The State of Israel has had to defend its border in recent days, as the radical terrorist group, Hamas, has tried to find weaknesses in the Israeli defensive lines and infiltrate the nation to kill Jews. Centered in the region known as Gaza, which was occupied by Egypt until 1967 and by Israel from 1967 to 2005, Hamas-backed Palestinians attempted to breach the Israeli border fence, lobbed improvised explosives at Israeli soldiers, fired into Israel with firearms, and burned tires to create a smokescreen for invaders to cross into Israel undetected. In response, Israel has defended its sovereign boundaries against attack, and has killed more than 60 Palestinians who were either attempting unauthorized entry into Israel or who were providing aid and support to those attempting entry. Set off in anger after President Donald J. Trump moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem (many Palestinians deny Israel’s right to exist, let alone choose its own capitol), the attack on Israel led to the deadliest period of border conflict since 2014.
In response, Baptists in the United States have issued a statement condemning violence on the part of…Israel. Apparently missing the news that it was the Palestinians who were the violent aggressors and Israel who was defending its border with great restraint, the Baptists’ statement called for evangelicals to “reject theologies that justify oppression and violence” toward Palestinians.
The Baptist group that made the statement is the primarily African American Baptist “denomination,” The Lott Carey Global Christian Missional Community. “Lott Carey” says on its website that its goal is to “be a multi-cultural, multi-lingual, ecumenical community engaged in the Christian witness around the world.” The organization was founded in 1897 as the Lott Carey Foreign Mission Society, named after an African slave born in 1780 who came to faith in 1807 and later led the first Baptist missionaries back to evangelize Africa. For several decades, Lott Carey has primarily focused on matters relating to Social Justice. In 2016, they led an effort to combat consumer debt, claiming that credit card companies and lenders were trying to “enslave” minority groups.
The second sentence of the statement accused the United Nations forming the State of Israel in 1948 due to the influence of “Zionism.” The statement goes on to say that Lott Carey sent a team of “Pilgrims” to Palestine in February of 2017 and witnessed the “injustices” perpetrated upon the Palestinian people by the hand of Israel. The statement continues to say that American media is unfairly portraying the Palestinians.
The mainstream media in the United States inadequately reports these stories. Consequently, great atrocities go unnamed and unnoticed in America. Instead, we receive mostly propaganda that depicts Palestinian people as aggressive, antagonistic actors with irrational and unfounded hatred for Israeli people.
Instead, the Baptist group says, the Palestinian people are longing for justice and suffering under tyranny. The statement reads, “The Palestinians are, with the exceeding generosity of United States taxpayer funding, been systematically disenfranchised and oppressed by the policies of the Israeli state.”
Later in the statement, the group compares Israeli treatment of the Palestinians to Jim Crow laws in the United States prior to the Civil Rights Movement.
The Israeli government imposes a system of injustice similar to Jim Crow laws in the United States that discriminated against African Americans until the mid-1960s and the Apartheid system of racial discrimination against “Black” and “Colored” people in South Africa that ended in 1994. Many of the young Palestinians endure tensions and angst seen today in many African-American youth who live in fear of violence from law enforcement personnel who are supposed to protect and serve but who are held to little or no accountability when they harass, injure or murder innocent people. The message of both groups is the same: “STOP KILLING US!”
You can read the Baptist statement here.
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