The Anti-Israel Movement and the Mennonites: Part 3 – Pawns at the Checkpoint

It has recently been revealed by those who are concerned about Christ at the Checkpoint, that everything involved, from their manifesto, cause and resources to their website banner, appears to be biased and one-sided.[1] Once again this has been confirmed, this time in a positional paper stating the view of Israeli Messianic Jews…

“Christ at the Checkpoint” (CatC) is a biennial conference sponsored by the Bethlehem Bible College since 2010. The conference claims to be “theology in the service of peace and justice” but its true purpose is to fundamentally change the way that Evangelicals in the West read the Bible in order to fundamentally change their political stand regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict-and through them, to affect their political leaders. Instead of reading the Bible in its historical and cultural context in order to understand what the inspired prophets and apostles communicated as the Word of God, organizers of CatC want us to read the Scriptures only “in the shadow of the occupation”, that is, filtered through the Palestinian Arab’s POV and political aspirations. The result is “theology” divorced from God’s originally intended meaning; “theology” as clay reformed in the CatC potter’s hand to serve a one-sided, anti-Israel Palestinian political program.

See more: Position Paper re: Christ at the Checkpoint, 06 March 2014. http://www.oneforisrael.org/blog/most-read-blogs/270-christ-at-the-checkpoint-conference

Many other articles and analysis reports on previous Christ at the Checkpoint conferences have revealed this anti-Israel bias and more.[2] Perhaps the best comprehensive and well researched overview is a 50 page booklet by Paul Wilkinson with explanations, pictures and charts, detailing how Christ at the Checkpoint revises history, demonizes Israel, damages the church and dishonours God.[3]

If Christ at the Checkpoint is part of the anti-Israel campaign, as all the facts seem to show, wouldn’t all those who attend or speak be considered tools for this propaganda event? Even so, Christian organizations continue to participate in this anti-Israel campaign. Among them are some well meaning Mennonites, some of whom will be participants for the second time. One such attender will be Palmer Becker, who has been called by Bethlehem Bible College and Mennonite Church Canada to assist in peacekeeping.[4] Other participating Mennonites at the previous Christ at the Checkpoint event in 2012 included Linford Stutzman (Eastern Mennonite University professor), three MCC Palestine workers, various student groups, and a program administrator for Mennonite Central Committee who promoted it by compiling some favourable quotes from the conference onto the MCC Palestine blog. Not surprisingly, an article in the Mennonite World Review also revealed Mennonite support for the Christ at the Checkpoint event.[5]

More recently, an off shoot from the previous Christ at the Checkpoint conferences was formed to continue the conversation in the U.S., called Impact Holy Land. This too was attended by well meaning Mennonites. MCC representatives, in partnership with Bethlehem Bible College, participated in this conference and enlisted the Mennonite Church USA (Peace and Justice Support Network) to help recruit pastors and leaders to attend[6].

Rather than being pawns in this end time game plan, Christians need to seek out and stand up for the truth. As in the days of Esther, a courageous voice is once again needed to expose Haman’s plan to annihilate the Jewish people. This year, Christ at the Checkpoint takes place March 10-14, a few days before Purim (March 16), the remembrance of when the Jewish people were saved from extermination[7]. Church, whose side are you on – Esther’s, or Haman’s?

Endnotes:

[1] Christ at the Checkpoint 2014: Reconciliation or Indictment?
http://www.newantisemitism.com/2014/02/christ-at-checkpoint-2014.html
[2]”Christ at the Checkpoint”
Analysis extracted from articles by Shira Sorko-Ram, Avner Boskey and Malcolm Hedding plus booklet by Paul Wilkinson
http://www.wildolive.co.uk/CATC.htm
[3] Access Paul Wilkinson’s booklet here:
The Church at Christ’s Checkpoint
A response to the Second ‘Christ at the Checkpoint’ Conference in Behtlehem, March 2012
http://www.wildolive.co.uk/pdf/The%20Church%20at%20Christ%27s%20Checkpoint1.pdf
[4] “I have received a new call from Bethlehem Bible College (BBC) and Mennonite Church Canada to go to Palestine/Israel for nine weeks to teach Pastoral Care and Counseling in the biblical towns of Bethlehem and Nazareth…In relation to peacemaking, I will attend the third “Christ at the Checkpoint” conference being sponsored by BBC, in March.”
Canadian Mennonite Blog: Called to Bethlehem</strong
Submitted by Palmer Becker on Wed, 2014-03-05 13:57
http://www.canadianmennonite.org/blogs/palmer-becker/called-bethlehem
[5] Mennonites and Christ at the Checkpoint
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2012/06/19/mennonites-and-christ-at-the-checkpoint/
[6] Mennonite Palestinianism
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/mennonite-palestinianism/
[7] Esther 9 http://www.esvbible.org/Esther+9/

