Common Grounds

EQUALITY, EQUALITY, EQUALITY – Feared in the Land of ‘Zionism’ …

September 15, 2018

By Abraham A. van Kempen

Source: The Times of Israel

Published SEP 14, 2018


When the Palestinians are Freed, SO ARE WE.


In my letter to President Barack Obama, dated 29 January 2015, I asked: “Instead of heading toward a Native American model with Palestinians confined on reservations amid a sea of Israeli settlements and security zones, why not [authenticate Israel’s democracy with] open borders, freedom of movement? Mr. President, many people around the world would like to hear you say: ‘Mr. Netanyahu, tear down those walls.’”

EQUALITY, EQUALITY, EQUALITY – Feared in the Land of ‘Zionism’ …

Walls Lock-In, Too …


Extreme isolation means eventual national death in the modern world. Israeli historian and author, Schlomo Sand, points out, “Israel is connected to its Western lifeline only by way of the political influence of pro-Zionist lobbies in the diaspora.” That influence is eroding. “Israel,” says Sand, “is an ‘ethnocracy’.” An ethnocracy is Apartheid. Apartheid undermines democracy. Most of the 7.8 billion people of the world detest Apartheid.


It is a no-win game for the Ultra-nationalists, but they cannot see it through their myth inspired blinkers. As it turns out, the most potent wall the Ultra-nationalists have built is that which holds up the myth of who they are supposed to be. There are many a 'king who wears no clothes' in Modern Israel.


The wall aims to fence the non-Jews out. However, until the world shouts, "Mr. Netanyahu, tear down that wall,” the barrier continues to lock in the Jews inside their military fortifications. (*Kindle Locations 1818-1824). Often, I’ve said that most Jews and Israelis have never ‘been’ to the Middle East. They’re caged inside their own pens. Most disavow the existence of another world beyond theirs. Few have met people, like themselves, beyond their own blockades.


And the 70 million Evangelicals in the United States with their 600+ million followers around the world are waking up. Ultra-nationalism is anti-Christian. Two thousand years ago, Jesus reportedly pits the Holy Trinity of Ultra-nationalism – One People, One Land, One God – against the Holy Trinity of Christianity – ALL people, ALL nations, One God. The New Testament ‘in-gathers’ and redeems ALL people, not just one tribe; ALL the nations, not just one state; indeed, glorifying the ONE ‘I Am’ with Many Names – in Hebrew: Hayah asher Hayah, ‘I Will Be Who or How or Where I Will Be’ or just Eloah; or, its Arabic sound-alike, Allah.


The true Christian Faith as written in their New Covenant 1) frees Modern Jews from their Jews-only, ancestry-ghetto-mentality; 2) renounces Modern Israel's obsession for possession of a Land once promised and fulfilled; and, 3) refutes the Israeli edict: "What’s mine is mine, what’s yours is mine also."


Christians view themselves as the true Zionists. ‘Zionism,’ taught by Jesus Christ in the New Testament and by the Prophets in the Old Testament, is diametrically opposed to the Zionism branded by the Ultra-nationalists – the Party of the Pharisees – in Modern Israel. Most Christians believe that God's Spirit resides in their souls and that Christians 'reside' spiritually in Zion, defined as God's Spiritual Kingdom. Ideally, Christians are to live on Earth as in Zion (“on earth as in heaven,” Matthew 6:10). And, many Christians believe that they must live 'side by side' with Jews and Muslims according to the Prophetic Ideals in Judaism, Christianity and Islam – to make this world a better world, a heaven on earth. The Sacred Texts depict the biblical Ishmael and Isaac standing side by side at the funeral of their father, the biblical Abraham. The Bible does not say they share a meal or dance or talk. They stand side by side. They do not fight. They are brothers. Their destinies -- living side by side -- is biblically preordained.


Mohamed Mohamed, Executive Director of The Jerusalem Fund and Palestine Center in Washington, DC opened his article, ‘Two State Hypocrisy,’ with:


“Imagine the following scenario: In response to the peaceful African-American civil rights movement in the United States, led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the 1960s, a large segment of white Americans figured that the best solution to the issue would be to form a new country on a small part of US territory in the north, where African-Americans would be segregated and live on their own.


Any of these African-Americans who lived for generations in the American South, but at some point, had to flee to the American North (or to Canada or Mexico) because of violence and discrimination perpetrated against them, would not be able to return to their homes in the South. They would only be permitted to “return” to this new African-American state.


