Church and Main
Church and Main
Episode 170: Is the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Really as Simple as It Seems? with Frederick Schmidt

Episode 170: Is the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Really as Simple as It Seems? with Frederick Schmidt

Do we have a limited view of Palestinians?

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We might think that we know the story of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.  If you listen to the news or social media you will hear stories of the lives lost in the ongoing war with Israel in the wake of the October 7 attacks.  When we hear these stories they are almost always in response to something Israel has done either in the past or in the very near present.  

The way that Palestinians are depicted it’s almost always very one-dimensional.  There is never any talk of other voices in Palestinian life.  The only voice we hear is one of protest against Israel.

This is not to say that the protest isn’t ever justified; it’s just that it tends to be the only voice we ever hear.

But just like most groups,  Palestinians are not of one opinion on anything.  Sometimes there is criticism of leadership, especially criticism of Hamas, but those voices usually get silenced both within places like Gaza and in the wider world.

In this episode, I talk to Episcopal Priest and frequent Church and Main guest Frederick Schmidt about the silence of Palestinian voices and how many in the West are inadvertently supporting fundamentalist Islam by not listening to those voices.  In December 2023 he wrote an essay entitled “Christian Leaders, Hamas, And Fundamentalist Islam” he wrote that comparative religion missed some of the dangers of an extreme version of Islam and its role on October 7.

“The discussion about the murderous behavior of Hamas has been reduced to political categories or a conversation about religion that considers all religious differences to be “all about the same thing”, and they are not,” Schmidt writes.  “The significance of radical, fundamentalist Shiite convictions that drove the attack on Israel on October 7 cannot be ignored or sublimated.”

So today we will talk about having a fuller conversation about Palestinians, life in Gaza, Hamas and fundamentalist Islam in light of October 7.  Schmidt is currently the Vice Rector of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Nashville. He is an Episcopal Priest, spiritual director, retreat facilitator, conference leader, writer, and academic. Before his current position, Schmidt held the Rueben P. Job Chair in Spiritual Formation at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL, and directed the Job Institute for Spiritual Formation.

Show Notes:
Christian Leaders, Hamas, And Fundamentalist Islam
Whispered in Gaza Videos

Listen here or on YouTube, or wherever you listen to podcasts.


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Church and Main
Church and Main
Church and Main is a podcast at the intersection of faith and modern life. Join Pastor Dennis Sanders as he shares the stories of faith interacting with the ever-changing world of the 21st century.