The NAKBA (the Holocaust of the Palestinians): What does the Bible say?
What would Jesus do Himself?
What does the Bible say?
Should Christians support Israel, no matter how unjustly Israel
treats millions of completely innocent Palestinian children and their mothers? What did Jesus Christ say? What would Jesus do
himself? Would Jesus rob Palestinian children and their mothers of their land,
water and basic human rights? This is what Jesus said ...
Whatsoever ye do unto the least of these, my brethren,
ye do it unto
Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not, for of such
is the kingdom of heaven. Does this mean only Jewish children? No,
See that you do not despise even one of these
Whoever receives a child in my name receives
Me, but whoever harms one of these little ones, it would be better for
him to have a millstone fastened around his neck and be drowned in the
depths of the sea.
When I was growing up in Christian churches around the world (my father was a
20-year man in the U.S. Air Force), we used to sing:
Jesus loves the little children,
all the children of the world;
red and yellow, black and white,
they are precious in his sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.
Where does the Bible say that Palestinian children are the only children
excluded from the love of God? Ironically, Jesus was born in
Palestine, which makes him a Palestinian child. And like so many other
Palestinian children today, Jesus was told that there was "no room" for him and
by Michael R. Burch
Jesus was born
a palestinian child
where there’s no Room
for the meek and the mild
... and in bethlehem still
to this day, lambs are born
to cries of “no Room!”
and Puritanical scorn ...
under Herod, Trump, Bibi
their fates are the same —
the slouching Beast mauls them
and WE have no shame:
“who’s to blame?”
Bethlehem is a town
in the central West Bank, so Jesus was not born within the borders of
modern-day Israel, but in Occupied Palestine—so
called because Israel has created a brutal, repressive military occupation of
the land outside its legal borders, with soldiers of the IOF (Israeli Occupation
Force) protecting racially segregated "Jewish only" roads and settlements, in
direct and blatant violation of both International Law, the Golden Rule, and
simple human decency. What is the purpose of the
occupation? As in the days of the Wild, Wild West, the Israeli military is
protecting the land-grabbing robber barons rather than their victims, with
millions of those victims being children.
I had a dream of Jesus!
Mama, his eyes were so kind!
But behind him I saw a billion Christians
hissing "You're nothing!," so blind.
―The Child Poets of Gaza
I, too, have a dream ...
that one day Jews and Christians
will see me as I am:
a small child, lonely and afraid,
staring down the barrels of their big bazookas,
knowing I did nothing
to deserve such scorn.
―The Child Poets of Gaza
But does the Bible say that Israeli Jews are to be preferred over Palestinians?
No, it doesn't. According to the Bible, there was a period of time when the
ancient Hebrews had the opportunity to claim the land if they practiced
chesed (mercy, compassion, lovingkindness). But when they failed to become
a nation of priests able to show the rest of the world a better way to live,
that claim was negated and there was no distinction made, as Samaria (the
modern-day West Bank) was equated with Israel. This point was made by the
prophets Ezekiel and Micah, in the strongest possible terms:
The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, confront Jerusalem with her
detestable practices and say, This is what the Sovereign Lord says to Jerusalem:
Your ancestry and birth were in the land of the Canaanites; your father was an
Amorite and your mother a Hittite ... Your older sister was Samaria, who lived
to the north of you with her daughters; and your younger sister, who lived to
the south of you with her daughters, was Sodom. You not only followed their ways
and copied their detestable practices, but in all your ways you soon became
more depraved than they. As surely as I live, declares the
Sovereign Lord, your sister Sodom and her daughters never did
what you and your daughters have done. Now this was the sin of your sister
Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and
unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were
haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with
them as you have seen. Samaria did not commit half the sins you did.