Any of the African-Americans already in the South could stay there, but would become second-class citizens, facing institutionalized discrimination in a country dominated politically, economically and socially by white Americans – much as was the case during the Jim Crow era following centuries of enslavement.


On top of this, any of the white Americans who recently colonized parts of African-American territory could stay and continue to exploit the natural resources, whether the African-American population liked it or not. This new country would also be demilitarized, landlocked (or denied a port) and would have no true sovereignty over its territory.


In other words, the fate of this predominantly African-American country would remain in the hands of the white American one.”


Recently, the Israelis and the Palestinians have again been provoked by yet another study that, intentionally or not, might be designed to further entangle and worse, ensnare the people in the region into another inescapable dimension of one vicious cycle after the other at best; a dead end, at worst. As reported by Naomi Zeveloff in Forward Magazine ‘new’ analysis of data from the Pew Research Center’s study in March 2016, ‘upholds’ that half of all Israeli Jews want Palestinians expelled from their midst. No one has bothered to ask: ‘where to?’ To Europe; the United States (*Kindle Locations 2293-2301)?


If anything, the Study has elicited innate human frailties and fragilities, man’s worst savage nature, propagated by fear of fear, and driven by ‘what’s mine is mine, what’s yours is mine also,’ stemming from Israel’s ancestral-ghetto mentality, not yet fully shed (*Kindle Locations 2330-2332).


So, what if the question is rephrased to reach the soul of every Jew, religious or secularist:


“Would you want to load up all of Israel’s Palestinians on flatbed trucks; those who are documented as Israeli citizens and those who are undocumented and ghettoized as stateless captives, subsisting in the occupied territories, not going anywhere; and, haul them away, with barely clothes on their backs, blistering under the burning desert sun, to perhaps an Israeli secret processing plant, to be gassed until death; and, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) grabbing the loot to be divided among all the winners of war, like the kibbutzim, Israel’s spacious farming communities, ‘built on the ruins of hundreds of Palestinian villages, ethnically cleansed; an occupation that has crushed the rights of Palestinians and caged them into ever-smaller holding pens (*Kindle Locations 2303-23080)?’”


Of course not!


As I have stated to President Obama and others, “Despite Israel’s lethal arsenal, it goes against Israel’s collective conscience to sentence the Palestinians to a Final Solution. There is also good in the Israeli character. For many, certainly for my mother, the concentration camp has been a breeding ground for compassion and tolerance.


So, another Holocaust, especially on shared soil, is out of the question. Nonetheless, some religious ultra-nationalists together with some secular ultra-nationalists, shining like 10,000 angels of light and blinding the world, execute slow-but-sure ethnic cleansing; a Holocaust against the indigenous Palestinians in slow motion, often in clear daylight in the glare of world television (Kindle Locations 2058-2064). How many olive groves have we not thrashed in the name of God, feigning a virtue by perpetrating a vice?


Ethnic cleansing violates the prophetic ideals rooted in our Judaic conscience. Here’s a quote from my book citing my good friend, Shimone: “why must Israel clear out and remove all Palestinians? Why can’t we liberate ourselves from our ghetto mentality? Why must Israel be an exclusive supra-national state, as you coin it Abraham, a state for Jews-only? Are the Secular Ultra-nationalists sucking up to the Religious Ultra-nationalists who still believe in our exclusive chosenness? No self-respecting Israeli believes in that ‘holier-than-thou’ gobbledygook (Kindle Locations 1282-1285) … Most Israelis know better. They want a leadership to steer them out of an Ultra-nationalist [branded as Zionism] movement into authentic statehood, with a Constitution, a Bill of Rights and a nationality, all of which still do not exist and are on the back burner because of their obsession for possession – the occupation and illegal settlements (*Kindle Locations 1287-1289).”


Ariel, an Israeli medical student, jumps into the conversation: “For sure, Israel does not anymore need to charade as a de-facto supra-national state solely for Jews; does not need to charade as a state with undefined borders; does not need to charade viewing itself as a pariah state still in exile (*Kindle Locations 1289-1291.”


My new friend, Jusuf, a Palestinian Christian and an Israeli citizen, also studying medicine adds: “Israel is an amalgamation of people, a ‘state’ with a divided soul in search of itself. Its citizens, 4/5th Jews and1/5th ‘other’ are not yet living in one nation. There is no such thing as an Israeli nationality. I am an Israeli citizen. I am not Israeli. Modern Israel is a country for Jews-only. But most Jews are nationals of other countries. I am a descendant of the original Christians who have been personally touched by Jesus. My people have been part of the Israeli-Palestinian landscape not for centuries; for millennia.


