Anti-Israel Methodists

Methodist Panel Laments “Horrific Assault on Gaza” by “Apartheid” Israel

Kennedy Lee on May 13, 2021

A webinar hosted by the Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA) and United Methodists for Kairos Response (UMKR), originally titled “Waking the World to Israeli Apartheid,” further focused on blaming and condemning Israel for retaliating against the more than 1,300 rockets launched into the nation from the Hamas-ruled Gaza strip just this week.

Hamas is a militant group on the United States’ list of designated terrorist organizations. Hamas receives its financial aid, weapons, and training from Iran. During the webinar, panelists lamented Israel and Gaza being compared as “equal parts” in the media and discourse, not because Gaza is under control of a terrorist organization, but because of unequal power dynamics between the two.

Although panelists repeatedly referred to Israel as an apartheid state, MFSA Executive Director Bridget Cabrera began the event by insisting that the webinar was a safe space in which “we do not tolerate any sort of hate speech.”

“We didn’t know when we planned this that it was going to be in the middle of sets of Israeli violations,” proclaimed Phyllis Bennis, fellow at the Institute for Palestine Studies. Bennis asserted that the current hot conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza “takes place in the context of ongoing settler expansion, colonialism, and apartheid.”

Bennis further insisted that Israel “chose” this specific time to attack Gaza for political, strategic, and military reasons. In reality, Hamas launched the first rockets into Israel on Monday.

MFSA and UMKR were hopeful earlier this year that the incoming Biden Administration, with the help of vocal new Members of Congress, would take harsher actions against Israel. Bennis, however, expressed disappointment with the new administration in changing U.S. policy on the matter.

“Until Biden reverses those [President Trump’s] policies, his commitment to human rights cannot be taken seriously,” stated Bennis in relation to former President Trump’s moves such as recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Despite this disappointment, she asserted that “there has been a huge change, partly because of new Members of Congress who came in who are Palestinian rights champions.” Bennis also referenced prominent members of the Christian Left, including Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor the Rev. William Barber, who are “now calling this apartheid.”

After Bennis cited the need for Gaza to be “a testing ground for Israeli weapons” as one of the reasons Israel “chose for this to happen now,” panelist Philip Farah, co-founder of Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace (PCAP), declared that Gaza is “also a testing ground for American weapons.”

Farah furthermore shared Bennis’ view of Israel being an apartheid state. He maintained that apartheid and settler colonialism “are the foundations of the Israeli state.”

Although Bennis praised clergy like Barber for their anti-Israel views, Farah expressed disappointment in the “church establishment” for its statements on this week’s events.

Specifically, Farah stated that he was “stunned” by a sermon that Pope Francis gave in the Vatican this week in which he stated in his homily that the “two sides should come together and find an agreement.”

“It’s like asking the wolf and the sheep to come together and find an agreement,” declared Farah.

When asked by moderator Jim Nibbelink of the UMKR steering committee what activists can do to help the situation, Bennis proclaimed that “it’s about stopping this horrific assault on Gaza. That’s what can be done today.”

Many prominent U.S. politicians, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, have expressed their support for Israel’s ongoing fight against Hamas.

“To be very clear, we strongly condemn the rocket attacks out of Gaza that are targeting innocent Israeli civilians, and Israel has a right to defend itself,” stated Blinken.

On Tuesday, UMKR co-sponsored a rally at the State Department over Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem, a decades-long legal case which was postponed by the Israeli Supreme Court Sunday.

Farah cited the rally as evidence that the movement is doing “extremely well” at the grassroots level, as he was “surprised” by the number of participants, especially young people, who came to speak out against Israeli policy and put pressure on U.S. decision makers.

  1. Comment by David on May 13, 2021 at 6:23 am

    The Nakba, or “catastrophe” in Arabic, need not refer only to the more than 700,000 Palestinians who were expelled or fled in terror during Israel’s founding. It can also evoke the many expulsions that have occurred since: the about 300,000 Palestinians whom Israel displaced when it conquered the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967; the roughly 250,000 Palestinians who could not return to the West Bank and Gaza after Israel revoked their residency rights between 1967 and 1994; the hundreds of Palestinians whose homes Israel demolished in 2020 alone. The East Jerusalem evictions are so combustible because they continue a pattern of expulsion that is as old as Israel itself.

    Among Palestinians, Nakba is a household word. But for Jews — even many liberal Jews in Israel, America and around the world — the Nakba is hard to discuss because it is inextricably bound up with Israel’s creation. Without the mass expulsion of Palestinians in 1948, Zionist leaders would have had neither the land nor the large Jewish majority necessary to create a viable Jewish state. — Peter Beinart of “Jewish Currents”

  2. Comment by Jeff on May 13, 2021 at 10:15 am

    “…the Nakba is hard to discuss because it is inextricably bound up with Israel’s creation. Without the mass expulsion of Palestinians in 1948 yadda yadda..”

