When an American Christian Zionist can’t even say the words “occupation” or “justice


A book review critical of what is missing in the conversation about peace and justice in the Middle East and fails to shed light on discussion of an independent state or the right of self-determination.

By Daoud Kuttab | Washington Report on Middle East Affairs | Feb 24, 2022

…while one can argue about issues of evangelical representation, it is even harder to take Rosenberg seriously regarding peace and justice in the Middle East.

You would think that Joel Rosenberg’s own identification is enough to turn off any non-Israeli Middle East leader. He prides in his Christian Zionist evangelical ideology and boasts of his newly adopted Israeli citizenship, brought about most likely because his father is of the Jewish faith. He is similarly proud that his two sons have served in the Israeli army, one in a special unit.

Yet reading his latest book, Enemies and Allies, one is taken back by how leaders of major Arab countries, kingdoms, and emirates open the doors for him for repeated visits and audiences with their own top leaders.

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Sheikh Jarrah & The Future of Jerusalem

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Please join in this on-line event co-sponsored by American Friends of Combatants for Peace and Ir Amim about the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem facing threat of forced displacement.
Date: Wednesday, March 2, 2022
Time: 11:00am PT / 2pm ET (9pm Jerusalem)
Location: On-line, registration required
Information: Event information here →
Tickets: Free, Registration here →
Event Details

In the past year, the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem has galvanized activists worldwide. Facing an ongoing threat of forced displacement, the neighborhood’s Palestinian residents stand steadfastly determined to remain in their homes, despite unrelenting legal pressure and physical intimidation from State actors and Settler groups. Throughout the past year, Sheikh Jarrah has served as a focal point of the conflict across Palestine and Israel, as its central location in Jerusalem highlights the critical issue of the city’s sovereignty and the rights of its Palestinian residents. Tensions in the neighborhood reached a boiling point last May, when the imminent threat of eviction facing six families in Sheikh Jarrah prompted bombing between Israel and Gaza, which wrought severe destruction across the Gaza Strip. These tensions have continued throughout 2022, as January marked the brutal eviction of the Salhiya family and the demolition of their family home.

The question of Sheikh Jarrah is more pressing today than ever before. As the world’s eyes remain fixed upon the neighborhood, and residents remain resolved to stay in their homes, the threat of upheaval across the region looms larger than ever. Join us as we meet with local experts to discuss the untenable situation on the ground and take a look at what can be done to bring justice to the residents of Sheikh Jarrah.

More information here →

Defacing the image of God

Artwork on the wall that separating Israel and Palestine. (credit: Jakob Rubner / Unsplash)
The status of children in our respective societies is emblematic of the status we attribute to God.

By Jesse Steven Wheeler | Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA)  | Feb 24, 2022

The greatest irony to all of these so-called “holy wars” waged in the name of God (read: real-estate disputes) is that it is God himself whom we betray.

But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. —Mark 10:14 (NRSV)

The Children of Occupation

Last week witnessed the first tragic murder in 2022 of a Palestinian child, when Israeli occupation forces shot and killed 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Salah in the village of Silat al-Harithiya. Reports indicate that he posed no direct threat to the soldiers. On Tuesday this week, Israeli forces shot and killed 13-year-old Mohammad Rezq Salah in the town of al-Khader near Bethlehem. After he had been shot, local media report, “Israeli forces prevented Palestinian ambulances from arriving to the scene.”

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Rather than attack Amnesty for labeling Israel an apartheid state critics could address the actual problems

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Israel’s “separation wall.” (credit:  Northern Lights 119/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Confusing advocacy for Palestinian rights and a truly democratic Israel with antisemitism perverts the accusation and undermines the legitimate fight against it.

By Joshua Shanes | Religion Dispatches | Feb 3, 2022

Perhaps it feels easier to cry “antisemitism” than to spell out the actual argument because there really isn’t one—or a good one, at any rate.

Amnesty International has just released a new, comprehensive report on the situation in Israel/Palestine. Like earlier reports from Human Rights Watch, Yesh Din, and B’Tselem—leading human rights groups documenting Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians along with Palestinian organizations like Al-Haq and Al Mezan—Amnesty has concluded that Israel is guilty of the crime of apartheid, a category of international law named after the old South African system but distinct from that specific case.

