January Series 2010: Elias Chacour
January 28, 2010
Rev. Abuna Elias Chacour came from Haifa, Israel to Grand Rapids, Mich. for one reason, he told The January Series audience Wednesday, January 26: to beg. He wasn’t asking for money, however.
"I ask for something much more difficult to give. I need friendship and solidarity. I need a reconsideration of convictions,” he said.
Chacour, the Archbishop of the Melkite Catholic Church in Haifa, Israel, was born in Palestine in 1939. He lost his home upon the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. Now a “proud” citizen of Israel, Chacour advocates for a peaceful coexistence of Jews and Arabs in the Holy Land, like that enjoyed for many centuries prior to the modern era.
The heart of Chacour's message
Though his lecture was filled with many mirthful anecdotes and asides, Chacour’s message to the January Series audience was serious:
"Who told you that to be the friend of the Jews is to be automatically the enemy of the Palestinians? … But if you take our side and become anti-Jewish, hate the Jews, then please know that we do not need your friendship. What do you do if you become one-sided on either side for one against the other? You become one more enemy in this battle, and we do not need any more enemies. We need one more common friend.
"Can you be that comfort? Please, we need you. If you can’t, that’s okay. Go home in peace, but don’t come forward to reduce us into pieces. We will find the way. We have been together for centuries. We will go back to the past and look for the future.”
~by Allison Graff, communications and marketing