Should Jews be allowed to defend themselves as other peoples do? This is always a good litmus test for hypocrisy. For those observing the reactions of Christian leaders to Israel's efforts to defend herself from attacks by Hezbollah, there is already an interesting range to choose from.
So - three cheers for the U.S. Christian organizations who back the Lebanon operation
"This was certainly an unprovoked attack and Israel has every right to go in and pound them," said Ray Sanders, executive director of Christian Friends of Israel. "It needs to be made very clear that what they [Hezbollah] have done is an act of injustice and Israel has every right to defend herself."
Evangelist radio host Earl Cox of Front Page Jerusalem Global Radio Network called the Hezbollah incursions "barbaric acts of terrorism" and called on his following to contact their representatives to "demand" that the United Nations Security Council "take action in support of Israel."
The International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem said that "Israel has a right to defend herself" and voiced support for the country's measures to ensure "peace and security in the region."
And boos and rotten tomatoes for the Vatican Secretary of State who produced this statement:
"In particular, the Holy See deplores the attack on Lebanon, a free and sovereign nation," he said, adding that the Vatican is close to the Lebanese people, "who already have suffered much to defend their independence."
Just a reminder about Cardinal Sodano and where his sympathies lie.
The change of course desired by Benedict XVI also draws the Church closer to Israel. Sodano was a great admirer of Yasser Arafat, and is a supporter of the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah, who is ardently pro-Palestinian. But pope Ratzinger immediately flanked Sabbah with a more moderate auxiliary who will succeed him in two years, Fouad Twal of Jordan, previously the archbishop of Tunis. And is planning to appoint as the bishop of the Hebrew Christians who live in the state of Israel the present custodian of the Holy Land, Franciscan Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who is viewed very favorably by the Israeli authorities.
As the article says: "He should be the pope’s foremost collaborator. But for Benedict XVI, cardinal Angelo Sodano is more of an obstacle than a help."
Does he or doesn't he speak for the Benedict XVI in his statement? Or would the Pope agree more with this?
As for the Israel-Lebanon conflict, Franciscan Father David Jaeger, an Israeli citizen, told Vatican Radio, "The Lebanese government has a choice: It can continue to allow Hezbollah to control southern Lebanon or it can show some courage, reaffirm Lebanese sovereignty and suppress Hezbollah."
As the Pope is on holiday, we don't yet know.
Now just wait for all the Christian agencies who are weeping and wailing over a non-existent 'humanitarian disaster' in Gaza to move their attention to Lebanon and find a new excuse to attack Israel.
Are Middle East Church leaders and ordinary Christian Arabs on the same planet as one another? Looking at two different responses to the Israeli incursion into Lebanon, one might wonder.
First from the Christian Arab leadership.
Either news site Ekklesia hasn’t been following the news, or else the Middle East Council of Churches doesn’t know the geography of the Middle East.
The MECC says: “Once again… violence has taken over in Lebanon. The deterioration in the security situation has been very serious in the last 24 hours with Israel authorizing a ‘harsh response’ to the capture of two Israeli soldiers in Lebanon.
They were kidnapped from Israel – not Lebanon. By the way, notice how the killing of eight young soldiers has disappeared from the story, as though Israeli lives don’t matter.
These actions carried out by Hezbollah on Israeli soil are an act of war. The pretence that it happened in Lebanon turns it into something completely different. Perhaps the MECC heard it on the BBC, whose bias they share. Or how about this:
The Middle East Council of Churches has said that it fears the recent Israeli attacks in Lebanon could imperil the development work undertaken in the country by churches and others, as well as threatening the stability of the region.
So Hezbollah’s initial act of war, and its bombardment of Israeli towns, don’t threaten the stability of the region? And only Israel “imperils the churches’ development work”?
An interesting insight into the feelings of ordinary Christian Arabs in Lebanon is provided in Cries for Help from Lebanon
At Ynet News, a Lebanese Christian issues a cry for help in the comments to this article: IDF bombs Hizbullah stronghold in Beirut. (Hat tip: Joe S.)
24. A message to the IDF
Please free our beloved tortured country from these crazed mullah-followers. Free our land from these bloody syrian and iranian agents. we want to live in peace.
Please take caution to focus your attack where they are and not attack christian areas. we support you and bear you no ill will.
May god bless you.
Lebanese christian, Damour area (07.14.06)
And here’s another one
7. Israel go ahead
I’m lebanese Christian from beirut, i hope Israel can reach hezbolla in their bed and kills them, and also let Israel strike the syrian president,, I wish this strike will finish soon,, with less civilian,, we are in the Christian area of beirut feeling happy about the strike, but psychologically we are affected,,everybody hates hezbolla here,,
I hope this will finish
nadim, lebanon (07.14.06)
While we're at it, meet the Christian Palestinian family who find that life is good in a Jewish neighbourhood and ask yourself: do they live on the same planet as Patriach Michel Sabbah and Bishop Riah?
Dr Irene Lancaster plans to leave England to live in Israel. Next month she intends to move to Haifa.
If you pray, do remember her and her husband in your prayers.
One item from her account caught my eye. She points out that the Hezbollah missile which hit Haifa landed close to the important Catholic shrine of the Carmelites on Mount Carmel. This is where the Carmelite Order began.