The basis of the accusation is widely and deeply documented. Charges include extensive and ongoing dispossession of land and property, unlawful killing and arrest, denial of basic rights and freedoms, restrictions on movement, and much more. Some of these—particularly ongoing crimes in the West Bank—are well known. Amnesty goes beyond some earlier reports, however, in documenting how Israel has been engaging in some of these crimes since its foundation. They call for Israel to reform itself to be in compliance with international law and to offer justice to its past victims.

Continue reading “Rather than attack Amnesty for labeling Israel an apartheid state critics could address the actual problems”

In 1st, Israel advancing plan to expand national park onto E. Jerusalem church lands

The Church of the Russian Ascension, towering over the Mount of Olives, dates back to Helena, the mother of Byzantine emperor Constantine. (credit: Shmuel Bar-Am)
Visiting US lawmakers raise concern with PM about move slated to clear preliminary hurdle next month; church leaders blast plan to ‘nationalize one of Christianity’s holiest sites’

By Jacob Magid | The Times of Israel | Feb 20, 2022

“This is a brutal measure that constitutes a direct and premeditated attack on the Christians in the Holy Land, on the churches and their ancient, internationally guaranteed rights in the Holy City.”
— letter from Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theopolis III, Catholic Church Custos of the Holy Land Francesco Patton and Armenian Patriarch of Jerusalem Nourhan Manougian 

Israeli officials are preparing to advance an unprecedented project to expand a national park onto church-owned lands and Christian holy sites in East Jerusalem, sparking fierce opposition from local Christian leaders, The Times of Israel has learned.

The move would not strip the landholders of their ownership, but it would give the government some authority over Palestinian and church properties and religious sites, leading church officials and rights groups to characterize the measure as a power grab and a threat to Christian presence in the Holy Land.

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Palestinian Christians memorialize Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Desmond Tutu speaking at the German Evangelical Church in 2007. (credit: Elke Wetzig / Wikimedia Commons)
Palestinian Christians paid tribute to Archbishop Desmond Tutu in a prayer service that was held where Tutu prayed when he visited Beit Sahour in 1989.

By Jeff Wright | Mondoweiss | Feb 15, 2022

It’s not surprising, then, that three decades before the recent reports of B’Tselem, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, Tutu had identified the situation in Palestine/Israel as apartheid.

Last week, Palestinian Christians gathered in Beit Sahour, a community adjacent to Bethlehem, to pay tribute to Nobel Peace Prize winner Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu who died in December last year. The prayer service was held at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, where Tutu prayed when he visited the town in 1989.

Tutu had come to Beit Sahour during the first Palestinian Intifada. He spoke at Shepherds’ Fields in Beit Sahour, where he was welcomed by thousands of Palestinians, both Christian and Muslim. That visit wasn’t his first. As a young priest, Tutu had come to Jerusalem in 1966 to study Arabic and Greek. It’s not surprising, then, that three decades before the recent reports of B’Tselem, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, Tutu had identified the situation in Palestine/Israel as apartheid.

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Israeli Law & Torture: From detained minors to a prison “Torture Room”

Israeli police detain a young woman as Bedouins protest in the village of Sawe al-Atrash in the Naqab against an afforestation project by the Jewish National Fund on January 12, 2022. (credit: Ahmad Gharabli / AFP via Getty Images)
Inside the intensifying Israeli crackdown on Palestinian protest.

By Mohammed El-Kurd | The Nation | Feb 11, 2022

“The level of violence used to repress protests [in the Naqab] proved in practice, that regardless of their citizenry status, Palestinians everywhere face the raft of Israel’s security forces,”
— activist Riya Al’Sanah

The sun had not yet risen on January 21 when 30 Israeli soldiers arrested 12-year-old Ammar at his home in the Naqab. His alleged crime: protesting against the most recent push in a government-backed forestation plan—or “greenwashing,” as many put it—that would uproot thousands of Palestinian Bedouins and replace them with pine trees. Ammar was released after a few hours of detention and put under house arrest—even though, his parents said, he was at home during the protest. Al Jazeera reported that he had not spoken a word since he returned home.

