Comments: Chief Rabbi criticises Church of England

It's really disturbing how any comment about Israel is automatically then associated with what one thinks or doesn't think about Jews.

Posted by Merseymike at Friday, 17 February 2006 at 3:39pm GMT

Dr. Sacks urges the Anglican Church to invest in the Palestinian economy. I cannot help recalling how much European investment in Palestinian infrastructure was simply destroyed during successive Israeli acts of retaliation. How can one be reasonably sure that this would not again be the case?

Posted by c b sweeting at Friday, 17 February 2006 at 4:21pm GMT

In what way does Israel "enlarge the moral vision of mankind" by using bulldozers to tear down Palestinian houses?

Posted by Alan Marsh at Friday, 17 February 2006 at 4:58pm GMT

I am really proud of Jonathan Sacks and other Jewish leaders who are calling for calm. My prayers are that the Jews are treated with respect and compassion (without our becoming rubber stamps to atrocities). If they are right about the imminent return of the Ma(o)shiach, we can expect to see a rise in anti-semitism. Thus there is a call for all godly people of all faiths to be genuinely be praying for peace and God's Grace and Will be done.

Merseymike. You must understand that for Jews the State of Israel is a fundamental part of their identity. For Jewish people, one is either living in Israel, or one is in diaspora (exile). That said, there is a good dialogue happening over how and when the current zionist state of Israel was formed.

Here are some recent links on how the Jews are trying to take on the hard questions regarding the State of Israel and their relationships to non-Jews.

For Balance: (this latter paper is a robust alternative to the "establishment" study) and (refers to Jewish opinions)

balanced against
Which notes their (legitimate) concerns about the sincerity of recent Christian overtures "...Christian Zionism amounts to a very unreliable partner. As long as Israeli Jews play their ordained role in the eschatological plan, resettling the entire Land as a precondition for the Second Coming - when, by the way, they presumably will either become Christians or die as heathens..."

["Liberals" who support active women and/or homosexuals should be able to relate to these Jewish concerns too).

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Friday, 17 February 2006 at 8:53pm GMT

"You must understand that for Jews the State of Israel is a fundamental part of their identity."

That may be true of *Zionist Jews*, Cheryl. Not all Jews are Zionists, however. (It seems to be the line of Zionists---both Jewish AND conservative Christian---to somehow deny, or at least question, the Jewish-ness of non-Zionist Jews, regrettably).

And even among Jews who ARE Zionists, there is still a *wide range of opinion* regarding Israel's approach toward the Palestinians (Some who *would* explore just how LONG-TERM that "long-term truce" that Hamas is offering could be, for example? Maybe "long-term" could become PERMAMENT, if actually engaged?)

Furthermore, not everyone who believes in the "destruction of the State of Israel" necessarily believes that Jews don't have the right to live in Palestine (simply that there should be a multi-religious state there instead---I *do* believe in the right of Israel to exist, FWIW: within its 1967 borders!).

We should never put the human invention of the "state" ahead of the divine creation, which is God's Image: human beings. Jewish, Christian, Muslim---everyone of us.

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Saturday, 18 February 2006 at 5:57am GMT

"If they are right about the imminent return of the Ma(o)shiach, we can expect to see a rise in anti-semitism." - Cheryl

Well, imminent as in sometime during the next 234 years.

Posted by Augustus Meriwether at Saturday, 18 February 2006 at 6:00am GMT

J.C. If you read the links you would note that I have tried to put forward some of the alternative paradigms.

One difficulty that the non-establishment Zionists (especially within Israel) have been complaining about is the difficulty of articulating their alternative voice. In fact this link from above includes a section on exactly this problem.

Here are some other alternatives too:

If one wants to find genuine long-term solutions to the problems facing the Jews, one can not find it by dismissing others' postings out-of-hand. Nor should one underestimate that there are parties who have passionate religious world views that in turn shape how they perceive and react to each other and the rest of humanity.

I have been profoundly disappointed in the last few months to have read writings which could be summarised that when 'judgment day' comes, if you're not a Jew in Israel, then too bad. On the other hand, I have seen similar perspectives from neo-fascist Christians and extremist Muslims too. Every religion has a component of selfish souls who don't care about anyone else as long as they are "safe".

The difficulty for the Jews, is that they are still emotionally reeling from the Holocaust. Nor can one blame them when we see Orwellian countries trying to deny that it even happened, or a general rise in anti-semitism that often can be traced back to some ring leaders stirring up trouble and using the Jews as the bait to inflame the angry passions of their people.

