Father Dave Smith On Israel-Palestine, Christian Zionism: “Politics And Religion Mixed Up A Lot.”

By Jerry Alatalo

Australian Father Dave Smith at a recent “Warrior Weekend” – part of the “Boxing For Life” program, using boxing to bring people of different faiths and cultures together through sport.

ather Dave Smith of Australia was one of  the men and woman from around the Earth who received invitations to speak at the recent New Horizons Conference in Iran – the 6th Annual convening of the event in May 2018.

Among the group of others who participated were (from the U.S.): Alison Weir (author, founder of If Americans Knew), retired Central Intelligence Agency counter-intelligence expert Philip Giraldi, former State Department official Michael Maloof, military psychological operations expert and author of “Shell Game” (Swiss banks terrorist financing) Scott Bennett, and attorney/author Michael Springmann (Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry).

Father Dave Smith’s talk  focused on the erroneous theological foundations of Christian Zionism, the distinctive branch of the faith finding 50-70 million adherents in the United States alone. The Christian block is very influential (negatively, if what Father Dave Smith suggests is correct) when it comes to U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and elsewhere around the Earth, particularly with regard to Israel-Palestine.

If one accepts the central thrust of Father Dave Smith’s thesis, the most worrisome aspect of Christian Zionists’ erroneous beliefs set is holding the idea that being a Christian requires giving full support to Israel – and accepting the “prophecy” that the return of Jesus Christ is dependent on Israel’s militarily conquering its neighbors or enemies. In other words, Christian Zionists are to believe (and do believe) that wars fought by Israel, including those fought by the United States for or joined with Israel, are absolute/solid “signs” – ignorant of the potential huge losses of human lives, the injuries, dislocation and destruction associated with military violence – of the imminent return of Jesus Christ.

This theologically incorrect stance is actually the one held firmly by millions of U.S. Christian Zionists (readers might have family members or friends in the religious category) – in fact to the point where many are joyously anticipating the “Armageddon” of Revelations in the Bible or major war in the Middle East, which supposedly then triggers the prophecy-fulfilling supernatural spiritual event of Christ’s return, the 2nd Coming, and/or “The Rapture”.

Americans might find it important to know that former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and now Secretary of State under Donald Trump – Mike Pompeo – believes in “The Rapture”. Moreover, Father Dave Smith wonders out loud in his talk whether Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton is a Christian Zionist. The selection of Bolton by Trump did not require the approval/vote or confirmation of the U.S. Congress.

The Rapture has come into the consciousness of America’s estimated 50-70 million Christian Zionists through the reading of the controversial (many Christian leaders criticize and consider it sheer blasphemy) Scofield Bible, published in 1909 and including extensive end notes or interpretive commentary by editor Scofield, which portray biblical scriptures/verses in an extremely Israel-centric light.

Perhaps some men or women journalists can ask Mr. Pompeo and Mr. Bolton if their bibles are the Scofield version. It might be very important to know the answer, and especially so, given the current highly tense global situation.

A few hours of research into the Scofield Bible, its historical facts and the theological controversy surrounding it are enough for one to lean strongly in the direction that millions of Americans who’ve used/read solely the Scofield publication have been sadly fooled about Israel vis-à-vis Christianity. In many instances people professing themselves as Christians have used the Scofield Bible alone … solely that book without exception, for decades and/or generations.

Among America’s more well-known Christian Zionists are Pat Robertson (who ran for president as a Republican, and once publicly called for the political, literal assassination of  Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez), John Hagee and Robert Jeffress (who both spoke in Israel at the U.S. Embassy dedication ceremony, after Donald Trump moved it from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem), Jerry Falwell, Benny Hinn, Hal Lindsey, and many others.

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Father Dave Smith spoke toward the end of his talk:

“Hence, biblical prophecies … they’re never designed to help shape foreign policy; any more than they’re designed to just satisfy our curiosity about the future. They’re designed to call us back to the commandments. Once we recognize this, I think we can see the fundamental flaw in the logic of Christian Zionism. They claim the biblical prophecies point to the triumph of the modern-state Israel over its neighbors.

“Even if they could be right, that some prophet had predicted this, it wouldn’t mean that either the prophet or the scriptures as a whole endorsed the event, nor would it mean that people should support it, any more than Jeremiah’s dire warnings were intended to garner support for the destruction of Jerusalem. In the Hebrew bible, when the prophet gives dire predictions about the future, his hope is that his warnings will cause his hearers to come back into a relationship of obedience to God – resulting in the prophecy proving false.

