Thursday, June 30, 2011

Israeli Team Uses Software To Determine Bible Authorship

When I read the headline "An Israeli Algorithm Sheds Light on the Bible," I  throught I was having deja vu experience. Why? Despite the new software this team of Israeli scholars used to shed light on the scriptures, the conclusions they've reached are outdated and have already been disproven by conservative scholars.

To be fair, here is what the startling new discovery is all about: "The new software analyzes style and word choices to distinguish parts of a single text written by different authors, and when applied to the Bible its algorithm teased out distinct writerly voices in the holy book."

Matti Friedman, API writer for the article gives the gist of what new insights this sleuth software has uncovered:
For millions of Jews and Christians, it's a tenet of their faith that God is the author of the core text of the Hebrew Bible — the Torah, also known as the Pentateuch or the Five Books of Moses. But since the advent of modern biblical scholarship, academic researchers have believed the text was written by a number of different authors whose work could be identified by seemingly different ideological agendas and linguistic styles and the different names they used for God.
In light of running the biblical text through this advanced software we now know almost 3500 years after the biblical text was written, that Moses did not act on his own when he wrote the Torah - the Five Books of Moses. Unfortunately, this "new" viewpoint gained from digital research is as old as a long list of late nineteenth century biblical scholars who developed what is known as the Documentary Hypothesis (DH)

The Documentary Hypothesis states the Pentateuch was a compilation of selections from several different documents, composed at different places and times over a period of five centuries, long after Moses.  And they came to these conclusions without computers!

According to proponents of this theory, Moses did not write the Torah. The ramification of this claim by the modern team of Israeli researchers is less than flattering for Jewish and Christian believers in the authenticity of the biblical text.

We are now forced to question the text when it says in Exodus 17:14 that "the Lord said to Moses  . . . Write this for a memorial in a book." Other similar statements supporting Mosaic authorship can be found in Exodus 24:4, 34:27 and Numbers 33:1-2.  Did Moses write the Torah or did a collection of writers claim Moses wrote the Five Books? Weren't they compromising the integrity of Moses and the text he allegedly wrote when we find out he didn't write it all of it after all?

This means that the Bible - a book of truth - is built on a fabrication of false claims and statements.

Other books in the Torah state that Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible. Joshua 8:31 claims, "as it is written in the book of the law of Moses . . " Now the  so-called deception has leaked beyond the Pentateuch and into the historical books of the Bible.

The New Testament also witnesses to the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch.  In John 7:19 Jesus asked, "Did not Moses give you the law . . ?  So even Jesus was implicated in this fraudulent claim that Moses himself wrote the first five books of the scriptures.

If we are going to determine the authorship of the Bible using computer software, we can't help but start with an assumption. It doesn't take a wiz to figure out computer research starts with assumptions that are already in alignment with what the researchers input into the computer.  The same assumptions that gave birth to the Documentary Hypothesis aka the Graf-Wellhausen Theory still hold true today.

First, most scholars who set out to improve on our knowledge of the compilation of the Bible start with the premise the Bible was not given by supernatural revelation. Starting with this premise, then the conclusion will always demonstrate that the Bible was not supernaturally revealed by God to humans.

Regardless of the claim of the Bible that the text came through God speaking to men, this statement is rejected from the start by scholars who refuse to believe it.  This is commonly known as circular reasoning.  Of course the software used by the Israeli team will reach the conclusion God did not speak to one man, Moses, and give him the Torah.  This is the presupposition under which the Israeli team started with and inputted into the computer.

Second, the team ignores the references to Moses authorship found in later books of the Bible.  They would have to reject the later claims of Mosaic authorship in Joshua or in the New Testament and call them "later insertions," in order to hold to their position.

Third, the Israeli team starts with the belief that the writer of the Pentateuch was incapable of using more than one name for God and more than one style of writing regardless of the subject matter.

API writer Friedman substantiates this belief in his article:
Today, scholars generally split the text into two main strands. One is believed to have been written by a figure or group known as the "priestly" author, because of apparent connections to the temple priests in Jerusalem. The rest is "non-priestly." Scholars have meticulously gone over the text to ascertain which parts belong to which strand.
The priestly school is concocted by the appearance of the name Elohim for God and the non-priestly school is based on the appearance of the tetragrammaton (YHVH) in the biblical text. For some reason, to these students of the Scriptures, Moses was incapable of using both terms in one chapter and so there must be two different writers of the biblical text who may have been separated by hundreds of years.

in his excellent book, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, Christian scholar Gleason Archer observes:
According to these theorists, a single author like Milton could not possible have written merry poems such as L'Allegro, lofty epic poetry such as Paradise Lost and scintillating prose essays such as Areopagitica. If he had been an ancient Hebrew, at least, he would have been speedily carved up into the ABC multiple-source hypothesis (pg. 97). 
The bottom line for these scholars is their desire to demonstrate that the Jewish faith was not revealed by God but evolved throughout many centuries of human editing of the biblical text.  Still we cannot be sure another computer software program will be used again in later years to disprove the Bible and merely prove the obvious - if you start with the premise the Scriptures are not the Word of God, you will reach that same conclusion whether you're living in the late nineteenth century or the year 2012.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Jewish Community Concerned Over PCUSA's Kairos Palestine Document

From the Religion News Service, I reproduce a press release that came out this Monday from the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. The press releases is very clear on its concern with the flawed PCUSA Kairos Palestine Document.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center voices its profound disappointment that the Presbyterian Church—USA (PCUSA) study guide does not accurately portray the Kairos Palestine Document (KPD) for what it is: a revisionist document of hatred for Israel and contempt of Jews.

In late 2009, a group of Palestinian clergy issued the Kairos Palestine Document (KPD). It cast a political agenda in theological garb, re-writing history, ignoring Jewish roots and presence in the Holy Land for thousands of years. It placed all blame for the tragic circumstances of Palestinians on Israel, and none on the actions of Palestinians who blew up innocent Israelis in restaurants and launched rockets at school busses. It urged Christians to revert to the replacement theology that denied legitimacy of Judaism and Jews. It called for full boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. In the arena of words and policies, it was a declaration of war on the Jewish state, and a demand that all Christians join in the battle.

Jewish groups were highly critical of KPD, along with many Christian voices. As a result, PCUSA’s General Assembly (GA) last year voted only to embrace Kairos’ calls for “hope for liberation, nonviolence, love of enemy, and reconciliation,” and commissioned a study guide, which was released last week.

