Rabbi Warns that Jews May Be Headed for a ‘Cataclysmic Disaster’

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Is Patagonia to Become the New ‘Promised Land’?

By Richard Edmondson

Bible scholars have pointed out that the Gospels of Matthew and Luke appear to have been written with two different audiences in mind. The Gospel of Matthew seems to have been directed at a Jewish audience, while the Gospel of Luke would appear to have been written with a primarily Gentile audience in mind.

One passage in Matthew where we can see the intended audience was Jewish is in the story of Jesus’ birth. Here we encounter a reference to the Old Testament book of Micah–a citation which not only  prophesies the birth of Christ but which clearly  presents the Israelites as divinely chosen. The passage in question is Matthew 2:1-6. The setting is Herod’s court in Jerusalem, where the three wise men from the east have just stopped off in their quest to find the newborn Christ child:

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” 3 When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:

6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who is to shepherd[d] my people Israel.’”

The quote in verse 6 containing the words “my people Israel” is a cross reference to Micah 5:2. It’s rather amazing that the gospel writer supplies us with these words in the story of Jesus’ birth…but then later goes on to give us the following passage in the account of his death:

24 So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” 25 Then the people as a whole answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!”

It is almost as if the Jews have gone from being divinely blessed in the early part of the gospel…to divinely cursed in the gospel’s closing chapters.

The reason I make mention of the birth story from Matthew is not solely because we’re in the Christmas season, but for a couple of other reasons as well. One has to do with a commentary published recently by a rabbi by the name of Brant Rosen; the other in regard to some interesting information presented recently by Thierry Meyssan of Voltairenet.org. Let’s take Rosen’s commentary first.

Rabbi Brant Rosen is an advocate of justice for Palestinians as well as the founder of Tzedek Chicago, a “non-Zionist” synagogue in Chicago. He also maintains a blog, Shalom Rav, where he recently published an article entitled “Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.” In the article he discusses the intersection of Zionism with Jewish messianism, this in the context of Trump’s recent decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem–and he comments that “Zionism has always been, in its way, a kind of false messiah.”

He also warns that Jews today may be headed for a “cataclysmic disaster,” and he quotes Gershom Scholem, a Jewish scholar of the 20th century who authored a biography of Sabbatai Zevi, a Jewish false messiah who gained a huge following in the 1600s. Scholem’s perspective on the subject, written in 1928, reads in part:

The messianic phraseology of Zionism, especially in its decisive moments, is not the least of those Sabbatian temptations which could bring disaster to the renewal of Judaism.

Rosen then goes on to comment:

I genuinely believe that the disaster Scholem wrote of has already come to pass. This zealous drive for political sovereignty and control over Jerusalem as the “eternal undivided capitol of the Jewish people” is a form of idolatry that has all but highjacked a venerable spiritual tradition. Now I fear a much more cataclysmic disaster is waiting in the wings.

Perhaps Rosen isn’t the only Jew worried about a cataclysmic disaster at this point–and this brings me to Meyssen’s article.

Entitled “What is Israel’s Project in Argentina?“, the piece was posted December 12 at Meyssen’s Voltaire blog. In it the author discusses Jewish billionaire Joe Lewis of Britain, who has purchased vast amounts of land in the region of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego in southern Argentina. Meyssen notes that the properties Lewis has acquired “cover areas several times larger than the State of Israel”; that hundreds of thousands of houses have been built upon them, as well as a private airport capable of handling military aircraft; and that 8,000-10,000 Israeli soldiers journey there every year for “holiday camps.”

A  few other interesting points Meyssen makes are:

  • Google Earth has neutralized satellite photographs of the region just as it does with NATO military installations
  • Israel has now secured a submarine base in the area courtesy of neighboring Chile, while “tunnels have been dug in order to survive the polar winter”
  • George Soros is now believed by some inhabitants of the region to be financing a secessionist movement, presumably to “liberate” Patagonia from Argentina

Meyssen comments that it is “impossible for the moment to determine if Israel is engaged in a programme for the exploitation of Antarctica, or if it is building a rear base in case of defeat in Palestine.” Of course if nuclear war breaks out between the US and Russia, Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego would probably be among the less severely impacted parts of the planet–so that might be a factor in the thinking as well. I don’t know.

