Presbyterians Today

AUG-SEP 2018

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JUSTICE FOR GOD'S WORLD | Vernon S. Broyles III 48 AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2018 | Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay Coming in October Rural realities Presbyterians Today breaks the rural ministry myths and explores how churches are reconnecting with their communities. Domestic violence Congregations are shedding light on the issue of domestic violence and are reaching out to women and their families. Peace & Global Witness Offering Learn how gifts to the Peace & Global Witness Offering help the church address systems of injustice across the world. Also …. The latest on retirement communities; a Florida church creates a mission village; a presbytery validates a call to media ministry. Customer Service Order or renew a subscription 800-558-1669 Purchase extra copies or a past issue 800-533-4371 Change of address pcusa.org/changeaddress Reprint permission and subscription problems 800-728-7228, ext. 5627 Email us General: today@pcusa.org Editor: editor@pcusa.org Is Israel an apartheid state? Christians face choices "separation barrier"; suffer the demolition of their houses, ostensibly for "lack of a permit"; and mourn the death of their children at the hands of security forces. Allan Brownfeld, publications editor for the American Council for Judaism, says, "While Israel proclaims itself a 'Jewish' state, more and more Jewish voices are being heard in Israel, the U.S. and throughout the world saying that its treatment of Palestinians violates Jewish moral and ethical values. Hebrew University's David Shulman put it this way: 'In the end, it is the ongoing moral failure of the country as a whole that is most consequential, most dangerous, and most unacceptable. . . . We are, so we claim, the children of the prophets. Once, they say, we were slaves in Egypt. We know all that can be known about slavery, suffering, prejudice, ghettos, hate, expul- sion, exile. I still find it astonishing that we, of all people, have reinvented apartheid in the West Bank.' " As for whether it is apartheid or not, when the Rev. Dr. Allan Boesak, a hero of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, recently was asked that question, he answered saying the Palestinian experience of apart- heid is "in its practical manifestation even worse than South African apartheid." He added, "Not in the sense that apartheid was not an absolutely terrifying system in South Africa, but in the ways in which the Israelis have taken the apartheid system and perfected it." Israel's chief enabler is our own government. How can we stand idle when this is done in our name? Vernon S. Broyles III is a volunteer for public witness in the PC(USA)'s Office of the General Assembly. When you cross the Jordan to go in to occupy the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and when you occupy it and live in it, you must diligently observe all the statutes and ordinances that I am setting before you today. — Deuteronomy 11:31–32 I s Israel an apartheid state? Some say, "Yes!" Others say, "Absolutely not!" As children of both the Old Testament and the New Testament, we Christians are faced with fundamental choices as we watch the growing Israeli occupation of land declared by the international community to be the province of the Palestinian people. There's the fundamental issue for us as Christians of justice for those who are oppressed. That's enhanced by the fact that many of our closest Christian partners are Palestinian, and they suffer the same indignities as their fellow Palestinians. Palestinians living in Gaza are essentially in an Israeli-enforced prison, unable, for the most part, to cross into Israel and blocked from access to the Mediterranean. Moreover, they are victims of the Hamas/Fatah politi- cal struggle and of the violent actions by Israel against Hamas. The Palestinians who live in Israel and the West Bank suffer daily at the hands of Israeli military. They're forced to stand for hours at checkpoints just to get to their jobs; suffer unjust rationing of water, even from nearby aquifers cordoned off for primary use by Israeli settlers; find their crops destroyed by roving settlers; must petition Israeli soldiers to get to the crops they have grown because they are separated from their fields by the justice and only justice, you shall pursue (deut. 16:20)

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