Ultra-Orthodox Jews raise hackles of Catholic editor-in-chief

August 29th, 2007

Link: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/ukcorrespondents/holysmoke/august2007/ultraorthodox.htm

Damian Thompson, "blood-crazed ferret" (according to the Church Times) and editor-in-chief of the Catholic Herald, writes: Ultra-orthodox Jews raise my hackles, - knowing that we will be drawn in to read further.

The post and the fairly civilized discussion it inspires are worth reading, however, once you have fallen into the cunningly disguised journalistic trap set by the headline.

Holy Smoke
is a very interesting blog (he’s not really a ferret, is he?) - do visit it.

Pope Knights Rabbi

August 28th, 2007

Link: http://www.adl.org/PresRele/VaticanJewish_96/5119_96.htm

You can chart the ups and downs of relations between the Vatican and the Anti Defamation League here but this is one of its happier moments:

Rabbi Leon Klenicki, the Anti-Defamation League's Interfaith Affairs Director Emeritus, has been knighted by Pope Benedict XVI for his historic contributions in creating positive relationships between Catholics and Jews around the world. Rabbi Klenicki was made a Papal Knight of the Order of St. Gregory the Great at a ceremony at the Vatican's Mission to the United Nations, presided by Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston.

Rabbi Klenicki becomes the second ADL interfaith official to receive papal knighthood. In 1986, the late Dr. Joseph L. Lichten became the first American Jew to receive the honor, from Pope John Paul II.

And yes, in case you were wondering, Rabbi Klenicki gets a sword now that he’s a knight, but no suit of armour. On the other hand, he gets to wear a cocked hat, which is probably easier to put on.

The thought of a member of the ADL brandishing a sword as he goes in pursuit of anti-semites and similar evil-doers is an interesting one, but I suppose Rabbi Klenicki will be too polite to do anything like that.

Seeing through the propaganda

August 14th, 2007

Link: http://www.engageonline.org.uk/blog/article.php?id=1192#

Via Christian Hate?, the heartening story of a Christian seeing through the anti-Zionist propaganda and backing away from a stance which is, at its roots, anti-Semitic.

Catholic Cath Palasz was once a Palestine Solidarity Campaign activist. She was at the forefront of the Boycott Israel movement, but is evidently a thoughtful person, prepared to listen to the views of others. Unfortunately, initially, she was only exposed to one view. As Cyrus writes:

What I find striking about her account is the sense of a finely woven net of anti-Zionist propaganda which, once you fall into it, will ensure that you simply never hear a reasoned exposition of the other side of the story. This is precisely the impression I got when having a fairly heated debate with the EAPPI volunteer at my church on Sunday. Things which I had assumed he was deliberately downplaying turn out to be, apparently, completely off his radar. He seemed, for instance, genuinely surprised at the suggestion that the post-1948 exodus of Jews from Arab countries was comparable in scale to that of Palestinians from Israel. He thought that Jews had been living in perfect harmony in Iraq until Mossad started planting bombs to scare them away. Baghdad pogrom, 1941, 180 dead minimum? He'd never heard of it. Though you can bet your bottom shekel that he's heard of Deir Yassin.

Read her own words in Engage: Christian anti-Zionist, Cath Palasz explains why she has changed her mind

The comments are also interesting and it’s reassuring to know that good-hearted people who come under the baleful influence of such as Revd Michael Prior and Revd Stephen Sizer don’t necessarily suffer lasting damage.

A Naked Example of Dual Standards?

August 13th, 2007

Is it my imagination, or is this priest in more trouble for jogging with no clothes on in the dark than Fr Rydzyk is for spewing anti-Semitism to huge numbers of his listeners?

The jogging priest made the excuse that “he sweats profusely” and did not expect anyone to see him in the dark. He seems to be a harmless crank, although he risks being put on the sex offenders register for indecent exposure, which may mean the end of his priestly career.

Rydzyk, of huge and poisonous influence, is not suspended from ministry, but even gets to meet the Pope soon after his latest anti-Semitic outburst.