“Our hopes that this guide would instruct readers on both sides of the conflict,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Jewish human rights NGO. “Instead, to the ordinary reader, it reads like an endorsement of the Kairos document by the leadership of the Church. Where the guide does offer suggestions for reading, it chooses almost exclusively from documents long criticized as hostile to Israel.”

Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, the Center’s Director of Interfaith Affairs, attended last year’s GA, and was part of the group that brokered the new “Spirit of Minneapolis” that is supposed to put Church policies and materials on a more even keel. He said, “The Jewish community is mindful and appreciative of the great effort that a few members of the Monitoring Group expended in preventing an even worse document.  But clearly, there are elements entrenched in Church leadership who have not worked for the reconciliation of Palestinians and Israelis, nor for the majority of Presbyterians who look favorably upon Israel, while mindful of their responsibilities to Palestinian Christians.” 

“Many hoped that the ‘Spirit of Minneapolis’ would produce reach change in a short period of time,” continued Rabbi Adlerstein. “It looks like the more likely source of progress will come from the rank and file Church members, who we can only hope will prepare their own study guide that will shed light, not heat on the complicated Israel/Palestine issue,” Rabbi Adlerstein concluded.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ernest Hemingway and the Sin of Ungratefulness

One of the worst deficiencies in a human being is the inability to show appreciation to another person for their kindness or generosity.  In the current age of entitlement it comes as no shock that many individuals lean towards being thankless moochers without a sense of gratefulness.

Ernest Hemingway, the greatly admired American writer, was no exception.  According to Paul Johnson in his excellent book, Intellectuals,  in Hemingway's adolescence the author rejected the religion and moral culture of his parents.  

in 1920 when Hemingway came home from the Great War after serving in an ambulance unit, he was a bit of a war hero. But he embarrassed his parents by failing to find a job and remained somewhat idle. 

In July that year, his mother Grace, wrote her son a letter that was the straw that broke the camel's back in their relationship.  She wrote in her letter that when a child is born into the world, he or she makes withdrawals from his mother like a bank. The child draws and draws without making any deposits throughout his or her childhood.

Now that her son was a young man, Grace wrote a carefully crafted note to him to remind him of his need for maturation:
The account needs some deposits by this time, some good-sized ones in the way of gratitude and appreciation, interest in Mother's ideas and affairs.  Little comforts provided for her home; a desire to favor any of Mother's peculiar prejudices, on no account to outrage her ideas. Flowers, fruit or candy, or something pretty to wear, brought home to Mother with a kiss and a squeeze . . . A surreptitious paying of bills, just to get them off Mother's mind . . . deposits which keep the account in good standing. Many mothers I know are receiving these and much more substantial gifts and returns from sons of less abilities than my son. 
Unless, you, my son, Ernest, come to yourself. cease your lazy loafing and pleasure seeking. . . stop trading on your handsome face. . . and neglecting your duties to God and your Savior, Jesus Christ . . . there is nothing before you but bankruptcy: You have overdrawn.
From this letter Hemingway went into a fury and settled into a deep hatred for his mother. In fact this hatred lasted for the rest of his life. To his fellow writers he usually referred to his mother as "that bitch."

I bring up this incident as an example of an intellectual who despite such novels as The Sun Also Rises and Farewell to Arms was lacking in simple human love and gratitude.  Like most intellectuals Hemingway was a self-made man, a person with no need for God and focused on his own individualism.

As a man who considered religion as a "menace to human happiness," it became apparent that this American writer needed the relationship with God his parents wanted him to enjoy. Instead, he worshipped his own need for fulfillment and ended up as a loveless, individualist who is much like people today who are content with a godless existence and the resulting lack of higher virtues they display.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Presbyterian Kairos Palestine Document Shows True Anti-Israel Colors

In my previous blog I introduced the Presbyterian Church (USA)'s Kairos Palestine Document (KPD).  KPD,written by an ecumenical group of Palestinian Christians, was released publicly on December 11, 2009.  This manifesto was released by the PCUSA to let the world know what is taking place in Palestine, according to Palestinian Christians.

The goal of the KPD to call the "international community to stand by the Palestinian people." At the 219th General Assembly (2010) of the PCUSA, the full document was approved to the church for study and to endorse its emphases on "hope, liberation, nonviolence, love of enemy and reconciliation."

Let it be known that the desire of those who recommended the KPD was for others to hear the "often neglected voice of the Palestinian Christian." Unfortunately, the Palestinian Christian voice managed to distort the Israeli perspective and gave the PCUSA a dangerously one-sided perspective on the Middle East conflict.

As one reads through the KPD, several glaring anti-Israel messages are observed. As a result of reading through this document and noting its anti-Israel stance, I strongly urge this document should be further challenged and rejected by the PCUSA leadership.

Full blame for the current Middle East problem is placed on the occupation.  The document assumes that if Israel would end the "occupation" then peace would result. However, one would need to be quite naive to believe this falsehood. Consider the continued military attacks that were initiated by the Palestinian Gaza towards Israel when the Jewish nation withdrew from Gaza.

Today there is a strong call for Israel to unconditionally lift its embargo against Gaza for humanitarian reasons. Yet there are no safeguards offered that would stop the flow of rockets and weaponry to be used by Hamas against Israelis if the embargo is lifted.

The vision of Israel by the KPD committee is a non-Jewish Israel.  Despite the long term stance of the PCUSA that affirmed Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, the KPD calls for an international Israel.

In KPD 2.3 the document states, "we believe our land has a universal mission. The text states, "In this universality, the meaning of the promises, of the land, of the election, of the people of God open up to include all of humanity, starting from all the peoples of the land."

These words are a clear rejection of the Jewish Scriptures which call the people of Israel, God's elect chosen to dwell in clear geographically boundaries within the Holy Land.  In KPD 2.3 the writers expose their theological prejudice towards replacement theology in which the God's promises once made to Israel are given to the church.

Yes, it is God's intent for the nations of the world to come to Israel to worship the God of Israel and for the Law to go forth from Jerusalem to all the nations (Isaiah 2).  But God never pronounced that the international blessings of the world through Israel meant that Israel would become unnecessary and be replaced by an international entity. In all the passages describing a future messianic kingdom, Israel continues to exists and remains the key nation under the rulership of the Messiah King through which God's blessings to the nations flow forth. Israel is never replaced for a universal non-descript entity.

Thus, the KPD undermines the legitimacy of the state of Israel.

