Archbishop of Canterbury gets something right

January 29th, 2007


Look on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Holocaust Memorial Day statement and admire it.

Anyone who casts doubt on the Holocaust, including Iranian President Ahmadinejad, receives a sharp prod from his crozier.

Attempts to challenge the Holocaust as history, such as the recent conference in Iran, brought disgrace on those who sought to do so for political purposes:

“ The clear implication was that if it had happened at all, it had been greatly exaggerated from motives to do with Zionism and a European guilt complex. It cannot be acceptable to treat the systematic murder of six million Jews and others as a propaganda issue for a particular cause..”

More on the subject here and here.

He warned that challenges still lie ahead and that the Holocaust Memorial Day was not simply about commemorating the past:

“ It is a day to recommit in the most practical ways to continue the struggle against the underlying anti-Semitic causes of that event which remain present and virulent within our communities in this country as in others.“

These things need to be said, but will anything be done? Already, one English town has cancelled Holocaust Memorial Day.

The Vicar of Bolton, Canon Michael Williams, who is treasurer of the Interfaith Council, said: "The service is a bit artificial because we have never had a Jewish community to support it.

In other words, there are no Jews around, so why bother to support it? Well, if it hadn’t been for the Holocaust, Vicar, perhaps there would be more Jews in Bolton now.

Anyway, Vicar, don’t you think there was something, well – how can I put this? - wrong about the Holocaust? Something we should try and prevent from happening again? No?

The replacement of Holocaust Memorial Day by a ‘genocide memorial day’ was the anti-Jewish idea of the Muslim Council of Britain, although even they are having second thoughts about it now. Not for any good reason – just so that they can successfully hijack the event and twist it into a propaganda exercise against the Jews for some pretended ‘genocide of the Palestinians’.

Meanwhile, there has been a marked rise in attacks on Jews in Europe over the past year. As the Archbishop said:

“May 2007 be the year in which we resolve in every local setting to combat anti-Semitic language and behaviour with new vigour.”

We need more words like this from Church leaders – better still, we need actions. How about a few sharp prods of the crozier for some Church organizations, like Christian Aid, or Church media outlets which indulge in disproportionate amounts of Jewish-State-bashing?

From the horse’s mouth or the bishop’s mouth?

January 25th, 2007

Catholic Bishop William Kenney writes: “I have just returned from visiting two of the largest "open prisons" in the world - Bethlehem and the Gaza strip.”

Does he describe them as open prisons because they contain so many terrorist criminals? Or people who support the aims of criminals and vote for them?

One might suspect that after reading the brave and honest statements of Palestinian Christians, who are being persecuted by their Muslim neighbours.

Samir Qumsiyeh, one of the few Christians willing to speak about this, has been the subject of numerous death threats and his house was recently attacked with fire-bombs.

He said a monk was recently roughed up for trying to prevent a group of Muslim men from seizing lands owned by Christians in Beit Sahur. Thieves have targeted the homes of many Christian families and a "land mafia" has succeeded in laying its hands on vast areas of land belonging to Christians, he added.

Fuad and Georgette Lama woke up one morning last September to discover that Muslims from a nearby village had fenced off their family's six-dunam plot in the Karkafa suburb south of Bethlehem. "A lawyer and an official with the Palestinian Authority just came and took our land," said 69-year-old Georgette Lama.

The couple was later approached by senior PA security officers who offered to help them kick out the intruders from the land. "We paid them $1,000 so they could help us regain our land," she said, almost in tears. "Instead of giving us back our land, they simply decided to keep it for themselves. They even destroyed all the olive trees and divided the land into small plots, apparently so that they could offer each for sale." When her 72-year-old husband, Fuad, went to the land to ask the intruders to leave, he was severely beaten and threatened with guns.

Does Bishop Kenney speak out on behalf of fellow Christians such as these, victims of such cruelty and injustice? No.

He writes: “I am one of more than 15 Roman Catholic Bishops, from Europe and North America, who have visited the Holy Land every year, for the past six years, to support the Catholic Bishops of the region.. Catholic Bishops – like agenda-driven, Israel-hating Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah - not ordinary Christians.

Kenney appears unable to distinguish between the Muslim majority and the oppressed Christian minority and lumps them all together, blaming the Jews for their woes.

Do you believe the story you hear straight from the horse’s mouth – that of the Christian Arab victim? Or the story you hear from the facial orifice of the other fellow?