The country, [if you could call a state without a Constitution and a Bill of Rights, a country eds.] is defined by its many contradictions; and, these very contradictions may bust its structural seams and could tear the very fabric of its national [if there is one] soul apart. It is a ‘country’ with uncertain borders flaunting itself as the ‘only democracy in the Middle East’ with an elected government that ignores its own laws, when responsible democratic choices must be weighed against incongruities of ‘the end justifies the means,’ ‘what is mine is mine, what is yours is mine also.’”


Shimone: To survive, to become a thriving democracy, to become a light among nations, a heaven on earth instead of the present hell on earth, the people of Israel must 1) end illegal settlements, 2) end the grotesque occupation and 3) partition the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean, constructively and peacefully; or, become one democratic nation for all (*Kindle Locations 1291-1300).




For too long, militant and self-centered ‘sacred’ collective egotism have replaced the principles of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. Ultra-nationalism, characterized by superior race, cultural supremacy, blood dominance, obsessive possession of land rights; manifest destiny, chosen people, redemption, and power together with arrogance, stemming from ignorance, focuses on disdain and condescension against the other. (*Kindle Locations 2067-2069)


In Chapter 5: ‘Abraham … A Life Without Borders,’ I devoted 26 pages, an entire section, on EQUALITY adopted from Robert A. H. Cohen’s ‘Building a Broad-Based Movement for Israel – Palestine’ (*Kindle Locations 2900-2902).


Cohen ends this section with:


“Equal rights is the lesson I draw from Judaism, from two thousand years of Jewish history, and from the Holocaust.


Equal rights is the way. Equal rights is the movement. Let’s build it,” says Cohen (*Kindle Locations 3021-3024).


I agree.


Finally, will the people of Israel - Palestine take up the challenge and converge toward a series of catalytic possibilities? The alternative will inevitably result in more cataclysmic calamities. No one will really help, and nothing of substance will really happen unless the GOOD people of the Region come in unity proclaiming: “We need help, we can’t do it alone.”


Let’s enrapture the people of the world, starting with Europe, to move their leadership to invoke equal rights for all in the Region. Europe can propose. Europe cannot impose. The European Union can help move mountains. Fortified with an invincible NATO, the EU is also the most powerful economy on earth, wealthier than the economies of the United States and China COMBINED. In all due respect, the Arab Peace Initiative can work only if-and-only-if it is boosted by the proposed ‘10-point EU-Complement,’ outlined in Chapter 5: ‘Abraham … A Life Without Borders.’ (*Kindle Locations 3027-3088).


In deference to the long-standing resolutions declared by the United Nations and others, the European Union could support the Arab Peace Initiative, together with the Russian Federation, Iran, and the United States, to help the people of Israel - Palestine to form, what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has coined, a ‘Beloved Community.’ They have been in each other’s back yards for millennia, some physically, most spiritually.


Any peace accord, minus full reconciliation, including restitution, will inevitably collapse. The wounds will only temporarily be soothed, letting the disease to stealthily spread and eventually erupt and explode again. The EU-Complement to the Arab Peace Initiative can and will make a sustainable difference.


“We cannot give up on the search to end this conflict”, says President Obama in a letter to me dated 16 August 2016 (*Kindle Locations 3035-3043).


Europe must rebuild the many bridges it has previously burned throughout the Middle East to regain credibility. By treating Israel and Palestine equally with fairness and equitability, Europe can and will shine and stand out in all the nations as a serious partner to diplomatically and democratically help resolve cultural differences, one step at a time. Containing the fires between the Israelis and the Palestinians cannot be more opportune. A ‘redeemed’ Europe can work out solutions with former adversaries to help restore order, to keep aspiring refugees from leaving and remaining with family, to earn an honest living on their own turf at home. We need stability in the Region. If peace is possible there, it is possible everywhere (Kindle Locations 3089-3094).


The people of Israel-Palestine are meant to be living side by side within one homeland inside two borderless zones, rejoicing freedom of movement and the right of passage, sharing Jerusalem and the Region to, gradually, become a light of all nations (*Kindle Locations 58-60).


*van Kempen, Abraham. Christian Zionism ... Enraptured Around a Golden Calf. (Kindle Locations *). FastPencil Publishing.


Building the Bridge Foundation, The Hague

Getting to Know the OTHER and One ANOTHER


‘Christian Zionism … Enraptured Around a Golden Calf’
By Abraham A. van Kempen


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