The security of Israel is ignored in the KPD and only challenges the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.  It is surprising to read a document written by Christians who have no problem condemning Israel's "occupation" of Palestinian territory, yet the same document fails to condemn the violence committed by Palestinian terrorists.  In my writings I have brought up this point as a major flaw in the Palestinian Christian's call for non-violence in dealing with Israeli soldiers.

I find the Palestinian Christian attempt to paint themselves as peaceful and advocates of  a "love thy enemy"  theology to be a serious misuse of this New Testament passage. This is especially true when  these proponents of non-violence fail to condemn the violent actions of their own Palestinian leaders.

In relation to Israel's right to protect itself against terrorist attacks, the KPD claims Israel used Palestinian terrorist attacks as a "pretext to accuse the Palestinians of being terrorists and was able to distort the real nature of the conflict, presenting it as an Israeli war against terror, rather than an Israeli occupation faced by Palestinian legal resistance aiming at ending it" (KPD 1.5).

The KPD does not require that the Palestinian government be held to the same standards as for the Israeli government.

Palestinian Christians are quick to point towards the poverty suffered by their people, but rarely hold their own government responsible for relieving the financial burdens of their people.  It's quite amazing that  the Palestinian ruling authority has enough financial capital to purchase arms to use against Israel but cannot feed their own people. It's also uncanny that the Palestinians are supported by Iran, Syria and Egypt in order to arm itself against Israel but once again, they fail to use these funds to improve the living conditions of their own people.

The KPD is filled with many inconsistencies and historical flaws regarding the background of the Middle East conflict.  I strongly suggest the PCUSA make every attempt to work with Jewish organizations and the Jewish community to provide a balance in their perspective on the Arab/Israel crisis.

The failure to include any Jewish authorities in compiling this report on the Middle East tempts one to believe that the PCUSA had no interest in presenting a balanced view on this most important conflict.  Rather, they used this committee that composed the KPD an an opportunity to bias the PCUSA against Israel.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Presbyterian Kairos Palestine Document Takes A Swing at Israel

Since the Presbyterian Church (USA) ended its General Assembly July 2010, the denomination has made itself clear on its one-sided stance against Israel  regarding the Middle East conflict.

In an excellent article "Oslo Syndrome Redux?" summarizing the anti-Zionist element within the PCUSA by Dexter Van Zile, he argues that despite several compromises in their commentary on the Arab-Israel conflict, "there is still some committed anti-Zionists in this church who are obsessed about Jewish influence on American politics and who want others to embrace this obsession."  The church, Van Zile says, has realized that it needs to figure out a way to advocate for the Palestinian cause without demonizing Israel.


Let me back up and provide background on the PC (USA) when it comes to Israel.  Existing within the church is a bloc of anti-Israel activists who have tried to portray Israel as the chief culprit for the problematic Arab/Israel conflict.  These individuals have submitted overtures to meetings of local presbyteries. 

These overtures have ignored the terrorist activities of the Palestinians and focused on Israeli policies.  Once these overtures are submitted and passed by the local groups, they advance to the General Assembly, the PC (USA)'s national stage.

     The 2004 anti-Israel overture. In 2004 an anti-Israel divestment resolution that was submitted by a presbytery in Florida was approved by the GA.  The overture claimed Israel is the cause of the violence against innocent Palestinians.  Again, the resolution, like many of them, failed to mention the part Islamic groups played in creating violence in Israel.  The passage of this resolution appeared to be a great victory for the anti-Zionists within the PC (USA).

     The 2006 overturn of the 2004 resolution. Jewish leaders along with Presbyterian pastors and laity most likely complained about the 2004 resolution. So at the next GA two years later, the assembly overturned the 2004 vote that focused on Israel for divestment.  Oddly, the local presbyteries did not single out any other nation for divestment other than Israel. It doesn't take a genius to figure out other nations could have been called out for human rights violations. 

     The 2010 divestment resolutions. The local presbyteries were still bent on singling out Israel for punishment by the PC (USA).  A number of resolutions were brought before the GA in 2010.  Two overtures called for the denomination to divest (to deprive of financial support) from Caterpillar because the company supplies tractors and bulldozers to Israel.  

Israel would often bulldoze the homes of Palestinian terrorists especially if that person was involved in a brutal attack on innocent Israelis. Both the home and the family dwelling in the home were displaced because of the terrorist actions of one of its family members.  

     The report of the Middle East Study Committee (MESC). Apart from the above mentioned overtures, none of them were as bad as the 172 page report prepared by a nine-member MESC. This committee was responsible for providing a comprehensive report on the Israel/Palestinian conflict.

The resulting report "Breaking Down the Walls" was damaging to Israel and lacked any concern for Israel's security. The report was unfortunately passed by the GA . . . but in an altered form while retaining its anti-Israel bias. 

"Breaking Down the Walls" was seen by Presbyterians for Middle East Peace as "unbalanced, historically inaccurate, theologically flawed and politically damaging." 

     The creation of the Kairos Palestine Document. The 219th GA created a special "Monitoring Group on Middle East Policy" (MGMEP).  One of the tasks given to the MGMEP was to create a study guide for the Kairos Palestine Document, a so-called compromise for not accepting the "Breaking Down the Walls" report.  As we shall see, it isn't much of a compromise. 

The study guide was intended to endorse the document's focus on the hope of "liberation, non-violence, love of enemy and reconciliation."  Earlier this month, the study guide was released . The study guide and accompanying document was solely meant to address the concerns raised by Palestinian Christians. 

The Kairos Palestine Document was released on December 11, 2009 in Bethlehem.  The paper was composed by an ecumenical group of Palestinian Christians who wanted to show the world what was taking place in their land.  It cannot over overlooked that board of theologians and pastors who composed the KPD were all Palestinian!  

On the Kairos Palestine website the purpose of the document is spelled out: 
This document is the Christian Palestinians’ word to the world about what is happening in Palestine. It is written at this time when we wanted to see the Glory of the grace of God in this land and in the sufferings of its people. In this spirit the document requests the international community to stand by the Palestinian people who have faced oppression, displacement, suffering and clear apartheid for more than six decades. The suffering continues while the international community silently looks on at the occupying State, Israel.
The document continues its biased intent:
In this historic document, we Palestinian Christians declare that the military occupation of our land is a sin against God and humanity, and that any theology that legitimizes the occupation is far from Christian teachings because true Christian theology is a theology of love and solidarity with the oppressed, a call to justice and equality among peoples.
Notice that the Kairos Palestine Document (KPD) does not represent the Israeli perspective but solely the Palestinian viewpoint.  There is nothing mentioned about Palestinian terrorist attacks on Israel.  The document uses the terms "occupying Israel" to prejudice the reader against Israel.

