Thursday, July 13, 2006

Sorrowful Hypocrisy

I cannot believe that I just heard Israel issue a statement that they will not deal diplomatically with terrorists...and then they hit back. (More here and here.)

Terrorists? I don't mean to oversimplify or underestimate your pain here, but do you not know your history Israel? Terrorists? That's just a word that people can self-righteously use to distance themselves from that kind of violence, while not paying close attention to their own.

And then to hear the President of the United States talk about the awfulness of the killing of innocent people. I am with you, Mr. Bush. But what about the tens of thousands (if not more) of innocent Iraqi civilians?

Where is the consistency here? Where is it?

This is a sorrowful day.


Chris Marlow said...

Good thoughts, but I do have one quick question.

How is a country suppose to react when another country kidnaps their soldiers?

What is the alternative? I know violence is not the answer.

Sometimes I just can't come to grips on what is the right thing to do in these situations...

Eric Wakeling said...

i feel similarly to Chris. It's weird because my first instinct when I read the paper this morning was, "Yeah, kick their butts Israel!" And then about 1 second later i thought, "What am I thinking? I don't agree with this kind of action."

I guess I'm a recovering right-winger. Maybe it's like alcoholism and will always be there and I just have to keep fighting it.

But what is the right thing to do? Hmmm. Prayer? Negotiation? Embargo type stuff? Do they have any leverage? ?????? Ryan - I am very interested in your thoughts.

Ryan Lee Sharp said...

These are really good thoughts/questions guys...really. And I have no 'quick fix' for something so complex...the history of violence in that area is seated in a much greater context than we probably know.

I was reminded about Israel's violent history...

"The record of Israeli terrorism goes back to the origins of the state—indeed, long before—including the massacre of 250 civilians and brutal expulsion of seventy thousand others from Lydda and Ramle in July 1948; the massacre of hundreds of others at the undefended village of Doueimah near Hebron in October 1948;...the slaughters in Quibya, Kafr Kassem, and a string of other assassinated villages; the expulsion of thousands of Bedouins from the demilitarized zones shortly after the 1948 war and thousands more from northeastern Sinai in the early 1970's, their villages destroyed, to open the region for Jewish settlement; and on, and on." - Noam Chomsky, "Blaming The Victims"

You know, I think allowing ourselves to not understand might be a starting place before we cast judgement [ryan, did you just hear what you said, you knee-jerk-blogger?]. The situation is so very complex.

Simple questions like, "How is a country suppose to react when another country kidnaps their soldiers?" are not questions without context. I am not saying that Israel deserved this...just like I don't think that the World Trade Center deserved to be bombed...but I do think that America would have done well to have considered it's place in this world, where it consumes over half the world's resources and terrorizes a great many places in the world that are not interested in 'getting with the program'. I think that for Israel to do the same could be helpful.

Violence and war never dismantle systemic problems. Why do we not learn from our past here? Why are we so forgetful?

Ryan Lee Sharp said...

Here's an interesting link on a history of terrorism in Israel.

And do remember that the US and Israel are considered two of the most terrorizing countries in the world. Again, there is a context in which these things are happening. They are not just happening.

Chris Marlow said...

I hate to reduce such a complex subject, but I think the problem here is evil people with evil hearts. I mean, if you kidnap some soldiers, the other country is forced to take some sort of action, right?

What truly stinks is those who get caught in the middle. Such as the WTC. I mean, the folks in the building were not the target, but the US was the target, the west was the target, not the stockbroker, or janitor etc...

Same is true in this case, innocent folks are caught in the middle of this political upheaval, women, children, good people who want to live in peace and enjoy thier short lives.

I think a huge issue is "agenda." Whenever someone, or something has an agenda, sometimes they do not care who or what gets caught in the middle...As long as the agenda is achieved.

It really sucks when you really can't see a right or wrong way to deal with issues. It just seems so gray. And in this case, gray sucks!

My lowly .02

Zachariah said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
nicholasfiedler said...

This is a comment really to the last post. We saw Ben Folds play at Bonnaroo and it was sweet. He sang that song along with a neat little diddy called Jesusland which are pretty good, as you know.

Josh just gave me your CD and I have been rocking it hard. Can't wait to do a podcast with you, maybe you can play a song on the podcast, would that be too much to ask.

By the way I don't use blogger anymore so I am at

You should try wordpress maybe.

Zachariah said...

Ok- I have revised and shorted my comment to just this. Perhaps the Palestians are just learning from the Israelis. That is there tactics. One asks what is a country suppose to do when another kidnaps their soldiers? Well Israeli has quite the track record of politically motivated kidnappings in the past, soldiers and civilians. But one last note- Can't really call Palestine a country seeing how they are trully stateless.

Evil hearts.... Seems like repressing and killing thousands of innocent people is pretty evil.

Zachariah said...
Just a good link for reading from the other side. I pray that the violence stops.

Eric Wakeling said...

This also makes me think about the Old Testament. What was the Israelites takeover of "the promised land" back then but God-sanctioned terrorism? When the "walls came tumbling down" thousands of people must have died?

Does God sanction that action? It seems like he did. I'm not saying that translates to now, but I think the people of Israel probably feel like it should. Don't you think? Don't you think if you were an Israeli you would think the God of the OT is the same God as now and that He would grant the same "permission" to violently take their promised land.

So Israel and the US might be terrorist nations, but at least Israel has some potential biblical justification. We are just trying to poach on theirs.


Ryan Lee Sharp said...

Eric, you know, I just cannot fully answer those questions, but there are several folks out there who are seeking to understand how a God so seemingly violent in the Old Testament can be the same God of Jesus of Nazareth.