In any event, I suggest people read Meyssen’s article in its entirety, because there’s a lot of interesting information in it that I haven’t covered here. As for Rosen’s article, while I look somewhat askance at a comment he supplies about “Christian supremacy,” I do note that the remark is made in regard to Christian Zionist pastor John Hagee, and while I confess I find Rosen’s characterization of Judaism as a “venerable spiritual tradition” a tad puzzling, I’ll go out on a limb and guess that he has passages like Exodus 23:9 (“you shall not oppress a stranger…” etc.) more so in mind than the exhortations to blood and genocide. I’m guessing he does not include Talmudic supremacy as part of that “venerable spiritual tradition.” And I’m also guessing he would take strong exception to comments of such as Rabbi Saadya Grama:

Jewish success in the world is completely contingent upon the failure of other peoples. Jews experience good fortune only when gentiles experience catastrophe…The difference between Jews and gentiles is not historical or cultural, but rather genetic and unalterable.

But the fact is that numerous other rabbis, despite this ‘venerable’ spiritual tradition, hold views similar to Grama’s. Whether theirs is a theological ideology or a political ideology, it is an ideology nonetheless that has brought “catastrophe” upon Syrians for the past seven years–and upon Palestinians for the past seventy years.

It may at some point bring catastrophe upon others as well, including Americans. Given the unemployment rate and the totally unprecedented degree of wealth disparity we’re seeing, some might say it already has.

If Jews who subscribe to Talmudic precepts should continue in their endeavors at foisting these catastrophes, the result is going to be a “cataclysmic disaster” upon Jews themselves–if that is the point Rosen is trying to make, then I agree with him and I think his prediction is correct.

What I would say to Jews in general is that moving to Patagonia is not going to save you. Unless you change your ways, you’re going to be hated and resented there just as you are presently hated and resented in Palestine, and just as you have been hated and resented most everywhere else you have settled and lived for the past two millennia, going all the way back to the riots of Alexandria in 38 A.D.–or even earlier.

The only way to break this cycle is by learning to act with kindness, to treat others with love and compassion–which of course were the precise teachings of your messiah–that is to say your true messiah–Jesus.

Doing this would not only save you, it potentially would save humanity as a whole, for the entire planet is teetering on the edge of the abyss right now.

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Watch This: The Holocaust in the eyes of Israeli TV’s Satire, The Jews are Coming

 

This is a segment taken from the genius Israeli TV’s satire The Jews are Coming. As you can see, the Israelis are having a lot of fun with the holocaust. They are pretty creative and often humorous when it comes to Jewish history and suffering. But what about the rest of humanity, can others also apply some sarcasm to Jewish past?

If they call you an ‘Antisemite’…

Must watch: Theodor Herzl and the anti-semitic side of Zionism:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vlJscu9LRM

Alan Dershowitz Pens Tirade Against U.S. Congresswoman Over Child Protection Bill

Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) introduced the “Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian children Act.”

By Richard Edmondson

Alan Dershowitz, former Harvard law professor and pro-Israel to the core, apparently thinks Rep. Betty McCollum has committed a cardinal sin–introducing a bill that calls for monitoring of Israel’s treatment of Palestinian child prisoners.

The bill, entitled “Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian children Act,” or H.R. 4391, would require the U.S. State Department begin certification–on  an annual basis–that US funding to Israel is not going “to support the military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment” of Palestinian children.

The bill was introduced by McCollum on November 14. Dershowitz’s hit piece, published on November 23 at the Gatestone Institute, appeared under the headline “How Ten Dem (Dumb) Members of Congress Encourage the Use of Child Terrorists.”

The former trial lawyer and now CNN regular asserts that McCollum’s bill has been co-sponsored “by nine other ‘progressive’ members of Congress,” though in reality the bill has now picked up a total of 12 co-sponsors.

Dershowitz doesn’t exactly accuse its backers of being anti-Semites–although he comes close.