You have done more detestable things than they, and have made your
sisters seem righteous by all these things you have done. Bear your
disgrace, for you have furnished some justification for your sisters. Because
your sins were more vile than theirs, they appear more righteous than you. So
then, be ashamed and bear your disgrace, for you have made your sisters appear
righteous. However, I will restore the fortunes of Sodom and her
daughters and of Samaria and her daughters, and your fortunes along with
them, so that you may bear your disgrace and be ashamed of all you have done in
denying them comfort. And your sisters, Sodom with her daughters and
Samaria with her daughters, will return to what they were before; and you and
your daughters will return to what you were before. [Ezekiel 16:1-63]
Ezekiel was saying that Israel was worse than Sodom and Samaria, and that the
fortunes of all three would be restored together. Micah agreed that Israel had
become like Sodom and Gomorrah:
"Moreover, among the prophets of Samaria I saw an offensive thing: They
prophesied by Baal and led My people Israel astray. Also among the prophets of
Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing: The committing of adultery and walking
in falsehood; And they strengthen the hands of evildoers, So that no one has
turned back from his wickedness. All of them have become to Me like Sodom, And
her inhabitants like Gomorrah. [Jeremiah 23:13-14]
The book of Micah explicitly discusses the relationship between God, Samaria and
Israel. Micah says that God does not support people who steal from their
neighbors, which is what modern-day Israel has been doing to Samarians
(Palestinians) since the Nakba ("Catastrophe") of 1948:
They covet fields and seize them, and houses, and take them. They defraud
people of their homes, they rob them of their inheritance. [Micah 2:2]
This is what Americans who called themselves "Christians" did to Native
Americans. It is what Germans who called themselves "Christians" did to Jews
during the Holocaust. And it is what Israeli Jews have been doing relentlessly
to Palestinians for more than half a century, using money and weapons provided
by American Christians. As Jewish historians like Benny Morris and Ilan Pappé
have clearly documented, in 1948 Israel destroyed hundreds of Palestinian
villages and stole the underlying land, creating the Palestinian refugee crisis.
Around 80% of the 1.8 million Palestinians who eke out a marginal existence in
Gaza are refugees of Israel's ethnic cleansing and their descendents. A Jewish
humanitarian organization, the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions
(ICAHD) has tracked and reported tens of thousands of demolitions of Palestinian
homes since 1967. But the Bible does not condone this kind of sordid behavior.
In Micah chapter 3, the prophet says that God will not
support the rulers of Israel if they do such craven, terrible things to women
and children. And obviously women and children suffer terribly when they are
robbed of their land and homes. Micah thunders:
Now hear this, heads of the house of Jacob and rulers of the house of
Israel, who abhor justice and twist everything that is straight, who build Zion
with bloodshed and Jerusalem with violent injustice. Her leaders pronounce
judgment for a bribe, her priests instruct for a price and her prophets divine
for money. Yet they lean on the LORD saying, "Is not the LORD in our midst?
Calamity will not come upon us." [Micah 3:9-11]
Micah goes on to clearly say that what God wants is peace, which requires
justice, and that Jerusalem is mean for many "peoples" [races] and many nations,
not just Jews:
And it will come about in the last days that the mountain of the house of
the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains. It will be raised
above the hills, and the peoples will stream to it.
Many nations will come and say, "Come and let us go up to the mountain
of the LORD and to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us about His
ways and that we may walk in His paths." For from Zion will go forth the law,
Even the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. [Micah 4:1-2]
Micah is obviously talking about people coming together, in peace, not Jews
robbing their neighbors of everything they possess! Micah's vision is the
opposite of what warlike, bellicose Israel has been doing. Micah's is a vision
He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes
for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords
into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up
sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Everyone
will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make
them afraid, for the LORD Almighty has spoken. [Micah 4:3]
But, like in scenes from the movie Avatar, Israel has been destroying
millions of life-giving fig and olive trees. Jimmy Carter, former American
President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, wrote about this horror in his book
Palestine: Peace, not Apartheid. Is this what God ever wanted? No ...
