Sunday, 28 February 2010

European Union Court Ruling on Israeli settlement products

The European High Court ruled on Thursday that products from Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank are not included in Israel's trade agreement with the European Community (EC) for preferential trade treatment.

The EC have agreements with both Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) which give preferential treatment to goods coming out of their two respective areas. The EC-PLO Association Agreement was "for the benefit of the Palestinian Authority of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip" while the EC-Israel Association Agreement covers the "territory of the state of Israel." However, Israel has tried to argue that their agreement should extend to include Israeli products produced by Israeli companies in the West Bank.

Thursday's ruling has halted this assertion in its tracks by stating very clearly that member states customs authorities "may refuse to grant the preferential treatment provided for under the EC-Israel Association Agreement where the goods concerned originate in the West Bank." (Para 58 of judgement).

This ground-breaking case began after the German company Brita told German customs authorities that its imports came from Israel and should therefore be exempt from import duties. The German authorities suspected that the goods actually originated from the West Bank and demanded Israel's clarification. That then led to legal proceedings at the end of which the European Court of Justice was asked to give a preliminary ruling. Their ruling that Israeli goods can only get preferential treatment if those goods have been manufactured inside Israel itself will be a boost to the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Campaign who has been pushing for the correct labelling of settlement goods in order to help buyers make conscious decisions when purchasing goods from the region and ensure that Israeli settlement products are boycotted.

Read the full Press Release published by the Court of Justice of the European Union

Source: Middle East Monitor

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

With God on our Side: Sunday 28th February

With God on our Side: Sunday 28th February, Christ Church, Virginia Water, GU25 4PT, 2:30pm

“With God On Our Side takes a look at the theology of Christian Zionism, which teaches that because the Jews are God’s chosen people, they have a divine right to the land of Israel. Aspects of this belief system lead some Christians in the West to give uncritical support to Israeli government policies, even those that privilege Jews at the expense of Palestinians, leading to great suffering among Muslim and Christian Palestinians alike and threatening Israel’s security as a whole.

This film demonstrates that there is a biblical alternative for Christians who want to love and support the people of Israel, a theology that doesn’t favor one people group over another but instead promotes peace and reconciliation for both Jews and Palestinians.”

The title for our film, “With God on Our Side” was inspired by the verse:

…while Joshua was there near Jericho: He looked up and saw right in front of him a man standing, holding his drawn sword. Joshua stepped up to him and said, “Whose side are you on—ours or our enemies’?” He said, “Neither. I’m commander of God’s army. Joshua 5:13-14a (The Message)

We believe this verse is still true today, that God does not take sides with certain people groups, nations or agendas. Rather He is for all people. Throughout history, those who have claimed God was on their side have used it to justify atrocities done in the name of Jesus. We believe once again certain Christians are approaching the people in the Middle East claiming God is on their side in a way that disregards human rights and gives unilateral support to a secular State, elevates one people group over another while using the Bible as justification. We believe there is a better way, a way of justice, peace and love for Jews and Palestinians. One that is inclusive, not exclusive. That is the heart of God.


Sunday, 21 February 2010

OS SIONISTAS CRISTÃOS : Christian Zionism in Portuguese

OS SIONISTAS CRISTÃOS: Na rota para o Armagedóm

As raízes históricas, a base teológica e as consequências políticas do envolvimento cristão no conflito árabe-israelense

I am grateful to Jair de Souza in Sao Paula, Brazil, for working on a Portuguese translation of my book Christian Zionism. You can download part of the introduction here

If you wish to receive a copy of the translation please email me

The Lens of Justice: Tom Getman

In this month's Sojourners, Tom Getman writes about the new film With God on Our Side
A mood change in America since the 2008-09 Israeli incursion into Gaza, with a growing awareness about Israeli human rights abuses, makes the timing advantageous for With God on Our Side. This film underscores the need for urgency, for the sake of Israel as well as Palestine, of making a just peace in the Holy Land.
Directed and produced by Porter Speakman Jr., With God on Our Side opens in a pro-Israel American megachurch, magnifying the often-unquestioned ideology that justifies occupation and cruel dispossession.
The viewer accompanies a young narrator on a pilgrimage to Israel and the Occupied Territories. We see violations of international law, especially the moving of Israelis into settlements on Palestinian land. We are confronted by the oppressive ideology in the victimization of Palestinian and Israeli Arabs. Christian Zionists rationalize these violations with insistence that Jews are the only “chosen” because of their suffering and the “land promise” by God to Abraham.
Startling sights and compelling interviews convey the great tragedy that Christian Zionism undergirds offending Israeli politics. This skewed teaching, the film proposes, enables not only violation of human law but of God’s law of loving neighbor. Can the Bible be used to justify crimes against humanity? Can the kingdom of God possibly be realized by violent dispossession?
“End-times theology that causes rejection of an ethnic group, or a brother like me, is a sin,” declares Salim Munayer, academic dean of Bethlehem Bible College and founder of Musalaha Reconciliation Ministries.
Using the Bible to justify nationalistic purposes is idolatry. The Apostle Paul teaches in Colossians and Ephesians that “chosen people” are not a racial group but people in right relationship with God, “Jew and Gentile” together, all children of Abraham by faith.
“Political opinion that causes prejudice toward another people puts us at risk of losing the heart of God,” another interviewee in the film posits. “We must decide whether we use the lens of prophecy or the lens of justice.”
With God on Our Side signals a hope that Christian Zionists will change through the persuasive voices of progressive Christians and Jews. It posits that support of Israel “right or wrong” is an adopted formula of world Christian empire that actually threatens Israel’s survival.
For all its appeal, With God on Our Side is not perfect. It is too long for easy use in church or Christian education settings and lacks a study guide with introduction and bibliography. Some of the theologizing may be lost on the uninitiated. Visuals of the separation barrier and the “Israelis only” highways in the Occupied Territories need explanation. Translation from Arabic to English is often difficult to follow, and subtitles would have made the nonnative English speakers more understandable.
These minor faults aside, thoughtful believers should see and discuss this film. It helps to build a new consensus for the Middle East—for Jews, Muslims, and Christians alike—for a secure Israel and a viable Palestinian state. With God on Our Side is a pivotal educational tool, especially now as the Obama administration moves from status quo tactics (e.g. on settlements) to a larger Middle East strategy to address U.S. security and ethical interests.
Tom Getman, a former NGO executive in D.C., Palestine, and Geneva, is now a consultant on international affairs. To arrange a screening, contact
 Source: Sojourners

With God on our Side

With God on our Side:  Film Launch on Sunday 28th February, Christ Church, Virginia Water, GU25 4PT, 2:30pm

“With God On Our Side takes a look at the theology of Christian Zionism, which teaches that because the Jews are God’s chosen people, they have a divine right to the land of Israel. Aspects of this belief system lead some Christians in the West to give uncritical support to Israeli government policies, even those that privilege Jews at the expense of Palestinians, leading to great suffering among Muslim and Christian Palestinians alike and threatening Israel’s security as a whole.

