January 26th, 2013
10:00 PM ET

My Take: An American Jew finds MLK – and a new understanding – on the West Bank

Editor's note: Arri Eisen, PhD., is professor of pedagogy at Emory University’s Center for Ethics, Department of Biology and Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts. Carlton D. Mackey, who took the accompanying photographs, is the director of the Ethics & the Arts Initiative at the Emory University Center for Ethics.

By Arri Eisen, Special to CNN

Monday was Martin Luther King Day. Monday, Barack Obama was inaugurated president for the second time.

This was one of the few glimmers of hope held up by many of the Palestinians I met with at the turn of the year in the West Bank: “Who would have thought in Martin Luther King’s day that you would now have a black president? If that can happen in the U.S., then maybe one day there can be peace here.”

I spent 10 days in Jordan, Israel and the occupied territories on a “journey of reconciliation” my university sponsored, with a dozen other Americans — I the only Jew among them — meeting with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.

We met with Vera Baboun, the newly elected and first-ever female mayor of Bethlehem, a small city in the West Bank. The mayor told us she earned her degree in African-American literature at the Hebrew University; she was inspired by Toni Morrison and Alice Walker. Like many of the Palestinian political leaders in the West Bank, she is Christian. She is a mother of five; her husband was detained by the Israelis for three years and died soon after his release. Just outside her office, across the square, Jesus was born.

As we stand in the lobby saying goodbye to the mayor, a full-sized picture of Yasser Arafat, waving and smiling at me. In the world I grew up in, the late Palestinian leader was considered nothing but a Jew-killer, a terrorist.

Take everything that is good in humans and everything that is bad, mix it together, pour it in a vat of irony and then boil it down and stick it in one small area. This is the Middle East.

As we leave Bethlehem, the “separation barrier” — tall, thick concrete walls topped with gnarly wires cutting through the land like a knife — is on our left. On our right, says our guide, is the valley where the shepherds were told by the angels of Jesus’ birth. As we cross through the checkpoint, one of 500 in the West Bank, I turn and look back to see a huge red sign warning that it’s illegal for Israelis to enter Bethlehem – as well as dangerous to their lives.

I think of another sign we saw earlier that day. We had driven our bus up a good road that led to a settlement — full of Jews, surrounded by their own fence and guarded gate — and then took a ragged road as far as we could, up to the boulders strewn across it. We got out and walked the wind-whipped path to the Tent of Nations, 100 acres owned by Daoud, a Palestinian with a deed for this land that dates to 1916. The sign on entering Daoud’s property: “We refuse to be enemies.” He fights as MLK would; his right to the land has been tied up in the Israeli courts for more than two decades. When Daoud puts up tents for a summer camps he runs for kids from Bethlehem, he is issued demolition orders for them. He sees swimming pools in the settlements, but his water and electricity are cut off; he collects his own rain water and produces his own solar power.

These were not the stories I was told. I was raised in the classical Jewish American Zionist narrative of black and white, good and evil. Seeing the endless stream of evangelical Christians and Jews on birthright trips from all over the world touring through Jerusalem, I want to stop and shake them and tell them what they’re missing, what I wasn’t told.

It’s not that the Palestinians are angels. When the Israelis built the separation barriers, the suicide bombings terrorizing Israeli citizens stopped. I had dinner with an old friend, an American who had moved to Israel decades before. She spoke of gas masks and bomb shelters and of fear for her daughter, who is in the army guarding a West Bank settlement.

In Jerusalem, I walk out of the Church of the Nativity with our Palestinian guide Nabeel, one of 42 allowed to enter the city (on a six-month renewable permit). He walks with a limp. I tell him, “I now know three men with your name, one from Pakistan, one from Lebanon and now you.” He smiles. “What is your name again?” he asks. “I’m glad you’re on the trip. You know, in America, outside, I have Jewish friends, but here ...”

At the place where Jesus was buried, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, bells compete in aural space with Muslim prayers over loudspeakers. Our guide shows us a side entrance for black Christians who at one time weren’t allowed to use the main entrance. We take it and wind upward. On the roof of the church, here in the middle of the Old City of Jerusalem, a group of African monks has set up their own village!

