ZioNation - Progressive Zionism and Israel Web Log

ZioNation home Archives Site map Policy Definitions FAQ timeline history documents Links Photos Contact

Articles and Reference

History of Zionism and Israel
Zionism
Middle East Encyclopedia
History of Anti-Semitism
History of Anti-Zionism
Encylopedic Dictionary of Zionism and Israel
Zionism and its Impact
Zionism - Issues & answers
Maps of Israel
Six Day War
War of Independence
Bible
Bible  Quotes
1948 Israel War of Independence Timeline Christian Zionism
Christian Zionism History
Gaza & the Qassam Victims of Sderot
Zionist Quotes
Learn Hebrew
Jew
Anti-Semitism
Pogrom
Israel
Zionists
Israel Boycott?
Boycott Israel?
Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
Jew Hate
International Zionism
Commentary in Russian
Middle East
The Grand Mufti Hajj Amin Al Husseini
Albert Einstein
Palestine: Ethnic Cleansing
History Arab-Israeli Conflict
Boycott Israel?
Amnesty International Report on Gaza War


FREE EMAIL SUBSCRIPTION
Subscribe to
ZNN
email newsletter for this site and others

Powered by groups.yahoo.com

The cabdriver tells me he hasn't set foot in Jerusalem's Old City in 18 years. Before the first intifada, he used to eat there three times a week, he says, but now he is afraid.

"It's too bad," he says, adding that when he was growing up, between the Yom Kippur war and the first Lebanon war, Arab friends used to visit his parents on the Jewish side of Jerusalem, and they would cook lamb over a fire. Later, as an adult, he used to drive to Ramallah or Tulkarem to shop or repair his car. Israelis were kidnapped and murdered in both places early in the second intifada, and Israel now forbids its citizens to visit there.

It's too bad, we agree.

The driver wants to know what business brings me to the Old City this evening. It's not business, I tell him. I am going there as a volunteer of MidEastWeb for Coexistence, to make a brief presentation to some foreign activists who have come here under the auspices of the World Council of Churches. They have invited speakers from some peace organizations working in Israel.

Peace is an illusion, the driver says. But at least we should be entitled to some quiet, he adds as he drops me inside the Jaffa Gate.

At the meeting we sit in a circle --- some two dozen church-affiliated volunteers and staff from abroad, plus five local guests who have been invited to tell about their peace activities in Israel.

We go around the circle, the foreign visitors introducing themselves by their first names and countries only, the locals explaining what their groups do. The locals represent Combatants for Peace, Rabbis for Human Rights, Bat Shalom and Women in Black, Peace Now, and MidEastWeb.
http://combatantsforpeace.org/default.asp?lng=eng
http://www.rhr.israel.net/
http://www.batshalom.org/
http://www.peacenow.org.il/site/en/peace.asp?pi=43
http://mideastweb.org/

What the various people say in the meeting is not part of this report, as I have not asked for nor obtained their agreement to be quoted.

I can tell you what they don't say, though.

No one asks inflammatory questions. No one gives incendiary answers. An absence of sharp words characterizes the evening.

No one accuses Israel of doing anything "illegal." The word "brutality" is not heard.

That is noteworthy, since accusations of "illegal" and "brutality" are central to the program which brings these activists to the Holy Land. The visitors are part of the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel, whose stated aims include, "reduce the brutality of the Occupation" and "End the Illegal Occupation of Palestine."
(see eappi.org/eappiweb.nsf/list/background-e.html)

These ecumenical accompaniers, who serve for at least three months, are assigned among five Palestianian Authority towns --- Bethlehem, Hebron, Jayyous, Tulkarem and Yanoun --- or to Jerusalem. The newest group of 25 activists came from eight countries --- Germany, Finland, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Britain, and the United States. The group includes the program's first Hindu and its second Muslim.

In all, more than 300 volunteers have taken part since the World Council of Churches started the program in 2002 under the banner "Ecumenical Campaign to End the Illegal Occupation of Palestine: Support a Just Peace in the Middle East."

The atmosphere at our meeting is cordial. It is as if people in the room are on their best behavior.

In the question period, I comment that almost everyone at the meeting is too young to have any direct experience of conditions before the occupation began 39 years ago. I assure them that if they could make the occupation go away overnight, they would find underlying problems which remain unsolved, problems that led not only to the occupation but to the three wars that preceded it. No one asks what I think the problems are.

I urge them to visit Israel outside Jerusalem and learn something firsthand about the country and its unique society. No one asks what there might be to learn in Israel.

During a break I tell one of the organizers that material on their website makes it hard to sell their program to politically progressive Israelis. I refer to a page that gives an overview of the project's aims.
(See eappi.org/eappiweb.nsf/list/background-e.html.)

This page targets "the violence of the occupation" without mentioning the violence of suicide bombings directed against civilians in Israel. This page asserts an aim "to end the occupation and create a viable Palestinian State" without mentioning Israel's right to exist.

These look like matters of presentation, not policy, because the ecumenical body advocates non-violence and is on record elsewhere on the site as supporting Israel's existenc within a two-state solution.

Whatever the intent, this page can come across as a condemnation of Israel's government and society. It has elements of a bill of particulars. Its use of the term "illegal" to characterize the occupation is provocative, not judicial or informative.

The next day I send the meeting organizer an e-mail message containing some of these points and concluding, "I offer these comments not in the spirit of argument, but to call your attention to wording that is likely to turn off many peace-seeking Israelis."

One problem that can interfere with mutual understanding is that the World Council of Churches has already chosen a policy that no Israeli in their right mind should be expected to regard as helpful or even friendly. This is its 2005 recommendation encouraging economic pressure on the Jewish state by the ecumenical body's more than 340 member churches and denominations representing some 550 million Christians. It commends as an example the divestment program adopted in 2004 by the Presbyterian Church (USA). (After much criticism and discussion, the Presbyterian leadership has since blurred the language, replacing the term "disinvestment" with "corporate engagement" in June 2006.)
http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000125.html

One Christian opponent of divestment has written that "the goals of the divestment campaign have little to do with changing Israeli policy or promoting peace, but with the economic and political isolation of Israel."
http://www.christianfairwitness.com/dev/writings/What%20Fair%20Witness%20Requires.htm

In any case, the divestment issue goes unexplored in our group discussion.

Before the meeting breaks up, a pleasant Christian activist in his 30s comes up to chat with me. He mentions the U.S. civil rights movement of the 1960s, so I introduce him to an axiom attributed to Eldridge Cleaver, a black revolutionary. It states that if you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem. Cleaver was referring to racial politics in the United States, but he gave us a rule that can be applied widely to other crises and disputes, especially our problem in the Middle East. All of us, I suggest, should be constantly examining ourselves in this light, asking whether we are part of the solution or part of the problem.

The meeting ends with polite goodnights and no sign whether any eyes have been opened or any minds have changed. The hope, of course, is that your words get through to the people with whom you're talking, regardless of where their organizations stand.

--- Joseph M. Hochstein, Tel Aviv

Cross-posted at MidEastWeb weblog
http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000537.htm

Original content is Copyright by the author 2006. Posted at ZioNation-Zionism and Israel Web Log, http://www.zionism-israel.com/log/archives/00000295.html where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Disributed by ZNN list. Subscribe by sending a message to ZNN-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by e-mail with this notice, cite this article and link to it. Other uses by permission only.

Click to Reddit! Facebook Share

add to del.icio.us

Add to digg - digg it

Replies: 2 Comments

I found this account interesting since I recently spent about a week carefully reading and making notes on every single one of the eappi 'accompaniers' reports' covering 2002-2006, posted on the WCC website. The cumulative effect of these reports is overwhelming and deeply disturbing - I saw there all the arguments and commonplaces of classic anti-Semitic and anti-Israel propaganda. Israel is demonised; the Palestinian Arabs are whitewashed. Suggestion: if you go to another such meeting, call their bluff by expressing an urgent wish for a large team of EAs to come live in Sderot for three months, enjoying free room and board and Hebrew immersion with local families (random fireworks displays/ son-et-lumiere TBA, supplied gratis by the neighbours in Gaza). Preferably, have an actual invitation all ready.

In 1986 Jacques Ellul wrote that anti-Zionism was the latest avatar of anti-Semitism. He described
"some Christians who call themselves ‘philo-semites’ and who wish to dissociate Israel from the Jews, in accusing Israel of all kinds of crimes." And he continued:
"Il y a bien d’autres textes comparables, alliant l’innocence, l’ignorance, le prejuge, la bonne conscience a l’hypocrisie."
'There are other comparable texts, uniting innocence, ignorance, prejudice, good conscience - and hypocrisy'. 'The union of innocence, ignorance, prejudice, a good conscience - and hypocrisy" perfectly describes the EAPPI reports, indeed (sadly) the whole EAPPI project.