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Fine Part 1 and 2 here:

The Anti-Israel Movement and the Mennonites: Part 1 – What’s it all about?
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/the-anti-israel-movement-and-the-mennonites-part-1/

The Anti-Israel Movement and the Mennonites: Part 2 – In the Name of Christ
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/the-anti-israel-movement-and-the-mennonites-part-2/

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UPDATE: March 9, 2014

Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has issued a last-minute statement suggesting Christians steer clear of the “Christ at the Checkpoint” (CatC) conference that opens tomorrow (Monday) in Palestinian-held Bethlehem…
The official provided statement from the MFA is as follows:
“The attempt to use religious motifs in order to mobilize political propaganda and agitate the feelings of the faithful through the manipulation of religion and politics is an unacceptable and shameful act. Using religion for the purpose of incitement in the service of political interests stains the person who does it with a stain of indelible infamy.”
SOURCE: Israeli Gov’t: Christ at the Checkpoint is Problematic http://www.israeltoday.co.il/NewsItem/tabid/178/nid/24489/Default.aspx?utm_source=news&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=No-sidebar-news-1&utm_content=1154=
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Also see:

David Silver’s (Out of Zion) Comments on “Christ at the Checkpoint 2014″ – A Conference of Lies and Deceptions http://www.out-of-zion.com/carmel-alert/the-carmel-alert-march-21st

The Strang Case of the Christian Palestinianists
By Jim Fletcher http://balfourpost.com/the-strang-case-of-the-christian-palestinianists/

Bethlehem’s ‘Christ at the Checkpoint’ Conference: A Personal Report
By: Brian Schrauger http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/bethlehems-christ-at-the-checkpoint-conference-a-personal-report/2014/03/18/0/?print

NEW:
Why Would “Christ at the Checkpoint” Compare Israel to ISIS?
Oliver Melnick
http://www.newantisemitism.com/antisemitism/why-would-christ-at-the-checkpoint-compare-israel-to-isis

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The Anti-Israel Movement and the Mennonites: Part 2 – In the Name of Christ

How are the Mennonites involved in the anti-Israel divestment, boycott and sanction movement? What does it mean if they are? Consider the following two articles. . .

2013

In the name of Christ . . .

“The board of directors of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) U.S. unanimously decided that MCC U.S. will not knowingly invest in companies that benefit from products or services used to perpetrate acts of violence against Palestinians, Israelis and other people groups.
The action, taken at the board’s March 16 meeting in Akron, grew from a call from partners in Palestine and Israel, including churches there, and follows a discernment process with leaders of the denominations that sponsor MCC U.S.
MCC staff in the Middle East delivered the message from churches and other partners in a letter shared about a year ago. MCC has worked with partners in Palestine and Israel for more than 60 years and more than 40 years, respectively.
The board agreed that “all reasonable measures” are to be applied immediately to not support violence in the Palestine and Israel conflict, and also that staff should explore “similar actions in support of partners in other parts of the world.”
The action means that MCC U.S. will not invest direct holdings in companies on the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) “Israel/Palestine Investment Screen” list. . .
Byler said another aspect of the action included participating with sponsoring denominations’ peacemaking and justice-seeking efforts as invited. He said opportunities for this exist now with sponsoring denomination Mennonite Church USA.
Mennonite Central Committee: Relief, development and peace in the name of Christ”