At the Wailing Wall, small birds have taken up residence in a very resilient plant that grows from its ancient bricks. The birds look out at me, at the man holding his iPhone to the wall so a distant friend can pray into its mortar, at the Israeli soldiers completing their training and swearing to die for their country before this last remnant of the second Temple, at the masses of praying men and women — the women in a smaller area, separated from the men and further from the holiest part of the Wall. I am humbled. I turn and am struck by a huge sign advertising “bar mitzvahs at the Wall.” I wonder what the birds are thinking.

Many, Palestinians and Israelis, talk of how “things have gotten worse the last two years,” how peace is not even an issue in this week’s Israeli elections.

We meet with a group of young men and women calling themselves Kids for Peace: Palestinians, Christians, Jews, Israelis, Muslims. They get together regularly and share stories; they bring their parents together across the enmity formed by walls and fences. I see my son in them. The oldest one clears his throat. “We have peace in our veins,” he says, “We are changing people. We must listen to each other.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • History • Israel • Jerusalem • Judaism • Middle East • Palestinians

soundoff (453 Responses)
  1. truth be told

    All that is found on the west bank is a trespassing abomination . Israels boundary is from the wadi of Egypt to the Euphrates.

    January 27, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
    • AngryJew

      By trespassers you must be referring to the Jewish settlers that live on stolen Palestinian land. I am glad that we understand each other.

      February 22, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
  2. Chad

    Ahmadinejad: Destroy Israel, End Crisis

    The Associated Press
    Thursday, August 3, 2006; 10:49 AM
    PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Thursday the solution to the Middle East crisis is to destroy Israel. In a speech during an emergency meeting of Muslim leaders, Ahmadinejad also called for an immediate halt to fighting in Lebanon between Israel and the Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah.

    "Although the main solution is for the elimination of the Zionist regime, at this stage an immediate cease-fire must be implemented," he said.

    Ahmadinejad, who has drawn international condemnation with previous calls for Israel to be wiped off the map, said the Middle East would be better off "without the existence of the Zionist regime."

    Israel "is an illegitimate regime, there is no legal basis for its existence," he said.

    January 27, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • Mordecai

      The state of Israel has every right to exist. May God grant Israel peace and protection!

      January 27, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Did isreal have the right to exist in 1930?

      January 27, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
    • Mordecai

      richard cranie, History dates back to a period beyond AD just in case you didn't know that.

      January 27, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • Jonathan

      T Richard Cranium, aka Dick Head...Israel existed 5800 years ago!

      Try to wrap your dick head around that!

      January 27, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Neither of you answered the question.
      Isreal existed.
      isreal was wiped off the planet
      1948 A new nation was created and called isreal roughly where the first one was.
      In 1930, there was no isreal....did it have the right to exist in 1930?

      January 27, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • Chad

      Israel has always had the right to exist.

      Rights are granted by God

      January 27, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Get lost Chad,god doesn't grant anything, he can't he doesn't exist.
      Stick your nose elsewhere Chad

      January 27, 2013 at 4:56 pm |
    • Chad

      We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness

      - Declaration of Independence
      Continental Congress on July 4, 1776

      January 27, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      If we can't prove god exists than it's rather silly and pointless to claim that certain things must be a certain way because of him. That'd be like saying that nobody ever gets hit by lightening because Thor guarantees it.

      Also, if god does give rights, why are they so easily stripped of a person by another with enough power or authority?

      January 27, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      The forefathers were generally believers. That doesn't make what they said true, it just means they believed it.

      January 27, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • Free Nuts

      @chad repeated

      January 27, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
    • Flounder

      Chad, despite your persistent posts, it is readily apparent, and has been proven, that the Christian god cannot exist with the set of characteristics and the history that are commonly ascribed to it, such as in the book known as the bible. While the existence of a god or "creator" in a more general case is a separate matter, we do know that your particular god does not exist. You might do well to give that situation some additional thought.