Augustus, On the question of the timing of the return of the Messiah, the Jews have a lot to teach Christians. Firstly, their understanding of what the Mo(a)shiach is meant to do goes beyond the limited understanding of Jesus' first incarnation. Secondly, they understand that the Messiah will give humanity what they need (not necessarily what they want) and that will depend on what the generation requires at the time. Thirdly, they understand that a key element for the return of the Messiah is that people must be genuinely praying and wanting the Messiah's return.

That is one reason the nihilistic neo-fascist and bloodlusting extremists are a problem. They have made humanity fear the Messiah's return, because they have said it will involved the destruction of this world. (Whereas there are others who see that the Messiah's return will bring about a fundamental shift in humanity's consciousness with a consequent restoration of this world).

Like the Jews, I am embracing being passionate about the bible/torah and faith that God fulfills all His promises. Personally, too much has happened for me to believe otherwise.

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Saturday, 18 February 2006 at 1:12pm GMT

"On the question of the timing of the return of the Messiah, the Jews have a lot to teach Christians."

Is this not rather a bizarre debate to be embarking upon? The ejection of Christians from the synagogues took place relatively soon after the emergence of a group which acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah. The church does not expect successive incarnations but accepts the Cross as the ultimate act of atonement, to which nothing can be added.

In the end God's judgement will be upon us all, Christians and Jews and everyone else. In the mean time, nothing can excuse some of the actions of the modern state of Israel against Palestinian citizens: bulldozing civilian houses: embracing Palestinian land and blocking rights of way with a vast wall: helicopter rocket attacks causing indiscriminate killing of civilians.

Posted by Alan Marsh at Saturday, 18 February 2006 at 4:22pm GMT

Is it a bizarre debate? When there are those who still cite what Jews did shortly after Jesus' resurrection to justify their continuing ill-feeling towards them? How can the Jews then forgive us for either our collusion or our passivity to the holocaust, which was only 70 years ago?

The bible tells us that at times when God intervenes He wipes the slate clean, that is He forgives us of all our past sins. Further, that God's offer is made to the rebellious, the sinner, the afflicted the alien. As confirmed by Jesus when he said:
Matthew 5:44-45 "But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."
and Matthew 9:12-13 "On hearing this, Jesus said, β€œIt is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: β€˜I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”"

On the question of the current mistakes being made by the Jews, they can tell you that I was already exhorting them to rise above violent human solutions and trust in God (long before last Thursday).

However, I am not going to condemn them out of hand, for if they stand condemned for their mistakes; then what hope is there for the rest of us? Instead of trying to destroy others, both Christians (and others) would do well to look to getting their own house in order. Slandering or destruction of another's house does not clear the debris from one's own doorways, and in fact adds further rubble to be cleared from the paths to peace.

And yes, judgment is going to be upon us all, so we would all be advised to do our best to make peace within ourselves, with each other, and with our neighbors. Remember Jesus warning in Luke 12:58 "As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled to him on the way, or he may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison".

Posted by Cheryl Clough at Saturday, 18 February 2006 at 8:07pm GMT

Alan Marsh: and nothing can excuse suicide bombings of buses in Jerusalem or a toy shop and a pizza parlor in Netanya or the attempted bombing of an Israeli hospital by a domestic burns victim coming for treatment.
Do you seriously imagine the wall/fence would be built if Israelis felt secure? Or that Palestinians would not be better off if so much of the money given by the US and the EU had not been stolen by Arafat and his cronies? how much of that money is now 'resting' in Suha Arafat's bank accounts?

Posted by Peter Bergman at Saturday, 18 February 2006 at 11:30pm GMT

So you think wrongdoing by Palestinians justifies war crimes by the State of Israel against civilians?

Posted by Alan Marsh at Saturday, 18 February 2006 at 11:42pm GMT

Peter Bergman, *both* Palestinian and Israeli armed forces deliver high explosives to enemy targets, designed to advance their military objectives (total victory), by *the delivery systems they have available*.

Why the qualitative distinction? [Surely you're not advocating arming Palestinians w/ air-to-surface missiles (and the helicopters from which to fire them)? :-0 That would help even the "playing" (killing) field!]

Posted by J. C. Fisher at Sunday, 19 February 2006 at 6:05am GMT

Please focus any further comments more strictly on the original article which deals with Dr Sacks' remarks about the CofE. This is not the place to debate Israeli/Palestine difficulties as such.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Sunday, 19 February 2006 at 12:45pm GMT
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