The Rev. Christopher Ferguson, representative of the World Council of Churches to the United Nations, took some time yesterday to channel the spirit of Yasser Arafat while speaking to the General Assembly Committee on the Exercise of the inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (given the UN’s obsession with the Palestinians, I’m not sure why they need a separate committee, but I guess that’s what bureaucracies do). He starts with a pat on the back to the WCC and other “International Civil Society” groups that have kept the heat on for the Palestinians:
These efforts to keep diplomatic and political attention focus on the Palestinian People and their rights has never been more urgently needed nor more difficult than in this 40th year of the Occupation and the 60th year marking the Resolution on the UN Partition plan and, the 59th year since the Nakba.
Nakba, it should be noted, is an Arabic word meaning “disaster” or “catastrophe.” The nakba that Ferguson apparently so deeply laments is the founding of Israel in 1948. Nice to know that he starts off his tirade by making clear that the WCC isn’t an honest broker, but a Palestinian shill.
He then refers to the Annapolis meeting, and a letter that WCC General Secretary Samuel Kobia sent to trash cans in several world capitals Monday. It was pretty much standard boilerplate; here are the highlights:
As this initiative is set to begin we would like to suggest three criteria for success based on 60 years of international church advocacy for peace in this conflict.
Good faith negotiations are the first criterion….
Second, negotiations must recognize and involve those parties with legitimate interests at stake in the solution to the conflict….
Third, scrupulous adherence to the international rule of law is essential….
Deep, huh? Anyway, Ferguson goes on to attack the “international community’s” unwillingness to step in and make sure that the Palestinians get everything they’re after:
Peace must be built on rights for all and protection for all. The International community has failed and continues to fail to stand with the Palestinian people in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem and world wide in ending the brutal military occupation, ongoing dispossession and securing the right to return. Crucially, this failure also impedes the peace, justice, security and rights that we seek and uphold for Israelis. This failure is an obstacle to regional peace and impacts on world insecurity and disorder.
I’m not sure what it is that the WCC is “seeking” for Israelis, because it sure isn’t “peace, justice, security and right.” By demanding that the UN “secure the right to return,” the WCC is advocating the destruction of the Jewish state by demographics. To all evidence, this is because the WCC believes that Jews, of all the world’s people, have no right to a homeland of their own, no right to self-determination, no right to live without fear from a majority that would love to have the opportunity to make all of the Holy Land Judenrein, as Hamas (winners of the most recent Palestinian elections, remember) demands.
We speak of a just peace based on full and scrupulous implementation of international law because we know that any lasting solution for the Palestinian people is intertwined with Peace and Justice for Israel. We actively seek the wellbeing of both peoples. We insist that both the Palestinian People and Israel have legitimate security concerns. We see that although religion is not at the root of the conflict , religion has become part of the problem and, therefore religious leaders and inter-religious cooperation have to be part of the solution so that Christians, Muslims and Jews will again understand one another and live together as neighbors as they have in the past.
Of course, if Jews are going to live in the Holy Land, they will have to accept the return of dhimmitude, as will Christians (though the latter are already experiencing that in the West Bank and Gaza). And to contend that “religion is not at the root of the conflict” is sticking one’s head in the sand. It’s not the only thing at the heart of the matter, but to say it has only “become part of the problem” is to ignore the history of Islam in the region.
Knowing that there is no military solution this memory filled year has marked a re-invigoration of strong calls by international civil society to re-double efforts for non-violent actions.
Notably The International Coordinating Network on Palestine meeting in Brussels in August of this year launched a strong and resolute plan of action under the title: 60 years is enough! End the dispossession; bring the refugees home! The Call to Action included a commitment to strengthen the global campaign for boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) emphasizing that this campaign responds to a call from Palestinian civil society and is in the words of the Call to action” a non-violent effort against Israeli occupation, Apartheid and oppression.” The Network has further committed themselves to a campaign identifying and opposing Israeli policies as violations of the International Covenant Against the Crime of Apartheid.
I’ve made clear what I think of anyone who refers to Israel as an “apartheid state” or as engaging in apartheid. Let’s just say that Rev. Ferguson and his pals in Genva fit that to a tee. I can’t find a Web site for the International Coordinating Network on Palestine, though I did find references to it on a number of far-left sites. Please note that there is no call here for a cessation of violence on the part of Hamas (whose daily rockets attacks on southern Israel are dismissed with scare quotes when Ferguson refers to “‘terrorizing’ Qassam rocket attacks” earlier in his rant).
In June of this year the World Council of Churches convened an International Peace Conference of Churches from around the world in Amman, Jordan. The Amman Call which emerged from that meeting is not meant to be another statement but simply the visible sign of a renewed commitment to “church advocacy for peace, aimed at ending the illegal occupation in accordance with UN resolutions and demonstrate its commitment to inter-religious action for peace and justice that serves all the peoples of the region.”
The meeting launched a new initiative: The Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum, dedicated to church action for both Peace Making and Peace Building. In their own way churches around the world are increasingly looking to non-violent methods like Morally Responsible Investment which use economic measures to end the occupation. This initiative will form strong inter religious alliances to break new ground and commit ourselves to what the Amman call named as Costly Solidarity. Civil Society in general and the Churches in particular are showing new vigor faced with the morally repugnant and unjustifiable situation. Costly Solidarity means taking non-violent, constructive actions which will cause discomfort, tensions and serious disagreements. Such solidarity is an ethical imperative.
No, it isn’t, actually. As long as the WCC keeps acting as though violence against Israel is of no consequence, rather than the driving force behind the continuing occupation and isolation of the Palestinian territories, I certain see no reason why any of the one-sided, counter-productive actions they advocate (which mainly have the result of convincing the Palestinians to stick to their current course) should be joined by anyone who cares about a truly constructive peace.
Oh, and by the way, I wonder if Rev. Ferguson saw this item, and if he or any of his colleagues has any response at all that he’d care to make as public as this speech:
Hamas on Thursday called on the UN to rescind the 1947 decision to partition Palestine into two states, one for Jews and one for Arabs.
The group said in a statement, released on the 60th anniversary of the UN vote, that “Palestine is Arab Islamic land, from the river to the sea, including Jerusalem… there is no room in it for the Jews.”
Regarding the partition decision, Hamas said that “correcting mistakes is nothing to be ashamed of, but prolonging it is exploitation.”