Hear, you mountains, the LORD's accusation; listen, you everlasting
foundations of the earth. For the LORD has a case against his people; he is
lodging a charge against Israel ... He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love chesed [mercy,
compassion, lovingkindness] and to walk humbly with your God. [Micah 6:2-8]
This verse seems to be an apt description of modern-day Israel's method of
acquiring wealth at other people's expense:
What shall I say about the homes of the wicked filled with treasures gained
by cheating? What about the disgusting practice of measuring out grain with
dishonest measures? Can I justify wicked scales and a bag of deceptive
weights? For the rich men of the city are full of violence, her residents speak
lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth. So also I will make you
sick, striking you down, Desolating you because of your sins. [Micah
And what Micah prophesied seems to be clearly happening to Israel today:
Therefore I will give you over to ruin and your people to
derision; you will bear the scorn of the
nations. [Micah 6:16]
In fact, Israel has born the scorn of the greatest Jewish intellectuals of
modern times, because Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud and Noam Chomsky eached
strongly denounced the wild excesses and injustices of Zionism. And icons of
world peace have also strongly denounced Israel's sordid methods: Mohandas
Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, and Jimmy Carter. Even a few honest
Israeli generals like Matti Peled have come forward and admitted that Israel
started the 1967 war on purpose, with the war being used as a pretext to rob
Palestinians of more land, expanding Israel in the process.
Micah also described how nations like Nazi Germany, apartheidist South Africa
and modern-day Israel deny their victims justice:
The ruler demands gifts, the judge accepts bribes, the powerful dictate what
they desire: they all conspire together. [Micah 7:6]
Unfortunately, many of those demanded gifts are billions of dollars in cash and
advanced weapons provided by American taxpayers to rich, ruthless Israeli robber
How can anyone read this very clear book of the Bible, which explicitly
discusses the relationship between Israel (the Jews) and Samaria (the
Palestinians), and come to the conclusion that God wanted a chosen race of
priests to rob other people of their land, homes, water and life-giving trees?
And how can anyone imagine Jesus Christ ignoring the worth and human rights of
Palestinian children and their mothers?
Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a
reward. (Psalms 127:3)
Bethlehem is home to one of the oldest and largest Palestinian Christian
communities, although it has shrunk dramatically in recent years due to
emigration. In a recent 60 Minutes segment, Palestinian Christians were
asked why they were leaving Bethlehem, and they said it was because of Israeli
racism practiced against Palestinians, not because of any sort of persecution by
Muslims. In 2006, the Palestinian Centre for Research and Cultural Dialogue
conducted a poll among the city's Christians: 90% said they had Muslim friends,
73% agreed that the Palestinian National Authority treated Christian heritage
with respect, while 78% attributed the exodus of Christians to Israeli travel
restrictions (apartheid barriers, military checkpoints, racially segregated
roads, racial identity cards, etc.).
And when Esau lifted up his eyes and saw the women and children, he said,
“Who are these with you?” Jacob said, “The children whom God has graciously
given your servant.” (Genesis 33:5)
Just think: if Jesus were to visit his birthplace today, he would be hassled right and
left by bellicose Israeli soldiers who treat everyone born in non-Jewish
communities like criminals—presumed guilty until proven
Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise.
Before 1948, Bethlehem was 85% Christian, until Israel began ethnically
cleansing Palestinians during the Nakba ("Catastrophe") of 1948. According to Israel
there was "no room" for Palestinian babies and
children. Of course that was what Jesus's parents had been told before he
was born. So Jesus would surely empathize with Palestinian children and their
Out of the mouth of babes and infants, you have established strength because
of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. (Psalms 8:2)
Today the people of Bethlehem have lost approximately 87% of their land to the
occupation, with most of the land appropriated by the 40 Israeli settlements
surrounding Bethlehem having been taken from Christians. So many Christians have
left Jerusalem that their percentage of the population is down to less than 2%.
Now the prospect of holy sites like Jerusalem and Bethlehem lacking local
Christians looms as a real possibility. The main export of Bethlehem has been
Christianity, and its main business is tourism of Christian holy sites, but the
prognosis for Christianity in Bethlehem and Jerusalem looks increasingly bleak,
thanks to Israeli racism and intolerance.
See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I tell you that in
heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.