      January 27, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
    • Flounder

      Richard Cranium, re your comment about the forefathers and their beliefs not being proof of existence of a deity, I fully agree with your point therein.

      January 27, 2013 at 5:10 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      chad reasons everything backwards. Rather than ponder the legitimate questions about why we feel the desire to ponder where we might "come from" and where we might "be going," he trusts implicitly his a priori position of the bible's god and all else damnation if it comes to that.

      January 27, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • Chad

      has been proven, that the Christian god cannot exist with the set of characteristics and the history that are commonly ascribed to it,

      that is a fascinating assertion!

      other than just saying it... do you have any actual evidence of it's truth?

      January 27, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • Jonathan

      Hey Dick Head-if we, as the US were conquered, and then we fought back to re-take our nation, would we be somehow a different nation?

      Truth is the Palestinians are not wanted by their brothers and sisters of neighboring nations. Their looked upon as less than human, but supported so that Israel will be wiped out...this way, they don't have to give homeland, and they have plenty to spare, to their fellow Arabs, the Palestinians.

      Remember, the Palestinians, as well as other Muslim crazy nations, were dancing in the streets when 3000 innocent Americans died in 9/11...one of which was a cousin of mine on the 106th floor of Tower 2...3 kids and a wife.

      F you

      January 27, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • AngryJew

      The state of Israel has every right to exist within its legally recognized borders. It also has the right not to spread terrorism to its neighbors. Israel has the right to stop stealing Palestinian land and to stop murdering Palestinian people. It has the right not to invade its neighbors like Lebanon and Syria and it has the right to show respect so that it too is respected.

      February 3, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Chad, You're the one making claims about a god, you're the one that needs to provide evidence of that god and its characteristics – not just the "the bible says so".

      February 22, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
  3. bribarian

    israel = apartheid

    January 27, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • Mohammed

      Palestinian and Muslims = Nazis

      January 27, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
  4. Brampt

    What's the point of killing just to get land if in 100 years all these people will be dead anyways??

    January 27, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
  5. Reality

    Why Israel needs more Conservative Jews:

    origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

    New Torah For Modern Minds

    “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. (prob•a•bly
    Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell).

    The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation."

    See more details on p. 4.

    January 27, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • Jonathan

      Really? So Jesus sat at the Last Supper celebrating Passover for no reason? Seems to shoot down BOTH religious stories...

      January 27, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
    • Reality

      The Last Supper? It was not an historic event. See http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php/016_Supper_and_Eucharist

      An excerpt:

      "At the same time, Luedemann concludes that the portrayal of Jesus celebrating such a ritual on the night before his death is not historical. He is clear that there is "no generic relationship" between any actual final meal and the Lord's Supper understood in cultic terms. He also denies the Passover character of the supper as a Markan creation. Like Meier (below), Luedemann does accept the saying (Mark 14:25) about drinking wine in the kingdom of God as authentic. He concludes: (this saying) "hardly came into being in the early community, for in it Jesus does not exercise any special function for believers at the festal meal in heaven which is imminent. Only Jesus' expectation of a the future kingdom of God stands at the centre, not Jesus as saviour, judge or intercessor."

      January 27, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
  6. My2bits

    Excellent smarter than u....."the sons of the bond women are greater than the free women" ismael was the illegitimate son of Abraham and Isaac was the promised son from Sarah. Islam is a distraction. The real threat is from the city on 7 hills.Rome the beast that was wounded Roman Empire and rose again Roman Catholic church. She will rule the world for a brief time.

    January 27, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
  7. Alain

    Everyone on here complains about Palestinians, but blatantly ignore the atrocities and injustices Israel repeatedly commits.

    January 27, 2013 at 3:27 pm |
    • Truth

      You don't read the comments, do you?

      January 27, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • bannister

      They also miss another point: Immigration hypocrisy.

      Jews want Israel to be a homeland for the Jews. That's just fine with me. But those very same Jews also America to be a multicultural polyglot nation with open borders. And any idea that white people should ALSO have a homeland is met with cries of Nazi! Nazi! Nazi!

