Israeli Peace/Palestinian Justice: Liberation Theology and the Peace Process

Israeli Peace/Palestinian Justice: Liberation Theology and the Peace Process

Israeli Peace/Palestinian Justice: Liberation Theology and the Peace Process

Israeli Peace/Palestinian Justice: Liberation Theology and the Peace Process


"In this application of the precepts of Liberation Theology - that God is always on the side of the oppressed, that the struggle for justice provides the life-breath of Christian spirituality and mission - to the Israeli/Palestinian dilemma, Presbyterian Pastor Thomas L. Are argues that there can be no peace for Israel without justice for the Palestinians, and until the peace process produces that justice, it will not work. This book provides a hard-hitting and well-documented account of the Israeli government's official policies of human rights abuse, including killings, beatings, torture, collective punishment, mass unlawful transfer, unlawful confinement and systemic discrimination. Its survey of the organised exercise of power by the pro-Zionist American-Israeli Political Action Committee (AIPAC) on the Pentagon, Congress, political and academic processes, and through numerous Christian evangelical ministries, clarifies why the American people still mistakenly champion the state of Israel as a heroic underdog locked in an unequal struggle for survival." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


I first met Thomas Are in the New Mexico desert at a seminar on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He was one of twenty or so participants. I, along with the Rev. Na'im Ateek, facilitated the week-long discussion. Several months later, Rev. Are invited Na'im Ateek and me to continue what had become a dialogue in solidarity at his church in Atlanta.

Little did I know that this invitation was significant beyond the issues represented by a dissident Jewish thinker and a Palestinian Christian clergyman. As I discovered later, the invitation itself engendered great controversy both within and outside of his congregation. Given the media's general depiction of Palestinians as terrorists, how could an American Presbyterian pastor invite a Palestinian to speak in a church? Local Jewish organizations also had reservations, as I have never been their preferred choice to "represent" the opinion of the "Jewish community" to the Christian community.

Perhaps the controversy helped spur attendance, as several hundred people showed for our dialogue each of the three nights we were scheduled. They were an attentive audience, and critical. Their questions and comments showed that Americans, when given an opportunity to hear different views of the Middle East, would respond with intelligence and verve. Yet it was clear in this interchange that the discussion was not simply about issues in that geographically distant Middle East; the more immediate issue posed, endangering our sensibilities and complacency, was centred in America: American foreign policy and how American Jews and Christians relate to their own histories, to each other, and to the world.

This "danger" was keenly felt at Thomas Are's Church in Atlanta during the lecture series and was transported to other speaking engagements in the area after his Church series was over. I recall during drives with him to other engagements, as well as in late-night discussions in his home, considering the more dangerous dimension to these issues . . .

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