Jewish residents of Tel Aviv on 29 November 1947, following the United Nations vote in favor of partitioning Palestine into two separate states, one Jewish and one Arab. Throughout the world, Israel is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its birth. These commemorations are based on a double omission that renders theses celebrations unacceptable from any ethical perspective. First, they avoid mentioning the terrible fact that the creation of the State of Israel was made possible and intrinsically linked to the dispossession of the indigenous Arab population and its transformation into a people of refugees. Speaking about the creation of Israel while ignoring the fate of the Arabs of Palestine is like speaking about the creation of the United States of America while ignoring the Native Americans, a historical falsification and an ethical failure. Second, this anniversary is not celebrated in a vacuum, but at a moment during which Israel is one of the states systematically violating the basic rules of international law, humanitarian law and human rights, as confirmed by the International Court of Justice.
Neither its genesis nor its present behavior provides a good reason to celebrate the State of Israel or to make it the guest of honor of international book fairs, in Paris or in Turin. Israel is a guest of dis-honor, and as such justifies the calls for boycott that were made by Arab writers and others. To boycott Israel or not is not a principled decision but a tactical question, depending on one criterion only : how can one be the most efficient in denouncing Israel and isolating it in the international arena. Personally, I have twice changed my position concerning an eventual boycott of the Paris book fair. Originally I decided not to attend, stating though that I do not consider those making the opposite choice as being wrong. After having been used by fundamentalist supporters of the boycott in their accusations against progressive non-boycotters (like Amira Hass, Eyal Sivan, Yael Lerer and others) as collaborators (sic), I decided to change my mind and attend the Paris book fair.
I do not regret this decision at all. The various activities organized by the opponents of Israeli colonialism, at the site of the book fair and outside of it were a tremendous success, attended by thousands of people who could not have been addressed if there would have been a mere boycott of the book fair. These alternative activities were the only critical-note in the loud pro-Israeli festival, and they received plenty of publicity.
Instead of spending precious time in arguing the pros and cons of boycott—which, as I said is a tactical question—the solidarity movement should, in each country, evaluate the weak points of the Israeli political, economic and cultural presence and connections, and unite their efforts to attack these weak points and effectively isolate Israel in the international arena. Efficiency should remain the key word in the strategy of solidarity with the Palestinian people.
For the next 10 months, the Israeli propaganda machine will organize plenty of celebrations for the 60th birthday of the Jewish State. To counterpoise this propaganda, all over the world, one should hear our voices saying, loud and clear : "there is nothing to celebrate, but a lot to do in order to repair what has been destroyed by 60 years of Israeli actions."
RLCC Comment: Just so long as they remain completely non-violent and completely truthful about the evils of violence regardless of the side that instigates or perpetrates hostilities, then statements about the false-hearted, anti-peace, twisted version of Zionism are more likely made within the true, non-hypocritical, spirit of justice as handed down from the New Testament of Jesus Christ.
The following should appear at the end of every post:
According to the IRS, "Know the law: Avoid political campaign intervention":
Tax-exempt section 501(c)(3) organizations like churches, universities, and hospitals must follow the law regarding political campaigns. Unfortunately, some don't know the law.
Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from participating in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The prohibition applies to campaigns at the federal, state and local level.
Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes. Section 501(c)(3) private foundations are subject to additional restrictions.
Political Campaign Intervention
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Contributions to political campaign funds, public statements of support or opposition (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of an organization, and the distribution of materials prepared by others that support or oppose any candidate for public office all violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention.
Factors in determining whether a communication results in political campaign intervention include the following:
- Whether the statement identifies one or more candidates for a given public office
- Whether the statement expresses approval or disapproval of one or more candidates' positions and/or actions
- Whether the statement is delivered close in time to the election
- Whether the statement makes reference to voting or an election
- Whether the issue addressed distinguishes candidates for a given office
Many religious organizations believe, as we do, that the above constitutes a violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:
- The Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project not only do not endorse any candidate for any secular office, we say that Christianity forbids voting in such elections.
- Furthermore, when we discuss any public-office holder's position, policy, action or inaction, we definitely are not encouraging anyone to vote for that office holder's position.
- We are not trying to influence secular elections but rather want people to come out from that entire fallen system.
- When we analyze or discuss what is termed "public policy," we do it entirely from a theological standpoint with an eye to educating professing Christians and those to whom we are openly always proselytizing to convert to authentic Christianity.
- It is impossible for us to fully evangelize and proselytize without directly discussing the pros and cons of public policy and the positions of secular-office holders, hence the unconstitutionality of the IRS code on the matter.
- We are not rich and wouldn't be looking for a fight regardless. What we cannot do is compromise our faith (which seeks to harm nobody, quite the contrary).
- We render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We render unto God what is God's.
- When Caesar says to us that unless we shut up about the unrighteousness of Caesar's policies and practices, we will lose the ability of people who donate to us to declare their donations as deductions on their federal and state income-tax returns, we say to Caesar that we cannot shut up while exercising our religion in a very reasonable way.
- We consider the IRS code on this matter as deliberate economic duress (a form of coercion) and a direct attempt by the federal government to censor dissenting, free political and religious speech.
- It's not freedom of religion if they tax it.
And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)