National Conference

Christians and the Holy Land:
What Does the Lord Require?

17 - 19 September 2015
Lexington United Methodist Church
2600 Massachusetts Avenue
Lexington, Mass. 02421

Keynote Speaker:
7:30 PM, Thursday, 17 September

Prof. Noam Chomsky
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

author of
Manufacturing Consent:
The Political Economy of the Mass Media
(with Edward S. Herman)

Fateful Triangle: the U.S., Israel and the Palestinians

Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance

Speakers:

Prof. Stephen Walt
John F. Kennedy School of Government
Harvard University
author of
The Israel Lobby & U.S. Foreign Policy (2008)
(with John Mearscheimer)


Prof. Ilan Pappe

European Centre for Palestine Studies
University of Exeter, United Kingdom

author of
The Idea of Israel:
A History of Power and Knowledge (2014)
The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2007)
A History of Modern Palestine:
One Land, Two Peoples (2006)


Mrs. Jean Zaru

Presiding Clerk, Ramallah Friends Meeting Quakers
author of

Occupied With Non-Violence:
A Palestinian Woman Speaks (2008)


Dr. Mark Braverman

Executive Director Kairos USA
author of

The Fatal Embrace:
Christians, Jews and the Search for Peace
in the Holy Land (2012)
A Wall in Jerusalem:
Hope Healing and the Struggle for Justice
in Israel and Palestine(2013)


Dr. Sara Roy
Senior Research Fellow
Center for Middle East Studies, Harvard University
author of
Hamas and Civil Society: Engaging the Islamist Social Sector (2011)

The Rev. Peter J. Miano
Executive Director, The Society For Biblical Studies
author of
Mainstream Christian Zionism


 

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MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE NATIONAL CONFERENCE

Christians and their churches are deeply involved for better and worse in the contemporary dynamics of the Holy Land. Everyone is aware of the tortured 20th century history of Israel and Palestine and their peoples, but few delve into the underlying causes. The National Conference is designed to acquaint Christians with moral dimensions of the Holy Land that are generally ignored. We have invited speakers representing a range of perspectives and areas of expertise in order to introduce participants to issues and dynamics in Israel and Palestine that are otherwise overlooked in the mainstream media.. We have chosen experts whose perspectives are often underrepresented or totally ignored in mainstream media and Church circles.

Christians, like Muslims and Jews, have a spiritual attachment to the lands of the biblical faith. American Christians, Muslims and jews are further involved, becuae the United States is deeply involved in Middle East politics, inparticular supplying Israel with billions of dollars of support each year alog with diplomatic support. This requires more conscientious awareness. Paradoxically, Christianity in the Holy Land is overwhelmingly represented by Christian tourists. They travel on guided tours often carrying misguided theologies. They rarely consider the moral dimensions of Christian travel in the Holy Land. At the same time, churches and the biblical academy, whether deliberately or by default, perpetuate a narrative that is usually either explicitly zionist or promotes the zionist narrative. This is usually done without due consideration of the impact of zionism on the people of Israel and Palestine. What does the Lord require?

The volume of Christian tourists in the Holy Land and the amount of money represented by Christian tourism and church investment has enormous impact, not necessarily beneficial, in the Holy Land. The National Conference is designed to acquaint participants with moral issues that pertain to Christian travel. What does the Lord require?

Israel and the West Bank receive about 2.9 million tourists per year and about 55% (1.6 million) of them are Christian. By contrast, the dwindling indigenous Christian community in Israel and the West Bank numbers about 110,000 people. This means that Christian tourists outnumber indigeneous Christians in the Holy Land by about 14 to 1! Christian tourists outnumber Jewish tourists by about 2 to1. Moreover, Christian tourism in the Holy Land generates about $6.5 billion per year. In addition, Many more millions of dollars are invested by foreign Christian churches in schools, hospitals, vocational training projects, etc.