This film demonstrates that there is a biblical alternative for Christians who want to love and support the people of Israel, a theology that doesn’t favor one people group over another but instead promotes peace and reconciliation for both Jews and Palestinians.”

The title for our film, “With God on Our Side” was inspired by the verse:

…while Joshua was there near Jericho: He looked up and saw right in front of him a man standing, holding his drawn sword. Joshua stepped up to him and said, “Whose side are you on—ours or our enemies’?” He said, “Neither. I’m commander of God’s army. Joshua 5:13-14a (The Message)

We believe this verse is still true today, that God does not take sides with certain people groups, nations or agendas. Rather He is for all people. Throughout history, those who have claimed God was on their side have used it to justify atrocities done in the name of Jesus. We believe once again certain Christians are approaching the people in the Middle East claiming God is on their side in a way that disregards human rights and gives unilateral support to a secular State, elevates one people group over another while using the Bible as justification. We believe there is a better way, a way of justice, peace and love for Jews and Palestinians. One that is inclusive, not exclusive. That is the heart of God.


Friday, 19 February 2010

Iran's First Family of Islamic Revolution Sides With Protesters

Two years ago I took part in a lecture tour of Iranian universities at the personal invitation of Dr Zahra Mostafavi, the daughter of the Ayatollah Khomeini. Predictably, I was accused by some Zionists of siding with the Iranian regime, with holocaust deniers, and those who allegedly want to 'wipe Israel off the map', etc, etc. I am glad that what I always knew but did not say at the time has now become more public – that they are part of the opposition movement to the Iranian regime. The picture, for example, is of Khomeini's grandson, Hassan Khomeini.

Lara Setrakian, writing for ABC News, logged this story a few days ago.

The Iranian government's claim to the legacy of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the father of the Islamic Republic, was further weakened during Thursday's protests when the regime's police arrested the ayatollah's granddaughter.

Khomeini's granddaugher, Zahra Eshraghi, was taken into custody along with her husband, reformist leader Mohamed Reza Khatami. She wasn't in police custody for very long, but it was long enough to highlight the Khomenei family's opposition to the increasingly authoritarian rule by the Ayatollah's successors.
Eshraghi is the latest Khomeini to signal her displeasure with the ruling regime, and the Khomeini name is a powerful force in Iran. It was Khomeini, from his exile in Paris, who rallied his country to force the Shah of Iran from the Peacock Throne and declare an Islamic Republic.

And it was under Khomeini that Iranian students stormed the U.S. embassy and took everyone inside hostage, defying what Khomeini called the "Great Satan." The current supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, considers himself to be Khomeini's heir.

But over the years, Khomeini's descendants have subtly and sometimes publicly broken with the regime, to the delight of reformists who call themselves the Green Movement.

"Khomenei's family is on the green movement side, and the oldest male heir has come out in the past week, denouncing the way the state-controlled media has been abusing Khomenei's words and taking them out of context," Iran analyst Hadi Ghaemi told ABC News, referring to the Ayatollah's grandson, Hassan Khomeini.
Ahead of Thursday's protests marking the 20th anniversary of the Islamic revolution, Hassan Khomeini had criticized the regime for running clips of his grandfather that explicitly discourage public protests without government permission. The younger Khomeini wrote a highly-publicized letter accusing the state-backed television network of trying to "distort' the character of the Iman.

Hassan Khomeini, identified as the representative of his family and caretaker of the Ayatollah's shrine, caused a stir when reports surface in The Guardian newspaper that he had left Iran in the aftermath of the disputed June election. Khomenei, the newspaper reported, was avoiding pressure to endorse President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's electoral win. Khomeini later refused to attend Ahmadinejad's inauguration and swearing-in ceremonies, reported Payvand news.

"He has made it very, very clear where he stands," said analyst Trita Parsi of the National Iranian American Council. "He even negated the regime's accusations that protesters had slandered and burned his grandfather's image."

Eshraghi, Khomeini's granddaughter, has been an outspoken advocate of women's rights. Last year she told the Christian Science Monitor her grandfather would be "disappointed" with the current restrictions on the lives of Iranian women, who do not carry the same legal rights as men.

Ayatollah Khomenei Is Still a Powerful Name in Iran

The descendants of Khomeini are part of a larger trend that has seen the core of the 1979 revolution turn more moderate, sponsoring reform and facing jail or other punishment for criticizing the regime.
Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi was a prime minister in the early days of the Islamic Republic, and was held in high regard by Khomeini. One of Mousavi's advisors, Dr. Alireza Beheshti, is a relative of Ayatollah Mohammad Beheshti, one of Khomenei's closest confidantes. Last week Hassan Khomeini reportedly visited Beheshti's home, a clear and public sign of support.

Criticism of the regime cuts deepest when it comes from the family of their revered leader, and the regime does strike back. In September state-backed news outlets IRNA and Keyhan attacked Hassan Khomeini for appearing to support the opposition and cooperating with "behind-the-scenes elements," or critics of the regime.

"You truly have a situation where the revolution is eating itself up and eating its young if it is going after the descendents of someone who is seen as the heart of the revolution," said Parsi.

The role of Ayatollah in the Islamic Republic, he added, has meant that Khomeini the symbol is more important than the individual himself.

"It's important to be able to control the use of that symbol, and that's where the government has a problem, because the family members will have some say over the definition. And their definition is diverging."

Copyright © 2010 ABC News Internet Ventures

Thursday, 18 February 2010

How to Lose Friends and Influence

According to the BBC the British government is turning up the heat over the use of fake British passports to execute the Hamas leader in Dubai.  And who is feeling the heat? Guess.

Paul Reynolds describes our very British way of doing things "all very civilised and not terribly urgent",

The British government is proceeding cautiously and methodically in its efforts to establish whether Israel was responsible for the use of fraudulent British passports in the killing of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.

It has set up an investigation and its future reaction will largely depend on the findings.
In the meantime its language in announcing that the Israel ambassador in London Ron Prosor would be going to the Foreign Office on Thursday was notably moderate.

A statement on Wednesday said simply that "given the links to Israel of a number the British Nationals affected, there will be a meeting between the FCO Permanent Under Secretary and the Israeli Ambassador tomorrow". This was an invitation not a summons.

At this stage, it is a matter of Britain asking questions, not making protests and taking retaliatory action (such as demanding an apology, restricting official contacts or even expelling the ambassador for a time).
Robert Fisk writing in the Independent suggests British or at least European collusion with Israel Britain's explanation is riddled with inconsistencies. It's time to come clean

Collusion. That's what it's all about. The United Arab Emirates suspect – only suspect, mark you – that Europe's "security collaboration" with Israel has crossed a line into illegality, where British passports (and those of other other EU nations) can now be used to send Israeli agents into the Gulf to kill Israel's enemies. At 3.49pm yesterday afternoon (Beirut time, 1.49pm in London), my Lebanese phone rang. It was a source – impeccable, I know him, he spoke with the authority I know he has in Abu Dhabi – to say that "the British passports are real. They are hologram pictures with the biometric stamp. They are not forged or fake. The names were really there. If you can fake a hologram or biometric stamp, what does this mean?"

Donald McIntyre also in the Independent writes from the epicenter - Jerusalem Israel reels from backlash at killing of Hamas militant

Both the audacity and the competence of Mossad are being questioned after the latest episode in the agency's colourful history." -
 Bloody rather than 'colourful' perhaps. See also:
And in the Times, its Miliband who is on the ropes Miliband denies going soft on Israel over 'Mossad' killing

The Foreign Secretary insisted today that Britain was not "going through the motions" over the cloning of six British passports in a suspected Mossad assassination after Israel's Ambassador denied he was rebuked by the Government.
 And surprisingly in the Telegraph we learn that Miliband is 'outraged'! Wow.

But will we ever find out who did it I wonder? My money is on Fatah being blamed.

Maybe it is already 1st April

Someone sent me this link to an article on the DEBKA website.

EXCLUSIVE: US intelligence finds 5,000 Hizballah training to seize Galilee towns
Jones was not talking out of the top of his head, but on the strength of solid US intelligence gathered over months on detailed war plans Iran, Syria, Hizballah and Hamas have drawn up to send five Hizballah brigades sweeping across the border to seize five sectors of Galilee, while also organizing a massive Israeli-Arab uprising against the Jewish state.
Hamas would open a second front in the south and in the east. Syria is expected to step in at some stage.
This plan with attached special map was first published exclusively by DEBKA-Net-Weekly 430 on Jan. 22, 2010. Key excerpts appear here.   
Iran's Revolutionary Guards instructors at especially established training facilities near Tehran are already well advanced in training a cadre of 5,000 Hizballah fighters in special operations and urban combat tactics to standards equivalent to those current in similar US and Israeli military forces.
At the outset of the course, the group was split up into five battalions, each given a specific northern Israeli sector for capture with details of its topography and population for close study.
 Read more here if you dare...

DEBKA is a Jerusalem based English language Israeli open source military intelligence website

For the antidote see Wikipedia  "Israeli intelligence officials do not consider even 10 percent of the site's content to be reliable."

“The Promise”: Balfour at the Orange Tree

From February 17th to March 20th, the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond is presenting the world premiere of a play about the way in which Zionists influenced British politicians during the First World War. The play shows how personal and public behaviour intertwine, as a leading Cabinet critic of the Declaration, Edwin Montagu pursues his passion for the beautiful socialite, Venetia Stanley who is also loved by the Prime Minister, Herbert Asquith. At the same time, Montagu is almost the only voice in the British Cabinet arguing against the letter signed by Balfour which promised Palestine to the Jews. Politics, religion and love collide with world-changing effect in this new play of political and sexual intrigue, and the origins of the Zionist takeover of Palestine.

Karl Sabbagh, author of Palestine: A Personal History, writes:

“The young author of this play, Ben Brown, author of several successful plays for stage and television, has immersed himself in the details of this shameful episode in British history and written a play which works both as a human drama and as a revealing account of the betrayal of Palestinians by the British. Even people who don’t usually go to the theatre will find this an engrossing and eye-opening evening.”

Tickets from the Orange Tree Theatre, 1, Clarence Street, Richmond Surrey TW9 2SA. Box office, 020 8940 3633

Is it April Fools Day already?

Philip Weiss over at Mondoweiss publishes a moving tribute to AIPAC today. He writes,

Why did Walt and Mearsheimer include some mainstream reporters in their "loose coalition" that constitutes the lobby? Ethan Bronner in the Times:
One main message of the campaign is that Israel is a technically advanced and diverse society and that its government policies are not the source of regional conflict. It notes that a number of important agricultural breakthroughs have occurred here, including drip irrigation and the development of the cherry tomato.
Also I think they’ve done some amazing things with computers and irrigation, delivering water to the plants that need them. Maybe Bronner could follow up?

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Murchison Falls & the Victoria Nile

Kiwoko, Luwero, Uganda


Lies, Damn Lies and The Infamous Episcopal Church Memo

It now transpires that the Episcopal Church (TEC) of the United States went to extraodrinary lengths last week to try and influence voting in the General Synod the Church of England. In the face of a Private Members Motion asking the Synod to recognise the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA), TEC circulated a spurious memo to disuade Synod members from doing so.Their attempt thankfully failed. The Church of England Synod saw through the smoke and mirrors and voted 309 to 69 in favour of recognising ACNA as part of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

Stand Firm has kindly published the lengthy TEC spoiler.

As one commentator put it with rather wittily,  "Gee, I didn’t know the liberals could hold attention long enough to read that whole thing.  Awfully suspect that that much verbiage had to go to one private member motion, isn’t it?  Methinks they do protest too much.  Especially since the material in their print can be verified or falsified by the attentive Internet user."

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

A Moment of Truth: The Kairos Document

In this historic document, we Palestinian Christians declare that the military occupation of our land is a sin against God and humanity

This document is the Christian Palestinians’ word to the world about what is happening in Palestine. It is written at this time when we wanted to see the Glory of the grace of God in this land and in the sufferings of its people. In this spirit the document requests the international community to stand by the Palestinian people who have faced oppression, displacement, suffering and clear apartheid for more than six decades. The suffering continues while the international community silently looks on at the occupying State, Israel. Our word is a cry of hope, with love, prayer and faith in God. We address it first of all to ourselves and then to all the churches and Christians in the world, asking them to stand against injustice and apartheid, urging them to work for a just peace in our region, calling on them to revisit theologies that justify crimes perpetrated against our people and the dispossession of the land.

In this historic document, we Palestinian Christians declare that the military occupation of our land is a sin against God and humanity, and that any theology that legitimizes the occupation is far from Christian teachings because true Christian theology is a theology of love and solidarity with the oppressed, a call to justice and equality among peoples.