    Utter nonsense. Israel was not created in 1948. The LORD our GOD made a covenant gift of all of the Levant — *more* than the current nation of Israel now occupies — some four thousand years ago.

    The covenants of Yahweh are FOREVER.

    The philistines, ancient or modern, neither own nor are entitled to possess even one square inch of it, except as sojourners at the pleasure of the Israelites, the chosen people of GOD.

    And if they act in the manner of an army in opposition to Israel, they ought to be destroyed as such.

  3. Comment by Tracy on May 13, 2021 at 11:40 am

    Countries that do not stand with Israel, God’s Covenant people, will surely be not be in God’s favor. I greatly fear where the ungodly United States and several so called Christians are heading in this path they are choosing. May God forgive us!

  4. Comment by Phil on May 13, 2021 at 1:28 pm


    And what do you think the Palestinians are entitled to? Homelessness, perpetual exile, second-class citizenship? Why? They weren’t the ones who forced the Israelites off the land. The Romans did. After the Roman Empire had converted to Christianity it would have had ample opportunity to give the land back to the Jews. But they didn’t because they were too busy tearing down synagogues everywhere to build more churches. It’s funny how when Christians really had the power and the right to give the land back they never did. Funny how Christians didn’t seem to think the land belonged to Jews back around 500 when Jerusalem and Galilee were full of churches instead of mosques. Instead waited until someone else had been living on it for over a millennium. And Palestinians weren’t the ones who demonstrated to the entire world the necessity of a Jewish State by trying to wipe them off from the face of the earth. The Nazis did. It would seem Christians are fairly comfortable making other people pay for their sins against the Jews.

    I’m in favor of a two-state solution. It won’t undo all the injustices committed against both Israelis and Palestinians, but it’s the only hope for lasting peace and only solution that doesn’t leave one or both sides drowning in other’s blood.

  5. Comment by David on May 13, 2021 at 1:40 pm

    “The land is not to be permanently sold because it is Mine, and you are only aliens and temporary residents on My land.” Lev 25:23 —Doesn’t sound much of a gift of land to me.

  6. Comment by Marta Shafer on May 13, 2021 at 1:51 pm

    Wow…the acerbity on this comment section reveals the deep anger and hatred over this matter. The Palestinians are wrong, the Christians are wrong, the Jews are wrong according to the posts.

  7. Comment by Jeff on May 13, 2021 at 3:30 pm

    So you despise both Christians AND Jews, eh Phil? Nothing but secular humanism for you, right?

    But get real with that two-state canard. The philistines don’t WANT their own state. If they did they would negotiate in good faith instead of acting like the murderous thugs that they are.

    No, all the Palis want are dead Jews. Lots and lots of dead Jews. And a map with NO Israel
    on it at all. They already have such a map drawn up. They teach it to their kids.

    And guess what? Their mohameddan brothers don’t want THEM. Wonder why?

  8. Comment by David on May 13, 2021 at 3:46 pm

    Here is an interesting article from the Guardian (UK).

  9. Comment by Phil on May 13, 2021 at 7:21 pm


    So according to you if I don’t despite the Palestinians, I must I despise the Jews? I follow the teachings of a devout 1st-Century Jew and am proud to. I’ve also been blessed to learn a great deal from my friendships and relationships with contemporary Children of Israel, many of whom also support a two-state solution by the way and would never try to dissuade me from feeling compassion for the Palestinians. My Christian faith demands that compassion of me as it does you. Jesus didn’t just tell us to love the people who look and pray like him. My faith doesn’t allow me to despise anyone. It’s shame you think yours does.

  10. Comment by Jeff on May 13, 2021 at 9:28 pm

    Where do you get your twisted logic, Phil? Oh yeah. ProgMeth. Nevermind.

    I don’t despise the Palis, nor do I demand that you despise them. You made those assertions up out of whole cloth.

    I DO utterly despise their Eph. 6 principality (Hamas) and I refuse to falsely condemn Israel for *Pali* sins like the ProgMeth left does. And if the Palis continue to make war on Israel, the rightful possessor of the land, they get what they get and it’s tough to feel all that sorry for them.

  11. Comment by Phil on May 13, 2021 at 10:02 pm


    You’re the one who accused me without evidence of despising Jews and Christians without evidence. I am a Christian so that’s basically accusing me of self-hatred and I’d be sorry to learn that I’ve ever given any Jewish person reason to think I despise them. On the contrary, if anything I’m guilty of what one former Jewish professor of mine called “holy envy” toward Judaism. I admire Judaism in all its beauty, wisdom, and vitality. I affirm it both for the many gifts and influences it has had on my own faith, but also for its own unique character and expressions.

    And if you find it tough to feel compassion or pity for someone, I suggest you look to the Cross.

