Author Topic: Israel and Hamas  (Read 9822 times)

peter_speckhard

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Israel and Hamas
« on: May 19, 2021, 01:55:03 PM »
Recently a house bill calling for sanctions on Hamas failed along party lines. In the past it had passed unanimously.

I get the impression a similar split in sentiments divides mainline Protestants from conservative Protestants, with the former tending to support the Palestinians and the latter tending to support Israel. Why would that be?

Dave Likeness

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Re: Israel and Hamas
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2021, 02:16:00 PM »
Many Evangelicals support Israel due to their false beliefs that Christ will return to rule
this earth for 1000 years.  They expect him to return to Jerusalem in Israel where the
temple of Solomon will be rebuilt and serve as Christ's headquarters.   Listen to Rev.
John Hagee of San Antonio, Texas who preaches this nonsense from his pulpit.

Pr. Luke Zimmerman

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Re: Israel and Hamas
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2021, 02:22:12 PM »
Recently a house bill calling for sanctions on Hamas failed along party lines. In the past it had passed unanimously.

I get the impression a similar split in sentiments divides mainline Protestants from conservative Protestants, with the former tending to support the Palestinians and the latter tending to support Israel. Why would that be?

Peter:

Your question deserves a much longer treatment than what I'll give. But I think there can be a summary statement that explains the divide within Protestantism along mainline and conservative lines.

Leaving out any secular political reasons, I would posit that the divide can be summarized in this way:

(1) Conservative Protestants Being Supporters of Israel
An understanding of the existence of the modern state of Israel as necessary to fulfill aspects of premillennial eschatology, including interpretations of prophetic statements from Ezekiel, Daniel, and Revelation leads many Conservative Protestants to take a pro-Israel stance. These interpretations vary, but may include anticipating a wholesale conversion of Jews to Christianity near the eschaton, a national Israel involved in armed conflict against other nations, and the physical return of Christ in Jerusalem.

(2) Mainline Protestants Being Supporters of Palestinians
An understanding that a chief aspect of Christ's Gospel is to proclaim liberation to oppressed groups and to work for the temporal improvement of oppressed group's standing in this age leads many Mainline Protestants to take a pro-Palestinian stance. This goal may not include an emphasis on converting Palestinians to Christianity, but it would include removing them from suffering acts of a more powerful group that brings physical harm to them.


This divide makes it a bit awkward for Protestants who may hold to an understanding that the Christian Gospel is to bring people into reconciliation to God through faith in the atoning and redeeming work of Christ and who hold an understanding that the eschaton will come but will not include a role for a national Israel. Such individuals don't fit into either camps. [I would suggest that this is where LCMS Lutherans–though not exclusively them–fit theologically.] Support for Israel or the Palestinians would not be driven by theology but by other motives, including secular politics.

The above summary also focuses more on majority of Palestinians who are holding to the Islamic faith and doesn't address the somewhat complicating factor of Palestinian Christians and how to support brothers and sisters within the household of God.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2021, 02:27:20 PM by Pr. Luke Zimmerman »
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Dan Fienen

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Re: Israel and Hamas
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2021, 02:40:08 PM »
A large part of the problem between Israel and Hamas, and Israelis and Palestinians in general is that neither side has any trust that the other side is at all willing to live peaceably side by side. Palestinians have often been treated poorly by the Israelis. Israel from the day of its founding has faced existential threats from its neighbors and was established with indefensible boarders that were immediately attacked. Add to that tribal differences and rivalries, Jewish vs. Arab, and religious differences, Jewish vs. Muslim (and here we can add Iran to the mix who has religious reasons to oppose the existence of Israel and has a strong desire to establish itself as the dominate regional power, which hegemony Israel threatens), and you have a recipe for continual violence.


The Palestinian National Authority has as one of its founding principle the complete eradication of Israel and has given no indication that it would be willing to to settle for anything less. In the past humanitarian aid given to the Palestinian Authority has to a great extent been diverted to preparation for attacks against Israel. Building supplies which are desperately needed by the Palestinian populace for building homes, schools, businesses and the like are frequently diverted for building tunnels into Israel territory from which to launch attacks and launch sites for rockets to be sent indiscriminately into Israel. Terrorism against the Israeli population is not only a constant threat but a frequent reality.


The Israelis for their part have often been lacking in respect for the rights and needs of Palestinians and have frequently displaced Palestinians who have lived in places for generations in a place in favor of Jewish settlers.


Adjudicating the grievances involved from both sides would likely be and endless and impossible task. Finding away for both Israelis and Palestinians to live peaceably in the region would take cooperation from both sides, neither of which have indicated much of a willingness for compromises that would be necessary for cooperation and coexistence.
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Charles Austin

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Re: Israel and Hamas
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2021, 03:47:35 PM »
Pastor Zimmerman, the Christians in that part of the world are largely, perhaps overwhelmingly, Palestinian. Hence our relations with them means .... duh!
The Lutheran bishop of the region has been prominent in getting the concerns of his people out to the world. Recently, he was president of the Lutheran World Federation.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2021, 03:51:15 PM by Charles Austin »
Retired ELCA Pastor. Parishes in Iowa, Nw York and New Jersey. LCA and LWF staff. Former journalist. Now retired, living in Minneapolis. Preaching and presiding for Episcopalians next Sunday.

