More on the Church of Scotland’s controversial report on occupation

Israel/Palestine
on 60 Comments

Here is a followup to last night’s post on the Church of Scotland withdrawing its report opposing the Israeli occupation after an outcry from Jewish leaders. 

Here is a link to the “Inheritance of Abraham …” the original report by The Church and Society Council (a group from the Church of Scotland) meant to be presented to the upcoming General Assembly of the church.

Here is a link to a page at the church’s website explaining their meeting with the Jewish officials and their position on the paper. Notice that Rabbis for Human Rights listed as one of the participating groups in the discussions.

Here is a post from The Forum on the Forward website.  The title is “Church of Scotland Insults Jews With Denial of Claim to Israel.” And this subtitle: “Orders Zionists to Repent For Finding Historic Home.” This subtitle in no way reflects anything contained in the report.

According to the Scottish paper, The Herald, church officials say:

A planned debate of the paper at the General Assembly on May 18 will go ahead, but “no party will be making any further statement on this issue” until that date.

I hope there is some media coverage of the May 18 debate along which the publication of the amended document.  Who knows, maybe it will be streamed live.

Personal note:  When I worked in Israel with a government-sponsored program in 1971 the justification for Israeli sovereignty was the modern settlement of the land.  In other words, we settled it and built it and made the desert bloom.  The biblical/historical, religious and Holocaust claims were very secondary if considered at all.  This I believe continued to be true for decades.  I am wondering about the reason for the change; my initial thoughts are that the Nakba was not widely known about and that there has been an increasing need to justify the taking of the West Bank.

About Ira Glunts

Ira Glunts is a retired college librarian who lives in Madison, NY.

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60 Responses

  1. kalki
    May 11, 2013, 11:32 am

    As far as the Israeli myth of them making the desert bloom goes, the following link should clarify matters beyond any further doubts:
    link to lawrenceofcyberia.blogs.com

    • W.Jones
      May 11, 2013, 6:26 pm

      Wow, Kalki!

      Up to now I had simply assumed that there must have been some truth to this kind of talk, but it is surprising how miniscule their impact was.

      • Sumud
        May 12, 2013, 11:06 am

        W.Jones you should also check out this great post from LoC:

        Those People in Gaza: Where Do They Come From, And Why Are They So Mad?

        As well as the shocking account of zionist terrorism in just one part of mandate Palestine, scroll to the very bottom of the page to see zionists and Palestinians in action in 1948. One of the 2 parties is being pushed into the sea. Can you guess who is doing the pushing?

  2. pabelmont
    May 11, 2013, 11:35 am

    “I am wondering about the reason for the change; my initial thoughts are that the Nakba was not widely know about and that there has been an increasing need to justify the taking of the West Bank.”

    My guess would be this: that originally, the Zionists were honest settler-colonizers who saw no need for further justification than a “need” for a homeland and a determination/will power/military power to achieve it. Subsequently, a religious overlay occurred as more “religious” Jews decided to overcome their religious/Talmudic scruples AGAINST the creation of Israel as a “Jewish state” and went there to live AND as the need to gain international support became more clear (the Hasbara era is — to my thinking — post 1967, maybe later).

    • Rudolph
      May 12, 2013, 7:57 pm

      -“Contrary to a common portrayal, secular politicians initiated settlement in the occupied territories and have continued to back it ever since. But the most ideologically committed settlers have been [Orthodox] Zionists — and the government’s support for settlement has fostered the transformation of [Orthodox] Zionism into a movement of the radical right.”

      -Settlement had been a quintessential Labor Zionist value. After the 1967 War there was new land to settle. Pioneers could again act, however, this time “with the power of a state behind” them. “The initiative to start settling came mainly from Labor politicians, officials, and activists. At first, [Orthodox] Zionists were junior partners. Labor governments approved new settlements on a piecemeal basis” that roughly fit the (never formally approved) Allon Plan — settlements should be placed in lightly populated areas that provided security benefits. “Tension between Labor and Orthodox activists began in earnest only after the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when the religious settlers feared that the government might return a piece of the West Bank to Jordan.” link to detailedpoliticalquizzes.wordpress.com

  3. Woody Tanaka
    May 11, 2013, 11:40 am

    Compare this stance with Hawkin’s and the point is clear: if you’re looking for someone to call evil by its name, you’re better off looking to an atheist – even one who lost his voice decades ago – than to an organized Christian church.

    • W.Jones
      May 11, 2013, 4:23 pm

      It’s easier for an individual to come out with statements like this than a whole organization. For example, it might be very hard for an atheist “religious” organization to make such a statement too.

      On another note, your use of the term “evil” reminds me of the use of a synonym in one of Joel Kovel’s articles on Mondoweiss.

      • Woody Tanaka
        May 13, 2013, 1:26 am

        Perhaps, but I see very few Christians taking the right position and many, too many, stabbing their brethren in the back and supporting the zionist occupation of Palestine. American Christians, more than most, are responsible for supporting this evil.

        And I use “evil” because the israelis are committing evil. I have not been following Kovel’s articles, so, please, explain further or cite to Kovel.

      • W.Jones
        May 13, 2013, 3:56 am

        Woody,

        Your comment matched a key focus in commentors’ responses to two of Kovel’s articles, particularly his reference to Dark Satanic Mills in W.Blake’s poetry:
        link to mondoweiss.net
        link to mondoweiss.net

        Regarding the response by Christians themselves, you can consider Braverman’s comparison of responses to his message by religious communities: link to c-spanvideo.org

        One can also notice the response by Maryknoll, the Quakers, the letter of 15 major US Christian leaders, etc.

        This is not to dismiss your perception that the response by Christian communities has often not been as strong as it should- on this and other human rights issues.

