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Boycott racist Sabeel conference

Charles Jacobs: Et tu, Tutu?
Charles Jacobs on the upcoming Sabeel conference here in Boston, featuring Desmond Tutu:

Most of our parents voted for Stevenson, despised McCarthy and fought racism before the rest of America saw it was the right thing to do. We stood with Martin Luther King and were crushed when he – and John and Bobby Kennedy – were killed. We hated Nixon, boycotted grapes with Caesar Chavez, cheered for Bella and Gloria on women’s rights and defeated apartheid in South Africa.
Like most of America’s Jews, we’re LFBs – Liberals From Birth. Why? Because Jewish and American values are in almost perfect harmony.

On Israel([search]), we were never uncritical, but loyal to the cause of a Jewish homeland and to the Jews who fought to keep it. Not only because we were Jews, but also because tiny beleaguered Israel is, or should be a, liberal cause.

But it’s not. Not now. Many of our friends disagree with us about Israel, and in increasingly disagreeable ways. They got the story wrong, from the media, from academics, and from clergy. Painfully, we see former allies, even heroes of past struggles, attacking the Jewish state – and its supporters: us.

So what will Boston’s Jews do when Desmond Tutu, the anti-apartheid hero who likens Israeli treatment of Arabs to apartheid, headlines an anti-Israel hate-fest at the Old South Church in October? The “Israel Apartheid” Conference is organized by Sabeel, whose leader says Israelis are “crucifying” Arabs like the Jews did Jesus.

The two-day rant against Israel features speakers who pose as human rights activists who care about injustice – yet their concerns are oh so selective. Israel is an “apartheid state,” they say, with an “apartheid wall.” It’s worse for Palestinians than South Africa was for blacks. It’s the world’s worst human rights situation. None of this is close to being true.
Israel’s Arab citizens vote, are elected to the Knesset, and enjoy better health care and education than most Arabs in the region. Yes, Arabs in the territories are treated differently, yet not because of their “race” – but because their leaders are at war with Israel. Israelis don’t act on the basis of race, like white South Africans did. Shame on Desmond Tutu for deliberately ignoring all this.

Calling Israel racist pleases the Sabeel-ites, but has nothing to do with a concern for justice. There is real apartheid in the Middle East – racist apartheid: blacks slaughtered and enslaved by Arabs in Sudan; gender apartheid: women in Saudi Arabia may not drive cars or walk unaccompanied; religious apartheid: churches cannot be built in Saudi Arabia and Jews can’t be citizens in Jordan. It’s not justice these folks are fixated upon, it’s the Jewish state.

Some Boston Jews and LFB’s may have turned away from this conflict. But now it’s time to choose: When Tutu comes, many of us will protest. If the anti-Israel demagogues are led by a black man who led his people to freedom – but who attacks and defames another free people – Israel’s and America’s Jews must decide: Which side will you be on?
 
 

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Re: Boycott racist Sabeel conference

atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/search

SABEEL

This is an organization that claims that it is " an international peace movement initiated by Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land who seek a just peace based on two states-Palestine([search]) and Israel([search])-as defined by international law and existing United Nations resolutions". Which means that they seek the destruction of Israel by appealing to the cotton wool between the ears of many ignorant Christians.

The conference I attended, advertised as "Breaking Down The Wall Of Silence: Voices We Need To Hear - a Sabeel Coference to inform and stimulate thoughtful action toward a just resolution to the Palestine-Israel conflict", was organized by Friends of Sabeel.

It turned out to be a rather unsubtle attempt at brainwashing

Read more at :

atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/search">atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/search
 

Re: Boycott racist Sabeel conference

Tuesday, August 28, 2007
What Happened at the Berkeley Sabeel Conference

The Presbyterian Church's Synod this year rescinded a resolution to divest from Israel([search])([search]) that had run for two years after a small band of radicals managed to get control of the Synod's board and pushed through the divestment scheme. Even though the last Synod meeting voted to end the divestment by the Church, those from the pro-divestment clique on the board were still trying to tell people that it had not been
revoked when it had. The Church's leadership was doubly outraged when they learned this clique had spent $4 million dollars of the Church's money on anti-Israel literature.

