Even anti-Semites are embarrassed by the recent statements of Ahmadinejad. Perhaps they think he is the sort who could give anti-Semitism a bad name. Jean Marie le Pen, for instance, professed himself 'shocked' by the Iranian President’s remarks. Even if similar thoughts fester in the minds of such people, hearing them expressed so frankly and publicly has exposed them as the shameful beliefs they are. Ahmadinejad lifted the stone off these horrible, ill-formed, writhing creatures, which are anti-Semitic prejudices, and exposed them to the light. Most who see them jump back, exclaiming in horror, and protesting noisily in the hope that nobody will suspect that similar creepy-crawlies lurk in the dark places of their own minds.
Some who have attacked the Jewish State without any sense of discomfort, now feel uncomfortable. An alleged concern for Palestinians no longer provides sufficient cover for their underlying prejudice. The Iranian leader has made the links between anti-Israel and anti-Jewish prejudice too clear. Hopefully, they have been shocked into thinking more deeply about their position on the subject of Israel, and are not simply trying to avoid looking as mad and nasty as Ahmadinehad.
A major American ecumenical organization which has sometimes been accused of being too pro-Palestinian and ignoring Jewish concerns has issued a tough criticism of anti-Semitism in the Arab world and elsewhere.
Using unusually strong language, the National Council of Churches USA has condemned Iranian President recent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s call for the obliteration of Israel and his claim that the Holocaust was “a myth.”
Here is the NCC statement in full.
The National Council of Churches USA condemns the comments of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calling for the obliteration or relocation of the State of Israel.
The State of Israel has embodied the hopes and dreams of Jews worldwide for decades, especially since the Holocaust that occurred during World War II. President Ahmadinejad’s invective that the Holocaust never happened is a sobering reminder of the corrosive power of ignorance, desperation, and hatred.
It is no accident that among the first protests of the Iranian president’s statement were those of German leaders, whose parents were witnesses of the horrible reality of the Holocaust. Anti-Semitism’s most vociferous manifestation is the “Big Lie” now coming from Tehran.
In opposition to such incomprehensible hatred, all people of faith and good will must stand firm in their rejection of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s views. We at the National Council of Churches USA deplore these views.
In the face of Mr. Ahmadinejad’s call for the obliteration of Israel, the National Council of Churches USA reaffirms its support for the security of the State of Israel, alongside a viable Palestinian State. We also reaffirm our respect for Judaism and our friendship with the Jewish people.
Iran is a complex country, rich in history, much of its recent history marred by difficult relations with the international community. Most recently these difficulties are over nuclear issues. The Iranian president’s comments only serve to threaten Iran itself with further isolation from the world.
Just a few years ago the former president of Iran encouraged the “Dialogue Among Civilizations.” By spewing forth hatred for Israel, Judaism and the Jewish people, President Ahmadinejad is ensuring that this dialogue will go on without Iran. How unfortunate this is for the Iranian people, most of whom do not share their president’s views.
Israel will ease access to Bethlehem during the upcoming Christmas celebrations in a "calculated risk" intended to let Christian pilgrims worship the holiday freely in the West Bank town, security officials said Monday.
There are good reasons for the security arrangements, which will be eased for the convenience of Christian visitors and local people alike from December 24 until Armenian Christmas on January 18. Of course, it would also make things more convenient for any terrorists who want to attack.
But Feigel said the quiet in Bethlehem is misleading, and security threats continue. Half of the Israeli fatalities in 2004 came from attackers who entered Jerusalem from Bethlehem, he said.
On Thursday, a car bomb was found on a road used by West Bank settlers traveling between Jerusalem and the Bethlehem area. Palestinian police alerted Israeli security to the car, and Israeli sappers blew it up safely
Christian media outlets still amplify the whining noises of various Church leaders, who in turn are merely using this as an opportunity to repeat dishonest Palestinian propaganda and try to stir up prejudice against the Jews. For example: Bethlehem visitor drive thwarted by road blocks, containing the usual complaints that Bethlehem is an open-air prison. Cardinal Murphy O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, joins in:
“The town of Jesus Christ’s birth is experiencing serious hardship. The severe loss of tourist income on which Bethlehem depends and increasing difficulties of access to holy sites are contributing to emigration, notably of Christian families,” said the Cardinal.
(For the truth about this situation, see below)
Will they now publish information about the easing of restrictions? Will the complaining Church leaders publicly express their gratitude to Israel for risking the lives of its citizens, just so that Christians can enjoy an easier journey to church? Don’t hold your breath.
If terrorists take advantage of the kindness of the Israelis, and carry out an attack, will people like Bishop Sabbah and Cardinal Murphy O’Connor apologise for having helped enable the terrorists? Will they admit that they made a mistake? Again, don’t hold your breath.
