Rogues’ gallery, all dressed in clerical collars

July 28th, 2006


Another rogues' gallery, this time wearing clerical collars. Dexter Van Zile provides a summary of Mainline Christian Churches Respond to Hamas and Hezbollah Aggression

In the past few weeks, mainline Christian churches and their umbrella organizations have issued statements about Israeli response to the acts of aggression by Hamas and Hezbollah. These statements typically emphasize Israeli use of force and its impact on civilians — not the Arab violence and aggression that precipitated the current crisis and that continues with devastating consequences to Israeli, Palestinian and Lebanese civilians. In short, Israel is judged on the unintended consequences of efforts to protect its citizens, while Hamas and Hezbollah are typically given a pass on their openly-stated goal — the destruction of the Jewish State.

In this framework, churches portray the humanitarian crisis as almost exclusively a result of Israeli action. Ironically, certain Arab leaders have exhibited greater willingness to condemn Hezbollah’s provocations than mainline church leaders.

His review includes an examination of the responses of the Mennonite Central Committee, Evangelical Lutheran Church, United Methodist Church, National Council of Churches and United Church of Christ.

They are the biggest bunch of sinners. In addition, he points to “Other groups” who “while still disproportionately focused on Israel's response, were not quite as one-sided”. These are the Presbyterian Church (USA) and (surprisingly) Pax Christi, which was one-sided, but not quite as grotesquely so as the others.

Do read the whole article.

Rogues’ gallery, all dressed in white feathers

July 28th, 2006

A rogues? gallery of Israel-haters, some familiar to those who read NGO-Monitor, has gone into action.

The letter is signed by Amnesty International UK, BASIC, CAFOD, Care International UK, Christian Aid, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Medact, the Muslim Council of Britain, Oxfam, Save the Children, Unison, War on Want, the Welfare Association and World Vision UK.

The ever watchful NGO Monitor notes how some of these organisations exploit the situation in Lebanon to promote their anti-Israel agenda.

For their latest attack on the Jewish State, they dress up in a big dove costume (rather like a pantomime goose ) with a large olive branch drooping from its beak. In this disguise, they coo gently, using words suggestive of peace.

They demand of Tony Blair that he support UN calls for an immediate cease-fire, without answering the question: how can a cease-fire be imposed on Hezbollah, which is not a state but a terrorist group? It would be rather like imposing a cease-fire on Al Qaida and America. Would Al Qaida take the slightest bit of notice?

Surely, this cease-fire could only be imposed on Israel, the victim, leaving Hezbollah, the aggressor, to do what it likes? And why support calls for a cease fire by the UN, which has a terrible record of injustice and hostility towards Israel, and has colluded with Hezbollah in attacks on Israel in the past?

No, the seedy old dove-costume worn by the Israel-haters is a threadbare thing, and one can see through it to the actors within. The cooing noises they make seem closer to growls. They just want Israel to cease its fire, and give Hezbollah a free hand, to render the northern part of tiny Israel uninhabitable and eventually destroy the whole country.

Perhaps the costume of a vulture would suit them better.

Of good things found in blogs and bogs

July 27th, 2006

Against the Grain, which is part of the Ratzinger Fan Club is another of those Catholic blogs which support Israel, simply because the writer has a well developed moral sense and is able to distinguish between good and evil.

Currently, Against the Grain is offering a series entitled The War Against Israel - News and Commentary and also an exploration of "Proportionality" and Just War Theory.

The site also offers other treasures. While I'm blogging, perhaps I should wear one of these, while sipping from one of this collection.

The following story has been picked up by a few sites, but here it is presented by another Catholic blogger, American Papist, who is evidently more clear-sighted about the threats facing Israel than some Church leaders: Plea for Israel emerges from Irish bog. An Irish book of Psalms, dated to the years 800 – 1000, was found in a bog, open at Psalm 83.

Here is part of the psalm (emphases mine).

God, do not be silent; God, be not still and unmoved!

See how your enemies rage; your foes proudly raise their heads.

They conspire against your people, plot against those you protect.

They say, "Come, let us wipe out their nation; let Israel's name be mentioned no more!"

They scheme with one mind, in league against you:

The tents of Ishmael and Edom, the people of Moab and Hagar,

Gebal, Ammon, and Amalek, Philistia and the inhabitants of Tyre.

