Religious conviction and a sense of history convince me that the systematic marginalization, bullying and oppression of any people on the basis of ethnicity or religion is morally wrong and a source of injurious and often unforeseen consequences. Zionism has been used to legitimate the decades-old and ongoing abuse of the Palestinian people. As such, this nationalist ideology may be regarded as an obstacle to meaningful peace and reconciliation. It’s therefore an appropriate object of critical analysis.
For these reasons I’m pleased that my Presbyterian congregation will be using the study guide “Zionism Unsettled” in a class this spring. (This is the study guide referenced in a front-page report in the Feb. 23 Post-Gazette, “Presbyterian Stances Roil Relations With Jews.”) I proposed the class and will be helping to lead the discussion.
The Post-Gazette reported on Sunday that representatives of the Pittsburgh Presbytery met recently with local Jewish leaders. In that meeting, said the Rev. Sheldon Sorge, general minister to the presbytery, participants rediscovered “fundamental agreement that the Palestinian situation is intolerable as it is and needs to be corrected.” I share that agreement. For me, the “why” and “how” of that intolerable situation is the point of a discussion based on the study guide “Zionism Unsettled.”