How Talking Theology Can Help Defuse Anti-Israel Activism in Mainline Churches – Yishai Schwartz
(Daily Alert, Mar. 7, 2014)
In January, the Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA) published a 74-page educational booklet that accused Israel of Jewish supremacism, and essentially questioned Israel’s moral right to exist. At its heart, the Christian critique of Israel is not a political problem but a theological one – which means it needs a theological solution.
The authors of the misguided tract view themselves as protecting the weak and as emulating Christ’s defiance of established powers. A theological predisposition in favor of universalism, utopianism and the pleas of the powerless makes Israel a particularly inviting target.
Those of us who believe that Zionism has at its core discernible spiritual and moral teachings must explain what these are to our Christian interlocutors: If we believe that peoplehood, historical consciousness and national identity are not outmoded constructs, we should say so. If we believe we have a duty to actualize our ancestors’ millennia-old dreams and aspirations, we should say so.
If we believe that communities that share history, texts and language inspire a sense of collective responsibility unmatchable in cosmopolitan fantasies, we should say so. And if we believe that doing justice is more complex than simply acceding to the demands of the less powerful, then we should persuade others to follow. (Tablet)