      This is hypocritical and it needs to end.

      January 27, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • Jonathan

      Why doesn't their brotherand, the Muslims, of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, etc etc give them LAND of their own? They have plenty to spare.

      The West Bank and Gaza (as well as the Golan Heights, which was returned to Egypt in exchange for peace) were taken after Israel was ATTACKED BY SURPRISE by 6 Arab countries...1967 6 Day War...6 days! Yeah, the Israelis took land from their attackers...in 6 DAYS!! Amazing....

      Truth is the Arab countries don't WANT the Palestinians.....they just want Israel gone so the Palestinians can stay away from their countries. I wonder why??

      Israel will defend herself...from Scud missiles from the south, and the other lunatics surrounding her. There's a reason the Arabs don't attack....they KNOW BETTER!!

      January 27, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
  8. Liel

    We pray for Peace in Israel.

    January 27, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • Damocles

      How's that working?

      January 27, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • Mordecai

      State of Israel has every right to exist. Reconciliation is possible when the tyrants recognize this fact and stop terrorizing the Israelis

      January 27, 2013 at 3:32 pm |
    • AngryJew

      Israel will never know peace until it returns all the land it has stolen.

      February 22, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
  9. Rick

    The Palestinians simply hope to "out-baby" the Israelis by having as many children as possible. That's the basic goal of islamics, have enough children and you don't have to fight your enemy, there won't be any enemy left because they're not having as many children as you.

    January 27, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      If Netanyahu gets the single state that he wants, no doubt he'll have some way to avoid that issue – gerrymandering or apartheid

      February 22, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
  10. bill constantine

    All this is brought forth by religion what does that tell you.. Think for your self..Why is it that you die at a certain age..Some animals have a certain life span..Every one dies..WHY...If some one dropped an Atomic Bomb on this place then an other genaration will come with the same beliefs..STOP and THINK....

    January 27, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
  11. self hating jew

    Israel is an occupational force in Palestine, Israelis have taken a population and put them into two concentration camps and resemble the ideas that Nazi Germany expressed. Thinking of Palestinians as less than human, control of food, water and gas. The solution to this problem and all others created by Israel is gone. it was to never had allowed the creation of Israel in the first place. Jews needed to assimilate into Europe after World War II. There is a reason that Jews are some of the most hated people.

    January 27, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • No True Jew...

      Is self-loathing something Jews are subject to?

      January 27, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
    • Jonathan

      It's obvious by your own name that you not only hate yourself, but also hate your fellow JEWISH human beings.

      The Jewish people are the "chosen people." What we were chosen for is anyone's guess. However, the Irish have a homeland, the Scottish have a homeland, the Catholics have the Vatican, the Muslims have most of the Middle East. Israel existed far longer than the Secular calendar shows. Israel has the right to exist....as it did 5800 years ago. It was taken over and over, just to be taken back by the JEWS, as you say (and I HATE that term as I hate the N word). If akdeninjadidjahdad wants to wipe Israel off the map, he will have a MAJOR problem...the fact that the Jewsh people will NEVER stop defending themselves. Even after Hitler tried, the Jewish people will exist....and so will their homeland.

      If your are self hating, so be it. But, if a Hitler comes your way, he won't care......kill the Jew is what he'll do.

      Live with that fact, you a**hole.

      January 27, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
  12. atlas

    The most painful book to read is jewish bible after genesis. Sometimes God works and Sometimes it doesn't work.

    January 27, 2013 at 2:23 pm |
    • Science

      Evolution won in the Dover court trial. ID/creation can not be taught in public schools in US.. Moving forward, take a blood test map your genes.
      The talking snake does not work.
      Creationists' tactics also have a more profound impact on science education which goes beyond biology because they communicate the idea that there is something lacking or something wrong with evolutionary theory, an idea which is not actually true from a scientific standpoint. This causes students to develop very mistaken beliefs about the nature of science, the scientific method, and how scientific research is used. This cheats students out of the proper science education which they deserve.

