09 October '16..
In a few days, Jews will gather in synagogues around the world to atone for their sins on the holiday of Yom Kippur. They will fast for 25 hours, pray, and hope that by the time they sit down to end their fast in a celebratory meal, they will have been purified of their sins and brought to the level of angels.
This year, any Jews having difficulty identifying the sins for which they need to atone can consult the website of the World Council of Churches, one of the many Christian organizations that gather stories and images of Jews behaving badly in the Holy Land and then broadcast these stories and images to their Christian supporters around the world.
The WCC does this work in a stated effort to promote peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but officials at the council won't mind a bit if Jews in Israel and the rest of the world use their materials for purposes of self-flagellation. It would make them happy -- really happy -- to see Jews join in the chorus of condemnations against the Jewish state.
One place to look on the WCC's website is the section promoting its World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel, which takes place every September.
This year, the WCC has outdone itself, producing a liturgical "toolbox" that Christians can use to focus their attention on the sins of the Jewish state. It's called "Dismantling Barriers" in an obvious reference to the security barrier that has saved thousands of lives, both Israeli and Palestinian, over the past decade.
The opening prayer asks that "our common prayer for peace, justice and equality be the force of love mighty enough to change the way we treat our neighbor and to bring down the Separation Wall."
There's nothing in the liturgy about restraining the blades in the hands of terrorists who stabbed men, women and children during the recent knife intifada that cost scores of Israelis their lives. Nor is there any reference to the anti-Semitic incitement broadcast on Palestinian television in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank that encouraged Palestinians young people to waste their lives in suicidal attacks.
Things don't get much better in the "Litany of Confession." It's not really a confession of sins on the part of the Christians who are reading the litany, but actually a list of accusations against Israel disguised as a Christian confession of sin.
The litany implicitly accuses Israel of stealing Palestinian water when it states, "You gave abundant water and food for all, but humans hoard it for themselves." In the context, the readers know that "humans" really means "those damned Israelis."
If the litany were honest, it would express gratitude that the Israelis have improved water production and delivery systems in the West Bank -- and as a result, per capita water consumption for Palestinians in this area has increased since 1967. But like the Yom Kippur liturgy, this litany is about confessing the sins of Jews, not anyone else.
The liturgy also includes a testimony from a Palestinian resident of Beit Jala who speaks about the difficulties of passing through the checkpoint so he can get to his job in Jerusalem or bring his wife to a hospital in the Jerusalem. "I can still remember when there were no walls," Bassam reports. "It was easy for us to move freely, to visit people, to participate in worship in the churches, to visit relatives in Jerusalem or Nazareth. It was easy to keep these relationships. Now we haven't seen our relatives for years."
There are lots of Israeli Jews who haven't seen their relatives for years because they were killed by suicide bombers during the Second Intifada, but for some reason, these losses are not mentioned.
For all of its pretense of promoting peace, reconciliation and compunction, the WCC liturgy is a yet another document that gives Christians a pretext to confess the sins of the Jewish state, in a church setting no less.
We've seen enough of this type of behavior over the course of church history, and yet it endures.
Some things never change.
Dexter Van Zile is a Christian media analyst for CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.
Updates throughout the day at http://calevbenyefuneh.blog
spot.com. If you enjoy "Love of the Land", please be a subscriber. Just put your email address in the "Subscribe" box on the upper right-hand corner of the page.Twitter updates at LoveoftheLand as well as our Love of the Land page at Facebook which has additional pieces of interest besides that which is posted on the blog. Also check-out This Ongoing War by Frimet and Arnold Roth. An excellent blog, very important work.