      • Woody Tanaka
        May 13, 2013, 10:34 am

        W. Jones,

        I wouldn’t use “satanic” (although I may have, if the mood struck) because I have no religious need to do so, as Kovel apparently does. Whatever. I’m not too concerned about whether someone thinks I’ve adequately policed my vocabulary to protect them from psychological injury caused by an idiosyncratic connection they may make between said word and some psychological pathology from which they’re suffering. I use “evil” because the acts are evil. No more.

        As for Christians, while there are many individual Christians who’ve done the right thing, they are far outweighed by those who’ve not only supported the occupying force by, for example, traveling to the israeli state for sight seeing, etc., but also those Christians who have used their considerable political power as Christians to steer the US into supporting the zionist entity in its quest of regional dominance and ethnic cleansing.

        I wish the problem was merely that the Christian’s protests were not as strong as it should be. In fact, the US Christian population have actively cheered on the crimes against the Palestinians and have assisted them.

      • Citizen
        May 14, 2013, 3:52 am

        @ Woody
        I agree. And 77 % of US citizens self-identify as Christian: link to gallup.com

        Yet I’ve never talked to any who’ve ever given a thought about Christian Palestinians.

      • W.Jones
        May 14, 2013, 6:41 pm

        Woody,

        Your comment was:
        ” if you’re looking for someone to call evil by its name, you’re better off looking to an atheist – even one who lost his voice decades ago – than to an organized Christian church.”
        Isn’t Atheism much higher among Israelis than Palestinians and Eastern Europeans? And yet Europeans, who are Christian in background, are much more likely to disagree with Israeli policies.

        Further, as has come up on this board you can contrast the views of Sam Harris and Bill Maher on the Atheist end, with the 20 Christian Church leaders who wrote to Obama recently.

        My point is not whether American Christians on average are more likely to use strong rhetoric against Israeli abuses, but rather that as Braverman pointed out, it can be surprising to see a significant portion of Christians willing to see the abuses as a social justice issue. This again comes out in the divestment resolutions in churches, even though the churches often did not go far enough, while others (eg. the Mennonites) did.

        You can find similar examples with the slavery issue. Yes, you really can find some of the strongest rhetoric coming from Christian abolitionists (or in today’s world Kovel and also a Greek bishop a few years ago), even if there is a counterpoint from other “Christians”. Again one only need contrast Israeli atheism with the faith and stance of the churches in the Holy Land.

  4. W.Jones
    May 11, 2013, 11:40 am

    In other words, we settled it and built it and made the desert bloom. The biblical/historical, religious and Holocaust claims were very secondary if considered at all. I am wondering about the reason for the change.

    Thanks for asking. It might not be a complete change. Maybe this was a significant part of the narrative then too, but not one shared by everyone due to the fact many people were not religious.

    The importance of the Holocaust does seem to be a major incentive discussed evern back in the 1940’s, although not necessarily the “legal justification.”

    As time passes they might get away from the founding impulses of settlers, just as people in Kentucky are not so much “pioneers” in their mentality like their fore-fathers, and this might be where your suggestion of a change comes in. But then again, Oren and Netanyahu had changed their last names to make them more “Israeli”. So there is still a movement of “change” in creating a new identity or settlement.

  5. W.Jones
    May 11, 2013, 11:47 am

    Ira,

    Another thing is that the Rabbinical religious view was anti-Zionist 100 years ago. It may still be nonZionist, but now that they have a State, the anti-Zionist aspect of the beliefs would be played down naturally. 100 years ago the belief was that restoring the Statehood was a task for the Messiah, and in that was similar t Neturei Kartei.

    This was a religious view, but did not equate with strong political movement to overcome Zionism. It’s possible that the oxymoronic Christian Zionist movement of more recent decades has also indirectly contributed to focusing on this. But in any case, it’s possible both of the trends you mentioned were already present in the thinking back when you were there. And that is certainly true of the Holocaust as an incentive.

  6. Mike_Konrad
    May 11, 2013, 12:41 pm

    Was the Church of Scotland as equally indignant about the British occupation of Ulster? Only 13 miles, across the Irish Sea, away from Scotland.

    No one says Israel is perfect; but the world seems to want Israel to dissolve itself without so much as a whimper.

    We Americans may complain about some of Israel’s actions, but the truth is a lot of Israel’s critics want Israel to cease to exist. Do you expect Israel to go quietly into that long dark night?

    • W.Jones
      May 11, 2013, 4:31 pm

      Was the Church of Scotland as equally indignant about the British occupation of Ulster?

      Do you favor the withdrawal of British support for Northern Ireland and the possibility of a one state solution for Ireland?

      • Mike_Konrad
        May 12, 2013, 10:16 am

        Do you favor the withdrawal of British support for Northern Ireland and the possibility of a one state solution for Ireland?

        Absolutely! But a one state Irish solution would NOT dissolve the British state of Britain.

        A one state Israel solution would eventually dissolve Israel.

        These are NOT analogous situations.

      • W.Jones
        May 13, 2013, 4:11 am

        The Scotland Analogy
        Scotland is outside both Ireland and Israel.
        Scotland’s report did not demand withdrawal of British troops from Ulster or Israeli troops/all western support from Tel Aviv no matter what.
        Scotland’s Church at some point presumably approved British troops leaving the Catholic part of Ireland for a two state solution there.
        Scotland’s Church report wants to see the occupation end of the part of the Holy Land where the population is basically Palestinian.

        The One State Issue
        To understand this correctly, you support a one state solution for Ireland, which would “dissolve” Northern Ireland as a “separate” entity, making protestants there a minority in a tense conflicted situation?

        Why not support democracy and pluralism as the ideal for Israel/Palestine too?

        In both cases, people can overcome their strife and see peace and plurality as an ideal, even if they cannot make it instantly. In case it is not possible, they at least can have a two state solution so that Irish Catholics/Palestinians in the rest of Ireland/the Holy Land can be free of brutal domination.