This document did not come about spontaneously, and it is not the result of a coincidence. It is not a theoretical theological study or a policy paper, but is rather a document of faith and work. Its importance stems from the sincere expression of the concerns of the people and their view of this moment in history we are living through. It seeks to be  prophetic in addressing things as they are without equivocation and with boldness, in addition it puts forward ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and all forms of discrimination as the solution that will lead to a just and lasting peace. The document also demands that all peoples, political leaders and decision-makers put pressure on Israel and take legal measures in order to oblige its government to put an end to its oppression and disregard for the international law. The document also holds a clear position that non-violent resistance to this injustice is a right and duty for all Palestinians including Christians.

The initiators of this document have been working on it for more than a year, in prayer and discussion, guided by their faith in God and their love for their people, accepting advice from many friends: Palestinians, Arabs and those from the wider international community. We are grateful to our friends for their solidarity with us.

Read the Kairos Document here
Please sign the Kairos Document here

The Alternative Information Center: Michel Sabbah, “Israeli Occupation Main Cause of Instability in the Middle East”

Click here to hear an audio interview with Reverend Dr. Naim Ateek, a co-signatory of the document and founder of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center based in Jerusalem. (English)

Click here to hear an audio interview with Mr. Yusef Daher, Executive Secretary, Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre - JIC. (Voice of Lebanon – Canada in Arabic)

Aswar Press   اجتماع يؤكّد ضرورة الوحدة الاسلاميّة المسيحيّة لتحرير الأرض و الانسان

  Patriarch Lahham commented on the "Kairos Palestine" document: The right of Palestine is the world's responsibility البطريرك لحام علّق على وثيقة "وقفة حق": الحق الفلسطيني مسؤولية كلّ العالم

Israeli politicians may provoke arrest to force law change in Britain

Richard Watson and Sheera Frankel, writing in the Times yesterday, highlight the problems pro-zionist politicians in Britain have in trying to override or circumvent our independent judiciary.

A swift change to the law promised by ministers to prevent Israeli politicians and generals being arrested when they visit Britain is in doubt.

A Cabinet split over timing threatens to postpone any alteration of the rules until after the election, The Times has learnt, even though ministers assured Israel that it was a priority. Such a delay would leave visiting Israelis at risk and could worsen an already sour dispute with Jerusalem.
Tzipi Livni, the Israeli opposition leader whose threatened arrest sparked the dispute, indicated last night that she was prepared to travel to Britain and “take the bullet” if that was the only way to shame the Government into action. “Britain has obligated itself to me personally that this subject will be taken care of and fixed,” she said. “Now is the time.”

Ministers promised to act after a magistrate in London issued a warrant for the arrest of Ms Livni last year, for alleged war crimes in Gaza when she was Foreign Minister. The warrant was withdrawn after she cancelled her planned trip.
Read more here

See also Daniel Machover's brilliant article in the Guardian, 16th December 2009.

What David Miliband should say to Tzipi Livni

According to news reports, David Miliband plans to call the leader of the Israeli opposition, Tzipi Livni, to explain the British government's stance on the grant of an arrest warrant against her when she had been due to speak at a Jewish National Fund meeting in Hendon.
One reasonable version of this call to Livni is as follows:
"I am calling to explain why it would be wrong for me to apologise publicly or privately for the apparent decision by one of this country's independent judiciary to issue an arrest warrant against you.

"I should first explain that the British legal system has a strong tradition of fairness. All people under criminal investigation or criminal charge are entitled to the presumption of innocence: that is, they are presumed innocent unless and until convicted through a fair trial on the criminal standard of proof (that is, beyond reasonable doubt). Therefore, nobody here is saying you have been found guilty of any offence and any comments of this kind would be unacceptable.

"It does seem, however, that a judicial decision was taken that there exists a reasonable suspicion that you committed a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which is a criminal offence under our Geneva Conventions Act 1957. Of course, I have not seen any of the evidence that a court would have seen when making that decision. This is entirely right and proper: British ministers cannot interfere in such individual judicial decisions, as we must respect our ancient democratic tradition of non-interference with our independent judiciary. I hold the utmost respect for our independent judges.

"I am sorry, but I hope you understand that it is not my job as foreign secretary or any part of this government's job to second-guess a judge's decision or to interfere with it. I can tell you, however, that no charges could be brought against you without a decision by the attorney general. We very carefully guard the legal role of the attorney general, as the senior law officer, in making such decisions. The attorney general would first need advice from the head of our independent prosecution body, the director of public prosecutions, that the evidential test of the code for crown prosecutors was thought to be met (ie that there was more than a 50% chance that a jury would convict a defendant, having found on the evidence that it was beyond reasonable doubt that she had committed the alleged offence). If this evidential test was met, the independence of the UK legal system from the executive and the rights of victims of alleged crimes to see a just outcome to their complaints would be seriously undermined if the attorney general made a decision that it was against the public interest to bring charges of war crimes against a foreign national, who did not otherwise enjoy immunity from prosecution.
Read more here.

Reut Institute Maps Israel’s Intelligence War Against Enemies

Richard Silverstein has written an important piece on Tikun Olam-תקון עולם:  about the strategy of the Israel Lobby.

The last time I felt this way was when The Israel Project had the guts to make Frank Luntz’s hasbara opus public, thus laying out almost the entire game plan of the Israel lobby.  Now, comes word of a new report by Israel’s Reut Institute, spooky think tank devoted to speculating on who’s trying get Israel and how we get ‘em first.

Reading the summary of this report gives one the sense of listening in on a bunch of generals and intelligence officers plotting Israel’s global strategy against the bad guys.  Of course, the main problem is that the bad guys aren’t just the ones hiding in caves in Pakistan or building bombs to kill Israeli civilians.  For Reut, the bad guys are, well–you and me.  That’s what makes this report so monstrous.  Yes, I use that term deliberately because this isn’t some document produced by David Horowitz or Moshe Feiglin, a bunch of crazy loons no one takes seriously.  This is a manual for Israeli pols and spooks outlining how to fight the enemy.  And I gotta tell ya, when they say enemy, they mean it literally.  We are in the cross hairs along with all the usual suspects like Hamas, Hezbollah, etc.  This is pro-Israel paranoia and it strikes deep:
Paranoia strikes deep
Into your heart it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
Step out of line, the Man come and take you away.
–For What It’s Worth, Buffalo Springfield
Just like the IDF made no distinction between civilians and fighters in Gaza, the new tack by Reut seems to treat all Israel’s critics as, if not terrorist, then fellow travelers and accomplices.  The rhetoric is feverish, apocalyptic.  You’ll notice how many times the word “existential” is used in the Bibiesque context.

