Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Oh Nos! The Mennonites Are Against Israel Too.

At The Institute for Global Jewish Affairs, Dexter van Zile warns that the Mennonites are betraying their Jewish brethren and their "activist organizations" like Mennonite Central Committee must be closely watched.

His basic points?

*Mennonite-supported peacemaking institutions have been at the forefront of the effort to discredit Israel to audiences in North America. These institutions portray Jewish sovereignty as the cause of conflict and suffering in the Middle East and downplay Muslim and Arab hostility toward Jews and Israel.

*The prescription for peace offered by these activists-especially those affiliated with the Mennonite Central Committee and Christian Peacemaker Teams-is for Israeli Jews to abandon their insistence on maintaining Israel as a sovereign Jewish state and acquiesce to a one-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. This prescription fails to take into account overwhelming evidence that a Jewish minority would not be safe in a Muslim- and Arab-majority country in the Middle East.

*Mennonite expressions of hostility toward Jewish sovereignty and indifference to the plight of Jews in Arab- and Muslim-majority states are ironic and hypocritical. Mennonites enjoy safety and wellbeing by virtue of other people's willingness to engage in acts of violence. Israeli Jews enjoy no such privilege.

*Mennonite anti-Zionism is emblematic of an inability to deal with the reality of evil and the power needed to confront it.

The last two points are basically a theological attack on Mennonite pacificity. The first two points are basically the same charges pitted against any group or individual who wishes to broker or support peace between Israel and Palestine.

Van Zile starts off his article with the premise that Mennonites are uniquely positioned to understand the challenges of Israel because during and after the Radical Reformation they suffered greatly under the church or governmental authorities of the countries in which they lived. The wandering Jews and the wandering Mennonites may have persecution and displacement in common, but the whole Zionism thing makes the comparisons a hypothetical game. WWII does too.

I think what Van Zile is really saying to MCC and other Mennonite organizations who are working diligently to bring peace to Israel-Palestine is, "Your religion is weaker than ours 'cause we have big US guns we're not afraid to use and our very own country. Now back off and don't tell us what to do with our Arabs." Becoming and helpful to the peace process, isn't it?

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home