      • Sycamores
        May 13, 2013, 5:54 pm

        Northern Ireland Catholics might surprise you how they feel about joining the Republic now that the troubles has abated.

        link to blogs.telegraph.co.uk

        the israelis might be surprise what would happen if they gave Palestinians equal rights in an one state solution.

        the end of a continuous violence from generation to generation with equals rights and recognition for all at the end of the tunnel can be a great healer. however religious ideologies would have to take a back seat and replace by a mutual respect for each other.

        from the dark days of the Irish hunger strike of the early 1980’s to the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 which a brought a workable peaceful conditions for the Irish on both sides of the border.

        Good Friday Agreement acknowledged:

        1/ that the majority of the people of Northern Ireland wished to remain a part of the United Kingdom;

        2/that a “substantial section” of the people of Northern Ireland, and the majority of the people of the island of Ireland, wished to bring about a united Ireland.

        with a few alterations the same can happen with Palestine/israel given half a chance.

        note: religion is not the problem but the religious zealots who use it to stir up violence is a common ploy to divide and conquer.

    • RoHa
      May 11, 2013, 9:39 pm

      “the truth is a lot of Israel’s critics want Israel to cease to exist. ”

      Yes. It would be good if it ceased to exist and was replaced by a secular democracy with equal rights for all the residents of Palestine.

      “Do you expect Israel to go quietly into that long dark night?”

      No.

    • Brown-Eyed Girl
      May 12, 2013, 9:45 pm

      The Israeli’s expected the Palestinians to go quietly into that long dark night in 1948 didn’t they. The continue to expect the Palestinian people to go into the long dark night don’t they?

      • W.Jones
        May 13, 2013, 4:17 am

        This is at least partly true: the policy for Palestinian refugees is that they are just “Arabs” and should assimilate into the neighboring Arab countries outside of Palestine.

  7. HarryLaw
    May 11, 2013, 12:49 pm

    This is an act of deception, the Israelis claim the Church of Scotland are denying the Israelis claim to “the Land of Israel” including the the West Bank [Daniel Taub Israeli Ambassador to the UK]. The Church of Scotland reply they are not denying Israels “right to exist” [presumably within the 57 borders]. It will be interesting to see what mealy-mouthed form of words they could possibly come up with to satisfy both sides. In my opinion it can’t be done without the Church’s whole position collapsing.

    • W.Jones
      May 11, 2013, 4:36 pm

      Harry,

      By “the right to exist” the State’s supporters must have in mind the “right to exist” of the State’s System, not just the State itself. Otherwise, what would it mean to them if the State existed but was shared by everyone democratically and there was a Palestinian majority?

      Yet how can a traditional Church say that it supports the “right” of a one-sided System to exist over two groups?

  8. FreddyV
    May 11, 2013, 2:15 pm

    “The biblical/historical, religious and Holocaust claims were very secondary if considered at all. This I believe continued to be true for decades. I am wondering about the reason for the change; my initial thoughts are that the Nakba was not widely known about and that there has been an increasing need to justify the taking of the West Bank.”

    I’ve heard this before. Israel was very secular and left wing and argued it’s case through the prism of colonialism, which was still cool 40 odd years ago. Now Israel is more right leaning and uses religion.

    My take on this is that the religious element grew out of the 1967 war and capture of Old Jerusalem. This “miracle” germinated both in Israel and in the US with Jerry Fallwell and Hal Lindsey twisting Christian teaching. When you’re arguing from an indefensible position you’ll ally with anyone and Israel has assumed a religious leaning for the ends of that $3bn paycheck and that UN veto.

    • W.Jones
      May 11, 2013, 4:38 pm

      Isn’t it 4 Bn now?

      • Citizen
        May 12, 2013, 9:40 am

        It’s 3Bn (plus stuff like Iron Dome) per yr until Bush Jr’s decade aid package runs out, then, Obama’s 4Bn per yr decade package starts to run.

      • Citizen
        May 12, 2013, 9:53 am

        And let’s not forget Obama gave billions more in loan guarantees to Israel to help its economy when he was running against Mitt: link to youtu.be via @youtube

        I guess both Bush Jr and Obama learned you don’t get to keep POTUS seat if you threaten to stop those loan guarantees–lesson learned from Bush Sr.

  9. atime forpeace
    May 11, 2013, 2:26 pm

    I’ll give you my take on the reason for the switch; the isreli jews with the support of their american brethren have cultivated a narrative within the christian church in order to get cover for “such a time as this” to quote a biblical phrase from the book of esther. Dora Gold and Binyamin netanyahu and myriad others have been paraded through pat robertsons 700 club for yeeears and yeeears, searing that putrid racist message of god mandated support for that disgusting racist project in the middle east called israel in the minds of the christian sheep.

    I’m not too far from the truth on this, look at that history and note the handywork.

  10. DICKERSON3870
    May 11, 2013, 3:03 pm

    RE: “When I worked in Israel with a government-sponsored program in 1971 the justification for Israeli sovereignty was the modern settlement of the land. In other words, we settled it and built it and made the desert bloom. The biblical/historical, religious and Holocaust claims were very secondary if considered at all. This I believe continued to be true for decades. I am wondering about the reason for the change . . .” ~ Glunts