“See, the tragedy of Christian Zionism … Is it gets the whole process back to front, urging us to follow the prophecy even if it means breaking the laws of God, breaking the commandments. Prophecy has never been normative. The commandments are normative. The commandments tell us how we have to behave towards God and towards our neighbors. It’s the commandments with which we can base our foreign policy on, – a biblically based foreign policy, which would require of course a focusing on justice.

“As a Sydney Anglican priest I’m privileged to be part of a church tradition that has never been greatly influenced by Zionism. Indeed, I believe that at the Sydney Anglican Synod of 1948, some people did indeed stand up suggesting the creation of Israel was the fulfillment of biblical prophecy.

“It was the principal of our theological seminary who corrected them, saying: ‘No, no … It’s the fulfillment of the 8th commandment – Thou shalt not steal’. And this is the great tragedy of Christian Zionism … That under the guide of faithfulness to biblical prophecy it indeed justified stealing, and murder, and any number of other crimes that are clearly contrary to the commandments of God.

“A genuinely biblical approach to the situation in Israel-Palestine must begin, I believe, not with prophecy, but with the unambiguous command to do justice. A justice that respects the rights of Palestinian people to their land, to life and to liberty.”

Father Dave Smith after declared the ‘winner’ of an exhibition boxing match.

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(Thank you to Dave Smith – YouTube)

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Razan al-Najjar Murdered By Apartheid Israel. Again.

By Jerry Alatalo

“Truth is not only violated by falsehood; it may be outraged by silence.”

– HENRI FREDERIC AMIEL (1821-1881) Swiss philosopher

Razan al-Najjar

alestinian paramedic Razan al-Najjar was 21-years old on June 1 when she was struck and killed by Israeli sniper fire in Gaza. She was giving emergency medical assistance/treatment to fellow Palestinian victims of Israeli gunfire at the moment of her death. Close to 120 Palestinians have lost their lives while 10,000 have suffered injuries, nearly all as the result of Israeli military snipers’ bullets.

Her murder sparked worldwide outrage and condemnation, adding to intensifying criticism of the Israeli government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as the Donald Trump administration in the United States for its disappointing failure to respond in an appropriate moral manner.

The Israeli defense authorities added insult to the fatal injury inflicted on Razan al-Najjar by quickly producing and publishing a video which took an interview given by Ms. al-Najjar and edited it, taking and displaying her words out of proper context, for the objectionable purpose of manipulating public opinion in apartheid Israel’s favor.

From a philosophical or spiritual perspective, one might rightly assert that Israeli defense authorities murdered Razan al-Najjar twice – once while living on Earth in Gaza and again after she passed away and left this physical world.

It is very difficult to imagine what drives the minds of those who would intentionally lower their moral standards to such an extreme, grotesque extent, and equally difficult to discern what allows others – namely those men and women serving under U.S. President Donald Trump – to stand by, turn away and remain silent in the face of Israel’s profoundly disturbing, immoral, propagandistic actions.

Whether one is atheistic, agnostic or believer in a variantly conceptualized higher spiritual power, the circumstances surrounding the brutal murder of benevolent Palestinian soul Razan al-Najjar – and Israel’s despicable, intentional attempt to achieve a covertly engineered propaganda “victory” afterward – meet any generally recognized human definitions of sin.

In loving memory of Razan al-Najjar (1997-2018)

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(Thank you to RT America – YouTube)

 

From Barak to Trump.

Uri Avnery is an Israeli journalist, writer, peace activist, former member of the Knesset, and the founder of Gush Shalom.
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Its title was “Our Jerusalem”. It started with the words: “Jerusalem is ours, Israelis and Palestinians, Muslims, Christians and Jews.”

It went on: “Our Jerusalem Is a mosaic of all the cultures, all the religions and all the periods that enriched the city, from earliest antiquity to this very day – Canaanites and Jebusites and Israelites, Jews and Hellenes, Romans and Byzantines, Christians and Muslims, Arabs and Mamelukes, Othmanlis and Britons, Palestinians and Israelis.

“Our Jerusalem must be united, open to all, and belonging to all its inhabitants, without borders and barbed wire in its midst.”

