January 2013 Archives

Father Roy

Father Roy


There’s a story I tell every chance I get.  I would like everybody on the mailing list to know the origin of the thirty-five (35) words in the following paragraph.  I discovered them myself … my claim to fame …  back in the early 1980’s … buried (if I remember right) on page 16 of my Church’s monthly national magazine:  Episcopal Life.  The words were included in a letter written by the Rt. Rev. Edmond Browning to the Women of the Church in the Holy Land.  I was the Vicar at St. Elizabeth’s Church, San Diego at the time.  Bishop Browning was TEC’s Presiding Bishop with an office in New York City.  His wife, Patti, read the letter at a meeting because the PB’s schedule had not permitted him to accompany her that trip.  Usually they traveled together.  Have you noticed?  Sometimes it takes a prolonged incubation period before truly prophetic words can take traction.

“As we Christians make our rightful claim to Jerusalem, we acknowledge that Muslims and Jews also have rightful claims to Jerusalem from their perspectives.  It is useless to argue about sovereignty in the Holy City.”

Peers,  I bid your prayers for the Peace of Jerusalem.  My personal prayer is that Muslims and Jews will be led to stretch and motivated to grow and eventually to make parallel claims and acknowledgements … parallel, i.e., to the Christian claim and acknowledgements … for God’s sake.  From my perspective, these few words summarize the most reasonable systematic plan for justice and world peace.  Does anybody have a better idea?  If so, please share. 



Father Roy writes:  The following commentary is forwarded without my highlights.  There’s no substitute for wisdom.   Peace, Roy

Refusing to choose sides in the Israel-Palestine conflict

by: Rev. Rich Lang

Most of us are just normal human beings. But every once in a while we get an opportunity to be in the presence of a great soul whose commonplace demeanor shines a bright light that illumines the goodness of life itself. When we have those opportunities we come away profoundly blessed, full of renewed animation and energy.

Archbishop Elias Chacour is one of those great souls. He will be at University Temple United Methodist Church, 1415 43rd St. NE, Sunday, Jan. 13. He’ll participate in a free-ranging conversation at 9 a.m., and then preach during worship at 10:30 a.m.

This will be a spiritual opportunity to interact with someone who has developed courage and wisdom, one who has found a path transcending the sufferings and anguish of life.

Indeed he embodies the words of my friend Bill Grace, who says, “Our times are too desperate for anything but the truth. The world is too small for anything but love. The work of our time is too hard for anything but hope.”

Chacour is one of the few remaining Christians still living in the holy land of Palestine/Israel. Most Christians have been driven out as victims of both Israeli and Arab suspicion. But Chacour remains and works relentlessly for nonviolent reconciliation among Christians, Israelis, Arabs, Muslims and the Druze. He has successfully modeled this reconciliation through building schools of integration, hoping that over time the past wounds will heal through the emergence of compassionate relationships of solidarity.

Chacour is the author of two best-selling books, “Blood Brothers” and “We Belong to the Land,” which document the plight of Christians in the turmoil of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is currently the Melkite Greek Catholic Archbishop of the Galilee region and has been the recipient of the World Methodist Peace Award and the Niwano Peace Prize, as well as been nominated several times for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Chacour once said, “You who live in the United States, if you are pro-Israel, on behalf of the Palestinian children I call unto you: give further friendship to Israel. They need your friendship. But stop interpreting that friendship as an automatic antipathy against me, the Palestinian who is paying the bill for what others have done against my beloved Jewish brothers and sisters in the Holocaust and Auschwitz and elsewhere.

“And if you have been enlightened enough to take the side of the Palestinians — oh, bless your hearts — take our sides, because for once you will be on the right side, right? But if taking our side would mean to become one-sided against my Jewish brothers and sisters, back up. We do not need such friendship. We need one more common friend. We do not need one more enemy, for God’s sake.”

All are welcome to hear this great soul and advocate for a peaceful resolution of the “Arab-Israeli” conflict.

Rev. Rich Lang is the pastor of University Temple United Methodist and can be contacted through utemple.org…


Haaretz journalist Yoel Marcus put it well: “If patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel, then anti-Semitism is the last refuge of the occupier.”

Jeffrey Blankfort went further: “I have been attacked as a “self-hating Jew”, as an anti-Semite, but it does not matter to me because I consider the accusation of anti-Semitism to be the first refuge of scoundrels. Patriotism is the last refuge, anti-Semitism is the first.”

Perhaps Mr Falk should take it as a compliment that he has been labelled as ‘anti-Semitic’ and a ‘self-hating Jew’. He is in excellent company. Even so, these vitriolic attacks take their toll (as I myself well know) and it’s hard to imagine the personal pain that it must have  caused Falk to have this labelled pinned on him by no less a figure than Ban ki-Moon!

Falk’s response is thorough and credible, but will it lead to an apology from his high-profile accusers? Probably not, but the rest of us will hold him in our prayers.

Father Dave

Ricahrd Falk

Richard Falk

source: richardfalk.wordpress.com…

An Open Letter of Response to CRIF (Conseil Représentif des Institutions Juives de France)

I am shocked and saddened that your organization would label me as an anti-Semite and self-hating Jew. It is utterly defamatory, and such allegations are entirely based on distortions of what I believe and what I have done. To confuse my criticisms of Israel with self-hatred of myself as a Jew or with hatred of Jews is a calumny. I have long been a critic of American foreign policy but that does not make me anti-American; it is freedom of conscience and its integral link with freedom of expression that is the core defining reality of a genuinely democratic society, and the robust exercise of these rights are crucial to the quality of political life in a particular country, especially here in the United States where its size and influence often has such a large impact on the lives and destiny of many peoples excluded from participating in its policy debates or elections.