    MY WORKING HYPOTHESIS: The Likudnik Revisionist Zionists and the settlers desperately want everyone to acknowledge acknowledge that Israel is ‘the Jewish state’ and that the “land of Israel” (SEE: Land of Israel @ Wikipedia and the accompanying map), belongs to the Jewish people, and to Israelis as the most essentially Jewish people. I am convinced that the reason they are so insistent on having everyone recognize “the Jews’ 4,000-year connection” to their homeland* [Judea and Samaria (a/k/a "disputed territories"; f/k/a the occupied West Bank)] is because they see it as legitimizing Israel’s continued colonization and ultimate annexation of the West Bank.
    Consequently, the Likudniks were very upset by Obama’s having referred to the Holocaust, etc. as justifying Israel’s existence in his June 2009 Cairo speech.
    While the Holocaust, etc. might well justify the existence of Israel, the Eretz Israel crowd fears that the international community might see pre-1967 Israel as adequate. The Likudniks, settlers, etc. fear that the international community will not see the Holocaust as necessarily justifying Israel’s absorption of “Judea and Samaria”. To remedy this, the Likudniks/settlers want the “Biblical narrative” used to justify Israel’s existence because they see it as being specific to “Judea and Samaria” (f/k/a the occupied West Bank) as opposed to the coastal plain and other parts of pre-1967 Israel.
    By referring to Israel as the ‘historic homeland’ of ‘the Jewish people’ in his 2010 speech to the U.N. General Assembly, Obama has – for the settlers in the West Bank and their supporters – acknowledged that “Judea and Samaria” (i.e. the occupied West Bank) is/are a legitimate part of Israel. That was probably the final nail in the coffin of the two-state solution. Of course, the two-state solution had long been in an advanced state of Rigor mortis, so a proper Christian burial was probably in order.
    Obama is a Christian, right? I can never keep that straight.

    * Here is a map showing an interpretation of the borders of the Land of Israel, based on scriptural verses found in Numbers 34 and Ezekiel 47 - link to en.wikipedia.org

    • DICKERSON3870
      May 11, 2013, 3:07 pm

      P.S. ALSO SEE: “New Study Shows Yeshiva University Researcher, Others Appear To Have Cooked The Genetic Books To ‘Prove’ Middle Eastern Origin Of The Jewish People When One May Not Really Exist”, by Shmarya Rosenberg, FailedMessiah.com, 12/29/12

      “My research refutes 40 years of genetic studies, all of which have assumed that the Jews constitute a group that is genetically isolated from other nations,” Dr. Eran Elhaik says.
      That’s because Jews were never genetically isolated
      , making those other studies fatally flawed and very often contradictory.
      Now Elhaik, in a study that is being called more profound than all of those that came before his combined, has exposed that fatal flaw and is the first to propose a viable way resolve those contradictions, Ha’aretz reports.
      The answer to the origin of the Jewish people Elhaik found is startling – for most of us, our Jewish origins really do begin with the Khazars, the Medieval central Asian people whose ruling elite (and perhaps its merchant class, as well) converted to Judaism.
      The 32-year-old does his work at the School of Public Health of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. His study was published earlier this month as, “The Missing Link of Jewish European Ancestry: Contrasting the Rhineland and the Khazarian Hypotheses”, in the prestigious journal, ‘Genome Biology and Evolution’, which is published by Oxford University Press. This study is based on a complete analysis of the comprehensive genetic data published in preceding studies.
      But in the absence of genetic data for the long-lost Khazars themselves, Elhaik uses a procedure often used by researchers in his field – he used data from populations that are genetically similar to the Khazars, including Georgians, Armenians and Caucasians, populations that Elhaik says have all come from the same genetic soup.
      When doing so Elhaik discovered what he calls the Khazar component of European Jewry.
      According to his study’s findings, the dominant element in the genetic makeup of European Jews is Khazar. Among Central European Jews, this makes up the largest part of their genome, 38%. For East European Jews it does the same, at 30%.
      Elhaik found that European Jews genome is mostly Western European.
      “[They are] primarily of Western European origin, which is rooted in the Roman Empire, and Middle Eastern origin, whose source is probably Mesopotamia
      [a name for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, corresponding to modern-day Iraq, the northeastern section of Syria and to a lesser extent southeastern Turkey and smaller parts of southwestern Iran - J.L.D.], although it is possible that part of that component can be attributed to Israeli Jews,” he told Ha’aretz by phone from Maryland.
      That possibility is important because, if it turns out to be true, it could connect European Jews to Israel. However, even if it is true, that connection is only a tiny part of the overall genome, a percentage so small that it would reportedly not be statistically significant enough to show that the origin of the Jews is the Kingdom of Judah in the biblical Land of Israel. . . . .

      SOURCE – link to failedmessiah.typepad.com

    • HarryLaw
      May 11, 2013, 4:53 pm

      The Zionists regard “the Land of Israel” also as the eventual “state of Israel” that is why they are always “furious” whenever there is a call to end the occupation, these calls are immediately attacked as an attempt to delegitimize the deliberate and deceitfully conflated entities, hoping that the International community will in time recognize all this as a fait accompli, , their hubris knows no bounds.

    • Ira Glunts
      May 11, 2013, 7:19 pm

      I think your point about Judea and Samaria is correct.

  11. MHughes976
    May 11, 2013, 3:18 pm

    The argument from successful exploitation of territory has been around in imperial history though generally as an argument for benevolent rule over less advanced populations (Locke on the native Americans) rather than claiming exclusive rights to the territory in question.
    But doesn’t the development of Zionism, at least since 1905, when it was decided that nothing but Palestine would do – this when there were plenty of other under-exploited territories around – mean that there was always a biblical drumbeat behind the song of development and blooming deserts? Not to mention Ben Gurion’s determined study of Joshua.

    • seafoid
      May 11, 2013, 4:22 pm

      The biblical stuff gave cover to a bog standard colonial operation. Chosen oppressor.
      Take away the religious spin and it’s the same brutality as colonial NZ or SA were.

    • W.Jones
      May 11, 2013, 4:45 pm

      MHughes,
      I think it was at least an element. Although the Zionist movement saw itself as separate from the religious institutions and sometimes I think disagreed with them, their Declaration of Independence makes Biblical reference(s) that read as implicit justification(s) in my mind.

