Israel’s Money Machine

[ Ed. note — Another excellent article from Philip Giraldi about Jewish power in the US. The fact that the Russian news outlet RT is forced to register in America as a foreign agent–while Jewish billionaires raising money for Israeli occupiers are not–speaks for itself. Beyond this context, however, Giraldi provides some additional information that should outrage each and every American.

For one thing, the actual amount of US tax dollars funneled to Israel each each is far beyond the $3.8 billion we customarily hear about. Additional monies, described by Giraldi as “special funding for Israeli-connected projects,” are also given. These include funding for the Iron Dome missile defense system, as well as a $12 million “legislative amendment” that was proposed by one congress member, ostensibly for the purpose of helping Israel settle its “Ethiopian community.”

And then on top of all that we have a network of some 3,600 Jewish tax-exempt charitable foundations, with net assets of $26 billion, a number of which are funding illegal settlements. One such foundation is that operated by the family of Trump son-in-law Jared  Kushner. Why isn’t Kushner forced to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act? Why is AIPAC likewise not forced to register, along with Jewish billionaires such as Sheldon Adelson of Haim Saban? But no, the Trump Justice Department seems to think RT poses a greater threat to US security.

Ironically, all this comes just as a bill has been introduced in Congress to require the Secretary of State to certify that US funds to Israel do not go to support detention, interrogation or abuse of children. The bill is called “Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act,”H.R. 439, and was introduced yesterday by Rep. Betty McCollum of Minnesota. Its chances of passage are probably slim, but certainly that such a bill has been introduced in the first place is a welcomed sign. ]

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By Philip Giraldi

The stars came out in Hollywood on November 2nd, or at least some of them did. The gala event celebrated the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and raised funds to support its mission in Israel itself and on the occupied West Bank. The organization being fêted was the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), which has fourteen regional offices in the United States and operates under the slogan “Their job is to look after Israel. Our job is to look after them.” In attendance were Arnold Schwarzenegger and actor Gerald Butler. Entertainment was provided by the singer Seal.

Hollywood Jewish royalty was thick on the ground, the grub was strictly kosher and billionaires competed to see who could give the most to such a worthy cause. The 1,200 attendees at the Beverly Hilton Hotel donated a record $53.8 million, with Oracle founder Larry Ellison leading the pack with a contribution of $16.6 million. Israeli media mogul Haim Saban, Hillary Clinton’s most generous supporter, served as host of the event and donated $5 million. Two weeks ago, a similar gathering of 1,200 in New York City dubbed “A Night of Heroes,” attended by GOP major donor casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, raised $35 million, $7 million coming from Adelson personally. FIDF reportedly was sitting on $190 million in contributions for the year before the Hollywood and New York events.

Donations to FIDF are tax deductible as the organization is registered with the U.S. Treasury as a 501(c)3 educational and charitable non-profit foundation. One might well ask how it is possible that the American taxpayer should subsidize a foreign military organization that is regularly accused of war crimes in its ongoing brutal and genocidal occupation of the Palestinian West Bank and East Jerusalem? One might also wonder how an organization that continues a military occupation in opposition to multiple United Nations resolutions that have been endorsed by Washington gets any kind of tax break at all? And finally, one might reasonably ask why an organization that already gets in excess of $3.8 billion annually directly from the U.S. Treasury needs more money to allegedly provide creature comforts for its soldiers?

The answer to all of the above would be that Jewish power in the United States makes it happen. But more particularly, it is Jewish money that does the trick since cash on the table provides access both to the media and to the people that matter in Washington. A tight circle of billionaire oligarchs, including Saban, Ellison and Adelson as well as Paul Singer and Bernard Marcus directly support organizations like FIDF as well as major pro-Israel groups like the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, the America Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the Anti-Defamation League and the Jewish Institute for National Security of America. The billionaires are not shy about where their loyalty lies, boasting as does Saban, that he is a one issue guy and that issue is Israel. Adelson has stated that he wishes that he had served in the Israeli army instead of the U.S. military and wants his son to grow up to “be a sniper for the IDF.” Both have publicly advocated bombing Iran. In Adelson’s case, the bomb would be nuclear.