Methodist minister donates kidney to rabbi: Bishops donate a lot of hot air to Israel

January 20th, 2007


Usually, Christian attitudes towards Jews are displayed in words rather than actions. Here are a lot of words by a group of bishops. They try to appear even-handed by quoting the Pope: "The Israelis have a right to live in peace in their state; the Palestinians have a right to a free and sovereign homeland."

But then they tell us that "The establishment of a viable Palestinian state, which would end the occupation, requires contiguous lands". If the Palestinians have contiguous lands, then Israel will have to be split in two. They can't both have contiguous lands.

We discussed the proposed reduction in the number of checkpoints and the proposed release of Palestinian tax revenues which could be encouraging signs, but emphasised that bold gestures are needed to break the cycle of Israeli fear and Palestinian anger that dominate the current situation.

Bold gestures? They demand bold gestures by the Israelis, but why don't these verbose prelates make some bold gestures themselves? Here's an example they might ponder.

Methodist minister Karen Onesti has donated one of her kidneys to Rabbi Andrew Bossov.

When a New Jersey Methodist minister heard a local rabbi needed a kidney transplant, religious differences did not stop her from stepping forward to offer him one of her own.

Rabbi Andrew Bossov is one of nearly 70,000 Americans currently awaiting a kidney transplant, and is set to receive a kidney from minister Karen Onesti on January 23., at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

The bishops might also note that the bold gesture was accompanied by words which are few and to the point.

"I asked him how he was, he said he needed a kidney, so I said I would give him one of mine," said Onesti.

What have the Romans ever done for us?

January 17th, 2007

Assorted Bishops have been visiting the Holy Land and think it is just like it was when the Romans were there.

Archbishop Kelly, heading a delegation from the Bishops Conference of England and Wales, said his visit was part of an ongoing programme to support Christians in the Palestinian Occupied Territories, reminding the congregation that: "The first Christmas began here in extraordinary political circumstances under Roman occupation, yet the light shone through.

Ah yes. The Romans. Persecuted and almost destroyed in a Holocaust, needing a country of their own, they returned to the land which had been theirs until it was taken from them by – oh, wait a minute.

Could it be that the Archbishop needs a history lesson? The new Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham, William Kenney, certainly does.

Bishop Kenney said: "Peace begins with children. They are the future. Today Bethlehem feels exactly as it was 2000 years ago.

He’s old enough to remember?

The city was under occupation and Christ was born here because of the occupation.

Apart from the fact that there may have been other reasons why Christ was born there (and some say he was born in another Bethlehem near Nazareth), it is obvious the Bishops were never introduced to anyone like good Fuaz the carpenter, who lives near Haifa.

Just had a lovely cupboard made by Fuaz, a Muslim carpenter who lives in a villa in a Druze village very near here. We had a nice chat as he talked about this and that. It appears that he might have to go into hospital and I asked him if he was satisfied with the Israel medical service. He is He said that he felt that Arabs were treated even better than the Jewish community by the various Israeli health funds: he himself is in Leumit and he also asked me why there was antisemitism in Britain. I told him it was largely to do with the perceived suffering of the Palestinians and he retorted that the British must be mad to blame the Jewish community or Israel for that.

Mad – and ignorant of history.

The Romans had no right to be there, and the Jews have every right to be there, but maybe it's time to revisit the question asked in Monty Python’s “Life of Brian” What have the Romans ever done for us?

Tally ho!

January 12th, 2007

And what follows Christmas day in the English countryside? Why the Boxing Day fox hunt, of course! It may be outlawed, but nothing stops the men in red chasing their favourite prey.

Christmas has also become the new blood libel season, to be followed by another annual hunt. Camera (via Stand with Israel) has some slavering examples, in which the hounds of anti-semitism bark and howl and drool, working themselves up into a rage.

And after that, a new tradition is forming of some more men in red chasing their favourite prey - the Jewish State.

A bunch of Bishops is galloping over to Israel, accompanied by the usual pack of foxhounds.

This year, there will be bishops from Canada, England and Wales, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the United States of America. The Council of European Bishops' Conferences (CCEE) and the Commission of the Episcopates of the European Union (ComECE). Caritas Internationalis, Catholic Relief Services, Pax Christi International, the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre, the Pontifical Mission Society, Vatican Radio and the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation will also be represented.

Why am I reminded of Oscar Wilde's words?

The English country gentleman galloping after a fox - The unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable.