Monday, September 29, 2014

Christianity and Israel

A couple of months ago, I had a conversation with a Christian brother about the recent conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Although he said that he had some serious questions about the situation, he told me that, in the end, he supported Israel. And when I asked “why,” he said, “Well, I’m a Christian, and Christians have to stand with Israel no matter what.”

I find this to be the position of many Christians, particularly those who consider themselves evangelicals, and they ground their support on their interpretation of the Bible. There are other believers who hold a very different opinion. They don’t see any biblical mandate requiring unwavering support; therefore, their support is shaped by the situation. Below are two articles that articulate these two perspectives:


Now I think this is an important topic for people of faith to consider; therefore, I offer the following question for your consideration:

  • Are Christians obligated to support the State of Israel? If so, why? If not, what factors should be considered?

Please leave any comments that you think are appropriate. And this isn’t limited to just Christians. I’d love to hear from people from other faith traditions.

63 comments:

  1. Bachir Guediri writes:

    Israel is an illegitimate state founded on a territory of historic Palestine on the heels of the British colonial rule there (1948). Originally populated by a small indigenous Jewish Palestinian Arab population and a larger indigenous Muslim and Christian Palestinian Arab population, Israel forced much of the latter out by various brutal and “legally-sanctioned” means and established settler-colonial Jews, largely from Europe, in the territory, at the same time perpetrating what has now been revealed as a pre-planned mass ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

    Israel has since continued the mass immigration of Jews from all over the world into the territory while keeping the indigenous Palestinian refugees out, annexed East Jerusalem and occupied and colonized the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Its policies continue to force Palestinians out and to dispossess and subjugate (and keep separate) those who remain.

    Palestinians continue to demand their rights: an end to colonial racism against Palestinian citizens of Israel, an end to occupation, colonization and siege in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and the right to return to their ancestral lands.!

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  2. Adam Hosea (from Facebook)

    It is just amazing how people who have suffered so much in Europe because of injustice, bigotry, and anti-jews come from Europe and apply the same immoral behavior that was used against them. It is very hard to understand.

    In a pamphlet under the heading line of "Truth from Eretz Yisrael" published in
    1891, Ahad Ha'Am wrote of how Jewish settlers at the time treated the indigenous
    Palestinian people:
    "[The Jewish settlers] treat the Arabs with hostility and cruelty,
    trespass unjustly, beat them shamelessly for no sufficient reason, and even
    take pride in doing so. The Jews were
    slaves in the land of their Exile, and suddenly they found themselves with
    unlimited freedom, wild freedom that ONLY exists in a land like Turkey
    This sudden change has produced in their hearts an inclination towards repressive
    tyranny, as always happens when slave rules."

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  3. Adam Hosea writes (from Facebook)

    The Zionists argue that they are the modern descendants of the ancient Israelite and trace their descent to the stories of Abraham and Moses in the Bible (unreliable source), which is utterly preposterous. They trace their lineage to the Patriarch Abraham, who was according to the Bible born in modern Iraq and his only connection to Palestine is related in the Biblical story that he purchased a burial plot for his wife, Sarah, from the indigenous population of Hebron, the Canaanites who are the ancestors of the Palestinians. This historic figure is reportedly to have been roaming the region thousands of years before Judaism and Jewishness began in Egypt at the hands of another historic figure, Moses.How these modern European Jews are connected to Abraham is beyond comprehension-ignoring for the moment modern scientific evidence. The fact that the same Bible shows that Abraham purchased a burial plot to burry his wife is a sign that this historic figure did not claim ownership or sovereignty over any piece of Palestine and that ownership and sovereignty over the country are vested in the Palestinians-granted minus the burial plot.Unlike Israel, Abraham did not use brute force to occupy any piece of the land nor expel its population. All this is said and done, while the same Bible claims that God has given the Land of Canaan to Abraham by a covenant. If this Biblical story is accurate, then why would Abraham buy the burial plot? Why did not he just take it after all God was on his side ? Explain it in any way you like , the story does not compute .!!

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  4. Lee Marcus writes (from Facebook)

    The Jews have as much right to their ancient homeland as anyone else.

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  5. Adam Hosea Lee Marcus writes (from Facebook):

    The phrase ” a land without a people for a people without a land”, which had often been used before the establishment of Israel in order to claim the land, has always been understood to mean that Palestine had never had Arab or Palestinian inhabitants. However, as Ben White argues (2012), the phrase carries deeper and latent ideological connotations.
    That is, what the phrase meant at the time wasn’t the idea that the land was literally empty off people. But rather it was labeled to be empty off people who are worthy being considered of equal value. This speaks to the concept of Jewish supremacy and the early roots of the Zionist movement, which still implements it up until this very day…!!

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  6. Lee Marcus writes (from Facebook):

    Give it up. The Jews are in Israel to stay. Learn to live in peace with them. Those who seek the annihilation of anyone else will reap what they sow UPON THEMSELVES.

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  7. John Barker writes (from Facebook):

    Christians in palestine dont support israel haha. Btw Israel is another name for jacob it doesnt mean a state. Israel, the state of today didnt exist before 1948. so logically even if the bible said love israel despite whatever they do it still wouldnt apply to the same state we have today

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  8. Mohammad Ali writes (from Facebook):

    A So the Christians supporting Israel today does not know that the Israel they render their support with now doesn't exist before 1948. But the support are purely based on biblical Israel which is far away different from political Israel of today. It's really is good to know what's gong on around us.

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  9. Hussein Mohamed Gimo writes (from Facebook):

    CHRISTIANS ARE HYPOCRITES....

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  10. Mahfooz Ur Rahman writes (from Facebook):

    Talmud Jewish holy scripture .

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  11. Muhammad Muhammad writes (from Facebook):

    they dont know their book.that is why.

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  12. Mohammed Iddrisu writes (from Facebook):

    I pity christians alot because the very country thus Israel that you support doesn't even know you exist as a Religion.........Christians you called yourselves but you go against the teachings of Jesus the son of Mary

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  13. Ibrahim Orovehe Sadiq writes (from Facebook):

    Finally I asked him what do you know about judaism and he was dumb founded.

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  14. Min Minasah writes (from Facebook):

    Ed Rudiger HAVE YOU EVER BEING CROSS THIS VERSE IF YES WHAT DOES IT MENT TO BE ? :>
    Isaiah 48:5
    Therefore I told you these things long ago; before they happened I announced them to you so that you could not say, ‘My images brought them about; mywooden image and metal god ordained them.’

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  15. Adam Hosea Lee Marcus writes (from Facebook):

    you support Israel and you want them to live in peace?

    Why you are hypocrite?

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  16. Min Minasah writes (from Facebook):

    Why not they killed his god

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  17. Min Minasah Adam Hosea writes (from Facebook):


    Jesus loved his righeous people :>
    John 8:44
    Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts ofyour father ye will do. He was a murderer from thebeginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the fatherof it.

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  18. Brandon Rogers writes (from Facebook):

    Well first of all let me tell you that the muslims have absolutely no right to the land of Palestine. Palestine was in place even during Biblical times. Prophet Mohd preached Islam in Mecca in 610 AD and the religion was spread through terror in the region..........even in Palestine.

    The Islamists drove the Jews and the Christians out of Palestine just like what ISIL is doing in Iraq and Syria.

    The Dome of the Rock mosque has been built on the Temple of the Mount which is a sacred site for the Jews.

    This mosque needs to be demolished

    The muslims have absolutely no right to live in Palestine. Let them go and live in places like Saudi Arabia

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  19. Mishter Khan writes (from Facebook): Humans have right to live any were they want, and if you disagree. then you must think about the christian and jews living in Asia they were born here Imagine if you were born in Asia what would you do?.

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  20. Brandon Rogers writes (from Facebook):

    I feel absolutely sorry for the Christians living in Pakistan. They have absolutely no voice.

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  21. Paula M Jones @ Mishter Khan writes (from Facebook)

    God gave Israel to the jews. It is written in the bible. NOBODY can change God's word. NOBODY.

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  22. Mishter Khan writes (from Facebook):

    Brandon Rogers they are living with more happiness then Israel jews and christian

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  23. Mishter Khan writes (from Facebook):

    Paula M Jones don't be a part of your politician games ... no one ask jews to leave Israel .... the problem is palestine , palestinians are humans and jews are also why jews cut down palestinians heads with no mercy did there Bible told them to do this ???

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  24. Paula M Jones writes (from Facebook):

    I am not talking politics. I am talking 5000 years ago. God led the jews out of Egypt and to the land of milk and honey. Israel. God gave Israel to the jews. why have HAMAS blown the heads of innocent Jews? Because koran tells them to do it. Because Koran tells them it is ok to do it.

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  25. Mishter Khan writes (from Facebook):

    Group of Hamas is not a Muslim they just want to make a war b/w peoples they would name there self Christians or jews if someone give them money.... Islam told me to love humans not to hurt them

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  26. Paula M Jones writes:

    sorry I thought HAMAS were muslims. Follow Islam.

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  27. Mishter Khan writes (from Facebook):

    We humans are divided by our politicians they divide us for there own benefits and we think we are doing it with our God well... You must have Humanity before you Accept Islam , Christianity, jews or Hinduesam etc in any religion humanity is must

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  28. Steve Cartwright writes (from Facebook):

    Does he realize that there are many Palestinian christians, and that many Israelis persecute them and other christians?

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  29. George Tyrrell writes (from Facebook):

    The evangelical believe to usher in the Christ in end times the Jews must regain the Temple. That's why they are so supportive of the Jews in Israel. they would think nothing of insuring in world war 3 in the process,

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  30. Andrew Brown writes (from Facebook):

    Moving beyond the question of statehood and who is the terrorist or who violated what treaty, as well as the entire question should the state of Israel exist for me the answer is rather simple and was answered in the gospel- and that is the tomb is empty. Jesus, the Christ was never about geography or statehood but in the belief of moving forward and outward.

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  31. David L Wetzell writes (from Facebook):

    it's neo-ebionitism.

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  32. Sean MacDhai writes (from Facebook):

    I think a Christian is on the side of peace, compassion, forgiveness, and love.

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  33. Christopher Scott Evans @ the OP writes:

    I do not believe there is any scriptural justification for a blind and uncritical support for the modern nation state of Israel.

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  34. @ the OP: I do not believe there is any scriptural justification for a blind and uncritical support for the modern nation state of Israel.

    Christians are first citizens in the Kingdom of God which knows no boundaries and recognizes no prejudice and respects no authority except that which is given through the grace of the Holy Spirit.

    Modern Israel is not above discernment, reproach and rebuke and doing so is not an affront to God.

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  35. Chicho Blanco writes:

    I don't believe that someone who actually practices what Jesus taught would support Israel. They are a racist, fascist, apartheid

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  36. Brad Gabriel writes:

    When Israel loses, all Jews in the area are dead. In defense of the weaker sibling, at least, I stand with Israel.

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  37. Chicho Blanco writes:

    So you stand with them while they kill innocent women and children? I guess in your world Jesus would support something like that.

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  38. Brad Gabriel writes:

    No. Jesus would not. Given that I am not Jesus and neither are you, I can not support those who have shown their willingness to massacre innocent Jewish children for no reason other then the fact of their birth. I do not have the luxury or

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  39. Brad Gabriel writes:

    Of absolutism. Please feel free to so wallow.

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  40. Chicho Blanco writes:

    I'm not claiming to be Jesus. I am claiming to be a person with a functioning brain. I do not support those who choose to slaughter innocent Jewish children either. I also do not support those who slaughter innocent Palestinians or steal the property of innocent Palestinians. I suppose you do not see the irony that you of all people are accusing someone of absolutism when you said you side with Israel. Pot meet kettle.

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  41. Brad Gabriel writes:

    You opted to invoke the "Jesus kills" charge against me. Apologize and we can go forward, otherwise this conversation is terminated.

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  42. Chicho Blanco writes:

    I don't owe you an apology. You are picking the side of a bully yet I should apologize to you? You're actually a pastor? Wow. Just wow.

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  43. Brad Gabriel writes:

    As I said, this conversation is terminated. Feel free to wallow in whatever self-righteousness you opt for.

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  44. Chicho Blanco wwrites:

    Again, pot meet kettle.

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  45. Nick Rodriguez writes:

    Israel is a really hard topic to tackle without all of the facts..it's hard for me to say whether or not I support them..

    For example, with all of the injustices that Jewish people have faced throughout history, why is it wrong that they have their own nation-state within land that was historically considered theirs? Why is it okay to be in opposition to this? The many Arabic nations opposed Israel, and the nation of Israel was created mainly by the UN and Britain. In some sense, it is not entirely the Israeli's fault that these conflicts are occuring.

    But, at the same time, why should we assist them in a conflict that creates unnecessary bloodshed for land that was inhabited by different ethnic groups? Is the nation of Israel even necessary? The entire creation of this nation is unfair to the ethnic groups already inhabiting the land.

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  46. Chicho Blanco writes:

    Why should Israel be allowed to subjugate Palestinians into what is basically an open air prison camp? I am opposed to all religious states and feel secular governments are the only legitimate governments.

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  47. Barbara Kellam-Scott writes:

    My major problem with the modern state of Israel is that it demands liberties that it does not grant to others. It has nuclear weapons. It continues to build in land it has said it will return to Palestinian control. The whole latest Gaza war was about collective punishment. That just makes me terribly uncomfortable.

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  48. Nick Rodriguez writes:

    Well, the Zionist movement was comprised of mostly secular Jews..the reason why they wanted to create a Jewish state was primarily not for religious reasons but for a nation that was free of antisemitism(which has been historically rampant in Europe).

    The nation was created mainly by the UN and allied powers, and the conflicts arose out of the creation of this state.

    The reason why we originally supported Israel was because of the Soviet support towards the other nations in the Middle East; we needed an ally in that land.

    The conflicts between Israel and the surrounding nations resulted from all of this.

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  49. Chicho Blanco offers http://www.justvision.org/myneighbourhood/watch

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  50. Nick Rodriguez writes:

    I understand that injustices are done by Israeli's, but that does not mean that Palestinians in the conflict do not commit injustices themselves. On top of that, it would seem unethical if we ended all aid to a nation that we helped create, where we placed a massive group of people within one ethnic group that historically has been the victims of genocide in a land that is full of people who want to kill them..

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  51. Chicho Blanco writes:

    This above is a true story told from the point of view of a Palestinian teenager whose family was forced to give up half their home to Israelis. In the film you can see Israeli settlers going into the street to harass and abuse Palestinians while Israeli soldiers watch and do nothing. Mohammed is able to find the humanity in Israelis when he meets left wing Israelis who stand up against ignorant conservative Jews.

    Modern Israel is the one committing the genocide now.

    I do agree that Hamas has to become to the table to recognize the right of Jews to live in peace.

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  52. Suzanne Kennedy writes:

    The situation in the Middle East is in some ways similar to the Native American experience in the US 400 years ago. The US government would not look or react kindly if Native Americans for the last 50 years or so were building tunnels through which to smuggle arms and terrorists, strapping bombs on themselves for suicide missions in crowded plazas and schools, spewing hate filled rhetoric towards white Americans, and electing representatives who urgently believe the US has no right to exist. Oh, and with armies of other Native American nations periodically waged war on the US, similar to the 1967 and 1973 wars in the Middle East. The Middle East is covered with thousands of miles of "Arab" land, and Palestinians technically have Jordanian passports and citizenship. Jordan is by the way the only Arab country which offers citizenship to Palestinians. What's up with the other Arab nations? They cannot offer substantial help in creating a Palestinian home, albeit not exactly on the territory the Palestinians clamor about? Look at World History for heaven's sake! Not everyone gets their land back! How about the Arab countries man up, say "yes, there were wrongs committed on both sides during the last 50 years, but surely a nation established on the heels of 7 million genocide has a right to exist. We have a multitude of land, here it is Palestinians. Also here is some money, since we are overflowing in oil money anyway, to establish your new country." Why are there Palestinian refugee camps in ARAB nations?! The Palestinians need to find a real leader a la Martin Luther King, not Hamas leaders or the PLO which simply preach and support violence. Their silence is deafening.....

    Some here use the term "genocide" too loosely to describe Israel's actions. Read up on the institution and maintenance of concentration camps during WWII, or reeducation camps in Cambodia in the 1970's and 80's, or the tragedy in Rwanda in the 90's, and then show me similar actions by the Israelis. No rhetoric please, just facts where "genocide" by Israel similar to the examples I've provided occur.

