Sabeel is coming to town March 16-17. Sabeel is a Christian liberation theology organization based in Jerusalem. It was founded by Palestinian Anglican priest, Rev. Naim Ateek, and has been widely denounced for its
one-sided anti-Israel rhetoric.
from the ADL:
Friends of Sabeel-North America (FOSNA): As part of the anti-Israel movement's effort to attract support from the mainstream, Friends of Sabeel—North America (FOSNA), the U.S. affiliate of Sabeel, a Jerusalem-based Palestinian Christian organization, has been particularly effective at forging alliances with a number of mainline Protestant churches. FOSNA-organized events, including multiple U.S. conferences and organized trips to Israel, regularly feature speakers who accuse Israel of racism, oppression and human rights violations. With a presence in two dozen U.S. states, FOSNA has played a central role in bridging the anti-Israel movement with mainstream American Christian groups. Some of these have responded to FOSNA's outreach by integrating anti-Israel efforts into their broader social causes, bolstering the anti-Israel movement's ability to spread its messages to wider and otherwise untapped audiences. In 2009 and 2010, Sabeel conferences from Hawaii to Washington, DC, attracted hundreds of participants, and smaller, local events take place throughout the year.
One aspect of Christian life in the Middle east that you'll never hear mentioned by Sabeel is the persecution of Christians under Palestinian rule.
From an interview with Justus Reid Weiner Palestinian Crimes against Christian Arabs:
•Under the Palestinian regime Christian Arabs have been victims of frequent human rights abuses by Muslims. There are many examples of intimidation, beatings, land theft, firebombing of churches and other Christian institutions, denial of employment, economic boycotts, torture, kidnapping, forced marriage, sexual harassment, and extortion. Palestinian Authority (PA) officials are directly responsible for many of the human rights violations. Muslims who have converted to Christianity are in the greatest danger. They are often left defenseless against cruelty by Muslim fundamentalists. Some have been murdered.
•Christian Arabs also fall victim to the chaos and anarchy typical of PA rule. This situation is fostered by societal rigidity, criminal gangs, lack of education, absence of due process, incitement, unreliable courts, and the denial of these problems-all running counter to Israel's desire for a prosperous and stable neighbor.
•Muslim attitudes toward Christians and Jews are influenced by the concepts and prejudices about their inferiority that the practice of dhimmitude has spawned in Islamic society. As dhimmis, Christians living in Palestinian-controlled territories are not treated as equals of Muslims and are subjected to debilitating legal, political, cultural, and religious restrictions.
•The human rights violations against the Christian Arabs in the disputed territories are committed by Muslims. Yet for political and economic reasons many Palestinian Christian leaders blame Israel for these crimes rather than the actual perpetrators. This motif of the transference of blame has been adopted by several Christian leaders in the Western world. Others there who are aware of the PA's human rights abuses choose to remain silent.
From the World Watch List (WWL)
WWL is a ranking of 50 countries where persecution of Christians for religious reasons is worst. The list covers persecution of Christians of all denominations
37.United Arab Emirates
The Palestinian territories make the list- Israel does not. Yet we can take it as a given that there will be no mention at the Sacramento Sabeel conference of the suffering of the Christians in the disputed territories.
This photo appeared in the blog Silk Roads and Siamese Smiles: This is what welcomes Christian tourists into the Israeli town of Nazereth. It is near the Church of the Annunciation.
From Dexter Van Zile "Primer on Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center"
Sabeel ...broadcasts a dishonest narrative about the Arab/Israeli conflict that:
Promotes an obsession with Jewish sin;
Promotes ambivalence over Jewish power
Encourages listeners to ignore problems in Palestinian society that undermine the prospects for Israeli and Palestinian safety and freedom;
Ignores the role Muslim extremists have played in the decline of the Christian population in the disputed territories and the Middle East;
Blames Israel, and only Israel, for the suffering of the Palestinian people; and Promotes an indifference to Israeli suffering as a result of Palestinian terror attacks.
Indifference is not a Christian trait. We remind our Christian friends to reject Sabeel when it comes to Sacramento March 16-17