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WAWA/WeAreWideAwake is my Public Service to America as a muckracker who has journeyed seven times to Israel Palestine since June 2005. WAWA is dedicated to confronting media and governments that shield the whole truth.

We who Are Wide Awake are compelled by the "fierce urgency of Now" [Rev MLK, Jr.] to raise awareness and promote the human dialogue about many of the crucial issues of our day: the state of our Union and in protection of democracy, what life is like under military occupation in Palestine, the Christian EXODUS from the Holy Land, and spirituality-from a Theologically Liberated Christian Anarchist POV.

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Home arrow Blog arrow June 2007 arrow June 8, 2007

June 8, 2007

By noon today, if all goes as planned, I will be in to D.C. to attend and report on the


Where as I, a patriotic American, justice and peace activist and committed Christian of The Beatitudes

So clearly can see that the continued OCCUPATION of Palestine has led to an ever increasing and deepening humanitarian crisis which is the major destabilizing force in that region,

I am deeply aggrieved and wondering WHAT it will take to WAKE the 'leaders' of the world UP to this reality?

The Baker-Hamilton report affirmed, "The United States will not be able to achieve its goals in the Middle East unless the United States deals directly with the Arab-Israeli conflict."

Only by upholding international law, ensuring and delivering equal human rights for all and ending the illegal occupation of Palestinian lands, can there ever be security for Israel.

After I return from D.C., I will be off to Tallahassee, for the Governor of my state only knows the story of ONE side of the The Wall,

And since he has not yet received "any flack for not visiting the Palestinian Territories" during his trip to Israel,

I will deliver some!

The audio link to Gov. Crist's interview and SABEEL'S Message on the 40th year of Occupation follows,

My Sermon on The Mount

On March 20, 2006, I traveled three hours away from the Little Town of Bethlehem: Occupied Territory to the Mount of Beatitudes in Israel. This awe inspiring site sits above the shimmering Sea of Galilee where Christ preached the Sermon on the Mount.

My Sabeel Reality Tour through the West Bank had concluded and I needed to be alone and silent.

But, I ended up delivering my own sermon on the Mount.

Four Franciscan Sisters, one each from Syria, Jordan, Malta and Italy care for the shrine and the pilgrim guests at the Hospice Center where I spent two nights and a day of silent reflection of all I had witnessed the previous nine days.

At dinner a Catholic Pentecostal from Scotland introduced himself and asked me why I was there and what church I was from. I responded I have Irish Roman Catholic, Polish Jew, Russian Orthodox and Episcopal roots but that my rock is The Beatitudes.

He looked even more perplexed when I told him I came to the Mount of Beatitudes to decompress and reflect upon my nine days in Occupied Territory. I asked him if he were aware of the work of Sabeel, the Palestinian founded organization that promotes a theology of liberation based on justice, peace, non-violence and reconciliation for all, regardless of faith path or nationality.

He sternly admonished me, “God gave this land to the Jews! The Bible never mentions Palestine, and that is that! God gave this land to the Jews and that is that!”

I responded just as fervently that the Palestinian Christians are the descendants of those who first followed Christ and they have been denied inalienable human rights by the Israeli government. I told him the Christians in the Holy Land have shrunk from 20% of the total population to less than 1.3% since 1948 and if things don’t change soon, there will be no Christian witness in the land where Christ promised that it is the peacemakers who are the children of God.

He sputtered, “But the Jews have suffered! God gave this land to the Jews and that is that!”

This really got my Irish up and I retorted, “Yes they did suffer because good people did nothing for far too long, and now the once oppressed have become the oppressors. In the 21st century good people are unaware, ignoring or are in total denial of the injustices in the Holy Land. And what about all the Hebrew prophets, such as Micah who reminded the Jews of what the Lord requires: To be just, to be merciful and to walk humbly with your God!”

I could NOT shut up although I knew that that Scotsman was trying to get away-he also looked a bit terrified!

But, I was on a tear and barely took a breath as I told him that instead of staying in Israel for his entire visit, he should go and witness life in the occupied territories; go and see the effects of The Wall on his spirit and see what it has done to the Palestinian economy. I told him he should go and tour some of the nearly 60 year old refugee camps and see the ruins of all the uncompensated home demolitions. I brought it on home by telling him that I also doubted that God was ever in the real estate business!

His eyes had bugged out and his mouth had dropped open while the torrent of words spewed out of me. After I finally shut up, he stammered, “But there is suffering everywhere!”

“Yes there is, and Christ always stood up for the poor and the oppressed. And he told us what ever we do or don’t do for the least and the outcast; we do it or don’t do it unto God.”

He shook his head and turned and walked quickly away and never again looked my way. Nobody else spoke to me the rest of the evening or the next day. That was fine with me, for I was listening to the voice within and what I kept hearing was Luke 23:34: “Father forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”

But when you know, if you are of good will, you must do something.

