Saturday, November 23, 2013

  • Saturday, November 23, 2013
  • Elder of Ziyon
From Ma'an:
"Anti-Palestinianism" has become a theological issue, Palestinian Bible scholar Yohanna Katanacho said at an international conference in Jerusalem on Wednesday.

Hundreds of participants from all over the world gathered this week for Sabeel's ninth international conference, where theologians spoke about the Bible's role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The conference marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of Sabeel, an ecumenical Christian community center that promotes Palestinian liberation theology.

"How do we really deal with the Bible when people are using it to justify the oppression of the Palestinians?" Sabeel founder Naim Ateek asks.

"One bad (theological) interpreter is worse than 100 terrorists," Katanacho said during a panel discussion.

He said that some Israeli theologians "strive to establish a particular reading of biblical history in order to gain political advantage."

"Such reading strategies put (Palestinians) at a disadvantage. They are perceived as the Canaanites or Philistines," he said, referring to enemies of the biblical Israelites.
First of all, it is Palestinian Arabs themselves who claim (laughably) to be descended from Canaanites.

Second, and more importantly, it is Sabeel that weaponizes the Bible, especially the Christian scriptures. Here's one egregious example:

[Sabeel publication] “Contemporary Way of the Cross – A Liturgical Journey along the Palestinian Via Dolorosa.”..., which draws straight-line comparisons between Israeli policies and the Stations of the Cross – a Christian liturgical meditation on the suffering and crucifixion of Christ – cannot be found on Sabeel’s website or anywhere else on the Internet, but can only be obtained from the organization’s Jerusalem office.

..The introduction of the liturgy states:
This ‘Contemporary Way of the Cross’ has been developed as an act of worship rooted in the land where Jesus was born, lived, and died, linking the original events of Good Friday with the continuing suffering of the occupied people who live in that land today. It seeks to help others to understand something of the events which have shaped this troubled place over the last century and draw attention to the very real and constant suffering of the Palestinian people. It strives to provide an honest account of the situation, and simply asks those who take part in this act of worship to listen, to pray for us and to pray with us as we look towards a just, comprehensive and enduring peace.
The un-named author(s) of the document then offer(s) several suggestions as to how it can be used in worship – “three or four stations a week throughout the whole of lent”; “two or three stations a day during Holy Week”; during Sunday school classes or “as a personal devotional tool.”

The structure of each “station” is the same: A pseudo-historical introduction that leaves out important information is followed by an “opening meditation” which compares an aspect of the current conflict to the suffering of Christ during his last day on earth. For example, Christ’s condemnation is equated with “The Nakba of 1948” and his death on the cross is compared to “devastation in Gaza.” These opening meditations are then followed by a mixture of scripture, first-hand testimony, prayers, poems and finally, a closing reflection. The overall effect is to portray Israel as a Christ-killing nation, and the Palestinians as innocent lambs of God who suffer for the sins of both Israel and for the failings of the international community.

...[T]he liturgy publishes a poem by Rima Nasir Tarazi which includes the following passage:

They defiled our holy places and violated our sanctuaries.
They crucified our humanity and trampled our aspirations.
They shut down our universities and surrounded our schools
To silence our young and to usurp our rights.

The message of this passage is obvious: Israelis have crucified the Palestinians, who have done no wrong.
Sabeel has been using the Christian Bible not only to demonize Israel but by implication to justify Jew-hatred.

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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