  12. Ira Glunts
    May 11, 2013, 7:17 pm

    Thanks all for your ideas about Zionist justifications for the right to exclusive sovereignty over the land and all that exists upon it.

    I have come up with four different claims:

    1. Historical, Ancient or Biblical —– It was our land 2000 years ago and we have a right to it now because we were exiled.
    2. Religious ——- God promised it to us.
    3.Holocaust and persecution —- We deserve it for all our sufferings.
    4.Historical, Modern (some would say Colonial) — We settled it, we built it, we made the desert bloom, so its ours.

    Would anyone care to add or substitute another category of claim to the above list?

    I agree that all these were always part of the mix, as have many have said in these comments. The point about the Zionist Congress rejecting any alternative territory e.g., Uganda, other than Palestine does to seem indicate the importance of 1 and 2. Although there were Jewish immigrant settlements in places like North Dakota and South America.

    However despite the presence of all the other claims, my memory of the emphasis on 4 cannot be overstated.

    In the 80s, I heard a lecture at a kibbutz by a Palestinian lawyer in which he spoke of the necessity legislating equal rights for Palestinian citizens. In the question period, an older member of the kibbutz “explained” that Palestinians could not have equal rights because “we” built the place “with our own hands.” She was very emotional and in a sense apologetic, but still with an air of righteousness that would brook no quarrel. I was shocked by her apparent honesty and the injustice of it all.

    I concur that the growth of religion, the demise of anti Zionist sentiment among religious Jews and the greater distance from the time of the “pioneers” is definitely a factor in moving away from 4. Also, the change of attitude toward embracing the holocaust, which has been huge in the last three decades, I believe is another factor in the de-emphasis of 4.

    Annie wrote me with an interesting theory that moving to 1 has been a conscious choice of think-tankers since they believe that it is the most efficient strategy in their hasbara campaign. She says it fits into a Jewish Holyland theme park model which is very attractive to the outside world. I hope I got that correct.

    Also, I reread the church report a bit more carefully and I recommend it for those who have not looked that it. It contains a critic of the concept of “exceptionalism” in Jewish theology. Also, the following quote: “If Jesus is indeed the Yes to all God’s promises[,] the promise to Abraham about land is fulfilled through the impact of Jesus, not by restoration of land to the Jewish people. Jesus gave a new direction and message for the people of God, one which did not feature a special area of land for them. [ p.8].

    Pulling out the speaking as a Jew card, I can only express my surprise by saying, “Jesus!!!!!” My bet is that this quote will not be in the final draft presented to the General Assembly. Any takers?

    • W.Jones
      May 11, 2013, 8:09 pm

      Ira,
      “Would anyone care to add or substitute another category of claim to the above list?”
      Another one they say is that the British government gave it to them and the UN approved it. It’s debatable whether the British had the right to give it to them, and whether it fulfilled the UN requirements.

      Regarding the part you put in bold:
      I understand that it’s important to respect the ancient promises. If the whole world praises God (Psalms), Abraham becomes the father of many nations (the Pentateuch says this), Christians are Abraham’s descendants (Galatians), and Jesus sent his followers to the four corners of the world, isn’t the “special area of land” the whole world given to God’s people – all believers?

      So when you think about it, the part in bold is standard Christian thinking. The Jewish nation gets the land and so does everyone else. Just as the spiritual wall between peoples is broken down, why must there be an earthly political wall of division separating nations? I understand there can be practical reasons for national borders in today’s world, but I am talking about an ideal world where the lion lays down with the lamb.

      Peace. ☮

      • W.Jones
        May 11, 2013, 8:21 pm

        P.S. If Rabbinical Judaism was correct and Christianity was not, wouldn’t the Messianic era still create the same issue- many nations wanting to accept Judaism thereby becoming Jewish, and thus the territory would belong to more than one ethnicity? Along with that, the territory of many nations would become Jewish too, thus expanding the territory far beyond the ancient “Land of Canaan”?

    • Shmuel
      May 12, 2013, 4:57 am

      Ira,

      To the first claim I would add the idea of “continuous presence” (in the form of a small Jewish community in Palestine) and that of a historic “emotional bond” (as reflected e.g. in liturgy), regardless of the historical veracity of the biblical and exilic arguments.

      Regarding the Jesus “clause”, you’re probably right that it will be omitted from the final draft (assuming the final draft even resembles the original report), but the CoS is a Christian church expressing a Christian theological perspective: There is a “new … message for the people of God [the Jews]“. As long as nobody tries to force that “message” down my throat, let us render unto the Church of Scotland that which is the Church of Scotland’s.

    • Denis
      May 12, 2013, 7:56 pm

      Ira, excellent discussion. That CoS report is worthy of close attention and raises some very good points. It is so well written.

      In all fairness to the Scottish Jews who have gotten themselves in a huff over the CoS report, I can see how it could be offensive to Jews generally, not just Zionists. Even as a Christian (apostate), I am not all that comfortable with the section of the report that explains how the Hebrew Bible was corrected or superceded by the New Testament. I am not a theologian and had never considered the idea that Christianity was ever meant as a criticism of, or an attempt to modify, Judaism, although maybe that’s what the whole incident with the money-changers in the temple was supposed to be saying. I can see why Jews in Scotland would be getting their kilts in a twist over that part of the report. But the report is worth reading in spite of the Christian arrogance passages, which, I take, are directed at the Christian Zionists.

      In short, as you can see, I am in total agreement with your suggestion that the passage of the report you have highlighted is offensive to Jews. As to your wager, I would be inclined to accept. Looking at the explanation of the dispute on the CoS website you link to, it appears to say that the problems raised by the “Jewish Community” will be addressed merely by a “new introduction” to the report. I’m not sure this gaggle of Christians is going to back off on their implicit proposition that they are a better lot. After all, Scots are known for their stubbornness, as you must know if you’re married to one!

