Skip to comments.Who Are the Christian Peacemaker Teams?
Posted on 11/30/2005 9:10:57 AM PST by Para-Ord.45
Anti-war NGO with a strong, pro-Palestinian militant, anti-Israel agenda Repeatedly condemns Israeli government policies, while making no mention of the Palestinian terror campaign Maintains a seasonal presence along the Arizona/ Mexico border, where it conducts what it describes as "a campaign to challenge U.S. immigration policies that result in hundreds of migrant deaths in the dessert every summer" Maintains a continuous presence in Iraq, protesting the U.S.-led invasion and blaming America for inflicting great suffering on the Iraqi people
The Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) program was founded in Chicago in 1986 as an initiative of the Mennonite Central Committee Peace Section, the Church of the Brethren Office of Peace and Justice, and similar groups. CPT describes itself as "a nonviolent alternative to war and other forms of lethal inter-group conflict," and aims to promote "nonviolent institutions, skills and training for intervention in conflict situations."
CPT is funded primarily through donations from members of affiliated churches based in Cleveland, Chicago, northern Indiana, the upper Midwest (Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin), Winnipeg, Ontario, and the United Kingdom. In 2004, donations totaled over $800,000.
CPT activities are based on short-term visits (of 7 to 14 days) by "conflict resolution teams" to Palestinian centers, both to provide "practical guidance to warring parties," and to "link communities experiencing violence with concerned individuals, churches and groups." Toward these ends, CPT has established a forum for "social change through listening, public witness, prayer vigils, [and] dialogue."
CPT also funds longer-term "peacemaker teams" based in the aforementioned areas. These individuals return to their home churches periodically, where they are active politically in "organizing, speaking, training, or other peace work within their communit[ies]." According to CPT, this activity serves to "advance the cause of lasting peace by giving skilled, courageous support to peacemakers working locally in situations of conflict."
CPT activities related to the Arab-Israeli conflict began in 1992, in parallel with delegations sent to Haiti and Iraq. CPT "violence reduction workers" visited Palestinian towns, in close coordination with political leaders such as the mayor of Hebron. (Israelis were largely ignored, making peace-related activities impossible.)
The number of CPT missions in support of Palestinians has grown steadily over time, now constituting half of the organization's worldwide activity. Ten such visits are scheduled for 2005-06, including one in coordination with the United Church of Canada and one with a Franciscan group.
Reflecting this disproportionate emphasis on the Palestinian cause, the CPT UK website provides the contact information for six "peacemaker team" members who are available for speaking engagements and comment on world affairs. Of these, five have spent most of their time in contact with Palestinian groups.
CPT publications also reflect a consistent pro-Palestinian agenda, in sharp contrast to the CPT mission statement related to nonviolent conflict resolution. One example is an article published by the Global Ministries, documenting the January 2003 CPT Ohio Conference. While repeatedly condemning Israeli government policies, there is no mention of the Palestinian terror campaign and the hundreds of murdered Israelis.
Similarly, the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF) website includes an article titled "A Christian Peacemaker Team Member Views the Arab Israeli Conflict", urging CPT activists "to protect Palestinians under assault from settlers trying to extend their illegal domains, while diffident IDF [Israeli Defense Force] soldiers stand by and let them." Repeating the standard pro-Palestinian narrative that erases the historical context, the writer also characterizes the Palestinian people as suffering from the "cynical cruelty of the [Israeli] occupation." And a June 2005 article on "Promoting Peace in Palestine" in a Gladwin, Michigan newspaper describes a CPT tour by members of the Beaverton Church of the Brethren; in this piece, the group's one-sided support for the Palestinian agenda, and its condemnation of Israel, is made clear.
In the same way, CPT's website, including a detailed section on Hebron with photographs, consistently presents Palestinians as victims while implicitly condemning Israelis for trying to defend themselves against terror.
The one-sided political agenda is further highlighted in CPT's cooperative activities with other NGOs. These allied NGOs include the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI), which employs such terms as "apartheid" and "war crimes" to describe Israeli activities. (The EAPPI has relationships with several other extremist pro-Palestinian groups such as the Alternative Information Center, the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, and PENGON.)
Clearly, the evidence demonstrates the vast gap between CPT's claims to work for peace "through non-violent means," and its biased political agenda. CPT's strident advocacy is part of the NGO-led divestment campaign designed to promote demonization and isolation of Israel in the framework of the on-going political conflict.
In addition to its activities in the Middle East, CPT also maintains a seasonal presence along the Arizona/ Mexico border, where it conducts what it describes as "a campaign to challenge U.S. immigration policies that result in hundreds of migrant deaths in the dessert every summer." CPT "team members" conduct "cross-border prayer vigils, remain alert to vigilante threats and monitor border patrol officers' treatment of migrants." Founded on the premise that America immigration policies are unjust and oppressive, this campaign is conducted in close cooperation with the open-borders organization No More Deaths, which supports blanket amnesty for all illegals and a removal of all restrictions on future immigration.
Moreover, CPT maintains a continuing presence in the Magdalena Medio region of Colombia, where "team members support Christians working for a peaceful end to Colombia's 40-year-old civil war through public prayer, fasting and nonviolent action." According to CPT, activities include "accompanying communities along the Opón River formerly displaced by paramilitary violence and responding to widespread killings and huge infusions of foreign military aid."