In 2002, Bethlehem was a primary target of Israel's Operation Defensive Shield,
which sounds a lot like Operation Pillar of Defense; the latter devastated Gaza
ten years later, in 2012. During Operation Defensive Shield, IOF forces
besieged the Church of the Nativity for 39 days. As a result, many Palestinian
Christians left, or are in the process of leaving. Mitri Raheb is a
Palestinian Christian minister who runs schools, cultural centers and health
clinics. He told 60 Minutes: "... the West Bank is becoming more and
more like a piece of Swiss cheese where Israel gets the cheese that is the land,
the water resources, the archaeological sites. And the Palestinian are pushed in
the holes behind the walls."
It is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little
ones should perish. (Matthew 18:14)
While the Israeli government tries to blame Islam for the exodus, the
Palestinians themselves disagree. Zahi Khouri is a Palestinian businessman who
owns the West Bank Coca-Cola franchise. He told 60 Minutes: "I
probably have 12,000 customers here. I've never heard that someone is leaving
because of Islamic persecution."
Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their
fathers. (Proverbs 17:6)
According to the Bible, the town of Bethlehem once saw King Herod's slaughter of
the innocents. Today the innocent children of Bethlehem are once again
imperiled, this time by the mighty Israeli military and its crushing disregard
for the human rights of Palestinians. Ethnically cleansing women and children,
and stealing their families' land are serious crimes. Neither the Hebrew prophets, nor Jesus, nor any of the
apostles ever said that men who abuse women and children have the favor of God,
or will receive any reward for their reprehensible behavior. For Christians, a
pertinent question is: What would Jesus do? Jesus never harmed a
woman or child, nor did he ever describe any scenario in
which it is permissible for men to harm women and children. Instead, he said:
Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such
is the kingdom of heaven.
A similar question once faced American Christians over the treatment of Native
American and African American children. Should Christians have
used Bible verses to declare it their "manifest destiny" to ethnically
cleanse Native Americans from their homeland, or to enslave African Americans?
No, because no one can possibly suggest that Jesus would have condoned such
terrible injustices, much less have committed them himself.
Instead, he said:
Whoever harms one of these little ones, it would be better for him to have a
great millstone fastened around his neck and be drowned in the depths of the
If Christians asked themselves, "What would Jesus do?" they would immediately
see that Israel's system of apartheid and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians must
not be supported by Christians, because no loving, compassionate person with a sense of
justice would ever inflict such misery on women and
children. Clearly, we should never support any government, including
our own, when it practices racial injustices against innocent children and their
May the LORD give you increase, you and your children! (Psalms 115:14)
What would Jesus do? I think the evidence of the gospels is clear that Jesus
would side with the children and their mothers against rich, powerful,
hypocritical Pharisees who claim to be "men of
faith" while in reality being willing to rob, harm and kill "the least of these,
The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the
young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a
little child shall lead them. (Isaiah 11:6)
Part II — Rightly Dividing the
There are other reasons to question the idea that Christians should always
support Israel because God "gave" the land of Palestine to the ancient Hebrews.
Does it make any sense, really, to say that God "gives" one person's property to
another person? How would Christians feel if people of
another religion showed up with guns and bombs, insisting that God "gave" them
the land, homes and property of Christians? If God "gave" them something, why
would they need weapons to take (i.e., steal) it?
To take someone else's property by force is armed robbery.
Can any Christian possibly suggest that God commands or condones armed robbery?
Heaven forbid!, as Saint Paul used to say. But then why should Christians expect Muslims to believe something they would never believe
themselves, if they were on the short end of the stick? Why not be honest about
the Bible, since honesty is a Christian virtue? Here are other
reasons not to support Israel's constant theft of Palestinian land:
No sane human being would ever surrender his house and land because someone else said God
wanted him to have it.
• To claim that God wants me to rob you and leave your family
homeless and destitute either makes God unjust, or me a liar.
