The HyperTexts

The NAKBA (the Holocaust of the Palestinians): What does the Bible say?
What would Jesus do Himself?

What does the Bible say? Should Christians support Israel, no matter how unjustly Israel treats millions of completely innocent Palestinian children and their mothers? What did Jesus Christ say? What would Jesus do himself? Would Jesus rob Palestinian children and their mothers of their land, water and basic human rights? This is what Jesus said ...

Whatsoever ye do unto the least of these, my brethren, ye do it unto Me.
Suffer the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven. Does this mean only Jewish children? No, because ...
See that you do not despise
even one of these little ones.
Whoever receives a child in my name receives Me, but whoever harms one of these little ones, it would be better for him to have a millstone fastened around his neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.

When I was growing up in Christian churches around the world (my father was a 20-year man in the U.S. Air Force), we used to sing:

Jesus loves the little children,
all the children of the world;
red and yellow, black and white,
they are precious in his sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

Where does the Bible say that Palestinian children are the only children excluded from the love of God? Ironically, Jesus was born in Palestine, which makes him a Palestinian child. And like so many other Palestinian children today, Jesus was told that there was "no room" for him and his family.

who, US?
by Michael R. Burch

Jesus was born
a palestinian child
where there’s no Room
for the meek and the mild

... and in bethlehem still
to this day, lambs are born
to cries of “no Room!”
and Puritanical scorn ...

under Herod, Trump, Bibi
their fates are the same —
the slouching Beast mauls them
and WE have no shame:

“who’s to blame?”

Bethlehem is a town in the central West Bank, so Jesus was not born within the borders of modern-day Israel, but in Occupied Palestine—so called because Israel has created a brutal, repressive military occupation of the land outside its legal borders, with soldiers of the IOF (Israeli Occupation Force) protecting racially segregated "Jewish only" roads and settlements, in direct and blatant violation of both International Law, the Golden Rule, and simple human decency. What is the purpose of the occupation? As in the days of the Wild, Wild West, the Israeli military is protecting the land-grabbing robber barons rather than their victims, with millions of those victims being children.

I had a dream of Jesus!
Mama, his eyes were so kind!
But behind him I saw a billion Christians
hissing "You're nothing!," so blind.

―The Child Poets of Gaza

I, too, have a dream ...
that one day Jews and Christians
will see me as I am:
a small child, lonely and afraid,
staring down the barrels of their big bazookas,
knowing I did nothing
to deserve such scorn.
―The Child Poets of Gaza

But does the Bible say that Israeli Jews are to be preferred over Palestinians? No, it doesn't. According to the Bible, there was a period of time when the ancient Hebrews had the opportunity to claim the land if they practiced chesed (mercy, compassion, lovingkindness). But when they failed to become a nation of priests able to show the rest of the world a better way to live, that claim was negated and there was no distinction made, as Samaria (the modern-day West Bank) was equated with Israel. This point was made by the prophets Ezekiel and Micah, in the strongest possible terms:

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, confront Jerusalem with her detestable practices and say, This is what the Sovereign Lord says to Jerusalem: Your ancestry and birth were in the land of the Canaanites; your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite ... Your older sister was Samaria, who lived to the north of you with her daughters; and your younger sister, who lived to the south of you with her daughters, was Sodom. You not only followed their ways and copied their detestable practices, but in all your ways you soon became more depraved than they. As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, your sister Sodom and her daughters never did what you and your daughters have done. Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen. Samaria did not commit half the sins you did. You have done more detestable things than they, and have made your sisters seem righteous by all these things you have done. Bear your disgrace, for you have furnished some justification for your sisters. Because your sins were more vile than theirs, they appear more righteous than you. So then, be ashamed and bear your disgrace, for you have made your sisters appear righteous. However, I will restore the fortunes of Sodom and her daughters and of Samaria and her daughters, and your fortunes along with them, so that you may bear your disgrace and be ashamed of all you have done in denying them comfort. And your sisters, Sodom with her daughters and Samaria with her daughters, will return to what they were before; and you and your daughters will return to what you were before. [Ezekiel 16:1-63]

Ezekiel was saying that Israel was worse than Sodom and Samaria, and that the fortunes of all three would be restored together. Micah agreed that Israel had become like Sodom and Gomorrah:

"Moreover, among the prophets of Samaria I saw an offensive thing: They prophesied by Baal and led My people Israel astray. Also among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing: The committing of adultery and walking in falsehood; And they strengthen the hands of evildoers, So that no one has turned back from his wickedness. All of them have become to Me like Sodom, And her inhabitants like Gomorrah. [Jeremiah 23:13-14]