Attacking Israel through the US Church system has become part of the modus operandi of the Internatioanl Soldiarity Movement. The colleges proved to be a good workable plan to try and get American youth to hate Israel, a pluralistic democracy, and support a Palestinian state in its place. Of course, the Palestinian state will be just another Arab-Muslim dictatorship, a government with a lifestyle that will be anathema to these same youths if they only understood the implications. Now, the Churches are next.

The ISM tactic of trying to equate Israel with apartheid South Africa is just a scam on the American psyche and is part of this scam. When Arabs run around screaming they want to kill Jews for Allah, the American public is turned off. Hence, the tactic, encouraged by American communists and anarchists, allied with the Arabs and Muslims, of trying to appeal to an American audience, and primarily a young naive one at that, is to elicit false sympathy by claiming the Palestinians are suffering worse than the blacks did in South Africa. This appeals to some well-meaning people who do not understand the revolutionary "code speak" used by the ISM (terrorism=legitimate resistance, security fence=apartheid wall)who might think they are supporting a humanist campaign. They are in fact, supporting a totalitarian campaign of anti-Semitism.

The rest of this church-oriented movement is driven by replacement theology, the notion that the Christian church is replacing the Jews in the Holy Land contrary to what the Bible says. Arab Christian leaders try to claim Jesus was not a Jew but a Palestinian (Arafat did so too). The foundation for this thinking is grounded in anti-Semitism pure and simple.

kaplanwatch.blogspot.com/2007/08/what-happened-at-berkeley-sabeel.html
 

Re: Boycott racist Sabeel conference

 

Re: Boycott racist Sabeel conference


Tonight I decided to skip my usual Friday night services and head on down to the Old South Church to attend the opening of the Sabeel conference on “The Apartheid Paradigm in Palestine([search])-Israel([search]).” The church is a beautiful building; what a shame it was to see it defiled by such hatred. The pews were packed with people who dislike Israel in one way or another; one guy wore a t-shirt depicting a burning Israeli flag.

I walked around the room to see where the microphones for question-and-answer would be. There weren’t any, and at the start of the evening we were told that if we wanted to ask a question we’d have to fill out an index card and hand it to one of the ushers. Screened in advance! I should have known. I complained to Phyllis Bennis, one of the moderators, who told me: “This is not an open discussion.” Indeed!

I sat down in a pew near the front and opened the folder of conference materials. The back page of the official program was entitled “Apartheid?” and was filled with quotes and maps aimed at proving the Israel-apartheid analogy. They had a line from Jimmy Carter, a line from Archbishop Desmond Tutu (the conference’s keynote speaker), and a line from—no, wait, really?—Nelson Mandela:

“Apartheid is a crime against humanity. Israel has deprived millions of Palestinians of their liberty and property. It has perpetuated a system of gross racial discrimination and inequality. It has systematically incarcerated and tortured thousands of Palestinians, contrary to the rules of international law. It has, in particular, waged a war against a civilian population, in particular children.”

Sounds rather damning, doesn’t it? And who could disagree with Nelson Mandela? There’s only one problem: Nelson Mandela never said, wrote or endorsed those words. They are the creation of an Arab journalist named Arjan El Fassed. When I exposed El Fassed's fraud earlier this year, he claimed: “There is no possible basis for Pollak to say I intended people to believe the memo was written by anyone other than myself.”

In spite of El Fassed’s admission, the Israel-haters continue to use his Mandela quote to promote their views. But El Fassed’s “Mandela Memo” is a fraud—just as much a lie as the Israel-apartheid equation itself. The entire evening was built on such lies. Keynote speaker Naim Ateek, for example, claimed that the Israeli government has an “intense desire to ethnically cleanse Palestinians.”

But I’m jumping ahead. The evening began with an address by the Right Reverend M. Thomas Shaw, the local Episcopalian bishop, who equated the anti-Israel movement with the anti-apartheid movement: it is “like any movement we’ve had for justice in human history,” he said. “God smiles on this assembly,” he added. This was a feature throughout the evening: religious blessing of hatred against Israel.

