Skip to content

a jump into Israel/Palestine

November 30, 2012

Flag_Palestine_Israel

Israel. Palestine. These names of places evoke deep emotions in many people and for many different reasons. Anger. Hate. Sorrow. Despair. For me, I feel passion. This little part of the world and its peoples have captured my heart and my mind and I cannot separate myself from them. My future is deeply entangled with this place and these people and I have to share this passion with the world.

I’ve been wanting/needing/hesitating to write this blog for a long time. Those that know me know that I am very passionate about this subject and am vocal about it in person. But I have been avoiding going into the depths of my ideas about Israel/Palestine online for a number of reasons. I think firstly, I’ve just been too darn scared about what others are going to think/say/do about my thoughts. Other times that I’ve processed these ideas online I’ve been called anti-Semitic, unChristian, and a whole bunch of other not nice things. Baring my soul and thoughts in a public forum where personal, face-to-face conversation isn’t possible is something troubling to me. That could be a whole other post in itself about the anonymity of the internet and how it allows people to do/say things that they would never say in person. The second reason I haven’t written about this subject yet is because I have felt undereducated about it. After 2 trips to the region and 3 years in school studying the history of the conflict, I know that there is so much more for me to learn still, but I feel that I have come to a place where I can speak authoritatively and honestly about what I do know. Another reason I haven’t approached this is because I’m lazy.

But alas, here we are and I’ve committed to writing this post. This will probably be a short introduction to the subject of the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict from my viewpoint, followed by more posts addressing the questions that come up and clarifying missing points, etc. I really want this to be an interactive process of education and mutual learning for everyone who comes across this blog. I would like to ask that if you were directed here from my facebook page and would like to engage in this conversation, please do so here on the blog instead of on facebook, so that we can contain the conversation in one space.

To get us started, here’s a very good, quick video on the history of the conflict produced by Jewish Voice for Peace:

I understand that the information provided in this video might be shocking, new, or provocative for some. That’s what it was for me when I first encountered this situation a number of years ago. A good friend of mine works with Palestinians and was influential in my interest in the conflict. Up till that point, I wasn’t really quite sure who the Palestinians were, but I knew that Israel was God’s chosen people and that my support for them was closely tied to my love for God. In the past few years as I have been pursuing the truth about this conflict, I have been struck by the reality of God’s love for both peoples, Israelis and Palestinians, and the multiple religious groups that reside in the region: Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze, atheists, and even the fundamentalists on all sides!! This love of God was, I believe, perfectly represented in the person of Jesus, who called me to a life of love, forgiveness, grace, and acceptance. These characteristics form the lens of how I view this conflict. Where there is hate, I must sow love. Where there is bitterness, I am to sow forgiveness. Where there is exclusion, I am to sow acceptance. How are these things are fleshed out in this highly contested conflict? I’m sure we’ll get into all of that at some later point. But for now, know that this is my heart, and these are the values that have shaped my perspective on this conflict.

What are some questions you have about this conflict? What kinds of issues (theological/political/etc) would you like to see me address in later blogs?

Advertisements
10 Comments leave one →
  1. November 30, 2012 5:09 pm

    Very good Candace, I always appreciate your insight on this subject. I have a ton of questions that Ive been trying to work through on this. I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts on resolving the conflict peacefully!

    Like

    • November 30, 2012 11:58 pm

      Thanks Jason…I would love to hear more about your specific questions if you think about some. I’m looking to craft my next blogs around specific questions that need answered, as I think it’ll help me rein in my thought process and focus on one thing at a time!!

      Like

  2. Philip Powell permalink
    November 30, 2012 5:25 pm

    Thanks for posting your thoughts Candace! I am looking forward to reading your more substantive reflections on this protracted and vicious conflict. As you know we have shared views on many global issues facing our world. Let me just add one comment to what you have written.

    When I think of the Israel-Palestine conflict, and if I was asked what is the real problem in relation to this conflict, I would simply say, United States of America. Israel as a tiny Nation cannot act with the kind of impunity and disregard for international law and the norms of justice without the unconditional backing of the USA. The problem does not lie in the Middle East but miles away in the North America.

    The USA, and in particular certain sections of the population, have made supporting Israel at all cost a religion, and until and unless this false religion is exposed and undermined by the religion (revelations) revealed to us in the person of Jesus Christ, the conflict will continue on a downward path.

    Let me add, that I love the country of Israel and I do have Jewish friends, I support Israel’s right to exist and it’s right to security. The clock cannot be turned back on the creation of Israel. It is part of the family of Nations in the Middle East.

    Like

    • December 1, 2012 12:04 am

      Thanks for your thoughts Philip…I love how you think and the great perspective that you bring to Americans as an outside opinion. I too see that the US’s involvement in the conflict is one of the driving forces to its continuation. In my later blogs I hope to address this specifically, especially the role of evangelical Christian Zionism.

      Like

  3. Lance permalink
    December 1, 2012 5:18 am

    I appreciate your thoughts and I certainly respect your passion for an oppressed people. My question is, with only about 3 percent of the current Palestinian population possibly being alive during the 1947 creation of the State of Israel and subsequent return of the Jews to the Land. Why not start the discussion with the Roman occupation of the Judean region (the area we now call Israel) in Jesus day and the dispersion of the Jewish people beginning in AD70? Your points are well taken but I think we have to have a much broader historical perspective to really understand what’s happening with Israel and the surrounding nations.