The book of Micah explicitly discusses the relationship between God, Samaria and Israel. Micah says that God does not support people who steal from their neighbors, which is what modern-day Israel has been doing to Samarians (Palestinians) since the Nakba ("Catastrophe") of 1948:

They covet fields and seize them, and houses, and take them. They defraud people of their homes, they rob them of their inheritance. [Micah 2:2]

This is what Americans who called themselves "Christians" did to Native Americans. It is what Germans who called themselves "Christians" did to Jews during the Holocaust. And it is what Israeli Jews have been doing relentlessly to Palestinians for more than half a century, using money and weapons provided by American Christians. As Jewish historians like Benny Morris and Ilan Pappé have clearly documented, in 1948 Israel destroyed hundreds of Palestinian villages and stole the underlying land, creating the Palestinian refugee crisis. Around 80% of the 1.8 million Palestinians who eke out a marginal existence in Gaza are refugees of Israel's ethnic cleansing and their descendents. A Jewish humanitarian organization, the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions (ICAHD) has tracked and reported tens of thousands of demolitions of Palestinian homes since 1967. But the Bible does not condone this kind of sordid behavior.

In Micah chapter 3, the prophet says that God will not support the rulers of Israel if they do such craven, terrible things to women and children. And obviously women and children suffer terribly when they are robbed of their land and homes. Micah thunders:

Now hear this, heads of the house of Jacob and rulers of the house of Israel, who abhor justice and twist everything that is straight, who build Zion with bloodshed and Jerusalem with violent injustice. Her leaders pronounce judgment for a bribe, her priests instruct for a price and her prophets divine for money. Yet they lean on the LORD saying, "Is not the LORD in our midst? Calamity will not come upon us." [Micah 3:9-11]

Micah goes on to clearly say that what God wants is peace, which requires justice, and that Jerusalem is mean for many "peoples" [races] and many nations, not just Jews:

And it will come about in the last days that the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains. It will be raised above the hills, and the peoples will stream to it. Many nations will come and say, "Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD and to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us about His ways and that we may walk in His paths." For from Zion will go forth the law, Even the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. [Micah 4:1-2]

Micah is obviously talking about people coming together, in peace, not Jews robbing their neighbors of everything they possess! Micah's vision is the opposite of what warlike, bellicose Israel has been doing. Micah's is a vision of peace:

He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Everyone will sit under their own vine and under their own fig tree, and no one will make them afraid, for the LORD Almighty has spoken. [Micah 4:3]

But, like in scenes from the movie Avatar, Israel has been destroying millions of life-giving fig and olive trees. Jimmy Carter, former American President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, wrote about this horror in his book Palestine: Peace, not Apartheid. Is this what God ever wanted? No ...

Hear, you mountains, the LORD's accusation; listen, you everlasting foundations of the earth. For the LORD has a case against his people; he is lodging a charge against Israel ... He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love chesed [mercy, compassion, lovingkindness] and to walk humbly with your God. [Micah 6:2-8]

This verse seems to be an apt description of modern-day Israel's method of acquiring wealth at other people's expense:

What shall I say about the homes of the wicked filled with treasures gained by cheating? What about the disgusting practice of measuring out grain with dishonest measures? Can I justify wicked scales and a bag of deceptive weights? For the rich men of the city are full of violence, her residents speak lies, and their tongue is deceitful in their mouth. So also I will make you sick, striking you down, Desolating you because of your sins. [Micah 6:10-13]

And what Micah prophesied seems to be clearly happening to Israel today:

Therefore I will give you over to ruin and your people to derision; you will bear the scorn of the nations. [Micah 6:16]

In fact, Israel has born the scorn of the greatest Jewish intellectuals of modern times, because Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud and Noam Chomsky eached strongly denounced the wild excesses and injustices of Zionism. And icons of world peace have also strongly denounced Israel's sordid methods: Mohandas Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, and Jimmy Carter. Even a few honest Israeli generals like Matti Peled have come forward and admitted that Israel started the 1967 war on purpose, with the war being used as a pretext to rob Palestinians of more land, expanding Israel in the process.

Micah also described how nations like Nazi Germany, apartheidist South Africa and modern-day Israel deny their victims justice:

The ruler demands gifts, the judge accepts bribes, the powerful dictate what they desire: they all conspire together. [Micah 7:6]

Unfortunately, many of those demanded gifts are billions of dollars in cash and advanced weapons provided by American taxpayers to rich, ruthless Israeli robber barons.