And the practical conclusion: “Our Jerusalem must be the capital of the two states that will live side by side in this country – West Jerusalem the capital of the State of Israel and East Jerusalem the capital of the State of Palestine.”

I wish I could nail this Manifesto to the doors of the White House.

HUMAN WRONGS WATCH

Human Wrongs Watch

By Uri Avnery*

EHUD BARAK has “broken the silence”. He has published an article in The New York Times attacking our prime minister in the most abrasive terms.

397px-uriavnery-e1353140505941Uri Avnery

In other words, he has done exactly the same as the group of ex-soldiers who call themselves “Breaking the Silence”, who are accused of washing our dirty linen abroad. They expose war crimes to which they have been witnesses, or even participants.

But apart from the attack on Binyamin Netanyahu, Barak has used the article to publish his Peace Plan.

A former chief-of-staff of the Israeli army and a former prime minister, Barak is obviously planning a comeback, and his peace plan is part of the effort. There seems to be, anyhow, open season for Peace Plans in our region.

I respect the intelligence of Barak. Many years ago, when he was still the deputy…

View original post 1,598 more words

An Interview Of Eileen Fleming.

By Jerry Alatalo

s. Eileen Fleming has kindly agreed to participate in our interview project/series after we offered her an invitation. We strongly recommend viewing her powerful documentary film,“We Americans and the U.S.S. Liberty”, including interviews of the Liberty’s survivors, on the events surrounding the deadly 1967 false flag attack on the U.S.S. Liberty by Israeli forces, and carried out in collusion with U.S. President Lyndon Johnson.

Ms. Fleming’s insights are particularly timely given the recent major announcement by U.S. President Donald Trump regarding Jerusalem. Thank you Eileen for sharing your thoughts in the following words and images.

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Question 1.) What was your primary motivation for entering the world of blogging on the worldwide web?

My childhood dream was to be a reporter.

As a child I was inspired by Saints Francis and Teresa, but I wanted to grow up and be like Brenda Starr, a comic book character.

In keeping a long story short:

I had a very brief career in journalism in my youth but NOT until I was 50 years old did I begin to live my childhood dream!

The events of 11 September 2001, was the catalyst that made it possible for it led to my first of eight investigative journeys to both sides of The Wall in the Holy Land beginning in 2005.

While in east Jerusalem, a serendipitous meeting with Israel’s nuclear whistle blower Mordechai Vanunu, [who had been freed in 2004 from 18 years behind bars to 24/7 surveillance] reignited my childhood dream as it grew it up!

It happened when I asked Vanunu to tell me about his childhood in Marrakesh.

When Vanunu asked, “Have you seen that Dorothy Day movie, The Man Who Knew Too Much?

I laughed as I replied, “You mean the Doris Day movie where she sings Que Sera Sera?

Vanunu nodded, “That’s the one. The opening scenes are from where I grew up…”

Vanunu kept talking but I was already imagining walking in the footsteps of Dorothy Day who co-founded The Catholic Worker newspaper, which agitated church and state.

My first two questions to Vanunu:

Before I departed Jerusalem I told Vanunu and vowed to God I would tell, as in write the Vanunu Saga UNTIL Israel allows Vanunu the right to leave the state.

I have kept my word HERE and HERE

Question 2.) How would you describe yourself with regard to spirituality?

With a poem I wrote in 2005:

The more I learn, of less I am certain, except for the need to remain open to the Mystery we call God;

Creator of unfathomable diversity,

Artist of intricate details who crafted verdant mountains where fragile flowers dwell

Who designed the ocean depths where no human eyes have yet to read their deepest tales.

So it is with us, unknown realities within: The Divine indwells;

Thirstily seeking us as we search hungrily for what we desire to possess:

Peace of mind and life to the full.

So many voices in the world striving to convince, when all that really matters is the peace that can be within: Begins with Detachment from outcome—just do your best!

When one lets go of the need to control and to self-defend
When one has a heart for the poor and oppressed
When one seeks and sees The Divine within all creatures and events
When one trusts The Holy is in control-although the daily news denies it.
When one accepts The Other has a plan and desires to find it.
When one comes to understand The Eternal Mystery is more than any concept
And welcomes the diversity of men rather than deny them.
When one accepts we will not stand on any accomplishment,
But on our motives and the love that drives it.

When one is aware that evil as well as good cut through every human heart
And learns to make friends with silence:

The Light is ever present to guide us.