He asserts that McCollum’s “hypocrisy” is “palpable,” and he accuses her and the co-sponsors of giving “terrorist leaders” (the term is used a total of 7 times) an incentive, in effect, to use children to attack Jews. The bill, he insists, “would further incentivize terrorist leaders to keep using children in pursuit of their key objective: wiping Israel off the map,” and he goes on to contend that:

“…rather than condemning the abhorrent and unlawful use of children as pawns in this deadly process, this group chose to single out only the nation-state of the Jewish people for punishment, as it tries to protect its own citizens from indiscriminate terror attacks. People of good faith on both sides of the aisle should call out this double standard for what it really is: an attack on Jewish victims of teenage terrorism and their state. For shame on this group of biased anti-Israel “progressive” Democrats…

The article seems to be a heavy-handed attempt at intimidating other members of Congress from supporting the legislation.

The Harvard legal scholar also informs his readers about the modus operandi of “Palestinian terrorist leaders,” asserting that it is “well established” that “recruiting and using young Palestinians to wage terror on Israeli civilians” is a part of this “modus operandi.”

He further asserts that these “terrorist leaders” (it’s not clear if he means Hamas or if he counts Mahmoud Abbas as a “terrorist leader” as well) “have been stirring up young people to wage war against the Jews and their nation state.” If this is the case, it would seem Israel makes their jobs easy for them. After all, how much external “stirring up” does it require when school kids see their classmates mass arrested, handcuffed, locked in cages, and blindfolded by squadrons of Israeli soldiers?

Heavily armed Israeli Occupiers kidnapping 18 Palestinian children. They were taken into one room and blindfolded, questioned with the blindfold on, and some were subjected to beatings and threats. while beating them.

Suppose the federal government had sent troops to arrest your students at Harvard in this manner, Mr. Dershowitz? How much “stirring up” do you think it would have taken to get the rest of the campus angry about it?

Rep. McCollum’s bill cites a UNICEF report released in 2013 which found that “ill-treatment of children who come in contact with the [Israeli] military detention system appears to be widespread, systematic and institutionalized throughout the process, from the moment of arrest until the child’s prosecution and eventual conviction and sentencing.”

Dershowitz, however, identifies what he believes is a major shortcoming in the bill, namely that it “fails to acknowledge that some of the most barbaric terrorist attacks against Jewish Israelis have been committed by Palestinian teens who have been recruited by terrorist leaders.” Actually, however, this is a bit disingenuous. While it doesn’t use the same inflammatory rhetoric seemingly favored by our Doctor of Jurisprudence (who, really, is “stirring up” whom, Mr. Dershowitz?), the bill does enumerate the problem of children being recruited by armed groups, this in section 2, paragraph 4:

Approximately 2,700,000 Palestinians live in the West Bank, of which around 47 percent are children under the age of 18, who live under military occupation, the constant fear of arrest, detention, and violence by the Israeli military, and the threat of recruitment by armed groups.

Of course, if Mr. Dershowitz insists on bringing up the subject of “barbaric terrorist attacks,” we should not omit to mention Israel’s periodic attacks upon Gaza. Take a good look at the girl in the photo below–she was killed in the Gaza attack of 2008-09 known as “Operation Cast Lead.”

Yes, she definitely looks like she’s had some lead cast at her, Mr. Dershowitz.

Or let’s look at this boy who fell victim to Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge” attack of 2014 when he and some friends were playing football on a Gaza beach:

Or these kids who died in the same 2014 conflict:

By the way, Israel investigated itself on the Gaza beach bombing and found that it had acted “legally.”

Barbarism. It is defined as: “1. absence of culture and civilization; 2. extreme cruelty or brutality.”

The attacks on Gaza would seem to meet that definition. This is not to say there haven’t been cruel and brutal attacks on Israelis. In his article, Dershowitz cites two examples:

Consider the terrorists attack that took place over this past summer in Halamish (an hour outside Jerusalem) where a Palestinian in his late teens — from a nearby PA-controlled village — chose a Jewish house at random;, and fatally stabbed three members of a family as they ate Shabbat dinner. The Palestinian “child” murderer also wounded several other family members, while one mother hid her young children in an upstairs room until the terrorist left. This scene of carnage is reminiscent of a similar attack that occurred only six years earlier when two Palestinian teens armed with knives broke into the Fogel family home in Itamar as they slept on Friday night; the teens butchered the mother, father and three of their children — including a three-month-old baby as she slept in her crib.

