Donald J. Moore, S.J., professor emeritus of theology at Fordham, sees a beacon of hope for peace in the Middle East because of small activist groups, both Palestinian and Israeli, who continue to speak out against violence. The Jesuit, who ministers to a small English-speaking Catholic population in Jerusalem and lives at the city’s Pontifical Biblical Institute, compared the current peace and justice groups to the prophets of the Eighth to Second Centuries B.C. “who raised their voice in great criticism…on behalf of the widow, the orphan or the stranger.”
Father Moore has lived for the past six years in the Israeli capital, and has written articles on that experience for America: The National Catholic Weekly; and Jivan, published by the Jesuits of India. He praised groups like the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), who physically block the bulldozing of Palestinian homes; and Machsom Watch, a group of Israeli women who monitor checkpoints and report inequities.
“For some Palestinians, these actions are a revelation, for they only know the Israelis as soldiers,” said Father Moore. He said he was also impressed by the fortitude of the Bereaved Families Forum, comprising Israelis and Palestinians who have lost loved ones to the violence, yet renounce retribution and further militarization.
In his lecture “A View from Jerusalem: Palestinian and Israeli Peacemaking Efforts,” on Nov. 29 at St. Peter’s College, Father Moore said that peace activists in Israel and Gaza are often called collaborators and traitors by their own people, yet they persist. “My goal is to support the people who are speaking out, and let them know someone cares and will give them a voice,” he said.