Sunday, January 2, 2011

Peacemaking: the roots are biblical

The LA times in their Middle East section, which they call, “Babylon & Beyond: Observations From Iraq, Iran, Israel, the Arab World and Beyond,” has news of a new Palestine National Orchestra. This is a good article it speaks of something worthwhile that is happening in that troubled part of the world. It also reveals the existence of a music conservatory for Palestinian students, The Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, which has existed since the mid-nineties.

So what is the Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the PCUSA’s take on this article which they linked to?

One of the commenters, Daniel Quinn, writes, “Lovely... A bit miffed (but not surprised) that the Zionist mouthpiece in LA mentions an ancient Iraqi city that no longer exists whilst referring to the PALESTINE NATIONAL ORCHESTRA, giving ownership of the event to Israel and, oh yeah, the Arab world and beyond.” [Please note that the LA Times is being referred to as a Zionist mouthpiece.]

He undoubtedly did not notice that all Middle East news comes under the heading Babylon & Beyond. But, then, neither did IPMN’s chair of their communications, Noushin Framke. She responded, "totally agree with you re: Babylon being evoked with present middle east by LA Times - Babylon, center of depravity, Babylon, place of exile for the Jews, Babylon, defeated and pulverized... In the middle east, Babylon is depicted in a very different light in history books... "

Note there is no comment about the reference to the LA Times as a Zionist mouthpiece and one wonders what the last sentence means.

And then there is a link to PACBI-Listen to Our Voice!. IPMN writes beside the link, “Many IPMN fans and members have approved of the ONE VOICE movement but this PACBI report tells of why it is one-sided, engaging Palestinian youth without recognizing their inalienable rights. Please read & file this important and revealing report”

Yes, this is a link to the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. And the thought here is that the organization OneVoice to End the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, is a problem.

This is what OneVoice writes about their purpose:

OneVoice is an international grassroots movement that amplifies the voice of mainstream Israelis and Palestinians, empowering them to propel their elected representatives toward a two-state solution. The movement works to forge consensus for conflict resolution and build a human infrastructure capable of mobilizing the people toward a negotiated, comprehensive and permanent agreement between Israel and Palestine that ends the occupation, ensures security and peace for both sides, and solves all final-status issues in accordance with international law and previous bilateral agreements. The 1967 borders form the basis for the establishment of an independent, viable Palestinian state, with permanent borders and any modifications to be agreed upon by both parties. The movement recognizes that violence by either side will never be a means to end the conflict.
Please explore the site it has some wonderful projects, including: Imagining Bethlehem: 1,000 children discover the city, and OVP's Christmas trees are full of visions and wishes.

So what does the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel have to say about OneVoice? It is a long article but they begin, “From time to time, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) brings to the attention of BDS activists, both in Palestine and abroad, Palestinian-Israeli joint activities that, while purporting to further “peace,” in fact pursue an agenda that is harmful to the realization of just peace and Palestinian rights.”

The main focus of their disagreement is that OneVoice encourages the young people of both sides to be patriotic and care about their own nationalities while at the same time respecting each other. For PACBI there is an insistence that the Israeli youth should stand against their country and accept that Israel’s complete history has to do with colonialism and apartheid. They summarize this way:

It is clear that OneVoice is one of those projects that bring Palestinians and Israelis together, not to jointly struggle against Israel’s colonial and apartheid policies, but rather to provide a limited program of action under the slogan of an end to the occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state. In essence, however, and by ignoring the history and reality of the apartheid and colonial system in place, OneVoice and similar programs serve to normalize oppression and injustice. The fact that OneVoice treats the “nationalisms” and “patriotisms” of the two “sides” as if on par with one another and equally valid is a telling indicator. (Bold mine)
The truth is that most of the BDS movement including the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel are focused on a one state solution which excludes a Jewish State. In the midst of a sea of Arab States as well as Iran the elimination of the two state solution is an unconscionable goal. In the midst of the continued hatred of the Jewish people the elimination of the only Jewish State in the world would be a disaster.

And to insist that young people must bad mouth or reject their own culture and nation in order to be legitimate in their pursuit of peace is unacceptable peacemaking.

While we should have no problem with an organization like PACBI refusing to have anything to do with those organizations that do not ascribe to their political views, we should have problems with a Presbyterian organization such as IPMN that ascribes to a one sided ideology which is not concerned with true peacemaking. IPMN so identifies with radical thinkers that they have begun turning their backs on valuable peacemaking organizations. They have stepped outside of the confines of the beatitudes of Matthew 5 and turned instead to a radical solidarity movement that excludes everyone but radicals.

One cannot be a peacemaker and ignore the love of Christ for the sinner which includes one's self. To live into that love demands calling sin and sinner to account But love must be there in words as well as actions. To reject the loving peacemaking of others because one party will not hate is shameful. And to allow 'fans' to call others names without correction is politics not loving concern.

Corrie ten Boon in her book The Hiding Place tells how she and her sister realized that in the midst of such horrendous wickedness, in the concentration camp where they were imprisoned, still they were accountable for their own seemingly lesser sins. Jesus Christ is to be honored by our lives including our words and thoughts. True peacemaking should be honored; false peacemaking as ideology and revenge is a cancer on the body of Christ.

This video has 'almost' nothing to do with what I have just written, but I think I will put it here It is part of a true story that I have just mentioned.

1 comment:

tal said...

well written. there's no peacemaking that is constructive if it belittles the other side's narrative