What he doesn’t mention is that both Halamish and Itamar, where the two attacks occurred, are Israeli settlements in the West Bank and are therefore illegal under international law. This does not excuse the murder of civilians. But it does supply us with some additional context in which to evaluate Mr. Dershowitz and his disingenuous opposition to H.R. 4391.

Moreover, Halamish is designated as a “community settlement,” that is to say it was formed out of a legal construct in Israel whereby residents are organized into a cooperative that “can veto a sale of a house or a business to an undesirable buyer.” Most community settlements in Israel are entirely Jewish, according to Wikipedia: “Some community settlements openly require applicants to be Jews (e.g., by declaring themselves a religious community), while other community settlements find more indirect ways to reject non-Jewish candidates, us usually claiming ‘lack of social compatibility.’ Another problem for non-Jews is that the Jewish National Fund, the owner of the land in many community settlements, views itself as a Jewish organization whose mission is to spread the Jewishpopulation, and therefore refuses to lease to non-Jews.”

Perhaps here we get down to the core of the problem–the illegal settlements and the apartheid, or separation, policies. In his article, Dershowitz tries to apply Israeli standards to America by asking the “what if” question. He writes:

So I ask: what do these members of Congress think Israel should do? If children as young as 13 or 14 were roaming the streets of New York, Los Angeles or Boston stabbing elderly women as they shopped at the supermarket or waited at a bus stop, would they protest the apprehension and prosecution of the perpetrators?

But he is comparing apples to oranges. Discrimination is against the law in the US. There are no neighborhoods or communities–in Boston, New York, Los Angeles or elsewhere in America–where people can be prohibited from purchasing homes or taking up residence on the basis of their race, religion, or ethnicity.

Another thing to consider is that discriminatory policies are applied in Israel not only with regard to home sales but also in the issuance of building permits. Back in August, I put up a post about Israel’s destruction of a Palestinian kindergarten as well as its seizure of mobile classrooms that were to have served as an elementary school. The official reason given in both cases was the lack of a permit. The seizure of the mobile classrooms took place on Tuesday, August 22–one day before the new school year was set to begin. A photo was published at the time of children who showed up on the first day of school only to find their classrooms missing:

Children arrive on the first day of school only to discover that their classrooms have been taken.

It seems rather mean-spirited to come and steal the classrooms one day before school is about to start. By the way, the kindergarten is in the village of Jabal al-Baba, east of Jerusalem; the elementary school in Jubbet al-Dib, near Bethlehem. Both villages are in the West Bank–both under military occupation.Occupation tends, by its very nature, to involve “extreme cruelty or brutality.” Destroying schools would seem to denote as well a certain “absence of culture and civilization.”

In order to maintain its occupation Israel apparently also employs torture–apparently even upon children. This we find in the text of McCollum’s bill, from section 2, paragraph 11:

In 2013, the annual Country Report on Human Rights Practices for Israel and the Occupied Territories (“Annual Report”) published by the Department of State noted that Israeli security services continued to abuse, and in some cases torture, minors, frequently arrested on suspicion of stone-throwing, in order to coerce confessions. The torture tactics used included threats, intimidation, long-term handcuffing, beatings, and solitary confinement.”

Additionally, paragraph 12 notes that the same report discusses “signed confessions by Palestinian minors, written in Hebrew, a language most could not read,” while paragraph 13 cites a later “Annual Report”–issued in 2016–and which noted a “significant increase in dententions of minors” that year. An additional quote from the 2016 report reads: “Israeli authorities continued to use confessions signed by Palestinian minors, written in Hebrew.”

The full text of H.R. 4391 is available here in PDF. You can also go here to access a list of its co-sponsors.

Given that it maintains all of these settlements, and given that they are built illegally on Palestinian land, one must ask the question: how does Israel go on credibly maintaining to the world that it is truly interested in seeking peace with the Palestinians? Perhaps part of the answer is that it gets lots of help from people like Dershowitz.

