Tuesday, August 21, 2018

When Lutheran peacemakers give license to Hamas violence while blunting Israel’s ability to protect lives - by Dexter Van Zile

Until the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s leaders and peacemakers stop treating Hamas like Voldemort in the Harry Potter universe — as the one who must not be named — they will be continue to act, whether they mean to or not, as shills for the organization, just as they did in their most recent statement.

Dexter Van Zile..
20 August '18..

For one reason or another, mainline Protestant peacemakers find it difficult, if not impossible, to speak openly and directly about Palestinian violence against Israeli civilians. In particular, they can’t say the word “Hamas,” the name of an antisemitic terrorist organization that seeks Israel’s destruction and which has launched thousands of rockets into Israel.

Hamas, the group that mainliners cannot name, does a lot of really bad things and causes a lot of suffering. It hides its rockets in schools and hospitals, teaches children to hate Jews, and has encouraged Palestinians to gather at Gaza’s boundary with Israel to give cover for armed terrorists seeking to penetrate the security barrier. It recruits people to serve as human shields, steals food and fuel from rank-and-file Palestinians to give to its leaders, and takes cement allowed into Gaza to rebuild peoples’ homes and uses it to build attack tunnels into Israel. But because mainliners can’t — or won’t — say the word “Hamas,” mainliners have a tough time confronting the bad things it does.

Because of the mainline refusal to speak about Hamas’s bad acts, the peacemaking narrative offered by mainline activists and the churches that support them is profoundly distorted. In the mainline narrative about violence in the Holy Land, anti-Jewish violence is mostly unremarkable, while Israel’s efforts to protect Jewish lives and welfare is inherently blameworthy. Hamas terrorists get a pass for terrorizing Israelis and Israelis are condemned for fighting back.

The overall effect of Christian peacemaking rhetoric is to give license to Palestinian violence while blunting Israel’s ability to protect the lives of its citizens.

One recent example of this phenomenon is evident in an action alert issued on Aug. 16, 2018 by the “Peace Not Walls” campaign of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The action alert begins with the following paragraph:

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