March 4, 2014

NOT A ZERO-SUM GAME:

Evangelical, pro-Israel and pro-Palestine (Todd Deatherage, Mar 4, 2014, RNS)

A growing number of Americans are beginning to ask some very important questions about U.S. involvement in the Middle East. We understand that by virtue of our citizenship and our government's decisions, our opinions matter. As an evangelical Christian, I believe that by virtue of my faith, I may not walk away. It's not a question of whether I'm involved, but how.

How can I act on the values I hold as a follower of Jesus?

How do I best serve the residents of the Holy Land?

How do I act in ways that encourage mutual flourishing of Israelis and Palestinians alike?

How do I heed the words of the prophet Micah, who told us to do justice and love mercy?

And what do Jesus' words about peacemaking mean in this context?

Peace advocates are frequently told that we're "naive," particularly if we seek reconciliation in the Middle East. But I would suggest, on the contrary, that we're the realists. It's the purest idealism to continue to behave as if the Israeli-Palestinian status quo is sustainable, and dangerously naive to believe that Israel will remain both Jewish and democratic if Palestinians aren't allowed to control their own destiny.

The current state of affairs, in which millions of Palestinians live and labor under Israeli military control, is a tragedy for Palestinians, but it is also a clear and present danger for Israel. The status quo is, in fact, one of the greatest threats facing Israel's security today.

My Christian faith teaches me that we all are made in the image of a God who loves us. And as a follower of Jesus, I feel compelled to be an agent of a peaceable kingdom built on love, justice, mercy and mutual human flourishing. I am utterly convinced that Israelis and Palestinians will never achieve the peace, security and freedom they both desire without recognizing that their own aspirations can never be achieved at the expense of the other.
Posted by at March 4, 2014 12:28 PM
  
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