    Like

    • December 1, 2012 2:19 pm

      Thanks for taking the time to read through my blog and comment Lance. Yes, I agree that a long view of history has to be taken into consideration for most things. That’s why I’m a history major 🙂 I think history is quickly forgotten and we miss out on learning from the lessons of our forefathers. My question back to you would be: do you have a similar view for all other conflicts in the world? Do you believe we need to go back to the founding of America and address the continuing conflict with Native Americans from there? Or the same with African-Americans and the slave trade? With every conflict in the world, there are seriously long term issues that cannot be dealt with because of the distance in time from the problem. But with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there is a recent (20th century) start date to the problem, and modern day people still suffering the effects of decisions made in the past 100 years.

      Like

      • Lance permalink
        December 1, 2012 8:18 pm

        The Native American and slave trade issues are significant and I do have thoughts about them but that’s not what we’re talking about here. The title of this blog post is “a jump into Israel/Palestine”. The questions are; who has a right to the land of Israel, how do we decide who has a right to the land and what position if any, should a follower of Jesus take? My question to you is this; based on secular and biblical historical information do the Jews have a right to occupy the land of Israel? I believe these are actually some of the most significant questions of our day and how we answer them will have a dramatic impact on future generations.

        Like

  4. Ashley permalink
    December 1, 2012 3:33 pm

    Thanks for having the guts to post this, Candace! I think that anyone who dares to question those who cling to power will risk being called names by them and the ignorant people who enable them, but hey, that didn’t deter Jesus from being the Light in the darkness. I admit I am pretty uneducated on the Israel/Palestine conflict, but it has been helpful to have a Facebook friend from Jordan who will occasionally post things about the conflict that are from a different perspective than the pro-Israel one I’ve heard my entire life (and admittedly, there are some organizations I “like” on FB that have been posting helpful stuff, too). I’m eagerly anticipating hear anything you might be willing to write about the conflict, since it’s your passion and what you’re specializing in.

    I am also curious to hear your perspective on evangelical Christian Zionism. During the debates, Obama and Romney were acting like Israel was a supermodel they were fighting over to pick up at a bar, in order to attract evangelical votes. It strikes me as very ironic that mainstream American Christians tend to justify American support of Israel with the phrase, “Because they’re God’s people,” without even knowing what Israel has been doing to the Palestinians. Don’t we non-Jewish Christians tend to think of ourselves as God’s people, even though we are Gentiles? And for that matter, since Palestinians are Gentiles like us, then how can we support their being trapped in perpetual poverty, with limited access to basic needs like water? It seems like there is a blind allegiance to continuing Old Testament-like warring, with a blatant disregard for what Jesus taught: to love God and your neighbor.

    America shares some interesting parallels with Israel. Pilgrims faced persecution in Europe, and escaped that by coming to North America. Eventually, the European settlers formed the U.S. and waged war on Native Americans and Mexicans in order to take over their land, from coast to coast. Whites were given special privileges over people of color for resources such as land ownership, education, and health care. Even now, black people and other non-whites face discrimination, such as when they are trying to find a place to rent (e.g. if they use black English on the phone with a rental agent). And there were people who attempted to justify their hateful actions (racism, slavery, war, etc.) by abusing the Bible–and of course, there are still people doing this. From my limited perspective at least, it seems that both the U.S. and Israel have valued one group of people who seized power (whites and Jews, respectively) over another (people of color and Palestinians) and have used religious beliefs in an attempt to justify inequality and violence. So not only is Israel like us in certain ways historically, but they are also a key U.S. ally in the Middle East, where our country has been waging war for decades. It just seems like the U.S. has a huge conflict of interest and is unlikely to be able to do much good there, especially given what has happened historically with U.S. interference. It’s not like you would want to have a counselor or mediator who is biased toward one side to be in charge of getting both parties to come to a supposedly mutually beneficial resolution–why would the disadvantaged side want to agree to that? So one of my questions is: are there any significant efforts from within–Israelis and Palestinians–who are putting pressure on their leaders to work toward a peaceful solution? Just like with counseling individuals, it seems like the people who are directly involved have to want to change and make compromises. And my second question is: what could the U.S. do, if anything, to actually help?

    Like

  5. Philip Powell permalink
    December 1, 2012 10:41 pm

    Just watched an hour long speech by Mrs. Clinton at the Brookings Institute on the Middle East. Link: http://www.brookings.edu/events/2012/11/30-saban-forum

    Like

  6. December 7, 2012 6:06 am

    Oh, great post. I’m glad to see more Christians talking about this issue. I grew up very pro-Israel. I don’t remember hating Arabs, but never recall any great love for them either. I simply didn’t know any, and didn’t think of them (kind of like I rarely think of people in Nebraska or Michigan or Montana on any given day.)

    That all changed five years ago when God brought a Syrian Muslim college student into my life via MySpace of all places! Such a weird way of meeting since I never looked for people, but he happened to read my profile which mentioned Christians being persecuted in the Middle East (as well as other places in the world), and sent me a private message politely challenging me on that.

    We became great friends, and I have learned so much from him! My husband and I have even traveled to Damascus to meet Samer, his family and friends, and since he’s moved to Germany for school and work, we’ve traveled there twice.

    My point being, it’s amazing how meeting someone from the other side is helpful. He didn’t change me suddenly, but I believe God allowed his coming into my life, my reading more about the conflict and talking to others who have worked in the region to change my views considerably. Now I find myself on the “wrong side” amongst many people around me (family, friends, church people.) I just hope God opens other eyes to see Palestinians are people God loves, too.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: