Middle East (MNN) — Amnesty International’s recent accusation about Israel is bold, triggering strong reactions in both the Palestinian and Jewish communities.
When asking our partners to discuss the issue, we encountered a field of rhetorical landmines. So, how do we discuss a situation that directly affects the body of Christ when words get in the way?
Drawing upon decades of experience, Uncharted co-founder Tom Doyle describes four ways to navigate divisive issues like these. Listen to the full interview here.
1. Refuse to give labels.
“As believers, we have to avoid labels because Jesus has given us our full identity,” Doyle says.
“I go back to an old quote by Chuck Colson, who said, ‘If I can label you, then I can dismiss you as irrelevant and cease any kind of dialogue.’”
2. Define your worldview by God’s Word, not man’s.
Opinions vary widely regarding the Israel-Palestine issue and cover the entire political and spiritual spectrum – even within the Body of Christ. “We don’t want to define issues solely by politics; we, as believers, need to define issues spiritually,” Doyle says.
“But the world tries to force us into political identities. Our identity is found in Jesus Christ and not our political beliefs.”
3. Don’t let headlines cause you to despise either side.
Words matter and inflammatory rhetoric can cause substantial social divides. “You have brothers and sisters on both sides. Love them. Pray for them,” Doyle says.
“I see Christians that tend to side with the Jews over the Palestinians; or, [they side with] the Palestinians over the Jews because of some of the social issues. God’s heart is big enough to love both of them, and I pray for the body of Christ to love Palestinians and Jews together.”
4. Weigh the facts, and consider more than one source of information.
Amnesty International’s report presents one side of a highly complex story. “The Amnesty International report is not a fair presentation of the state of Israel,” Doyle says.
“Israel is not an apartheid state. Consider this quote by [Bassem Eid], a Palestinian activist: ‘While it is not a perfect country it is definitely not an apartheid state.’ Eid is right.”
Furthermore, “21-percent of the population of Israel is Arab, and they have full rights and voting privileges with Arabs in the governing body, which is the Knesset. Several Arab nations have fully normalized relations with Israel as of today,” Doyle continues.
“But as believers, we are called to have compassion on all people. Jesus did. Palestinians in Gaza are in a horrible situation because of the Hamas government and being trapped inside. Our hearts break for Palestinians in Gaza who just want to live a normal life. One thing Palestinians and Jews can agree on is this – Hamas is not good for anyone. Please pray for the people of Gaza who want nothing to do with the ongoing war between Gaza and Israel. They are trapped in the middle and suffer daily. Pray for Jewish people, especially near Gaza, who endure rocket attacks from Hamas. Pray for Israel, that there would be a sustainable peace between Jews and Arabs.”
Header image is a representative stock photo courtesy of Jorge Fernández Salas/Unsplash)