Bethlehem in Jeopardy!

I was on the Press TV program, “Palestine Files.” This episode entitled, “Bethlehem in Jeopardy!”, analyzed why the television game show, “Jeopardy” incorrectly ruled that the Church of the Nativity was in Israel as opposed to Palestine. Here is the story in The Intercept

The Press TV program, now available on-line, wanted to explore why Jeopardy got this wrong, what is the reality for Palestinian Christians regarding Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity, and was this Jeopardy error another sign of the calculated erasure of Palestinian identity.

I recommend watching the entire 25 minute program and sharing it widely. I was asked all the questions beforehand so I had prepared answers. The producers used two of my responses. I am on at 16:55. Here is the entire show.

Here is my response to the question:

According to several sources: Today, there are 23 settlements, which take up 8.1 square miles (21 square kilometers) of the Bethlehem area. 

Some 165,000 Israeli settlers — comprising about one-third of the total settler population in the West Bank— live here on hilltops, in houses marked by their red tile roofs what is Israel trying to do here?

These settlements are, of course, illegal, and immoral. Israel wants to take over all of Palestine and perhaps more, piece by piece by piece.  Why Bethlehem?  In part, this is my speculation, I think the immediate goal is to hassle relentlessly the Christian presence in Bethlehem. Wear the Palestinian Christians down. Drive them out. Bethlehem is a very important cultural and religious site for Christianity. 

Palestinian Christians are a problem for Israel.  For one, it goes against the so-called Muslim terrorist trope. For another, the Zionists don’t want Christians in Palestine to connect with Christians in the United States. Israel is working very hard to get rid of Christians in Palestine.  Palestinian Christians are the bad Christians. Christian Zionists are the good Christians, from Israel’s point of view.  For another, Bethlehem is a site of resistance. The Christmas story is a powerful story of resistance to oppression. The Zionists don’t want that story.  Finally, of course, Palestinian Christians in Bethlehem show that they have been there centuries before these new Zionists appeared. 

I think the endgame is to take over Bethlehem itself and make it part of Israel. Then they will include the Church of the Nativity as a tourist destination for American Christian Zionists. A Disneyland kind of thing.  Israel will be caretakers of this Holy Christian site. 

And the other question:

Who is trying to delete the Palestinian identity here? Is it just Israel?

This is the big question, isn’t it?  Israel is more than just a country. Israel has more influence in the United States and throughout Europe and elsewhere than most people realize.  When you talk about the United States and its military-industrial complex, that which President Eisenhower warned Americans about in 1961, you have to see that Zionism is active in every part of it. 

We should call it the Military-industrial-intelligence-finance-education-media-government complex. At the top of every node in this structure are ultra-Zionists.  They control the media, finance, congress, and the presidency. These wars in the Middle East against Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and now Iran? They don’t benefit Americans. They benefit the elite who make money from it. And they benefit Israel. Netanyahu said 9/11 was very good for Israel. To point out this truth is to be labelled anti-semitic.  

This is a global takeover. It is not by Jews. Jews are victims. American Jews more than any, need to separate Judaism from Zionism. They have been co-opted by these ultra-Zionists.  

In a very real sense, we are all Palestinians. The Palestinians and Gazans are on the front lines. May they continue to resist and may people of conscience around the world support their resistance. Our struggle for freedom is tied up with theirs.

Awakening to Justice: Conversations with Ned Rosch and Mustafa Akhwand

Ned Rosch of National Jewish Voice for Peace has written a chapter for a new book, Reclaiming Judaism from Zionism: Stories of Personal Transformation and Mustafa Akhwand is founder and Executive Director for Shia Rights Watch.

Portland resident, Ned Rosch has written a chapter for the book, Reclaiming Judaism from Zionism: Stories of Personal Transformation that was released in May 2019. A part of his chapter, “Palestine and My Journey of Self-Discovery” was published in Yes Magazine. The book’s promotion reads: 

“Today Jews face a choice. We can be loyal to the ethical imperatives at the heart of Judaism — love the stranger, pursue justice, and repair the world. Or we can give our unconditional support to the state of Israel. It is a choice between Judaism as a religion and the nationalist ideology of Zionism, which is usurping that religion.”

Ned Rosch will be sharing his story at Southminster Presbyterian Church in Beaverton, Sunday, August 4th at 9 am.

In the second half of the show, host John Shuck speaks with Mustafa Akhwand, the founder and Executive Director of Shia Rights Watch (SRW), which focuses on the humanitarian rights of Shia Muslims. With a network of over 600 people, Shia Rights Watch plays a critical role in improving the quality of life for all minority populations around the world. Various human rights and peace-keeping organizations have recognized Mr. Akhwand’s human rights advocacy including Freemuslim (Center for De-Radicalization & Extremism Prevention), Amnesty International, Human Rights Education Association, United States Institute of Peace, Adam Center for Defending Rights and Beliefs, and Center for Strategic Studies in Iraq. 

Here is a link to the Camp Speicher Massacre referenced by Mustafa Akhwand during the broadcast.

Ned Rosch and Mustafa Akhwand

KBOO LIVE, Friday July 12th 9-10 am PACIFIC

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The Martyrdom of Gaza: A Conversation with Norman Finkelstein

“On May 14th or May 15th the people of Gaza are going to make their big last effort to break out of prison. And it will be a huge mobilization to try to break down that prison fence, that ghetto fence, that concentration camp fence. And we here have to give our all to make sure to do our best to ascertain and to assure that they succeed.” — Dr. Norman Finkelstein

Dr. Norman Finkelstein speaks with John Shuck about his book, Gaza: An Inquest Into Its Martyrdom. His book was not a “labor of love.” It is in part a coroner’s report. It is a story, backed with detail and research from one of the world’s leading voices on the Israel-Palestine conflict. It is the story of what happened to Gaza. Gaza, the martyred.

But the story is not without hope. The hope, according to Finkelstein, is non-violent resistance, what Israel dreads most.

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