The United Church of Canada has released the 26 page report of its Working Group on Israel/Palestine Policy, which the church will consider introducing as policy when the denomination's 41st General Council convenes in Ottawa August 11-18. The Working Group indicates that its recommendations were put forth in search of truth, justice and reconciliation when in fact it does little or nothing of the sort. It refers to Israel as the "thief," the "occupier," and the "oppressor," and compares Israeli policies to those of South Africa under apartheid, and more shockingly to Sudan, despite the fact that people from Africa risk their lives to get to Israel to escape the Islamist apartheid rampant throughout African countries such as Sudan, South Sudan and Nigeria, to name but a few.
While acknowledging Israel's right to exist, this biased and scathing report against Israel calls for "Christian economic action" against it, and points out that Canada does not recognize permanent Israeli control over territories occupied in 1967. Nevertheless it omits that these territories -- under dispute -- were taken by Israel in a defensive war, the second that united Arab countries had initiated against it since Israel's founding in 1948. It is difficult to imagine a view advanced by the United Church working group, along with the automatic majority of autocracies in the United Nations, that countries which start wars and then lose them should be rewarded. The Group also omits that Canada is the greatest friend to Israel and that it opposes anti-Israel labels, as well as attempts to exterminate Israel economically by means of divestment, boycotts and sanctions [BDS].
Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird recognized immediately what this working group failed to recognize: he stated in May that "the world cannot take the words of Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran as mere rhetoric and risk appeasing these malicious actors in the same way the world appeased the Nazis.… Under our prime minister, and under this foreign minister, Canada will stand with the Jewish state and people as they struggle to protect their very right to exist."
The three-member working group exerts a feeble attempt to justify the contents of its report by stating that anti-Semitism does not entail calling Israel into so-called accountability. In addressing the report's repeated referral to Israel as the "occupier," the so-called "occupation" must be understood through the lens of the historic 1967 six day war of which an inevitable preventative strike by Israel against the nations of Syria, Egypt, Jordan and Iraq occurred as these nations were preparing for a united attack upon the Jewish State.
The Syrian Defense Minister, Hafez Assad, and President Abdur Rahman Aref of Iraq had both declared that it was time to wipe out Israel's existence (reminiscent of Iran today), and Egypt -- preparing for war -- had illegally closed off the Gulf of Aqaba in preparation for attack. In response, Israel launched a preventative strike and won the strategic territories of the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula (Egypt), the West Bank and East Jerusalem (from Jordan), and the Golan Heights (from Syria) – all land which it is accused today of "occupying," even after giving back to Egypt 100% of its land in exchange for a peace treaty that as of this writing might be in danger of being abrogated by Egypt.
Israel's having taken this land in war was not from greed, but for Israel's strategic survival against mortal enemies that sought its destruction. With this in mind, it is worth remembering that nearly every state has achieved its current existence as a result of wars, most from greed. Our continent is no exception. According to the criteria of the stone-throwers against Israel, we too are "occupiers" on native lands, which includes the three-member United Church working group, who, being themselves "occupiers," have their own Christian "sins" to contend with.
Another historic event alluded to by the working group is the war that broke out when the British withdrew from the Palestinian region in 1948. The British Response to Jewish immigration in fact set a precedent of appeasing the Arabs – a practice followed for the duration of the Mandate for Palestine. The British placed restrictions on Jewish immigration while allowing Arabs freely to enter the country. As the British withdrew from the region in May 1948, Israel was attacked immediately (the next day) by five surrounding Arab nations. While acknowledging the attack on Israel, the working group report nevertheless emphasizes the Palestinian refugees created by this war, while leaving out the fact that Palestinian Arabs continued to refuse to recognize Israel, and instead began launching terrorist attacks from the Palestinian Arab community that became increasingly organized and dangerous through the course of time with the creation of the Palestinian Liberation Organization of which Yasser Arafat would eventually become Chairman. The Palestinian Authority in its revised charter still calls for the elimination of Israel, by stating that the revised charter incorporates everything in the previous version.
As the Working Group zeroes in on Palestinian victimhood, the exponentially growing number of Palestinian refugees each year is, in fact, a calculated scam -- one that is costing Western nations tens of billions of dollars per year in mandatory "donations." The number of refugees is projected to balloon to 20 million in the next 50 years, and would, at that time, include something like the great-great-great-great grandchildren of the original refugees, who by then would long since have died. By that token, is everyone in Greece now a refugee from the Peleponnesian War?
Although there are indeed poverty stricken areas in the Palestinian territories -- and often shocking discrimination against the Palestinians in (and by) their Arab host countries -- according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, GDP growth in the Palestinian Territory of the West Bank was astronomically high at 9.9% in 2011, and the Gaza strip a staggering 23%. Ironically, the Palestinian Territories are, at this moment, enjoying greater growth than the North American taxpayers who are funding them.
