An Open Letter to “A Just Peace for Palestine”

Dear Just Peace for Palestine,

I have just visited your web page, and I note the following from it:

“What we stand for

“Our vision… “We are committed to a just peace for Palestine that affirms the dignity of the Palestinian people, in accordance with their civil, political and human rights under international law.

“The current treatment of Palestinians denies their basic rights and therefore does not offer any hope of a lasting peace.

“We affirm that a just peace for Palestinians will also mean peace and security for Israelis.

“We reject all forms of racism that treats any group as ‘lesser’ or inferior. (emphasis mine)

“Though religion can be a source of division and conflict, Jews, Christians and Muslims – as well as those of other faiths or none – can share a common commitment to ‘Doing unto others as you would have them do to you’. Whether from a faith group or not, we affirm this as a good foundation for going forward.

“We recognise the history of the suffering of the Jewish community through the centuries and particularly the horror of the Holocaust. We affirm our rejection of anti-Semitism as we commit ourselves to justice for the Palestinians.”

This is all very well, but I note that you don’t actually define what you mean by “just” (which is, after all, a value judgement on your part), nor do you mention, much less condemn, the suicide and other terror by Palestinians against their Israeli neighbours, Jewish and Muslim.   That being the case, I would venture to suggest that your “vision” is a blinkered and highly selective one and that your declaration above, that you reject all forms of racism, is disingenuous if not downright dishonest.

It follows that a group such as yours which, as you would have us believe, rejects all forms of racism, ought to think very carefully indeed before it lists among its workers or supporters people whose behaviour shows an outright rejection of this central tenet.   One such group, Jews for Justice for Palestinians, goes out of its way to delegitimise the existence of Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people.   You also list the Friends of Sabeel among your supporters.   Knowledgeable people are fully aware that Sabeel promotes revisionist theology which tries to sever the relationship between the Jewish people and their homeland in Israel.  It deliberately tries to obscure the fact that there has been a continuous Jewish presence in what is now Israel since before the time of Jesus or Muhammed,  and its  founder, Naim Ateek, makes excuses for suicide terror.  In a bizarre article he recast Samson of the Old Testament as an Israelite “suicide bomber.”  In his 2000 Easter message, in a scurrilous reworking of the antisemitic trope that the Jews are responsible for the death of Jesus, Ateek depicted Israel as killing Jesus again, by “crucifying” the Palestinian people.   Your publicising your connection with these groups, without any caveats, show you to be at least lacking in awareness of how your message will be received.  The general public, who have no axe to grind, may be forgiven if they assume you to be cynically manipulative and hypocritical as well.

All of which begs the question of what your agenda really is, other than to add more hatred to the world.   Sensible, open-minded people have no need for another blog which excoriates Israel and ignores or excuses the excesses and murderous intent towards Israel of her Arab neighbours.    “Christian” groups which align themselves with such a body betray the teachings of their faith and the attitudes of those you list are truly appalling.    True, you do mention peace for Israel, but your banner headline adds it almost as an afterthought and you say nothing whatsoever about what would be the Palestinians’ responsibilities (ie ending of terror attacks and hate speech in their media) toward bringing such a peace about.

The most glaring betrayal of your “rejection” of racism, however, is that your Campaign Co-ordinator is Ben White, whose views about Israel and Jews are infamously well-known:

White has regularly accuses Israel of ethnic cleansing, attributes the malicious slurs of colonisation, racism and apartheid to Israel, acts as an apologist for Islamist violence against the Jewish state, draws parallels between Nazi Germany and Zionism, has a problem with the police arresting those involved in plots to bomb synagogues, and has even gone as far as to flirt with Holocaust denial, or more accurately Holocaust revisionism.

In an article entitled Is It ‘Possible’ to Understand the Rise in ‘Anti-Semitism’?, White stated that “I do not consider myself an anti-Semite, yet I can also understand why some are”.  This after linking the rise of antisemitism with “the widespread bias and subservience to the Israeli cause in the Western media.”   As was astutely observed by Seismic Shock, “White here jumps straight into transitional bog-standard antisemitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion language”.

Previously, White was embroiled in a controversy which began following his scathing review on Fulcrum of Patrick Sookhdeo’s book “Global Jihad”.   In a strange twist of events, White apparently contacted a radical Muslim blogger named “Indigo Jo” to tip him off about Sookdheo’s book, whom  Indigo Jo lovingly refers to as “Sookhdevil”. Subsequently, Indigo Jo’s attack on Sookhdeo was reproduced on other Islamist websites resulting in Sookhdeo receiving a death threat. See here and here and for White’s version of the events here.

I believe that the appointment of such a one as your campaign director is ill-conceived and is yet another example of your double standards and hypocrisy.   I also believe that the way in which your site represents itself is at best misguided, at worst deliberately dishonest.   At the very least it sets out to privilege one side in the Middle East conflict at the expense of the other and uses the involvement and apparent support of various church groups to put a specious seal of authority on its anti-Israel (and in White’s and Sabeel’s case anti-Jewish) message.