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  53. Christopher Scott Evans writes:

    Pacification I leave with you, my pacification I give to you, just as the world gives, I give to you.

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  54. Chuck Kramer writes:

    There are several questions. The first is, do we as a country owe allegiance to Israel? I would argue that we do not. We gain nothing from Israel that we could not gain from better allegiances among Arab nations. Furthermore, Israel shows little respect for our nation, even to the extent of being caught spying on us. They take our money and then lecture us. So, on a pragmatic level, the only thing politicians gain by supporting Israel is political cover. On a religious level, there is no biblical mandate that Christians should support (or refuse to support) a state of Israel. Of course, our faith requires us to work for reconciliation among all people, and that ought to be the focus of our efforts. The more we demonize one side while lionizing the other, the more we create a foundation for increased intransigence and violence. As Christians, then, we support all people as God's children and seek means of reconciliation.

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  55. Suzanne Kennedy writes:

    Gains for allegiance to Israel? Aside from moral position, how about: Israel and the prevention of Soviet Union influence in Egypt and Middle East in 1970's? Our best ally in Middle East with respect to Iran? Much aid from US returned to US in form of defense contractor purchases and the maintenance of 60,000-70,000 US jobs annually in defense contractor industry? Israel's battlefield experience with US made weapons? Israel's stability and only democracy in the Middle East? Our ally even though not one US soldier is stationed there? 2.8 billion a year in US aid to Israel, 2 billion a year to Egypt, 130 billion yearly to defend Europe (with thousands of US soldiers stationed there), 30 billion yearly to defend Japan, Korea and the Far East. Sounds like we are getting a few things out of this relationship........

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  56. Christopher Scott Evans writes:

    Blessed are the warmongers for they shall inflame the earth.

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  57. Murray Watson writes:

    I think we need to draw some important distinctions: (1) love and support for the Jewish people; (2) support for the existence and welfare of the State of Israel; (3) agreement/disagreement with the policies of that State's government at any particular time. I think that Christians absolutely should support (1) and (2), but are under no obligations to support (3).

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  58. Sarah Campbell writes:

    I tried to read all these comments but gave up. I support the right of Israel to exist. sure. But all these people who say that disagreeing with anything Israel does is anti-Semitic - that is just crazy. It's the unconditional part that drives me crazy. I think if more Americans were willing to stand up to Israel and say - hey, the way you are going about this is wrong, some real progress could be made. I mean - sometimes I discipline my child when she does something wrong. I tell her - no, you can't do that, that is wrong. Does that mean I don't support my child? Of course not! But when Israel knows it can do ANYTHING IT WANTS and the world's strongest nation will support it, well, that only leads to atrocity.

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  59. Barbara Kellam-Scott writes:

    My other denomination, the PC(USA) saw the problem demonstrated at our national biennial policy-making participatory-democracy meeting last June. After years of direct work with 3 US corporations that profit from sales to Israel of products and services used directly in oppression of Palestinians, a proposal was on the table to divest a tiny fraction of our total financial reserves from those corporations. The meeting was attended by a sizeable witness from the organization Jewish Voice for Peace, and a letter from an ambassador of the State of Israel was read by the elected moderator of the assembly. It asked the moderator and the senior legal officer of the denomination, the Stated Clerk, to block voting on the divestment proposal and accept an expenses-paid trip to Israel for a face-to-face with PM Netanyahu. One of the jobs of these leaders is to maintain proper procedure, so the moderator (Heath Rada of NC) asked for the will of the body, and by overwhelming acclamation, they told him not to be bought off. They proceeded to vote for divestment, though by a much smaller margin.

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  60. Brandon Rogers writes:

    All muslims have the same agenda. They want to live under Sharia law

    The muslims don't want any peace with other religions. It is written in the Quran to fight the Jews and the Christians.

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  61. Christine Dahlberg writes:

    I want human rights and democracy for all nations, muslims want world domination and sharia law, this is why I will always stand with the civilized world, Israel and the Jewish people vs. the Barbarians. Again, Israel wants peace and life, moslems want submission and ultimately death of ALL unbelievers. The west must finally wake up to this truth.

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  62. Michael Maxx writes:

    Israel is Old covenant people of God.

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