• If God "gave" the land of Palestine to the ancient Hebrews, why
does the Bible say that Moses, Joshua, Caleb and King David took it via ethnic
cleansing and genocide (the "slaying of everything that breathes," including
women, children and livestock)? Why does the Bible say that David slaughtered
every woman when he "smote the land"? Why did David order the slaughter of the
lame and the blind when Jerusalem was taken from the Jebusites? How can anyone
believe that a loving, compassionate, wise, just God commanded the slaughter of
women, children and the handicapped?
• Let's put aside the question of the Palestinians for just a moment.
How can the verses that commanded the Israelites to enslave and
murder their own children be explained?
In Exodus 21, Moses permitted fathers to
sell their own daughters as sex slaves, with the option to
buy them back if they failed to "please" their new masters. In Deuteronomy 22,
Moses commanded the Israelites to murder girls who had been raped, or to sell them
to their rapists (meaning that they could be raped legally for the rest of their
lives). According to Moses, rape victims should only be spared if they were
raped in a field where no one could hear their cries for help. In Numbers 31, Moses
commanded that captured women and male infants were to be slaughtered, with only the
virgin girls being kept alive (obviously as sex slaves). Is that the wisdom of
God or the evil lunacy of barbaric men pretending to speak for God because
doing so gives them power? How can we explain such terrible verses appearing in
the Bible? The most likely answer is that the
verses in question were added or altered long after the time of Moses, by the Levite scribes
who copied the scrolls that eventually became the Hebrew Bible.
• The Hebrew prophets spoke of the need for chesed
(mercy, compassion, lovingkindness) and social justice. But obviously there is nothing
"compassionate" or "just" about slavery, sex slavery, matricide, infanticide, ethnic cleansing and genocide. The prophets
criticized the Levites (the priests and scribes who created and copied the texts
that eventually became the Bible), calling them liars and saying they had
changed the word of God to the point that the Israelites no longer knew what God
had said. Since the Bible contains contradictory statements which cannot be
reconciled (for instance the book of Judges says that God hardened David's heart to
take a census, while the book of Chronicles says that it was Satan who hardened
David's heart to
take the same census), people who look to the Bible for guidance must still
listen to their own hearts and minds. Christians should remember that Saint Paul
instructed his protégé Timothy to "rightly divide" the word.
• What would Jesus do? Would Jesus evict multitudes of
innocent Palestinians from their
homes, including women, children and the elderly, knowing that they would
suffer terribly and that many of them would die on a new Trail of Tears? Would
Jesus praise Christians for supporting such injustices in his name, or would he
call them hypocrites?
• In the past Christians used the Bible to condone racism,
intolerance, slavery, witch
hunts, Inquisitions, Crusades, torture, "holy wars," and the burning of
"heretics" at the stake. Millions of people have been tortured, enslaved and
killed in the name of Jesus Christ. Isn't it time to start doing what Jesus did
himself, or stop using his name in vain? Jesus praised the Good Samaritan, a man
who ignored the dictates of religion in order to act with compassion for someone
of another race and creed. Shouldn't we also put religious dogma aside (how can we
possibly know whose house goes to whom, based on religious texts) to act with
compassion and justice?
A fundamental question for Christians is the morality of supporting
people who are doing things good Christians would never do themselves. I do not
believe men should harm women and children, so why should I support Israel when
it wages a war of daily, systematic terror on Palestinian women and children,
constantly stealing the little land and water they have left? Mind you, I have nothing against the
good Jewish people who don't practice racism against Palestinians. But I
strongly oppose those Jews who deliberately choose to rob women and
children, leaving them homeless and destitute. I believe Jesus, the Hebrew prophets and the
apostles would agree with me. When did any of them ever say that rich, powerful men
should be allowed to steal from widows and orphans?
Obviously, they said the opposite: that true religion was to help widows and
Palestinian women, babies, toddlers, children and grandmothers and grandfathers are not
"terrorists." And most Palestinian men are not "terrorists" either. Yes, some Palestinian men have committed acts of violence. But
American men also commit acts of violence. If a few gangbangers in Los Angeles
go on a rampage, do we erect towering walls around the whole city
and collectively punish the innocent along with the guilty? No, of course not. We know
that real justice must
be individual, not collective.
