Exile and the prophetic: the Church of Scotland weighs in

Israel/Palestine
on 21 Comments

This post is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.

The Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland just released a report, “The Inheritance of Abraham?  A Report on the ‘Promised Land.’”  It’s already causing quite a stir in the upper echelons of the Jewish world and no doubt in parts of the Christian world as well. 

We’re back on the churches and BDS with its diverse forms and similar aims.  These church documents are coming one after another now.  In the main, they seek to end the occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank and to free Gaza from its prison-like reality. 

Churches are still up for the Two-State solution, though “The Inheritance of Abraham” mostly emphasizes human and political rights.  The document is short on specifying a particular resolution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

Of course, there are flaws in this document. Ideologically-driven sensibilities skew its theological conclusions.  No matter, it’s certainly a much more honest document than the one the Arab League presented in Washington a few days ago.

Christianity has come a long way.  It has a long way to go.  We all do.

How late to the game of justice the churches are.  But, then, the Jewish community is moving in the opposite direction.  It’s like the Jewish community wants to meet Christian history half-way and then some.   Some Jews are becoming the type of Christians, Christians no longer want to be.

According to the Church of Scotland document, there are three ways of understanding the promises about land in the Bible:  as a territorial guarantee, as a land held in trust and as a land with a universal mission.

Right from the beginning the trajectory of the document is obvious.  If the Promised Land has anything to offer it’s a universal mission.  Thus its theological conclusion: 

From this examination of the various views in the Bible about the relation of land to the people of God, it can be concluded that Christians should not be supporting any claims by Jewish or any other people, to an exclusive or even privileged divine right to possess particular territory. It is a misuse of the Bible to use it as a topographic guide to settle contemporary conflictsover land.

In the Bible, God’s promises extend in hope to all land and people. Focused as they are on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, these promises call for a commitment in every place to justice in a spirit of reconciliation. 

I’m not going to bore you with the report’s specific Biblical arguments.  Some are more sophisticated than others.  Suffice it to say, they’re Christian to the core.  Everything is filtered through Jesus Christ. 

Christian triumphalism, even when it is supposedly limited to Christians, drives me up the proverbial wall.  It’s in the Christian DNA, I suppose.  No matter how far Christians stray from the notion that Christianity has the truth and that this particular truth will set more or less everyone free, it pops up again.

Until you get to liberation theology and beyond, Christian theology is about asserting Christianity’s self-evident truths.  Like the tradition itself, Christian theology even on behalf of the poor and oppressed isn’t big on humility.  Then again the oppressing powers aren’t big on humility either.

To me, Christian theology isn’t an end game.  Contra “The Inheritance of Abraham,” people, including Jews settlers and Christian Zionists, can believe what they want to believe.  Most of what we believe, including what we don’t believe so definitively, is as much a matter of upbringing and religious and cultural inheritance as it is conscious choice and critical evaluation.

All in all, it’s probably best to be an agnostic in most matters.  Nonetheless, we have to take a stand on political issues.  The Church of Scotland document does this when it sums up the Israel/Palestine situation and the responsibility of the churches as follows: 

That the current situation is characterized by an inequality in power and therefore reconciliation can only be possible if the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and the blockade of Gaza, are ended. 

The Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank are illegal under International Law. 

The Church of Scotland, individuals and civil organisations should urge the UK government and the international community as a matter of urgency to put pressure on Israel to cease from the expansion of these settlements. 

The Church of Scotland must remain in dialogue and fellowship with ecumenical partners to support concerns for justice and peace. 

That the Church of Scotland should do nothing to promote the viability of the illegal settlements on Palestinian land. 

The Church of Scotland should support projects which prioritise peacebuilding, poverty alleviation and the Palestinian economy.

That human rights of all peoples should be respected but this should include the right of return and /or compensation for Palestinian refugees. 

That negotiations between the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority about peace with justice must resume at the earliest opportunity and the Church of Scotland should continue to put political pressure on all parties to commence such negotiations, and asking all parties to recognise the inequality in power which characterises this situation. 

That there are safe rights of access to the sacred sites for the main religions in the area. 

How should we judge “The Inheritance of Abraham” in political terms?  Is it precise enough with a strength that calls out for action?  If the actions the document urges were implemented would Palestinians be closer to justice?  Or are these arguments, no matter the controversy engendered, only stop-gap measures that raise the temperature without any specific movement toward a solution?