In addition, the KPD condemns any theology that would show support for Israel, which is akin to a theology which "legitimizes the occupation."  In other words, the KPD only allows for a replacement theology in which the church is now the new Israel and all the promises God made to Israel concerning the Holy Land are null and void.

I have a lot more to say about the KPD, which I will leave for my next blog.  The flaws and dangers of the KPD cannot be tossed aside.  If you are a member of a Presbyterian Church (USA), I  implore you to speak to your pastor or leadership board about their position on this document. Voice your concerns about the infiltration of an strong anti-Zionist contingency in the denomination.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lynne Hybels On A Pro-Palestinian Christian Tour

Bill Hybels, pastor of mega church Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois, has been frequently featured on the media's list of Who's Who.  Not too long ago Pastor Hybels introduced President Clinton as a guest at a Willow Creek church leadership conference. Hybels also offered the president spiritual counsel in the aftermath of Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky.

Currently Hybels, pastor of the one of the world's most influential seeker friendly churches has taken a back seat on the media radar screen to his wife Lynne.

 One Christian blog reports Ms. Hybels has become a "woman on a mission."
Lynne Hybels

In light of a past encounter with Palestinian Christian Sami Awad, director of the Holy Land Trust, the pastor's wife spent time with him in Palestine, and the encounter changed her perspective on the Israel Palestinian issue.

At a recent meeting at her home, the film The Little Town of Bethlehem produced by evangelical Christians was screened.  According to the film's promotional blog, the documentary "shares the gripping story of three men—a Palestinian Muslim, a Palestinian Christian, and an Israeli Jew—each born into violence but willing to risk everything to bring an end to violence in their lifetime." Sami Awad is the Palestinian Christian in the film and was present at the meeting.

When introducing Awad after the 77 minute film, Lynne Hybels declared, "I want to introduce you to my hero."  

Upon closer examination of The Little Town of Bethlehem, I observed the production to be filled with historical inaccuracies about the history of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, places the majority of the blame for the lack of peace in the disputed territories on Israel, fails to even mention the fact the majority of the Palestinian population voted for Hamas, a terrorist organization, to govern them. These historical distortions and omissions casts a disingenuous shadow on  this evangelical documentary.

In The Little Town of Bethlehem (LTOB) Awad and others compare their non-violent movement to that of Martin Luther King.  However, this comparison is seriously flawed. The film fails to mention that during the civil rights movement blacks in the South never performed terrorist acts against the white community.  Blacks did not walk into segregated schools or lunch counters in the southern U.S. as suicide bombers with bombs strapped to their backs.

Awad claims to be firmly against demonizing Israelis. Yet throughout The Little Town of Bethlehem the demonization of Israeli soldiers was a continuing theme. In addition, this Palestinian biased film gave a pass to the radical terrorism perpetrated by the Palestinian people and their Arab neighbors since the War of Independence of 1948. Palestinian terrorism was not even alluded to in the film. I felt I was watching a propaganda films produced by Nazi propaganda expert Joseph Goebbels.

Regarding LTOB, Hybels commented, "Little Town of Bethlehem has challenged me to ask on a deeper level, ‘What does it mean to follow Jesus into the brokenness of this fragmented, hate-filled, fearful world?’” She hopes its influence can be extended: “I think every American—certainly every Christian—should watch this film!”

Well, the film is definitely getting some nationwide exposure.  The next stop for The Little Town of Bethlehem is a screening at the Wild Goose Film Festival  a Christian music festival that is to be held near Chapel Hill, NC.

After the documentary film is screened Saturday, June 25, Brian McLaren, the father of the controversial emergent church, Lynne Hybels, and Ian Cron, an episcopalian priest will serve on a panel to discuss the film.  I wonder if the Israeli side will be presented.  I doubt it.  I guess this is what it means to "to follow Jesus into the brokenness of this fragmented, hate-filled, fearful world."

So where does mega-church pastor Bill Hybels stand on his wife's involvement with the pro-Palestinian Christian movement?   One can only draw hasty conclusions as Lynne Hybels appears to be delving deeper and deeper into a non-violent Palestinian Christian movement that fails to see the violence of their own people and casts the blame for the Middle East crisis on Israel alone.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Why Israel Cannot Go Back to Pre-1967 Borders

Thinking Outside the Blog exists to not only make comments on current events - political and religious - but to also provide historical information on the Middle East conflict. It is my conviction that much discussion on the news and in the blogosphere is based on a lack of accurate historical information. I fear that individuals form their opinions about the Palestinian/Israeli conflict from last night's evening news sound bytes.

I am most concerned with President Obama's suggestion that Israel return to its pre-1967 borders.  Those borders are shown on the following map:

One can see from this map that there was not much area between the borders of the West Bank to the Mediterranean Sea. Hostile Palestinian forces or other terrorist entities in the West Bank had the advantage over Israel since some of the land area between the West Bank and Israel's West Coast was as small as 9 miles (Netanya is one example)!

Israel needs defensible borders to prevent ground assaults.  Israel's return to pre-1967 borders would provide Arab states and the Palestinians with the ability to launch ground and missile attacks on the Jewish state with ease.

The most effective military strategy by Israeli's enemies would be to attack at the narrowest point using ground troops and cut Israel in half, thus isolating northern and southern Israel with an enemy military zone in the middle.

 I cannot emphasize enough that with the pre-1967 lines, the boundaries of the West Bank would be 9 miles of the Israeli coast, 11 miles from Tel Aviv, 10 miles from Beersheba and 21 miles from Haifa.

Consequently, Israel needs to push its border as far East as possible in order to be put some distance between the Israeli population and the Palestinian capability of ground or missile attacks.

While living in Hollywood, CA when I first moved to the West Coast, I would be very concerned if missiles were being fired over the Hollywood Hills from northern Van Nuys. I would want to put as much distance as possible from the source of these missile attacks and myself, In addition,  I would want military troops stationed as close to Van Nuys as possible to control any enemy attacks and engage the enemy. I would also support checkpoints for individuals leaving Van Nuys and trying to enter Hollywood with evil designs to cause more havoc.

