Let Us Urge an Immediate End to Gaza Slaughter

Today I sent the follow letter to the editor to my local newspaper and representatives in congress.

To the Editor:

Israel and U.S. Must Stop the Slaughter in Gaza

Israel is not fighting a war in Gaza. It is perpetrating ethnic cleansing, which is both morally deplorable and strategically self-defeating.

What is going on is an ethnic cleansing slaughter by virtue of being absolutely asymmetrical. While dozens of Hamas terrorists killed about 1,200 and kidnapped about 250 on a single day of atrocity, Israel has now retaliated by killing nearly 30,000 and counting—25 times as many people—while reducing millions of Palestinians to an animal like existence. Hamas has tunnels and some feeble rockets. Israel has an air force, bombs, and detonation experts that are reducing a whole people to ruin in the hope that they will magically go somewhere else.

Recently, over 800 of the US and European experts in the political dynamics of the Middle East have signed a letter complaining that the top US and European government officials are ignoring  their best advice, and not only not doing enough to stop this slaughter, but are making themselves complicit in war crimes.  https://www.nytimes.com/2024/02/02/us/politics/protest-letter-israel-gaza.html

Israel’s government wants to assure the world that they simply want to destroy Hamas. But surely they are only fueling what will be a powerful and long lasting thirst for revenge on the part of Moslems around the world. Tragically, in a nation that has been a bulwark of democracy and social justice, the emotional climate has now made it so that any empathy with the Palestinian people is treated as tantamount to treason. So Israel is rapidly depleting to near zero any moral capital it possesses—a capital that has long bolstered its standing in the community of nations.

As a Christian I am indebted to Judaism for its spiritual and moral wisdom; and I owe special respect to Jews for the ways they have endured centuries of oppression, most often at the hands of people who pretend to follow Christ. I believe I am of the same spiritual family with Jews. But I also learned in my time doing archaeology in the Holy Land, that Palestinians, as a people, are a mirror image to Jews. They too have an ancient tie to Palestine. They too have been subjected to oppression. They too have lived for generations as a powerless people. But for over a century now their suffering has come at the hands of Jews.

What I treasure most of all is a belief in a moral and just God that I share with Jews and Moslems. So, it is out of this wisdom that I hope all people like me will urge most vigorously Israel and our own government to put a stop to the abhorrent ethnic cleansing going on in Gaza.

About John

John is a retired pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America who has served congregations for over 40 years, including in rural, suburban, campus ministry and urban settings. His love of Border Collie sheepdogs has been fortified by his many friendships with shepherds all around the world. Nothing he has ever or will ever accomplish is as significant as the patience God, his wife and his friends have shown in putting up with his deficiencies.
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