What is the TRUTH?


FROM: The Rev. Dr. A. Dale Truscott, Senior Pastor, Zion Lutheran Church,

Ann Arbor, MI (443 Sumark Way, Ann Arbor, MI 48103).

Dear President Clinton,

I have just returned May 31, 1997 from leading my 13th tour group to Palestine-Israel and Jordan. I do these every couple of years because I was Pastor to the English Lutheran congregation in the Old City of Jerusalem in 1970-71. I have kept up my contacts and interest in the area ever since. My recent visit frightens me all the more. In three years since my last visit, I see the intentions of the Israeli government being stepped up all the more. And we (you!) continue to talk out of both sides of our mouth, advocating peace processes while supporting Israeli aggression and fait accompli. The Har Homa housing development is as clear as the nose on anyone's face, even one who has never visited the area. There it stands in the middle of largely undeveloped Arab pasture land, referred to by Christians as "the Shepherd's Fields." It is not convenient to Israeli goods and services. It is not even convenient to Arab goods and services. It is not land that "needs" to be developed. There is plenty of land available for Israelis to develop to the west of Jerusalem. There is one and only one obvious purpose, to place a settlement squarely in between Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and the wilderness of Judea, in order to cut off any potential access to the eastern portion of Jerusalem from the West Bank, to geographically eliminate the possibility of East Jerusalem becoming a Palestinian capital. Meanwhile the so-called Palestinian areas under control of the Palestinian administration are being circled by by-pass roads and fences and check points. I call them "bantustans," reminders of another country far to the south of Africa, a country about which we were so angry that we boycotted them until the white supremist government fell. Yet, we support what is beginning to look like the same thing in Israel. Why? Because it is the Zionists? What does this mean? The same thing is happening to the north of Jerusalem where Israeli neighborhoods line the Arab suburbs on both the east and the west, reducing the traditional Arab expansion north to Ramallah to a "walled" corridor, isolated by by-pass roads, and the resulting "alternative" business districts. There is even an alternative business district and tourist area being developed as an alternative to the Arab businesses in Bethlehem. Is this obvious or what? Christian Arab population continues to dwindle. Morale among the Arabs with whom I have always dealt in my tour business get lower and lower. But resolve to support the homeland is still there, and will always be there. To what extent is this so-called Christian nation, America, supporting the demise of a Christian presence in the land in which Jesus Christ lived? All the things we have learned the hard way, Mr. President, about minorities and ghettos, crime and frustration, in this country are coming true in Israel-Palestine, and we seem to be blind to it, because we have other interests in that country. That borders on immorality, and I, as a clergyman, don't throw that term around lightly. Now the House of Representatives on June 10 voted to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. Please Mr. President, if there is any understanding of the sensitive nature of this move left in you or in Washington, block this legislation. It will be a disaster for Middle Eastern peace if it is allowed to happen. We will be, in effect, affirming all that Likud stands for in Israel. You are aware, of course, of the condemnation of this vote by King Hussein and Prince Hassan, by King Fahd and other Arab leaders. Recall that Jerusalem is the third holy city for Islam. For us to affirm that it is the official and indivisible capital of Israel will stir up untold anger and resentment both in the Muslim and in the Christian community. The level of anger at Americans is growing. When I lived in Jerusalem Arabs were delightfully welcoming, able to delineate between Americans as people and America as a "pro-Israel" state. This time my group and I were refused service in a restaurant near the Jaffa Gate, a restaurant where I had eaten many, many times, just because the server saw that we were Americans. We were told to go up the street to the Israeli owned restaurant where we belonged. My heart almost broke. These were the people whom I had served and taught when I worked in Jerusalem, and my country's policies are contributing to this travesty. My former high school student, now a proud father of three boys, and stalwart Christian resident of Bethlehem has to have a permission slip to go to work in Jerusalem where he has worked in the parts department of the Peugeot dealership. He has never been promoted, never received a raise except cost of living in all that time. Israelis hired in the meantime have far exceeded his income. Now he has to be back "across the tracks" before 7 p.m. Is this beginning to sound familiar to you who have decried your own heritage in Arkansas? Mr. Clinton, I don't have any "Lutheran PAC" money to give you, but I do have a vote which has been steadfastly Democratic for a couple of decades. I'm hurting, and while I know you probably will never see this e-mail, my feelings must be shared. We Americans are being duped. What I am writing to you today would be called "anti-Semitic" by many American Jews. That is because Israel is a theocracy mascerading as a democracy. American doesn't believe in that. I don't believe in that. I would never support a Christian theocracy in this country. I speak out against the Pat Robertsons and the Christian Coalition, who lean that direction here. Why do we suddenly think it is OK over there in Israel. I have the deepest reverence and regard for Jews and the Jewish religion that I can have as a non-Jew. I am supportive of their being able to live freely in the historic land of Israel. But I think we are being duped if we believe in secular democracy on the one hand, but think that our Bible wants us to accept a theocracy in one place. That's wrong. Judaism is one of the world's most profound and treasured religions. Zionism is an exclusive and expansionist political philosophy created by a Marxist. Read your history, Mr. President. 1. Insist that all Israeli settlements in the West Bank be stopped permanently. 2. Do not allow the U.S. Embassy to be moved to Jerusalem until and unless there is a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine, including the permanent status of Jerusalem. 3. Encourage Israel to cooperate with a just and lasting peace in the area. 4. Make American financial support dependent upon the above three requirements.

Yours truly, Dr. A. Dale Truscott

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