20 01 2009

Several members of the Society were signatories to this letter, sent to the Church Times.  Unfortunately, they chose not to publish it (the interminable debate about the consecration of women as Bishops apparently being more important than massive loss of life in the Holy Land).  We reproduce it here:

At this season of supposed peace and goodwill to all, the Society of
Sacramental Socialists is sorry to have to add its voice to the rising
swell of criticism by all reasonable people, whether Christian or not,
in condemning the ongoing violence in Gaza.

It would be all too easy to recite for the umpteenth time the litany
of wrongdoing from both sides since the second “intifada”: illegal
occupation and annexation of Palestinian land and property,
repression, violence, resistance, suicide attacks, and the grimly
inevitable disproportionate Israeli response in the form of eighteen
Israelis dead from Palestinian rocket “attacks” in eight years on one
side of the border and thousands dead in Israeli retaliation on the

It is undoubtedly important that no one loses sight of what got us to
the point we are now at, but words in themselves are not going to
change much, if anything. No one would realistically expect the US
administration to be critical of Israel. They never are. But weasel
words such as: “Hamas has held the people of Gaza hostage ever since
their illegal coup against the forces of (Palestinian) President
Mahmoud Abbas,” when the reality is that Hamas won the democratic
parliamentary election in Palestine in January 2006, can only serve to
stoke the fires of conflict. So does the use of the emotionally-
charged term “shoah”, holocaust, by the Israeli administration. And so
do sentiments such as “Gaza will not be a picnic. Gaza will be a
graveyard” from Hamas officials. Nothing good will come from these

No. The truth is that only justice for the Palestinian people will
permanently end this conflict. That is not to say that we should not
criticise both sides now for provocation and response and call for an
immediate ceasefire from both those sides. We should, for as we know,
the way to right a wrong is not to commit another wrong: no one’s eye
or tooth has ever been restored through the retaliatory putting out of
someone else’s. An immediate ceasefire is absolutely essential.

And along with the immediate ceasefire, the way forward now is for
both sides to listen to the voice of God, the same God worshipped by
Jew, Muslim, and Christian alike. And as all three faiths can testify
along with their shared Prophets Elijah and Amos, that divine voice
was not to be found in the wind of supersonic fighter planes, nor in
the earthquake of aerial bombardment, nor in the fire of suicide bombs
and machine guns. The still, small voice can only be heard when the
violence and clatter stops, and the Almighty can be heard imploring
his most precious creation to live in justice and peace.





One response

8 06 2009
ann welch

Amen to all that, we can never say this too often

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