SOURCE: MCC U.S. board acts for peace through its investments
Cheryl Zehr Walker, March 26, 2013: http://www.mcc.org/stories/news/mcc-us-board-acts-peace-through-its-investments

Incidentally, to “not support” or “not invest” means “divest.” Divest means to deprive or take away. Other reports were not so carefully worded:

“Yesterday the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) United States announced that its board of directors had voted unanimously on March 16 to divest the organization’s direct holdings in “companies that support Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.””
SOURCE: Breakthrough: Mennonites divest from ‘companies that support Israel’s occupation’ March 27,2013: mondoweiss.net/2013/03/breakthrough-mennonites-occupation.html

Is divestment a relatively new stance that these Mennonites have taken towards Israel? No, as the following excerpt from a report written nearly nine years ago reveals.

2005

“The Mennonite Central Committee continues to promote a radical pro-Palestinian agenda, including support for demonization of through divestment campaigns. The official responses to NGO Monitor’s previous report not withstanding, MCC’s website features more highly distorted reports on the conflict, while erasing the context of terrorism. This NGO is also active in funding radical political groups as BADIL and Sabeel, in sharp contrast to the goal of peace that MCC professes to seek.”

SOURCE: “MENNONITE CENTRAL COMMITTEE – PROMOTING CONFLICT VIA DIVESTMENT (UPDATE)” NGO Monitor Digest (Vol. 3 No. 12), August 04, 2005: http://www.ngo-monitor.org/article.php?id=839

The MCC blog (mccpalestine.wordpress.com) confirms that the Mennonite Central Committee appears to be promoting Sabeel, partnering with NGO groups, supporting ICAHD, and preaching Israeili apartheid. Many other articles confirm this, for example:

“MCC is a donor for ICAHD which is active in promoting boycotts against Israel and aims “to end Israel’s Occupation over the Palestinians””

SOURCE: ISRAELI COMMITTEE AGAINST HOUSE DEMOLITIONS (ICAHD): http://www.ngo-monitor.org/article/israel_committee_against_house_demolitions_icahd_

*MCC’s activities and publications reveal a highly politicized and anti-Israel agenda, including campaigning against the Israeli security barrier while ignoring Palestinian terror and providing links to highly politicized NGOs, including PENGON and the “Stop the Wall Campaign.”
*MCC’s “Peace Office Newsletter” produced by the organization’s Middle East leadership, contains highly vitriolic attacks on Israel, while claiming that the views of the authors do not necessarily reflect those of the MCC.
*Newsletter contains contributions from radical anti-Israel NGOs, including the Palestinian Authority affiliated Applied Research Institute and Jeff Halper from the highly politicized Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, with other links to highly politicized NGOs Al-Haq, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, the Electronic Intifada, the Stop the Wall Campaign, LAW – a leading NGO at Durban conference, Al-Dameer, a Palestinian prisoners’ rights organization, and al-Awda, an NGO promoting the Palestinian ‘right of return’ and destruction of Israel.

SOURCE: MENNONITE CENTRAL COMMITTEE (MCC): http://www.ngo-monitor.org/article/mennonite_central_committee_mcc_

It’s not only the MCC that seems to be supportive of the anti-Israel agenda. Another apparent Mennonite link is with Sabeel and Eastern Mennonite University, as was reported in 2012 by Mark Tooley:

Friends of Sabeel-North America (FOSNA), a chief anti-Israel advocate among churches, has hired a Presbyterian minister as its new organizer to reach a “wider Christian audience.” Sabeel’s describes his goal as addressing the “increasing awareness among American Christians and the Palestinian Christian community and the principles required for a ‘just peace’ between Israel and Palestine.”
In other words, the organizer will rally U.S. Christians initially for anti-Israel divestment and more ultimately against any special U.S. friendship for Israel, with the final goal of deconstructing Israel as a primarily Jewish democracy.
The new Sabeel organizer is the Rev. Donald Wagner, who recently served at Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia. He previously headed Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding, which seeks to disengage U.S. evangelicals from their traditional pro-Israel stance. In the 1980s he headed the Palestine Human Rights Campaign. Seemingly Rev. Wagner combines Mainline Protestant, evangelical and Anabaptist connections that will greatly enhance his anti-Israel work.