Sometimes both the Israel agenda and the financial support is deliberately hidden, as in the case of the recently launched “Christian engagement in the Middle East” anti-Iran Philos Project, which was funded by Singer. The billionaires also directly donate to the campaigns of politicians and support projects that engage in the message management that is used to justify pro-Israel policies in Congress and the media.

Much of the current agitation to “do something” about Iran comes, for example, from these groups and media assets. In truth, American aid to Israel has become virtually untouchable and is something like a goose that keeps on laying golden eggs. The operation of “The Lobby,” generally regarded as the most powerful voice on foreign policy in Washington, led Professors Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer to ask, “Why has the U.S. been willing to set aside its own security … in order to advance the interests of another state? [No] explanation can account for the remarkable level of material and diplomatic support that the U.S. provides.” They observed that “Other special interest groups have managed to skew foreign policy, but no lobby has managed to divert it as far from what the national interest would suggest, while simultaneously convincing Americans that U.S. interests and those of the other country—in this case, Israel—are essentially identical.”

The money committed by the Jewish oligarchs on behalf of Israel has turned out to be a good investment, returning billions for millions spent. Since the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948, it has been “the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II,” according to the Congressional Research Service. The United States has provided Israel with $233.7 billion in adjusted for inflation aid between 1948 through the end of 2012, reports Haaretz.

The $38 billion over ten years in military assistance that the Obama recently promised to Israel is far less than what will actually be received from the United States Treasury and from other American sources, including handouts from Congress. To cite only one recent example, in September Congressman Alcee Hastings proposed a legislative amendment that would give $12 million to help settle Israel’s Ethiopian community. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), speaking in the most recent legislative discussion over Israeli aid, stated that the $38 billion should be regarded as a minimum amount, and that Congress should approve additional funds for Israeli defense as needed.

At its most recent meeting in March 2017, AIPAC announced the latest windfall from America, applauding “the U.S. House of Representatives for significantly bolstering its support of U.S.-Israel missile defense cooperation in the FY 2017 defense appropriations bill. The House appropriated $600.7 million for U.S.-Israel missile defense programs.” And there is a long history of such special funding for Israeli-connected projects. The Iron Dome missile-defense system was largely funded by the United States, to the tune of more than $1 billion. In the 1980s, the Israeli Lavi jet-fighter development program was funded by Washington, costing $2 billion to the U.S. taxpayer before it was terminated over technical and other problems, part of $5.45 billion in Pentagon funding of various Israeli weapons projects through 2002.

How Israel gets money from the United States Treasury is actually quite complex and not very transparent to the American public, going well beyond the check for $3.8 billion handed over at the beginning of the fiscal year on October 1st. Even that check, uniquely given to aid recipient Israel as one lump sum on the first day of the year, is manipulated to produce extra revenue. It is normally immediately redeposited with the U.S. Treasury, which then, because it operates on a deficit, borrows the money to pay interest on it as the Israelis draw it down. That interest payment costs the American taxpayer an estimated $100 million more per year. Israel has also been adept at using “loan guarantees,” an issue that may have contributed to the downfall of President George H.W. Bush. The reality is that the loans, totaling $42 billion, are never repaid by Israel, meaning that the United States Treasury picks up the tab on principle and interest, a form of additional assistance. The Bush-era loan amounted to $10 billion.

Continued here

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Report: Jewish Federations Loaded with Cash

Most Americans probably don’t give it much thought, but Jewish federations are tax exempt, nonprofit organizations. That means that it’s legal to donate money to them and then write it off on your taxes. In a lot of cases, money donated through these organizations end up supporting illegal Israeli settlements. Under US law, however, this is “legal.”

