Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Two articles during Israel 'apartheid' week: one by a Presbyterian

This week is supposed to be “Israeli apartheid week.” Presbyterian News has offered what I believe is a helpful article on the Israel and Palestine problems. And another author in a different paper has written an excellent rebuttal to the whole issue of “Israeli Apartheid” and the Boycott, Divestment Sanctions movement.

The Presbyterian news article, written by the Rev. Byron Bland, “Giving Shape to peaceful solutions” is meant to be an assessment of the Middle East problems. He rebukes those church groups that simply work against what is called the occupation and believe they need to work harder at peace.

Two important points he makes, as far as I am concerned, is that the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement is not helpful. He writes, “U.S. Christians should feel the need to respond to Palestinian suffering. Their cries against the injustices they have suffered are heart-rending, and their desire for a better and more normal future is morally legitimate and compelling. Nevertheless, joining a BDS campaign is not the most effective way for U.S. churches to respond.” (Italics mine.)[1]

He also clarifies that a two state solution is the better solution. Both of these two concerns have been loudly ignored by the Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Additionally, Bland offers concern for Israel as well as Palestinians, writing about several important needs in the situation, he adds “Security mechanisms that address Israeli concerns while respecting Palestinian sovereignty.” The IPMN have never been concerned with Israel’s security needs and this is very important. I would encourage all Presbyterians to read the essay.

The paper on Israeli apartheid and the BDS movement is “What About Arab Apartheid Week?”, written by Arsen Ostrovsky. It is in The Hudson New York paper. I will just offer several paragraphs and let the reader go to the paper and read.

“Today, March 7, begins an annual part of the global campaign to delegitimize Israel, as student groups and academics -- on campuses around the world -- hold events marking "Israel Apartheid Week" [IAW].

None of these groups is holding similar events protesting human rights abuses in any number of Arab and Muslim countries -- Libya, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Yemen, Pakistan, Nigeria, Iraq, the Sudan or Jordan -- where people are being jailed, tortured and often killed fighting for their human rights.

The IAW features a series of events, including lectures, films, demonstrations and other activities, which, according to organisers (http://apartheidweek.org/en/about), is aimed at "raising awareness about Israel's apartheid policies toward Palestinians and gathering support for the international Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign."

If Israel were an apartheid State, people like Arab Israeli Salim Jurban would not have been elected to Israel's Supreme Court and Ishmael Khaldi, a Bedouin Muslim, would not have been appointed an advisor to Israel's Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, and then to the position of deputy Consul General of Israel in San Francisco. If Israel were an apartheid state, there would not be 5 different Arab parties and 14 Arab Israeli members of Knesset, some of whom are the most outspoken and harshest critics of Israel, including Haneen Zoabi who participated in the terrorist flotilla in June 2010, and Ahmed Tibi, currently one of the Deputy Speakers of the Knesset.”

So go and read. “What About Arab Apartheid Week?”

[1] I should note that when the Presbyterian article first appeared on the PNS the sentence “Nevertheless, joining a BDS campaign is not the most effective way for U.S. churches to respond,” it was minus its “not.” Because of that some of us were put off by the article. Thankfully it has been changed. Too bad it was only changed after the article moved on and was no longer featured.


reformedpastor said...

I thought Bland's article was very good. I didn't agree with everything he wrote, but it was far beyond the usual mainline fare. Hopefully, those who read it would have recognized that the "not" had been left out inadvertently, given that the lack of it seemed to contradict everything else in the piece.

David Fischler
Woodbridge, VA

Viola Larson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Viola Larson said...

Yes, but the more I think about it I think the PNS needs to post that they made that error.

reformedpastor said...


David Fischler
Woodbeidge, VA

reformedpastor said...

And so they have.


David Fischler
Woodbridge, VA

Robert said...

Both articles are very good. The problem is that neither mentions a core problem: that of water resources.