The end result is egregious and deceitful and, as I have argued above, it adds to the hatred in the world, which seems, at the very least, inconsistent with Christian morality.   You should either re-write your web content, or remove your site.

9 replies »

  1. Two points:
    First: this post is engaged in ideological warfare, and unlikely to get any response from the recipients. The ideological divide between the author and the recipients is so wide; they are literally speaking different languages, even when they talk English.

    Second: slogans that contain the words ‘peace’ and ‘justice,’ plays on our basic desire for peace and justice. But the two don’t complete each other, peace is objective, justice is subjective – each side has its own ideas as to what is justice. In their core, justice is something worth fighting for; even go to war for. For peace we are willing to make painful concessions. They are painful because we believe our cause to be just.

    So if someone demands peace & justice. This person is either naïve or a charlatan.

  2. ‘Just’ for them = an end to Zionism and the Jewish state which for them = racism.

    This was written years ago.

    Also it hardly acknowledges any justice to Zionism i.e. the reason why Jews exist in the land of Israel in anything other than tiny highly discriminated against numbers i.e. any kind of fundamental Jewish right of restoration or return, now or ever.

    The document is, I think, an hypocrisy and a lie. Which I think are still sins in Christianity.

    It was forged by Ben White, precisely to give his anti-Zionist campaign a veneer of respectability and reasonableness.

    As you say ‘just’ for him = ‘fundamentally unjust’ for most of the Jews concerned, since, if you read the small print, available in what he says elsewhere, it says the Palestinian Arab Christian nationalist narrative of Palestinians as a national Christ crucified by the evil, alien, Zionist Jewish interlopers, is the just one.

    It is a work of pro-Palestinian Arab Christian (and, by extension, Muslim), but anti-Jewish, nationalism.

    Which is why that unpleasant character, Tutu, signed it.

  3. It’s especially wicked, because it professes to be a work of specifically Christian justice. And the one thing it should mention, above all others, it does not i.e. that from the beginning and most of Christian history, normative Christian tradition has been that the Jews are a people exiled for their rejection of Jesus and the prophets.

    Clearly to have applied this morality to Jews, but not to Palestinian Arab Christians and Muslims is an inconsistency.

    So, you either allow Jews some kind of historical right of return, by virtue of historical dispossession, or you deny it to Palestinian Arab Muslims and Christians since, clearly, by the same moral law, they must have sinned terribly to be dispossessed.

    For Christian morality to be universal, it must be applied universally. Which is the only sense in which it can be just.

    But White, Tutu etc have NEVER said, anywhere, that Jews have or have had some kind of right of historical restoration or return.

    And the reason for that, is that they have adopted and promulgate whole heartedly, the Palestinian Arab Christian national/nationalist narrative of a nation crucified.

  4. Dvar Dea, thank you. I am well aware of what you call the ideological divide between CiFWatch and these people, not least in the matter of truth telling.

    The post is therefore to bring to public attention the bad faith arguments of so-called “peace activists” of this stripe – I didn’t write it to get a reaction from the organisation itself!

    And I absolutely agree that if one expects peace and justice from this motley collection then one is naive, although I believe that your use of “charlatan” is extreme.

    zkharya, quite so. It is hypocritical when you think of the un-Christian credentials of its campaign manager, who doubtless believes, as does the likes of Tutu, that stamping it with “Christian” will pull the wool over the eyes of gullible people and blind them to the obvious antisemitism woven into it throughout.

    I continue to be surprised at the naivete of such people, or am I being kind? Perhaps they are deliberate in their offence giving.

  5. Medusa,
    In every scam there is the scammers and the ones been scammed. We know what the scam is, but we cannot always tell who is scamming and who is been scammed. If we’ll accuse the later of been the former we will be doing something that is wrong, accusing the victim of the crime of that very crime.
    But the scam has to be exposed. Fortunately there is more than one way of doing it. Unfortunately, no matter which way will take we are gonna hit the wall of the true believers. A wall will have to chisel. We are chiseling for the truth here, and it is exhausting and frustrating work.

  6. Anything which supports the revisionist theology of Sabeel and Naim Ateek’s craziness in the name of Christianity is bound to be antisemitic. I don’t know for how long Ben White has been its campaign director but you can bet that he has taken/will plumb hithero undiscovered depths of antisemitism and holocaust denial.

    Apologies to Medusa, but can I ask Dvar Dea to clarify his/her first paragraph above? Dvar Dea, do you mean that the “Just Peace” notion of a just peace is a scam as the site presents it (if so I agree with you)? However it seems clear enough to me who are the scammers and who the scammed and with these people peddling their lies the Palestinians are further victimised.

    And what do you mean by the “wall of true believers?”

    Thanks in advance

  7. I meant any combination of peace & justice is a scam.
    As for telling scammers from scammed. Some of the scammers can be identified but not all of them. It takes a thorough study of each person, another watch blog.
    Dvar Dea,
    (Boaz Tibon, defiantly a him),

  8. zkharya

    It is a work of pro-Palestinian Arab Christian …

    On the plus side for them, at least Lauren Booth is no longer a potential liability.