Think about what that means: you can donate money, legally, to support settlements deemed illegal under international law– settlements that have been built illegally on occupied land–and technically you haven’t violated any US laws. And not only that, you get to write it off on your taxes.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz recently published an in-depth series of reports on the finances of Jewish federations in America. What they found are questionable practices, including nepotism, potential conflicts of interest, and federation executives drawing six-figure salaries–upwards of half a million dollars a year in at least one case. This was the president and CEO of the Los Angeles Federation, who, according to the report, made about $550,000 in the year 2015, or two percent of the federation’s total donations of $26 million that year. The man’s name is Jay Sanderson, who apparently got testy in an interview with the Haaretz reporter.

“I continue to be concerned that you are taking a seemingly one dimensional approach to this piece and to the immeasurable impact of the Federation movement,” he is quoted as saying.

Sanderson’s compensation is some $200,000 more than what other comparable nonprofits pay their directors, the report states.

The report also uncovered sizeable sums of money channeled to support illegal Israeli settlements. Here is an excerpt:

“While support for Israel is clear and loudly proclaimed, support for the settlers and for organizations operating beyond the Green Line is a sensitive issue for the Federations, on which they prefer to remain silent. JFNA guidelines are vague and hard information about the extent of support is meager. Nonetheless, Haaretz has learned that Federation funds have been supporting some of the most hard-line settlers, for example in Hebron and Silwan, East Jerusalem, and organizations aspiring to change the status quo on the Temple Mount. Over the four years from 2012 to 2015, individual federations directly donated about $6 million beyond the Green Line. Although figures for 2015 are partial, it seems to have been a banner year for settlers in the West Bank, who got more than $1.6 million.”

There are a total of 148 Jewish federations in the US, with 10 more in Canada. Their purpose ostensibly is to “promote Jewish life and values,” as the writer, Uri Blau, puts it. He notes that in 2014, as bombs and missiles were pulverizing Gaza, a total of $55 million was sent to Israel. That same year–2014–federations also sent food and medicine to “30,000 elderly Jews and 4,600 children in Ukraine,” this supposedly in response to “Russian military intervention.”

Apparently, as Haaretz continued its investigation, the testiness seemingly displayed by Sanderson spread to other federation officials. Here is another excerpt from the report:

The Haaretz mapping project prompted the JFNA to issue an internal memo, classified as secret, to the managements of the various Federations at the end of January, warning of requests from Haaretz for information.

“We are working with the JFNA and outside consultants on responses to help set the record straight and mitigate any potential negative impacts the story might have,” the document stated and also said, “Because of the sensitive nature of this story we respectfully request that if you are contacted directly (by the reporters) you politely tell them that you ‘will get back to them at a more convenient time’ and notify the Executive Director to discuss potential responses.”

At the JFNA General Assembly in November 2016, when Haaretz privately asked various Federation members questions about issues such as salaries, possible nepotism or support for projects beyond the Green Line, the evasions were less subtle.

“I’m really in a hurry,” one of the heads of the Boston Federation said after he had already agreed to respond to questions.

When Haaretz asked to talk with him at a later time, he said, “No, I don’t have a business card on me.”

Reportedly the Jewish federations are, collectively, the fifth biggest charity in the United States. You can go here to access the Haaretz report.

‘War to Save the Children’ — Talk By Vanessa Beeley

Recently Vanessa Beeley discussed the cynical manipulation of children to promote war in Syria.  Entitled “War to Save the Children,” her presentation was given as part of a London event entitled “Media On Trial.” It is a very important talk, and Beeley does a superb job of underscoring the hypocrisy behind the so-called “humanitarian interventions” so incessantly pursued by those who decidedly are not humane. The irony here of course: that the “war to save the children,” as it were, is in reality a war that kills children.

Held last month at a church in London, the Media On Trial event was organized by Frome Stop War, an independent anti-war group formed in 2011 in response to the bombing of Libya.

