Dec. 27, EIRNS—Rev. Dr. Munther Isaac, Pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bethlehem, spoke these words, in the headline, on a Zoom meetup of the Arab American Institute, founded by Jim Zogby, the host of today’s event. Reverend Isaac’s powerful Christmas message: displaying newborn Baby Jesus, swaddled in a keffiyeh and lying in the rubble of Gaza, as 20,000 Palestinians have been murdered, 1.9 million Palestinians are now homeless, and thousands of homes are destroyed, yet leaders and churchmen are silent in the face of “a genocide.”
Asked by Zogby whether he’s received any blowback from Israel, Reverend Isaac replied, “nothing that isn’t new. This is not a time for being careful.” He continued to press that “Gaza is the moral compass of the world” and no one can “afford silence in the face of this genocide.” Further, he pointed directly at church leaders who preach about a “God of love, of justice” and yet they say nothing about the annihilation in Gaza. He noted this is profound “dehumanization” and asked, “how did we get here?”
In reply to another question concerning Israel’s openly broadcasting its intent to do what it is doing, Isaac broadened it by asserting that “they and others try to frame this as a religious war. It is a war of colonization of our land.”
Zogby’s surmise in considering that Isacc’s message went viral so quickly was that first and foremost, when a message carries “truth” so powerfully, it “rings true” with people. Noting to this audience that on Jan. 12-13, 2024, the Fellowship of Reconciliation will host an “Emergency Summit on Gaza,” at which he, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and many others will speak, he has seen in the recent period “a new kind of conscientious awakening among people,” one that reminds him of the Vietnam era.
Reverend Isaac’s wrap-up message to this mostly American audience of 100-plus was: “Make Palestine the message to every elected official and in the elections. Challenge the conscience of humanity, of every individual. We can’t stop; every 15 minutes another child is killed in Gaza.”