Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Short, Simple, History Lesson

Dear Friend of Isr/Pal,

Wells Thoms was an RCA missionary doctor and his family in the ME before oil. He served Omanis, Saudis, Bahrainies, and others at the invitation of ME rulers. Two of his daughters (Lois Dickason and Nancy Block) have memories and experiences with folks there and visit sometimes. (Lew Scudder is a cousin).
Here is an excerpt from a recent post from Nancy and Russ (who live in NJ) and were in the ME last year. (JRK)

Last February, Russ and I, brothers Peter and Norman and Norm's wife Anna spent 2 weeks visiting some of the places where we (Thoms family) grew up--mainly Oman, with some time in Bahrain, where grandparents began medical mission work around the turn of the last century, and then parents followed suit for their careers, and brothers each spent a year. We were given the royal treatment, welcomed as family by people we knew, and as highly esteemed guests by the press, national TV who interviewed us, and others--all of this in honor of the work of the mission, and our parents who were beloved by all.

I would just like to copy here for you the last part of our letter, under "Some Final Observations".

"In the 1930s the King of Sa'udi Arabia granted the US the oil rights in his country because he trusted the American mission doctors whom he invited to minister to his people. In 2001, the mighty Trade Towers in New York City were destroyed by disaffected and disillusioned young men from the same country. What happened in between?

"The American people do not understand what is clear to many others. Our US government joined in 1947 with Britain and France in giving away to Zionists (however pressing their needs and claims) what did not belong to us: the Palestinian homeland--to avoid accommodating many more displaced European Jews. And it has, ever since, unquestioningly supported Israel, a sovereign foreign power, both militarily and morally in its deliberate, methodical continuing policy of oppressive occupation and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people, abdicating our responsibility for their downward trajectory into near oblivion.

"Hamas, by which we identify them, is only a blustery but basically feeble voice of rage and protest by generations of the dispossessed and powerless. There is so little left of their land and economy, between Israeli state take-over and illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank at this point that a touted "two-state solution" to the conflict is practically-speaking all but impossible. The repercussions are global.

"To people of conscience, including many American and Israeli Jews, the slaughter in Gaza of people living in a virtual prison for years is an outrage, as is the history leading up to this point. What is demanded of us now is honest acknowledgement of present and historical truth, claiming responsibility, humbly repenting and beginning to make amends, admittedly a Herculean task.

We recommend to you both Christian and Jewish-based groups, including Tikkun in the US, working for justice and reconciliation, and books such as An Israeli in Palestine by Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, and The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by Illan Pappe, for authoritative background and current information. We 'pray for the peace of Jerusalem' (Psalm 122:6), remembering the words of the prophet '---what does the Lord require of thee but to do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God?' (Micah 6:8).
"We wish you hope, love and PEACE for this year. SALAAM ALEIKUM and SHALOM!"
Nancy and Russ

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