Russian Patriarch: Godless Western Elites Seek to Destroy Christianity

Patriarch Kiril, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, makes the all-too-obvious observation that Western elites seek to destroy Christianity–but he also, in the process, states something very wise and true: that prayer is stronger than weapons or money or political power.

Additionally, the Patriarch harkens back to the period of darkness that came upon Russia one hundred years ago when the Bolsheviks seized power, a time when the country’s people passed through “the difficult stages of full denial of God’s existence,” when “any presence of God in people’s lives” was very nearly extinguished by the government.

I’m often struck by the full reversal that has come about–that is to say by how Russia and the US have essentially changed places. The darkness that the Bolsheviks brought to Russia a century ago has now been brought to America by the neocons. We can expect the same disastrous results. We are in fact already seeing it.

A bit earlier I posted a commentary by Paul Craig Roberts that included the words, “America is disappearing. The country I live in today bears no resemblance to the one into which I was born.”

He is right. The days in which Americans, or most of us at any rate, were guided by the principles of our faith have vanished. Instead we have become a nation of order-followers, terrified to speak out, swallowing the lies and propaganda that are fed us, locked in the bonds of political correctness.

It is a tragedy especially for our youth.

“No generation of young people was subjected to such temptations, such attempts to distort moral nature as this generation,” says Patriarch Kiril.

He is presumably referring to the generation which fell under the yoke of communism, though of course the same can be said of young Americans today: the society they are part of celebrates and embraces conventions that run contrary to human morality–endless war, political corruption, limitless greed, transgender insanity.

And all this as Christianity is attacked on many fronts, from Hollywood to the legal system. Recently, Greg Bacon put up a post entitled Attacking Christianity, but Protecting Judaism which discusses a recent case in which a federal appeals court ordered removal of a Christian cross from government property.  The cross comprises part of a World War I memorial that sits on a highway median in Bladensburg, Maryland.  The monument has been sitting there for the past 92 years. But the court ruled that it must come down. It “excessively entangles the government in religion,” the three-judge panel ruled.

The suit was brought by an Atheist group–but apparently such groups don’t have any problem with the presence of Hanukah menorahs on government property, including the so-called “National Menorah” that makes its appearance each year on the White House Elipse. Where are the Atheist legal challenges here? They don’t seem to mount any. This in fact is noted by Bacon in his commentary: apparently the US courts regard menorahs as a secular symbol and not a religious symbol.”

And this has come about despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of US citizens are Christians.

But as Patriarch Kiril notes, “prayer is stronger than money, stronger than power, stronger than weapons.” He is correct. Why do you think the elites are trying so hard to stamp out the Christian faith?

Jesus made us a promise: that he would send the Holy Spirit, whom he referred to as “the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father.” In prayer, the Holy Spirit comes in an explosion of light in our hearts. An explosion of love and truth. This is the promise.

And this too is the promise made by Jesus: “Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.

The prince of this world can indeed be driven out. This has been demonstrated by Russia. The Russian people, as the Patriarch notes, “have turned to God, and what we see is wonderful. We see big changes, including in our young people’s consciousnesses.”

This can happen in America too. It simply means returning to our Christian roots and to the faith and joy that becomes ours when we serve God. When the elites can no longer uproot our faith from our lives–this is when our recovery will come.

Dickinson Texas Partially Rescinds ‘No-Israel-Boycott’ Demands

[ Ed. note – A small victory against the anti-BDS juggernaut that is sweeping the country…the city of Dickinson, Texas–obviously responding to widespread criticism–has partially reversed its policy on extracting pledges not to boycott Israel from victims of Hurricane Harvey. The Dickinson City Council has voted to absolve individual homeowners from signing contracts stating they do not support a boycott. However, according to the report below, business owners seeking relief assistance are still required to adhere to the condition. ]

Jesse Rubin | Mondoweiss

The city of Dickinson, Texas, will no longer require private citizens affected by Hurricane Harvey to sign a pledge guaranteeing they do not and will not boycott Israel as a condition to receiving help.

