But wait a minute, it’s not the war crimes committed by Israeli forces in Gaza that is of concern to the rabbi. It seems money is his main concern, including disinvestment by some churches. These churches “are seeking to destroy Israel…” reports the Jerusalem Post.
The report inspired Catholic Christian, Mike Bradley, to respond to the money concerns of Rabbi Abraham Cooper:
Dear Rabbi Abraham Cooper,
I am responding to a recent Jerusalem Post article that highlighted your concern that activists in some prominent Protestant churches are seeking to destroy Israel.
The overwhelming majority of Christian activists in the United States and around the world do not want to destroy Israel. They want Israelis to change their unjust policies towards non-Jewish Palestinians. As a Catholic Christian, I try to hold myself to a high standard in terms of how I treat people of any religious faith. I will not hesitate to criticize my own or any other government if it falls short of those high standards.
There are many Jews in Israel who are critical of policies that hurt the relationship between Israeli Jews and their Palestinian Muslim and Christian neighbors in the occupied territories. They believe, as I do, that Israel would be a safer place for Jewish people if Israelis would acknowledge the terrible impact their policies have had on the indigenous Palestinian population during the past 80 years and change these unjust policies.
On their part, the Palestinians should grasp every opportunity to use peaceful means to change Israel’s unjust and inhumane policies. It is much to ask of the Palestinians to refrain from responding violently to the brutal Israeli military occupation and economic blockade of their communities. But stopping violent actions on both sides and beginning peaceful and honest negotiations are the only ways to achieve a just and peaceful resolution to the conflict.
Christians wonder if Israelis really want peace or if they have become addicted to war profits.
Israelis have as much right to live in peace, freedom and prosperity as any other people on earth. But Israelis don’t have the right to oppress non-Jewish people who also want to live in peace, freedom and prosperity.
Christians are questioning why Jewish Israelis created a state especially for Jews that discriminates against and brutally occupies non-Jewish Palestinians. After all, Jews have been working hard in Christian countries for hundreds of years to earn the respect and equal rights that all human beings deserve. So why would Jews in Israel deny these same human rights to non-Jews living in Israel or in any of the territories that Israel is illegally occupying?
Christians are asking whether Israeli Jews are really safer living in the heavily militarized, fortress-like state they have created and that is systematically discriminating against Palestinians who happen to profess religious faiths other than Judaism.
Christians are asking why Israelis continue to build settlements illegally on land they have illegally confiscated from their Palestinian neighbors. U.S. Christians are asking why they should continue to send their tax money to a country that uses the funds to build up a huge military machine that brutally occupies millions of Palestinians, depriving them of freedom to travel, their ability to earn a living, their right to build homes, their right to a good education, their right to occupy land they have occuped for centuries, and the right to choose their own government.
Yes, Rabbi Cooper, Christians are asking questions. U.S. Christians are obligated to ask these important questions because U.S. Christians are sending so much of their hard-earned money to Israel, which carries out policies that Christians consider to be unacceptable and inhumane. They are asking questions because they have seen too much bloodshed in the Holy Land. They have seen too much suffering there. Their loving God teaches them to try to do things to make life better for everyone in the region, not just Jews.
Rabbi, U.S. Christians will be asking a lot more questions about their aid to Israel. It is part of our long tradition of working for justice and peace.
In addition, Christians will continue to question the leaders of any country in the world that denies its citizens basic human rights, including the right of its citizens to peacefully worship in public the way they choose. People of many different faiths now have rights to worship in Christian countries, so Christians and people of other faiths should have rights to peacefully and publicly worship in non-Christian countries as well.
When Christians in the U.S. criticize Israel, they are not holding Israelis accountable to standards any different than the high standards Christians hold themselves accountable to in the United States.
Rabbi Cooper, Christians will support Israeli policies that are just, but they have a right to speak out against unjust policies. Please think carefully about how Israeli policies have impacted the indigenous Palestinian people so terribly during the past 80 years. After the terrible persecutions that Jews have suffered for centuries, especially after the mass murders of Jews during World War II, how can Israelis continue to brutalize innocent Palestinian people?
Please think carefully about God’s command to treat other people as you want to be treated. Please remember that all human beings are created in God’s image, not just Jews.