Vicar's column - June 2018
St John the Baptist Parish Church
Peace in the Holy Land and hopes for a two-state solution grow ever more elusive. With no compunction, President Trump has lit the smouldering blue touch paper. Despite international condemnation, the American administration moved their embassy to Jerusalem on the eve of the 70thanniversary of the creation of the state of Israel.
Celebrated by Israelis, it is otherwise known as the Nakba, “Catastrophe” by Palestinians, commemorating the forced removal of almost 750,000 Palestinians from their homes and lands by Zionist militia. The embassy move could not have come at a more poignant time.
Tens of thousands protested along the Gaza/Israel border fence as part of the Great March Of Return and against the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem. As a result, 58 people were killed and thousands injured by Israeli forces. These Palestinians were taking part in this protest, in desperation and hopelessness, against the deplorable conditions in which they are forced to live due to the restriction of their basic human rights. Many paid for this with their lives.
The world should not remain silent in the face of such injustice. The Director of The Amos Chris Rose writes:
“We act not because we are hopeful, but because it is the right thing to do. We act because we have been inspired by our Palestinian friends and because of all that we have learnt from them. I do not know if we will prevail but I do know that every time we stand together and we act, with and for those who are oppressed, we remind people that they are not alone – not forsaken, not forgotten; and we have the chance, however slim, of ‘sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction.”
It concerns me that the waters have become muddied over what constitutes anti-Semitism.
Anti-Semitism, prejudice against Jewish people, is an evil to be rooted out. However, it should not be conflated with legitimate criticism of Israeli Government policy, or indeed any government which pursues a Zionist agenda to the detriment of other nations. To speak out against the violation of human rights of Palestinians is not tantamount to anti-Semitism.
It is now over two years since a group of us from St John’s ventured on an ethical pilgrimage to the Holy Land but our first hand encounters with Palestinian people and the stories of their lives under occupation remain etched on our minds. Like Jesus, we continue to weep for Jerusalem – and Gaza.
Rev Dr Lisa Cornwell
Church Office (firstname.lastname@example.org )
- 01344 761521
Find St John the Baptist Parish Church
Waterloo Road, Crowthorne, Berkshire, RG45 7NT
There is ample parking along Waterloo Road, and around the back of the Church on the unmade road Church Street.