Since no solution offered has gone anywhere, it may be wrong to ask of a church document more than it can deliver. 

A few days ago Google recognized Palestine – virtually.  Are church documents like “The Inheritance of Abraham” also providing a virtual recognition for a Palestine that still isn’t real?

Questions to ponder:  Can the whole world recognize Palestine and still allow it to disappear?  Or is there a cumulative moment when virtual recognition takes on a political force?

Tipping point, where art thou?

About Marc H. Ellis

Marc H. Ellis is retired Director and Professor of Jewish Studies at Baylor University and author of Burning Children: A Jewish View of the War in Gaza which can be found at www.newdiasporabooks.com

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21 Responses

  1. Citizen
    May 5, 2013, 1:10 pm

    A big step would be if EU put its money where its mouth is, and joined BDS, instead of fostering tons of trade with Israel even while it opposes Israeli conduct and policy. Israel needs that trade a lot more than the EU. And Germany should quit gifting Israel nuclear capable subs; the German regime just gave Israel a 5th such sub, extending Israel’s nuclear bombing reach capability even farther across the whole world–including to USA. Of course the US still pretends it does not know if Israel even has a nuclear bomb stockpile. Uncle Sam is indeed a moron–but only when it comes to anything Israel. You can thank US congress and WH for that, and even more, the US political campaign finance system. It is spelling the end of any glory in the American flag.

  2. libra
    May 5, 2013, 3:04 pm

    I’m not going to bore you with the report’s specific Biblical arguments.  Some are more sophisticated than others.  Suffice it to say, they’re Christian to the core.  Everything is filtered through Jesus Christ. 

    Imagine that, a Christian who filters everything through Jesus Christ! Whatever next? A Jew who filters everything through Judaism? Thank goodness no one could ever accuse you of that, Professor Ellis.

    • Citizen
      May 5, 2013, 4:25 pm

      @ libra
      I am not a follower of any religious faith. But, a Christian who filters all thru Jesus, and a Jew who filters all through being Chosen by God–are they not of the same mentality? I say, yes, and take both with more than a bag of salt.

  3. W.Jones
    May 5, 2013, 3:14 pm

    Like the tradition itself, Christian theology even on behalf of the poor and oppressed isn’t big on humility.

    Is God humble? Sometimes Yes- He comes like a whispering voice. Other times No- He can be a pillar of fire.
    Can Christian theology be like that too? One very old eastern chant says “We have found the true faith.” Is it humble for someone to sing that He has found the truth?
    Yet one of the main saints is Doubting Thomas. Is it humble for the religion to say a person can have doubts while seeking the truth and still be Christian?
    A proud religion and also the most humble?

  4. W.Jones
    May 5, 2013, 3:22 pm

    Marc,

    You write:

    To me, Christian theology isn’t an end game. Contra “The Inheritance of Abraham,” people, including Jews settlers and Christian Zionists, can believe what they want to believe.

    The Pentateuch predicts that Abraham would become the father of many nations. If Abraham becomes their father too, why would a land promise to Abraham be forever limited to only one nation no matter what?

  5. Walid
    May 5, 2013, 4:10 pm

    The “just released report” is a replay of an earlier report released last September in Beirut by Pope Benedict XVI. The report actually was in the form of an Aposolic Exhortation that resulted from the Vatican’s 2010 Bishops’ Synod on Christianity in the Middle East. The initial draft that came out in 2010 at the end of synod included some of the elements mentioned in the report of the Church of Scotland about the “Promised Land” and the “Chosen People” and how both were being used to dispossess the Palestinians and justify the continued occupation.

    Abe Foxman and the ADL objected strongly to the report in 2010 and must have succeeded since the wording of final Exhortation included a watered-down version of the initial conclusions, those that refused the exclusivity of the promise to any one people and the one that that pertained to one specific people as being the chosen one. The Vatican backtracked on the Chosen People by stating that the Jews are the Chosen People but that since Jesus was a Jew, he was automatically included and thereby all his followers also became chosen. The Vatican also backtracked in not including any referrence to the occupation in Palestine.

    All this to say that no one should break out the champagne just yet; if Abe Foxman was able to twist some Vatican arms, he surely will be twisting some Scottish ones before he gives up.