After a closed meeting with city attorney David Olson, the city council passed a motion to remove a clause that conditions disaster relief aid on an applicant’s political views.

While a clear victory for residents of Dickinson — if perhaps bittersweet because the storm-struck are simply back to where the application process should have begun — the amendment only applies to private homeowners.

“The council voted to strike the language related to the pledge not to boycott Israel for residential applicants for the grants,” city management assistant Bryan Milward told Mondoweiss. However, Milward confirmed, “the language is still in for businesses.”

City businesses damaged by the storm are still prohibited from engaging in any boycott of Israel if they are to receive relief funding. According to the city police department, the hurricane seriously damaged 88 businesses, ten of which are closing down indefinitely.

Councilman Walter Wilson, who brought the issue up for a vote after reconvening, noted that the move “really doesn’t change the application itself…we’ll remove that clause when we’re entering into that agreement with an individual homeowner.”

But when it comes to businesses– boycotting Israel is verboten.

“Whenever [the city] is dealing with companies,” Wilson said, which he noted are more broadly defined, “we will continue to maintain [the no-Israel-boycott pledge] until we receive guidance from a higher court or a state agency issuing an opinion.”

Continued here

It’s Unanimous. Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah all Agree: US is Helping ISIS

Three days ago, I put up a post concerning comments by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah alleging US support for ISIS.

“It is only the United States, which does not let Daesh be totally annihilated,” Nasrallah said.

“US Air Force does not allow the Syrian army and resistance groups to advance toward positions occupied by Daesh,” he added.

Now high-ranking Russian and Iranian officials are saying more or less the same thing.

“The Americans have been in Syria and Iraq under the pretext of opposing and fighting Daesh, but the reality contravenes the US claim,” said Brigadier General Abdullah Araqi, commander of the Iranian IRGC.

Russian Major-General Igor Konashenkov has accused the US of allowing ISIS to operate “under its nose” in Syria, this in an area specifically abutting the US military base at Al-Tanf, near the Syria-Iraq border.

“We suggest the American side also explain about another incidence of their ‘selective blindness’ towards terrorists operating under their nose,” Konashenkov said.

Konashenkov’s and Araqi’s remarks both came out today–three days after Nasrallah’s. The Russian official additionally spoke of some 300 ISIS fighters in pick up trucks passing unmolested through a US-controlled area as they sought to block the main highway between Damascus and Deir Ez-Zor used to supply Syrian troops.

There are only two possible explanations for this: either all three military commands–Russia’s, Iran’s and Hezbollah’s–are getting faulty intelligence…or else the US is lying about its alleged efforts to defeat ISIS. Take your pick.

Some Thoughts on the Latest Church Vandalism in Israel

Father Antonio Scudu, caretaker at the St. Stephen Church, west of Jerusalem, examines a portion of a shattered statue of the Virgin Mary. The vandalism of the church took place on September 19, 2017.

By Richard Edmondson

There still has been no arrest in the vandalism of St. Stephen’s Church, a Christian site near Jerusalem which vandals entered and desecrated on the night of September 19. I am, for that matter, not especially hopeful an arrest will be forthcoming. Israel has an extremely sorry history when it comes to investigating and prosecuting criminal cases of this sort. The record speaks for itself.

An article published by Haaretz on September 24 reports that over 50 Christian and Muslim religious sites have been vandalized since the year 2009. In that time only nine indictments have been filed, and only seven convictions have been handed down. That’s bad enough, but an article published Tuesday at Crux, a Catholic news site, suggests the record may be even worse than Haaretz is reporting. “There have been some 80 incidents of vandalism against churches and Christian sites in the Holy Land over the last decade. In most of the cases, no arrests or indictments have taken place,” that article states.