After a hymn—“Guide my feet, Lord” (out the door, I wanted to add)—Archbishop Tutu stood up and recited an invocation. “Lead us from prejudice to truth,” he prayed. Amen, I muttered. I flipped through the Bible in front of me and landed on an appropriate verse, Psalm 36:3: “The words of their mouths are mischief and deceit; they have ceased to act wisely and do good.”

A Muslim cleric, Imam Mahdi Bray, then stood up and gave a silly speech about how he had personally experienced apartheid because he had grown up as a black American in the South and his house had been firebombed et cetera. He did not explain how that qualified him to speak about Israel, but nevertheless went on and on in fiery style about the rights of the dispersed Palestinian people.

Next up was Sara Roy. She devoted most of her speech to attacking Jews, telling the audience that Jewish leaders exploit the Holocaust and other examples of Jewish suffering like the Inquisition. (?!?) She then went on at length about “my Holocaust background,” how her parents were survivors and lived through “loneliness and longing,” and how that formed her opinions of Israel. (Hello, exploitation?)

Israelis and Jews, she said, are “racist,” aside from a few exceptions. Though Jews have a strong tradition of dissent, it is unacceptable among Jews to admit “that Palestinians share our humanity,” she said. Spoon-fed this slander from a person with an unimpeachable “Holocaust background,” the audience swallowed every word and rewarded her with a spirited burst of applause.

Ateek was the last to speek, and was introduced by Hilary Rantisi, who claimed that the event organizers had come under pressure to “disinvite” him. She attacked his critics but did not attempt to explain his religious bigotry, reported recently by Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe (whose article was distributed with the conference materials, along with a defense of the event by a local reform Rabbi).

Ateek said that he opposed violence on both sides, and supported a two-state solution and Israel’s right to live within the 1967 borders (which only a handful of people in the room applauded). However, he said that the government of Israel doesn’t listen and refuses to end the “evil” occupation. He then quoted a Ha’aretz article in which Israeli Jews themselves had used the word “apartheid.”

He equated the Hebrew word hafradah (“separation”), used by some Israelis to describe the security barrier, with the Afrikaans apartheid. He claimed this was a sign that Israelis now support an apartheid policy. (What hafradah actually refers to is separation from land, not people—from the occupied territories, not from Arabs, who are more integrated into Israel now than ever before. Sigh.)

There was a break, and after confirming that there were to be no questions from the floor, I decided to leave. Karl Popper once said that a theory is only scientific if it is falsifiable, i.e. if it is open to being disproved. In the same way, any political idea which is not open to challenge and debate cannot possibly be true. However, if you repeat it often enough, as the saying goes, people start to believe it.

Fraudulent accusations against the Jewish state, based on fabricated evidence. Religious endorsement of hatred, couched in the rhetoric of social justice. False caricatures and stereotypes of an entire people. The parading of token Jews to verify everything said from the stage. Sound familiar? They used to have a word for that. But you can’t use “antisemitism” anymore. So I’ll just call it a disgrace.
 

Re: Boycott racist Sabeel conference

[search])-hatred.html">guidetotheperplexed.blogspot.com/2007/10/26-october-2007-cult-of-israel-hatred.html

Tonight I decided to skip my usual Friday night services and head on down to the Old South Church to attend the opening of the Sabeel conference on “The Apartheid Paradigm in Palestine([search])-Israel.” The church is a beautiful building; what a shame it was to see it defiled by such hatred. The pews were packed with people who dislike Israel in one way or another; one guy wore a t-shirt depicting a burning Israeli flag.

I walked around the room to see where the microphones for question-and-answer would be. There weren’t any, and at the start of the evening we were told that if we wanted to ask a question we’d have to fill out an index card and hand it to one of the ushers. Screened in advance! I should have known. I complained to Phyllis Bennis, one of the moderators, who told me: “This is not an open discussion.” Indeed!