SOURCE: Anti-Israel Christians Ponder Divestment by Mark Tooley: http://www.frontpagemag.com/2012/mark-d-tooley/anti-israel-christians-ponder-divestment/

Perhaps this is why the anti-Israel campaign had already shown up in in 2010 at Eastern Mennonite University:

“A group of Eastern Mennonite University students on Nov. 12 urged the university to divest from any company actively enabling the Israeli occupation.
The group, Students for Morally Responsible Investing, called for divestment during a presentation to the EMU board of trustees financial and audit committee.
SMRI asked the board to “divest from all companies actively supporting the Israeli occupation and its human rights and international law violations.”
According to The Weather Vane, the EMU student newspaper, 35 students gathered outside the meeting to show support for SMRI’s request.
President Loren Swartzendruber told the students their concerns had been heard.
“I think it’s clear, in terms of this committee and myself, that we are in concert with your concerns relative to Israel and Palestine,” he said.
Leaders of SMRI said they believed progress was made.
“The presence of 35 EMU students right outside of the meeting room, sitting in vigil, in solidarity and in support, was amazing to see,” said senior Jessica Sarriot. “Clearly, implementing more just economic involvement in Israel-Palestine is something many people at EMU care deeply about.”
SMRI sees divestment as an issue that affects not only EMU but also the greater community and Mennonite church.”

SOURCE: EMU students urge Israeli occupation divestment by Mennonite Weekly Review staff: http://www.mennoworld.org/2010/11/29/emu-students-urge-israel-divestment/

Where were the Ben Shapiros and the Jessica Marzuccos on November 12, 2010? Were these EMU students never taught about the historical events that led to WWII and Hitler’s extermination of the Jews?

Whether or not these Mennonites are simply well meaning or misled, isn’t it time for the truth to be told?

The following is from the introduction to a well researched and documented report by Dexter Van Zile which confirms that the Mennonites appear to be very involved in many ways within the anti-Israel movement. All who seek to be better informed are encouraged to read the entire article at the link below this excerpt.

• Mennonite-supported peacemaking institutions have been at the forefront of the effort to discredit Israel to audiences in North America. These institutions portray Jewish sovereignty as the cause of conflict and suffering in the Middle East and downplay Muslim and Arab hostility toward Jews and Israel.
• The prescription for peace offered by these activists-especially those affiliated with the Mennonite Central Committee and Christian Peacemaker Teams-is for Israeli Jews to abandon their insistence on maintaining Israel as a sovereign Jewish state and acquiesce to a one-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. This prescription fails to take into account overwhelming evidence that a Jewish minority would not be safe in a Muslim- and Arab-majority country in the Middle East.
• Mennonite expressions of hostility toward Jewish sovereignty and indifference to the plight of Jews in Arab- and Muslim-majority states are ironic and hypocritical. Mennonites enjoy safety and wellbeing by virtue of other people’s willingness to engage in acts of violence. Israeli Jews enjoy no such privilege.
Mennonite anti-Zionism is emblematic of an inability to deal with the reality of evil and the power needed to confront it.

SOURCE: Key Mennonite Institutions against Israel, Dexter Van Zile, July 6, 2009: http://jcpa.org/article/key-mennonite-institutions-against-israel/

Just because well meaning people do things in the name of Christ does not mean that they are right, as we have witnessed throughout history. Are the Mennonites who join this anti-Israel crusade just sincerely mis-led? Whether willingly or unknowingly, they seem to have joined the hands of those who are apostate. Perhaps it’s time to get informed.

RELATED:

Mennonite Palestinianism https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/mennonite-palestinianism/

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See Part 1 and 3 here:

The Anti-Israel Movement and the Mennonites: Part 1 – What’s it all about? https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/the-anti-israel-movement-and-the-mennonites-part-1/

The Anti-Israel Movement and the Mennonites: Part 3 – Pawns at the Checkpoint
https://mennolite.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/the-anti-israel-movement-and-the-mennonites-part-3-pawns-at-the-checkpoint/