In the next map from 2002 one can see the importance of Israel maintaining a buffer zone of security between the West Bank and Jordan.

It should not be any surprise that attacks by Arab states were more frequent before 1967.  Prior to the Six Day War Palestinian attackers used Syria and Jordan as a home base for attacking Israel.

Another important reason Israel cannot go back to the pre-1967 borders is that Israel would have to give up its present-day  system of early warning radar set up in the hills of Judea and Samaria.

With this early warning system Israel can maintain its ability to deploy surface-to-air missiles in the case of attack by an Arab state.

In addition, the citizens of Israel are given enough time to relocate to places where shelter is provided from incoming missiles after being warned by an air raid warning.  If Israel was to give back the locations where the early warning radar is set up, the Jewish state would give up its own security.

Based on this 2002 map of modern day Israel one observes the need for Israel to maintain a military presence in the Jordan River Valley to the east of the West Bank.  Without this military presence there would be no security between Israel and Jordan.  Terrorist groups would have open access to enter the country through the West Bank.

Israel must maintain its military control, not occupy, the adjoining areas to the West Bank.

To put things in proper perspective, I've included another map of Israel, but this one shows the area Israel controlled after the Six Day War. In comparison, this map shows shows what territories Israel has already given up.

During the Six Day War Israel took military control over the Sinai, Gaza and the West Bank.  In post Six Day War peace negotiations Israel gave back 94% of the land that came under IDF control.

Now two million Arabs live in the West Bank. In recent years, the infiltration of Palestinian terrorists from the Palestinian Authority has increased. May of these infiltrators have included suicide bombers.  In addition, 1.5 million Arabs live in Israel itself in such towns as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Also, since the 1993 Oslo Accords, Israel has withdrawn from 40% of the West Bank. The Oslo Accords were:

. . . .  a framework for the future relations between the two parties. The Accords provided for the creation of a Palestinian National Authority (PNA). The Palestinian Authority would have responsibility for the administration of the territory under its control. The Accords also called for the withdrawal of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) from parts of the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

In a post Six  Day War world, Israel has returned to the Palestinians a vast amount of formerly Israeli controlled territory.

To return back to the pre-1967 borders would be suicide for Israel. The Jewish state would lose its military security which is a necessity as long as Israel is adjoined to the Palestinian state under the control of the self-proclaimed terrorist organization, Hamas.

Thus far Hamas has given Israel no indication that Israeli citizens will be free from terrorist attacks from radical Palestinians nor has Hamas renounced it failure to recognize the Jewish state or to back off from their goal to destroy Israel.

Unless there is a change in the stance of Hamas, Israel can never go back to the pre-1967 borders for the sake of the security of the Jewish state and its citizens - both Arab and Jewish.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Non-Violent Palestinian Christians Living in a Culture of Hate

In this blog I've previously mentioned Palestinian Christian, Sami Awad.   Awad is the executive director of Holy Land Trust. The mission statement of HLT is stated on its website:
Through a commitment to the principles of nonviolence, the Holy Land Trust seeks to strengthen and empower the Palestinian community in developing spiritual, pragmatic and strategic approaches that will allow it to resist all forms of oppression and build a future that makes the Holy Land a global model and pillar of understanding, respect, justice, equality and peaceful coexistence.
Sami claims to be deeply committed to the principles of non-violence as a way to deal with the Middle East conflict. Yet he fails to ever condemn his own Palestinian brothers who endorse a violent solution to peace with the Israelis.  In other words, peace will come when Israel is destroyed.

In his lecture at the 2010 Christ At the Checkpoint conference, Mr. Awad describes an opportunity he was given to tour several Nazi death camps including Auschwitz. This experience was part of a retreat provided by Peace Maker Circle International. They bring people from all over the world to allow them to experience the tragedy that happened to the Jewish people as well as other ethnic groups in Auschwitz.

Sami tells of an experience he observed which he shared in the lecture, an experience he also shared in the evangelical produced film The Little Town of Bethlehem, a film that takes the viewer into the heart of the Israel/Palestine conflict but with a strong Palestinian twist.

Here is what the Holy Land Trust director tells the audience in his lecture about his experience at Auschwitz;
we witnessed hundreds of young Israelis (12‐16 years old), come to visit the place in tours organized by Israel. They would wear big Israeli flags on their back and walk on the railway in Birkenua singing nationalist songs. They would take the tour of the site and then sit in circles similar to what we were doing, and then the Israeli guide would begin talking. 
At this time you imagine how important it is for the guide to tell these children how important it is that something like this does not happen again. Something else was happening. 
These guides were telling the children, “You see what happened to your grandparents, great‐uncles, and great‐aunts? Well this is not over. You are living in that same threat and if given the opportunity, Palestinians, Muslims, Arabs will do the same to you.”

The point of Awad's observation is that Israeli children are growing up in a culture of fear and hate. Awad continues:
Then this 18 year old is handed a machine gun, thrown at a checkpoint in the West Bank that has nothing to do with providing any security for Israel and is now told, deal with the new “Nazi”…. Fear is planted in their heart from day one.
The irony of Awad's observation is that he ignores how deeply embedded is the culture of hate among Palestinians.

Here in a video called Hamas Kids Play the viewer is shown what the land of Israel is up against as Palestinian children are taught from a young age that terrorism is acceptable and part of the Palestinian mindset.

In this video we observe Palestinian children dressed as suicide bombers and displaying bloody hands. Again, Sami Awad, the director of the Holy Land Trust has hypocritically leveled his attacks of violence against Israelis while ignoring the violence that is so much a part of his own Palestinian culture.

If Awad, a Palestinian, is truly a Christian for non-violence, then why is it that he and his other non-violent supports fail to confront the violence in the Hamas controlled entity of Palestine?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Fabricated Ben Gurion Quote Used in Pro-Palestinian Evangelical Film

The Committee on Accuracy on Middle East Reporting's blog exposes a glaring inaccuracy in the 2010 documentary "With God On Our Side." The film produced by Rooftop Production LLC is an evangelical response to Christian Zionism.

The film's Facebook page describes the production:
With God On Our Side takes a look at the theology of Christian Zionism, which teaches that because the Jews are God's chosen people, they have a divine right to the land of Israel. Aspects of this belief system lead some Christians in the West to give uncritical support to Israeli government policies, even those that privilege Jews at the expense of Palestinians, leading to great suffering among Muslim and Christian Palestinians alike and threatening Israel's security as a whole.
The accompanying study guide to the film was mostly taken from evangelical pastor Stephen Sizer's book, Zion’s Christian Soldiers (Downers Grove, IVP). Sizer, as previously noted in this blog is Vicar of Christ Church in Surrey, UK and has recently been part of a pro-Palestinian forum of speakers in Malaysia which include pro-Hamas speakers and noted anti-Semitic apologists.

