In his pre-Thanksgiving "Living & Growing" essay, the Rev. Dan Wanders recalls an idyllic family gathering rich in diversity and tolerance. Along with family, Muslim, Catholic and Jewish friends gathered for fellowship and conversation. Later in his essay, the Rev. Wanders expresses gratitude for friends of all faiths, from Bahai to Orthodox to Pentecostal.
Interestingly, the Rev. Wanders specifically identifies one group of people who would not be welcome at this diverse and tolerant dinner table: Zionists.
Zionism is defined as "A Jewish movement that arose in the late 19th century in response to growing anti-Semitism and sought to reestablish a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Modern Zionism is concerned with the support and development of the state of Israel."
The Rev. Wanders, in recalling this holiday gathering, explains his Jewish guests "criticized Zionism and were vehemently opposed to Israeli treatment of Palestinians, which they described as a violation of Judaism."
Yet when the Rev. Wanders quotes his Muslim friends, we read of a faith that "respects persons of other religions" and "loving those who hurt (Moslems)."
In 1947, the United Nations divided a British colony called "Trans Jordan" into two states: Israel, with a Jewish majority, and Palestine, with an Arab/Muslim majority.
Following Israel's formal independence, all its Muslim neighbors attacked - and nearly destroyed Israel. These same neighbors attacked Israel again in 1956 (Sinai War), 1967 (Six Day War) and in 1973 (Yom Kippur War). President Clinton led Israel and Palestine to a peace settlement at Camp David - Yassir Arafat turned it down and began the so-called intifada - a reign of homicide bombings, rocket attacks and violence which forced Israel to fight back and guaranteed Palestinians a perpetual state of violence.
Muslim nations have 700 times the land mass of the only Jewish state. About 350,000 Muslims became refugees during the formation of Israel, yet between the 1940s and 1960s more than one million Jews were driven from majority Muslim nations.
Of course, none of this is any concern of the Rev. Wanders.
I find it interesting that the Rev. Wanders' Jewish guests were termed friends, but were also renters. Perhaps they figured a few well-placed dinner table comments opposing Israel would help put off any untimely rent increase from their tolerant, diverse, caring, sharing and "beloved of God'' landlord.