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September 16, 2008

Christian Groups Promote Israeli Disarmament

By now, most observers have figured out that Christian "peacemakers" draw a disproportionate amount of attention to Israeli misdeeds while downplaying or disregarding violence perpetrated by Palestinians against Israel. Check out the websites of the Christian Peace Maker Teams (CPT) and the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) supported by the World Council of Churches and you will see that the activists associated with these groups routinely publicize and condemn the behavior of Israelis in the West Bank.

You will not find, however, much evidence of these activists working to impede or draw attention to the acts of terror groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah or Palestinian Islamic Jihad against Israeli civilians. When it comes to "Getting in the Way" (CPT's motto), these groups seem to get in the way of Israeli soldiers more often than they do Palestinian terrorists. To be sure, it is not reasonable to expect CPTers or EAPPI activists to stand in the streets of Sderot during rocket attacks, but if they are going to show their solidarity with Palestinians in Hebron, isn't there something they can do to acknowledge the suffering Israelis endure -- something more than giving free publicity to the Israeli "peace activists" who lost so much of their credibility in Israeli society during the Second Intifada?

Part of the problem is the sheer logistics of the conflict. EAPPI and CPT activists are able to draw attention to confrontations that can be used to portray the Israelis as the aggressor because these confrontations take place at predictable times and locations -- in Hebron and at checkpoints in the West Bank. Bring a video camera, wait for the confrontation, film it and you've got yourself an incident.

On the other hand, Palestinian and Arab attacks against Israelis do not take place at predictable times and locations making them much harder to film as they are happening. The after effects of these attacks can however, be documented. But for some reason documenting Israeli suffering and Arab violence does not seem to be part of the mandate of Christian peacemakers in the Holy Land.

There is another reason for this focus on Israeli sins. Criticizing Hamas and Hezbollah is a lot more dangerous than it is to criticize Israel. Israel is a functioning democracy. Hamas and Hezbollah violent terror groups that kill people who oppose them.

Apparently, several Christian peacemaking groups have taken their ersatz peacemaking one step further -- by supporting New Profile, an organization that encourages young Israelis not to serve in the military.

New Profile was featured in a Jerusalem Post article by Carl Hoffman on Sept. 4, 2008. Hoffman writes:

Unlike most other Israeli non-profit organizations, New Profile receives little of its income from private donations. New Profile's funding comes principally from international Christian organizations like the Quakers (United Kingdom) and Bread for the World (United States). New Profile has worked in tandem with groups like Women in Black, and in conjunction with the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions to rebuild houses of West Bank Palestinians demolished by the IDF.

Apparently, Hoffman erred in stating that New Profile received funding from Bread for the World in the U.S. CAMERA contacted the organization via email and was told that we confused Bread for the World (US) with a German organization of the same name. CAMERA has sent an email to Brot Fuer Die Welt asking the organization about its support for New Profile but has received no response.

According to New Profile's 2007 Annual Report other the organization has recieved financial support from Quakers UK and enjoys connections with the American Friends Service Committee, EAPPI (mentioned above) and the World Council of Churches, and of course, Sabeel.

According to Haaretz, New Profile is under investigation for aiding and abetting draft dodging -- a charge the organization denies.

None of this should really come as much of a surprise. In one way or another, these groups have all encouraged Israel's unilateral disarmament in the face of Arab hostility in the Middle East, while remaining relatively silent about the violence perpetrated against Israel. Of course, there are pro-forma condemnations of terrorism and suicide bombing, at the same time, they also defend the right of Palestinian terrorists to kill Israelis to achieve what was offered offered to them at the negotiating table in 2000/2001 -- a state of their own.

Just to make the issues clear, let's ask ourselves two questions:

Do any of the Christian organizations that support New Profile provide any funding to other organizations that encourage people to refrain from serving in the military in other countries, aside from Israel?

Do these organizations provide funding or assistance to organizations that obstruct recruiting efforts of groups like Hamas and Hezbollah?

Anyone... Anyone ... Bueller ... Anyone?

Posted by dvz at September 16, 2008 11:53 AM


what's next, a reference to Sixteen Candles?

Posted by: John Hughes Manque at September 16, 2008 03:13 PM

I regret, as a Christian, this discriminatory practice. Any true Christian should not promote violence on any side or take sides that promote violence.

Posted by: Andy at September 16, 2008 10:53 PM

That EAPP program is affiliated with the World Council of Churches. A visit to the WCC website and browsing around you will find a blog called "it's time for Palestine." It is filled with anti-Israel sentiment. As well as a commemoration of "NAKBA". These Christians are very loud, but they in no wise represent the majority. The "Evangelicals" now represent "mainstream" Christianity. And the majority are very supportive of Israel. In fact, it is the religious left in America that has invited Ahmadinejad for dinner! While they attack McCain and Palin.

Posted by: john clements at September 17, 2008 04:10 PM

It is not surprising that pacifist organizations support New Profile. New Profile provides draft counseling and advocates for conscientious objector status in Israel. It is basic to pacifism to support these things. The AFSC did the very same thing in the U.S. during the draft.

Furthermore, providing for alternative service for conscientious objectors would be a good thing for Israel. People who oppose war still want to serve their country.

I am confident that the charges against New Profile are baseless.

Posted by: Ross at September 18, 2008 08:56 PM

Unfortunately, this is not a balanced situation. Israel is the occupier. While Israeli civilians are indeed innocent, it's the government that is the aggressor in this instance, via the military. The terrorist groups you mention all get international media coverage for incidents without delay. Israeli and international peace organizations are ensuring that the other side is also heard. They should be commended as both sides need to be seen and heard.

Posted by: andrea at September 19, 2008 08:56 AM

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