With God On Our Side assails Christian Zionists for their alleged failure to think through their support of Israel. According to the CAMERA blog, the film is a "jaundiced summary of Israeli history."

In one scene of this propaganda piece, the narrator reports the following:
In a letter to his son in 1937 David Ben Gurion, who would later become the first Prime Minister of Israel, stated “The Arabs will have to go, but one needs an opportune moment for making it happen, such as war.”
According to the CAMERA post, that even though this quite fits well with producer Porter Speakman's agenda, it’s nothing but a fabrication. It's a fake quote that was debunked well before the 2010 release date of With God On Our Side.

I quote from a portion of a  letter from Benney Morris to the Independent, UK dated November 2006 that  proves the usage of the Ben Gurion quote in With God on Our Side is a fabrication:

Hari quotes David Ben-Gurion as saying in 1937: ‘I support compulsory transfer ... The Arabs will have to go, but one needs an opportune moment for making it happen, such as a war.’ The first part of the quote (‘I support compulsory transfer’) is genuine; the rest (‘The Arabs will have to go ... such as a war’) is an invention, pure and simple, either by Hari or by whomever he is quoting (Ilan Pappe?)
 It is true that Ben-Gurion in 1937-38 supported the transfer of the Arabs out of the area of the Jewish state-to-be – which was precisely the recommendation of the British Royal (Peel) Commission from July 1937, which investigated the Palestine problem. The commission concluded that the only fair settlement was by way of partition, with the Jews receiving less than 20 per cent of Palestine, but that, for it to be viable, the 20 per cent should be cleared of potentially hostile, disloyal Arabs. (Britain, incidentally, at the end of World War II supported the expulsion to Germany of the German Sudeten minority, which had helped Hitler destroy and occupy Czechoslovakia – for precisely the same reasons.) The Arabs, then and later, rejected the principle of partition as well as the specific Peel proposals.
Neither Ben-Gurion nor the Zionist movement ‘planned’ the displacement of the 700,000-odd Arabs who moved or were removed from their homes in 1948. There was no such plan or blanket policy. Transfer was never adopted by the Zionist movement as part of its platform; on the contrary, the movement always accepted that the Jewish state that arose would contain a sizeable Arab minority.
But in 1947-48 the Palestinian Arabs, joined by invading Arab states’ armies from outside, launched a war whose aim – which they (and even Pappe, Israel’s Lord Haw-Haw) have never denied – was to destroy the nascent state of Israel (and quite probably its inhabitants as well). But – what can you do? – the Arabs were beaten. And in the course of beating them, the Israelis drove out the Palestinians, who were not ‘totally innocent ... peasants’ (a ludicrous phrase). Their villages and towns served as the bases from which their militiamen and armies attacked Jewish communities and convoys.
The ‘innocent’ Palestinians were the aggressors – and dispossession was the price they paid for their aggression. In the circumstances, had the Jews not driven them out, Israel would not have arisen and its (Jewish) population would have been slaughtered – or, at the least, the Jewish state would have been established with a considerable Fifth Column in its midst and rendered mortally unstable. (Conversely, had the Arabs accepted the 1947 UN Partition Resolution, refrained from violence, and gone on with their lives as loyal Israeli citizens, nothing would have happened to them.)
Nonetheless, Israel emerged from the 1948 War with a 160,000-strong Arab minority (alongside 700,000 Jews) – a fact that tends to undermine the charge that there was a blanket policy of ethnic cleansing.
It is important that evangelicals who view the film With God On Our Side are equipped with factual information that  debunk the lies and deliberate historical inaccuracies that are found in the Rooftop Productions film.

Who are the True Enemies of Palestinian Christians?

Who are the enemies of the Christian that Jesus commands us to love and pray for?  According to Sami Awad, Executive Director of the Holy Land Trust, the enemies Jesus tells him to love and pray for are Israeli soldiers.  So when he is instructed as a Christian in Matthew 5:44 to "love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you", Mr. Awad applies this passage from the Sermon on  the Mount to the Israel Defense Force.

In a June 2, 2011 blog post on Huffington Post, entitled, "WWJD? A Non-Violent Conflict Resolution for Palestine," Mr. Awad, a Palestinian Christian states,
How could a person living under military occupation, experiencing first-hand suffering and humiliation, even think about loving the enemy, let alone urge family, friends and neighbors to do the same? This challenging message came from a young rabbi named Jesus in his "Sermon on the Mount.
Of course, Jesus could have suggested we make peace with our enemies or negotiate peace agreements or peacefully resolve conflict; those statements would have been as shocking to the suffering Jews of that time. Instead, he entreated them to go further: to "love" them. This was the word he chose -- a command to all those who seek to follow him.
First, let us not ignore the context of Matthew 5:44 about loving our enemies before we start love bombing every thing that moves and breathes.  The context of the passage is first century Israel which was under the control of Roman imperialism.  Jesus is speaking to first century Jewish people about His messianic kingdom.  He is persuading the children of Israel who make up His audience to accept His kingdom manifesto and to embrace Him as the Messiah King-Jesus of Nazareth.

Jesus also realizes not all Jewish people are going to accept Jesus as the King Redeemer of Israel and not all Jewish have to this day.  Yet Jesus knew that some Jewish people like myself will accept Jesus as Messiah.

Right away a conflict is created.  Jesus said this would happen in Matthew 10:34-36
Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, 
a daughter against her mother, 
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— 
a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.
Honestly, not my favorite Bible passage. But I've experienced hostility from fellow Jewish people because of my commitment to Jesus.  It comes with the territory and I understand the historical roots of this enmity.

But what does Jesus tell me to do towards Jewish people or gentiles who stumble over my acceptance of Jesus? To love them and pray for them even if they persecute me. The persecution comes n the form of verbal attacks, the silent treatment as well as through many thought provoking books and articles written by Jewish scholars to disprove the claims of Jesus to be Israel's long-awaited Messiah.  So be it.

To Sami Awad, I want to say, Jesus was speaking about a Jewish community issue that only Jewish people would understand.