      As to your list of 4 claims, the report focuses a lot on Claim #3 – the claim that Jews deserve Israel as a reward for suffering the Shoah. Whilst any level-head person would disagree with the irrational position that the Shoah entitles Jews to help themselves to Palestinian land, I would nevertheless agree with the frequently stated proposition that the Shoah does entitle Jews to harbor an abiding respect for what anti-Semitism run amuck can lead to. Perhaps we should add a Claim #5 to your list of 4: The Shoah is a historical justification for the position that Jews “need” a land of their own where they can have self-rule, self-determination, and protect themselves from the vicissitudes of violent anti-Semitism. [Hmmmm, that sounds like Brooklyn to me. Perhaps Obama could promise Brooklyn to the Israelis if they would just leave Palestine. That would guarantee Bloomberg a 4th term and Obama a third.]

      I’m not so sure that 19th and early 20th century – pre-Shoah – Zionism was driven by any of your list of claims or by the idea of a chosen people’s entitlement to that specific parcel of land, or any parcel. It has been quite a while since I read Herzl’s The Jewish State but I don’t recall it being a manifesto for a land-grab based on devine entitlement. Herzl’s first choice, as I remember, was Africa, and for practical reasons, like water and good soil. I read him as proposing an escape route from anti-Semitism, not proposing a free land grab like what was happening in the American west.

      What I remember with respect to Herzl’s views on Palestine are his predictions that European Jews would be welcome by the Palestinians and the indigenous Jews alike because the European Jews would be bringing skills, teachers, scientists, other intellectuals, and capital. But of course he saw a slow, orderly, constant trickle of Jews moving from Prague & etc. to Palestine over a period of many decades and not the tsunami of (mostly Russian) Jews that WWII, the Shoah, and Stalin produced in concert. What a pity . . . a perfect storm washing over the Palestinians who never knew what hit them. It’s a pity because Herzl might have been absolutely right and in the absence of Irgun and the Stern Gang Israel/Palestine might have evolved naturally into a place of mutual dependence and respect between the Jews and Palestinians.

      • W.Jones
        May 13, 2013, 4:33 am

        You wrote:
        “I am not all that comfortable with the section of the report that explains how the Hebrew Bible was corrected or superceded by the New Testament.”
        Where does it say that the Hebrew Bible was “corrected”?
        Just because Christianity brought something new doesn’t mean what was already there was “incorrect.”

        “I am in total agreement with your suggestion that the passage of the report you have highlighted is offensive to Jews.”
        As Ira explained below, he did not consider this passage offensive, only that it might incur strong opposition by the State’s supporters.

      • Denis
        May 13, 2013, 10:47 am

        Jones

        First, let me repeat my agreement with Ira that this CoS report is a good thing and the question of devine entitlement is a debate that is long overdue. I think that is the bottom line here, and it appears that you agree.

        The point I was trying to make is that although many people here might interpret the Scottish Jews’ objection to the report as an Abe Foxman sort of tactic to shut down anything that is critical of Israel, I can see how Jews would be offended by parts of the report for reasons that have nothing to do with apartheid Israel.

        Now, if your surname is “Jones” you might be offended by my criticizing a report written by a gaggle of Christians. Sounds like that from the defensive tenor of your reply.

        Just because Christianity brought something new doesn’t mean what was already there was “incorrect.”

        Let me walk you through why I interpreted the report as saying the Christians came along and “corrected” the Hebrew Bible.

        First of all, the whole report generally is about how the Christian view of the matter is the correct one and the Jewish view is both wrong and causing all the trouble. The Conclusion of the report makes that us v. them dichotomy pretty clear:

        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.

        As one who has no interest in, and no affiliation with, any of the three my-god-in-the-sky (mygosky) religions, aka “religions of Abraham,” which are, by the way, collectively, the source of most of the past and present human conflict in the world, I would have made that point differently without pointing fingers at any specific mygosky religion. I would have said:

        No one should support any holier-than-thou jackass’s claim to a divine right to anything, including realty.

        The report, after setting forth in subsection 3.i how Jews interpret and apply the “Hebrew Bible”, then goes on in subsection 3.ii to “explain” how the Jews are all wet and Jesus and his gang are cool.

        The New Testament contains a radical re-interpretation of the concepts of “Israel”, “temple”,“Jerusalem”, and “land”. [I take “radical re-interpretation” to be a euphemism for “correction.”]

        From this last [i.e. Christian] perspective, the desire of many in the state of Israel to acquire the land of Palestine for the Jewish people is wrong. [One doesn’t need a “Christian perspective” to see that.]

        Jesus offered a radical critique of Jewish specialness and exclusivism, [Which was to replace it with Christian specialness and exclusivism – i.e., if you wanna get to heaven be a Christian. All of the mygosky religions do this; that’s what makes them so toxic.]

        Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple means not just that the Temple needs to be reformed, but that the Temple is finished. Stephen‘s speech in Acts 7 makes it clear that God is no longer confined to the place of the Temple. [i.e., the Jews messed up the whole temple thing.]

        Jesus gave a new direction and message for the people of God, one which did not feature a special area of land for them. [IOW, the Hebrew Bible had it wrong; Jesus had it right.]

        Your second criticism was:

        As Ira explained below, he did not consider this passage offensive, only that it might incur strong opposition by the State’s supporters.

        What Ira said was:

        Pulling out the speaking as a Jew card, I can only express my surprise by saying, “Jesus!!!!!” My bet is that this quote will not be in the final draft presented to the General Assembly.

        Now, I read that line as a very clear (and very funny) prediction that the passage would be removed because it is offensive to those entitled to play the “speaking-as-a-Jew card.” Nowhere do I see Ira saying he did not consider the passage offensive. Please support your allegation.

