The Mennonite Central Committee, one of the co-sponsors of an interfaith dinner with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that took place in
The statement, written by Arli Klassen, the MCC’s executive director, and Daryl Byler, the organization’s representative for Jordan, Iran, Iraq and Palestine, exaggerates the impact of MCC-organized events on Ahmadinejad’s public speech about Israel. The statement also ignores Ahmadinejad’s hostility toward Jews and portrays the elimination of
The statement, issued on
… we believe that the president’s public comments have moderated somewhat over the past two years. When challenged regarding his comments about “”wiping Israel off the map,” Ahmadinejad has said to us in previous meetings and, at last, in interviews with both CNN and the Los Angeles Times in late September, that he is not talking about a military solution. Rather, he supports the “one-state” solution, a political resolution in which Israelis and Palestinians elect a single government to represent both peoples.
Ahmadinejad has remained an inveterate anti-Semite despite his attendance at MCC-organized events. For example, in February 2007, the MCC organized a meeting with the Iranian President in Teheran. The delegation of Christian leaders who participated in the meeting with Ahmadinejad reportedly challenged him about his anti-Semitic statements, but their complaints had little effect.
And days before the MCC broke bread with the Iranian president on
The dignity, integrity and rights of the American and European people are being played with by a small but deceitful number of people called Zionists. Although they are a miniscule minority, they have been dominating an important portion of the financial and monetary centers as well as the political decision-making centers of some European countries and the
in a deceitful, complex and furtive manner. It is deeply disastrous to witness that some presidential or premiere nominees in some big countries have to visit these people, take part in their gatherings, swear their allegiance and commitment to their interests in order to attain financial or media support. US
Commentary like this is reminisce
nt of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and yet, Klassen and Byler suggest that Ahmadinejad has “moderated” his comments about
MCC and Ahmadinejad Share Opposition to Jewish State
The MCC also exhibits an outrageous indifference to Jewish safety in conveying Ahmadinejad’s support for a “one-state” solution as if it were an acceptable alternative to a two-state solution. This should not come as a surprise, however. MCC’s activists and writers have long portrayed Jewish sovereignty as the primary source of suffering in the
The obsession of MCC peace activists with Jewish statehood is evident in the writings of evident in an article published in a 2007 issue of Cornerstone, a newsletter published by the Jerusalem-based
In this piece, Alain Epp Weaver, a peace worker with the MCC, writes:
After the horrors of the Shoah [Holocaust], it is understandable that the idea of
as a safe haven with a Jewish majority would be so important to many Jews. But must such a haven be tied to a project of maintaining and projecting a Jewish majority by any and all means? Might not a bi-national future in one state be one in which Palestinians and Israelis alike both sit securely under vine and fig tree? Israel
For Weaver, the problem is not Arab attacks on Jewish sovereignty, but
This narrative is evident in the writings of Weaver’s wife, Sonia, author of What is Palestine Israel? Answers to Common Questions, a book published by the MCC in 2007. In this book, she writes the following passage:
What are the advantages and disadvantages of [the one-state and two-state solution]? Is a two-state solution still possible?The one-state solution features several distinct advantages. Having one state would allow Palestinian refugees to return to their original homes. In contrast, under many versions of the two-state solution discussed by Palestinians, Israelis and international mediators, Palestinian refugees would be repatriated to the new state of Palestine but would not be allowed to return to their original homes in what is now Israel. The two-state solution, furthermore, does not address the systematic discrimination faced by Palestinian Christians and Muslims inside
. IsraelProponents of the two-state solution, including the Israelis who favor this outcome, argue that it is pragmatic and realistic. While it might not meet the demands of justice, they say, it is the best to which Palestinians can aspire while simultaneously meeting the need for Israeli security. Other Israelis believe that even a two-state solution is incompatible with Israeli security; they fear that a Palestinian state would inevitably be hostile to and put Israelis at risk. For these Israelis, security means no more than quasi-autonomy for Palestinians. IsraelOther Palestinians and Israelis suggest that ethnically-based states are anachronisms: rather than working for a “Jewish state” or a “Palestinian state,” persons concerned with justice and reconciliation should strive for futures in which national boundaries are transcended.
This passage is emblematic of the MCC’s discriminatory activism regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict that renders Anabaptist pacifism – an important strain of Christian witness – into just another vehicle for anti-Zionism.
First off, Sonia Weaver offers no acknowledgement to the anti-Jewish hostility in Palestinian society that would make life very dangerous for Jews living in a state shared by both peoples. Even Edward Said, a proponent of a one-state solution, acknowledged in a 2000 interview with Ari Shavit that he worried a great deal about the fate of Jews in an Arab-majority state: “It worries me a great deal. The question of what is going to be the fate of the Jews is very difficult for me. I really don’t know. It worries me.”
That MCC workers stood in solidarity with Palestinians did not mean, however, that they inevitably fell prey to the uncritical identification with Palestinian nationalism … While understanding that the forces arrayed against them make Palestinians prone to conspiratorial thinking, Mennonites felt uncomfortable and chagrined by the conspiracy theories, at times reminiscent of classic Western anti-Jewish propaganda, voiced by some of their Palestinian friends. And although MCC established partnerships with proponents of nonviolence, Mennonites in the region understood that few Palestinians (like few Israelis or North Americans) were committed to a principled pacifism. Recognizing these differences between themsevles and many of their Palestinian friends and colleagues, Mennonite volunteers struggled with the question posed by Zebabdeh English teachers Jan Kees den Bakker and Martha Magee, namely, “how to support the Palestinian cause, and at the same time remain opposed to anti-Semitism and violence.”
This passage, published in 1999 demonstrates that the Weavers understood full well that Palestinian society had a problem with anti-Jewish hostility. And while they are too quick to excuse it as a consequence of “the forces arrayed” against the Palestinians, the Weavers understood that it posed a challenge to MCC’s peacemaking efforts. In their subsequent writings, the Weavers have failed to respond explicitly to this challenge, but instead ignore the issue. But they know. They know.
Asking Israeli-Jews (who are surrounded by countries populated by people who hate them) to surrender their sovereign state (as MCC activists have done — in numerous venues) is a deeply discriminatory act.
It is one thing for the MCC’s Anabaptist supporters, who live in the relative safety in the