How can anyone read this very clear book of the Bible, which explicitly discusses the relationship between Israel (the Jews) and Samaria (the Palestinians), and come to the conclusion that God wanted a chosen race of priests to rob other people of their land, homes, water and life-giving trees? And how can anyone imagine Jesus Christ ignoring the worth and human rights of Palestinian children and their mothers?

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. (Psalms 127:3)

Bethlehem is home to one of the oldest and largest Palestinian Christian communities, although it has shrunk dramatically in recent years due to emigration. In a recent 60 Minutes segment, Palestinian Christians were asked why they were leaving Bethlehem, and they said it was because of Israeli racism practiced against Palestinians, not because of any sort of persecution by Muslims. In 2006, the Palestinian Centre for Research and Cultural Dialogue conducted a poll among the city's Christians: 90% said they had Muslim friends, 73% agreed that the Palestinian National Authority treated Christian heritage with respect, while 78% attributed the exodus of Christians to Israeli travel restrictions (apartheid barriers, military checkpoints, racially segregated roads, racial identity cards, etc.).

And when Esau lifted up his eyes and saw the women and children, he said, “Who are these with you?” Jacob said, “The children whom God has graciously given your servant.” (Genesis 33:5)

Just think: if Jesus were to visit his birthplace today, he would be hassled right and left by bellicose Israeli soldiers who treat everyone born in non-Jewish communities like criminals—presumed guilty until proven innocent.

Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise. (Matthew 21:16)

Before 1948, Bethlehem was 85% Christian, until Israel began ethnically cleansing Palestinians during the Nakba ("Catastrophe") of 1948. According to Israel there was "no room" for Palestinian babies and children. Of course that was what Jesus's parents had been told before he was born. So Jesus would surely empathize with Palestinian children and their parents.

Out of the mouth of babes and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. (Psalms 8:2)

Today the people of Bethlehem have lost approximately 87% of their land to the occupation, with most of the land appropriated by the 40 Israeli settlements surrounding Bethlehem having been taken from Christians. So many Christians have left Jerusalem that their percentage of the population is down to less than 2%. Now the prospect of holy sites like Jerusalem and Bethlehem lacking local Christians looms as a real possibility. The main export of Bethlehem has been Christianity, and its main business is tourism of Christian holy sites, but the prognosis for Christianity in Bethlehem and Jerusalem looks increasingly bleak, thanks to Israeli racism and intolerance.

See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 18:10)

In 2002, Bethlehem was a primary target of Israel's Operation Defensive Shield, which sounds a lot like Operation Pillar of Defense; the latter devastated Gaza ten years later, in 2012. During Operation Defensive Shield, IOF forces besieged the Church of the Nativity for 39 days. As a result, many Palestinian Christians left, or are in the process of leaving. Mitri Raheb is a Palestinian Christian minister who runs schools, cultural centers and health clinics. He told 60 Minutes: "... the West Bank is becoming more and more like a piece of Swiss cheese where Israel gets the cheese that is the land, the water resources, the archaeological sites. And the Palestinian are pushed in the holes behind the walls."

It is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. (Matthew 18:14)

While the Israeli government tries to blame Islam for the exodus, the Palestinians themselves disagree. Zahi Khouri is a Palestinian businessman who owns the West Bank Coca-Cola franchise. He told 60 Minutes: "I probably have 12,000 customers here. I've never heard that someone is leaving because of Islamic persecution."

Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers. (Proverbs 17:6)

According to the Bible, the town of Bethlehem once saw King Herod's slaughter of the innocents. Today the innocent children of Bethlehem are once again imperiled, this time by the mighty Israeli military and its crushing disregard for the human rights of Palestinians. Ethnically cleansing women and children, and stealing their families' land are serious crimes. Neither the Hebrew prophets, nor Jesus, nor any of the apostles ever said that men who abuse women and children have the favor of God, or will receive any reward for their reprehensible behavior. For Christians, a pertinent question is: What would Jesus do? Jesus never harmed a woman or child, nor did he ever describe any scenario in which it is permissible for men to harm women and children. Instead, he said:

Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

A similar question once faced American Christians over the treatment of Native American and African American children. Should Christians have used Bible verses to declare it their "manifest destiny" to ethnically cleanse Native Americans from their homeland, or to enslave African Americans? No, because no one can possibly suggest that Jesus would have condoned such terrible injustices, much less have committed them himself. Instead, he said:

Whoever harms one of these little ones, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.

