Trump’s fake peace plan; how references to Bible and Qur’an can be misused

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Thu, 2020-02-13
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It is a major problem in Christianity, Judaism and Islam that a number of Christians, Jews and Muslims highlight texts of their choice and present this out of context as the eternal word of God. This is in particular dangerous if this is politicized as happened in the Gush Emunim movement that claims that God has promised Jews land now occupied by Palestinians for centuries. This is even more dangerous since this is supported by Christian Zionists who, unfortunately, have the ear of US President Donald Trump. We are glad Maya Williamson has translated my 1982 booklet about Oz Ve-Shalom that warns that people should not sit on the throne of God and decide when and how texts from the Old Testament should be fulfilled. Dutch Old Testament scholar Dr. P.B. Dirksen welcomes this translation and wrote:


“There is no doubt that American president Donald Trump is trying to please these Christian Zionists who make up an important part of his support base. He and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have developed a “peace plan” without, however, involving the Palestinians in any way. According to this plan, the Israeli settlements on occupied land – and also of course Jerusalem – remain Israeli territory, while the Palestinians are tossed the remainder that is a number of loosely connected pieces of land. This peace proposal is an affront to the Palestinians. Dutch columnist Stevo Akkerman rightly calls it a “fake peace plan” (“nep-vredesplan”) in his column in the Dutch daily Trouw of 31 January, 2020. But it will please the Evangelical supporters of Trump and the fans of Gush Emunim, religious Jewish fundamentalist nationalists with long-time allies in the National Religious Party. In October 2017, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed one of the founders of Gush Emunim to head a government committee created to facilitate legalizing unauthorized settlements in the occupied West Bank. Thus, this so-called “peace plan” will benefit the settlers in the occupied territories much more than the Palestinians.


Given these recent developments, this English translation of Cornelis Hulsman’s 1982 booklet Oz Ve-Shalom, an Orthodox Jewish Peace movement in the 1980's comes at the right time. After forty years the text has lost none of its significance and is completely relevant to the current situation. Hulsman describes the origin and ideology of the Israeli movement Oz Ve-Shalom established in 1974 in reaction and opposition to another movement, Gush Emunim, also established that year, the reason why the latter movement is discussed at length as well. The impact that these two movements have had on Israeli politics is out of proportion to their limited number of members, especially Gush Emunim. Together they represent two opposite camps in Israel. Gush Emunim is avowedly nationalistic and places a great deal of emphasis on the ties between the people and the land; they are not prepared to return the occupied territories to the Palestinians, even if this would end the conflict. Oz Ve-Shalom, by contrast, has a strong ethical orientation, is much less nationalistic, and more open towards the Palestinians, and willing to give up territory in exchange for peace. This ideological conflict is not just an internal Israeli affair but has played, and is still playing, a role in the West, as we now see with Trump’s ‘peace plan.’ In orthodox Christian circles, support for Israel is based to a large extent on the land promises in the Old Testament which are still considered valid.”


My text of 1982 shows I was already 38 years ago opposed to mixing religion with nationalism and my abhorrence for such an unholy mix only has become stronger. With Trump’s so-called peace plan we see the disastrous consequences of such thoughts. You can read the translation of my 1982 text here and the commentary of Dr. P.B. Dirksen here.



February 13, 2020


Cornelis Hulsman

Editor-in-Chief Arab-West Report