I do know that if I believe Jesus to have fully realized what was behind Torah and have lived that out, then violence is simply not an option...personally or socially. There are several great books on this such topic, The Kingdom of God is Within You by Tolstoy is a great starting place.

As to whether Israel feels supported by ancient texts, I just don't know. You can read most anything out of sacred texts when proof-texting it in support of your own ideas.

I personally am not okay with saying, "Well, it's in the Old Testament, so it must be a precedent to be followed"...particularly when there are so very many practices/prayers in the Old Testament that many of us would simply find deplorable and very un-Christian. You would be hard-pressed to find a person who believes that the Old Testament ought to be consistently followed/read as inerrant in guidance for life literally, you know?

Eric Wakeling said...

Yeah, I totally agree that the OT can't just be followed verbatim. I couldn't even wear my sweet 50% cotton/50% polyester shirts because mixing fabrics was sinful.

I really am against any violence, especially violence with missiles and bombs. Man, it would be so hard to live in that region without a hard heart. It's hard enough here and I don't have people killing people around me. It's so naive, but I just pray and wish people could all just chill out and share. It's like children who need to learn to share. Everybody will have enough. The world has enough land and resources for us all and the power of God can provide if we just relax and share.

It makes me sad and angry and it really is hard to judge the Israelis or the Palestinians or Hezbollah or whoever for their violence when they have been raised in that system. People cruise around town with uzis and guns just chilling. I ate at a 50s diner in Tel Aviv in the middle of the night about 8 years ago. These two guys next to us had a full on uzi just sitting on their table while they were eating fries and drinking chocolate shakes. Can you imagine? They are born into it. Just like we struggle with materialism, greed, and world domination.

Enough from me for now. I don't know if I'm getting anywhere - just expressing.

Mike DeVries said...

I completely agree with your frustration. I thought the same thing... "Hhhmmm, are you not also involved in terroristic activity?" The problem is that the conflict has gone on for so long that no one really remembers who was the preemptive party [or really want to admit it]. One critical issue is this - terrorism is often in the eyes of the beholder - what one country sees as terrorism is seen as nationalism, or fundamentalist religious ideology to another. It all depends on your vantage point. This is not to excuse the use of violence, in fact the use of violence should be condemned!

I also fear when anyone [including our president] says "God is on our side." This often amounts to a God-sanctioned violence. This is what we think the Israelites had when they came into the promised land. However, what must be wrestled with is the fact that we have very different accounts of how the entry into the Promised Land took place, as well as God saying two very differnt things about the alien in our midst. [Just a side note... if taking foreign wives was such a big sin, then what are we to do with Moses who took a foreign wife, and was actually "saved" by her. Hhmmm.]

I for one do not completely accept the viewpoint that the Israelites came into the land and wiped everyone out [the book fo Joshua]. If that were the case, then why where there still foreigners in the land [the book of Judges]? The text does not present a unified position on this in the least.

What are we to think about this? Perhaps the Scriptures even wrestle with the viewpoint of God-sanctioned violence. Perhaps some of the writers supported it [even wrote about it], while others took a differing vantage point.

I think we would do well to follow the teachings of Jesus when it comes to loving your enemy. If he truly is God on display for the world... I think we should take his words more seriously. Perhaps he's on to something...

Just thinking out loud.

Marvin said...
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Marvin said...

In my opinion I definitely agree with you Ryan in the Hypocrisy that is being displayed here. In Israel’s other front towards Gaza, they call for the release of their one soldier and when Hamas refuses, Israel decides to bomb. All Hamas asked for was the release of all Palestinian women and children under the age of 18 held in Israeli Prisons. Is it too much to ask for the release of women and children in a time of war? Doesn't the holding of Women and Children in war sound a bit terrorist?

While there may be a lot of History here, one cannot deny how Israel’s recent actions have not done anything to prove that they don't practice Terrorism.

I don't think one can condone Hama's and Hezbollah's moves as not being Terrorist, but I think we often times overlook Israel's and our own moves. I couldn’t help but be outraged when I listened to Christian radio today and they tried to condone Israel's actions as worthy. It's when they try and explain that the killing of innocent civilians in Lebanon is unavoidable collateral damage that should be accepted, that makes me wonder whether or not the Sermon on the Mount was omitted from their Bibles (more specifically Matthew 6:38-39, 44-47, 7:1-5)

Jeffrey said...

Good thoughts by all.

I, too, am debating this whole situation in my head, and just as Eric noted, I'm a recovering right-winger. I even went so far as to have a Israeli flag and an american flag in my dorm room (wow, i know).

The thing we have to realize is, this isn't one whole nation against another whole nation. This is a few people in power fighting like little kids. To say Israel is becoming a terrorist nation is to say all Americans are terrorists. I know no one here said that, but it's sort of the feeling.

It's a sad day. And the Christian eschatologists are gonna be blowing this up. I can't wait to hear what they have to say! said...

i heard a UN analyst/ harvard professor who worked in South Africa during the end of apartheid say that the situation with the Palestinians is worse than the blacks in South Africa during apartheid... injustice is unreal.
I also once talked with three Israelis- one neutral, one extremely anti-palestinians who spoke with words of vengance and hate, and one who was with compassion.

The compassion filled one said to the one with vengance, "You know as well as I do the hell that those Palestinians are living in. They are not equal. To be honest, if I was a sixteen year old Palestinian and all I had ever known was the opression they live under, man.... strapping on a bomb and blowing myself up would sound like a pretty good idea."

Baylor's only Jewish professor started an entire research centre dedicated to the plight of the Palestinians... very interesting/cool.