  12. Comment by Jeff on May 14, 2021 at 7:04 am

    “After the Roman Empire had converted to Christianity it would have had ample opportunity to give the land back to the Jews. But they didn’t because they were too busy tearing down synagogues everywhere to build more churches. It’s funny how when Christians really had the power and the right to give the land back they never did. Funny how Christians didn’t seem to think the land belonged to Jews back around 500 when Jerusalem and Galilee were full of churches instead of mosques. ”

    Those are YOUR words, Phil. Which prompted me to QUESTION (not accuse!) whether you despise both Jews and Christians. And I still do question. Because you ProgMeths are basically pagan humanist weather vanes, blowing in the wind of the culture.

    In other news, Israel finally had enough of the belligerent thuggery of the Palis and put the IDF on the ground in Gaza. Join me in praying for the safety and effectiveness of the IDF and their loved ones back home. Also pray for the philistine innocents — while the IDF goes out of its way to avoid collateral casualties, the philistine murderers are known for the tactic of placing THEIR women and children in harm’s way as “human shields”.

  13. Comment by Mike on May 14, 2021 at 8:50 am

    For the first twenty years of Israel’s existence, the Israelis and the Palestinians got along fine. It was after the war in 1967 that the various Arab nations started egging the Palestinians on to cause trouble. The Arab nations, especially Saudi Arabia with all her wealth, could easily take care of the Palestinians, but have not chosen, and today Iran is the leading nation financing the war on the Palestinian side.

    As far as ownership of the land, as has been pointed out, God owns it, and He has decided that the Israelis are to occupy it. The Bible clearly says so.

  14. Comment by Phil on May 14, 2021 at 9:50 am


    I only pointed out that when Christendom actually had the power to restore the Jews to the land, they did not do so. It’s very easy for us Christians to act self-righteous today and throw scripture at the current conflict now even though historically we Christians did not recognize their claims to the land until very recently and were guilty of all manner of sins against the Jews.

  15. Comment by Both eyes Open on May 14, 2021 at 11:56 am


    You do understand that in 1948 and 1973 the people who ‘fled’ were told to evacuate by their Arab brothers because wars of extermination against the Jews in Palestine/Israel were about to begin. While beauty is in the eyes of the beholder one cannot close your eyes to the realty of what happened then, and what is happening now.

    BTW, how do you deal with the fact that ever since Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip and Egypt has tried for years to limit people going back to Gaza that it has become an armed camp of military hardware and impoverished people in spite of the billions of dollars poured into the local government from all over the world? How do you explain how such a peace-loving people as Hamas hide military hardware including missiles in schools, hospitals, and residential areas? How do you explain the ‘fire balloons’ sent over the border into Israel torching productive farm land? How do you explain the massive, decades-long project of digging large assault tunnels from Gaza into Israel?

    I know, it’s only been 15 years since Israel with drew 20 settlements from Gaza, but the oppressors are gone. Wouldn’t you think that eventually Hamas would stop trying to kill Jews and make war on Israel, or stop piling up massive stockpiles of weaponry for an invasion that isn’t going to happen? Or, is it that I do not understand how such anger is justified?

    Since I may not understand why this is going on, please help me understand. Please tell me why a legal dispute in Lod that has been ongoing for decades is of such importance that Hamas can light off at least 1500 short-range missiles and who know how much other weaponry to attack Israel and Israelis blamed for the violence?

    In conclusion, your statement is a grand mythology with possibly a kernel of truth in it. But then you get you get opinions honestly, the political and social left has been anti-Semitic and anti-Israel for a long time. If I mistaken, please show me where I am in error.

  16. Comment by Wayne on May 14, 2021 at 6:13 pm

    I HIGHLY recommend this very short read book. Christians really need to understand their Jewish roots.

  17. Comment by David on May 15, 2021 at 6:23 am

    Letter of David Ben Gurion to son Amos in 1937:

    “Does the establishment of a Jewish state [in only part of Palestine] advance or retard the conversion of this country into a Jewish country? My assumption (which is why I am a fervent proponent of a state, even though it is now linked to partition) is that a Jewish state on only part of the land is not the end but the beginning…. This is because this increase in possession is of consequence not only in itself, but because through it we increase our strength, and every increase in strength helps in the possession of the land as a whole. The establishment of a state, even if only on a portion of the land, is the maximal reinforcement of our strength at the present time and a powerful boost to our historical endeavors to liberate the entire country.”— Letter as translated by the “Journal of Palestine Studies”

    Essentially, Israel has been at war with the Palestinians since day one.

  18. Comment by Mike on May 15, 2021 at 8:57 am

    “Essentially, Israel has been at war with the Palestinians since day one.” As I pointed out above, The Israelis and the Palestinians got along fine originally. It seems to have been only after the 1967 war that the Palestinians started making trouble, egged on by other Arab entities who used them to make trouble for Israel.

  19. Comment by Phil on May 15, 2021 at 11:07 am


    That’s not really true. The fighting began all the way back in 1948 when Israel was founded and there were frequent attacks along the Gaza Strip throughout the 50s snd 60s. I don’t know if there’s any period in their history since 48 where they “got along fine.”

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