      Attempts to use the law to restrict or dilute the teaching of evolution in public schools matters because science matters. As society relies more and more heavily on science and technology on ever more fundamental levels, it becomes increasingly more important that all citizens receive a proper grounding in science and the scientific method. Science education is becoming a key part of what it means to be a well-informed and well-educated citizen of today; therefore, any effort to temper science education in order to placate a vocal religious group cheats the students, cheats society, and cheats our future.

      January 27, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
  13. Chad

    If for some bizarre reason you are still uncertain as to the source of the problem in the middle east, just ask yourself two easy questions:

    1. If all the Arabs in the middle east were to destroy all their weapons tomorrow, what would happen?
    2. If all the Israelis in the middle east were to destroy all their weapons tomorrow, what would happen?

    Answer to question #1: peace in the middle east.
    Answer to question #2: every Israeli would be killed withing 3 days.

    and, there's your answer to the source of the problem.

    January 27, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • Yvonne

      You're a complete moron if you think it's that simple.

      January 27, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • Science

      @chad they have beemn trying to reply but the filter prevents the written form on what the printed. to you .
      Go figure

      Keepers at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington DC have taught their Orangutans to use iPads as part of the Apps for Apes initiative which was started by a non-profit organization, Orangutan Outreach.


      News & Politics

      January 27, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • Christian

      He is a complete moron.

      January 27, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Looks like Chad has asked and answered the Jewish Question. He is a bit of a fascist – wanted to cleanse his America of non-theists (by self-deportation, but this sounds more sinister).

      January 27, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Chad thinks everything is "that simple." It's because HE'S that simple.

      January 27, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
    • Akira

      More c/p rhetoric. Tiring.

      January 27, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • AngryJew

      1. What would happen if Israelis stopped stealing Palestinian land and returned what they have stolen?

      answer: The Palestinians would not have an excuse to attack Israelis.

      January 27, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • S-3B Viking

      @ Chad...

      Aw, Chad...I really wanted to believe that you have something of value to say, thematically, in all of your posts and yet I keep stubbing my toe against your arrogance, lack of thinking outside the confines of your own presuppositions (remember how Francis Schaeffer talked so much about presuppositions?) and your self-preservation style of wishful thinking whether your are arguing about the resurrection or world history.

      I'm not surprised by the naivette...I am saddened by the lack of humility that your scriptures demands.

      In sum, the "life" you present here confirms what the lives of so many of the Body of Christ confirm for me...that your God does not exist.

      And in light of previous conversations, I will remind you that Matthew 25:31ff applies to your life as a believer, Chad...I don't see you making any effort to position yourself as a Righ-Hand sheep...but that is in keeping with the over-abundance small thinking done by the vast majority of Evangelicals...and the testimony to their lack of integrity.

      I wish you well, Chad

      January 27, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • S-3B Viking

      @ Akira...

      Hi, Akira...it was very good to see that Apple Bush is okay...hope you are having a resful weekend.

      January 27, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • Michael Darci

      angry jewe-Who stole whose land? you might wanna take a lesson on history before spouting nonsense.
      For the rest of the idiots it is nice to live outside Israel and attack Israel isn't?

      January 27, 2013 at 2:57 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      All Islamists destroying all their weapons would not bring peace in the Middle East.

      January 27, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • Chad loves dishonest argumentation

      If you want to actually understand it, Chud, ask yourself "was there a problem before the Zionists grabbed Palestine and created Israel?"

      January 27, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      I'm not sure you can call something "love" if it's all you can do. Does the addict "love" his behavior or is it just impossible for him to act any other way?