The Vatican, disgracefully surprised that this caused offence, “scrambled” to assure Jewish organizations that the meeting "did not imply any change in the Holy See's well-known position regarding relations between Catholics and Jews"”

"The most obvious thing that any charitable Jew would assume is that [the pope] met with [Rydzyk] to tell him off," said Rabbi David Rosen, director of interreligious affairs at the American Jewish Committee and a member of the commission that negotiated the relations between Israel and the Vatican when the Vatican first recognized Israel in 1993.

"I very much hope that's what he did," Rosen added, "since it would be very disturbing and totally out of character with Pope Benedict and his commitment to fighting anti-Semitism and promoting Catholic-Jewish relations for him not to hit [Rydzyk] on the head."

I, too, hope the Pope hit him on the head – preferably with a bound volume of all recent Vatican documents about Catholic-Jewish relations.

Why is Fr Rydzyk, a notoriously anti-Semitic priest with a dangerous amount of influence, given the honour of a meeting with the Pope and treated so lightly by his superiors, while Nude Jogger Priest might lose his job, although he seems to have done no harm to anyone?

Why the unequal treatment? Would anyone arrange for Nude Jogger Priest to meet with the Pope? Or how about unfrocking Fr Rydzyk (but in the sacked-from-priesthood way, of course, not in the other sense)?

Jews speak up for persecuted Christians: Christians largely silent – why?

August 3rd, 2007

Link: http://israelmatzav.blogspot.com/2007/08/why-are-christians-silent.html

Why are Christians silent? asks Carl in Jerusalem (via Joem)

Earlier this week, yet another article came out about the appalling treatment of Christians in the 'Palestinian' territories. (Hat Tip: Dhimmi Watch) This is a story I have covered before, and which first burst into prominence with the takeover of the Church of the Nativity - - one of Christianity's holiest sites - by 'Palestinian' terrorists in 2002.

From the Charisma article, which lists such human rights violations as "individual loss of job or property; firebombed churches; destruction of Christian-based centers; beatings; torture; forced marriages; sexual harassment; and extortion."

He noted that most of the persecution has taken place since the empowerment of the Palestinian Authority in 1995 under Yasser Arafat. He described the torture suffered by Christian converts from Islam since then as “the kind of thing you only read about in Medieval books—it’s very difficult to describe.”

Carl points out that "The silence is deafening and it seems that the Jews may be the only ones who care:"

At a “Save the Christians” rally in Rome earlier this month, the AP reported several hundred people gathered to demand an end to the persecution of Christians in the Middle East. In addition to top Vatican officials and Italy’s former Premier Berlusconi, a prominent Jewish activist from the U.S. also attended.

“I stand here tonight as an American Jew and as a survivor of the Holocaust to say to you that ‘never again’ was a pledge that the Jewish people learned with great pain and sadness,” said Abraham Foxman, U.S. director of the Anti-Defamation League. “But ‘never again’ is not limited to Jewish pain and suffering…I pledge to you that our voices will be heard whenever Christians are discriminated against.

I’ve noted this before. Certain Christian news sites happily amplify Palestinian (mostly Muslim) propaganda when it is directed against Jews. Even the most trivial complaints are trumpeted loudly, but when it comes to far more serious issues of persecution of Christians, there is silence.

Carl suggests a dhimmi fear of criticising Muslims, while I suspect an underlying anti-Semitism which makes them more receptive to criticism of Israelis.

There may also be another reason. The ‘deification’ of Palestinians by some Christian groups, like Sabeel, whose imagery identifies the Palestinians with Christ. This is echoed in even secular news stories which treat the belongings of Palestinians as being more valuable than Israeli lives. Objects like olive trees become holy by association with their Palestinian owners. As a Catholic I can recognise a similarity to attitudes towards religious relics

In other words, Palestinians have been turned into a deity by some Christians, and therefore beyond criticism no matter what they do. Their cruelties and persecution must be seen on the same level as the natural disasters which God permits to occur – not to be questioned or criticised but accepted as the will of the poorpalestinians, as some of their worshipers call them.