    Here’s the story as reported on the ADL site in 2010:

    ADL Protests Archbishop’s Outrageous Remarks About Judaism

    New York, NY, October 25, 2010 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed deep concern at remarks by a Greek Melkite archbishop based in the United States who suggested, as part of a Holy See conference in Rome on the Middle East, that Judaism should no longer exist. The League called the remarks by Archbishop Cyril Salim Bustros, “the worst kind of anti-Judaism, bordering on anti-Semitism.”

    Archbishop Bustros, who belongs to the Greek Melkite Church and resides in Newton, Mass., reportedly stated that God’s Covenantal promise of land to the Jewish people, “was nullified by Christ” and that “there is no longer a chosen people.”

    The archbishop was in charge of the committee that drafted the final report for the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, a two-week conference that concluded October 23 in Rome.

    The following is the full text of the letter from Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, to Cardinal-elect Kurt Koch, the newly appointed President of the Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews:

    Dear Cardinal Koch:

    We write to protest the shocking and outrageous anti-Jewish comments made by Greek Melkite Archbishop Cyril Salim Bustros in connection with the final communique of the Bishops Synod on the Middle East.

    By stating that God’s Covenantal promise of land to the Jewish people, “was nullified by Christ” and that “there is no longer a chosen people,” Archbishop Bustros is effectively stating that Judaism should no longer exist. This represents the worst kind of anti-Judaism, bordering on anti-Semitism.

    Archbishop Bustros contradicts decades of official Vatican and papal teachings which affirm God’s ongoing Covenant with the Jewish people at Sinai, and calls on Christians to appreciate the Jewish people’s religious self-understanding, including its spiritual attachment to the land of Israel (CF. The 1985 “Notes on the Correct Way To Present Jews and Judaism in Preaching and Catechesis in the Roman Catholic Church 25″).

    As we prepare to commemorate the 45th anniversary of the Vatican Second Council and the adoption of Nostra Aetate, which launched a historic new and respectful theological and familial relationship between Catholics and Jews, we urge that you swiftly and publicly correct Archbishop Bustros’s shocking and damaging statements.

    We also respectfully ask that the Vatican clarify whether Archbishop Bustros’ interpretation of the Synod’s final report reflects the intention of the Synod on these profound theological matters.

    We look forward to your response.

    Link to ADL :
    link to archive.adl.org

    • W.Jones
      May 6, 2013, 12:46 pm

      Walid,

      Don’t Bishop Bustros’ comments sound different when put in context? His full statement was:

      “We Christians cannot speak of the promised land as an exclusive right for a privileged Jewish people,” Bustros continued. “This promise was nullified by Christ. There is no longer a chosen people – all men and women of all countries have become the chosen people.”

      link to facebook.com

      Bishop Bustros was actually being inclusive about everybody.

      • Walid
        May 6, 2013, 8:53 pm

        W. Jones, the outspoken Archbishop Bustros actually had an axe to grind not only about fanatical Jews’ claim to the land but also about fanatical Muslims that also have an equally absurd claim to it.

        Rather than give an interpretation to what he concluded, as Abe Foxman erroneously did by waving his shopworn antisemite flag, here is part of Bustros actual words in 2012 explaining what he meant in his 2010 preliminary conclusion of the synod:

        The Promised Land: During the press conference which was held at the end of the Synod, I presented this message in my role as president of the commission that drafted the message. I was then asked by a journalist: “What do you mean by this sentence: ‘Recourse to theological and biblical positions which use the Word of God to wrongly justify injustices is not acceptable’?” I answered: “Israel cannot use the Biblical concept of a promised land to justify its occupation of Palestinian territory and the expulsion of Palestinians who have been living there for centuries. We Christians cannot now speak about the Promised Land for the Jewish people. With Christ the Promised Land became the Kingdom of God”: Jesus referred to this land in His sermon on the mount and gave it a spiritual interpretation: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of God… Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.” (Mt. 5:3.5)

        In my answer I was thinking in particular of Jewish settlers who claim their right to build on Palestinian territory by saying it forms part of biblical Israel, the land promised by God to the Jews according to the Old Testament. I also warned against the risk of Israel becoming an exclusively Jewish state, with a consequent threat to the 1.2 million Muslim and Christian Arabs living in Israel. The Synod is acknowledging the separation between religion and politics, in stating that recourse to the Bible cannot be used to justify political events: “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” (Mt. 22:21)

