The following is a letter to the editor I came across in the San Jose Mercury News. I was incredibly shocked and almost equally ecstatic to see such a letter, from a reverend no doubt! I was discussing earlier with a friend how upset I am with the fact that Christian ministers, especially within minority communities often find it hard to divorce their since of loyalty to the Jews they’ve derived from the Old Testament (Torah) from the word of Jesus (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) of which the Christian faith is based. This bias provides a basis that disallows them to see the Israeli/Palestinian for what it is: an institution of apartheid and ethnic cleansing based on race, hatred, white nationalism/superiority, and imperialism. The writer of this piece is not a minority, although I’d consider him to be among a definite minority considering the following:
In Mercury News letters to the editor, the Israeli blitzkrieg against the Palestinians continues. As a supporter of peace with justice and security for Israelis and Palestinians, opposing violence from all sides, I must speak out against injustice, and — to balance the equation — raise some questions. Whose land is under occupation? Whose property confiscated to build illegal settlements and highways for Israeli use only? Whose lives and health curtailed by checkpoints? Whose olive/citrus groves demolished; whose fields destroyed? Whose water diverted? Whose villages isolated by the huge wall? Whose homes taken or destroyed? Who is being starved, kept in poverty to live without hope — and sometimes killed? Who controls the economic and military power? For good reason, Israeli peacemakers oppose the occupation, and Israeli rabbi friends worry that it is destructive of Judaism. Most Palestinians and Israelis want peace with security, and both are possible only with justice and hope and mutual respect.
Rev. Ernest W. Cockrell
About the Author: The Reverend Ernest W. Cockrell, a native Texhoman, is the recently-retired rector of Saint Andrew’s Church & School in Saratoga, CA, after almost 15 years there, preceded by 25 years as rector of Saint Gabriel’s, Marion, MA. Through those years he has worked via teaching and preaching to connect religion with 20th/21st -century reality, so that Episcopalians can be literate without being literal; to bring peace with justice and security to Palestine and Israel (and to the United States!), by honest reporting on the situation there, attempting to bring a balance to a one-sided view delivered to most Americans, especially through his SAMA’ program, “listening” to the words of the peacemakers there: Christian, Muslim, and Jewish – summarized in the “Sama Song.” In addition to serving a four-year term on the Standing Committee of the Diocese of El Camino Real, he has been a deputy to four General Conventions, serving on the Committee for National and International Affairs. As the author of one novel, several smaller books, and composer of a number of musicals.