Assyria, too, in league with them gives aid to the descendants of Lot

Other people have quoted that part of the psalm, pointing out how relevant it is today, but I'll add the final section:

My God, turn them into withered grass, into chaff flying before the wind.

As a fire raging through a forest, a flame setting mountains ablaze,

Pursue them with your tempest; terrify them with your storm.

Cover their faces with shame, till they pay you homage, LORD.

Let them be dismayed and shamed forever; let them perish in disgrace.

Show them you alone are the LORD, the Most High over all the earth.

If all this is too serious for you, or you are filled with anxiety for Israel, calm down with some therapy. (Have your sound turned on)

A Christian Nasrallah

July 26th, 2006


Ynet has an article entitled Doctor Nasrallah treats rocket injuries. No, it’s not the evil Islamist terrorist Nasrallah. It’s a nice one instead.

Soldiers and patients who encounter the name tag on the young doctor for the first time glance at it for a moment with a little curiosity and even suspicion.

They were just rushed to hospital because of Hassan Nasrallah's rockets, and now another Nasrallah awaits them in the emergency room?

This is a Christian, also called Nasrallah, and he looks after Jews. He looks after anyone who needs his help.

I am Israeli and I am a resident of Israel – and I'm proud of that and the wonderful relations that exist in the Rambam hospital between all of the staff and patients, without regard for race or nationality," he says.

Meanwhile, if you can’t bring yourself to pray for the evil Nasrallah in Lebanon, as the Pope suggests, you might like to try this instead. It takes a few moments to download, so be patient. Thanks to Annie for that.

The Vatican and Israel

July 26th, 2006


Pope Benedict XVI has been a better friend of Israel than some Protestant leaders. There have been no Vatican calls for divestment. In spite of decades of gradually improving Catholic attitudes to Jews, however, there are still flaws. Any cracks in the Church are now becoming more visible, as they open up under the heat of the situation in Lebanon.

The latest examination of these lines of weakness is an article by Joseph D'Hippolito, Pontificating Against Israel. A major line of weakness is the Vatican Secretary of State, the soon to be replaced Cardinal Sodano, one of the exponents of “pro-Arab prejudice” within the Vatican. He is a powerful man.

As secretary of state, Sodano is responsible for the Vatican’s communications outlets – including its newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, which constantly displays an anti-Israel attitude. The magazine from Sodano’s own office, Civilita Cattolica, complements L’Osservatore with anti-American rhetoric “after the fashion of the radical left of Noam Chomsky and Michael Moore,” Magister wrote.

An admirer of the terrorist Arafat, Sodano’s prejudice has even driven him to a certain dishonesty (well, what do you expect of a fan of Arafat?)

Sodano has gone so far as to use duplicitous means to promote his agenda, even at the expense of the Vatican’s diplomatic credibility and Benedict’s dignity.

It was Sodano who, while the Pope was away on holiday, prepared a statement in Benedict’s name, which condemned recent terrorist attacks in a number of countries, but omitted to mention a suicide bombing in Netanya.

Sodano publicized the statement July 24, 2005. One day later, Israel’s foreign ministry filed a protest. Tensions reached the point where Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon spoke directly with Sodano, who tried to shift the blame to the Vatican’s press secretary, Joaquin Navarro-Walls, who accompanied Benedict on vacation.

But mandatory retirement is forcing the 78-year-old Sodano out. Pope Benedict himself testified to Sodano’s rapidly diminishing influence by publicly contradicting him July 18, when the pope supported the G8 summit’s blaming Hezbollah and Hamas for hostilities.

As well as removing Sodano, a more positive future approach to Israel is promised in certain other appointments, most notably Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who, it is believed, will be appointed as bishop for Hebrew-speaking Christians in Israel.

The article finishes with a warning note.

But if the Vatican is serious about changing its policy toward Israel – and if it really believes its rhetoric about supporting peoples rather than their governments – it must forcefully and unequivocally offer the same support to Israeli victims of terror as it does to Arab victims of war and religious persecution.

Otherwise, intelligent people will recognize the Vatican’s support for the innocent as nothing but a cover for its own geopolitical interests and cynical personal agendas – as, unfortunately, it has been to this point.