All I can tell you is that over the years since I’ve been blogging, which is about seven years now, I have reported on numerous attacks by vandals on religious sites in Israel, yet still the practice remains an acute problem.

My initial report on this month’s attack at St. Stephen’s was posted September 23. In that post I noted that the church is located on the grounds of a Catholic monastery, Beit Jamal, a Salesian monastery that lies near the city of Beit Shemesh. I also noted that this is the third time in four years that the site has been vandalized and commented, “Apparently the site is on somebody’s hit list.”

The previous attacks occurred in 2013, when a firebomb was thrown at the door and hateful graffiti scrawled on the walls, and in January of 2016, when the cemetery was vandalized. At the time, I put up a post on the 2016 cemetery attack, which you can access here. All this taken into consideration, it does seem as if the church might be on a hit list of some sort.

Whether this has anything to do with the fact that the locale is believed to have been the burial place of St. Stephen, I can’t say. But indeed, there is a longstanding tradition in church history that the saint’s remains were buried here. This of course is why the church is named after him, and perhaps for this reason, it is worth recounting a bit of St. Stephen’s story

Stephen, his speech before Jewish leaders and his death by stoning at their hands, are told of in the sixth and seventh chapters of the Book of Acts. Initially selected to help with daily distribution of food, Stephen was described as “a man full of God’s grace and power” who “did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people,” and he seems to have risen quickly to prominence among the disciples in Jerusalem. This of course in the months after Christ’s crucifixion.

Jews from one of the synagogues began to accuse Stephen in a manner very reminiscent of the charges brought against Jesus–and, like Jesus himself, Stephen ended up before the Jewish ruling council, or Sanhedrin. He was, among other things, accused of speaking “words of blasphemy against Moses and against God,” and he was also alleged to have invoked Jesus’ prophecy about the destruction of the temple. It’s probably not too much of a stretch, then, to speculate he may even have told people that God didn’t live in the Jewish temple (as Jewish leaders claimed) and that it was not necessary for people to actually go there in order to worship God, that God can be worshiped anywhere. This would have reflected Jesus’ teaching in John 4:21-23, and if Stephen indeed spread such teachings, then it would have infuriated the Jewish leadership all the more, for the temple was an enormously lucrative enterprise for them.

Then the high priest asked him, “Are these charges true?”

This is the opening line in Acts chapter 7, and it is at this point that Stephen launches into his lengthy speech. Basically, it’s a speech recounting the narrative of the Old Testament. The Abrahamic covenant, the stories of Issac and Jacob, the twelve patriarchs, the bondage in Egypt, Moses and the Exodus–all of this is spoken of by Stephen. All of it makes up about ninety percent of his speech, and for the most part it doesn’t ruffle too many feathers, but then we get to the following passage–and it is at this point that all “heck” breaks loose. Here again, the speaker is Stephen:

You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him–you who have received the law that was put into effect but have not obeyed it.

Notice that Stephen chooses the same adjective–“stiff-necked”–used by Moses in describing the Israelites. He is in effect saying that the Abrahamic covenant is hereby abrogated. If you consistently disobey the law–most especially if you murder God’s son–what other conclusion than that can be drawn? The covenant is dead. Jews can no longer consider themselves God’s “chosen,” Stephen is basically saying. It’s a pivotal moment. It is literally earth shaking. And the reaction from the Sanhedrin is spontaneous and immediate:

When they heard this they were furious, and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city, and began to stone him.

Thus Stephen became the first Christian martyr in recorded history. Interestingly, the text notes that one of those present, giving his approval to it all, was Saul–later Paul–who, somewhat astonishingly, ended up becoming an apostle of Christ himself.

Could this narrative in the New Testament have anything to do with why St. Stephen’s and the monastery have been attacked repeatedly?

