Mission Impossible! A Response to a Response

Wow! Honestly, Cookie Schwaeber-Issan’s response to Jack Sara’s article, “A Call for Unity – Mission Impossible,” was not helpful. I considered responding to Jack’s article because I felt his attitudes seemed unduly negative to the Body in Israel and its responses to the violence in the country. Unfortunately, Cookie’s article proved his point.

In his article, Jack is arguing that the Body of believers rise above nationalist sentiments and try to act in accordance with Biblical principles of peace and justice toward all. It’s hard to argue with such a view. Instead, in her article, Cookie adopts a completely one-sided and, honestly, provocative perspective towards the issues, generally, and to Jack, specifically. Jack, as an Arab Christian, naturally has a different perspective than a Messianic Jew when it comes to Israeli/Palestinian issues. But if we want to strive for unity, certainly in the Body of Messiah, the first step is to listen to the other and to not devalue his views. Sadly, this was done throughout Cookie’s article. In his article Jack never laid blame for the recent violence on any one party. Rather, he challenged the believing community to take the higher road. On the other hand, Cookie’s article relentlessly attacked the Palestinian and Arab communities and blamed them for the failure of numerous peace prospects offered to them throughout the years. Again, not only was this not the thrust of Jack’s article, but her article was riddled with historical and factual inaccuracies.

1) Her statement that Palestinians voluntarily left their homes at the behest of Arab national leaders during Israel’s War of Independence is a gross over-simplification. While it’s likely true that some did, many were displaced by the war itself, both during the Civil War between Jews and Arabs in the Fall, 1947-Spring, 1948 and the War of Independence. Numerous Jewish Israeli historians have attested to this. Following the war, those who left, voluntarily or by force, were not allowed to return.

2) Her article lays blame for the failure of peace solely on the Palestinian leadership. While the PLA has a lot to account for, including corruption, incitement and intransigence, they’re not the only guilty party. Encouraging settlement building in the territories by numerous Israeli governments, including the current one, exacerbates the situation and causes those who are moderates in the Palestinian leadership to be sidelined.

3) Her article accuses Jack and his perspective of replacement theology. Yet, I didn’t notice any references to replacement theology in his article. While I agree that God has given the land of Israel to the people of Israel, the question remains what to do with those who live in the land but belong to another people group, i.e. the Arabs? Simply calling upon them to accept Israel’s right to the land based upon the Bible is naïve and ignores the fact that most Palestinians are Muslim and see the land as theirs, based upon their religious views.

4) Jack Sara is a respected Christian leader. While we may disagree with each other on various subjects, his views should not be publicly vilified by another believer, especially when challenging the Body of Messiah in the land to pray for peace, reconciliation and unity. May we all strive for these goals. As our Messiah said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God.”