On the other hand, Christians have quite a lot to answer for the inexcusable and horrendous ways throughout Christian history they've treated Jewish people who have not accepted Jesus.  Jewish people have been massacred, tortured, exposed to forced conversions, expelled from European countries and so much more . . . . all because they made a choice not to believe in Jesus. The Christian church, who should know better and which claims to be empowered with the love of Christ lacks any excuse for their persecution and slaughter of Jewish people especially during the Middle Ages.

Sami continues in the Huffington Post article
So while I had grown up knowing about the Sermon on the Mount, living it creates a different meaning and purpose. The first step in loving the enemy is to love and honor myself as a person loved by God, to break free from the fear and hatred within me, and to no longer claim victimization and seek pity as a result of the oppressive forces around me.
So the enemies that surround Mr. Awad are the "oppressive forces around him" -  Israeli soldiers dedicated to protecting Israel from Palestinian terrorists meant to do harm to innocent Israelis. Where in the Sermon on the Mount does Jesus refer to military personnel, political or nation enemies as the adversaries He is referring to?  He doesn't.

Taking Sami Awad's incorrect interpretation of Matthew 5:44, he needs to stop pointing his finger at the Israelis as the "enemies", but he, as a Christian, should look in his own backyard for the real enemies of peace.

 It's not the Israeli soldiers that are the enemies of peace between Palestinians and Israeli.  Rather, the real enemies are the Palestinians that have embraced terrorism as the means to peace.

If Sami and the members of the Holy Land Trust want to use non-violent means to create peace, they best use their efforts to confront their own terrorist government Hamas.  In addition, these Palestinian Martin Luther King wannabes should look at their own people who cowardly send children and women into Israeli territories with bombs strapped to their backs in order to blow up innocent humans - Jewish, Christian and Muslim.  Shrapnel makes no religious distinctions.

By Sami Awad's failure to condemn the terrorism of his own people, he drops the ball of Christian love by not confronting the enemies - his fellow Palestinians Muslims - of not only Jewish people but Christians as well.

WWJD?  Jesus would tell Sami Awad and his followers to begin their non-violent quest and go before Hamas, Hizbolleh and other terrorist groups who are finding safe refuge in the Palestinian entity and face them with their evil and lack of respect for human life. Use blockades, protests, peace marches and sit downs in the Palestinian territories and tell your own people to stop sending Katyusha rockets from Gaza into Israel.

Finally, if non-violent Palestinian Christians want to create a conflict resolution peacefully, then the best approach to take is to ask Palestinian leaders in Fatah and Hamas to accept the existence of the state of Israel.

The present issue is not about borders, Israeli settlers in the West Bank, the security wall or Israeli checkpoints. The only issue is about the refusal by Arab and militant Islamic leaders to fail to accept the existence of the state of Israel.

Israeli PM Netanyahu, in his speech before the US Congress, a few weeks ago said that Israel will accept a Palestinian state.  Where has there been a reciprocal response from any Palestinian leader about accepting a Jewish state?

All I hear from your leaders, my Christian brother Sami Awad, is a call for the destruction of Israel and the extermination of the Jewish people.  Those who call for the annihilation of Israel and the Jews are enemies of the God of Israel and your enemies as well.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

44 Years Later - Israel's Land Giveaway But Still No Peace

Forty four years ago I arrived in South Vietnam, landing at the Bien Hoa Air Base on May 18, 1967.  The troop carrier plane on which I was a passenger hit the runway amidst Viet Cong mortar fire. It was my first good look at the Vietnam war.

After a few days, I was given assignment papers that destined me to an amphibious craft unit in Cam Rahn Bay.  After a few weeks of settling into my job as a marine diesel mechanic, I received another set of orders telling my unit to pack up and be prepared to leave Vietnam.

It was the first week of June 1967.  I soon learned our unit was on alert to travel to Israel to provide transport support for Israeli troops in the Sinai in their attack on the Egyptian army.  As a solder and a young Jewish man I was eager to go to Israel to defend the country of my heritage.

However, the war only lasted six days, thank God, and Israel was clearly the victor in their engagements with Syria, Jordan and Egypt.  As a result of the Six Day War Israel controlled land that included the Sinai, the Gaza Strip, the entire West Bank and the addition of East Jerusalem.

After peace talks and UN negotiations Israel gave back 94% of the land they controlled through conquering the Arab aggressors.  Israel returned the Sinai to Egypt and Gaza and the West Bank to the Palestinians or Jordanians. Israel hoped that with this gigantic land give-away there would be peace and the Palestinians and their Arab brothers would drop their goal to remove the Jewish presence from the land of Israel.

The one thing a student of Israel's history will learn is that Israel's conflict with the Palestinians is never about borders or land. It's always about Israel's right to exist.

It is foolish for Israelis, Americans and especially evangelical Christians now being courted by Palestinian Christians to think that if Israel gives the West Bank back to the Palestinians, there will be peace. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The only way peace will come in the Middle East is if the Jewish people living in Israel are annihilated by the surrounding Arab and militant Islamic nations.  To the Palestinian when Israel ceases to exists, there will be peace in the Middle East.

To show you what Israel has given away for peace, the map below lays out thirty four years of Israel giving away more and more land to the Palestinians.  And what do they have to show for it?  A demand for more land give aways and more Palestinian rockets from Gaza killing innocent Israeli citizens.

Let not Christians be fooled by Palestinian Christians who sidestep historical facts and try to persuade evangelicals that the Israelis are the enemies.  The more land Israel has given to the Palestinians, the less respected they are by Arabs and militant Muslims and the more these enemies attack the Jewish nation.

This map provides tangible proof that the falsehood of "land for peace" can no longer be tolerated. The only key to peace in the Middle East is for the Palestinian government made up of Fatah and the terrorist Hamas to accept Israel's right to exist and to drop their commitment to destroy Eretz Yisrael.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Anglican Pastor Sizer Hobnobs With Pro Hamas Groups

If you care about Israel, you'll become familiar with the name Stephen Sizer.  Sizer, the Anglican pastor of Christ Church in Surrey, UK, is well known in an evangelical circles. Sizer is also well known in pro-Hamas and antisemitic circles as I will show the reader.
Vicar Stephen Sizer
Stephen has accumulated an impressive list of Christian credentials during his twenty eight years of ordained ministry.  In fact, according to his bio Sizer is a Trustee of the Biblica Ministries Trust, who sponsored and publish the New International Version (NIV), the most widely used English Bible translation.