Sylvia Haworth, Tuesday, November 28th


Dear Joe,

The reasons for the excessive detachment could simply be, they were sufficiently indoctrinated and immune to input, especially what they will consider "Hasbara" input from the Locals.

It is unfortunate, as volunteers they came to execute their missions but not to observe or learn.

This is the dilemma of Hasbara, it is tainted going in, its credibility pre-judged before any input is even voiced.

Israel Bonan, Wednesday, November 22nd


Constructive comments, including corrections, are welcome. Do not use this space for spam, publishing articles, self promotion, racism, anti-Zionist propaganda or character defamation. Inappropriate comments will be deleted. See our Comment policy for details. By posting here, you agree to the Comment policy.

Home
Archives

Please take our reader survey!

Links
Our Sites

Zionism
Zionism News Net
Zionism-Israel Pages
Brave Zionism
Israël-Palestina.Info (Dutch & English)
Our Blogs
Israel News
IMO Blog - Israël & Midden-Oosten (NL)
Israel Like this, as if
Zionism News Net
Israel & Palestijnen Nieuws Blog
Israël in de Media


Blog Roll:
Adam Holland
Blue Truth
CIF Watch
Contentious Centrist
Dutchblog Israel (NL/EN)
Harry's Place
Ignoble Experiment
Irene Lancaster's Diary
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Israpundit
Jeff Weintraub Commentaries and controversies
Jewish Issues Watchdog Meretz USA Weblog
Meryl Yourish
Middle East Analysis
MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log
Modernity Blog
normblog
Pro Israel Bay Bloggers
Point of no return
Simply Jews
Solomonia
Something Something
Tempting Topical Topics
The Augean Stables
Unplugged Mike
Oy Bay! San Francisco Bay Area Jews
Vital Perspective
Israel Mon Amour
Liberty & Justice
On the Contrary
Magdeburger Chossid
Tulip - Israeli-Palestinian Trade Union Assoc.
Southern Wolf
Sharona's Week
Sanda & Israel
Fresno Zionism
Anti-Racist Blog
UN-Biased
ZOTW's Zionism and Israel News
Zionism On The Web News
ZOTW's Blogs
Christian Attitudes
Dr Ginosar Recalls
Questions: Zionism anti-Zionism Israel & Palestine
Liberal for Israel

A Jew with a view
BlueTruth
Realistic Dove
Christians Standing With Israel - Blog
Liberticracia
SEO for Everyone
Vision to Reality: The Reut Blog
Calev's Blog
Candidly speaking from Jerusalem
Dvar Dea
Ray Cook
Shimshon 9

Mark Halawa


This link space is 4 your blog - contact us!

Other Web sites and pages:

PeaceWatch Middle East Commentary Christians Standing With Israel
Zionism On the Web
Guide to Middle East, Zionism
Z-Word
Z-Word blog
Labor Zionism
Le Grand Mufti Husseini
The Grand Mufti Hajj Amin El Husseini
ZNN - Zionism News Network Middle East
Euston Manifesto
Jewish Blogging
Peace With Realism
Israel Facts (NL)
Space Shuttle Blog
SEO
Mysterology
Love Poems
At Zionism On the Web
Articles on Zionism
Anti-Zionism Information Center
Academic boycott of Israel Resource Center
The anti-Israel Hackers
Antisemitism Information Center
Zionism Israel and Apartheid
Middle East, Peace and War
The Palestine state
ZOTW Expert Search
ZOTW Forum



Judaica

Judaica: Jewish Gifts:
Shofar
Mezuzah



RSS V 1.0


RSS V 2.0


Home » Archives » November 2006 » Jewish peaceniks, Christian visitors, and the Israel-Palestine problem

[Previous entry: "The Forgotten Oriental Jews"] [Next entry: "If this is peace, who needs war?"]

Help us improve - Please click here to take our reader survey

All entries copyright by the authors and or Zionism-Israel Information Center. Please forward materials by e-mail with URLS. Other uses by permission only.

security