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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Theatre of Demonization

[A guest post from a member of Anglicans Friends of Israel, who, after seeing a production by the Christian theatre company 'Riding Lights', wrote this letter to their manager]

I went to watch ‘Salaam Bethlehem.’ To my dismay, it is even more one-sided than your website.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I do believe that the suffering of Palestinian Christians should be seen and heard. They are our brothers and sisters in Christ, and when one suffers, as the Bible says, we all suffer.

But ‘Salaam Bethlehem’ attributes their sufferings mainly to actions taken by Israel in its defence against Palestinian terrorists. There was no mention of the disintegration of Palestinian lives due to discrimination by its own leaders, or their inter-fighting, or the misappropriation of international funding that would make such a difference. In ‘Salaam Bethlehem’, Christian and Muslim relations are seen as happy; terrorism deplored. But the Christian minority also experiences such intimidation from Muslim Palestinians that they flee the Territories, quite often to Israel. (Have you seen recent reports on how many Arabs are applying for Israeli citizenship?)

Some mothers of suicide bombers are angry with the men who have used their sons. But there are plenty who encourage their small children to engage in militant jihad, and give parties to celebrate the murder of Israelis and the ‘martyrdom’ of their sons. Why wasn’t even a sentence given to this in the play?

We heard about Israeli soldiers mistreating Palestinians. No-one condones this. But why didn’t the play let an 18 year old IDF soldier tell us how it is to man a checkpoint knowing that the next Palestinian coming through might be the one with the suicide bomb? Why couldn’t an Israeli mother tell us what it was like to lose her child in an explosion on a school bus, or to seek counselling for a child traumatised by daily rocket attacks on his town?

There was no mention of Arab refusal to acknowledge the legitimacy of the Jewish State. Instead, Salaam Bethlehem said Palestinians are ‘paying the price for the European holocaust’; the creation of Israel was the ‘Naqba’ or catastrophe; there is no ‘Chosen Land’ as we ‘all live under the New Covenant now’; Jews are ‘ethnically cleansing’ Palestinians’ . Notwithstanding the Israeli view - there was no mention of the Biblical declaration of the land of Israel. This is the ground that Christians take, and as a Christian presentation, I would have expected ‘Salaam Bethlehem’ to have acknowledged. Does Riding Lights believe that the State of Israel exists solely as the result of the Holocaust?
The programme notes make no mention of the 1920 League of Nations mandate to create a Jewish homeland alongside its Arab neighbours. The account of the 1948 War of Independence implies that Israel started it, when the fact is that she was attacked by five neighbouring Arab States. The Yom Kippur war, begun by Israel’s neighbours was omitted completely. Why was this? How can the suppressing of historical fact to present a case be helpful in opening up a wider debate?

I was interested to see, too, that the only publications on your bookstall were from Naim Ateek’s Sabeel organisation, famous for its anti-Israel stance. Where were other publications, giving a wider view – the one that you say you are keen to promote? How can one side of any debate be said to be the basis for an open, honest forum for discussion? ‘Truth’ is only truth when it is whole.

If ‘Salaam Bethlehem’ was publicised honestly for what it is - the Palestinian case against Israel - it would at least be open about its intent. And I would not be taking the trouble to write to you, accepting it simply as Palestinian propaganda

To sum up:
1. ‘SaIaam Bethlehem’ omits much historical fact, which hugely skews the paradigm it presents.

2. It omits many of the very real reasons behind the suffering of Palestinian Christians in Palestine.

3. By omitting these facts and reasons, and ignoring the Israeli voice, it fails to present a balanced view for debate and discussion.

4. It ignores the Scriptural discourse concerning the modern State of Israel.

5. Accompanying literature gives voice to only one organisation, known to be anti-Israeli.

As a Christian company, Riding Lights could do better than this.


Captain USpace said...

Great post! Anti-semitism is an ancient disease of the mind. What a brainwashed group many Arab Christians are for defending radical Islamists who are terrorizing them, they really are in deep denial. We must keep waking up all the Jews and Christians, on the Left and the Right.

It's a real scary situation with the Christian Arabs being driven out of Palestine and the Middle East and Western churches not defending them either.

The level of dhimmidiotness is astounding. This is shameful, all Christians should be ashamed for the behavior of their dhimmidiot Church leaders.

People should go up in their church when they are invited up to offer a prayer and say:

"I'd like to offer a prayer this Christmas for all the oppressed and harassed Arab Christians being driven out of Palestine and the Middle East."

And the church won't be able to stop it, it will be too quick.

This will open some eyes and get some parishioners wanting to learn more about this.

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
harass all Christians

drive them from your lands
or watch people leave Islam

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
blame your failings on the Jews

for a few more thousand years
they are Earth's scapegoats

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
give Israel away

to appease her enemies
dishonor America

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
go ahead and blame the Jews

IslamoFascists and YOU
believe the same crazy shit

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
blame a small population

deflect your people's anger
let them feel superior
. .

SnoopyTheGoon said...

A very good letter, interesting whether any response is/was forthcoming.