An alternate Christian viewpoint to the Canadian Mennonite University-hosted presentation

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Seventy years ago, after 2000 years of exile, Israel was re-born. Many see this miracle as fulfillment of Biblical prophecy and as modern proof that God exists. I agree.

Christians of Southern Manitoba, beware. Winnipeg is about to experience a public presentation titled, A Palestinian Theology of Liberation: The Bible, Justice, and the Palestine-Israel Conflict. Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek, a Palestinian-Christian, Anglican priest, KAIROS affiliate and BDS activist, is on a book tour selling his brand of pro-Palestinianism.

Ateek is the founder of the Palestinian Liberation Theology Movement and co-founder of the Jerusalem-based NGO, Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center. The reality is that he passionately promotes anti-Israel, anti-Zionist, antisemitic bigotry, in the name of biblical Christianity and effectively re-writes who Jesus is to fit his distorted narrative. Sadly, some Christians with minimal biblical understanding buy into Ateek’s re-interpretation of the scriptures and misrepresentation of the reality of the Israel-Palestinian situation.

One of the most disturbing aspects of Ateek’s tour is who is its promoters. The Canadian Mennonite University (CMU), the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), and other like-minded organizations are actively leading the way in this attack. For all the good these organizations do, this support of Sabeel and of such antisemitic viewpoints is inexcusable and impossible to reconcile.

CMU, MCC, and other supporting organizations would do well to remember the roots into which followers of Jesus were grafted and the family into which we were adopted. They ought to respect and support the people whose ancestors gave us the Bible, our faith, and our Savior. They ought to rejoice in the modern fulfillment of biblical prophecy we see before our eyes in Israel’s re-birth and becoming a blessing to the world.

On the website of the Montreal-based Canadian Friends of Sabeel, they state:

WE STAND FOR TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION

The Canadian Friends of Sabeel project is committed to standing in solidarity with Palestinians, and to raising awareness in Canada of the struggle of Palestinian Christians, while joining all people in Palestine and Israel striving for peace with justice toward reconciliation.

Under the title, The Crisis, they state:

Israel’s systemic oppression of Palestinians is imposing an apartheid regime on the Palestinian people. Palestinians are brutally deprived of basic human rights and dignity in order to subjugate them, remove them and erase their claim to the land. New laws opposing non-violent resistance have been enacted to stop the effort towards peace. Despite all the promises, endless summits and UN resolutions, Palestinians are still yearning for their freedom and independence, justice and equality.

What can be said of such distorted claims? How do we interpret their definition of truth, peace, justice, reconciliation, freedom, equality? Why do CMU, MCC, Sabeel and their supporters conclude that Israel’s existence and the actions it takes to defend and secure its citizens are the cause of Palestinian-Arab suffering? Why do they condemn Israel while being virtually silent about the stated intent and regular efforts of racist Islamist and terrorist regimes to slaughter Jews and eliminate Israel? Why do they refuse to identify the true cause of Palestinian-Arab suffering – their own corrupt, violent, antisemitic leadership, who proudly value death rather than life?

It seems rather ironic that we have partnered with local Jewish organizations to bring in a guest speaker, Mosab Hassan Yousef (Son of Hamas), who brings a message from personal experience that directly opposes the bigoted claims of Sabeel and their supporters. And that, from a Palestinian from Ramallah who formerly hated Israel and Jews, and who has had a dramatic change of heart.

It is not difficult to find Palestinian-Arab Christians and other leaders who can debunk and dismantle the viewpoints and false accusations of Sabeel and their cohorts. CMU, MCC, and the others are better than this and their leaders need to repent and practice true biblical truth, peace, justice, and reconciliation. It’s not too late for them, too, to have a change of heart.

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