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Re: Israel and Hamas
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2021, 03:54:10 PM »
It is a complicated mess for some because there is, in one sense, a difference between Palestinians in general, and Hamas, a noted terrorist organization, that is actively attacking Israel as a "Palestinian" organization.  One certainly sympathizes with regular Palestinian citizens who suffer as collateral damage in a war where Hamas is known to hide their armaments and ammunition within areas where non-combatants live.  The dilemma is why the State of Palestine is unable or unwilling to disavow any association with Hamas and expel them from their area.  But Hamas has embedded itself within the Palestinian state.  How should Israel respond when their obvious enemy behaves this way? 
Pastor Don Engebretson
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peter_speckhard

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Re: Israel and Hamas
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2021, 03:59:31 PM »
I donít think the ideas about Israel prevalent among Evangelical Millenialists have much to do with the general split on Israel/Palestine. The split seems to run along the same general cultural divide that separates people in religion, politics, and social mores.

Dave Benke

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Re: Israel and Hamas
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2021, 04:12:49 PM »
I donít think the ideas about Israel prevalent among Evangelical Millenialists have much to do with the general split on Israel/Palestine. The split seems to run along the same general cultural divide that separates people in religion, politics, and social mores.

My conversations indicate you're wrong there, Peter.  The evangelical millenialist point of view is extraordinarily firm on this topic, holds throughout a portion of evangelicalism beyond the millenialist, and is used to the nth degree as an appeal to religious zeal by the more militant groups in Israel.  Ergo, the Hasids here are tight with the ultra fundamentalist Christians on the issue of Israel.

We do have millions of Jewish people here in NYC, as well as a couple hundred thousand Palestinians.  Not to go old-timey, but twenty years ago then-Mayor Giuliani appealed to us across faith boundaries to come together in prayer specifically because of the fear of extreme violence in Brooklyn, where the Israel/Palestine border is Atlantic Avenue.  Both the rabbis and the imams did that, and it was effective.

Dave Benke

Dan Fienen

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Re: Israel and Hamas
« Reply #8 on: May 19, 2021, 04:29:09 PM »
It is a complicated mess for some because there is, in one sense, a difference between Palestinians in general, and Hamas, a noted terrorist organization, that is actively attacking Israel as a "Palestinian" organization.  One certainly sympathizes with regular Palestinian citizens who suffer as collateral damage in a war where Hamas is known to hide their armaments and ammunition within areas where non-combatants live.  The dilemma is why the State of Palestine is unable or unwilling to disavow any association with Hamas and expel them from their area.  But Hamas has embedded itself within the Palestinian state.  How should Israel respond when their obvious enemy behaves this way? 
This phenomenon, the radical extreme embedding itself and largely taking over the mainstream, is an old and widespread conundrum. Here we see it as a terrorist organization Hamas), largely funded by a foreign power (Iran), has taken over the government of a people and pursues their own (and their sponsor's) agenda arguably to the detriment of the people they claim to represent and for whom they claim to speak and act. But as things stand, what alternative do the Palestinian people have? Since propaganda to the world at large is a major part of their strategy, it can be safely assumed they they also use self serving propaganda on their own people.


To an extent, the same thing has happened in Israel. The Israeli parliamentary system being what it is, the fringe and small parties have gained outsized power and influence over governmental affairs due to the need that the major parties have for their participation in coalitions to enable a major party to form a ruling majority. So more extreme policies that anger the Palestinians and the rest of the world may be embraced as sops to bring the minor parties into a coalition.


We see it in American politics. Before the 2016 election, I was a never Trumper until he became the only Republican game in town. In the end I feared Trump less than I did Clinton and the more radical elements of her coalition. Again in 2020, it was not so much who I really wanted as president as it was who did I fear, and whose coalition, more.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
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Tom Eckstein

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Re: Israel and Hamas
« Reply #9 on: May 19, 2021, 04:35:13 PM »
I donít think the ideas about Israel prevalent among Evangelical Millenialists have much to do with the general split on Israel/Palestine. The split seems to run along the same general cultural divide that separates people in religion, politics, and social mores.

My conversations indicate you're wrong there, Peter.  The evangelical millenialist point of view is extraordinarily firm on this topic, holds throughout a portion of evangelicalism beyond the millenialist, and is used to the nth degree as an appeal to religious zeal by the more militant groups in Israel.  Ergo, the Hasids here are tight with the ultra fundamentalist Christians on the issue of Israel.

We do have millions of Jewish people here in NYC, as well as a couple hundred thousand Palestinians.  Not to go old-timey, but twenty years ago then-Mayor Giuliani appealed to us across faith boundaries to come together in prayer specifically because of the fear of extreme violence in Brooklyn, where the Israel/Palestine border is Atlantic Avenue.  Both the rabbis and the imams did that, and it was effective.