      January 27, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • Chad

      Is anyone really surprised that the vast majority of atheists seem to be anti-Israeli?
      Wonder why 🙂

      Regarding "stealing"

      Probably news to most, if not all, anti-Israeli atheists, and I doubt you'll bother reading it, but just in case:
      On 29 November 1947, the United Nations General As sembly recommended the adoption and implementation of the United Nations parti tion plan of Mandatory Palestine. On 14 May 1948 David Ben-Gurion, the Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization[8] and president of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, declared "the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel, to be known as the State of Israel," a state independent upon the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine, 15 May 1948.[9][10][11] Neighboring Arab states invaded the next day in support of the Palestinian Arabs. Israel has since fought several wars with neighboring Arab states,[12] in the course of which it has occupied the West Bank, Sinai Peninsula (between 1967 and 1982), Gaza St rip and the Golan Heights. Portions of these territories, including East Jerusalem, have been annexed by Israel, but the border with the neighboring West Bank has not yet been permanently defined.[neutrality is disputed][13][14][15][16][17] Israel has signed peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, but ef forts to resolve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict have so far not resulted in peace.

      the part I love about debating atheists, is that the historical facts are always on there 🙂

      January 27, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Ah, there's Chad. Using your Ugly American persona, eh?

      January 27, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • Free Nuts


      January 27, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • S-3B Viking

      True Christian courage can be found among those who are wise enough to see the whole picture; not the immaturity of supporting Israel only because their political interpretations of the bible require it.

      However, Wisdom (despite the admonition of Proverbs) is consp icuous by its absence among Evangelicals.

      January 27, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • Chad

      Iran’s Call for the Destruction of Israel

      October 30, 2005

      At a conference in Tehran on Wednesday ent itled “The World without Zionism,” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for Israel to be “wiped off the map.” “The establishment of the Zionist regime was a move by the world oppressor against the Islamic world,” he added. He also denounced moves by some Arab states to recognize Israel or normalize relations with it.

      January 27, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      History is written by the winners. The losing sides story often gets lost and obscured. The documentary Occupation 101 reveals the Palestinian side and covers information few Americans have ever heard.

      January 27, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Chad

      Hamas Reminder: Our Goal is Israel’s Destruction

      While Hamas welcomed a UN vote to recognize “Palestine” on Thursday, on the same day it issued a statement rejecting the UN’s famous Resolution 181, in which the world body voted in favor of a plan to recognize two states in what was then British Mandatory Palestine – one Arab, and one Jewish.

      The Arab world rejected the plan and attacked the fledgling Jewish state – an approach which led to Israel growing in size, while Egypt and Jordan seized the rest of the land in the former British mandate.

      Hamas’ Thursday statement indicated that its approach to the “problem” of Israel has not changed. “The Palestinian people will not recognize the resolution and will not legitimate the Zionist occupation of the history land of Palestine,” it declared.

      The “land of Palestine” extends “from the sea to the river, from the north to south of the land,” it added. The land “will not be divided with anyone,” the group insisted.

      The Hamas terrorist group rules over Gaza, which is home to an estimated 40% of the population the Palestinian Authority claims as "Palestinian." Its goal for that population, it said, remains to “return” them to their “home” inside Israel. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has similarly claimed commitment to the goal of "return."

      As usual, Hamas declared, “The only way to free all of Palestine and return the stolen lands is through battle.”

      While an outsider may sense that Hamas’ approach of waging war on Israel has not worked out well for it, the terrorist group insisted that it has won “huge victories” that “overwhelmingly” prove war is the answer. It claimed “the expulsion of the occupier from the Gaza strip in 2005, the victory in the war of salvation [Operation Cast Lead] in 2009, the deal of obligation to the free men [Shalit prisoner swap] in 2011 and the victory in Sijil [Pillar of Defense] in 2012” as proof.

      January 27, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • AtheistSteve


      January 27, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • Bob

      One almost has to wonder why atheists attack one religion the most? why do they target Christianity? They feel powerless against the islamist.It must be the battle of Holy Vs. Evil

      January 27, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • Science

      @ chad

      Maybe you should go meet your god(s) in the new F -35 fighter plane as a country we do not need at a cost of over a billion
      dollars a piece.

      Designed to take lives period
      NOT GOOD

      January 27, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I'm not "anti-Israel," Chard. I'm anti-stupid-oversimplification. You're a prime practi tioner.