In essence painting McCollum as a terrorist sympathizer as well as an anti-Semite, Dershowitz accuses the Minnesota Democrat of refusing to “condemn the Palestinian leadership for perpetrating acts of child abuse by recruiting children to commit terror attacks on Jewish women and children.” And he adds that the co-sponsors of her bill “give a bad name to the Democratic Party, to the Progressive Caucus and to Congress.”

Broad brush strokes. Inflammatory rhetoric. Both seem to work like charms in curtailing criticism of Israel. Of course a standard argument we hear from Israelis is that the settlements don’t pose an obstacle to peace, but this is a load of hasbara hooey.

Maybe it all comes down to history and who is on the right or the wrong side of it. As someone once said, the path to peace is by learning to love your enemies. The same person also said that he who lives by the sword will die by the sword. It’s a lesson all of humanity needs to learn, and if Israel were led by truly enlightened people it would teach that lesson to humanity by setting aside its sword and making peace.

In either event, the bottom line is that if Israel wants to be a state for all its people it will build Palestinian schools. If it wants to go on being a state that gives political preference to one group of people only–the definition of apartheid–it will continue to tear them down.

What the rest of us can do in the meantime is provide our support for those truly seeking to advance the cause of peace. McCollum is such a person. She is, in other words, a peacemaker.

Peacemakers are said to be blessed, Mr. Dershhowitz. It’s a pity you chose to attack this one.

israel paints fighter jet pink to raise breast cancer awareness while preventing cancer patients in Gaza from receiving treatment

How They Do It

Image result for idf pink fighter jet breast cancer

ed note–keep in mind that it will be these same ‘compassionate’ fighter jets that will be used in any upcoming slaughter campaigns against innocent civilians in Gaza or wherever and no one (either in Israel or in ‘Greater Israel’–meaning those places around the world such as the US where love of Jews supercedes all else) will see anything amiss about any of it.

Keep in mind as well (particularly those of us in the sane world as we hold back our sense of shock that the Jewish state would stoop to such PR shenanigans) the fact that they know how stupid the goyim of the west are and therefore have every reason to assume that this latest strategy in putting pink lipstick on the pig known as the Jewish state will indeed succeed in what it is designed to do.

Mondoweiss

The U.S. and Israeli air forces are making headlines in October for painting jet fighters pink to raise awareness during Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But not everyone is buying this most literal example of pinkwashing. Here’s Christina Cauterucci in Slate:

Imagine all the awareness that will rise in the contrails of these two pink fighter jets, brought to you in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month by the U.S. Navy and the Israeli Air Force.

Like breast cancer, fighter jets kill women, making these instruments of war perfect on-message vehicles for the deadly weapons of awareness. They will fly through the skies, blasting tumors and lack-of-awareness with their missiles, bringing pink death and pink destruction and pink civilian casualties and pink refugee crises and pink destruction of cultural heritage wherever their noble cancer-aware pilots lead. The U.S. plane happens to be a Cougar—get it?! Women.

And of course there is the context of how Israel treats actual cancer patients if they happen to live in the besieged Gaza Strip. Here are a few reminders:

IRIN (March 2011), “Cancer care crisis in Gaza“:

Gaza is suffering chronic shortages of painkillers, surgical equipment and critical drugs, including for chemotherapy due to delays in the approval of drugs bound for Gaza by the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and restrictions imposed by Israel’s blockade.

Radiotherapy is not available at all, according to medical sources. As a result, most cancer patients in Gaza have to be referred abroad for treatment, but this process can be costly, time-consuming and bureaucratic.

The New Arab (February 2015), “Gaza’s cancer sufferers cut off from vital care“:

Salem Abdul Aziz is another Palestinian parent witnessing the slow death of his cancer-stricken daughter. After receiving a referral from the Palestinian ministry of health to treat his daughter in Jerusalem, Salem was unable to take her due to Israeli authorities prolonging procedures, which meant he could not get through the Erez crossing to Jerusalem.