Dave Benke

According to the latest statistics, we have about 400 Jewish people in North Dakota!
I'm an LCMS Pastor in Jamestown, ND.

Dave Likeness

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Re: Israel and Hamas
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2021, 04:53:44 PM »
Many Lutherans do not understand the rabid support of the Evangelical community for Israel.
Those who believe in the 1000 year reign of Christ include more than just the  Assembly of
God denomination.  We forget so quickly that Billy Graham advocated for the 1000 year
reign of Christ in Jerusalem as well as the Moody Bible Institute.  There are Baptists and
Pentecostal denominations who are awaiting the return of  Christ to Jerusalem for1000 years.

The support of Israel for these various denominations is not political but Biblical.  They have
misinterpreted the Book of Daniel and Revelation to see prophesies being fulfilled with Christ's
return to Jerusalem for 1000 years. They want Israel to remain a viable entity when Christ
returns and feel it is their religious duty to help it happen.

Charles Austin

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Re: Israel and Hamas
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2021, 04:58:48 PM »
And that is always puzzled me a good bit, that the ultra conservative Jews are willing to except the support of evangelical Christians even though evangelical Christians are supporting Israel because they believe that when Christ returns all of the Jews will either be on liberated or converted and Christ will rule the world. Figure that one out. Which side is the dopiest? And whatís their ďPlan B.Ē
Retired ELCA Pastor. Parishes in Iowa, Nw York and New Jersey. LCA and LWF staff. Former journalist. Now retired, living in Minneapolis. Preaching and presiding for Episcopalians next Sunday.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Israel and Hamas
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2021, 05:19:12 PM »
It is a complicated mess for some because there is, in one sense, a difference between Palestinians in general, and Hamas, a noted terrorist organization, that is actively attacking Israel as a "Palestinian" organization.  One certainly sympathizes with regular Palestinian citizens who suffer as collateral damage in a war where Hamas is known to hide their armaments and ammunition within areas where non-combatants live.  The dilemma is why the State of Palestine is unable or unwilling to disavow any association with Hamas and expel them from their area.  But Hamas has embedded itself within the Palestinian state.  How should Israel respond when their obvious enemy behaves this way?


As I recall, the U.S. encouraged the Palestinians to have democratic elections. When they did, they elected Hamas leaders. (The U.S. wasn't happy, but what could they do when they had encouraged the elections.)
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Israel and Hamas
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2021, 05:26:33 PM »
I donít think the ideas about Israel prevalent among Evangelical Millenialists have much to do with the general split on Israel/Palestine. The split seems to run along the same general cultural divide that separates people in religion, politics, and social mores.

My conversations indicate you're wrong there, Peter.  The evangelical millenialist point of view is extraordinarily firm on this topic, holds throughout a portion of evangelicalism beyond the millenialist, and is used to the nth degree as an appeal to religious zeal by the more militant groups in Israel.  Ergo, the Hasids here are tight with the ultra fundamentalist Christians on the issue of Israel.

We do have millions of Jewish people here in NYC, as well as a couple hundred thousand Palestinians.  Not to go old-timey, but twenty years ago then-Mayor Giuliani appealed to us across faith boundaries to come together in prayer specifically because of the fear of extreme violence in Brooklyn, where the Israel/Palestine border is Atlantic Avenue.  Both the rabbis and the imams did that, and it was effective.

Dave Benke

According to the latest statistics, we have about 400 Jewish people in North Dakota!


According to the latest statistics, there are 6.87 million Jews (and 1.96 million Arabs) in Israel; and 7.15 million Jews in the United States. There are more Jews living here than over there.
"The church Ö had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

peter_speckhard

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Re: Israel and Hamas
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2021, 05:43:45 PM »
I donít think the ideas about Israel prevalent among Evangelical Millenialists have much to do with the general split on Israel/Palestine. The split seems to run along the same general cultural divide that separates people in religion, politics, and social mores.

My conversations indicate you're wrong there, Peter.  The evangelical millenialist point of view is extraordinarily firm on this topic, holds throughout a portion of evangelicalism beyond the millenialist, and is used to the nth degree as an appeal to religious zeal by the more militant groups in Israel.  Ergo, the Hasids here are tight with the ultra fundamentalist Christians on the issue of Israel.

We do have millions of Jewish people here in NYC, as well as a couple hundred thousand Palestinians.  Not to go old-timey, but twenty years ago then-Mayor Giuliani appealed to us across faith boundaries to come together in prayer specifically because of the fear of extreme violence in Brooklyn, where the Israel/Palestine border is Atlantic Avenue.  Both the rabbis and the imams did that, and it was effective.

Dave Benke
Iím not saying Evangelical Millenialists and Orthodox Jews arenít both passionately Zionist for different reasons. Iím saying the general cultural divide in America is not driven by the convictions of such people. My theory is that one could come out ahead betting whether this or that person favors Israel or the Palestinians even if the pool of people didnít include anyone who even knew of the views of the ultra-Orthodox or Evangelical Millenialists.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2021, 08:16:45 AM by peter_speckhard »