Silent time in nature is as necessary as bread,
Prayer is poetry and service her manifestation.

To forgive is divine and necessary to be divinely forgiven.
And therein lies the peace that passes all understanding.

And every drop of dew are but tears from heaven,
Shed each day a new,
For me, for you
For what we did and did not do
To help bring in The Kingdom.

The Kingdom comes from above and it comes from within: IMAGINE a kingdom of sisterhood of all nations and all men.

Question 3.) What were some of the most memorable transforming points across the years (reactions to world events, books, personal contacts, mystical experiences, etc.) in the developing of your current spiritual perspective?

I could write articles and books on that topic, and as I already have, I repeat myself now:

Do You Want to Be Healed?

In May of 2005, just prior to my first journey to Israel Palestine I phoned Mother Agapia Stephanopolous, a Russian Orthodox nun and the administrator of the Orthodox School of Bethany in Jerusalem, to schedule an appointment for Spiritual Direction and to discuss our mutual feelings about The Wall.

Mother Agapia is the sister of ABC News commentator, George Stephanopolous, and she had recently and passionately informed Congress about the fact that, “Israel is destroying the local Christian community.”

On April 18, 2005, Robert Novak’s article “Walling off Christianity” reported on the nun’s letter to Congress and how East Jerusalem had been cut off from the rest of the West Bank. Mother Agapia predicted, “It is only a matter of time before Christians and Muslims will be unable to survive culturally and economically.”

Mother Agapia spoke bluntly about the nine yards high wall of Israeli concrete that have “shattered” the Christian communities.

She told Novak, “I witness the strangulation of East Jerusalem, and the deprivation of her non-Jewish residents’ religious rights every day. Even the United States seems to have been taken in by Israeli spin.”

On my very first afternoon in Jerusalem, on June 12, 2005, the nun met me at the Ambassador Hotel in East Jerusalem and I told her that I hadn’t been taken in by the spin, but what could I possibly do? She had no answer.

I also told her of the surreal experience I had that very morning while wandering around in the Old City. I had landed in Tel Aviv with ten other members of the Olive Trees Foundation for Peace just a few hours before dawn on that Sunday morn. We all checked into our rooms at the Ambassador; they all crashed, but I was wide awake.

As soon as the sun rose I began to explore, and after attending mass at St.George Cathedral I wandered around the Old City, which was eerily empty. I stumbled upon the site of the Pool of Bethsaida and experienced déjà vu, which was more real than imaginary.

Between 2000 and 2001, I was a first year student in the Episcopal Diocese of Orlando’s Formation Program for Spiritual Directors. I knew going into the program I would never be hanging out a shingle as a Spiritual Director that I was there for other reasons. I was drawn to the program because of the curriculum; to deepen my prayer life and study the lives of the saints. During the first year all the students attended three weekend retreats.

On the second night of the second retreat, we had a guided meditation on the story of Jesus at the Pool of Bethsaida.

I remember it as clearly now as I experienced it then.

There were seven of us in the class and we were instructed to close our eyes, listen to the story and allow our imagination to lead us to respond to the character that called to us.

Our leader prefaced the story from John 5:1-6, by telling the legend of the angel from heaven who would descend and agitate the waters of the Pool of Bethsaida.

Only the first leper, blind, or invalid who made it into the water would receive a healing. One day while Jesus was there, he walked by a man who had been paralyzed for thirty-eight years.

Jesus asked him, “Do you want to be healed?”

The man answered he had no friends to help him get into the water first.

Jesus asked him again, “Do you want to be healed?”

Our leader then went silent, and in my imagination I was immediately upon the back of that agitating angel.

I hadn’t thought of that experience until four years later when I found myself at the site of the Pool of Bethsaida.

What triggered the memory of that guided meditation was the recollection of a dream I had had a few weeks after that day we call 9/11.

In my dream I had stood at the edge of a dried up pool where crumbling stone columns were overgrown with vines and weeds and scores of doves and pigeons nested and flew. To my right was a large shade tree, but to my left I saw a few square squat dwellings with large satellite dishes attached to them. I remembered thinking the moment I woke up from that dream what a strange place it was, but then I quickly forgot all about it.

That is, until the afternoon of June 12, 2005, four years later, when I found myself standing at the edge of a dried up pool where crumbling stone columns were overgrown with vines and weeds and scores of doves and pigeons nested and flew. To my right was a large shade tree, but to my left I saw a few square squat dwellings with large satellite dishes attached to them. What a strange place I thought, how could it be that I had seen this scene in a dream a few weeks after that day we call 9/11?

