There was an old joke about a robber rapist who bursts into the home of a couple and, seeing the man so obviously shaking with fear, does not bother to tie him up. He contemptuously draws a circle on the floor around the man and says:
“If you step out of this circle, I’ll kill you.”
He then proceeds to ransack the house, robs them and then rapes the wife and leaves. The woman cries: “What kind of a man are you? How could you stand there and not defend me?” The man says: “I put my foot out of the circle several times, but he didn’t see me.”
I was reminded of this when reading about the Report of United Church of Canada (UCC) on Israel/Palestine of May 1, whose recommendations will be considered by the the General Council of UCC in August.
The report follows a 12-day visit and meetings in Israel and Palestine of the UCC working group with Christian, Jewish and Muslim community representatives in Israel and Palestine.
Condemning the harsh occupation, the report recommends: -
- Calls for an end to occupation, as the main contributor to the injustice that engenders violence. (It “balances” this nicely with…)
- Condemns actions and activities that seek to delegitimize and demonize Israel affirming that non-violent resistance to the occupation is justified.
It “balances” it nicely with:
- Advising against the use of “the language of apartheid” when applied to Israel.
- calling for an economic boycott –[built-in balance follows ]– directed exclusively against settlement products that can be identified as produced in or related to the settlements or the occupied territories.
Was the anti-South Africa boycott exclusively directed against bantustan-produced goods?
- advises against a comprehensive boycott of Israel and Israeli goods and products [*see above]
- affirms Israel as a Jewish state, meaning a homeland for Jewish people that “ensures complete equality of social and political rights to all of its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or gender” [a vegetarian hawk?]
- supports a negotiated settlement to the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees that maintains the demographic integrity of Israel [so... that would be Israel "negotiating" to allow enough Palestinian refugees to return to make a football team]
- calls for opportunities that will bring together Palestinian and Israeli/Jewish communities for growth in mutual understanding [probably the best way would be to provide Palestinians with more education about the Holocaust]
So the UCC put its foot out several times but unlike the old joke, the Israeli watchers saw them!
None of the above merits more than a flick of the fly swat but what really got their attention was one particular recommendation:
- challenging Christian beliefs that theologically justify the occupation, branding the theological foundation for Christian Zionism a false doctrine.
That is far more than putting one’s foot out of the circle, that’s endangering the flow of millions of dollars raised by Christian zionists in Canada and that cannot be allowed.
Jumping to the defense of Christian zionists were:
Frank Dimant, CEO, B’nai Brith Canada, who vowed:
“We certainly will stand together with them in this new fight in Canada.” Feeling the pain of Christians suffering at the hands of the Islamic enemy he added: “Considering the cruelty inflicted upon Christians in Islamic states and the murder of thousands of people in Syria, it becomes clear that these church groups are ignoring gross violations of human rights in favour of fixating on the democratic Jewish state of Israel.”
Shimon Fogel, CEO, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, echoed Dimant’s sincere concern:
“Throughout the Middle East there are millions of Christians in grave danger by repressive regimes, but there are no calls for boycotts of those countries. This is just idiocy.”
The vast bullying/blackmailing/bribing machine of the ZPC has until August, when the recommendations come up for vote to make UCC step all the way back into the circle. And apologize!