Distortion and/or Omission of Facts – In the Name of Peacemaking:
An Appeal to Christian Leaders

Tricia Miller, Ph.D.

Today’s  church is immersed in a culture that is increasingly antisemitic,  anti-Jewish and anti-Israel. To further complicate matters, there are  movements – some of which are Christian – that end up strengthening  antisemitism and anti-Zionism through the propagation of narratives that  are strong in emotional appeal but rooted in the distortion and/or  omission of facts. Unfortunately, this method of operation is sometimes  employed by Christian organizations in the name of peacemaking.

When  relevant facts and context are left out or distorted in an effort to  create an appealing narrative in the quest for peace, uninformed  Christians can easily become confused about critical realities in  relation to the Jewish people and Israel’s existence as a Jewish State.  As a result, they are then unequipped and unprepared to recognize or  counter the growing evil of antisemitism which, all too often, now  manifests as anti-Zionism. Furthermore, they are rendered impotent in  the cause of peacemaking, because a foundation of truth is the only real  path towards peace.

This state of affairs presents Christian leaders with urgent questions that must not be ignored.

Will  we as leaders take responsibility to counter the delegitimization,  demonization and dehumanization of the Jewish people that inevitably  results from incomplete - and therefore, false - narratives created to  promote a particular agenda, no matter how worthy that agenda might  seem?

Will  we as leaders allow those we are responsible for remain uninformed, or  will we do all within our power to make sure that people within our  realm of influence are equipped with the facts and thereby empowered to  take an active stand against antisemitism, anti-Judaism, and  anti-Zionism?

Antisemitism  can be defined as opposition to Jews on the basis of ethnicity, while  being anti-Jewish can be defined as opposition to, and persecution of  Jews based on their religion. This includes denying Jews the right to  exist in terms of their own self-understanding.

Antisemitism  and anti-Judaism become anti-Zionism when the right of Jews to have a  Jewish State in their ancient homeland is denied them. Anti-Zionism is  antisemitic because by opposing the existence of one Jewish State – when  there are twenty-two Arab states – Jews are opposed on the basis of  ethnicity. Anti-Zionism is synonymous with anti-Judaism because  opposition to the existence of a Jewish State is opposition to one of  the essential identifying features of Judaism – the centrality of the  land of Israel.

Unfortunately,  in the last few decades, substantial parts of the organized church have  succumbed to this unbiblical union of antisemitism, anti-Judaism and  anti-Zionism. For the recipients of this newsletter, it is even more  alarming that in recent years, those who identify as Evangelicals have  been targeted with false narratives designed to turn traditional  supporters of Israel away from that support in favor of the Palestinian  political narrative.

Through  this effort, parts of the church have actually become involved in  influencing and encouraging antisemitism, anti-Judaism and anti-Zionism,  either knowingly or unknowingly.

In  many cases, this unbiblical union is strengthened through the promotion  of confusion concerning the facts - both historic and facts on the  ground – in relation to Israel’s existence as a Jewish State.

Confusion  rules when facts concerning the history of the peoples of the land that  is now the State of Israel are distorted, and narratives that omit  history and context are presented as authoritative.

This  distortion and omission of historical facts and context plays right  into the Palestinian political agenda that is based on rewritten history  and, in the case of Palestinian Christians, on the unbiblical assertion  that Jesus was Palestinian.

Unfortunately,  the failure to acknowledge historic realities and facts on the ground  has become part of the talking points and education provided by some  organizations that claim to be Christian, claim to be pro-Israel, and  claim to want to be a force for peacemaking in the Middle East.

In  their effort to play a role in achieving peace between Israelis and  Palestinians, they present what is going on in the Arab-Israeli conflict  as an equal struggle between two equal national movements, each with  its own valid narrative. In the process of trying to present the two  narratives as equally valid, actual historical realities and facts on  the ground are omitted or distorted. And what is happening between Jews  and Palestinians is presented as a tragic conflict between two peoples  who unfortunately, both lay claim to one land.

As  part of the attempt to make it sound like the ongoing conflict is an  equal struggle between two equally valid national movements, nothing is  said about how many times Israel had made tremendous concessions in the  quest for peace.

Nothing  is said about how the Palestinians – and before them, the Arab world –  continue to refuse to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist.

Nothing  is said about the repeated refusal on the part of the Arab world, and  since the 1960’s, the Palestinian leadership, to accept any offer of  peace – no matter how much Israel offers.

Nothing  is said about what Hamas and the Palestinian Authority say in their  charters, which clearly state their intent to totally destroy the Jewish  State.

Nothing  is said about the ongoing incitement on the part of the Palestinian  Authority to murder Jews – and how the PA pays people to murder Jews.

Instead,  in the attempt to present the conflict as an equal struggle between two  equally valid national movements, there is an insidious narrative  created that ignores or reinterprets history and facts on the ground.

The  end result is that Palestinians are presented as innocent victims and  Israelis as illegal oppressors who have no right to take action to  protect their citizens against terrorism and murder.

Nothing could be further from the truth!

Omission  and distortion of facts and context for the purpose of promoting a  false account is egregious, and results in confusion. When this is done  by Christian leaders who claim to be pro-Israel and claim to want to be a  force for peacemaking in the Middle East, it is even more egregious.

Furthermore,  co-called peacemaking that employs this technique is actually  counterproductive in terms of arriving at the goals these Christian  peacemakers claim they want to achieve. This is because the apparent  acceptance of the distortion and omission of facts in the Palestinian  narrative demonstrates a tolerant attitude towards the Palestinian  Authority’s demonization of Jews and the Jewish State.

This  apparent acceptance of their narrative gives the Palestinian Authority  hope that they will succeed in their agenda to gain possession of all  the land of Israel without having to recognize Israel’s right to exist  and without having to accept any compromise for the sake of peace.

And  this results in the complete unwillingness to negotiate that we have  witnessed among the Palestinian leadership in relation to any attempt to  broker peace.

Through  these misguided efforts, so-called Christian peacemakers are actually  doing more harm than good as they in effect, advance the Palestinian  cause, which is rooted in antisemitism, anti-Judaism and anti-Zionism.

As  Christian leaders, we need to be sure that we are not doing anything to  aid and abet the church in influencing or encouraging this unbiblical  union that validates the delegitimization, demonization and  dehumanization of the Jewish people.

Instead,  let us stand firmly on the facts and counter the confusion that results  from distorted and biased narratives by remaining grounded in the  truth, which is the only real path towards peace.