On the afternoon of my very first day in Jerusalem, I told Mother Agapia about my dream and what I had seen at the Pool of Bethsaida. She shrugged and smiled, then told me about the Jerusalem Interfaith Peace Conference with satellite link to the world that was happening the Sunday after the Thursday I was scheduled to return to the USA. I knew immediately that I needed to attend and after saying goodbye to Mother Agapia, I phoned my husband to get his OK.

On June 26, 2006, I attended the world wide satellite linked Interfaith Peace Conference at Jerusalem’s Notre Dame Cathedral. Dan Rather moderated from Washington DC and the Holy Land interfaith panel were all moderates attempting to reclaim the battlefield of ideas from extremists on both sides.

Reverend Theodore Hessburgh, President Emeritus University of Notre Dame began the evening with a pledge and a summons:

“The Peace of the world begins in Jerusalem.”

Dr. Tsvia Walden, Board of Director of the Peres Center and Geneva Initiative stated, “There is a need for a third party in the negotiations that could enable both sides to trust each other. There are more people in this region interested in making concessions, they all want peace so desperately.”

The Coordinator of World Bank emergency services to the PA, Rania Kharma informed the world, “We all need to be the bridges to our leaders that justice, equality, and human rights will bring peace. Give people justice and they will reward you with peace.”

Sheik Imad Falouiji warned, “Religions must go back to their origins. God commands us to love each other and live together. This Holy Land was given to all people. This land is on fire. There is an occupation that must be removed. The language of peace cannot succeed without justice for all.”

The Rt. Rev. Bishop Riah Abu Assal affirmed, “Peace is an act. Blessed are the peacemakers not the peace talkers. Peace is possible in the Holy Land. The root cause for the lack of peace since 1967 is the occupation. For peace to make progress in the Middle East we need to deal with the root cause…Religion was not meant to bring death. All those involved in searching for peace should commit themselves to work for justice and truth.”

Throughout the entire evening, I kept remembering what President Bush promised in his Second Inaugural Address:

“In the long run, there is no justice without FREEDOM.There can be no human rights without LIBERTY. All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know the United States will not ignore your oppression or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for liberty, we stand with you.”

Question 4.) What is your greatest wish for readers as a consequence after reading/considering your writings?

To THINK and then Do Something!

Question 5.) Can you offer any advice to people having a difficult time dealing with government and media lies, especially as it pertains to so many average citizens who hold erroneous perceptions on important events and situations around the Earth?

For those who are conscious of the lies and alert to rapidly changing events and feeling stressed, I recommend the Practices of Yoga Nidra, Mindfulness and Breath Work.

As everyone can practice Yoga Nidra and reap enormous benefits, I offer this excerpt from WABI SABI BODY: ETERNAL SPIRIT:

Yoga Nidra or “yogic sleep” is a systematic method of inducing complete physical, mental and emotional relaxation, which produces the deepest possible states of relaxation while maintaining fully conscious.

The term Yoga Nidra comes from two Sanskrit words, yoga meaning union or one-pointed awareness, and nidrameans sleep. Yoga Nidra is not sleep, as we know it, but a conscious sleep.

The ancient sleep based guided meditation relaxes, rejuvenates and renews the physical body by bringing brain waves down from Beta-which is wide awake- to Alpha which begin as soon as you close your eyes to Theta-light sleep and even Delta waves indicating deep sleep –yet you remain conscious!

This technique frees the THINKING mind to reconnect to the FEELING body, which effortlessly changes one’s relationship to pain, stress and habits.

The National Institute of Mental Health states that about forty-million Americans will suffer from anxiety.

In one study by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, the top ten selling prescription drugs listed are all lifestyle (and lifetime) drugs, with the number one prescription drug being pain medicine. Each of these issues:  depression, anxiety and physical pain are either stressed caused or stressed exacerbated.  The practice of Yoga Nidra is a proven, effective, simple and inexpensive tool for treating all of these conditions…

Eileen Fleming, Senior Non-Arab Correspondent for USA’s TADN writes HERE

Eileen Fleming produced the UNCENSORED “30 Minutes with Vanunu” Mordechai, Israel’s nuclear whistleblower

Contact her HERE 

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Thank you again, Eileen. Peace.