I sat down in a pew near the front and opened the folder of conference materials. The back page of the official program was entitled “Apartheid?” and was filled with quotes and maps aimed at proving the Israel-apartheid analogy. They had a line from Jimmy Carter, a line from Archbishop Desmond Tutu (the conference’s keynote speaker), and a line from—no, wait, really?—Nelson Mandela:

“Apartheid is a crime against humanity. Israel has deprived millions of Palestinians of their liberty and property. It has perpetuated a system of gross racial discrimination and inequality. It has systematically incarcerated and tortured thousands of Palestinians, contrary to the rules of international law. It has, in particular, waged a war against a civilian population, in particular children.”

Sounds rather damning, doesn’t it? And who could disagree with Nelson Mandela? There’s only one problem: Nelson Mandela never said, wrote or endorsed those words. They are the creation of an Arab journalist named Arjan El Fassed. When I exposed El Fassed's fraud earlier this year, he claimed: “There is no possible basis for Pollak to say I intended people to believe the memo was written by anyone other than myself.”

In spite of El Fassed’s admission, the Israel-haters continue to use his Mandela quote to promote their views. But El Fassed’s “Mandela Memo” is a fraud—just as much a lie as the Israel-apartheid equation itself. The entire evening was built on such lies. Keynote speaker Naim Ateek, for example, claimed that the Israeli government has an “intense desire to ethnically cleanse Palestinians.”

But I’m jumping ahead. The evening began with an address by the Right Reverend M. Thomas Shaw, the local Episcopalian bishop, who equated the anti-Israel movement with the anti-apartheid movement: it is “like any movement we’ve had for justice in human history,” he said. “God smiles on this assembly,” he added. This was a feature throughout the evening: religious blessing of hatred against Israel.

After a hymn—“Guide my feet, Lord” (out the door, I wanted to add)—Archbishop Tutu stood up and recited an invocation. “Lead us from prejudice to truth,” he prayed. Amen, I muttered. I flipped through the Bible in front of me and landed on an appropriate verse, Psalm 36:3: “The words of their mouths are mischief and deceit; they have ceased to act wisely and do good.”

A Muslim cleric, Imam Mahdi Bray, then stood up and gave a silly speech about how he had personally experienced apartheid because he had grown up as a black American in the South and his house had been firebombed et cetera. He did not explain how that qualified him to speak about Israel, but nevertheless went on and on in fiery style about the rights of the dispersed Palestinian people.

Next up was Sara Roy. She devoted most of her speech to attacking Jews, telling the audience that Jewish leaders exploit the Holocaust and other examples of Jewish suffering like the Inquisition. (?!?) She then went on at length about “my Holocaust background,” how her parents were survivors and lived through “loneliness and longing,” and how that formed her opinions of Israel. (Hello, exploitation?)

Israelis and Jews, she said, are “racist,” aside from a few exceptions. Though Jews have a strong tradition of dissent, it is unacceptable among Jews to admit “that Palestinians share our humanity,” she said. Spoon-fed this slander from a person with an unimpeachable “Holocaust background,” the audience swallowed every word and rewarded her with a spirited burst of applause.

Ateek was the last to speek, and was introduced by Hilary Rantisi, who claimed that the event organizers had come under pressure to “disinvite” him. She attacked his critics but did not attempt to explain his religious bigotry, reported recently by Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe (whose article was distributed with the conference materials, along with a defense of the event by a local reform Rabbi).

Ateek said that he opposed violence on both sides, and supported a two-state solution and Israel’s right to live within the 1967 borders (which only a handful of people in the room applauded). However, he said that the government of Israel doesn’t listen and refuses to end the “evil” occupation. He then quoted a Ha’aretz article in which Israeli Jews themselves had used the word “apartheid.”

He equated the Hebrew word hafradah (“separation”), used by some Israelis to describe the security barrier, with the Afrikaans apartheid. He claimed this was a sign that Israelis now support an apartheid policy. (What hafradah actually refers to is separation from land, not people—from the occupied territories, not from Arabs, who are more integrated into Israel now than ever before. Sigh.)