Finally, CPT has maintained a continuous presence in Iraq since October 2002, five months before the start of the March 2003 U.S.-led invasion. Said CPT in November 2005, "The primary focus of the team for eighteen months following the invasion was documenting and focusing attention on the issue of detainee abuses and basic legal and human rights being denied them [by the U.S.]. Issues related to detainees remain but the current focus of the team has expanded to include efforts to end occupation and militarization of the country and to foster nonviolent and just alternatives for a free and independent Iraq." Notably, CPT said nothing about the insurgent terrorists' relentless stream of suicide bombings and beheadings aimed at innocent civilians in Iraq. The organization's entire focus was on alleged instances of misconduct by a small percentage of U.S. troops.
As the war has progressed, CPT's mission has evolved accordingly. For example, beginning in October 2002, when the threat of war loomed but open conflict had not yet begun, CPT sought to "support the UN Weapons Inspection Program as an alternative to war" (though it gave no credit to the large U.S. military presence that was ultimately required in order to persuade Saddam Hussein to allow even the most cursory -- and inadequate -- inspections of suspected weapons sites. CPT also worked to "expose the injustice and deaths from the US-led economic sanctions," and to "put a human face on Iraq, helping people in the U.S. understand that Saddam Hussein was not the only person living in Iraq." The organization chose not to publicly acknowledge that the actual cause of the Iraqi people's poverty and suffering was Saddam himself, who diverted billions of dollars from the ostensibly humanitarian UN Oil-For-Food Program and used those funds only to increase his own wealth and finance his own pet projects.
Once the war began in March 2003, CPT team members stayed in Baghdad to "stand alongside Iraqi families; provide an alternative voice to the reporters 'embedded' with Coalition forces; use their bodies to protect critical civilian infra-structure such as water treatment facilities, electrical plants, and hospitals; . . . raise an alternative perspective on the invasion based on interviews with Iraqi friends; . . . document abuse of detainees by Coalition forces; assist Iraqis in gaining access to loved ones in detention; [and] launch the Adopt-a-Detainee Campaign asking churches to advocate on behalf of Iraqi detainees." Again, the organization's emphasis has been consistently focused on America's alleged culpability for Iraqi suffering.
On November 29, 2005, it was reported that a radical Islamist group known as the Swords of Righteousness Brigade had kidnapped four CPT members (including one American), claiming that the captives were spies working undercover as Christian peace activists.
CHICAGO -- "Little drummer boy" Sam Stackhouse, 9, of North Suburban Mennonite Church, led Christian Peacemaker Teams' fourth peace witness against violent toys on New Year's day. Some 40 people marched to the Toys-R-Us store on State Street in downtown Chicago, calling on the retail chain to stop selling war toys, violent video games, and action figures that teach children violence.
So they took me into a small spare room with a video camera trained on a single wooden chair. A large muslim flag with crossed swords made a backdrop.
They were handling me pretty roughly but I figured they were just trying to impress the Al Jazeera guy who was pissed off because he had been waiting so long.
"I've been here since eight o'clock ths morning! I have to get to an IED site by noon, lets get this thing on!" he was yelling in Arabic.
They quickly tied me to the chair and blindfolded me. I could feel the cold steel of the saber against the back of my neck.
"Infidel!", Amar shouted in English, which was pretty decent. "Filthy Christian! American pig! You will renounce your government, your president! You will admit to the Zionist plot against the Arab people! You will renounce your filthy religion or, by Allah, I will cut your head off!"
The room was silent for a moment until the true meaning of his request sunk in and I started to laugh - a giggle at first and then outright laughter which turned to tears.
"Is that it?" I asked. "Thats all? Of course I do!"
We all had a pretty good laugh about it later at the reception in the French embassy.
I found their website, http://www.cpt.org
You can learn a lot about a group just by the bible they quote from. I knew the NSRV sounded familiar but I couldn't place it.
"the NRSV was quickly adopted as a replacement of the RSV in the liberal denominations associated with the National Council of Churches." - from http://www.bible-researcher.com/nrsv.html
in other words... it is the bible of choice for communists, socialists, and others that want to destroy the Christian community from within. This goes hand in hand with the goals of the CPT to "get in the way" of Israelis defending themselves and America trying to spread democracy in the Middle East.
Let me ask CPT something. In all the New Testament, in whom did Jesus find the greatest faith? The protestor? the preacher? No, a soldier (Matthew 8:5-13).
They are in no danger - they are with their fellow America-haters...
Umm, these folks aren't Mennonites or Brethren, no matter what they say.
There is a huge difference between actively fighting against the country you live in, vs. yourself, personally, deciding not to use force.
The difference is that between someone who chooses not to become a Marine, vs. someone going out and spitting on Marines.
Starry eyed & hopeful, a band of U.S. peace activists' journey was cut short by bfeaking (see FR yesterday) reality.
Katrina and Peacenik fatigued, I wish them luck.
I'm curious, could you explain how they are 'actively fighting' against the country they live in?
Poor choice of words, sorry. I meant "actively undermining" the country. There is a difference between saying "I won't join the military" and "You shouldn't join the military because they are corrupt and malicious."
Ah, so I can hold my Christian values as long as they don't get in the way of my supposed required nationalist values. Must have missed that verse in the Bible
There is a difference between saying "I won't join the military" and "You shouldn't join the military because they are corrupt and malicious."
And yet for the life of me after searching their front page on the site I can't see where they've made that comment have they?