From the Revd Tony Crowe
Sir, - In "A better way to argue over Israel" (Comment, 6 June),
Rabbi Natan Levy encourages us to follow the machloket
path in preference to vikuach, which empowers winners and
disabuses losers. His article is a rabbinic way of using
hermeneutics, which fails to address matters of justice in the
Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Has he never heard of liberation
In 1987, Professor Marc Ellis wrote Towards a Jewish
Theology of Liberation, in which he argued that Israel would
find true liberation only by giving justice to the Palestinians.
Two years later, in his book Justice and Only Justice: A
Palestinian theology of liberation, Canon Naim Ateek drew on
the Hebrew Scriptures, where God is called the God of Justice, when
he asked: "Why should the price of Jewish empowerment after the
Holocaust be the oppression and misery of the Palestinians?"
Rabbi Levy mentions the Jewish theologian Mark Braverman, quoted
in the first draft of the Church of Scotland's report of 2013. He
has written a brilliant critique of Zionism in Fatal
Embrace. It is only when justice is ultimately defined by both
mercy and peace that there is hope in the resolution of any
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From Mr Martin Clay
Sir, - While his report acknowledges a difficult path ("Pope
treads careful path through the Middle East", News, 30 May), I
was more than a little disappointed that Gerald Butt aired the
canard that the disappearance of Palestinian Christians is "more
often than not in response to the growing influence of militant
Islam", without any supporting factual information.
Palestinian Christians frequently assert the contrary, and that
it is the impact of the occupation by Israel. I felt that a more
nuanced or factually based observation was required.
Like another national newspaper, you also gave ample space for
the Israeli Ambassador, Daniel Taub (Comment, 16 May), to
exercise his considerable talents for pro-Israeli propaganda or
hasbara. His comments ably airbrushed Palestine's
Christians out of the Holy Land altogether.
It is commendable that you chose to feature the Pope's voluntary
gesture of support for the Palestinian people, balancing his
obligatory ones towards the State of Israel, and, as your Andrew
Brown (Press, 30 May),
pointed out, overshadowing them, restoring some necessary
Paul Vallely commendably, too, noted (Comment, same issue)
the "cat and mouse game" that the Palestinian graffiti artists won
(by a "whisker"?) in repainting their slogans on a strategically
placed location of the wall to which the Pope responded.
No one has asked how the Israelis were able to engage in this
game, given that it required frequent access. The mechanism, in
fact, is that this section is a metal gate, not concrete at all,
and through it the Israeli army come at will into this location in
Area A. (The photo in Andrew Brown's column shows an aperture in
the gate by the Pope's head.) The Army slid the "wall" back to
quell rioting youth from the Aida camp near by in March.
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