        As a Christian, and especially as a Middle-Eastern Christian – and this is the unanimous opinion of the Middle-Eastern Christians, Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants -, I see that the concept of the Promised Land cannot be used for the justification of the return of Jews to Israel and the displacement of Palestinians. The creation of the State of Israel in 1948 – after the resolution of the UN in 1947 regarding the partition of Palestine which was under the British mandate between Arab and Jews – is a political issue not a religious one. It is a fact of history like other facts: Jews who were persecuted in Europe and suffered the horrors of the shoah decided to come to Palestine and build a country for their own. They chose Palestine because of the memory of the Jews who lived there 2000 years ago. They came in great numbers; a war arose between them and the Arabs living there, and they won the war; hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced to leave their homes and flee to the surrounding Arabic countries: Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. Some of the Israelis based their return on the Old Testament theme of the Promised Land. But this does not mean that God is behind their return and their victory against the Arabs.

        The idea of a “Warrior God” which we find in the Old Testament, a God who fights with his chosen people and condemns to death all his enemies cannot be accepted in Christianity. We have to read the Old Testament in the Spirit of Jesus Christ and in the light of His teachings. Jesus did not allow Peter to draw even a sword to fight for Him. According to Jesus’ teachings, God is a God of love, peace, justice and mercy. How can we figure Him at the head of an army fighting with a particular people against other peoples? This idea may have infiltrated Christian thought during the first centuries and the Middle Ages; it can be found today in some extremist Muslims groups, who still say that the land of Palestine is a Muslim land given to Muslims by God, and that they will oppose God’s will if they give up a part of it to the Israelis. But we cannot today accept it. It is against the image of God revealed to us by Jesus Christ in the New Testament.

        The chosen people: As for the idea of the chosen people, it is clear, according to Christian theology and especially to St. Paul, that after Christ there is no longer one particular chosen people! With Christ and in Him all men and women of all countries are called to become children of God and unite in one body, the Body of Christ.

        The chosen people was not a privilege, it was a mission: Israel was chosen by God in the Old Testament to live in holiness, to proclaim His name among the nations, and to prepare the coming of the Messiah. St Paul does not deny the role of the Jewish people in the history of salvation. He writes to the Romans: “I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised. Amen.” (Rom. 9:1-5)

        But in his letter to the Ephesians, he declares that Jesus has united all the peoples in one people and one body:

        “Therefore, remember that at one time you, Gentiles by birth, called ‘the uncircumcison’ by those called ‘the circumcision’, which is done in the flesh by human hands, remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the community of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace; in his flesh he made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commands and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. So He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father.” (Eph 2:11-18)

        The two-State solution: Now in the Israeli-Palestinian issue we are in presence of two opposed religious extremist ideologies: from one part extremist Jews who say that Palestine is the Promised Land given to them by God, and that they cannot give up any part of it to the Arabs; and from the other part extremist Muslims who say that Palestine is a Muslim land given to them by God during the Arabic conquests, and that they cannot give up a part of it to the Israelis. With these two opposed religious ideologies it is impossible to find a compromise in order to reach a lasting peace.

        full Bustros 2012 explanation:
        link to therese-zrihen-dvir.over-blog.com

        It was regrettable that Foxman succeeded in spooking the Vatican with his antisemite slurs to the point of having it backtrack in its final and formal conclusion of the synod and moreso in re-asserting in it that the Jews are the chosen and this included even Jesus.

      • W.Jones
        May 8, 2013, 10:31 pm

        Thank you for posting this excellent explanation.

  6. libra
    May 5, 2013, 5:33 pm

    All in all, it’s probably best to be an agnostic in most matters.  Nonetheless, we have to take a stand on political issues.  The Church of Scotland document does this when…

    Professor Ellis, are you suggesting the Church of Scotland should be agnostic on religious matters but take a stand on political matters? That does, on the face of it, seem rather an odd position for a Church to take but then what do I know? Certainly I’ve no qualification in Liberation Theology and perhaps it’s the core belief of this (surely rather dated?) ideology. That said, I can only hope you noticed the overwhelming response in the comments section to your recent post on land swaps. In case you missed the memo from Phil, more like that please.

