- "On October 21 (1948) the Government of Israel took
a decision that was to have a lasting and divisive effect on the rights
and status of those Arabs who lived within its borders: the official
establishment of military government in the areas where most of the inhabitants
- - Martin Gilbert, Israel: A History
- I had given up on finding an American with a moral conscience
and the courage to go with it and was on the verge of retiring my keyboard
when I met the Rev. Thomas L. Are.
- Rev. Are is a Presbyterian pastor who used to tell his
Atlanta, Georgia, congregation: "I am a Zionist." Like most
Americans, Rev. Are had been seduced by Israeli propaganda and helped
to spread the propaganda among his congregation.
- Around 1990 Rev. Are had an awakening for which he credits
the Christian Canon of St. George's Cathedral in Jerusalem and author
Marc Ellis, co-editor of the book, Beyond Occupation.
- Realizing that his ignorance of the situation on the
ground had made him complicit in great crimes, Rev. Are wrote a book hoping
to save others from his mistake and perhaps in part to make amends, Israeli
Peace/Palestinian Justice, published in Canada in 1994.
- Rev. Are researched his subject and wrote a brave book.
Keep in mind that 1994 was long prior to Walt and Mearsheimer's recent
book, which exposed the power of the Israel Lobby and its ability to
control the explanation Americans receive about the "Israeli- Palestinian
- Rev. Are begins with an account of Israel's opening attack
on the Palestinians, an event which took place before most Americans alive
today were born. He quotes the distinguished British historian, Arnold
J. Toynbee: "The treatment of the Palestinian Arabs in 1947 (and
1948) was as morally indefensible as the slaughter of six million Jews
by the Nazis. Though nor comparable in quantity to the crimes of the Nazis,
it was comparable in quality."
- Golda Meir, considered by Israelis as a great leader
and by others as one of history's great killers, disputed the facts: "It
was not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine and we came
and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not
- Golda Meir's apology for Israel's great crimes is so
counter- factual that it blows the mind. Palestinian refugee camps still
exist outside Palestine filled with Palestinians and their descendants
whose towns, villages, homes and lands were seized by the Israelis in
1948. Rev. Are provides the reader with Na'im Ateek's description of what
happened to him, an 11-year old, when the Jews came to take Beisan on
May 12, 1948. Entire Palestinian communities simply disappeared.
- In 1949 the United Nations counted 711,000 Palestinian
- In 2005 the United Nations Relief and Works Agency estimated
4.25 million Palestinians and their descendants were refugees from their
- The Israeli policy of evicting non-Jews has continued
for six decades. On June 19, 2008, the Laity Committee in the Holy Land
reported in Window Into Palestine that the Israeli Ministry of Interior
is taking away the residency rights of Jerusalem Christians who have been
reclassified as "visitors in their own city."
- On December 10, 2007, MK Ephraim Sneh boasted in the
Jerusalem Post that Israel had achieved "a true Zionist victory"
over the UN partition plan "which sought to establish two nations
in the land of Israel." The partition plan had assigned Israel 56
percent of Palestine, leaving the inhabitants with only 44 percent. But
Israel had altered this over time. Sneh proudly declared: "When we
complete the permanent agreement, we will hold 78 percent of the land
while the Palestinians will control 22 percent."
- Sneb could have added that the 22 percent is essentially
a collection of unconnected ghettos cut off from one another and from
roads, water, medical care, and jobs.
- Rev. Are documents that the abuse of Palestinians' human
rights is official Israeli policy. Killings, torture, and beatings are
routine. On May 17, 1990, the Washington Post reported that Save the
Children "documented indiscriminate beating, tear-gassing and shooting
of children at home or just outside the house playing in the street, who
were sitting in the classroom or going to the store for groceries."
- On January 19, 1988, Israeli Defense Minister Yitzhak
Rabin, later Prime Minister, announced the policy of "punitive beating"
of Palestinians. The Israelis described the purpose of punitive beating:
"Our task is to recreate a barrier and once again put the fear of
death into the Arabs of the area."
- According to Save the Children, beatings of children
and women are common. Rev. Are, citing the report in the Washington Post,
writes: "Save the Children concluded that one-third of beaten children
were under ten years old, and one-fifth under the age of five. Nearly
a third of the children beaten suffered broken bones."
- On February 8, 1988, Newsweek magazine quoted an Israeli
soldier: "We got orders to knock on every door, enter and take out
all the males. The younger ones we lined up with their faces against the
wall, and soldiers beat them with billy clubs. This was no private initiative,
these were orders from our company commander.... After one soldier finished
beating a detainee, another soldier called him 'you Nazi,' and the first
man shot back: 'You bleeding heart.' When one soldier tried to stop another
from beating an Arab for no reason, a fist fight broke out."
- These were the old days before conscience was eliminated
from the ranks of the Israeli military.
