved by the Muslim communities that lovingly guarded synagogues in a circle of protection and raised money to repair vandalized Jewish cemeteries. I’m heartened by those who do the work of rejecting racist politicians who rely on division and fear for their political power. Over and over, it’s been made clear: we are not alone in this struggle.

Continue reading “Facebook might censor criticism of Zionists. That’s dangerous”

Beyond the Two State Solution: Book Talk and Discussion

Screen Shot 2020-11-27 at 11.36.33 AM
Book “Beyond the Two-State Solution” by Jonathan Kuttab
Please join our brothers and sisters at Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace (PCAP) for a discussion with with author, Jonathan Kuttab, PCAP Board Member, international human rights lawyer, and co-founder of the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq and Miko Peled, author and leading advocate for Palestinian rights and boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS.). Jonathan will be interviewed by Miko Peled about his vision.
Saturday, February 27, 2021
11:00 am Pacific Time Zone/ 2:00 pm Eastern Time Zone
Zoom Registration
Flyer with more information
Free with registration
Event Details

Jonathan Kuttab’s new book is a short introduction to the crisis in Palestine-Israel, which has been characterized by the competing visions of Zionism and Palestinian nationalism. While many thought the two-state solution would offer a resolution, Jonathan explains that the two-state solution (that he supported) is no longer viable. He suggests that any solution be predicated on the basic existential needs of the two parties, which he lays out in exceptional detail. He formulates a way forward for a one-state solution that challenges both Zionism and Palestinian nationalism. This book invites readers to begin a new conversation based on reality: two peoples will need to live together in some sort of unified state. It is balanced and accessible to neophytes and to experts alike.

More information here →

Biden shields Israel as JNF plans more colonial settlements

A view of the Gush Etzion settlement bloc in the occupied West Bank, which the Jewish National Fund aims to expand even further.  (photo: Mosab Shawer / APA images)
The Biden administration appears no less determined than Trump to shield Israel from the consequences of its actions.

By Tamara Nassar |  The Electronic Intifada | Feb 15, 2021

The JNF purports to own roughly 15 percent of land in present-day Israel. This land is reserved for exclusive use by Jews, even though much of it was stolen from Palestinians.

Israel’s Jewish National Fund is reportedly planning to purchase privately owned Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank to expand Jewish-only settlements.

The organization’s leadership approved the proposal on Sunday, which was reported in Israeli media days earlier.

The board of directors is expected to make a final decision after Israel’s general election in March.

Continue reading “Biden shields Israel as JNF plans more colonial settlements”