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UFPPC (www.ufppc.org) Digging Deeper CXLII: November 15, 2010, 7:00 p.m.

Mark Braverman, Fatal Embrace: Christians, Jews, and the Search for Peace in
the Holy Land (Synergy Books, 2010).

[Thesis. Core Jewish and Christian Builders, founded by FOR leads

beliefs are playing a major role in stifling Bravermen to a crisis; he sees through
dialogue and blocking the search for his indoctrination and decides that "from
peace in Israel/Palestine. Braverman this day forward, finding the meaning of
calls on Jews to "leave Zionism behind" the Holocaust meant working for justice
(244) and comes close to, but stops short for Palestine" as an affirmation of being
of, endorsing a one-state solution (cf. Jewish (39; 31-47).
Ch. 3: Anti-Semitism, Jewish
Foreword by Walter Brueggemann Identity, and the State of Israel.
[Columbia Theological Seminary]. Jews' "willful blindness" to injustices in
Braverman's "courageous, evocative Palestine is related to their personal
book" challenges Israel's "conviction commitment to the narrative of Israel as
about being God's one chosen people" a story of survival and redemption (49-
(xiii). Among Christians, his focus in on 59). Progressive Jews often refuse to
progressives who have "'Christianized' examine the ethnic cleansing of the
Judaism to make it into something other 1947-1949 Nakba, limiting their criticism
than what it is" (xv). "The central aim of to actions after 1967 (59-62). Anti-
this book is a critique of exceptionalism" Zionism is not anti-Semitism, pace Alvin
(xv). The development of Brueggman's Rosenfeld of Indiana University, author of
own thought (xvi-xvii). With "'Progressive' Jewish Thought and the
relinquishment can come hope (xviii-xx). New Anti-Semitism" (American Jewish
Committee, 2006) (63-74).
Maps. 4 pp.
Ch. 4: A Movement of Hope and
Prologue. Two parables: Mark 3:31-34 Desire. Many Israeli Jews claim they
and an Israeli mother (1-2; cf. 258). have "papers from God" for the land of
Israel (75-76). "[T]he settlers are acting
Introduction. Author's activism (3-6). out the will and intent of the Israeli
This book a call to action (6-9). The call government" (81; 76-81). Jacqueline
for "balance" ignores the issue of justice Rose's interpretation of Zionism as a
(9-11). Organization of the book (11-12). visionary "movement of hope and desire"
for redemption (The Question of Zion)
PART ONE: BREAKING THE SPELL (81-83). David Ben-Gurion as "the
architect of the State of Israel" (83; 83-
Ch. 1: The Moment of Truth. In 84). His vision continues in full strength
American discourse on the Arab-Israeli today (85-87). Only the Holocaust
conflict, the last five years have seen explains "how we ended up here, in the
"groundbreaking writing" addressing key role of the oppressor" (87; 87-89).
issues: Jimmy Carter, Stephen Walt & Critique of Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, a
John Mearsheimer, Ilan Pappe, etc. (15- liberal defender of Zionism (The Zionist
26). Idea, 1959; The Fate of Zionism, 2003),
as intent on stifling criticism (89-95).
Ch. 2: My Journey. In a youth of American Zionist organizations (95-97).
committed Zionism, creeping doubts (27- There is a growing chorus of anti-Zionism
31). 2006 visit with Interfaith Peace
within the Jewish community: Joel Kovel, Holocaust revisionism has undone (164-
Marc Ellis, (97-101). 67).