- In the London Sunday Times, June 19, 1977, Ralph Schoenman,
executive director of the Bertrand Russell Foundation, wrote: "Israeli
interrogators routinely ill-treat and torture Arab prisoners. Prisoners
are hooded or blindfolded and are hung by their wrists for long periods.
Most are struck in the genitals or in other ways sexually abused. Most
are sexually assaulted. Others are administered electric shock."
- Amnesty International concluded that "there is no
country in the world in which the use of official and sustained torture
is as well established and documented as in the case of Israel."
- Even the pro-Israeli Washington Post reported: "Upon
arrest, a detainee undergoes a period of starvation, deprivation of sleep
by organized methods and prolonged periods during which the prisoner
is made to stand with his hands cuffed and raised, a filthy sack covering
the head. Prisoners are dragged on the ground, beaten with objects, kicked,
stripped and placed under ice-cold showers."
- Sounds like Abu Gharib. There are news reports that Israeli
torture experts participated in the torture of the detainees assembled
by the American military as part of the Bush Regime's propaganda onslaught
to convince Americans that Iraq was overflowing with al- Qaeda terrorists.
On July 23, 2008, Antiwar.com posted an Iraqi news report that the Iraqi
government had released a total of 109,087 Iraqis that the Americans had
"detained." Obviously, these "terrorist detainees"
had been used for the needs of Bush Regime propaganda. No one will ever
know how many of them were abused by Israeli torturers imported by the
- Rev. Are's book makes sensible suggestions for resolving
the conflict that Israel began. However, the problem is that Israeli
governments believe only in force. The policy of the Israeli government
has always been to beat, kill, and brutalize Palestinians into submission
and flight. Anyone who doubts this can read the book of Israel's finest
historian Ilan Pappe, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2006).
- Americans are a gullible and naive people. They have
been complicit for 60 years in crimes that in Arnold Toynbee's words "are
comparable in quality" to the crimes of Nazi Germany. As Toynbee
was writing decades ago, the accumulated Israeli crimes might now be
comparable also in quantity.
- The US routinely vetoes United Nations condemnations
of Israel for its brutal crimes against the Palestinians. Insouciant American
taxpayers have been bled for a half century to provide the Israelis with
superior military weapons with which Israelis assault their neighbors,
all the while convincing America essentially a captive nation
that Israel is the victim.
- John F. Mahoney wrote: "Thomas Are reminds me of
Dietrich Bonhoeffer: an active pastor who comes to the unsettling realization
that he and his people have been fed a terrible lie that is killing and
torturing thousands of innocent men, women and children. Not without ample
research and prayer does such a pastor, in turn, risk unsettling his congregation.
The Reverend Are has done his homework and, I suspect, has prayed often
and long during the writing of this courageous book."
- Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran theologian and pastor who was
executed for his active participation in the German Resistance against
- Professor Benjamin M. Weir, San Francisco Theological
Seminary, wrote: "This book will make the reader squirm. It asks
you to lend your voice in behalf of the voiceless."
- Americans who can no longer think for themselves and
who are terrified of disapproval by their peer group are incapable of
lending their voices to anyone except those who control the world of
propaganda in which they live.
- The ignorance and unconcern of Americans is a great frustration
to my friends in the Israeli peace movement. Without outside support
those Israelis who believe in good will are deprived, by America's support
for their government's policy of violence, of any peaceful resolution
of a conflict began in 1947 by Israeli aggression against unsuspecting
- Rev. Are wrote his book with the hope that the pen is
mightier than the sword and that facts can crowd out propaganda and create
a framework for a just resolution of the Palestinian issue. In his concluding
chapter, "What Christians Can Do," Rev. Are writes: "We
cannot allow others to dictate our thinking on any subject, especially
on anything as important as Christian faithfulness, which is tested by
an attitude towards seeking justice for the oppressed. It's a Christian's
duty to know."
- Duty, of course, has costs. Rev. Are writes: "Speak
up for the Palestinians and you will make enemies. Yet, as Christians,
we must be willing to raise issues that until now we have chosen to dodge."
- More than a decade later, President Jimmy Carter, a true
friend of Israel, tried again to awaken Americans' moral conscience with
his book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. Carter was instantly demonized
by the Israel Lobby.
- Sixty years of efforts by good and humane people to hold
Israel accountable have so far failed, but they are more important today
than ever before. Israel has its captive American nation on the verge
of attacking Iran, the consequences of which could be catastrophic for
all concerned. The alleged purpose of the attack is to eliminate nonexistent
Iranian nuclear weapons. The real reason is to eliminate all support for
Hamas and Hezbollah so that Israel can seize the entire West Bank and
southern Lebanon. The Bush regime is eager to do Israel's bidding, and
the media and evangelical "Christian" churches have been preparing
the American people for the event.
- It is paradoxical that Israel is demonstrating that veracity
lies not in the Christian belief in good will but in Lenin's doctrine
that violence is the effective force in history and that the evangelical
Christian Zionist churches agree.