The fastest growing cult in the USA-and also perhaps in Scotland: is the cult of Christian Zionism.

What is Christian Zionism?

Christian Zionism is an extremist Christian movement which supports the claims of those who believe that the State of Israel should take control of all of the land currently disputed between Palestinians and Israelis. It views the creation and expansion of the modern state of Israel as a fulfillment of biblical prophecy toward the second coming of Jesus.

Christian Zionism is a modern theological and political movement that embraces the most extreme ideological positions of Zionism, thereby becoming detrimental to a just peace within Palestine and Israel. The Christian Zionist program provides a worldview where the Gospel is identified with the ideology of empire, colonialism and militarism. In its extreme form, it laces an emphasis on apocalyptic events leading to the end of history rather than living Christ’s love and justice today.

What is the Christian Zionist connection with the Holy Land?

Believing that God fights on the side of Israel, Christian Zionists call for the unqualified support for the most extreme political positions related to the Holy Land. Christian Zionist spokes persons have attributed Hurricane Katrina to God’s wrath over our failure to stop Israel from pulling out of Gaza. They consistently oppose any moves towards a solution to the conflict which would validate the political aspirations of both Palestinians and Israelis.

Who Supports Christian Zionism?

Christian Zionism has significant support within American Protestant fundamentalists, who number between 10 and 20 million. Its reach is broad, by virtue of its favorite themes related to the “End Times” and an Israel-fixated Christian media.  Christian Zionism is both a political movement and a way of interpreting current events. Its focus is on Israel and the Middle East, as much an ideology as a “movement.” Its promoters share many beliefs but are not organized through any one institution.

Throughout history Christians have at times twisted scripture to justify violence: for the Crusades, for Anti-Semitism, and for slavery. Too often the church has been slow to respond to these biblical distortions with disastrous results.

Today Christian Zionists - particularly those with dispensationalist leanings - are at it again. Although their motives are couched in terms of compassion toward the Jewish people based on a literal reading of scripture the political agenda of territorial expansion advocated by Christian Zionists has given rise to injustice against Palestinians and added fuel to the fire of conflict in the Middle East. For some time, individuals, and theologians have spoken out against Christian Zionism. In the past few years, whole church bodies are adding their official voices to the distortions and injustices perpetuated by Christian Zionism.

The GOOD NEWS is that some mainstream churches have spoken out against this inherently anti-Semitic theology. What follows are but a few words from some of those who have.

The Presbyterian Church in the USA at its July 2004, National General Assembly issued a statement on Confronting Christian Zionism: “Christian Zionism promotes a theology that justifies grievous violations of basic rights of people who are also made in the image of God, and is contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

The United Church of Christ in July 2003, at its National General Synod offered An Alternative Voice to Christian Zionism: “We believe that the tenets of Christian Zionism neither reflect the intention of the teachings of Jesus and the prophets, nor promote peace in the Middle East, and respectfully recommend …an alternative voice to this theology.”

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, in June 2005 at its Chicago Metropolitan Synod issued a Resolution to Encourage the Study of Christian Zionism: “the movement of Christian Zionism based on these biblical interpretations seeks to influence U.S. policy toward Israel in a manner that would arguably facilitate mistreatment of Palestinians, continued occupation of the land, opposition to a two-state solution, and exclusive Israeli control of Jerusalem.”

The United Methodist Church, in June 2005 at its Illinois Conference on Unwrapping the Rapture warned, “Every household should give prayerful consideration as to how God will actually judge us for our silence about and complicity in the crushing of the Palestinian people.”

The Episcopal Church, in November 2004 at its Diocese of Chicago Confronted Christian Zionism: “A partial response to Christian Zionism would be to say that we read Scripture in light of [Jesus’] two great commandments - to love God and our neighbor.”

"He has told you man, what is required: Be just, be merciful, and walk humbly with your Lord." -Micah 6:8

Sabeel's Statement on 40 Years of the Israeli Occupation
How Long O Lord?  – Enough is Enough
O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and You will not hear?
 Or cry out to You, “Violence!" and You will not save?
        Why do You show me iniquity, and cause me to see trouble?
      For destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise.
So the law is weakened and justice never goes forth.
For the wicked surround the righteous, so justice is perverted.
Look among the nations and see; wonder and be astounded.
For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.
 (Habakkuk 1:2-5)