If Christians asked themselves, "What would Jesus do?" they would immediately see that Israel's system of apartheid and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians must not be supported by Christians, because no loving, compassionate person with a sense of justice would ever inflict such misery on women and children. Clearly, we should never support any government, including our own, when it practices racial injustices against innocent children and their mothers.

May the LORD give you increase, you and your children! (Psalms 115:14)

What would Jesus do? I think the evidence of the gospels is clear that Jesus would side with the children and their mothers against rich, powerful, hypocritical Pharisees who claim to be "men of faith" while in reality being willing to rob, harm and kill "the least of these, my brethren."

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. (Isaiah 11:6)

Part II — Rightly Dividing the Word

There are other reasons to question the idea that Christians should always support Israel because God "gave" the land of Palestine to the ancient Hebrews. Does it make any sense, really, to say that God "gives" one person's property to another person? How would Christians feel if people of another religion showed up with guns and bombs, insisting that God "gave" them the land, homes and property of Christians? If God "gave" them something, why would they need weapons to take (i.e., steal) it?

To take someone else's property by force is armed robbery. Can any Christian possibly suggest that God commands or condones armed robbery? Heaven forbid!, as Saint Paul used to say. But then why should Christians expect Muslims to believe something they would never believe themselves, if they were on the short end of the stick? Why not be honest about the Bible, since honesty is a Christian virtue? Here are other reasons not to support Israel's constant theft of Palestinian land:

No sane human being would ever surrender his house and land because someone else said God wanted him to have it.
To claim that God wants me to rob you and leave your family homeless and destitute either makes God unjust, or me a liar.
If God "gave" the land of Palestine to the ancient Hebrews, why does the Bible say that Moses, Joshua, Caleb and King David took it via ethnic cleansing and genocide (the "slaying of everything that breathes," including women, children and livestock)? Why does the Bible say that David slaughtered every woman when he "smote the land"? Why did David order the slaughter of the lame and the blind when Jerusalem was taken from the Jebusites? How can anyone believe that a loving, compassionate, wise, just God commanded the slaughter of women, children and the handicapped?
Let's put aside the question of the Palestinians for just a moment.
How can the verses that commanded the Israelites to enslave and murder their own children be explained? In Exodus 21, Moses permitted fathers to sell their own daughters as sex slaves, with the option to buy them back if they failed to "please" their new masters. In Deuteronomy 22, Moses commanded the Israelites to murder girls who had been raped, or to sell them to their rapists (meaning that they could be raped legally for the rest of their lives). According to Moses, rape victims should only be spared if they were raped in a field where no one could hear their cries for help. In Numbers 31, Moses commanded that captured women and male infants were to be slaughtered, with only the virgin girls being kept alive (obviously as sex slaves). Is that the wisdom of God or the evil lunacy of barbaric men pretending to speak for God because doing so gives them power? How can we explain such terrible verses appearing in the Bible? The most likely answer is that the verses in question were added or altered long after the time of Moses, by the Levite scribes who copied the scrolls that eventually became the Hebrew Bible.
The Hebrew prophets spoke of the need for chesed (mercy, compassion, lovingkindness) and social justice. But obviously there is nothing "compassionate" or "just" about slavery, sex slavery, matricide, infanticide, ethnic cleansing and genocide. The prophets criticized the Levites (the priests and scribes who created and copied the texts that eventually became the Bible), calling them liars and saying they had changed the word of God to the point that the Israelites no longer knew what God had said. Since the Bible contains contradictory statements which cannot be reconciled (for instance the book of Judges says that God hardened David's heart to take a census, while the book of Chronicles says that it was Satan who hardened David's heart to take the same census), people who look to the Bible for guidance must still listen to their own hearts and minds. Christians should remember that Saint Paul instructed his protégé Timothy to "rightly divide" the word.
What would Jesus do? Would Jesus evict multitudes of innocent Palestinians from their homes, including women, children and the elderly, knowing that they would suffer terribly and that many of them would die on a new Trail of Tears? Would Jesus praise Christians for supporting such injustices in his name, or would he call them hypocrites?
In the past Christians used the Bible to condone racism, intolerance, slavery, witch hunts, Inquisitions, Crusades, torture, "holy wars," and the burning of "heretics" at the stake. Millions of people have been tortured, enslaved and killed in the name of Jesus Christ. Isn't it time to start doing what Jesus did himself, or stop using his name in vain? Jesus praised the Good Samaritan, a man who ignored the dictates of religion in order to act with compassion for someone of another race and creed. Shouldn't we also put religious dogma aside (how can we possibly know whose house goes to whom, based on religious texts) to act with compassion and justice?