The Patriarch of Jerusalem gave a homily before a ‘peace march’ to the ‘Wall’. In the looking-glass world he appears to occupy, the ‘wall’ results in more killing, whereas in the real world, the defensive barrier has resulted in a reduction in terrorist murders. Notice how he blames the victims of terrorism, the Israelis, and declares them to be at fault for defending themselves, not the terrorists for attacking them.
We need bridges, not walls. Walls isolate; nurse hatred and hostilities, resulting in more killing and acts of violence. And therefore, those who erected the wall are clearly at fault. Here we are, despite the seemingly positive inclinations towards peace, and despite the stubborn intentions of those who continue the construction, calling for a review of the matter and halt of the construction. Let what is being spent on the construction of the wall be spent on building bridges of love among the hearts.
Yes, he goes on about love a great deal in his homily, but repeating the word and saying fine things about it cannot conceal the fact that it is hate, not love, which is behind his words, and a desire to see his terrorist friends free to carry out their efforts at destruction of Jewish lives and the Jewish State.
“Vatican official slams Iran over Holocaust Remark” it says in one headline, while the Vatican’s own news site gives us: Cardinal Rips Iranian's Remarks on Holocaust.
Rips? Slams? It begins to suggest a frame in a comic book, in which, accompanied by the words: “Pow!” and “Blam!” a square-jawed Cardinal’s fist meets the sinister Ahmadinejab’s jaw and sends him flying. It turns out to be more polite than that, although unusually frank from a Vatican-diplomatic point of view – certainly more so than the original official condemnation.
A senior Vatican cardinal on Thursday sharply criticised Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for claiming the Holocaust was a myth, condemning the assertion as a shocking injustice to the victims of the Nazi genocide.
Cardinal Walter Kasper heads the Vatican's department for relations with Jews. He spoke at a ceremony at which he was given an award by the Anti-Defamation League for his efforts to improve Catholic-Jewish relations.
"It is shocking to hear from the mouth of the president of a nation with an ancient and venerable culture, as the Iranian nation is, expressions of anti-Semitism which for every human being are unacceptable," he said.
"To call the Holocaust a myth is a new injustice to the victims of this unprecedented genocide," he said
He said he wanted his condemnation of the remarks by Iran's president to be seen as a "concrete" sign of the Vatican's solidarity with the Jewish people.
As this article points out:
Kasper's comments were the strongest to date by a Vatican official on the Iranian president's statements. In October, the Vatican deemed such statements as "unacceptable" but did not mention Iran by name.
Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, is this Christmas encircled by towering walls and militarized fences, turning the 4,000 year old city into a virtual prison for its 160,000 citizens. Bethlehem will soon have only three gates to the outside world, all controlled by the Israeli army.
This year there's a new message from Bethlehem; the Mayor of Bethlehem, Mayor Batarseh, came to London last week and described Bethlehem as a city dying under economic, political and social oppression.
Christian press outlets happily echo these lies.
Bethlehem faces a state of emergency following the completion of an 8 metre high illegal cement wall at the entrance to the city that separates Bethlehem from Jerusalem and other Palestinian towns.
With the Israeli wall and other closures, including militarised fences and illegal Jewish settlements, Bethlehem has been reduced to its urban core: a modern-day ghetto town.
The truth based on information provided by the Palestinian Bureau of Statistics is very different. There has, for instance, been a dramatic increase in the number of tourists and pilgrims visiting Bethlehem during 2005.
Both 2004 and 2005 have witnessed an ongoing improvement in economic activity in Bethlehem:
• 100% increase in the number of tourists
• 10% increase in overall financial transaction in 2005.
• 50% increase in the textile industry in 2004.
• 40% increase in overseas sales of stone and marble in 2004.
• 20% increase in commercial transportation.
And what of the dreaded ‘apartheid wall’ and all that occupation by Israeli soldiers?
• No Israeli military personnel are stationed inside Bethlehem.
• There is no fence encircling Bethlehem.
• There is only a fence where the Bethlehem area interfaces with Jerusalem and close to the 1949 armistice line.
• Only a very small segment of the fence is a concrete wall preventing terrorists from shooting at motorists (a chain-link fence would have been useless in such cases).
And what is the real situation for Christians in Bethlehem?
• Around 45,000 Christians live in Bethlehem and its vicinity - constituting two thirds of all the Christian population in the West Bank.
• In the years 1994 - 2003, after the PA assumed control of Bethlehem and before the security barrier was even constructed, over 10,000 Christians left Bethlehem.
• Among the reasons for this emigration is the eruption of violence in Sep 2000, growing economic difficulties, and increased pressure on the Christian community by Moslem extremists (see for example the dossier compiled by the Custos Fr. Pizzaballa, which highlights the occurrence of violent incidents against the Christian community).
Both Church leaders and Christian news outlets would do well to question 'facts' they are fed by liars like Batarseh. They accept them too readily - probably because they want to believe the bad things they hear about Israel.