There was a break, and after confirming that there were to be no questions from the floor, I decided to leave. Karl Popper once said that a theory is only scientific if it is falsifiable, i.e. if it is open to being disproved. In the same way, any political idea which is not open to challenge and debate cannot possibly be true. However, if you repeat it often enough, as the saying goes, people start to believe it.

Fraudulent accusations against the Jewish state, based on fabricated evidence. Religious endorsement of hatred, couched in the rhetoric of social justice. False caricatures and stereotypes of an entire people. The parading of token Jews to verify everything said from the stage. Sound familiar? They used to have a word for that. But you can’t use “antisemitism” anymore. So I’ll just call it a disgrace.
 

"A Guide to the Perplexed"

 

"guidetotheperplexed.blogspot.com"

Learn where he stole the name:

www.counterpunch.org/stclair07192003.html
 

Re: Boycott racist Sabeel conference

www.israelforum.com/blog_article.php

Hate at the altar
By Dexter Van Zile | October 25, 2007

IF A church in Boston announced that it was renting space to a self-described peace group whose leader hung nooses from trees in former slave-holding states, the interfaith community would be outraged, the church would be condemned, and the wisdom of its pastor and governing council would be called into question, with good reason.

Any organization led by someone who would display an image with such a bloody and violent history would immediately be repudiated by people of good will. Virtually everyone knows that a noose hanging from a tree is a prelude to a lynching. Its display is a vile act intended to intimidate African-Americans and other minorities into submission. It is a vestige of the Old South that has been discarded by all but the irredeemably racist.

Sadly, Old South Church in downtown Boston is playing host to just such a group this weekend - with one slight difference. Instead of displaying a noose during a time of racial tension, the leader of the group in question - the Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek, founder of Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center - invoked the anti-Semitic trope of Jews as Christ-killers during the second intifada, when Palestinian suicide bombers were murdering citizens of Israel([search]).

The portrayal of Jews as Christ-killers has contributed to untold violence and hostility toward the Jewish people, but for some reason, Old South Church is allowing Sabeel and Ateek, an Anglican priest from Jerusalem, the use of its worship space.

For the past three decades, Sabeel has billed itself as the voice of the beleaguered community of Palestinian Christians in the West Bank, the Gaza([search]) Strip, and Israel. Over the years, Sabeel has been successful in convincing well-meaning, but largely ignorant Christians in the United States and Europe that the Palestinian people are innocent sufferers and the Israeli government their brutal oppressors.

The centerpiece of this effort can be seen in the hostile rhetoric of Ateek. For example, his 2000 Christmas message portrayed Israeli officials as Herod, who, according to the Christian gospel, murdered all the infants of Bethlehem in an attempt to kill the infant Jesus. In his 2001 Easter message, Ateek wrote, "The Israeli government crucifixion system is operating daily" and that "Palestine([search]) has become the place of the skull." And in February 2001, Ateek compared the Israeli occupation to the stone blocking Christ's tomb.

With these three images, Ateek has figuratively blamed Israel for the attempted murder of the infant Jesus, the crucifixion of Jesus the prophet, and for blocking the resurrection of Christ the Savior.

In the context of Christian-Jewish relations, language like this - which has preceded and justified the killing of Jews for nearly two millennia - is the equivalent of a noose hanging from a tree in the Old South. Its use during a time of violence can only serve to justify continued violence against Israeli civilians. Sadly, Ateek's defenders have said that he is merely using the "language of the cross" to describe Palestinian suffering, but in fact, he is describing Israeli behavior.

Taken to its logical end, language like this suggests that the only solution to Palestinian suffering is Israel's elimination, which Sabeel called for in a 2004 document that stated the organization's "vision for the future" is "one-state for two nations and three religions."

To make matters worse, Ateek has invoked the notion of the wandering, defenseless Jew as a good thing by writing that Jewish statehood contradicts the Jewish call to suffer. This type of language has been regarded as taboo by responsible Christians since the Holocaust, and its reemergence in Ateek's writing is as ominous as a noose hanging from a tree.

This is not peacemaking; it is demonization. Such language might have been tolerable in the Old South, but not today.

Not in Boston's Old South.
 