A fundamental question for Christians is the morality of supporting people who are doing things good Christians would never do themselves. I do not believe men should harm women and children, so why should I support Israel when it wages a war of daily, systematic terror on Palestinian women and children, constantly stealing the little land and water they have left? Mind you, I have nothing against the good Jewish people who don't practice racism against Palestinians. But I strongly oppose those Jews who deliberately choose to rob women and children, leaving them homeless and destitute. I believe Jesus, the Hebrew prophets and the apostles would agree with me. When did any of them ever say that rich, powerful men should be allowed to steal from widows and orphans? Obviously, they said the opposite: that true religion was to help widows and orphans.

Palestinian women, babies, toddlers, children and grandmothers and grandfathers are not "terrorists." And most Palestinian men are not "terrorists" either. Yes, some Palestinian men have committed acts of violence. But some American men also commit acts of violence. If a few gangbangers in Los Angeles go on a rampage, do we erect towering walls around the whole city and collectively punish the innocent along with the guilty? No, of course not. We know that real justice must be individual, not collective.

The Hebrew prophets often spoke of the need for chesed [mercy, compassion, lovingkindness] and social justice. Time and time again they warned the Israelites that if they abandoned chesed and justice, they would suffer the consequences, and even lose their land and go into captivity. Jesus Christ and the apostles also spoke of the need for compassion and justice. Surely no Christian believes men get a "free pass" to harm women and children. Unfortunately, in their zeal to "support" Israel, some Christians ignore the fact that the leaders of Israel often sound and act like the Grand Wizards of the KKK. Should Christians support Israel, no matter what, or should Christians only support Israel when Israel acts with compassion and justice?

According to the Bible as I understand it, Christians should not support anyone who harms women and children unjustly.

In the past we have seen a number of Holocausts, in which innocents were punished collectively for the "crime" of having been born to the "wrong" race. During the days of American slavery, African American men, women and children were deprived of freedom. Their only "crime" was having been born to the "wrong" race. When Native Americans walked the Trail of Tears, the same was true: innocent men, women and children were being collectively punished for the "crime" of having been born to the "wrong" race. When innocent Jewish men, women and children suffered and died so horrifically in the Holocaust, the same thing was true: they suffered and died for the "crime" of having been born to the "wrong" race.

In each case, the men who committed the atrocities professed to be "Christians," but their actions proved otherwise. Now we see innocent Palestinians suffering and dying in this new Holocaust. Yes, a few of them have committed acts of violence. But the majority of Gazans are children and a large percentage of the remainder are women and the elderly. As we all know, most crimes are committed by young men. This means the vast majority of Palestinians are not violent criminals. Why then are all Palestinians being punished collectively, for the crimes of only a few? From what I've read, Hamas has only around 3,000 members. The Crips and Bloods have over ten times that many members, but we don't persecute their mothers, sisters, brothers and grandmothers by herding them into giant corrals, as if they were cattle. So why has Israel herded millions of innocent Palestinians into walled enclosures, if only a few have committed crimes?

And is it possible that in this case the "egg" clearly came first: that Palestinian violence is largely the result of the racial injustices of Israel? I grew up in an evangelical Christian family whose members were always eager to believe the very best about Israel. But many of the things I learned about the policies and actions of the government of Israel bothered me greatly, because I believe men should protect women and children, not harm them. So I did an extensive, independent study of the history of Zionism, and to my horror I discovered that from its earliest days, many Jewish Zionists had great disdain for Palestinian Arabs and always intended to take their land by force and evict them. And in 1948 that's exactly what happened, contrary to what most Christians wish to believe. Before 1948, the Jews owned only a very small percentage of the land of Palestine. At that time there were many more Palestinians than Israeli Jews and the Palestinians had a higher birth rate, so it was hard to see how a democratic state could be Jewish and remain Jewish for any length of time. The Zionist solution was racist and fascist: buy a lot of weapons, start a war, and during the war drive out as many men, women and children of the "wrong" race as possible. Suddenly the land becomes "free" and the demographics change. So in 1948, as soon as the British government pulled out of Palestine, the Jews preemptively declared that a new nation called "Israel" existed, against the wishes of the Palestinians who had a clear majority of the population and owned more than 90% of the land. No elections were held until after the Jews had ethnically cleansed Israel of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. The UN never "gave" any land to anyone and had no right to give away privately held property. What the UN tried to do was draw "voting lines in the sand" to give the Jews the chance to have a small majority of the population within certain regions of Palestine. But it was hard to draw those lines because there were far more Palestinians than Jews. The Jews "solved" both problems with a planned program of ethnic cleansing. Hundreds of Palestinian villages didn't just disappear "by accident." They were deliberately demolished and that required a lot of money, manpower, machinery and management. 