The Hebrew prophets often spoke of the need for chesed [mercy,
compassion, lovingkindness] and social justice. Time and time again they warned
the Israelites that if they abandoned chesed and justice, they would
suffer the consequences, and even lose their land and go into captivity. Jesus
Christ and the apostles also spoke of the need for compassion and justice.
Surely no Christian believes men get a "free pass" to harm women and
children. Unfortunately, in their zeal to "support" Israel, some
Christians ignore the fact that the leaders of Israel often sound and act like
the Grand Wizards of the KKK. Should Christians support Israel, no matter what,
or should Christians only support Israel when Israel acts with compassion and
According to the Bible as I understand it, Christians should not support anyone who harms
women and children unjustly.
In the past we have seen a number of Holocausts,
in which innocents were punished collectively for the "crime" of
having been born
to the "wrong" race. During the days of American slavery, African
American men, women and children were deprived of freedom. Their only "crime" was
born to the "wrong" race. When Native Americans walked the Trail of Tears, the
same was true: innocent men, women and children were being collectively punished
for the "crime" of having been born to the "wrong" race. When innocent Jewish men, women
and children suffered and died so horrifically in the Holocaust, the same thing
was true: they suffered and died for the "crime" of having been born to the "wrong" race.
In each case, the men who committed the atrocities professed to be "Christians,"
but their actions proved otherwise. Now we see innocent Palestinians suffering
and dying in this new Holocaust. Yes, a few of them have committed acts of
violence. But the
majority of Gazans are children and a large percentage of
the remainder are women and the elderly. As we all know, most
crimes are committed by young men. This means the vast majority of Palestinians
are not violent criminals. Why then are all Palestinians being punished collectively,
for the crimes of only a few? From what I've read, Hamas has only around 3,000
members. The Crips and Bloods have over ten times that many members, but we
don't persecute their mothers, sisters, brothers and grandmothers by herding them into
giant corrals, as if they were cattle. So why has Israel herded millions of innocent Palestinians into walled
enclosures, if only a few have committed crimes?
And is it possible that in this case the "egg" clearly came first: that
Palestinian violence is largely the result of the racial injustices of Israel? I
grew up in an evangelical Christian family whose members were always eager to
believe the very best about Israel. But many of the
things I learned about the policies and actions of the government of Israel
bothered me greatly, because I believe men should protect women and children,
not harm them. So I did an extensive, independent study of the history of
Zionism, and to my horror I discovered that from its earliest days, many
Jewish Zionists had great disdain for Palestinian Arabs and always intended
to take their land by force and evict them. And in 1948 that's exactly
what happened, contrary to what most Christians wish to believe. Before 1948, the Jews owned
only a very small percentage of the land of Palestine. At that time there were many more Palestinians than
Israeli Jews and
the Palestinians had a higher birth rate, so it was hard to see how a democratic
state could be Jewish and remain Jewish for any length of time. The Zionist solution was
racist and fascist: buy a lot of weapons, start a war,
and during the war drive out as many men, women and children of the "wrong" race as possible.
Suddenly the land becomes "free" and the demographics change. So in 1948, as
soon as the British government pulled out of Palestine, the Jews
preemptively declared that a new nation called "Israel" existed, against the
wishes of the Palestinians who had a clear majority of the population and owned more than 90% of the land. No
elections were held until after the Jews had
ethnically cleansed Israel of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. The UN
never "gave" any land to anyone and had no right to give away privately held
property. What the UN tried to do was draw "voting lines in the sand" to give
the Jews the chance to have a small majority of the population within certain
regions of Palestine. But it was hard to draw those lines because there were far more
Palestinians than Jews. The Jews "solved" both problems with a planned
program of ethnic cleansing. Hundreds of Palestinian villages didn't just
disappear "by accident." They were deliberately demolished and that
required a lot of money, manpower, machinery and management.
