Liberation Theology in the Service of Anti-Semitism

The central organization of American Presbyterians has officially partnered with a group called Sabeel, dedicated to defaming Israel and promoting BDS. Sabeel’s ideology is rooted in a 20th-century school of Catholic thought that finds messages in the Bible purportedly aiding the cause of the poor and oppressed. Shiri Moshe explains:

Sabeel was founded in the early 1990s by Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek, a Palestinian priest of the Anglican Church who introduced a Palestinian variation of radical “liberation theology.” The organization was the culmination of Ateek’s efforts to advance an alternative interpretation of the Christian Bible that is “nourished by the hopes, dreams, and struggles of the Palestinian people.”

Ateek’s theology, which supposedly challenges a literal understanding of the Old Testament as a “Zionist text,” features violent imagery that depicts Jewish acts of deicide as well as forceful repudiations of Jewish national self-determination. During Christmas celebrations in 2000, Ateek spoke of destructive “modern-day Herods . . . in the Israeli government,” and in his 2001 Easter address declared that “Palestine has become one huge Golgotha. The Israeli government crucifixion system is operating daily.” . . .

Today, Sabeel is an official partner of the Presbyterian Church USA, the principal Presbyterian body in North America. In 2012, the church voted to boycott goods manufactured in Israeli settlements. Two years later, it narrowly voted to divest an estimated $21 million of the Church’s holdings from Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola Solutions, all of which manufacture products used by Israel in the West Bank.

Read more at Tower

More about: Anti-Semitism, BDS, Christianity, Israel & Zionism, Liberation theology, Presbyterians


When It Comes to Peace with Israel, Many Saudis Have Religious Concerns

Sept. 22 2023

While roughly a third of Saudis are willing to cooperate with the Jewish state in matters of technology and commerce, far fewer are willing to allow Israeli teams to compete within the kingdom—let alone support diplomatic normalization. These are just a few results of a recent, detailed, and professional opinion survey—a rarity in Saudi Arabia—that has much bearing on current negotiations involving Washington, Jerusalem, and Riyadh. David Pollock notes some others:

When asked about possible factors “in considering whether or not Saudi Arabia should establish official relations with Israel,” the Saudi public opts first for an Islamic—rather than a specifically Saudi—agenda: almost half (46 percent) say it would be “important” to obtain “new Israeli guarantees of Muslim rights at al-Aqsa Mosque and al-Haram al-Sharif [i.e., the Temple Mount] in Jerusalem.” Prioritizing this issue is significantly more popular than any other option offered. . . .

This popular focus on religion is in line with responses to other controversial questions in the survey. Exactly the same percentage, for example, feel “strongly” that “our country should cut off all relations with any other country where anybody hurts the Quran.”

By comparison, Palestinian aspirations come in second place in Saudi popular perceptions of a deal with Israel. Thirty-six percent of the Saudi public say it would be “important” to obtain “new steps toward political rights and better economic opportunities for the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.” Far behind these drivers in popular attitudes, surprisingly, are hypothetical American contributions to a Saudi-Israel deal—even though these have reportedly been under heavy discussion at the official level in recent months.

Therefore, based on this analysis of these new survey findings, all three governments involved in a possible trilateral U.S.-Saudi-Israel deal would be well advised to pay at least as much attention to its religious dimension as to its political, security, and economic ones.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Islam, Israel-Arab relations, Saudi Arabia, Temple Mount