6 Dec 2021

The “Christian” Century

As I’ve stated over the years, one of the best sources for news about Israel—particularly media bias—is the Boston-based CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis). My friends Dexter Van Zile and Tricia Miller there do terrific investigative pieces that won’t be covered by very many journalists.

Dexter recently wrote about the falsehoods peddled by The Christian Century, founded in 1884 and the go-to periodical for many mainline Christians. This outlet has consistently been anti-Israel and in this latest flap, shows that ignoring Palestinian violence is the norm. As Dexter writes:

“All too often, Christian news outlets that have historically downplayed or ignored Palestinian violence against Israel, work assiduously to highlight Israeli and Jewish violence in the Holy Land. One egregious example of this tendency appears in an article about Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett published in the Dec. 1, 2021 issue of Christian Century The article originally appeared on CC’s website on Nov. 15, 2021.”

The Christian Century article he cites makes these outrageous claims:

“One area the prime minister, for all his pragmatism, has failed to address is the settler violence against Palestinians on the West Bank. A relatively small section of settlers harass and attack Palestinians, unprovoked and for no reason, preventing them from shepherding their flocks or tending to their fields. While the settlements exist in defiance of international law, Bennett and others refer to these areas by their biblical names, as a way of claiming them for Israel. And the violence there—which is largely supported by the army and the border police—stands in the way of Israel creating a meaningful political solution to its current crises. Bennett and his coalition partners have yet to even acknowledge this issue.”

The Israelis most certainly have addressed these issues, and recently. One has a hard time believing these anti-Israel editors don’t know that.

Now I want you to notice specifics that Dexter brings up:

“[Mordechai] Beck editorializes by declaring  the attacks were ‘unprovoked’ and took place ‘for no reason.’ How would he know this? After all, he ignores the fact that numerous attacks – including deadly ones—were perpetrated by Palestinians against Israeli settlers over the past few years.”

James M. Wall, longtime editor of The Christian Century, died in March at 92. He was a United Methodist, which explains in part his anti-Israel bias. I corresponded with Wall 20 years ago about Israel, and his responses weren’t encouraging. He knew what he was doing.

In one of Wall’s last articles for the magazine, in 2008, he rejected the reality that Israel is the Jewish state!

“At Annapolis this became obvious when he [George W. Bush] declared that Israel has to be a Jewish state, a position that Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat immediately rejected. Erekat knows that officially declaring Israel a Jewish state when 1.5 million Arab Israelis are within its borders is a contradiction in terms.”

This kind of odious bias reveals much about the man’s heart. Israel has been the Jewish state for 73 years and will remain so. For Wall to deny that is bizarre and deeply disturbing. Tellingly, his views are identical to that of Millennial leaders, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her cohorts in Congress.

This you see is the troubling trend going forward. Some pro Israel Christian groups boast large membership numbers. Many are doing good work. But is the tide against us? What will the landscape look like in 20 years?

Whatever it looks like, researchers like Dexter Van Zile will not have to explain to a Higher Authority why they stood down when Israel was attacked.

Can you say the same?