NPR (December 2015), “In Gaza, Kids With Cancer Have ‘Virtually No Care.’ One Group Hopes To Help“:

Most of the kids are referred outside, if they’re able to get outside. There is no free access in and out of the Gaza Strip. You must have a permit from the Israeli army to leave the Gaza Strip.

Now, Israel does issue permits for humanitarian cases to leave and to go to Israeli hospitals for specialized oncological care. It’s an extremely long and bureaucratic process, and it’s also a very challenging one for the patients and for their families, because now, a new order just came down that children cannot travel with anyone under the age of 55. So it’s a big burden for the families. You can imagine that means the grandmother has to go.

Electronic Intifada (February 2016), “Gaza patients battle cancer and Israeli siege“:

Umaimah Zamalat assumed her papers were in order.

The 52-year-old woman from Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip had already undergone one radiation session at the Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem for her aggressive breast cancer.

But when she got to the Erez checkpoint at the boundary between Gaza and Israel, ready to go for a second treatment, she was stopped.

“My permit allows me to travel to Jerusalem until I finish four [radiation therapy] sessions. But when I tried to cross Erez for my second session they told me I am no longer allowed,” Zamalat told The Electronic Intifada.

The Israeli military authorities at Erez gave no explanation when they turned her back. Patients from Gaza are not allowed to stay in Jerusalem or Israeli hospitals for the duration of their treatment and must return between sessions. This leaves them at risk of sudden, unexplained and apparently inexplicable permit revocations.

That, in turn, has inevitable consequences on patients’ health.

“I am extremely worried. Doctors told me that my case is very sensitive to delays,” Zamalat said.

Al-Jazeera (May 2016), “Siege adds to suffering of cancer patients“:

Palestinian children with cancer are suffering from the siege of the Gaza Strip as the construction of what is meant to be the first public pediatric cancer department has ground to a halt due to import restrictions.

Israel and Egypt’s continued embargo along with the growing political infighting between Hamas and Fatah have made things so complicated for doctors and patients that even diagnosing which type of cancers the children have cannot be done in Gaza.

Al-Monitor (October 2016), “Is Israel banning entry of Gaza cancer patients?“:

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) claims Israel has “dramatically toughened” its policy on granting permits to sick Palestinians needing life-saving treatment in Israeli hospitals, among them many cancer patients. This, despite the fact that the Palestinian Authority (PA) pays in full for every patient referred by its Health Ministry for care in Israel.

Attorney Mahmoud Abu Arisha, in charge of the organization’s occupied territories department, told Al-Monitor that over the past six months PHR has received 158 appeals from severely ill Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and West Bank whose requests for treatment in Israel were turned down by the Shin Bet security agency.

Middle East Monitor (October 2016), “Gaza cancer patients complain about Israeli restrictions on their treatment“:

While the world increases its efforts to spread awareness about cancer and celebrate new ways to treat it, cancer patients in Gaza have complained about the restrictions placed by Israel on their treatment. In a statement issued on Sunday, a group of patients said that they have been involved in a “humanitarian battle” with the occupation authorities to get the medicines that they need for their treatment to be effective. “This has been an ongoing struggle for ten years,” they pointed out.

Palestinian Information Center (October 2016), “Breast cancer patients in Gaza call for help to end their suffering“:

Breast cancer patients in the Gaza Strip have appealed to the Palestinian government and international groups to swiftly help provide them with their medical needs and facilitate their travel abroad for treatment.

Spokeswoman for the patients Nawal Salloum stated in a news conference held on Monday that the hospitals in Gaza are not prepared for the treatment of cancer conditions and lack medical appliances, including those used for radiation therapy and breast cancer detection.

Salloum also highlighted the acute shortage of cancer medicines in Gaza, warning that the health of many cancer patients in Gaza are exposed to danger as a result of that.

She also talked about the failure of cancer patients to travel abroad to receive medical treatment, saying that they face difficulties to leave Gaza as a result of the blockade, including that their travel requests are either rejected or receive delayed approvals.

Are you paying attention “Christian Zionists”? Holy Land Christians frustrated as vandalism continues unchecked

Source

Holy Land Christians frustrated as vandalism continues unchecked

A shattered statue of Mary and the Christ Child is pictured Sept. 26 inside St. Stephen Church in the Beit Jamal Salesian monastery near Jerusalem. (Credit: Debbie Hill/CNS.)