Ammar’s story is but one of many like it in recent weeks. According to Adalah, a Haifa-based legal center working to protect the rights of Palestinians, 150 Palestinian Bedouins (some 40 percent of whom are minors) have been arrested and accused of “rioting” during protests against their expulsion from the area. The push is being led by the Jewish National Fund (JNF), a para-public organization, and is the latest chapter in the decades-old colonial effort to “make the desert bloom.” One Israeli lawmaker vowed that the Israelis would “exert [their] sovereignty in the Negev.”

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Israel, an Apartheid Nation? Of Course!

Banksy: Armoured Peace Dove (credit: eddiedangerous – CC BY 2.0)
The death of an elderly Palestinian-American on the West Bank last month highlights the worst aspects of Israeli policy.

By Melvin Goodman | CounterPunch | Feb 9, 2022

The Israeli investigation of this particular incident was far worse than a whitewash; it was unconscionable.

Israel dismisses charges of “apartheid against Palestinians” as anti-Semitic propaganda, and the United States has been an enabler of Israeli racism over the years with its hands-off attitudes toward the inhumanity of Israeli actions on the West Bank and Gaza. But the tragic death of an elderly Palestinian-American on the West Bank last month highlights the worst aspects of Israeli policy. The nature of the death, directly due to Israeli brutality and negligence, amounts to manslaughter. The outrageously tepid response from the Israeli military’s central command tells us everything we need to know about Israel’s unconscionable occupation policy.

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The PA shouldn’t need an Amnesty report to prove Israeli apartheid

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh in Ramallah, West Bank on 9 June 2020. (credit: Issam Rimawi /Anadolu Agency)
The PA’s duty own entanglement is enabling apartheid.

By Ramona Wadi | Middle East Monitor | Feb 8, 2022

If the deterioration of Palestinians’ political rights has been evident to anyone with or without a shard of humanity, why does the Palestinian Authority have to cling to such reports rather than set the alarm bells ringing itself?

Palestine is always defined by an indefinite present dissociated from its past, a bludgeoning lie against which Palestinians are always struggling. Ever since the UN recognised Israel’s colonial project as a state and projected the humanitarian paradigm onto the Palestinians driven out of their homes and land, it has become convenient for world leaders and diplomats to remain within those parameters.

It has also become incumbent upon human rights organizations to raise awareness of the ramifications of political issues that the international community prefers to ignore. Israeli apartheid is now a mainstream concept, yet Palestinians have been warning about violent, racist segregation and discrimination for years. “Zionism is apartheid,” declared the PLO in 1985, decades before the human rights organization B’Tselem declared Israel to be an apartheid state last year, followed by Human Rights Watch and, more recently, Amnesty International.

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Rejection of ‘Israel’s apartheid’ grows as D.C. Episcopalians affirm their opposition, 3 to 1

Mariann Edgar Budde, Bishop for Washington Episcopalians said apartheid resolution passed last week. (Credit: Episcopalian Church)
Washington DC Episcopalians’ condemnation of Israeli “apartheid” confirms an awakening to Israel’s long-festering human rights problem within the liberal U.S. “elite,” and growing immunity to smears leveled by Israel’s advocates.

By Steve France | Mondoweiss | Feb 2, 2022

The awakening must spread up to the top leadership of the denominations (in the case of Episcopalians that means the bishops of the Church), and reach down to the millions of regular members.

Episcopalians of the nation’s Capital voted big against Israel’s treatment of Palestinians on January 29, adopting resolutions to “oppose Israel’s apartheid” (by 73%), to “confront Christian Zionism” (by 76%), and to “defend the right to boycott” (by 80%). The right to boycott is under assault from anti-BDS laws enacted in dozens of states and championed in Congress.

The latest church action followed similar emphatic statements by Episcopalians in Chicago, Rochester, Vermont, and Olympia, all aimed at the Christian denomination’s General Convention in Baltimore in June-July, which will be asked to back Palestinian rights with the same force as it did the cause of Black South Africans in the 1970s and 80s. (Full disclosure: I helped urge the Washington diocese to act.)

Continue reading “Rejection of ‘Israel’s apartheid’ grows as D.C. Episcopalians affirm their opposition, 3 to 1”