February 7, 2024

Progressive Black Pastors Misguided on War in Gaza

Unfortunately, much of what is driving opinion on this issue among many Black Americans is very bad, confused information.

Some 1,000 Black pastors nationwide are reported to have weighed-in to pressure President Joe Biden to force a ceasefire in the war in Gaza.

According to one pastor, the war “has evoked the kind of deep-seated angst among Black people that I have not seen since the civil rights movement.”

And per another, regarding the Palestinians, “we see them as a part of us … They are oppressed people. We are oppressed people.”

Indeed, in a Gallup poll at the end of November, 61% of white adults expressed approval for the Israeli military action taken in Gaza, whereas only 30% of “people of color” expressed approval.

Unfortunately, much of what is driving opinion on this issue among many Black Americans is very bad, confused information.

The Hamas attack in Israel, resulting in some 1,200 deaths, was targeted to Israeli Jews. On Sept. 11, 2001, our country was attacked, resulting in almost 3,000 deaths. However, in tiny Israel, with a population of 9.8 million, 1,200 deaths equate to over 40,000 in our country.

Nevertheless, despite a far lower relative casualty rate on 9/11, our country was in shock and outrage, and we went to war in Afghanistan to attack the source. That war resulted in 176,000 deaths, 46,319 of which were civilians.

The death toll in Gaza is now a little over 27,000. Israelis take no joy in this. But there is no choice. Hamas shields their bodies and infrastructure among civilians — even in hospitals.

Just as no one questioned our country going after those who attacked our homeland in 2001, why should anyone question the justification of Israel going after those who threaten daily their lives and existence?

How many of these Black pastors identifying with the Palestinians saying “They are oppressed, we are oppressed” have any idea of the history of the region and of the conflict?

Oppression means having no choice. Choosing to live in squalor because of refusal to take responsibility for one’s life is not oppression.

These pastors might consider doing some homework and learning that Israel was founded by Jewish immigrants, motivated to return to their historic homeland after many, many years of oppression and persecution.

This came to a peak in the Holocaust when 6 million Jews — 40% of all the Jews in the world — were murdered by the German Nazis.

Jews returned to their historic homeland, worked and built, despite ongoing Arab hostility to their settlements.

The situation was resolved by the United Nations in 1947. The U.N. voted to partition the area into two states — a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Jews said “yes.” The Arabs said “no.” And then they attacked.

Despite endless attacks and war, Israelis have shown what taking responsibility for one’s life means. They built from nothing a modern country that today has per capita GDP higher than most European nations.

Saying no and choosing war, as the Palestinians have done, is not oppression. It is stupidity and irresponsibility.

I would remind readers again that Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005. The Palestinians then could have started to build. They were free to do it.

Instead, they elected Hamas and started more rounds of endless attacks against Israel. The latest and most horrible being what happened on Oct. 7.

We see now the more than 300 miles of high-tech tunnels in Gaza that have been constructed since Hamas took leadership, at a cost of hundreds of millions, with the sole objective to attack Israel. Despite billions in aid, resources in Gaza have been focused on eliminating Israel, not on improving quality of life and building a future for Palestinians.

I would remind these progressive Black clergy of the sad but accurate observation of former Israeli prime minister, Golda Meir, that “Peace will come when the Arabs love their children more than they hate us.”


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