Of the approximately 750,000 Palestinians who were ethnically cleansed, the
majority were women, children and the elderly. Very few were combatants. Most
were just fleeing for their lives. What would Jesus have done? Would he have
been one of the men forcing innocent women and children to become homeless,
destitute refugees? I find that very, very hard to believe. After all, he said "Suffer
the little children to come unto me," not "Drive them away from me and make them
What would Jesus do today? Would Jesus persecute innocent women and children? Of course not. Jesus warned his followers that it would be better for
someone to have a millstone hung around his neck and be drowned,
than to harm a little one. When an adulteress was brought before Jesus, he told
the men intent on stoning her to death that the one without sin should cast the
first stone. Nothing Jesus ever said or did condones harming women and children.
Shouldn't Christians do what Jesus would have done? Jesus reserved most of his
criticism for people who lacked compassion and a sense of justice,
calling them self-righteous and hypocritical. But he commended the Good Samaritan for acting with
compassion, and in the Beatitudes he said "blessed are the
There is nothing compassionate or peaceful about ethnic cleansing. Israel's
are rooted in racial injustices, just as the American Indian Wars and Civil War
were rooted in
racial injustices. Now Israel's injustices are getting Americans killed to,
since 9-11 was plotted by men furious with the way the governments of Israel and
the United States treated the Palestinians.
What should Christians do, when they see the men in power oppressing innocent women and
children? Should we side with the abusers, or
should we protect the women and children, acting with compassion in the cause of
The answer is clear.
Should Christians support Israel, when Israel practices government-sanctioned
racism on a massive scale, daily? The
Hebrew prophets repeatedly warned Israelites that if they failed to
practice chesed (mercy, compassion, lovingkindness) and establish
social justice, they would forfeit the Promised Land. And this happened more than once in the past. The evidence of the
Bible is clear. Could it happen again? I don't pretend to know. But I believe Christians should practice chesed (mercy, compassion,
lovingkindness) and social justice. We should care for widows and
orphans, not force completely innocent women and children to become widows and orphans.
It is all too easy for Jews and Christians to claim to be the Chosen Few. The
Pharisees claimed to be the Chosen Few, but Jesus pointed out repeatedly that
their religion was false, because they failed the tests of compassion and
justice. Would Jesus have persecuted women and
children? Would he have driven hundreds of thousands of farmers from their land, then
bulldozed their homes, leaving them homeless and destitute? No, of course not.
But this is what Jews and Christians have done to the Palestinians, together. If
Jesus were to return today, and see what we have done, would he congratulate
or shake his head in disbelief? I believe the answer is clear. Christians cannot
act without compassion and support injustice, and claim to be Christians. Isn't
it time to read the Bible with eyes capable of seeing, and ears capable of
hearing? We must
not substitute a compassionless, unjust, ritualistic religion for "the real
Now is the time to act with compassion and establish social justice. We can
begin at home, and require Israel to do the same, or suffer the consequences.
If you are unfamiliar with the real history of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict,
or have been told that Israel is "only defending itself," please read
Albert Einstein's 1948
letter to the New York Times and
Einstein on Palestine:
the Prophet of Peace.
If you want to understand how the maps below relate to Israel's new offensive
against Gaza, known as Operation "Pillar of Defense" or the biblical "Pillar of Clouds," please click here
Amud Annan "Pillar of Fire." If you want to hear the
opinion of the former U.S. president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate who
negotiated peace talks between Israel and Palestinians, please click here
"Israeli policy is to confiscate Palestinian territory." You may
also want to read and consider
Ministers who were Terrorists and
Does Israel Really Want Peace?
Map 1 of 1946 Palestine shows more than 90% of the land belonging to Palestinians; at this point Jewish settlers had paid for most of
the land they occupied
Map 2 of 1947 U.N. partition plan of Israel and Palestine; the land in the white areas was not "given" to Israel; Israeli Jews
took the additional land
Map 3 of 1967 borders of Israel and Palestine; these are the "1967 lines" aka as the "1949 armistice lines"; once again Israeli Jews
took the additional land
Map 4 of 2000 borders shows how Israel keeps taking land outside its legal borders, creating discontiguous Palestinian