A Response to the Rosh Pina Project’s Blog on the Cyprus Reconciliation Conference

The author of the Rosh Pina Project Blog and I must be reading different statements that resulted from the Cyprus Reconciliation Conference of Messianic Jews and Palestinian Christians. In fact, for my perspective on the event, read my earlier article.

The author makes the incredible claim that the signatories of the agreement are “now bound by a pact of loyalty to those supporting Israel’s destruction.” That’s strange because within the agreement itself, the Palestinian side said this, “We reject, however, the interpretation of this theological conviction that denies the right of Jews to a secure homeland and rejects the reality and legitimacy of the state of Israel. And we acknowledge and lament along with them the suffering and death caused by the hatred and violence of those who seek to destroy it.” How can anything be clearer? Of course, the Palestinian side has a different narrative of events, but to say we as Messianic Jewish signatories are loyal to those who seek Israel’s destruction is a horrific twisting of words and concepts.

The author claims that the document prohibits public criticism of the other side. That’s completely false. Rather, it states that disputes and disagreements be handled privately first before engaging in public refutation. What a novel idea – it only originates with one of Yeshua’s commands.

The author insists that the document denounces the lack of equality within Israel and sees the establishment of Israel as a catastrophe. This is a gross misreading of the text. The document included sections where Messianic Jews reflected their views of things and where Palestinian Christians reflected their views. The purpose was to show the distinct understandings and narratives of historical events. As a Messianic Jew, I am proud of Israel’s existence and see it as a direct fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. However, if others don’t see it that way, and those others share my belief in the Messiah, then I need to hear their side, understand their position and try to bridge the divide.

The author accuses us of theological relativism, using as an example the idea that our beliefs can negatively affect another group. If anyone should know that one’s beliefs can injure another group, it should be Jews. The theology of the Church Fathers and others led to the concept of replacement theology. That theology influenced so-called Christians to massacre Jews over an 1800 year period.

The author asserts the document is politically partisan because it “affirms that Palestinians are in the land of their ancestors” while arguing that Israelis only believe they are returning to their ancestor’s homeland. That’s an interesting twist. There are two sections that deal with the land of Israel, both of which contain the Messianic Jewish view and the Palestinian Christian view. In the first section the verb used to describe both views is the word, “see.” For example, “Many Messianic Jews see the return of the Jews to the land” as God’s faithfulness to his covenant with them. “Many Palestinian Christians see the presence of the Christian church in their land as a testimony to the faithfulness of God.” In the second section, the verb used to describe both views is the word, “believe.” The document does not take a unified position on the land because it’s a disputed view between the two sides. The document only purports to express the views of each side.

There are seriously divergent views between the Messianic Jews and Palestinian Christians who signed the document. Yet, if there was ever a chance to heal the deep wounds that affect Israeli society, it should be Jewish and Arab representatives within the Body of Messiah in the land. Hearing the other side’s view, making commitments to the other to actually walk like Yeshua and striving to find a common path for the future seem like worthy endeavors.