  7. DICKERSON3870
    May 5, 2013, 7:38 pm

    RE: “From this examination of the various views in the Bible about the relation of land to the people of God, it can be concluded that Christians should not be supporting any claims by Jewish or any other people, to an exclusive or even privileged divine right to possess particular territory.” ~ The Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland

    BACHMANN AND HER KNUCKLE-DRAGGING ILK BELIEVE OTHERWISE:
    “Bachmann: America ‘cursed’ by God ‘if we reject Israel’”, By Andy Birkey, The Minnesota Independent, 02/08/10

    [EXCERPTS] At a Republican Jewish Coalition event in Los Angeles last week, Rep. Michele Bachmann offered a candid view of her positions on Israel: Support for Israel is handed down by God and if the United States pulls back its support, America will cease to exist.
    The Republican Jewish Coalition is the same organization that recently hired former Sen. Norm Coleman. . .
    . . . Here’s a transcript of some of her remarks at the RJC event:
    I am convinced in my heart and in my mind that if the United States fails to stand with Israel, that is the end of the United States . . . [W]e have to show that we are inextricably entwined, that as a nation we have been blessed because of our relationship with Israel, and if we reject Israel, then there is a curse that comes into play. And my husband and I are both Christians, and we believe very strongly the verse from Genesis [Genesis 12:3], we believe very strongly that nations also receive blessings as they bless Israel. It is a strong and beautiful principle.
    Right now in my own private Bible time, I am working through Isaiah . . . and there is continually a coming back to what God gave to Israel initially, which was the Torah and the Ten Commandments, and I have a wonderful quote from John Adams that if you will indulge me [while I find it] . . . [from his February 16, 1809 letter to François Adriaan van der Kemp]:
    “I will insist that the Hebrews have done more to civilize men than any other nation. If I were an atheist, and believed in blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations. If I were an atheist of the other sect, who believe or pretend to believe that all is ordered by chance, I should believe that chance had ordered the Jews to preserve and propagate to all mankind the doctrine of a supreme, intelligent, wise, almighty sovereign of the universe, which I believe to be the great essential principle of all morality, and consequently of all civilizA

    . . . So that is a very long way to answer your question, but I believe that an explicit statement from us about our support for Israel as tied to American security, we would do well to do that.

    SOURCE (NO LONGER AVAILABLE)http://minnesotaindependent.com/55061/bachmann-america-cursed-by-god-if-we-reject-israel
    PARTIAL ALTERNATIVE SOURCE – link to washingtonmonthly.com

    P.S.
    ● SEE THIS VIDEO about “Taliban Dan” Webster (R – FL) who replaced Alan Grayson in the Congress. It includes a clip from a televangelist program where Webster talks about how much he loves to give foreign/military aid to Israel (à la Michele Bachmann). Webster is a Southern Baptist.
    VIDEO (04:04) – God’s Hand; Rep. on Israel Policy
    Cenk Uygur breaks down comments regarding foreign aid and Israel by Republican Congressman Daniel Webster.
    LINK – link to youtube.com

    ● ALSO SEE THIS VIDEO (02:12) – “Congressman Daniel Webster ‘Must Fund Israel’ Or Lose God’s Hand!
    Theologian Paul Begley of Indiana explains that Florida Congressman Daniel Webster “Must support Israel” or lose the “Hand Of God” upon America! This is the one Congressman who is not afraid to stand for God’s Chosen People!!
    LINK – link to youtube.com

    • DICKERSON3870
      May 5, 2013, 8:04 pm

      BETTER ALTERNATE SOURCE FOR BACHMANN:
      “Bachmann: ‘If We Reject Israel, Then There Is A Curse That Comes Into Play’”, by Doug Mataconis, Outside the Beltway, 5/20/11
      LINK – link to outsidethebeltway.com

      • W.Jones
        May 6, 2013, 7:25 pm

        Dickerson,

        I know what you are talking about.

        The CZs take God’s message to Abraham that He would bless those who bless Abraham, and then extrapolate it.

        The Church of Scotland on the other hand sees Christians as also being descendants of Abraham and “inheritors” of his blessings, which is pretty straightforward from Galatians.

  8. Joe Catron
    May 5, 2013, 9:01 pm

    “How late to the game of justice the churches are.”

    This is dumb.

    link to web.archive.org

    “Christian triumphalism, even when it is supposedly limited to Christians, drives me up the proverbial wall.”

    Now this is funny, for reasons I’ll leave it to anyone who has followed Prof. Ellis’ posts here, up to and including this one, to figure out for themself.

  9. seafoid
    May 6, 2013, 9:21 am

    The Church of Scotland is a decent outfit. It’s not a cult.
    That report is written in the language of a religion, rather than that of a cult.
    Zionism, on the other hand, shares so much with Scientology .

    link to nybooks.com

    “Lawsuits, in Wright’s account, are Scientology’s principal weapons against its outside critics, designed to “harass and discourage rather than win.” He himself is understandably careful writing about this notoriously vindictive and litigious group

    Paulette Cooper, who wrote one of the first exposés, The Scandal of Scientology, in 1971, reported she was subjected to death threats, nineteen lawsuits, wiretaps, and such inventive harassments as complaints to her co-op board that she was a prostitute, and having her name and phone number written in public men’s rooms. At the instigation of people unknown, she was framed for mailing bomb threats, indicted by the government for perjury, and became anorexic and suicidal before being exonerated from the felony charges.

    . Apart from its damage to individual lives, Scientology, according to Wright, has mounted an unprecedented program of infiltration of government agencies and bodies—even private organizations like the American Medical Association and the Better Business Bureau.
    People leaving the fold often will find themselves victims of vindictive harassment, Internet accusations, sometimes from fictional or quasi-fictional groups or websites like ReligiousFreedomWatch, or other Scientology front organizations pretending to be neutral public interest groups. The church has a baroque flair for imaginative persecution”

  10. pabelmont
    May 6, 2013, 9:39 am

    These canny Scots are on the right track, and I am glad of their intervention. However, it has the same problem — and also without any justificartion — as the EU-19

    The Church of Scotland, individuals and civil organisations should urge the UK government and the international community as a matter of urgency to put pressure on Israel to cease from the expansion of these settlements.

    How come they ask for EU action to secure ONLY that Israel cease expansion of existing settlements? Why not ask for EU action to secure the 100% roll-back of settlements which is described as a goal earlier in the document?

    Why ask the EU ONLY to force Israel to stop building more settlements when all of them are illegal? Is this refusal to demand government action to secure a lawful revision of an otherwise unlawful regime something in the European genes? Is it a matter of politeness? Is there a a rule that you can ask for this much but must under no circumstances ask for that much? Do these Scots feel that the EU having failed to complain (adequately) about the Israeli settlements build already are thereby constrained not to ask for their removal now? Are police allowed, in Scotland, to arrest people AFTER crimes have been committed? Or only beforehand?

    What is it? And how can they (and we too — Obama never asked for more than a cessation of increases of settlements) get over it?

  11. MK_Ultra
    May 6, 2013, 12:16 pm

    Oh, my! The Scots are all anti-semites(tm) now…kilts and all.

  12. atime forpeace
    May 6, 2013, 2:24 pm

    Excellent document. I am proud that the Church of Scotland has made its position clear on their reading of the Word.

  13. lysias
    May 6, 2013, 3:09 pm

    If Scotland votes for independence in next year’s referendum, statements by the Church of Scotland are likely to become more independent as well.

  14. RJL
    May 7, 2013, 10:24 pm

    How any Christian can claim that G-d didn’t promise Israel to the Jewish people is voiding the “Old Testament” upon which they build their new one. If J.C. didn’t voice his views about perceived wrongdoings in the Temple service, while NOT disclaiming it a Jewish holy site, then what was he doing? You can make a claim that religious “privileges” shouldn’t play a role in deciding who’s land it is, but then the Moslems, are you listening Walid, have no right whatsoever to call Palestine sacred Islamic land not belonging to Jews. Either we go along with secular law (and by the way, Mr. Ellis, article 6 (I think) of the League of Nations declaring all of Palestine a homeland for the Jews was not only not abrogated, but was rolled over into the UN charter, forgot which article # that is, 80?)-and take into consideration all relevant information about who lived there before 1948, and how the British stifled entry of Jews into their declared homeland and allowed tens of thousands of arabs illegal entry into Palestine, or call it all a game of crap shoot.

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