        I agree entirely with Ira, and probably you. This debate about devine entitlement to the land of Palestine, or Israel, or the Levant, or whatever is a good debate to be having, and long over-due. But I fear that most mygosky folks are so sensitive about their own versions of god-given exclusivity that the debate is too much of a powder keg to be had on a rational basis. When Christians start telling Jews that the Jews’ interpretation of the Hebrew Bible won’t stand up in court, it’s gonna’ be Katy bar the doors.

        My personal position is that anyone who claims to have a devine right to any piece of real estate needs to check into Bellevue, if I may paraphrase Bill Maher.

      • Citizen
        May 14, 2013, 3:44 am

        @ Denis
        Acute observations. Reminds me of Anne Coulter quipping something like, “Jews are fine–they just need to be perfected.” People of whatever religious (or zealous ideological) stripe do need their comfort pillows. Nothing like a good pillow to help you sleep.

      • W.Jones
        May 14, 2013, 6:47 pm

        Denis, please see Ira’s discussion below.

        Nowhere do I see Ira saying he did not consider the passage offensive. Please support your allegation. ~ Denis

        May 12

        My short comment after the quote in bold was solely for the purpose of expressing surprise and not meant as criticism of what was said. If anything, I have admiration for the report which forthrightly addresses the issues of the biblical promise and the history of the church’s Zionism, honestly from the writers’ theological perspective. These issues seem to me crucial in any church debate on the Palestinian issue.

        I have no particular problem with the quote. I regretted not explaining my comment after the quote immediately after I wrote it.

        Although it is not an area that I know a lot about or for which I have a special affinity, I agree with W. Jones that all this should part of a open, calm, and reasoned debate. I am more than willing as Shmuel aptly suggests, “To render to the Church of Scotland, what is the Church of Scotland’s.” ~Ira

      • W.Jones
        May 14, 2013, 8:51 pm

        In your reply you focus on differences between the Christian and rabbinical communities on theology. However, the main question was whether Christianity “corrected” the Hebrew scriptures. The Christian view is not that the scriptures themselves were wrong. It was that the scriptures were correct, but that there were common misunderstandings about them. For example, people expected a Messiah who would not undergo an earthly defeat, but Christ saw that the scriptures did (eg. Psalm 22)

        However, I am not sure that the Christian view is that the Jewish understanding of the question of the land in particular was wrong. Rather, the recipients of the promise expanded. I thought the commentor Hostage did an excellent job explaining how the Christian and Jewish views on this question were theoretically compatible, but rather the Rabbinical community does not consider that this land blessing has been opened up as of yet to the nations.

        So for example you commented:

        Jesus gave a new direction and message for the people of God, one which did not feature a special area of land for them. [IOW, the Hebrew Bible had it wrong; Jesus had it right.]

        In fact, the Christian view is that the Hebrew Bible had it right and Jesus did too. The new direction is predicted in the Bible itself. It is not a new direction that means the old way was wrong in ancient times.

        So: the Bible recorded the promise to the people for land, in Joshua’s time people enjoyed the benefits of it, and in Jesus’ time there was a new direction to this that opened the benefits up to the multitude, as also predicted.

      • Denis
        May 15, 2013, 4:04 pm

        @Jones: In your reply you focus on differences between the Christian and rabbinical communities on theology. However, the main question was whether Christianity “corrected” the Hebrew scriptures.

        No, sir/madam, that is not a fair statement of the “main question.”

        I believe you have this quite wrong in that you are making broad theological assertions where I am not. This thread — “the main question,” as you call it — is not about Christianity or Judaism, per se. It is about how the Church of Scotland’s report interprets certain Jewish theological points of view — not how “Christianity” does. I am addressing the report, and that’s all I am addressing. I have not commented on what “Christianity” does or doesn’t do, and I could not, in truth, give a farrier’s fart. I was addressing the report and what it does or does not do, which is to provide what the authors of the report deem a correct, Christian interpretation of the Hebrew Bible.

        The only position I have stated regarding the broad teachings of the my-god-in-the-sky religions is that they are all toxic. Now, if you want to argue that point, I’m all on. But I am not about to be drawn into a theological discussion with a well-read mygosky fanatic about what some stinkin’ “scripture” — Christian or Jewish — says about anything.

        However, I will make one observation with respect to the issue of some Jews — the i-Jews — claiming a devine right to Israel: I cannot ever recall hearing a Palestinian, or Arab, or Muslim make a claim of the same type. I cannot recall, for instance, Fatah claiming that some god gave the Palestinians the land that the i-Jews have stolen from them. OTOH, i-Jews make the claim all the time that some god gave them the land they stole from the Palestinians, and there are i-Christians, mostly trouble-making fundamentalists, who claim some god gave the Jews the land the i-Jews have stolen from the Palestinians. But I have never heard the Muslims say, “No, our god gave that land to us. Get off.” The Palestinians, and, I would wager, most of us here on Mondoweiss, stake our position on the basis of what is just, and right, and legal within the sphere of human norms, morals, and laws. Screw the so-called scriptures.

        I make this point because the world is full of anti-Muslim mygosky idiots who seem to be arguing that because the Muslims don’t claim a devine right to the land, then the i-Jews’ claim trumps. After all the Muslim claim is based on nothing more than what is just and legal. I believe the proper response to that nonsense is: Anyone who claims a devine right to anything, or who claims that there is such a thing as a devine right, is a deluded half-wit. (That would have to be re-worded before presenting it to a court.)

  13. Jethro
    May 11, 2013, 8:43 pm

    Pulling out the speaking as an atheist card, you’re both wrong!

