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February 17, 2020 7:37 am

Does Churches for Middle East Peace Leader Really Want Peace?

avatar by Dexter Van Zile


Tourists walk in Manger Square outside the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, Dec. 2, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Mussa Qawasma.

Earlier this month, Mae Cannon, executive director of Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP), an anti-Israel propaganda organization supported by mainline Protestant churches in the United States, told supporters that sometime in the next few days, her organization was going to issue an “action alert.”

The alert would tell CMEP supporters to express their opposition to the “Peace to Prosperity” proposal put forth by the Trump administration on January 28, 2020. Cannon made this declaration during a February 5, 2020 podcast organized by Jer Swigart from the Global Immersion Project, another so-called “peace” organization — which, like CMEP, brings activists to the Holy Land, who then agitate against Israel when they get home, all under the guise of peace.

“This is a critical moment for the church in terms of the way we respond to this moment in world history,” Cannon said during the podcast. “I’ve been crying a lot about this deal.”

Prior to the podcast, Cannon issued a statement condemning the Trump plan because it suggested that a number of villages south of Haifa become part of the future Palestinian state. Israeli Arabs, who have regularly complained about their minority status in Israel, have made it perfectly clear that they do not wish to become part of the Arab majority in a state run by the Palestinian Authority. Cannon declared that the proposal to shift these villages to the Palestinian state is “meant to maximize the amount of land under Israeli control while minimizing the number of Palestinians living on the land.”

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With her condemnation of the proposal to transfer the “triangle” villages into the future state of Palestine, Cannon implicitly acknowledged something she doesn’t want to admit publicly — no one in their right mind would want to live in a future state of Palestine, because the people who would likely govern the country are corrupt, violent, authoritarian, and inept. But this hasn’t stopped CMEP and so many other Christian “peacemakers” from carrying water for unaccountable Palestinian elites, who use anti-Israel sentiment to distract rank-and-file Palestinians from their thieving ways.

In her cri de coeur, which was posted on the Palestinian Authority’s website, Cannon declared, “The plan presented by President Trump and further fleshed out by Prime Minister Netanyahu is nothing less than a recipe for endless oppression and injustice.”

Maybe the plan is insufficient for the Palestinians. But why couldn’t Cannon and the organization she leads tell the Palestinian Authority to make a counter-offer? Why couldn’t CMEP forcefully condemn Mahmoud Abbas for calling Donald Trump a “son of a dog” and the Grand Mufti of the Palestinian Authority for declaring that opposition to the plan is a religious obligation? She has also called Evangelical support for Israel “idolatrous.”

What would she call Islamic hostility towards Jews? Does she have a churchly word for that? At the Christ at the Checkpoint Conference in Oklahoma in 2018, she condemned antisemitism in the Christian peace movement. If it’s a bad thing for peacemaking, is it a bad thing for statehood?

Maybe Cannon needs to remember what she said in 2018 about the demands for peace: “Throwing mud at peace negotiations does not bring peace closer. It just adds yet more burdens to negotiate for peace, and more pretext for those opposed to peace.”

What’s changed, Dr. Cannon? Do you want peace, or do you want another round of violence that you can use to mournfully virtue-signal?

Dexter Van Zile is Christian Media Analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA). His opinions are his own.

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