Testimonial from Israel's disgraced former president

The only truth in the entire report is the introduction which posits that the greatest danger to Israel in the recent past has been the Gaza and Lebanon wars because they have served to unify Israel’s enemies as never before.  But every idea proceeding from this thesis is bogus starting here:
There are two main generators of attacks on Israel’s legitimacy. The Resistance Network – which operates on the basis of Islamist ideology and includes Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas; and the Delegitimization Network - which operates in the international arena in order to negate Israel’s right to exist and includes individuals and organizations in the West, which are catalyzed by the radical left.
…The erosion in Israel’s status internationally is driven by the coalescence of two parallel process:
  • The Resistance Network advancing the ‘implosion strategy’ that aims to precipitate Israel’s internal collapse through a policy of ‘overstretch’: To achieve this, the Resistance Network increases the burden of the ‘Occupation,’ delegitimizes Israel, and develops an asymmetric use-of-force doctrine in the military arena and towards Israel’s home front. These groups take their inspiration from the collapse of the former Soviet Union and apartheid South Africa.
  • The Delegitimization Network aiming to turn Israel into a pariah state by undermining its moral legitimacy and ultimately aspiring towards eliminating the ‘Zionist entity.’
  • …The Resistance Network relies on military means to sabotage every move directed at affecting separation between Israel and the Palestinians or securing a two-state solution.
  • The Delegitimization Network tarnishes Israel’s reputation, ties Israel’s hands in defending itself against military assaults, and advances the ‘one-state solution.’
This attack on Israel’s political and economic model is effective, possesses strategic significance, and may develop into a comprehensive existential threat within a few years.
Note here that it is Israel’s enemies undermining the two-state solution and not Israel itself.  Can you think of anything more deluded?
So far, the rhetoric is overblown, but the analysis is standard hasbara.  But then it takes an unusual tack:
A harbinger of such a threat would be the collapse of the two-state solution as an agreed framework for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the coalescence behind a ‘one-state solution’ as a new alternative framework.
What’s especially strange about this notion is that Israel is doing everything in its power to avoid a two-state solution, which in turn drives Israel’s critics into the arms of the one-state solution as the only remaining viable option (the view of some critics, though not necessarily my own).  So Reut has set up a beautiful tautology: if Israel’s enemies coalesce around a one-state solution it will be the ultimate expression of hatred of the state of Israel.  But Israel itself will do everything in its power to avoid a two-state solution.  The logic is beautiful, twisted and totally self-fulfilling.

Where will the next anti-Israel weapon come from after the Gaza and Lebanon wars lose their resonance?  Israel’s Palestinian citizens of course (do I hear, “fifth column” anyone?):
You should read the whole article.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Extremist Settlers Takeover Archaeology in Palestine

Tim McGirk, writing for Time in Jerusalem, exposes the takeover of archeaeology in Israel/Palestine by extremist settlers for ideological reasons.
"The Jerusalem syndrome is a psychological disorder in which a visit to the holy city triggers delusional and obsessive religious fantasies. In its extreme variety, people wander the lanes of the Old City believing they are biblical characters; John the Baptist, say, or a brawny Samson, sprung back to life.

Archaeologists in the Holy Land like to joke that their profession is vulnerable to a milder form of the syndrome. When scientists find a cracked, oversize skull in the Valley of Elah, it can be hard to resist the thought that it might have belonged to Goliath, or to imagine, while excavating the cellars of a Byzantine church, that the discovery of a few wooden splinters might be part of the cross on which Christ died. This milder malady is nothing new. In the mid-19th century, British explorers who came to Jerusalem with a shovel in one hand and a Bible in the other used the holy book as a sort of treasure map in the search for proof of Christianity's origins. (See a video of archaeology digging up controversy in Jerusalem.)

Now an extreme case of the willful jumbling of science and faith is threatening Jerusalem's precarious spiritual balance. It could not come at a worse time: Israeli-Arab peace talks have stalled; Israel has a hawkish government disinclined to compromise; and radical Islamist group Hamas remains powerful among Palestinians. Any tilt in Jerusalem's religious equilibrium could create a wave of unrest spreading far beyond the city's ramparts. Eric Meyers, who teaches Jewish studies and archaeology at Duke University, says: "Right now, Jerusalem is a tinderbox."

The story begins with a right-wing Jewish settler organization called Elad, but also known as the Ir David Foundation, which for the past four years has exerted control over most of the holy city's excavations. Led by David Be'eri, an ex-Israeli commando who used to disguise himself as an Arab for undercover missions in the Palestinian territories, Elad now has the backing of the Israeli Prime Minister's office, the municipality, and the vaunted Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), which monitors all archaeological work in the country and which Elad helps finance. Elad's own funding comes through unnamed private donors. (Israeli newspapers have reported that a few Russian-Jewish oligarchs, including Chelsea Football Club owner Roman Abramovich, attended a 2005 Elad fundraiser.) The organization's aim is best expressed in a religious website's 2007 interview with development director Doron Speilman. He gestures toward Silwan, an Arab neighborhood that spills down from the Mount of Olives, and says: "Our goal is to turn all this land you see behind you into Jewish hands."
Read more here

Fear of peace will be the death of Israel

Does the government of Israsel really fear peace more than Iran? Bradley Burston, writing in Haaretz this week thinks so.

"As the grandson of anarchists, I've always had a soft spot in my heart for fanatics. Expressions of extremism, and passionately reasoned, exquisitely twisted world views make me feel, how shall I put this, at home.

So it was with a certain relish that I approached the cover story of a recent issue of Commentary, "The Deadly Price of Pursuing Peace," written as it was by a talented colleague and friend, Evelyn Gordon.

The thrust of the piece, which Commentary Editor John Podhoretz understandably calls "groundbreaking," is that Israel's international standing has plummeted to an unprecedented low - and the number of Palestinians killed by Israel has concurrently soared - specifically because of Israel's having done much too much for peace.

"The answer is unpleasant to contemplate, but the mounting evidence makes it inescapable," she writes. "It was Israel's very willingness to make concessions for the sake of peace that has produced its current near-pariah status."

The essay has the seamless, compellingly elegant, hyper-lucid, parallel universe logic of a hallucination - or a settlement rooted in the craw of the West Bank. Until I read it, it was difficult for me to comprehend the current runaway-freight recklessness of Israeli authorities and a certain segment of the hard right, bolstered by shady funding from abroad.

It was hard to fathom why Israeli police in this quiet hollow of the Arab half of Jerusalem, would choose to openly flout and violate the rulings of an Israeli court. I was unable to grasp why they would manhandle and arrest non-violent demonstrators - among them the executive director of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel - for protesting the official expulsion from their homes of more than two dozen Palestinian families here, driven out and into the street, so that subsidized and sheltered settlers could move in.

It was beyond my understanding why an Israeli government which views the idea of a Palestinian Right of Return as tantamount to annihilation of the Jewish state, would set a legal precedent that paves the way for just such a right.

Just as I was clueless as to why the Knesset was to vote Wednesday on a bill that would make aiding asylum seekers fleeing African genocide, granting them shelter, medical care, food, a crime subject to up to 20 years in prison.

Or why there were vigorous new campaigns to increase gender segregation at the Western Wall and on public buses, and why women have been arrested and interrogated on suspicion of having worn prayer shawls while praying on their side of a barrier raised so that they would no longer be able to watch their sons' bar mitzvah on the mens' side.

Or why a sudden and ferocious campaign against human rights organizations and charity work agencies in Israel is coinciding with new human rights outrages against Palestinians and foreigners, some of them unable to leave, others forced to.

It was not until I saw the title of the Commentary piece that it all made sense.

The right is terrified of peace. And, in the end, the right's fear of peace will be the death of Israel.

They are afraid of peace, in part, because it threatens the core of what has come to replace other values as the goal of Judaism: permanent settlement of the West Bank. But that is only a part of it.

They are afraid of peace because they are afraid of the world. They dismiss fellow Jews who want to see a two-state solution - a majority of Israelis - as unrealistic, as living in a bubble. The name of the bubble these moderates live in, however, is planet Earth.

The right, meanwhile, wants to wall off Israel as the world's last remaining legally mandated Jewish ghetto. A place where all the rules are different, exit and entry, citizenship and human rights, because the residents within are Jews. A place where non-Jews, dehumanized as congenital Jew-haters, are rendered invisible. A place which, if suffocating and insufferable, still seems safer than the scary world outside.

A place which, because of its walls and its politics and its cowardice, is losing its ability to function as a part of the world, reveling in cheap-shot humiliations of key foreign ambassadors, deliriously proud of its sense that of all the world, including most of its Jews and Israelis - only the right sees the real truth.

This braid of thought was venomously endorsed this week both by an uncharacteristically Kahane-sounding Alan Dershowitz, and the obscenely infantile Im Tirtzu movement. According to them, where Cast Lead was concerned, the real war criminals are Richard Goldstone and Naomi Chazan - two people who are open about their love of Israel, and who have worked their whole adult lives for its well-being.

The fears of the right are not mere devices of rhetoric. The risks of making peace are real. Every bit as real as the risks of failing to make peace.

It all comes down to belief. It comes down to the kind of country the believer wants Israel to be. And for that reason, there is a civil war going on for Israel's soul.

It will not be weaponry that decides this war, but courage. People who care about the direction that Israel is moving, and whose watchword is moderation, would do well to choose one facet of the fight, and join. One place to start, is to support the New Israel Fund and the groups it supports.

Another place to start is this one. At the weekend, challenging the threats of rightist thugs and law-scorning police, the weekly demonstration on behalf of the Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah doubled in size. The police backed down on their vow to break up the protest, and the Kahanists barely showed.

If non-violent peace activism scares the right to this extent, there must be a great deal of power in it.

After all, most Israelis can sense that if peace is to be the enemy, more dangerous even than the threat of war, this is one doomed ghetto.

Things have reached such a devastating point, that for the first time in recent memory, even Ehud Barak is beginning to get it: "The simple truth is, if there is one state" including Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, "it will have to be either binational or undemocratic," Barak told the Herzliya Conference Tuesday.

"If this bloc of millions of Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state."

The fear of peace has left Israel as a country which is prepared for nuclear warfare but not for non-violent protest on behalf of Palestinians. The fear of peace, and the blackmail of the right on behalf of settlement, has contorted Israel into a body which, unable to countenance the perils of treating the sickness of occupation, will eventually be killed by it.

Israel's defense minister, for one, is convinced: "The lack of a solution to the problem of border demarcation within the historic Land of Israel - and not an Iranian bomb - is the most serious threat to Israel's future."

With God on our Side: Letter from the Director

The issues surrounding the situation with Israel and Palestinians whether they be Historical or Political bring up very passionate displays of support and activism on all sides. However, it has been my experience that when theology, whether it be Islamic, Judaic or Christian is mixed in with these issues, these passions spill into a new level and becomes a “holy war” in itself. 

As a Christian, I wanted to look deeper at Christian approaches into some of these issues and at a theology called Christian Zionism. Although many Evangelical Christians in the United States may not know what Christian Zionism is, most would adhere to some of the basic beliefs Christian Zionists have toward Israel, the Jewish people and the End Times. That supporting Israel is a mandate for all Christians and that support also meant political support for the State.

I also saw that once people understood the political and historical consequences Christian Zionism has on people in the Middle East, they began to question some of the things they have always just taken for granted.

There are several purposes for making this film:

To bring a different perspective to some of the historical, political and theological viewpoints we just taCase for granted involving Israel and the Jewish people.

To look at the consequences Christian Zionism has on the local people in the Middle East, especially Palestinian, who are most directly influenced by Christian political support for the State of Israel and it’s policies, which are then defended using the Bible.

To raise awareness that there are Palestinian Christians, and these consequences affect them as well Muslim Palestinians.

We believe there is an alternative approach to Christian Zionism. An approach that sees both Jews and Palestinians as equal in God’s sight and one that promotes reconciliation, justice and peace.

We recognize that most people who adhere to a Christian Zionist theology have the best intentions in mind. They love and support Israel and the Jewish people out of sincere hearts and what they feel is the Biblical approach to this situation.

We also recognize that being “Pro-Israel” in the minds of most Christian Zionists is not synonyms with being “Anti-Arab”. However, this is why it is important to look at what we believe alongside with how it affects people. Good intentions can still have devastating effects. Some of the most tragic events in history have occurred from a bad interpretation of biblical texts and understanding of who God is. Any approach to the Middle East must be one that sees the needs of all people, not just one, because at the heart of who God is the God of love who commands us to love one another, whether that be our neighbor or someone we consider our enemy.

These are not easy issues to look at and we are all continuing to learn. However we feel it is important to ask questions and we believe no topics are off limits, when the goal is truth.

The “Key Issues” section of this site has some general information on Christian Zionism, History, and Current Events. These are just small snippets of information on subjects addressed in our film. For those who want to learn further, we strongly recommend looking at our resource page for further studies. We also strongly recommend that books from people offering differing perspectives be read.

Porter Speakman, Jr.
Director / Executive Producer “With God on Our Side”

LA Times: ISRAEL: 'Avatar' and the Palestinian blues

"Avatar" may be rocking the box office, but it's rocking the casbah too, getting people to ask who's who with the blues and who exactly are the meanies in Israel.

This week, a screening of "Avatar" erupted into a small ruckus in a suburb when one moviegoer loudly announced that the Palestinians should learn from this movie what to do to the Jews, causing a commotion and angering others in the audience.

The opinionated moviegoer was Juliano Mer-Khamis. Born in Nazereth to a Jewish mother and Arab father, he is an accomplished actor of many years, a filmmaker as well as a political activist who is very outspoken against the occupation.

