You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Rabbi Moshe Sober’ tag.

God Hears the Cry of the Oppressed

“Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt. Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan.  If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry.  My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless.” Exodus 22: 21 – 24

The Old Testamenst clearly teaches us that the land of Canaan is not owned by the Jewish people. Leviticus 25:23  informs us that…”“The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is Mine and you are but aliens and My tenants”. 3,000 years of Jewish tradition and 2,000 years of Christian tradition affirm that the occupation of the land of Canaan by the Jewish people has been conditional upon their adherence to the religious and ethical traditions of the Torah. These ethical traditions demand that the Jewish people treat non-Jews in a manner reflecting the very heart of God towards all humanity. No sense of arrogant entitlement to the land of Canaan is condoned by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Rabbi Moshe Sober sums up the tradional idea of the relationship of Jews to the land of Israel:

“The notion that we can do whatever we please, to any kind of temptation, or engage in any form of foolish self-aggrandizement without fear of penalty because we have an inside track to the Almighty is the plain opposite of religious faith. It is in fact an affront to the Divine, whose authority to determine the course of history we are usurping. The traditional penalty for this sin is to be sent to face a hostile world with no lucky breaks, no Divine assistance whatsoever, until we learn that only those who are performing God’s will can count on His assistance. Such blind faith is not really a faith in God at all, but rather faith in ourselves. It makes a tool out of the Almighty. It turns Him into a kind of “secret weapon” whose purpose is to guarantee our success at whatever we fancy. It is an idolatrous concept that masks what is actually an irrational belief in our own invincibility” (Sober, 1990, p. 30, 31).

Zionist ideology  hardly places the current state of Israel  within the confines of the conditions of their tenancy agreement with the Lord God. Rabbi Isaac Breuer (1883–1946) tells us that:

“Zionism is the most terrible enemy that has ever arisen to the Jewish nation. The anti-nationalistic Reform engages it [the Jewish nation] at least in an open fight, but Zionism kills the nation and then elevates the corpse to the throne.”

In response to the disobedience of the Jewish people in Israel with regards to the ethical demands of the Lord, God sent His prophets to warn Israel of their impending exile if they did not repent and treat the vulnerable amongst them as if they were one of their own:

if you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm,  then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your forefathers for ever and ever.” Jeremiah 7:6,7

This is what the LORD says: Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of his oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the alien, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.” Jeremiah 23:3

“You are to distribute this land among yourselves according to the tribes of Israel.  You are to allot it as an inheritance for yourselves and for the aliens who have settled among you and who have children. You are to consider them as native-born Israelites; along with you they are to be allotted an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. In whatever tribe the alien settles, there you are to give him his inheritance,” declares the Sovereign LORD.” Ezekiel 47:21-23

When Israel ignored the cry of the alien in the land, God sent prophets to call them to repentance. God held Israel to account for not listening to the voice of those who were oppressed in the land.

In 2005, 170 civil Palestinian organisations (many of them Christian) called on the world to enact a program of Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions against the Zionist state of Israel in order to bring them into line with international law regarding the human rights of the Arabs of Palestine and Israel. This BDS program is the “cry of the oppressed in the land” to God Himself. God has promised in His word that He will hear their cry and bring justice. It is the cry against the illegal occupation of the West Bank with its illegal settlements, Israeli only highways, checkpoints and house demolitions as well as the siege of Gaza.

God’s love for the Jewish people only acts to make them more accountable for their behaviour in the land of Israel, not less. They have no legitimate occupation of the land outside the ethical and religious conditions of their tenancy. It is because of God’s love for them that He resists their colonialist project to ethnically cleanse the land of Palestine.  The BDS movement is the will of God for the Zionist state of Israel and as such it can not be thwarted. The quicker the Zionists, be they Christian or otherwise, come to realise this, the better for all the peoples of the Middle East.

References:

Sober, M. (1990). Beyond the Jewish State: Confessions of a Former Zionist. Summerhill Press, Toronto.

Craig Nielsen

ACTION FOR PALESTINE

 

Only the crimes of Arabs and Muslims count in the Middle East.

When talking to Orthodox Jewish people who reject Zionism, I am always struck by the way they stress the importance of Jews taking responsibility for their own actions regardless of whether or not others are doing the same thing and “getting away with it”. Because of the particular God given mandate that they believe they have as a chosen people, they always look to their own behaviour first (and with extreme vigor I might add) with regards to the cause of any difficulty they might be facing with others in the world. For these Jews, their status as a chosen people of God only enhances their responsibility to humanity and God, rather than that status giving them privileges to do what ever they like since others in the world are “far worse than us”. Whatever privileges they have as God’s people, particularly with reference to the land of Canaan, come only when they are fully prepared to take on the “yoke” of the responsibilities that God has given them. Rabbi Moshe Sober, a former Zionist, talks of the attitude held (incorrectly) by many religious supporters of Israel:

“The notion that we can do whatever we please, to any kind of temptation, or engage in any form of foolish self-aggrandizement without fear of penalty because we have an inside track to the Almighty is the plain opposite of religious faith. It is in fact an affront to the Divine, whose authority to determine the course of history we are usurping. The traditional penalty for this sin is to be sent to face a hostile world with no lucky breaks, no Divine assistance whatsoever, until we learn that only those who are performing God’s will can count on His assistance. Such blind faith is not really a faith in God at all, but rather faith in ourselves. It makes a tool out of the Almighty. It turns Him into a kind of “secret weapon” whose purpose is to guarantee our success at whatever we fancy. It is an idolatrous concept that masks what is actually an irrational belief in our own invincibility” (Sober, 1990, p. 30, 31).