      January 27, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • Chad

      "over simplification" seems to always boil down to: "if Israel would just go away, so would the problem"

      January 27, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
    • Richard

      You are correct! I still pray for peace in the Middle East. However, I am aware that Assad has murdered 60,000 of his own people in Syria. I am aware that many Arab Christians have requested incorporation into Israel. I am aware that Israel is the only country in that area of the world that provides for freedom of religion.

      January 27, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Well, yes, that would be over-simplification, Chard, you bonehead. That's why no one else is making that kind of asinine statement. You, on the other hand, are.

      January 27, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
    • Jonathan

      I'm with Chad....

      It's amazing...even the FACTS can't sway the anti-Zionist and anti-Jewish minds.

      Remember, "ZION" was the last human place on Earth in "The Matrix"

      Zion is NOT a bad word....nor is Liberal

      All you Jew haters can kiss my fat, hairy Jewish a** in Macy's window at lunch time...in Manhattan


      January 27, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
    • Jonathan

      I'm with Chad...

      RE-read his facts

      Angry Jew...redirect your ANGER.......and find a way to RESOLVE it...maybe the Palestinians could take that advice as well.

      January 27, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
  14. Smarter than U

    Nobody can live with the Muslims no matter where they are on the earth. Wherever there is a significant Muslim population there is conflicts of varying degrees.

    Taken from the book; "Slavery, Terrorism and Islam: The Historical Roots and Contemporary Threat" of Dr. Peter Hammond
    As long as the Muslim population remains around or under 2% in any given country, they will for the most part be regarded as a "peace-loving" minority, and not as a threat to other citizens. This is the case in:
    the U.S. — 0.6%; Australia — 1.5%; Canada – 1.9%; China — 1.8%; Italy — 1.5%; Norway — 1.8%.
    At 2% – 5%, they begin to proselytize from other ethnic minorities and disaffected groups, often with major recruiting from the jails and among street gangs. This is happening in:
    Denmark — 2%; Germany — 3.7%; the UK — 2.7%; Spain — 4%; Thailand — 4.6%.
    From 5% +, they exercise an inordinate influence in proportion to their percentage of the population. For example, they will push for the introduction of halal (clean by Islamic standards) food, thereby securing food preparation jobs for Muslims. They will increase pressure on supermarket chains to feature halal on their shelves – along with threats for failure to comply. This is occurring in:
    France — 8%;Philippines — 5%; Sweden — 5%; Switzerland — 4.3%;The Netherlands — 5.5%; Trinidad & Tobago — 5.8%.
    At this point, they will work to get the ruling government to allow them to rule themselves (within their ghettos) under Sharia, the Islamic Law. The ultimate goal of Islamists is to establish Sharia law over the entire world.
    When Muslims approach 10% + of the population, they tend to increase lawlessness as a means of complaint about their conditions. In Paris, we are already seeing car-burnings. Any non-Muslim action offends Islam, and results in uprisings and threats, such as in Amsterdam, with opposition to Mohammed cartoons and films about Islam. Such tensions are seen daily, particularly in Muslim sections in:
    Guyana — 10%;India — 13.4%;Israel — 16%;Kenya — 10%;Russia — 15%.
    After reaching 20% +, nations can expect hair-trigger rioting, jihad militia formations, sporadic killings, and the burnings of Christian churches and Jewish synagogues, such as in:
    Ethiopia — 32.8%.
    At 40% +, nations experience widespread massacres, chronic terror attacks, and ongoing militia warfare, such as in:
    Bosnia — 40%;Chad — 53.1%;Lebanon — 59.7%.
    From 60% +, nations experience unfettered persecution of non-believers of all other religions (including non-conforming Muslims), sporadic ethnic cleansing (genocide), use of Sharia Law as a weapon, and Jizya, the tax placed on infidels, such as in:
    Albania — 70%;Malaysia — 60.4%;Qatar — 77.5%;Sudan — 70%.
    After 80% +, expect daily intimidation and violent jihad, some State-run ethnic cleansing, and even some genocide, as these nations drive out the infidels, and move toward 100% Muslim, such as has been experienced and in some ways is on-going in:
    Bangladesh — 83%;Egypt — 90%;Gaza — 98.7%;Indonesia — 86.1%;Iran — 98%;Iraq — 97%;Jordan — 92%;Morocco — 98.7%;Pakistan — 97%;Palestine — 99%;Syria — 90%;Tajikistan — 90%;Turkey — 99.8%;UAE — 96%.
    100% will usher in the peace of ‘Dar-es-Salaam’ — the Islamic House of Peace. Here there’s supposed to be peace, because everybody is a Muslim, the Madrasses are the only schools, and Quran is the only word, such as in:
    Afghanistan — 100%;Saudi Arabia — 100%;Somalia — 100%;Yemen — 100%..
    Unfortunately, peace is never achieved, as in these 100% Muslim states the most radical Muslims intimidate and spew hatred, and satisfy their blood lust by killing less radical Muslims, for a variety of reasons.......

