This week Boston will host a lion hiding in a lamb's clothing. The Old South Church welcomes a group parading as a conference seeking peace in the Middle East, but who's message of hate will do more to damage the potential for lasting peace, than to end conflict. People of all faiths should be raising their voices to protest this event.

This week Boston will host a lion hiding in a lamb's clothing. The Old South Church welcomes a group parading as a conference seeking peace in the Middle East, but who's message of hate will do more to damage the potential for lasting peace, than to end conflict. People of all faiths should be raising their voices to protest this event.


A group known as Sabeel brings its event, "The Apartheid Paradigm in Palestine-Israel: Issues of Justice and Equality" to Boston, Oct. 26-27. Sabeel purports to represent the views of the Palestinian people and the promise of lasting peace. Sabeel claims that the only solution to the problem in the Middle East is a one state solution. Naim Ateek, Sabeel's founder, has referred to a two state solution as "...an interim solution, a first step that hopefully will lead to the formation of the one state."


Yet this is a view rejected by the Palestinian Authority and the State of Israel. Both organizations have recognized that the only solution is through a permanent two-state approach, and that will be the basis of the real peace talks taking place later this year in Annapolis, Maryland. A one-state solution would lead to the type of bloodshed and violence currently seen in Lebanon.


In addition to an unrealistic approach, Sabeel makes its case through the vilification of Jews and false analogies. Sabeel has openly rejected the notion that the State of Israel has a right to exist - a view that is unacceptable for an organization seeking to be a genuine party to peace. Its "Liberation Theology" is based on seeing the Palestinians as the only group suffering in the conflict.


Sabeel often compares Palestinians to the crucified Jesus, and Israel to his murderers. This image alludes to the false charges of deicide leveled against the Jewish community in past centuries, and wholeheartedly rejected by the vast majority of historians, and most Christian denominations including the Roman Catholic Church. One finds this vilification in a Sabeel statement that claimed, "The Israeli government crucifixion system is operating daily."


Finally, one cannot permit further use of the false analogy that compares the State of Israel with the apartheid in South Africa. This comparison attempts to portray Israelis and supporters of Israel as racist, discriminatory and inhumane. Apartheid was a repressive system through which the white minority in South Africa enforced its domination of the black majority. The truth of the matter is that Israel guards the rights of all of its citizens, whether they be Arab, Jewish, Druze, or Christian. All citizens have the right to vote, and organize politically. The Israeli parliament, the Knesset, has had Arab members for many years - and Israel accepts the notion of a sovereign Palestinian State. It should be clear that the analogy of apartheid is completely false, and only distorts the reality of the political situation.


Friends, I hope that you will all raise your voices to protest the conference of intolerance taking place this weekend. We are all seekers of peace - and I pray that within our lifetime we will see the day when the swords will transform into plowshares. But the path to peace is not lined with lies, hatred, and the vilification of one people.


Adam F. Miller is the rabbi at Temple Beth Am in Framingham.