The most basic problem at the root of the Palestinian-Israeli issue is not the so-called "occupation," as stipulated by this working group, but the refusal by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority to recognize Israel's right to exist, and the murderous hatred expressed by these leaders against the state of Israel and the Jewish people.
Even as Egypt was preparing itself for a runoff election, Hamas leader Ghazi Hamad said a win by Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi would be a boon to Palestinians, ending the frosty relationship between Hamas and Egypt. Hamad added that no one in Hamas supports recognizing Israel as a nation.
While the United Church Working Group acknowledges Israel's right to exist, it does so only in lip service, without taking into consideration Israel's need to protect itself. Israel has long faced threats of suicide bombers seeking to inflict as much injury as possible on victims, as well as trying unsuccessfully to cripple them with fear. The Working Group's objectives do not even take into account the Jihadist call to war against Israel , and children being taught in Palestinian schools to hate and kill Jews. This hatred has nothing to do with the so-called "occupation," as Palestinian children are indoctrinated to believe, but is instead fuelled by Israel having a different ideology of true Democracy and Human Rights in a region where most leaders are hostile to both. Israel is not an Islamic caliphate and herein lies the problem. The the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, worked hand in hand with Hitler during World War II and during the Holocaust to destroy the Jewish people simply because they were Jewish. Al-Husseini blocked attempts to rescue thousands of Jewish children from several countries under German control, effectively sentencing them to death. Few know that Yasser Arafat was a blood relative of the Grand Mufti; and that Arafat's his real name was Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa Al-Husseini. Few also know that Arafat, whose mother was a cousin of the Grand Mufti, was a great admirer of this work.
As this working group attacks Israel, there are those Christians in abundance who support Israel, understand the struggles it faces, and also recognize the plight of the Palestinians as they are used as pawns by their own leadership to feed an agenda of hatred against the Jews and against the West in an effort to distract their people from the true source of their misery: the corrupt and wretched governance at home. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has lauded such Christian support, which even includes Mosab Yousef, the eldest son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a founding member of Hamas.
Mosab Yousef, who converted to Christianity, now exposes what is truly behind the "peace process." And speaking of conversions, an admirable moderate Muslim in Canada refers to what happened to a Christian convert in a Muslim regime as he discusses the brutality in Muslim societies where a " young man is pinned to the ground, his head is twisted and a knife held against his throat. In a few minutes the head is severed and held up for display to the public, who are loudly chanting, "Allahu Akbar!" ["Allah is Greatest!"]. In the video of this gruesome public execution of an apostate, the victim had converted to Christianity from Islam."
This brutality seen in Muslim societies brings us to a critical point outlined by the United Church working group: "holding Israel, like any other modern democratic state, accountable for its actions is one way civil society strengthens democracy and justice;" and, further, that Israel should be held to a higher standard than the surrounding non-democratic countries. This is nothing short of a highly racist statement, implying that the surrounding "barbarians" are capable of nothing more than savagery, so why expect anything of them or hold them accountable? In other words, they are the brown people from whom we should expect little more than violence and brutality. "Those Muslims" are quite capable of being civilized and should be called to the same -- admittedly flawed but higher -- standard as any other Western nation -- as many Muslim Reformists are trying to do today in efforts to protect the rights of women and human rights overall.
By contrast, in Israel, which is branded apartheid, Arabs are allowed full voting rights; positions in Knesset; employment rights, and for that matter, the freedom to be homosexual – the last, in their own countries, grounds to be murdered.
While all evidence attests to Christians having been driven out of Bethlehem by Muslims, the Working Group asserts, in yet another misinformed allegation, that it was the "occupation" that has driven out the Christians. The Hamas and the Palestinian Authority in fact violated – and continue to violate -- the human rights of Christians through beatings, intimidation, fire-bombings of their institutions, torture, kidnapping, and sexual harassment, thus leading to their exodus from Bethlehem: the very place honored as the birthplace of Christ.
In conclusion, the United Church working group needs to do its homework along with some other Church groups that condemn Israel. Israel is increasingly bullied by the OIC-dominated United Nations, as well as surrounding enemies that have historically sought its destruction. There are still many maps that exclude Israel, including one which was displayed at the U.N. and which was used to mark the commemoration of "International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People" on November 29, 2005. "The working group takes seriously questions about why Israel is currently the only country in the world being challenged by a global boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement (BDS)." In asserting this, the United Church would do well to observe its own faith by remembering that Christ, too, was ganged up against; so it is a moot argument to inquire why Israel is being challenged by a global BDS movement -- that is unjust and reprehensible -- as this small nation continues to fight for its existence.