Theories of peacemaking are apparently more important than reality.
Surprise! There’s a silly letter to President Obama about the current Gaza conflict from oldline Protestant and liberal Catholic groups essentially siding with Hamas and against Israel.
As U.S. churches and Christian organizations, we join others worldwide who are calling for an immediate end to the violence — as well as its underlying causes — in Palestine and Israel. As the situation continues to deteriorate, and horrendous death and destruction mount in Gaza, we are called by conscience to say, “Enough.”
What do these church groups identify as the "underlying causes?" Might it be that Hamas officially rejects Israel’s existence and fights for its eradication? No! The underlying cause is Israeli injustice towards Palestinians.
Note there is no direct criticism here from the church groups of Hamas "firing rockets into Israel." Just critique of the "oppressive Israeli blockade."
Again, no criticism here from the church groups of Hamas, which is dedicated to perpetual violent struggle and seeks to erect an Islamist state over all Palestinian Territories and over Israel. The church groups are just interested in "deeper injustices" by Israel.
Oh, how nice, here finally the church groups do seemingly disapprove of Hamas’ "indiscriminate" rocket attacks. But Israel’s defense against the rockets is just as bad, they assert, if not worse.
The church groups want Israel’s "occupation" to end, without defining what is occupied. Hamas views all of Israel as an "occupation." Do the church groups disagree?
These church groups want to investigate, and actually would like to end, all U.S. military aid for Israel. They are not interested in how United Nations funding for Gaza, supported by the U.S., facilitates Hamas’ reign of terror.
Again, the church groups don’t define what is occupied nor do they acknowledge Hamas’ understanding of "occupation. "
The church groups again conflate Israeli self defense with Hamas terror. They do not explain how endorsing the Hamas narrative of perpetual grievance fuels peace instead of stoking more war.
Protestant and Catholic endorsors of this fatuous appeal for "peace" are the American Friends Service Committee, Conference of Major Superiors of Men, Friends Committee on National Legislation, Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, Mennonite Central Committee U.S., Office of Social Justice of the Christian Reformed Church, Pax Christi International, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas’ Extended Justice Team, United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries, and United Methodist General Board of Church and Society.
Last month there was a poll of Palestinian opinion showing that fewer than 30 percent of Palestinians favor living peacefully alongside Israel in two states. Instead, 60 percent favor as a national goal for the next five years "reclaiming all of historic Palestine from the river to the sea." Sixty eight percent in Gaza favor eradicating Israel, while 54 percent in West Bank favor it. How lovely.
So how does one side negotiate peace when the other side not only rejects peace but favors eradication of their adversary? These types of clueless church groups who appealed to Obama over Gaza never explain. They bring to their Middle East analysis the same utopian detachment from reality that they typically apply everywhere else. They think others i.e. Israel should essentially disarm and surrender, even if it means self destruction.
For them, abstract theories of peacemaking are more important than reality in a fallen world.
Christian political witness rooted in Christian teaching acknowledges states’ obligation to defend their people. It also recognizes that aggression and hatred are endemic to this world, and in statecraft appeasement and detached impartiality are not virtues but vices that engender greater injustice and further conflict.
Fortunately, almost nobody takes seriously the fantasy advocacy of the Maryknollers or the United Methodist political lobby. But their example offers an instructive model for how thoughtful Christians should not speak.