Just learned from people in Haifa that it wasn't a shop, but the Stella Maris Rd. No-one hurt: no buildings damaged. But if you access below, you will see that the Carmelite monastery is there and that is where they think Elijah's cave is - he of the 'still small voice': my favourite part of the Bible, especially in Hebrew. And as far as I am concerned, there is no way that Hezbollah or anyone else is going to silence that voice, now or ever. However loudly they shout, or whatever the destruction they wreak.
More about the monastery here.
If Hezbollah had damaged or destroyed the shrine, would we have heard an indignant reaction from the local Church leaders, like Bishop Sabbah? Or would he have tried to blame the Israelis? Remember the hypocrisy surrounding the occupation of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem by Palestinian terrorists?
Like a gathering of vultures and other scavengers around a carcase, the Catholic media is darting in and seizing bits of rotting food from the current heap of lies about Gaza and the West Bank. Independent Catholic News swoops down first, then the Universe and Catholic News follow it and struggle over the same pieces.
The unpleasant item they are currently devouring is War on Want’s most recent attack on Israel.
War on Want point out that Israel’s actions have been identified as war crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, as well as being in contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Says who, Mr Donovan? And why no mention of Palestinian crimes? How about tunnelling into someone else’s country, killing and kidnapping its citizens? Or deliberately targeting civilian populations with innumerable kassam missiles? And why no mention of the present Charity Commission investigation of War on Want?
“At such a crucial time when we are seeing the cycle of violence escalate in Gaza, political and economic contact in support of the occupation is going to be seen as adding to the problems,” said Pat Gaffney, general secretary of Pax Christi.
Yes, Pax Christi, whose leader is Patriarch Michel Sabbah, is among the scavengers, too. Gaffney perpetuates the myth that Palestinian terrorist violence is caused by ‘the occupation’. This is in spite of the fact that the current ‘cycle of violence’ was the Palestinian response to Israel ceasing its ‘occupation’ of Gaza. The Israelis pulled out of Gaza, and the Palestinians responded by bombarding Israel with missiles.
“All with links to Israel and Palestine need to look to the consequences of their actions ˆ will they lead to peace and justice or division and violence.”
Yes, Ms Gaffney. Won't the support of terrorists have consequences? If you dislike violence so much, why not condemn the Palestinian missile attacks targeting civilian populations? Or the killing and kidnapping?
Meanwhile, Catholic News grabs one end of the indescribable item hanging from the jaws of Pax Christi while also picking up a tasty morsel left over by Independent Catholic News, whose bias against Israel has already been noted.
A local priest has compared life in Gaza with that described in the Lamentations of Jeremiah, as Caritas Jerusalem launches a urgent humanitarian appeal following Israeli bombings of power stations in the Palestinian territory.
Nowhere do these Christian journalists condemn terrorism. All they do is chew over the old lies produced by those who hate the Jewish State, and growl.
Rabbi Zvi Solomons, who attended the meeting, describes Sizer as “This charming yet obnoxious man”
As for Mr Sizer, his form of Jew-hatred is pernicious. I do not say that he is a conscious Jew-hater, but his use of the words "final solution" to describe Israeli policy towards the Palestinians, his description of the Palestinian areas as "Bantustans", and his use of the term "Apartheid" in connection with Israel was ample evidence that his position is heavily biased.
He is no friend of the Jews.
There were many Christian Zionists in the audience, but “They found it difficult to understand when I commented to them that Sizer was dangerous because he tells the truth.” I don't think Sizer tells quite such a large quantity of truth as the Rabbi thinks, but here is his analysis of Sizer’s methods:
The Palestinians have many grievances, many real and many imagined. Their leadership has failed them disastrously - as we are seeing now with the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier.
Israel has been forced to adopt practices and methods which are morally unacceptable.
That is why the Israeli government is pursuing a policy of disengagement from the Palestinians - the Israelis do not want war and if the only way is by building a separation barrier, then so be it.
There are occasions when Israel goes beyond the boundary of decency or tries to gloss over gross abuses of human rights. It is correct to protest about this kind of arrogant behaviour.
Sizer cherrypicks the information. He outlines many truths and then slips in a small piece of misinformation about Israel.
His techniques are psychologically fascinating and akin to brainwashing because he constructs an edifice of truth with the occasional falsehood.
By using buzzwords and inserting bias, he twists the truth to make it appear consistent with his falsehoods.
Unless one is well-informed and able to deconstruct what he is saying, one is liable to accept the lies with the truth.
His use of psychology and propaganda techniques are unacceptable.
If you repeat a lie often enough, it will be accepted as the truth.
I'm not sure that the ratio of truth to falsehood is quite as large as he claims, although it is hard to tell when the two are so twisted together. Perhaps he was somewhat affected by Sizer's brainwashing techniques! His description of these echo the words of Professor Les Lancaster, who attended Sizer’s session in Liverpool
Les said that he was an expert on brainwashing techniques and that is what we had seen this evening in a very cleverly organised immoral and one-sided presentation, aimed at demonisation. The title may have been 'Morally Responsible Investment', but the speaker had been anything but morally responsible this evening, Les stated.