PART TWO: BEYOND ATONEMENT Ch. 8: Progressive Christianity,

Israel, and the Challenge of Reform.
Ch. 5: Undoing the Damage: Post- Other writers are criticizing Israel (169-
Holocaust Christian Theology. The 70). Donald Wagner, a critic of Christian
revisionist movement in post-WWII Zionism (170-74). Rosemary & Herman
Christian theology, which is "merging" Reuther (174-88).
(173) Judaism and Christianity (105-06).
Paul van Buren (106-07). R. Kendall PART THREE: BEYOND INTERFAITH
Soulen (109-16). James Carroll (117-21).
Ch. 9: Except Thou Bless Me: Jewish
Ch. 6: Theological Urgency and the Progressives Wrestle with Israel.
Promice of the Land. Post-Holocaust Progressive Jewish writers: Avraham Burg
vigilance against anti-Semitism is (191-202). Rabbis for Human Rights &
inhibiting discussion (123-27). Clark Arthur Green (202-17). The problem is,
Williamson (127-31). This has as philosopher Michael Neumann has
unintentionally effected "a reverse stated, that Zionism is "the illegitmate
supersessionism" whereby Judaism's child of ethnic nationalism" (219). What
original covenant is "elevate[d] . . . to the is needed is a new narrative according to
level of an ideal" (131; 131-38). The which Jews are a people "just like any
notion of Jews as the chosen people is other" (220; 219-230).
"validated" (138-41). In 2008 an ELCA
conference effectively supported "the Ch. 10: The Myth of Redemptive
superior right of the Jewish people to Violence. Those on the left in Israel
possess and control the land" (142). blame American policies for enabling the
Braverman argues against the view that settlements (231-33). Braverman
Jews are "special": "ours is not more endorses the view that a transition from
special than any other faith tradition . . . group-based, "Constantinian" spirituality
we are just like Christianity, Islam, or any in alliance with "the Powers" to one that
other faith" (145). "I reject the status of transcends boundaries and fosters social
God's chosen. I am part of humanity" justice "is underway," and urges readers
(146). He calls for a "new conversation" to get on board (233-38). An obstacle to
(147-51). embracing nonviolence is the belief in
redemptive violence, translated in Israel
Ch. 7: Walter Brueggemann and the into the myth of the "most moral army"
Prophetic Imagination. Brueggemann (238-43). It is time to "leave Zionism
(The Prophetic Imagination, 2001) a behind," but this has no bearing on
leading Old Testament scholar and Israel's "right to exist" (244). Braverman
Christian theologian, understands the calls for "a new covenant" (244-49).
"prophetic imagination" as something
countering the dominant culture; Ch. 11: A New Covenant. Two dreams
Braverman identifies with it (153-57). (251-55). Brueggemann's 2008 article
Braverman criticizes Brueggeman's on "Prophetic Ministry in the National
acceptance of the centrality of the Holy Security State" relates to the need of
Land in Judaism in The Land (1979; rev. Jews to "hear the truth spoken by our
ed. 2002) (157-64). The "Jewish modern-day Israeli prophets—the Jeff
connection to the land" needs to be Halpers and Rami Elhanans and
"transformed"—and this is what Checkpoint Watch Women and Israel
Christianity effected, but which the post- Army refuseniks . . . [and] our Old
Testament prophets" (256; 255-57). Sanctions) movement (314-16). Criticism
"When experience shatters your of the Simon Wiesenthal Center's attack
assumptions . . . you must seek out new on the Presbyterian Church and the
or expanded community . . . To fail to do World Council of Churches (317-19).
so is to lose your moral compass" (258). "The social justice imperative is at the
"It's life or death. It's our choice between core of the Jewish tradition" (321).
a commitment to empire or to our future
as members of a human community" Acknowledgments. Marc Ellis,
(260). Christianity faces the same need Gabrielle Sutherland, Keren Batiyov, and
to change (260-61). Marcus Borg (261- many other activists (323-26). Scholars
63). Other theologians: Walter and colleagues (326-27). Synergy Books
Bruegemann, Richard Horsley, Norman staff; family (327-28). Book dedicated to
Gottwald, etc. (263-66). The new his wife Susan (328).
covenant is "the prophetic call for
renewal and for a return to the Appendix A: Resources for
community's support for social justice" Information, Connection, and
(266). Further Study. About four dozen
organizations (329-40).
Ch. 12: Reenvisioning Israel and the
Role of the Church. Jeff Halper (267- Appendix B: Christian Vigilance
69). Uri Avnery on the political impasse Against Anti-Semitism: The Case of
in Israel (270-73). Horror at Israel's the Presbyterian Church.
attack on Gaza in December 2008- Braverman's stinging intervention in May
January 2009 (273-74). The American 2008 led the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
church must hear Walter Wink, Richard to revise a document entitled "Vigilance
Horsley, et al, and commit to justice against Anti-Jewish Ideas and Bias" (341-
(274-79). Braverman stops short of 58).
endorsing the one-state solution (279-
84). Jews should not identify Jewish Appendix C: Sermons. Two sermons
survival with Israel as a Jewish state (359-79).
Reference List. 99 items, four of which
Ch. 13: A Call to Action. Review of the have been discussed at Digging Deeper
argument (287-93). Jim Wallis, Michael (381-90).
Lerner, et al. believe this is a time of
"great awakening" (293-96). The About the Author. Mark Braverman's
political and religious landscape is grandfather was born in Jersualem.
shifting (296-99). A six-pronged recipe Braverman suspended his career as a
for action (299-305). Call to Jews and psychologist after his 2006 visit to
Christians to embrace of a forward- Israel/Palestine to devote himself fulltime
looking "shared covenant" (305-07). the the conflict.

Epilogue. Elias Khoury's Gate of the Index. 8 pp.

Sun (1988), a novel of the Nakba (309-
12). [Additional information. Mark
Braverman was born in South
Author's Afterword to Second Philadelphia in 1948, a month before the
Printing. Writing in March 2010, founding of the State of Israel (28).]
Braverman calls the favorable response
to his book "part of a trend" (313-14). He [Critique. Braverman addresses his
endorses the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, book primarily to Jews and Christians
struggling with the Arab-Israeli conflict. shares Walter Wink's belief that the
He constantly intertwines moral, rational, contemporary world is witnessing a
and emotional appeals to the central transition from group-based spirituality in
values of these faiths. "Like Jeremiah . . . alliance with "the Powers" to one
I wept as I stood before Jerusalem" (156- transcending boundaries and fostering
57). Few books have used the word social justice.]
must more frequently. — Braverman