Of the approximately 750,000 Palestinians who were ethnically cleansed, the majority were women, children and the elderly. Very few were combatants. Most were just fleeing for their lives. What would Jesus have done? Would he have been one of the men forcing innocent women and children to become homeless, destitute refugees? I find that very, very hard to believe. After all, he said "Suffer the little children to come unto me," not "Drive them away from me and make them suffer." What would Jesus do today? Would Jesus persecute innocent women and children? Of course not. Jesus warned his followers that it would be better for someone to have a millstone hung around his neck and be drowned, than to harm a little one. When an adulteress was brought before Jesus, he told the men intent on stoning her to death that the one without sin should cast the first stone. Nothing Jesus ever said or did condones harming women and children.

Shouldn't Christians do what Jesus would have done? Jesus reserved most of his criticism for people who lacked compassion and a sense of justice, calling them self-righteous and hypocritical. But he commended the Good Samaritan for acting with compassion, and in the Beatitudes he said "blessed are the peacemakers."

There is nothing compassionate or peaceful about ethnic cleansing. Israel's current problems are rooted in racial injustices, just as the American Indian Wars and Civil War were rooted in racial injustices. Now Israel's injustices are getting Americans killed to, since 9-11 was plotted by men furious with the way the governments of Israel and the United States treated the Palestinians.

What should Christians do, when they see the men in power oppressing innocent women and children? Should we side with the abusers, or should we protect the women and children, acting with compassion in the cause of peace?

The answer is clear.

Should Christians support Israel, when Israel practices government-sanctioned racism on a massive scale, daily?  The Hebrew prophets repeatedly warned Israelites that if they failed to practice chesed (mercy, compassion, lovingkindness) and establish social justice, they would forfeit the Promised Land. And this happened more than once in the past. The evidence of the Bible is clear. Could it happen again? I don't pretend to know. But I believe Christians should practice chesed (mercy, compassion, lovingkindness) and social justice. We should care for widows and orphans, not force completely innocent women and children to become widows and orphans.

It is all too easy for Jews and Christians to claim to be the Chosen Few. The Pharisees claimed to be the Chosen Few, but Jesus pointed out repeatedly that their religion was false, because they failed the tests of compassion and justice. Would Jesus have persecuted women and children? Would he have driven hundreds of thousands of farmers from their land, then bulldozed their homes, leaving them homeless and destitute? No, of course not.

But this is what Jews and Christians have done to the Palestinians, together. If Jesus were to return today, and see what we have done, would he congratulate Christians, or shake his head in disbelief? I believe the answer is clear. Christians cannot act without compassion and support injustice, and claim to be Christians. Isn't it time to read the Bible with eyes capable of seeing, and ears capable of hearing? We must not substitute a compassionless, unjust, ritualistic religion for "the real thing."

Now is the time to act with compassion and establish social justice. We can begin at home, and require Israel to do the same, or suffer the consequences.

If you are unfamiliar with the real history of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, or have been told that Israel is "only defending itself," please read Albert Einstein's 1948 letter to the New York Times and Einstein on Palestine: the Prophet of Peace. If you want to understand how the maps below relate to Israel's new offensive against Gaza, known as Operation "Pillar of Defense" or the biblical "Pillar of Clouds," please click here Amud Annan "Pillar of Fire." If you want to hear the opinion of the former U.S. president and Nobel Peace Prize laureate who negotiated peace talks between Israel and Palestinians, please click here Jimmy Carter: "Israeli policy is to confiscate Palestinian territory." You may also want to read and consider Israeli Prime Ministers who were Terrorists and Does Israel Really Want Peace?

Map 1 of 1946 Palestine shows more than 90% of the land belonging to Palestinians; at this point Jewish settlers had paid for most of the land they occupied
Map 2 of 1947 U.N. partition plan of Israel and Palestine; the land in the white areas was not "given" to Israel; Israeli Jews took the additional land
Map 3 of 1967 borders of Israel and Palestine; these are the "1967 lines" aka as the "1949 armistice lines"; once again Israeli Jews took the additional land
Map 4 of 2000 borders shows how Israel keeps taking land outside its legal borders, creating discontiguous Palestinian

The HyperTexts