  14. W.Jones
    May 11, 2013, 9:31 pm

    Ira,

    I appreciate your discussion of the Church of Scotland’s original report. Since I am interested in Christianity and Judaism, I find it important to have an accurate review of their beliefs on this topic, rather than simply what people might want those religions to say. Those reviews can mention if within those religions there are opposing views on certain questions.

    A good review does not mean someone from another religion cannot disagree with some of the views expressed. In fact, it gives that person a better understanding of what the religion teaches. Plus, the person can change their own beliefs to find better ones, or else strengthen their own ideas.

    If the report denied other groups’ own political or civil rights that might be another matter. But I believe that nowhere does it say that there is no political right to a single-ethnic State, only that their own religious belief does not demand this as the exclusive answer to the IP conflict.

    Thank you and I look forward to more reports from you!

  15. Brown-Eyed Girl
    May 11, 2013, 9:36 pm

    Why is it that when Muslim’s want to impose Sharia law and run their nations in accordance to what they (a small minority) believe their God wants, they are called radicals, Islamists, fanatics, and dangerous, YET, when Jews, and some Christians want to draw international borders and to decide which ethnic/religious groups can live in a certain country, say Israel, based on a religious book–The Old Testament, this is somehow acceptable, rational, and is supported by billions of our tax dollars??

    If some Jews believe God gave them a certain land, why are they entitled to have their religious belief codified in international law? We Americans are quick to point out the absurdity of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Taliban, forcing non-Muslims or their secular brothers to live in a theocracy, but we support a Jewish theocratic state with our tax dollars and our military.

    When one questions the beliefs of Muslim fundamentalists it is called free speech and we, and I, insist on our right to question other beliefs. As noted in the article above, when the Church of Scotland questioned the belief that the Christian God gave any group a divine right to possess any territory they are savagely attacked, vilified, and called racists.

    I am very sad and angry that the Church of Scotland backed down from the first draft of its report. I absolutely believe it is outrageous that European Jews claim what was Palestine based on “what God gave them.” How is this any different than anything the most extreme Muslim fundamentalist preaches and uses violence to perpetuate? We should NOT back down from openly criticizing this belief and the horrible consequences to the Palestinian people that stem from this form of intolerant religious fundamentalism.

  16. Bumblebye
    May 11, 2013, 10:28 pm

    The entrenchment of the occupation, the vast expansion of the settlements in the West Bank post 67, the ‘validity’ of Erez Israel, can only be workable using arguments 1 and 2 since the religious claims to historic mausoleums existing there, or historic places. The other arguments – 3 being a place of refuge from anti-semitism, 4 being we stole it fair and square -were met within the recognized State of Israel. No country is prepared (officially at least) to recognize either of those in relation to the occupation of the rest of Palestine.

  17. Shingo
    May 12, 2013, 12:06 am

    The Zionists are pushing bak hard against any suggestion that Israel’s legitimacy is not founded on it’s historic credentials.

    On Thursday 25th April, the BBC was due to screen a documentary called ‘Jerusalem: An Archaeological Mystery Story’ (BBC Four, 9pm). The documentary calls into question the alleged scale of the Jewish exodus from Jerusalem in 70AD, on which the basis of ‘right of return’ is founded.
    link to ymlp.com

    They are scared shitless that the myths of their claim to Palestine will be exposed and that Israel’s legitimacy stems only from the LON.

    • W.Jones
      May 12, 2013, 3:50 am

      What is the LON?

      Anyway, StandWithUs makes it a strong point that the people were never forcibly exiled from the whole Holy Land
      Their website has about a dozen articles on the continuous presence, such as:
      link to standwithus.com

      Their campaign to that effect was discussed even on Mondoweiss:
      link to mondoweiss.net

      So I am confused why others are making such a strong point to the contrary in denying the BBC film, except that the BBC takes a negative attitude, probably using this historical fact to implicitly go against the system. The StandWithUs campaign on the other hand takes the same simple fact and uses it to further the system.

      • Sumud
        May 12, 2013, 11:11 am

        LON – League of Nations I’m guessing, the precursor of the UN.

      • Shingo
        May 12, 2013, 7:59 pm

        LON is short for Legue of Nations.

        Stand with us does might push the continuous Jewish presence line, but it does not reject the exile mythology, upon which the whole BS about Jews returning to the Land of Israel is built

  18. Ira Glunts
    May 12, 2013, 10:19 am

    W. Jones and Shmuel,

    My short comment after the quote in bold was solely for the purpose of expressing surprise and not meant as criticism of what was said. If anything, I have admiration for the report which forthrightly addresses the issues of the biblical promise and the history of the church’s Zionism, honestly from the writers’ theological perspective. These issues seem to me crucial in any church debate on the Palestinian issue.

    I have never been a religious person and am married to a non-religious woman who is from a Scottish! Methodist background. Thus I have no particular problem with the quote, other than my agnosticism.

    My surprise stemmed from writers’ willingness to take the heat that I assumed would come from the pro-Israel forces as a result of their theological argument. My recollection of other church documents associated with support of the Palestinian issue is that they steered clear of this controversy. Am I correct in assuming that taking on the biblical promise is new or at least usual?

    I regretted not explaining my comment after the quote (“I can only express my surprise by saying, ‘Jesus!!!!!'”) immediately after I wrote it. It was meant to be an off-hand humorous remark, the type which often does not communicate its intent.

    Although it is not an area that I know a lot about or for which I have a special affinity, I agree with W. Jones that all this should part of a open, calm, and reasoned debate. I am more than willing as Shmuel aptly suggests, “To render to the Church of Scotland, what is the Church of Scotland’s (or should I say the Kirk?).

  19. atime forpeace
    May 13, 2013, 10:20 pm

    Can anyone direct me to where i can get a copy of the original document released by the church.

  20. atime forpeace
    May 14, 2013, 2:49 pm

    wikispooks has it in case anyone didn’t copy the original release on abrahams inheritance.

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