Israel and Palestine 101

November 29, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments
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Well, after that last endless post on the US Catholic Church and contraception, you’ll be pleased to know that this one is going to be very short.

I have to confess that there’s a whole lot I don’t understand about the struggle between Israel and Palestine. In addition, I’m a Catholic, and Catholic anti-semitism before Vatican II contributed a good deal to the Holocaust, and thus, to the creation of this struggle. Furthermore, Catholics comprised 60% of the Nazi army. And the Vatican helped various Nazis to escape Europe after World War II.

As a result, I don’t take a position for or against Israel.

Today, however, I received through the internet a link to a six-minute film made by a Jewish group, Jewish Voice for Peace, that helps to clarify the struggle between Israel and Palestine. You may want to take a look at it. Also, on the Jewish Voice for Peace webpage, there’s a section devoted to “Israel/Palestine 101.” Maybe you’ll want to read that, too.

As a Catholic, I figure I should just shut up about Israel and Palestine. But I’m glad to hear what some peace-loving Jews have to say about it.


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  1. Thank you! Excellent resource.



  2. Politics are extremely complicated, but those sites you mention are very helpful in showing the situation as it is, without rhetoric. Peace!


  3. I sent this to a Jewish friend who deeply favors peace and this was her reply:

    I think the website is a bit too hard on Israel. For example, the mention of the Israeli flag being a Jewish religious symbol is true – but I’m not sure what their point was in bringing this up. Israel has never claimed to be a multi-religious state like the US. There is an official state religion just like in some European (and Muslim) countries. The issue is whether people of all religions are treated equally in spite of the state religion, not that there is a state religion.

    So I guess my belief is that the problem is a lot more nuanced than the website acknowledged. In my view, both sides are wrong about some things and need to change their policies if peace is ever going to be achieved.


    • Thanks, Regina, for this addition to the conversation.


  4. Fabulous way to help people into the conversation and the complexities.

    You may remember that I have a good friend named Mary Abu-Saba. She and her husband Elias helped me to see the conflict from the Arab point of view. The three of us went to a program in Greensboro years ago (25 or 30) to hear a Jewish Liberation theologian speak. I no longer remember his name, but he said the most helpful thing. He said that Christians in America (and probably in Europe as well) had never figured out what to do with their feelings of guilt over the Holocaust. Consequently, the couldnt’ deal with the Israel/Palestine conflict. They were simply stuck.

    That helped me sort out some of my own inner conflict. Also, learning from my beloved (Presbyterian) professor of Hebrew (William Stinespring) about his efforts after WWII to get the UX gov. to NOT create a religious state of Israel (we don’t have a state religion in the USA), also helped me to understand the mistake in creating Israel as a religious state. Stinespring also helped me to understand the difference between Judaism and the state of Israel. I now seem to understand that Israel is not just a Jewish state, it is a Zionist state.

    The other thing that has helped is to be able to follow the lead of Jewish people here in NC who are working for peace and understanding. I like the work of ICAHD (the something coalition against house demolition.) I have a couple of friends (some Jewish, some Christian) who travel to Israel or have lived there who speak of the leagal and economic mess for the Palestinians.

    Thanks so much for being such a fabulous working feminist theologian!

    Jeanette Stokes Durham, NC Blog:

    REPEAL Amendment One


  5. Thank you for writing this, Marian. This is helpful information to pass along.
    I also appreciate Regina’s comments. This is so complex. But peace is the ultimate goal. Peace and stability.


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