But as I started to say, there is another side to Sizer as described on his website:
He is a Patron of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD-UK), a Trustee of Friends of Sabeel UK, a founding member of the Institute for the Study of Christian Zionism (ISCZ), a member of the Advisory Council of Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding (EMEU)
He is also a consultant and contributor to the [anti-Israel and pro-Palestianian-author's remarks] film With God on our Side and the Bible study guide that accompanies the film. . . . He is a contributor to Bridges of Faith, the international Evangelical-Muslim Dialogue Group.
The problem with Sizer's credentials is that once one studies all the groups he associates with, the clearer it becomes that Sizer's major stance is anti-Christian Zionism. In fact, the Vicar has no problems with associating with pro-Hamas groups like Viva Palestina Malaysia and with antisemitic speakers such as Mahathir Mohamad, Azzam Tamimi, and an apologist for anti-Semites Lauren Booth.

Sizer's affiliations are as disturbing as the anti-Israel remarks he makes himself.  But to understand the crowd this so-called evangelical hangs out with, let me pull today's blog from a post contributed by  Joseph W on the blog Harry's Place:

Anglican Vicar hosted by Far Right Malaysian outfit

by Joseph W
In January, this blog reported on the Far Right activities of the anti-Israel outfit Viva Palestina Malaysia.
Stephen Sizer is being hosted by VPM this week – more on him later.
Viva Palestina Malaysia is proudly pro-Hamas. Here is one of VPM’s activists, Azra Banu, meeting the leader of Hamas:
VPM promoted the idea that Jews should all relocate to Siberia, taking their ideas from David Duke’s website:
VPM has chosen to host a range of speakers with extreme views on Israel, including the raging anti-Semite Mahathir MohamadAzzam Tamimi, and the apologist for anti-Semites Lauren Booth.
Mahathir has previously stated:
“the Jews for example are not merely hook-nosed, but understand money instinctively.”
“Jewish stinginess and financial wizardry gained them commercial control of Europe and provoked anti-Semitism which waxed and waned in Europe throughout the ages.”
“We do not want to say that this is a plot by the Jews, but in reality it is a Jew who triggered the currency plunge, and coincidentally Soros is a Jew”
“Of late because of their power and their apparent success [the Jews] have become arrogant. And arrogant people, like angry people will make mistakes, will forget to think.”
When Booth visited VPM, she defended Mahathir from charges of anti-Semitism:
If you speak to Dr. Mahathir, it is clear he has neither the personality nor the inclination to be an anti-Semite. He is a thoughtful, pious and philosophical man.
I want to tell the people of Malaysia not to be scared of being labeled anti-Semitic when criticising the unjust, disgraceful behaviour of the Israel regime.
The label ‘anti-Semite’ is applied deliberately to quash debate on the Israeli government and its army and we must not be afraid to speak out (on it).
VPM is the Malaysian chapter of Viva Palestina, which is overtly a pro-Hamas outfit. The team leader of the Malaysian contingent of one of the Viva Palestina convoys is the Nazi apologist Matthias Chang. 
Here are some quotes from Chang, addressing Iran’s Holocaust-questioning conference in 2006:
In fact, in the early 1930s, it was the Zionists that declared war on Germany.
There is an arguable legal case for the proposition that Germany, faced with a Zionist Declaration of War in the early 1930s, had the right to defend itself against the Zionists’ agenda to annihilate Germany and her citizens!
Critics may well counter-argue that the above proposition is ridiculous – how could Zionists, not constituting a nation state declare war on Germany? My reply is simple. If Al Qaeda [and the “Jihadists”] can be accused of declaring war on America and which gave rise to the present Global War on Terror, the World Jewish Congress and allied organisations can likewise be accused for their crimes against Germany!
Those who continue to promote the political line that the Holocaust is a unique and an exceptional Jewish historical event, when compared to the sufferings of the other victims, such as the Chinese who were slaughtered in excess of 10 million, have to that extent minimised the atrocities committed by both sides in WWII. It is an attempt to white-wash the war crimes of the victors in WWII.
To accept that the Holocaust was an exceptional Jewish historical event is to deny the genocides, massacres and sufferings inflicted on the rest of mankind throughout history. This cannot be right.
I cannot help but question the motives of those who seek to elevate the sufferings of the Jewish people above those who had suffered as much, if not more from the horrors of the Second World War. And when the sufferings of the Jewish people have turned into an industry we owe a moral duty to the departed to ensure that no one should profit from blood money, more so, when lies are perpetrated to further such profiteering.
If we are gathered here to seek truth and to condemn war crimes, then we must condemn all war crimes, not just those allegedly committed by the defeated in WWII. If we judge Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo as war criminals, then we cannot but find Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin guilty as well.
We must set up an International Commission of Jurists to review the findings of the Nuremberg Military Tribunal.
We must set up a War Crimes Tribunal to adjudicate on the crimes of all Allied Powers leaders during WWII.
That Booth and Sizer should collude with this political group closely associated with a Nazi-apologist, speaks volumes. Last Friday, and this coming Tuesday, VPM are hosting the “anti-Zionist” vicar Rev Stephen Sizer.
Depressingly, the lectures are being held in the name of interfaith dialogue, in co-ordination with the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies, which is funded by the Malaysian government.
Given that he supports political protests outside synagogues on holy days, Sizer is probably the last person you want at an interfaith conference. 
Yet Sizer enjoys evangelising over the world, spreading the Bad News about Israel to the four corners of the Earth, to all who will listen. He has form. 
When Sizer went to Indonesia and spoke alongside government officials, he shared a platform with Holocaust denier Fred Tobin, reps from Hamas and Hezbollah, and an apocalyptic imam who believes Israel will be destroyed in 2022. 
Sizer has also visited Iran to give a tour speaking about Christian Zionism. He has since claimed that he formed links with the Iranian opposition when he was in the country, although the evidence tells another story. 
Sizer has recently caused concern by suggesting that Colonel Gaddafi and his son are linked to Israel and the USA by Jewish blood, which initially prevented the world from imposing a no-fly-zone over Libya. 
I know the Church of England doesn’t like getting involved in these matters, but really now: this is the Church that suspended a bishop for offending William and Kate. 
Surely the Church should do or say something about a maverick vicar involved in supporting pro-Nazi outfits – all whilst wearing his Anglican clerical collar. 
If you wish to complain to the Church, I strongly recommend you contact the Archbishop of Canterbury. I will.