Mer-Khamis confirmed the incident and added in the newspaper Maariv: "No one dares to make the real analogy. 'Avatar' is one of the bravest films made. It portrays the occupation, but people aren't making the analogy. Many would like to be like the blue people but don't understand the meaning. This is why people got angry at the movie theater. It is no secret that I think the Israelis are occupiers and the Palestinians occupied. Israel sits forcefully on lands that belong to others and this is exactly what the movie is talking about."

Mer-Khamis also suggests distributing the movie in the Palestinian town of Jenin. His choice of Jenin of all Palestinian locations is probably no coincidence: It is home to the Freedom Theatre, which he established a few years ago for the children of the Palestinian refugee camp there and to use "the magic and fantasy of theater to offer some respite" to the population, according to its website.

The Jenin theater was attacked with Molotov cocktails last year. Mer-Khamis was threatened, denounced in leaflets by militant Palestinians as morally corrupt and an agent of Zionism -- probably a first for that allegation. The music center in town was also torched later. Mer-Khamis acknowledged that he was afraid but said that he wasn't the type to run away. "It drives them crazy that a person who's half-Jewish heads one of the most important projects in the northern West Bank," he had told the news media at the time. The Jenin theater was a tribute to his mother, Arna Mer-Khamis, whose earlier work in the town was documented in the film "Arna's Children."

Either way, "Avatar" already got on the wrong side of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman -- or his spoof, really, on the "Eretz Nehederet" ('It's a Wonderful Country') satire show.

Blowing off claims that his foreign policy had left Israel with no allies in the world, the "minister" introduced the country's new best friend, "an ally out of this world": the prime minister of "Avatar."

The new diplomatic alliance lasts only until the blue thing explains that the movie is about a people resisting occupation.

A leftist movie, sniffs the "minister," and he promptly shoots the blue being.

Sorry, folks, he says. There's isn't going to be an "Avatar No. 2."

-- Batsheva Sobelman in Jerusalem

Source LA Times

Palestinian Na'vi Avatar

Palestinian protesters have added a colorful twist to demonstrations against Israel's separation barrier, painting themselves blue and posing as characters from the hit film "Avatar."The demonstrators also donned long hair and loincloths Friday for the weekly protest against the barrier near the village of Bilin.

They equate their struggle to the intergalactic one portrayed in the film. Israel says the barrier is needed for its security but is constructed deep inside the Palestinian Territories. Palestinians rightly consider it a land grab. The protests have become a symbol of opposition. They often end in clashes with Israeli security forces involving stones and tear gas. The "Avatar" protest comes a day after the Israeli government began rerouting the enclosure to eat up less of the Palestinian village.

Source: AP

See more pictures here

Radio Ramadhan Interview

Radio Ramadhan from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.
This week I have been in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Manchester speaking on Christian Zionism and the Middle East conflict. This video is of a programme recorded for Radio Ramadan in Glasgow. See here for more information

We have just launched a controversial new film about Christian Zionism called With God on our Side. Its a must see

With God on our Side

UK Launch: Sunday 28th February, 2:30pm
Christ Church, Christchurch Road,
Virginia Water, GU25 4PT

For more information see With God on our Side

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Palestine Conference: Justice and Peace in the Middle East

Yesterday I participated in a conference on Palestine organized by the Federation of Islamic Student Societies. I gave a paper on the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the political agenda of Christian Zionism. I cited the Jerusalem Declaration, which I helped to draft, signed by the Latin Patriarch and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem in 2006 which repudiates Christian Zionism as a deviant heresy. It calls for non-violent resistance to the illegal occupation of Palestine and calls upon Christians to work for peace with justice for both Palestinians and Israelis. It best expresses my personal views as well as the spirit and content of my paper delivered in Manchester.

Statement by the Patriarch and Local Heads of Churches In Jerusalem

'Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.' (Matthew 5:9)

Christian Zionism is a modern theological and political movement that embraces the most extreme ideological positions of Zionism, thereby becoming detrimental to a just peace within Palestine and Israel. The Christian Zionist programme provides a worldview where the Gospel is identified with the ideology of empire, colonialism and militarism. In its extreme form, it laces an emphasis on apocalyptic events leading to the end of history rather than living Christ's love and justice today.

We categorically reject Christian Zionist doctrines as false teaching that corrupts the biblical message of love, justice and reconciliation.

We further reject the contemporary alliance of Christian Zionist leaders and organisations with elements in the governments of Israel and the United States that are presently imposing their unilateral pre-emptive borders and domination over Palestine. This inevitably leads to unending cycles of violence that undermine the security of all peoples of the Middle East and the rest of the world.

We reject the teachings of Christian Zionism that facilitate and support these policies as they advance racial exclusivity and perpetual war rather than the gospel of universal love, redemption and reconciliation taught by Jesus Christ. Rather than condemn the world to the doom of Armageddon we call upon everyone to liberate themselves from the ideologies of militarism and occupation. Instead, let them pursue the healing of the nations!

We call upon Christians in Churches on every continent to pray for the Palestinian and Israeli people, both of whom are suffering as victims of occupation and militarism. These discriminative actions are turning Palestine into impoverished ghettos surrounded by exclusive Israeli settlements. The establishment of the illegal settlements and the construction of the Separation Wall on confiscated Palestinian land undermines the viability of a Palestinian state as well as peace and security in the entire region.

We call upon all Churches that remain silent, to break their silence and speak for reconciliation with justice in the Holy Land.

Therefore, we commit ourselves to the following principles as an alternative way:

We affirm that all people are created in the image of God. In turn they are called to honour the dignity of every human being and to respect their inalienable rights.

We affirm that Israelis and Palestinians are capable of living together within peace, justice and security.

We affirm that Palestinians are one people, both Muslim and Christian. We reject all attempts to subvert and fragment their unity.

We call upon all people to reject the narrow world view of Christian Zionism and other ideologies that privilege one people at the expense of others.

We are committed to non-violent resistance as the most effective means to end the illegal occupation in order to attain a just and lasting peace.

With urgency we warn that Christian Zionism and its alliances are justifying colonisation, apartheid and empire-building.

God demands that justice be done. No enduring peace, security or reconciliation is possible without the foundation of justice. The demands of justice will not disappear. The struggle for justice must be pursued diligently and persistently but non-violently.

'What does the Lord require of you, to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.' (Micah 6:8)

This is where we take our stand. We stand for justice. We can do no other. Justice alone guarantees a peace that will lead to reconciliation with a life of security and prosperity for all the peoples of our Land. By standing on the side of justice, we open ourselves to the work of peace - and working for peace makes us children of God.