Judith Sudilovsky, Catholic News Service

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. The latest incident took place September 19 at St. Stephen Church inside the Beit Jamal Salesian monastery west of Jerusalem, where the vandalism included a shattered statue of Mary, broken faces of figures on the stained-glass windows, and a destroyed cross.

JERUSALEM  – 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.

Salesian Father Antonio Scudu, caretaker of St. Stephen Church in the Beit Jamal Salesian monastery near Jerusalem, holds a portion of a shattered statue of Mary Sept. 26. (Credit: Debbie Hill/CNS.)

The latest incident took place September 19 at St. Stephen Church inside the Beit Jamal Salesian monastery west of Jerusalem. The monastery is open for visitors and generally has good relations with its Jewish neighbors, including the residents of an ultra-Orthodox town, said Salesian Father Antonio Scudu, caretaker of the church. Pilgrims to the church discovered the vandalism, which included a shattered statue of Mary, broken faces of figures on the stained-glass windows, and a destroyed cross.

“I was shocked,” said Scudu. “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.”

It is the third time the Beit Jamal community has been vandalized in the past five years.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said evidence had been collected at the site and the investigation was ongoing. He denied charges of police inefficiency in vandalism investigations.

“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,” said Rosenfeld. “People can say what they want. This kind of case is top priority.”

He said authorities do not believe there is any connection between most of the cases or some sort of “vandalism cell” operating against Christian and Muslim holy sites.

A damaged stained-glass window of the baptism of Jesus is seen Sept. 26 inside St. Stephen Church in the Beit Jamal Salesian monastery near Jerusalem. (Credit: Debbie Hill/CNS.)

As in past statements, the bishops called for better education toward tolerance and coexistence.

“While we demand the state, with all its relevant bodies, to work for punishing the attackers and educate the people not to make similar offenses, we pray to the Almighty for the retreat of the attackers and hoping that all peoples, especially at our Holy Land, learn to coexist with each other in love and mutual respect, regardless to the diversities among them,” they said.

Wadie Abunassar, adviser to the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land, said there have been some 80 incidents of vandalism against churches and Christian sites over the last decade. In most of the cases, no arrests or indictments have taken place, he said. Still, he said, arresting perpetrators would not be enough to prevent such incidents from recurring. Incitement charges must also be brought against those provoking such actions – including several prominent extremist rabbis, he said.

“We get sympathy and nice words from everybody, but we are sick of that. We want convictions, not only indictments,” Abunassar said. “It is a very sad story. People are asking why we should not go demonstrate, to protest.”

He noted that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has yet to respond to several requests from the bishops to meet with him concerning the continuing vandalism.

#BDS, Human Rights and the Jews

BDS, Human Rights and the Jews

 

BDS

BDS at Twelve

As of July 2017, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israeli racism and apartheid is 12 years old. This means that over the last dozen years, a worldwide grassroots movement has grown up – a movement of civil society – that has organized active opposition to Zionist racism and Israeli oppression. While the vast majority of governments have either ignored or assisted Israel’s violations of international law and the basic principles of human rights, millions of “civilians” have refused to follow their leaders on this issue.

The BDS movement is now far ranging. It presses for divestment from companies that support or do business with Israel, particularly those that operate in the Occupied Territories. It urges the boycott of all Israeli products, from foodstuffs to cosmetics. It protests the appearance of Israeli cultural organizations outside of Israel. It urges the boycott of Israeli academic institutions that lend support to the state (an effort that, in 2015, Israeli president Reuven Rivlin called a “strategic threat of the first order”). And, it discourages tourist and artist visits to Israel, particularly by well-known celebrities. For more information about specific BDS achievements over the last 12 years, go to website of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights.

In all these efforts the movement has proved increasingly successful. Some surveys have suggested that as many as one-third of Americans and eighty percent of Canadians support BDS. The movement is also strong in Western Europe and growing in Australia and Latin America. Thus, no one should sell this ongoing campaign short. Certainly, the Israeli government does not. Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy devotes a lot of time and money to “push back” against the BDS movement. Israel’s attempt to counter this growing popularity is grounded on a simplistic, libelous campaign that seeks to identify the BDS movement as a new form of anti-Semitism. 