The attitude of the anti-Zionist Jews could not be in greater contrast to the mentality of most Zionists, be they Christian or otherwise, with regards to the behaviour of the Zionist State of Israel. At a recent BDS protest in Adelaide, South Australia, a banner stating, “STOP AUSTRALIA’S SUPPORT OF ISRAELI WAR CRIMES”, drew a near hysterical response from a Christian Zionist passing by. “What about the crimes of the Arab countries! Why don’t you protest against them!” Although I informed the man that we had all been involved in a number of protests in the past few weeks condemning the atrocities of the various dictatorships (virtually all of which have been backed by Israel’s greatest ally, the U.S.) in the Arab part of the world, his anger could not be cooled. It has been my consistent experience that even when we are able to show Christian Zionists that Israel has been involved in war crimes and human rights violations, they cast all these accusations aside by merely stating that all the Arab states are terrorist states that want to destroy Israel.

An enormous amount of facts are left out in the Christian Zionist explanation of why the Arab nations take issue with Israel and what the real attitude of the Arab dictatorships are toward the Zionist state. I will list a few that need mentioning here.

1. The undisputed fact that Arabs and Jews have peacefully co-existed in the Holy land for centuries prior to the Zionist colonization of Palestine.
2. Prior to the Zionist period in Jewish history, Muslims did not read in their copies of the Koran that they must “kill Jews”.
3. Anti-Semitism was never are part of popular or elite culture in the Arab world as it has been in Europe (the “home” of both anti-Semitism and Zionism).
4. The Arab grievance against Israel can be summed up by the words of Khaled Meshaal, the chief of Hamas’s political bureau, who stated in an editorial in The Guardian in January 2006,
“Our message to the Israelis is this: We do not fight you because you belong to a certain faith or culture. Jews have lived in the Muslim world for 13 centuries in peace and harmony; they are in our religion “the people of the book” who have a covenant from God and his messenger, Muhammad (peace be upon him), to be respected and protected. Our conflict with you is not religious but political. We have no problem with Jews who have not attacked us — our problem is with those who came to our land, imposed themselves on us by force, destroyed our society and banished our people.”
Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/jan/31/comment.israelandthepalestinians. Retrieved December 29, 2009.
5. In 1993, Yasser Arafat wrote a letter to the Israeli Government stating that Israel has a right to exist with safe and secure borders. No reciprocal statement was made by the Israelis.
6. In 2002 the Arab Peace Initiative, first proposed by Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia was proposed as a solution to Arab-Israeli conflict in general and the Israel-Palestine issue in particular. At the Beirut Summit on March 28th 2002, the initiative was published and was agreed upon again at the Riyadh Summit in 2007. The initiative gained the unanimous consent of all members of the Arab League including both the Hamas and Fatah factions of the Palestinian resistance. Unlike the other proposals in the peace process, the initiative spelled out final status borders based explicitly on the U.N. borders established before the 1967 Six Day War. It offered full normalization of relations with Israel, in exchange for the withdrawal of its forces from all the Occupied Territories, including the Golan Heights, to recognise an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as a just solution for the Palestinian refugees. The initiative called for no more than what the U.N. had mandated and predictably the Israelis rejected it outright.
7. Zionist thinkers had been stating, as far back as 1897. that Zionist intent was to rid the land of Palestine of Arabs.
8. In 1948, in order to create a Zionist state of Israel that had a majority of Jews, 800,000 Palestinian Arabs were either murdered or forcibly removed from their homes by Zionist terror gangs and militias. 300,000 Arabs were ethnically cleansed before even one non Palestinian Arab soldier entered Palestine.
9 Arab dictatorships in the Middle East are nearly all backed by the West and wish to have normalised relations with Israel because of the economic benefits that would bring to their countries. Israel has never wanted true democracy in the Middle East (neither has the U.S.) as any democratic state in the Arab world that truly represented the common person in the street would undoubtedly be far more anti-Israel than the U.S. controlled dictators that now exist. This is because most Arabs know what we choose to forget,i.e., that the west has exploited the Arab nations for decades.
10. Zionist settlers in the West Bank routinely call for the extermination of all Palestinian men, women and children.

The list could go on. The root cause of the Israel-Palestine conflict is not to be found in some imagined conflict between Islam and Judaism or some type of subliminal hatred of Jews by Arabs that has been fermenting for generations. The Palestinians have a genuine grievance against the Zionist State of Israel that has not only not been addressed, but has been exacerbated by Israel’s continued violation of International standards of Human rights. This continued violation has been aided and abetted by the U.S. If Israel finds itself surrounded by Arab enemies, it is largely due to the fact that it has created and continually provoked those enemies to a point where they have no trust of Zionist intentions in the Holy Land to say the least. Our complicity in the denial of the legitimacy of the historic grievance of the Palestinian people, done in the name of the War Against Terror or any other emotionally potent oversimplification, will only make peace and justice even harder to achieve.

If Israel chooses to hide behind the sins of Hamas, (claiming that all resistance to the state of Israel is just another manifestation of anti_Semitism), it will one day find itself alone and without justification before the international community. The crimes of Hamas or any other Arab or Islamic group do not acquit the Zionists of their crimes against a people of whom Albert Einstein referred to as “no greater friends of the Jews”. Zionism has created only more enemies for Jewish people by ignoring the ethical and religious traditions of the God who called them into existence. God have mercy upon them.

References
Sober, M. (1990). Beyond the Jewish State: Confessions of a Former
Zionist. Summerhill Press, Toronto.

Craig Nielsen
ACTION FOR PALESTINE

Israel-Palestine: A Christian Response to the Conflict

Order My Book

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 80 other followers

Share this page

Bookmark and Share
July 2020
M T W T F S S
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031