The night of September 19/20, when the vandal(s) entered the church, was the eve of the Jewish New Year. “The monastery is open for visitors and generally has good relations with its Jewish neighbors,” the Crux article notes, “including the residents of an ultra-Orthodox town.” The “ultra-Orthodox town” being referred to here is Beit Shemesh, located nearby, a city of about 103,000 population.

Beit Shemesh is mentioned in the Book of Joshua as being among the towns allotted to the Levites, or priestly class. In the modern, post-1948 era it was settled by Jewish immigrants from Bulgaria, though by the late 1970s it had become a major center of the Likud Party. The “good relations” mentioned in the Crux article probably pertain to Neturei Karta, which has a small community living in Beit Shemesh, primarily in one neighborhood of the city. You can go hereto see video of a protest in which an NK member, holding a Palestinian flag, is attacked and chased by Israeli police. The date on the video is 2015. An earlier video, also shot in Beit Shemesh, shows a confrontation between police and a large group of Orthodox men demanding enforcement of segregation between the sexes. It is perhaps not terribly surprising that a Christian church and monastery located in proximity to such a city would come under attack.

The vandals destroyed a statue of the Virgin Mary, a cross, and smashed stained glass windows depicting events in the life of Jesus. While Hebrew graffiti has been a hallmark of previous church attacks in Israel, nothing of the like was left in this case. Still,  Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, the Catholic patriarchal vicar for Jerusalem and Palestine, expressed the view that the attack was most likely carried out by “Jewish extremists.”

“Vandals broke into the church and destroyed the crosses, the statue of Our Lady and the stained glass, as well as the faces of the saints,” Mgr. Marcuzzo said.

“In the Old Testament, it is written to destroy the statues as a symbol of idolatry. Here, these people distort the Scriptures and promote fanaticism. Perhaps it is not a direct attack on Christians, but it is certainly a message against those who do not share their ideology and it is scary because it shows that there is no respect for others. Living together is undermined,” he added.

Anther cleric who commented on the matter is Salesian Father Antonio Scudu, who serves as caretaker of the church.

“I was shocked. I didn’t expect to see something like this. The church is always open. If you see what happened, you feel they did it with hate. They smashed everything,” he said.

Israeli Police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld told the Catholic News Service that the case is being given “top priority.”

“There have been arrests in previous cases. We are looking into this case to see if it was an individual or a group. These are all separate cases,” Rosenfeld said. “People can say what they want. This kind of case is top priority.”

Yet as the report posted by Crux notes:

Christians in the Holy Land, including Catholic leaders, have expressed frustration with lack of legal action against cases of desecration and vandalism of sacred places.

Even as the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land issued a statement condemning the September 20 desecration and vandalism of a Catholic shrine in Israel, some people criticized the statement’s “weak language” and asked, “How long will we be tolerant?”

“Unfortunately, in these situations we feel how vulnerable we are,” one person wrote on Facebook.

The words “how long will we be tolerant?” have a certain poignance to them, for in Israel there are “Jewish extremists” who seem to feel the nation has been overly “tolerant” by even allowing Christians and Christian churches to exist inside the country’s boundaries. One such individual is Benzi Gopstein, whose views I discussed in the post I put up in January of 2016 on the St. Stephen’s cemetery desecration.

Gopstein is the leader of Lehava, the far-right Israeli organization that opposes intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews. He also hates Christianity. My 2016 post included an excerpt from a Times of Israel report in which Gopstein is quoted as referring to Christianity as “that accursed religion” and likening Christians to “vampires.”

Interestingly, the Lehava leader has also been referred to as “Israel’s teflon man, nothing sticks to him.”

The Israeli government may be feeling mounting pressure to do something about the wave of attacks upon religious sites, and if that is the case, we could end up seeing an arrest in the St. Stephen’s case. This of course would not alleviate the anti-Christian hatred felt by Jews like Gopstein, and if anything will make it worse. There is a reason the Christian Church, founded by men like Stephen, ended up breaking off from Judaism: the two faiths are pretty much incompatible.

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