It is always difficult to negate irresponsible accusations of this kind. What follows is an attempt to clarify my honestly held positions in relation to a litany of charges that have been given currency by a defamatory campaign conducted by UN Watch ever since I was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to be Special Rapporteur for the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in 2008. What follows are brief attempts at clarification in response to the main charges:

–the attacks on me by such high profile individuals as Ban ki-Moon, Susan Rice, David Cameron were made in response to vilifying letters about me sent to them by UN Watch, and signed by its Executive Director, Hillel Neuer. The contention that Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, also attacked me is misleading. She regretted the posting of a cartoon on my blog that had an anti-Semitic cartoon, but she took note of my contention that it was a complete accident and that the cartoon was immediately removed when brought to my attention;

– UN Watch charges that I am biased and one-sided in my treatment of Israeli behavior, and cites Susan Rice and others for support, as well as noting my failure to report on violations by Hamas, Fatah, and the Palestinian Authority. I can only say once more that I am trying my best to be objective and truthful, although unwilling to give in to pressure. I did make an effort in my initial appearance before the Human Rights Council to broaden my mandate to take account of Palestinian violations, but was rebuffed by most of the 49 governmental members of the Council for seeking to make such a change, and reasonable grounds were advanced for not changing my mandate. I have noted Palestinian violations of international law wherever relevant to the assessment of Israeli behavior, as for instance in relation to the launch of indiscriminate rockets. Palestinian abuses of human rights of Palestinians under their control while administering portions of Occupied Palestine is outside my mandate, and I have no discretion to comment on such behavior in discharging my responsibilities as Special Rapporteur.

It is my view that Israel is in control of the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, and is primarily responsible for the situation and the persistence of the conflict, especially by their insistence on undertaking provocative actions such as targeted assassinations and accelerated settlement expansions.

I would grateful if this account of my actual views and beliefs can be circulated widely in response to the CRIF repetition of the UN Watch attacks.

Richard Falk

29 December 2012

Read the complete letter on Richard Falk’s blog: richardfalk.wordpress.com…


The concluding line of this article says it all: “Israel has reserved the right to carry out its own operations against militants in the West Bank.”

The fact that Israel ‘reserves the right’ for the IDF to go in and out of Palestinian towns and villages, playing the role of policeman, makes a mockery of the Palestinian Authority’s ‘control’ of the West Bank.

The sad irony is that while Mahmoud Abbas has achieved nothing for his people by trying to work with the Israeli authorities, Hamas seems to have made huge strides forward through their militancy! God knows this does not auger well for the future.

Father Dave

source: tvnz.co.nz/world-news/israeli-forces-continue-raids-in-palestine-5311167…

Israeli forces continue raids in Palestine

Israeli forces raided the West Bank city of Jenin in search of a suspected Palestinian militant today, setting off clashes with residents who threw rocks and petrol bombs at them, an Israeli security source said.

It was the second time this week that Israeli forces had entered the Jenin area to detain suspects.

On Tuesday, Israeli soldiers disguised as Palestinians raided the village of Tamoun, arresting a member of the Islamic Jihad group. Several dozen Palestinians were injured in ensuing clashes, medical officials said.

In today’s incident, the soldiers clashed with some 500 Palestinians, forcing them out of Jenin, the security source said. An elderly Palestinian woman was slightly injured by a dog used by Israeli forces during the operation.

A military source said a Palestinian was arrested in Thursday’s raid – though not the suspect in whose pursuit Israel had launched the operation. The source did not give further details on the detainee.

Jenin is under the control of the Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank under interim peace accords with Israel.

Israel has reserved the right to carry out its own operations against militants in the West Bank.


What is Mahmoud Abbas up to?

Normally when we speak of a government ‘rubber-stamping’ something we mean that the action is quite trivial, but in this case it’s the rubber-stamps and the office stationary that are being changed and it all seems highly significant!

Surely the change of name, in and of itself, will do little to affect the international standing of the Palestinian people, apart from aggravate Israel. Perhaps Abbas’ rationale is the morale-building effect he foresees for the Palestinian people themselves?

Father Dave

source: www.saudigazette.com…

Palestinian Authority gives way to the ‘State of Palestine’

Mohammed Mar’i

Saudi Gazette

RAMALLAH – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has ordered all Palestinian institutions to stop using the term Palestinian National Authority on official documents, a report said Friday.

The state-run Wafa news agency said that Abbas asked the institutions, including all Palestinian missions abroad, to replace the term with “the State of Palestine” in accordance with the UN recognition of Palestine as a nonmember observer state.

The report said that the change went into effect immediately, and was applied to official documents, seals and medals.

The report said that the embassies should “coordinate the change with the (Palestinian) Ministry of Foreign Affairs” to handle it with the countries that opposed the Palestinian move at the UN General Assembly.

According to presidential decree, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), with whom Israel signed the Oslo Peace Accords, will not change its official documents, signs and seals.

On Sunday, a senior PLO official recommended that the Palestinian Authority (PA) add the label “State of Palestine” to all of its official documents and signs. Sa’eb Erekat, a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee and head of its Negotiations Department, also suggested that the PA prepare a new constitution, achieve reconciliation with Hamas, and seek membership in UN conventions and agencies following the upgrading of the status.

The PLO official said that following the UN vote, the “occupation has become an occupation of a member of the UN by another member. This requires creating a new political dynamic and approach between the international community and Israel.”