'God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.' (2 Cor 5:19)

His Beattitude Patriarch Michel Sabbah
Latin Patriarchate, Jerusalem

Archbishop Swerios Malki Mourad,
Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate, Jerusalem

Bishop Riah Abu El-Assal,
Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East

Bishop Munib Younan,
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land

With God on our Side

Later this month a controversial new film is being launched in the UK, USA and Israel entitled With God on our Side.

With God On Our Side takes a look at the theology of Christian Zionism, which teaches that because the Jews are God's chosen people, they have a divine right to the land of Israel. Aspects of this belief system lead some Christians in the West to give uncritical support to Israeli government policies, even those that privilege Jews at the expense of Palestinians, leading to great suffering among Muslim and Christian Palestinians alike and threatening Israel's security as a whole.

This film demonstrates that there is a biblical alternative for Christians who want to love and support the people of Israel, a theology that doesn't favor one people group over another but instead promotes peace and reconciliation for both Jews and Palestinians."

Church of England General Synod Recognises Anglican Church of North America

In what many see as a direct snub to the Episcopal Church in the USA (TEC), the General Synod of the Church of England this week passed a motion recognizing orthodox Anglicans who have separated themselves from TEC.  In Anglican-speak, the motion, endorsed by 309 votes with just 69 against and 17 abstentions, also gave the Archbishop of Canterbury 12 months to get off the fence and recognise what the majority of Anglicans worldwide decided long before the last Lambeth conference, that TEC is bad news and the future for the Church of England lies in communion with the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans.

That this Synod, aware of the distress caused by recent divisions within the Anglican churches of the United States of America and Canada
a) recognise and affirm the desire of those who have formed the Anglican Church in North America to remain within the Anglican family
b) acknowledge that this aspiration, in respect both of relations with the Church of England and membership of the Anglican Communion, raises issues which the relevant authorities of each need to explore further; and
c) invite the Archbishops to report further to the Synod in 2011.

Matt Kennedy is rather more sceptical - see here 

David Virtue is much more upbeat - "The vote, when it came, stunned everybody. There were visible sounds from delegates and then brief applause. At 309 to 69 (reminiscent of the Lambeth resolution 1:10 vote 527 to 69), members of the Church of England Synod, the governing body of the church, unanimously voted to affirm The Anglican Church of North America (ACNA) and to recognize its existence as legitimately Anglican.

It was immediately hailed as another stepping-stone in orthodox Anglicanism, separating the true orthodox and evangelical faithful from Western pansexual Anglicanism."

see more here

Monday, 8 February 2010

Climate Change: More than an Inconvenient Truth

Climate Change: More than an Inconvenient Truth from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

Professor Scott Elias of Royal Holloway University of London gave this important presentation on Climate Change at Christ Church, Virginia Water on Sunday 7th February. For more information see

His presentation majored on the human causes of climate change and our responsibility to reverse it. Our only home is Planet A. There is no Planet B.

Professor Scott Elias
Department of Geography
Royal Holloway
Egham, Surrey
TW20 0EX, UK

Scott Elias grew up in Colorado, in the Rocky Mountain region of the western United States. He attended the University of Colorado, and got BA degree in Environmental Biology. He continued his academic career at the same university, and received his PhD in Environmental Biology in 1980. His thesis topic concerned paleoecology of Holocene-age peat deposits in arctic Canada, focusing on insect fossil analyses. While in graduate school, Scott spent six months receiving training in fossil insect analysis from Russell Coope, at University of Birmingham.

Following his PhD, Scott became a post-doctoral fellow under Prof. Alan Morgan in the Earth Science Department of the University of Waterloo, Ontario. He also spent six months as a visiting scientist at the Geobotanical Institute of the University of Berne, Switzerland, in 1981. Scott returned to the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR), University of Colorado, in 1982, and was a research associate and fellow of the institute during the past 20 years. His research continued to focus on paleoenvironmental reconstructions based on fossil insect assemblages. His work has mainly been in the Rocky Mountain region, the arid southwestern regions, and in Alaska. He has authored six books on paleoecology and natural history of Alaska, the Rocky Mountains, and the arid Southwest. In 2000, Scott accepted a lectureship in the Geography Department of Royal Holloway, University of London. He also has maintained an affiliation with INSTAAR.

Scott became Professor of Quaternary Science in 2007. He is the editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of Quaternary Sciences, a four-volume reference work published by Elsevier in 2007. The encyclopedia has won the Geoscience Information Society (GSIS) Mary B. Ansari Best Reference Work award for 2007.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Who shall separate us from the love of God?

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

On Saturday 6th February, Martin Jones & Karine Dubois were married at Christ Church, Virginia Water. The service was bi-lingual as was this sermon based on Romans 8.

Read more here

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Craig Dyer training pastors in Uganda to use Christianity Explored

Craig Dyer training pastors in Uganda to use Christianity Explored from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

Craig is the Training Director of He was in Uganda in January 2010 to launch the Swahili edition and train nearly a thousand pastors to use this evangelistic course which is based on Mark's Gopspel. This training session includes a Q&A for pastors and addresses some of the logistic and strategic issues of implementing the course in local churches.

See also Bishop Stanley Ntagali of Masindi Diocese speaking at the launch of the Swahili translation in Bweyale, northern Uganda.

Jim McAnlis on Sustainable Development in Uganda

Jim McAnlis on Sustainable Development from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

Jim McAnlis gave this presentation on sustainable development to the staff of Fields of Life in Kampala in January 2010. Fields of Life have been responsible for building over 100 schools in Uganda.

Jim lives in Bangor, serves with CMS Ireland as Project Officer for their Centre for Mission in East Belfast, and is the honorary treasurer of Friends of Kiwoko Hospital in Uganda.

Steadfast Hope: The Palestinian Quest for Just Peace

Steadfast Hope: The Palestinian Quest for Just Peace is a 48-page perfect-bound booklet with a free companion DVD. Steadfast Hope challenges common myths and misperceptions about the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, presents a compelling snapshot of the present situation on the ground, and offers a guide to the challenges that lie ahead in the quest for peace.

Produced by The Israel/Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church of the USA, Steadfast Hope offers an inspiring view of the activities currently being undertaken by Muslim, Jewish, and Christian peacemakers working for justice and reconciliation. It also gives helpful guidance on how your congregation can contribute to the cause of just peace for the people who share the Holy Land.

Noushin Framke introduces Steadfast Hope from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.

Watch the video for more information.
You can download further details here or order a copy from here

Friday, 5 February 2010

Hotel Bweyale

Hotel Bweyale from Stephen Sizer on Vimeo.
The Eagles' song 'Hotel California' is one of my favorites. This clip is from one of my favorite hotels in Bweyale in Northern Uganda. As you will see the security of guests is a high priority and the staff are really friendly and caring.

Sadly it does not have a website yet but you can view some photos here