"This is not peacemaking; it is demonization."

(1.) Zionists don't need to be demonized. They demonize themselves quite sufficiently.

(2.) Peace is not what Palestine([search]) needs most. What Palestine needs most is not peace, but justice. If justice costs blood, so be it.
 

Re: Boycott racist Sabeel conference

www.solomonia.com/blog/archive/2007/10/report-on-sabeel-from-inside-the-confere/

Report on Sabeel from Inside the Conference Friday Night
Joel Pollak has a must-read: The cult of Israel([search])-hatred

Worth getting on the record:

...I sat down in a pew near the front and opened the folder of conference materials. The back page of the official program was entitled “Apartheid?” and was filled with quotes and maps aimed at proving the Israel-apartheid analogy. They had a line from Jimmy Carter, a line from Archbishop Desmond Tutu (the conference’s keynote speaker), and a line from—no, wait, really?—Nelson Mandela:

“Apartheid is a crime against humanity. Israel has deprived millions of Palestinians of their liberty and property. It has perpetuated a system of gross racial discrimination and inequality. It has systematically incarcerated and tortured thousands of Palestinians, contrary to the rules of international law. It has, in particular, waged a war against a civilian population, in particular children.”

Sounds rather damning, doesn’t it? And who could disagree with Nelson Mandela? There’s only one problem: Nelson Mandela never said, wrote or endorsed those words. They are the creation of an Arab journalist named Arjan El Fassed. When I exposed El Fassed's fraud earlier this year, he claimed: “There is no possible basis for Pollak to say I intended people to believe the memo was written by anyone other than myself.”

In spite of El Fassed’s admission, the Israel-haters continue to use his Mandela quote to promote their views. But El Fassed’s “Mandela Memo” is a fraud—just as much a lie as the Israel-apartheid equation itself. The entire evening was built on such lies.

That lie, if I remember correctly, comes up later at the rally, so it's worth bearing in mind. Money:

...Fraudulent accusations against the Jewish state, based on fabricated evidence. Religious endorsement of hatred, couched in the rhetoric of social justice. False caricatures and stereotypes of an entire people. The parading of token Jews to verify everything said from the stage. Sound familiar? They used to have a word for that. But you can’t use “antisemitism” anymore. So I’ll just call it a disgrace.
 

Re: Boycott racist Sabeel conference Boston, too!!!!!

Today the Evil Empire descends on Boston. Self Hating Israeli Jew Jeff Halper, my pen pal, and head of ICAHD, Desmond Tutu-the Bishop who dresses like a Teletubby and Proud Anti-Semite and James Earl "Israel([search]) is Apartheid" Carter, the dementia suffering worst president in the history of the United States. A man Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan summed up Carter in 1980, "Unable to distinguish between our friends and our enemies, he has essentially adopted our enemies' view of the world."Jimmy Carter's Legacy of Failure These three lead a brood of haters to a beautiful old church in Boston, the Old South Church, to spend today and tomorrow bashing Israel as Sabeel hosts a conference, entitled “The Apartheid Paradigm in Palestine([search])-Israel.

Sabeel’s ‘Peace’ façade
Pro-Palestinian human rights group in fact undermines Palestinian cause

Daniel Fink

Thanks to Sabeel, an East Jerusalem-based Ecumenical Liberation Center, Americans will soon be provided a window into the backwards nature of the so-called “human rights movement.”

On October 26-27, Boston’s well known Old South Church will host a conference led by the North American Friends of Sabeel, a group that purports to “seek justice and peace in the Holy Land.” Their conference, entitled “The Apartheid Paradigm in Palestine-Israel,” will engage in continued political warfare against Israel.

Israel will be blamed for the plight of the Palestinians. Calls for divestment based on Jimmy Carter’s discredited notion of apartheid will be made. Renouncing violence and recognizing Israel are absent from the agenda. So is another critical issue, making it ludicrous for Sabeel to claim the status of a peacemaker.

