Remember that horrible, horrible ending to the Green Bay Packers-Seattle Seahawks Monday Night Football game? The one that the Packers defender came down with the ball, and somehow the refs gave a touchdown to the Seattle receiver? The one that erroneously gave a victory to the Seattle team?
The one that everyone agreed challenged the very integrity of the game?
The one that most people call the tipping point that has not led to the NFL dismissing the replacement refs and bring back the real refs?
The one that had one official signaling an interception, and the other (erroneously) a touchdown?
Earlier in September, one of the fake replacement refs was dismissed because he posted on his Facebook page that he was a New Orleans Saints fan, and yet he was scheduled to work a Saints game. Mind you, all the guy had done was to post on his Facebook page that he was a Saints fan, and had a picture of himself in a Saints tailgate.
And you wonder what this all has to do with Middle East Peace?
Think of the “game” between Palestinians and Israelis. Think of a horrible, often violent “game” that has been going on since the creation of the modern state of Israel. [Of course it is not a “game”, because it shapes the lives, hopes, sorrows, and deaths of real life human beings on all sides.]
Now, see the United States as the referee to this “game.”
And see the United States not as an impartial referee, but a thoroughly one-sided partisan of one side in this struggle. If we had a Facebook page for the United States, it would be one where there would be frequent “status updates” declaring our “unshakable” support for one side, Israel.
Here is one thing that US Presidents, Republican and Democrat, fully agree on:
George W. Bush: The United States is "proud to be Israel's closest ally and best friend."
President Obama insists that the United States will "always have Israel's back"
Nor is this simply a matter of words. The United States has vetoed many motions in the United Nations Security Council that condemn Israel, again and again and again.
The United States continues to financially and militarily support Israel, which is already one of the strongest armies in the world, and the only Middle Eastern country known to possess nuclear warheads—over 200 of them. Over the last few decades the United States support for Israel easily exceeds 100 billion dollars.
If this were the NFL, the United States would have been dismissed as an ineffective and unethical referee, as a partial and partisan “peacemaker.”
How can you be a credible peacemaker when you time and again declare yourself to be a one-sided supporter of one side?
The integrity of the United States is compromised each day this goes on. More importantly, the integrity of Palestinians and Israelis is compromised. Palestinians continue to live without the dignity and self-determination that everyone is entitled to, and Israeli live in terror while oppressing another population.
The problem, of course, is that there is no power ready to step in and act in an impartial manner to resolve this decades long conflict. There is no power ready to put human rights, justice, and dignity before geopolitical alliances. There is no power to bring the “real referee” back—the world community.
In the meantime, we are stuck with this partial replacement referee.
If you felt the frustration of Green Bay fans at having been robbed by the incompetent referees Monday night, imagine the frustration of Palestinians and those Israelis committed to a just and meaningful peace who keep being robbed by this fraudulent peacemaker referee. Then imagine that frustration not over a ballgame, but over life and existence. Then imagine that frustration for sixty-five years. Now you have a sense of the depth of pain and suffering involved in the Palestinian-Israeli tragedy.
We need the real forces of peace and justice, not an ineffective replacement.
Let justice roll down like waters,
And righteousness like a mighty stream….
May we see the emergence of a real peacemaker in this conflict, and may we be participants in making it so.