|"Republican evangelical fundamentalism" - bad. Islamist & Muslim fundamentalism - good. Jim Wallis's Christian Leftist fundamentalism - also good.|
Thursday, 14 March 2013
Reverend Jim Wallis on Israeli Settlements (1)
This piece is a commentary on Jim Wallis’s book, God’s Politics, written in 2005. It specifically refers to the chapter ‘Against Impossible Odds’ (chapter 11).
The Reverend Jim wallis is a leader figure in Christian politics in America. He has been categorised as a “public theologian”, a liberation theologian, a preacher, a “faith-based activist” and suchlike. He is closely connected to the Democratic Party and is even the personal friend of our very own Gordon Brown (as well as being a friend of Michael Lerner – the Jewish “anti-Zionist”).
Rev Jim Wallis, the American (public) liberation theologian, “evangelist” and “progressive Christian “activist”, has a lot to say about “Jewish settlements”. Most of it is propaganda-strewn; which is surely not such a good thing for a religious leader (unless you’re a Muslim, of course). Some of what he says is downright factually incorrect – either deliberately or not deliberately so.
The following claim is not false, as such. But it is probably intentionally selective and ignorant.
Jim Wallis tells us about the “Jewish settlements [that] are actually inside the city of Hebron” (177) as if Israelis have invaded the city, or they have no connection to it, or even that they may never have previously heard of it before settlement. The fact is that the Jews were ethnically-cleansed from Hebron in 1929. 133 Jews were killed (33 more than the much-talked-about Deir Yasin) and 399 wounded by Muslim Palestinians. The rest were forced to leave. The fact is that Wallis doesn’t mention this fact. He leaves out many relevant facts in this chapter (on Israel) of his book. But they are relevant facts which would work against his “anti-Zionist“agenda.
Jim Wallis also explains to us how different the Israeli settlements are to the Palestinians villages which “surround them”. He says that
“Israeli settlements, always on the highest ground, with the most modern, first-world living conditions anywhere, towering over the much-poorer Palestinian villages down in the valleys.” (173)
The very simple thing we are meant to conclude from this is that Israel is exclusively to blame for this disparity. Really? Well, for a start, conditions were far worse for virtually all Palestinians (except leaders like the Nazi Mufti of Jerusalem; who had a hand in the Hebron ethnic-cleansing) in the period before the creation of the state of Israel. In fact in almost all Muslim countries, especially the Arab ones, the situation is terrible today and nearly always has been for the lower Muslim orders.
What’s more, the Israelis have actually contributed to the better lifestyles of the Palestinians since at least 1900, if not before. With Israeli investment, productivity and know-how the Israelis improved the lives of the Palestinians around them. That included decreasing the death rate of both new-born Palestinians as well as of older individuals. Jews also improved the general quality of life of many Palestinians. This was easily affected because the Jews - or Israelis later - had a different mind-set to the Palestinians. They weren’t bogged down by Islam, by sharia law, and by tribal or clan culture. These things, far more than the behaviour of Israelis or Jews, contributed to the self-created poverty and desperation of the Palestinians.
On top of all that is that there are differences between Israelis and Palestinians which can also be accounted for by the small fact of three full-scale wars between the Israelis and Palestinians; and by the innumerable acts of violence against Israel and so on. If you put all that into the pot, Jim Wallis making some sly and implicit point that the wealth of Israelis settlers is a direct result of the poverty and “oppression” of Palestinians is spurious in the extreme.
The Israeli settlers have “first-world living conditions” and the rest because that’s part of the culture they belong to. These are things they have created for themselves. The Palestinians, on the whole, have worked against modernisation partly because they have also worked against democracy and against peace with Israel. Their situation, at least the poverty of the “Palestinians villages down in the valleys” (below the settlers), is almost entirely self-inflicted. And the fact that they have brown skin, and live next to civilians who belong to a “white capitalist state” (a democracy), doesn’t change any of that.
Whereas Jim Wallis admires strong and even extreme religious sentiments and attitudes when displayed by Muslim Palestinians (as well as by Leftist Christians), he hates it when Jews display strong or extreme religious sentiments and attitudes. (Leftists in the West also hate American “evangelical fundamentalists” but love Islamist or Muslim fundamentalists.) For example, he generalises by saying that all
“[s]ettlements are aggressive forays by people who believe that God has given them all the land.” (173)
Despite the hype, not all settlers are fundamentalist Jews or even religious at all. Many have settled for economic reasons. Indeed why shouldn’t they settle in the West Bank and Gaza anyway? I thought people like Wallis, and other Western leftists, were against “bigoted xenophobes” who believed in the exclusive right of a single ethnic group to a single area. Unless that groups is a group of brown Muslims (Palestinians). And it’s definitely wrong if that group is a group of supposedly all-white Israelis.
Indeed Wallis appears to believe that Palestine should be Judenrein. Islamic Saudi Arabia is completely Judenrein. So too Muslim Libya. Egypt and other Muslim countries have nearly achieved that acceptable state of racism (acceptable to Muslims and Western leftists). But Wallis also wants Palestine to be Judenrein too! What racism! What bigoted xenophobia – even if it is on behalf of the Brown Exotic.