When Christian Zionists or those who are blind supporters of the State of Israel want to dismiss or delegitimize any criticism of Israeli polices – they normally will throw out terms like “Liberal”, “anti-Semitic” or “anti-Israel”. If those who are offering these different perspectives are Christians it must be the “Evangelical Left”. This is mostly so they don’t have to deal with the issues at hand and more so to ignite their mostly uninformed and zealous support base to join their smear campaigns at the ultimate expense of Israel itself.
During the past year, as my film “With God On Our Side” has been screened around the world– those who are opposed to an approach of reconciliation, justice and peace for all people have tried to smear the content of the film and the motivations behind it. What is clear is that most of the strongest critics have not seen the film as they only refer to the trailer and website (which is typical) or they are blind to their own prejudice’s.
Some recently have expressed concern that by criticizing Israeli policies that are unjust toward others can cause people to become anti-semitic or anti-Israeli. Although a thoughtful concern, it’s reality it’s a veiled attempt to prevent discussion or debate on the issues.
I believe to come away from my film “With God on Our Side” thinking it could turn people to become those things is short sighted. You would have to totally ignore the message of the film, especially the final 15-20 minutes. You may disagree with some of the historical, political or theological aspects of “With God On Our Side”. That is fair and expected. Let’s talk about the issues for the sake of both Palestinians and Jews. I am the first to admit that the film shares a certain perspective – one not often heard – especially in Evangelical churches.
But let the content of the film speak for itself. Here are direct quotes from the film that tend to get ignored. This is what the audience will be left with in the final few minutes of the film:
“But I remember a turning point for me was when my friend said to me, “Raija, you can… It’s okay to have a political opinion about something, but the minute that political opinion causes you to become prejudiced against another people group, you lose the heart of God.” – Raija-Liisa
“So we are, I am, promoting and saying theology of reconciliation, a theology where the justice of the Palestinians are seeking will be met and the hope the Jews are looking for will be met.” – Salim Munayer
“We should recognize the Jews through the Diaspora, and through the Holocaust, have been terribly mistreated and Christians have participated in that mistreatment, which in some levels has been abysmal… abysmal. So there should be an asking for forgiveness to the Jewish people for Christian attitudes over two thousand years”. – Ron Dart
“And I think for Christians, we have to really take seriously Jesus’ call to be peace makers. And the fact that, here, we can’t just sit on our hands while the Middle East burns. You know, there are things we can be doing to help our brothers and sisters in Christ who are across the Middle East, as well as the Muslim people who live here too and the Jewish people who live here. And they deserve peace, they’re desperate for peace”. – Ben White
“We need to speak to the Israeli and Palestinian, hatred is not the solution, war is not the solution, destruction is not the solution. We need to speak to these people saying, “ Your enemy, your neighbor, how you treat him reflect who you are, what truly you are. If you claim that you believe in God and you hate your neighbor, you have a problem. It reflects your faith in God, which type of God you believe in.” – Salim Munayer
“So Jesus created the perfect answer to the issue of human rights. The guy in the road was a human being, not one of us, not one of them; he’s a human being. Are you going to stop? Are you going to help him or not? And who is it that stops? Jesus says one of the enemy, the Samaritan, he stopped. And so when he throws the story back to the religious leader, he says, “Which of the three was a good neighbor?” And the religious leader can’t bring himself to say the Samaritan. He says, “the one who had mercy on him.” So Jesus says, “go and do the same.” That’s our responsibility. It’s human responsibility, I should treat every person I meet as if they were Jesus. I should treat them the same way I would if I was meeting Jesus”. – Stephen Sizer
Does this sound like a group of anti-Semitic, anti-Israeli left wing Evangelical liberals? Rather I would submit they are the prophetic voices the Christian Zionists have failed to be. True friends of Israel don’t turn a blind eye.