    January 27, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • boyamidumb

      Radical Christians, Jews, Muslims, Republicans, Democrats, Nazis, Mormons, pot smokers, gun owners, gun control advocates, abortion advocates, anti-abortionists, communists, socialists, Notre Dame fans, Oakland Raider fans, golfers - they ALL stand in the way of rational thinking and action. Among every group you will find the corrupt and insane, the personally ambitious and the troublemakers.

      If you listen to them, then they control the world as they seem to at any given moment. If you laugh at them, and block them with the fact that the vast, vast majority of us are NOT radicals, but want to live, let live and enjoy this amazing planet we have found ourselves upon – then they have no power. The old term was "silent majority" and though that was political rhetoric, it is true. We are silent. We need to stand when the crazies rise up, and crush them with our indifference, and unwillingness to be caught up in giving them attention. If necessary, take the action that is required to block them – but be careful, today's radical can be seen as tomorrows hero because they were correct. Examine what is being said objectively, NOT subjectively and determine if it is something that helps us all or hurts a minority to the advantage of a few.

      All of your numbers may be real, they the radicals may not be the problem, it may be the disaffected we create by our ignorance and silence in protecting them and defending them when it is right.

      January 27, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
  15. TheAntiChrist

    Stop praying and kissing a bunch of stone! Whats the matter with you?

    January 27, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
  16. lionlylamb


    January 27, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
  17. Akbar

    Apartheid is race-based segregation, and race-based access to political and economic power, inflicted by one race upon another. The two essential examples are South Africa for much of the 20th century, and Israel (on Palestinian land it invaded and conquered in 1967) to the present day.

    January 27, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • Ummmm

      It can also be:
      – A policy or practice of separating or segregating groups.
      – The condition of being separated from others.

      January 27, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • steve

      Arabs in Israel have full rights by law; not apartheid.

      January 27, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • Smarter than U

      Hey Schumbar, who invaded whom in 1967?

      January 27, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • Jonathan

      Invaded? Get your history straight there, pal...

      Israel was ATTACKED by 6 friggin countries....and they whooped their a**es...and took land as a buffer zone.

      Israel existed 5800 years ago....way before the Palestinians, who are REJECTED by their fellow Arabs. They just want Israel gone so the Palestinians stay out of their countries.

      Too bad you're ignorant to the FACTS

      January 27, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
  18. FSM

    Try Pastafarianism for thirty days. If you're not satisfied with our religion after that period, we guarantee your old god(s) will take you back.

    I pray that you are Touched by His Noodly Appendage,

    January 27, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
  19. lionlylamb


    January 27, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
  20. Don't Believe in Bigfoot, Explain Patrick Ewing

    Apartheid at it's finest.

    January 27, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • Thinker23

      What is "apartheid"?

      January 27, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • .

      Thinker23 = UncouthSwain = Lycidas = EndBeginning

      January 27, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • Thinker23

      Well, it seems that my question generated a couple of pretty intelligent responses from those eager to explain what is 'apartheid'... Anyone else?

      January 27, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • gary

      It ought to just stick with the "uncouth" since it's thinking ability is severely compromised.

      January 27, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • JustForFun


      January 27, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • Mohammed

      Muslim terrorists are Nazis.

      January 27, 2013 at 4:32 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.