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A Tale of Two Bible Museums—and of Anti-Religious Bigotry

New York’s Museum of Biblical Art is set to close its doors. The reason? Despite its avowedly secular approach to the Bible, it proved to be “too religious” for most donors. Meanwhile, the Green family, proprietors of the Hobby Lobby chain, is planning a massive Bible museum in Washington DC that enthusiastically embraces both religious and secular appreciation for the sacred text. Naomi Schaefer Riley writes:

As Richard Townsend, the Museum of Biblical Art’s director, explained, the museum has tried “to move out of the shadow of [its explicitly Christian founders], but I think that, try as we might, there was brand confusion.” The implication, of course, is that you must be one brand or the other—the kind of person who thinks the Bible is a great book that has inspired beautiful literature and art or the kind who thinks the Bible contains Truth. Not both. . . .

[By contrast, although] the Green family is mostly Protestant, their museum has found partners with Jewish groups, Eastern Orthodox Christians, and even the Vatican. And they have welcomed the input of scholars with no religious background at all.

The Greens have been regularly mocked for their position that their business should reflect their values. . . . The Museum of the Bible will reflect their values as well. But as it turns out, the Greens seem to be much more tolerant and welcoming of non-believers than the secular elite seems to be of them.

Read more at New York Post

More about: Bible, Ecumenicism, Hobby Lobby, Museums, Religion & Holidays, Religious art, Secularism

The Palestinian National Movement Has Reached a Point of Crisis

With Hamas having failed to achieve anything through several weeks of demonstrations and violence, and Mahmoud Abbas reduced to giving rambling anti-Semitic speeches, Palestinian aspirations seem to have hit a brick wall. Elliott Abrams explains:

[Neither] Fatah [nor] Hamas offers Palestinians a practical program for national independence. . . . [The current situation] leaves Palestinians high and dry, with no way forward at all. Whatever the criticism of the “occupation,” Israelis will certainly not abandon the West Bank to chaos or to a possible Hamas takeover. Today the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state is simply too dangerous to Israel and to Jordan to be contemplated. . . . There are only two other options. The first is the “one-state solution,” meaning union with Israel; but that is a nonstarter that Israel will reject no matter who is its prime minister. The other option is some kind of eventual link to Jordan.

In polite diplomatic society, and in Palestinian public discourse, such a link cannot be mentioned. But younger people who visit there, Palestinians have explained to me, can see a society that is half-Palestinian and functions as an independent nation with a working system of law and order. Jordanians travel freely, rarely suffer from terrorism, and [can vote in regular] elections, even if power is ultimately concentrated in the royal palace. The kingdom has close relations with all the Sunni states and the West, and is at peace with Israel.

The fundamental question all this raises is what, in 2018, is the nature and objective of Palestinian nationalism. Is the goal sovereignty at all costs, no matter how long it takes and even if it is increasingly divorced from peace, prosperity, and personal freedom? Is “steadfastness” [in refusing to compromise with Israel] the greatest Palestinian virtue now and forever? These questions cannot be debated in either Gaza or the West Bank. But as Israel celebrates 70 years and the “occupation” is now more than a half-century old, how much longer can they be delayed? . . .

The catastrophic mishandling of Palestinian affairs by generations of leaders from Haj Amin al-Husseini (the pro-Nazi mufti of the British Mandate period) to Yasir Arafat and now to Mahmoud Abbas has been the true Palestinian Nakba.

Read more at Weekly Standard

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Jordan, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinians