Christians Bankroll Palestinian Liberation [Excerpts]
Some Christians pray for the peace of Jerusalem; others work to tear Jerusalem to pieces. The wealthy New York based United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) tends toward the latter. The GBGM recently approved grants to several anti-Israel groups, including a program operated by Palestinian Liberation Theologians.
GBGM is one of the largest mission agencies in American mainline Protestantism, with a budget of nearly $200 million and assets of about $400 million. Decades ago, GBGM set aside its historic emphasis on evangelism in favor of left-wing social change. Its political grants are small relative to GBGM's overall budget, but they reflect GBGM's ideology, and are certainly imply wider staff involvement in the favored causes.
At its October 2008 directors meeting, GBGM approved $10,000 for a "youth leadership training program" for Sabeel, a Jerusalem-based "partner" of GBGM and other liberal Western groups. According to church supporters, Sabeel is an "ecumenical, Palestinian Christian, Liberation Theology Center which seeks to make the Gospel contextually relevant." Sabeel advocates a "spirituality based on justice, peace, nonviolence, liberation, and reconciliation," while also promoting a "more accurate international awareness regarding the identity, presence, and witness of Palestinian Christians." Hosting visitors and organizing events, Sabeel propagandizes for the Palestinians and against Israel, just as similar groups once apologized for the Sandinista dictatorship, and assailed the Contras and the U.S., under the aegis of Liberation Theology.
In further solidarity with the Palestinians, GBGM also voted $10,000 for the International Middle East Media Center 's Palestinian Youth Media Training program. Another $11,400 from GBGM will support a staff person for the group over the next three years. The Center calls itself a "collaboration between Palestinian and International journalists to provide independent media coverage of Israel-Palestine." Essentially, it spins a pro-Palestinian perspective through willing media outlets.
The center is an affiliate of the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement between People, which is a "Palestinian community service center" that supports the "local Palestinian community's efforts to remain steadfast in the face of the hardships imposed by occupation policies." It also urges people to "become involved in nonviolent action and leading them in resistance to the occupation and the struggle for human and national rights." It aims to "lobby for the just Palestinian cause" and "defend Palestinian rights." Among its other public relations activities, the center organizes an "Activist Summer Camp" for Palestinians and international visitors, in collaboration with the American Friends Service Committee and the Holy Land Trust. The camp helps youngsters "enhance their skills in civil-based resistance."
[TBC: "Civil-based resistance" has been said to be based upon non-violence. Yet in an interview, Ghassan Andoni ("The Palestinian Gandhi"), was asked: "Does that mean that you do not think that armed resistance is valid? " Andoni: "No, we state clearly that Palestinians have the full right to resist the occupation with means that they think are suitable. We as the Palestinian Solidarity Movement have decided, however, that our tool for resisting the occupation is non-violence." (Common Ground News Service, hagalil.com 17-10-2002).]