Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Presbyterian Peace Fellowship delegates to the Holy Land & Omar Barghouti

The 26 delegates to the Holy Land sponsored by the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship listened to a lecture given by Omar Barghouti the founder of the Boycott, Divestment Sanctions movement. Teaching elder, Aric Clark, one of the delegates, wrote about it and divestment on the blog Dispatches from the Holy Land. Clark insisted that the least the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) could do was divest from companies doing business with Israel. Clark is of course echoing Barghouti.

Barghouti spoke on behalf of the BDS movement at a Socialist conference in Chicago in 2011. I will place the video here and although it is long and I disagree with most of it, I think it is important for Presbyterians to understand what the PPF delegates are listening to and what they will be bringing as talking points to the 221st Presbyterian General Assembly. But first some highlights:

Barghouti states, during the question and answer time, that he won't speak to the idea of a one state or two state solution, but since one of the three prongs of the BDS movement is the right of return for Palestinians there would effectively be no Jewish State. If there is no Jewish state eventually the Jews would be either ousted or treated as inferior as Jews and Christians are treated in many Muslim states today.

Adding to this is Barghouti's insistence that a Jewish state cannot be a democracy. Clark and I, several nights ago, argued this via Twitter. Barghouti argued this from a secular, undoubtedly socialist, maybe Marxist's view. And it is a foundational view of the BDS movement which interestingly enough involves socialists and extremist Muslims. And while Barghouti certainly operates the BDS movement from a non-violence perspective in the video he insists that those Palestinians using violence were acceptable given they were defending their country. So suicide bombings and rockets aimed at the innocent with no military target in view are acceptable?

Is this the kind of propaganda Presbyterians need heaped upon them at the General Assembly, or do we all need some honest and fair dialogue?

For my first article on the PPF delegates see-The Presbyterian Peace Fellowship delegates and the wrong guide


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the Omar Barghouti video. He gave an excellent analysis of the situation from a Palestinian perspective which we certainly do not get from the media in this country. Yes, commissioners to the General a Assembly should see this! In addition the commissioners should read Max Blumenthal's "Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel."

Anonymous said...

Above post
John McNeese
Ponca city, Ok

Viola Larson said...

John even those who are leaning more toward the Palestinian side consider Blumenthal's book a I hate Israel" tirade. If you don't care if a Jewish State exists among the many Muslim & Arab states you will like Barghouti's speech. If you think suicide bombers and rockets aimed intentionally at civilians are okay you will also like the speech. There are some who care about such things and need to know.

Anonymous said...

Your description of Blumenthal's book as a "I hate Israel" tirade, comes from a book review by Eric Alterman who wrote "Blumenthal's accounts are mostly technically accurate, but often deliberately deceptive." The exchange between Alterman and Blumenthal makes for a good read. I have read the Blumenthal book and it is excellent.

You are correct that I do not care for a Jewish state or for that matter an Islamic, Christian or Hindu state. We are all a lot safer in a secular state.

No I do not approve of bombers and rockets. But let us put things in perspective. Fatalities during Operation Cast Lead: Palestinians - 1,398; Israelis - 5.
Fatalities after operation Cast Lead (January, 2009 to December, 2013) : Palestinians - 549; Israelis - 24. Source: B'Tselem - The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.

Yes, our commissioners need to know all of this


Viola Larson said...

John several things should be noted here. The rockets may not have killed or maimed so many but the intention was to do so. And intention is what counts. The Israeli army on their part, and I don't necessarily agree with all they did but their intentions were to take out weapons and militants--not so easy when militants use residential areas and homes, etc. as places to hide and store weapons.
And if some country directed thousands of rockets at the United States I don't think this government would set on their hands.
It is all really too bad because I think many Palestinians are as peace conscious as anyone else. Here is a far better solution:
Watch the video.

Viola Larson said...

And it continues- the rockets I mean

Anonymous said...

From my studies, the IDF cares nothing about civilian causalities. Their daily brutality toward the non-Jewish population is well documented. I hope the commissioners will go much deeper into this subject than we can do here.

Incidentally the USA supplied Iron Dome shot down five of the incoming rockets this evening.

As always, you can have the last word.


Viola Larson said...

Thank you John I will take it. The rockets were undoubtedly aimed with the intention of harm. Sure the IDF are sinners like the rest of us. And some are surely in need of discipline, but I read so many untrue stories that it is impossible to sort the truth from the lie. Why aren't the delegates for PPF taken to Sderot where they could listen to the stories of children who were traumatized from the many rockets. Who will talk to them about the history of Hamas, etc. They have one side of the story now they need the other.

Anonymous said...

Let me make sure that I understand you correctly, John. The problem with the number of deaths is that not enough Jews were killed? Is that correct?

Perhaps whatever you consider a fair number of civilian Jews ought to be taken to right across the border from the Gaza Strip, so that they can be quickly slaughtered by the Palestinians to make things right. Would that appease you and fix your statistics?

Here's how things work: The Palestinians direct killing munitions at Jews, any Jews--and the civilians are easier targets. The Palestinians also ruthlessly and shrewdly place their launchers in the midst of their own civilian population, near hospitals, by schools, in neighborhoods, and so on. They know full well that this will provide numbers of casualties when Israel defends itself from such bombardment.

Israel, on the other hand, seeks defensive measures and restrains itself until it simply has to stop the ruthless killing of its people. It has learned that it must strike boldly to erase the threat. It tries to be as precise in its "surgical" strikes as possible, but when the target is cruelly placed among a civilian population, people are going to die. What else can Israel do, just sit back and let itself be bombarded indiscriminately?

So Palestinians just try to kill Jews--any Jews--whenever possible. Israelis try to erase the power to do that, sadly causing unavoidable deaths due to the cowardly Palestinian use of civilians as human shields. Who is right and who is wrong appear pretty clear in this arrangement.

Jim Berkley
Roslyn, WA