Not a single session of the Sabeel conference addresses the precarious situation of Christians living in Gaza([search]). That life has become even direr for this community with Hamas in power seems irrelevant to Sabeel. Such indifference can be attributed to the identity of the aggressor. Because the ones perpetrating attacks against Christians are Muslim extremists, Israel can’t be blamed. And if Israel can’t be blamed, the abuse is not worth pointing out.

Sabeel did not venture a word of criticism following the murder on October 7 of Rami Khader Ayyad, a prominent Palestinian Christian activist and Gaza’s only Christian bookstore manager. Nor did they say anything during the summer coup when a convent and Christian school were attacked.

As the Jihadia Salafiya militia roams around Gaza, “enforcing” Islamic law and targeting Christians, Sabeel prefers to sit in Back Bay and hear Noam Chomsky deconstruct the “apartheid paradigm.” Perhaps someone ought to remind these guys that in Hamastan Christians are expected to accept “Islamic rule if they want to live in peace in Gaza,” according to Jihadia Salafiya spokesman.

Such insouciance should come as no surprise to those familiar with Sabeel: their most recent quarterly publication that followed the Gaza takeover contains not a single reference to “Hamas.” Instead, the focus is on “Israeli Violations against the Palestinian Environment.” Such behavior demonstrates that Sabeel is more concerned with criticizing Israel than protesting the mistreatment of its own Christian constituency by Muslim Palestinian thugs and gunmen.

Radical anti-Israel agenda

This is only one aspect of Sabeel’s odious behavior. Their rhetorical invectives against Israel stifle any attempt towards reconciliation. Sabeel's leader, Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek, has described Zionism as a “step backward in the development of Judaism,” and Zionists as “oppressors and war makers.” With rhetoric resembling Iranian President Ahmadinejad's, Atik suggests that the Jewish homeland ought to reside in Europe.

As for their treatment of Palestinians, Sabeel undermines its own commitment to “empower the Palestinian community as a whole.” By consistently refusing to assign requisite responsibility to Palestinians for their plight, Sabeel suggests to Palestinians that their behavior is inconsequential to promoting peace. They are treated as helpless victims.

Although Palestinian human rights would be well served by investing their energies to reform the PA and Hamas security services, tackle widespread internal human rights abuses, build accountable governing institutions, and end corruption, nepotism and terror, such steps receive no attention from Sabeel. In fact, Sabeel ends up undermining the promotion of Palestinian human rights.

So too does Jeff Halper, executive director of the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions, and perennial speaker at Sabeel’s conference. ICAHD is a non-governmental organization funded by the European Union, which ostensibly focuses on housing issues. Instead, they use their resources to promote a radical anti-Israel agenda.

Like Atik and Sabeel, Halper disempowers Palestinians by focusing exclusively on Israel. In June 2007, he patronizingly wrote that, given Israel’s supposed desire for turning Gaza into a Bantustan, “what happens in Gaza…is irrelevant to Israel.” He writes that, “not only are Palestinians irrelevant, in Israel’s view, but the Hamas 'takeover' is actually a positive development since it furthers the apartheid process.” The statement is fallacious and Palestinians are depicted as helpless in their quest for peace.

Sabeel and ICAHD are failing dismally to fulfill their responsibility to Palestinians. Deluding Palestinians into thinking that internal human rights violations, internecine Fatah-Hamas violence, incitement and lack of educational reform are secondary and irrelevant to Israeli policymakers is irresponsible and destructive.

How can these groups act in good faith when they know concessions undertaken by Israel are contingent upon a positive change in Palestinian behavior? By promulgating this disempowering narrative, Sabeel strips the Palestinians, not only of their responsibility, but also their dignity - the primary underpinning of any human rights movement.

Despite what the Annapolis Peace Summit could portend, Sabeel and ICAHD will resist every temptation to engage Palestinians in self-criticism. Instead, while Christians are being killed by Muslim Palestinians in Gaza, members of Sabeel and ICAHD find it more useful to travel half way around the world to blame it on Israel.

Daniel Fink is the Government Affairs Coordinator for NGO Monitor

yidwithlid.blogspot.com/2007/10/sabeel-evil-empire-invades-boston.html
 

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