As the prophet so eloquently notes, strife and contention are evident everywhere as we mark 40 years of the Israeli Occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza .  The brutal assault on Gaza continues unabated.  Israel ’s army daily invades communities and kidnaps and kills Palestinians in the West Bank .  The spreading violence is now destroying the stability of Lebanon .  The breakdown in civil society in these besieged areas has reached a very dangerous level.   Palestinian Christians and Muslims who have been working for many years to preserve and maintain a level of non-violent resistance have seen their work turn to ashes over and over again, and yet they courageously continue their efforts.  However, the level of fatigue and discouragement is higher than it has ever been.
The reasons for the current feelings are clear.  The Israeli government and the Israeli army are implementing a long term strategy to destroy the infrastructure of the Palestinian government, economy, and civil society.  Each day new regulations, policies, and actions rob the people – people who are not at all related to any militant group – of their dignity, their livelihood and their future.  The civil strife and the violent clashes among political parties, families, and gangs in Gaza and the West Bank can be traced to the effects of the long-lasting Occupation.  We can never condone violence.  We can never condone self-destruction no matter how dire the situation, but we can seek to examine and understand it. 
The illegal 1967 Occupation of the 22% of mandate Palestine remaining after the Nakba of 1948 and the systematic plan to confiscate and control even the fragments remaining to Palestinians have left not only the Palestinians, but also the world, vulnerable to even greater disasters.  When any nation or group is allowed to flout safeguards of international law, humanitarian law, and the Fourth Geneva Convention, along with basic moral standards, the whole of humankind is in grave danger.  Yet, the Israeli government and its Zionist architects have been given a green light over the past 40 years of Occupation.  The methods they have developed – targeted assassinations, imprisonment without trial, starving and collectively punishing whole populations – are now part of common practice and openly advocated and accepted in many places in the world.  Such practices after World War II were seen as totally unacceptable yet these atrocities occur daily in the occupied areas of Palestine with little international reaction.   The rules of civil society are being ignored and chaos reigns, most obviously in Gaza but also increasingly in the West Bank .  Hopelessness and despair increase.  When there is nothing to lose, some will strike out as we have seen recently in many places.
Most Israelis continue to live in fear and to act out of fear, not least because of the ongoing illegal Occupation. Through the past 40 years, they have failed to learn two lessons:
·        First, brutal military measures do not work.  Militarism never works because the human spirit and the quest for freedom cannot be destroyed.  The evil of seeking to steal the dignity of the other simply magnifies the desire to resist. 
·        Second, to dehumanize the other is to dehumanize the self.  The basic quest to be fully human lies within all of God’s children.  To put others down in order to be powerful and controlling and to use others as scapegoats to cover one’s own inadequacy is self-defeating and self-destructive.  The soul of the Israeli people is at stake in this treacherous battle of will and spirit.  When common humanity is forsaken, evil prevails.
 Understanding violence does not mean condoning violence.  Sabeel continues to work, pray and advocate for non-violent responses to the Occupation.  The only safe and secure way out of the current pit is justice.  Justice and only justice.  Justice is served when the dignity of every human being is honored and respected.  Justice is served when love motivates and heals those who need justice and those who must in the last analysis give justice.  Much progress will be made when the people of Israel return to their own values, values that have been battered and distorted by the Zionist agenda and the facts of Occupation.  Progress will be made when Palestinians are relieved of the hate that so easily builds up under the oppression of Occupation and are thus freed to respond in love to those who acknowledge their shared existence as children of God.   There are many layers to peel before the common humanity of all can be celebrated. 
Although we are walking in the darkness of Occupation now, we know that the light of Christ will shine one day.  We know that the truth will bring freedom and that one day Israelis and Palestinians, Jews and Arabs, will walk hand in hand toward the light of God’s justice.  But now we ask that all our friends pray, work, and speak against the Occupation and the injustice that rule every aspect of our lives.   Silence allows evil to prosper.
Jesus said, "I tell you that if these are silent, the stones will cry out! (Luke 19:40)
The Rev. Robert Tobin, Acting Director Sabeel, Jerusalem                                                                     

June, 2007
Robert W. Tobin
Acting Director
Sabeel Jerusalem
972 2 532 7136
054 221 9257
401 354 2848 (direct to cell from U.S.)

Gov. Charlie Crist: Interview in Jerusalem


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The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

© 1968, 2001 Kent M. Keith

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The age of warrior kings and of warrior presidents has passed. The nuclear age calls for a different kind of leadership....a leadership of intellect, judgment, tolerance and rationality, a leadership committed to human values, to world peace, and to the improvement of the human condition. The attributes upon which we must draw are the human attributes of compassion and common sense, of intellect and creative imagination, and of empathy and understanding between cultures."  - William Fulbright

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"On the day of the termination of the British mandate and on the strength of the United Nations General Assembly declare The State of Israel will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel: it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion it will guarantee freedom of religion [and] conscience and will be faithful to the Charter of the United Nations." - May 14, 1948. The Declaration of the Establishment of Israel
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