published on April 3rd.
By Marianna Harris
To the Editor:
I was saddened and intrigued by your editorial, entitled “Campus, Church Extremism”.
Israeli journalist, Gideon Levy spoke in Vancouver in late March. He believes that supporting Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions is the best way that Canadians can be friends to the people of Israel. He reminded us how the boycott of South Africa was a big factor in bringing equal rights for all South Africans.
The BDS movement seeks to bring equal human rights to all Israelis including the 20% who are Palestinians. The aim is also to gain similar rights for the 4 million Palestinians living in the Occupied West Bank and in Gaza.
I am puzzled why a vote on BDS amongst UBC students is seen as “target aggression against the Jewish homeland”? Surely most Canadians – and Canadian Jews among them -- would demand that Israel provide equal rights to all citizens.
As we think about Christian Zionism, the debate is over whether scripture teaches that in order for Christ to come again, all Jewish people must return to Israel and that the end of time will bring about a horrible destruction of all people on earth except those who adhere to a particular understanding of the Christian faith and the minority of Jews who will convert to Christianity.
Generally Christians who read scripture that way believe it leads them to support the Israel of Prime Minister Netanyahu with its continual encroaching on Palestinian lands, expanding settlements and disadvantaging people who are not Jews. As opposed to this, those of us at the coming conference read the Bible and understand Christian teachings in a way that leads us to embrace quite different values as the path toward fulfilling divine will.
When I read scripture I find evidence of a God who desires the well-being of all of humanity and all of creation. I believe that God’s dream is that we live in a state of shalom, of peace and harmony and love of neighbour, whatever another’s religious commitment or ethnic identity might be.
I hope a representative of the Jewish Independent will attend the Conference and report in a spirit of civil and religious respect on what is presented by the Rev. Naim Ateek, a leading Palestinian Anglican priest, by the Rev. Gary Burge (from Wheaton College), the Rev. Carmen Lansdowne and Rabbi Alissa Wise, co-Director of Organizing for the Jewish Voice for Peace, as well as others who will be speaking.
Rev. Marianna Harris, co-chair,
United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine and Israel