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Reporting for the IRD inevitably provides all kinds of zen-like moments in which odd corners of the church are on full display. I’m thinking of the Earth-worship seminar I attended in 2010, in which defrocked former Roman Catholic priest Matthew Fox led a “grieving ritual” that involved 200 people on all fours emitting animal-like barking and growls punctuated by guttural wails and whimpering. There was also the 2008 United Methodist General Conference, in which John Lomperis and I were assigned to report on a transgender picnic.

Not to be outdone, the anti-Israel church activists at the Liberation Theology group Sabeel decided to mix in piano-accompanied singing to their recent event at Wesley Theological Seminary (more about that event here). Just in time for the Holidays, here are some of the tunes:

“When Zionists Came to Palestine” (Tune: When Israel was in Egypt land)

When Zionists came to Palestine,
Free Palestinians now.
They said, “let all the land be mine,”
Free Palestinians now.
Tell all Israel, end the occupation now.
Israel, Bibi, end the occupation now.

“Ode to Liberation” (Tune: Ode to Joy)

Israel, end your occupation,
There’s no peace on stolen land.
Well sing out for liberation,
‘till you hear and understand
Ethnic cleansing and apartheid
should belong to history.
Human rights cannot be silenced,
Palestine will soon be free.

“Palestine and the Livin’ Ain’t Easy” (Tune: Summertime)

Palestine and the livin’ ain’t easy
Apartheid and the wall is so high
The world stands by and the U.S. keeps funding
American Christians must shout out and cry!

Christians listen to the call from the faithful.
Kairos Palestine calls for us to stand by.
And to help them bridge the gap to Israel
American Christians must shout out and cry.

Israel and the livin’ ain’t easy.
It’s not right to be the oppressor this time.
The world stands by, and U.S. Christians keep funding
American Christians must stop it in time.

Stop oppression using church investments;
It’s not moral, and Jesus wouldn’t approve.
Kairos USA says we’ll respond to the call,
Come on you Christians, let’s get up and move.

“O Little Town of Bethlehem”

O little town of Bethlehem how sad we are today.
The silent night we sing about seems very far away.
Although the Christmas angels brought tidings to this place,
We see the wall, we feel the pain of those within this place.

O little town of Bethlehem, surrounded by wall and lies
Tormented, restless, nightmare sleep that even the stars do cry.
Now jeeps and tanks and M-16’s contribute to the fright
The fears and tears of 60 years* o’er Bethlehem tonight.

O Holy One of all our faiths, Christian, Muslim, Jew,
Show us the peace you plan for us so we may all praise you,
And share your holy city, to all so dear and fair,
Stop violence by human hands, join hearts and hands in prayer.

*I found this line to be especially revealing: Bethlehem’s oppression is apparently linked not to the Six Day War in which control of the West Bank was won from Jordan by Israel, but instead back to Israel’s founding in the 1940s.

“When the Saints go Marching In”

O when the saints go to D.C.
O when the saints go to D.C.
They’ll ask for end to military aid
When the saints go to D.C.

When the churches speak to Congress folks
When the churches speak to Congress folks
Tell them to stop the military aid
To the Israeli government