The Zionism ideology demands an identification of Israel with the Jewish people – all of whom are virtual Israeli citizens whether they want to be or not. This means that the Zionists insist that the Jewish people as a whole be identified with Israel’s practices and policies – including the disregard for human rights and implementation of “ongoing state terror.”

At least among the general population, there are two things that make this a very hard sell: (1) a lot of BDS supporters are Jewish, underlining the fact that the Zionist state and Judaism are not the same thing, and (2) the State of Israel continues to reinforce the BDS characterization of it as a racist state by public acts of discrimination against Palestinians

As more people come to support BDS, fewer people support Israel.  A survey released in mid-June 2017 by an organization known as The Brand Israel Group, “a coalition of volunteer advertising and marketing specialists” who consult for pro-Israel organizations, indicated that “approval of Israel among American college students dropped 27% between the group’s 2010 and 2016 surveys” while “Israel’s approval among all Americans dropped 14 points.” Brand Israel’s conclusion: “the future of America no longer believe that Israel shares their values.” This is the case not because of any big increase in anti-Semitism, but due to ever-growing evidence of Israeli racism.

Political Roadblocks

Unfortunately, Israel’s inability to keep a favorable public image does not necessarily mean its near-term defeat. Here in the U.S. there are two reasons for this: (1) as obnoxious as Israeli behavior is, and also as obscenely massive the U.S. aid package that helps to sustain that behavior, neither the behavior nor the aid package is yet a prime voting issue for most American citizens, and (2) due to the resulting lack of political pressure from the voters, American Zionists still have a clear field to use money and other forms of patronage to pressure both the U.S. Congress and the political parties to ignore the blatant racism and continue to strongly support the Zionist state.

That support can extend to becoming Israel’s ally in the effort to defame and then try to destroy BDS. The argument that BDS is a modern form of anti-Semitism has become the backbone of an effort to make it illegal. As noted above, the BDS movement is not anti-Semitic. It is anti-Zionist, which in fact makes it anti-racist. There is plenty of evidence that the Zionists do indeed practice racism in Israel and its Occupied Territories, and therefore, in truth, the Zionist charge against BDS creates a paradox. It requires you to accept that a supporter of BDS can simultaneously be anti-Semitic and anti-racist. Alas, in the absence of voter pressure, this absurdity does not matter to most U.S. politicians. Nor does the fact that outlawing BDS constitutes an obvious violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

BDS, Human Rights and Jewish Morality

On a wider field, two things are simultaneously at stake: the future viability of human rights and the moral status of the Jewish people. First, consider the threat to human rights as an international principle. The Zionists seem to believe that what weakens the viability of human rights is that one country – Israel – is being “picked on” for misbehaving, while other countries, allegedly doing the same things or worse, are not similarly censured. Despite the fact that there happens to be good reasons for “picking on Israel,” this Zionist complaint is an exaggeration used to deflect legitimate criticism. It also misses the point.

The threat to human rights does not come from individuals overly blaming one country for what others also do. It comes from people – in the form of governments, lobbyists, and a sadly misled element of the Jewish community – actually championing Israel (or any other racist country for that matter) while it pursues overtly discriminatory policies based on, in this case, religion. This precedent, persisting over decades, must end up deadening the ability of governments, as well as the United Nations, to take human rights seriously and develop mechanisms for their promotion and protection.

The same situation that threatens the integrity of human rights standards threatens the moral character of the Jewish people. In a recent article entitled “Israel’s Irrational Rationality,David Shulman, professor emeritus at Hebrew University, confesses that it is Israeli government policy to maintain “a steady level of state terror directed against a large civilian population [Palestinians] …. All of it stains the character of the state and has, in my experience, horrific effects on the minds and hearts of young soldiers who have to carry out the orders they are given.” However, Shulman knows it does not stop there. He observes that what we have here is an “ongoing moral failure of the country as a whole.”

Yet who constitutes “the country as a whole”? The Zionism ideology demands an identification of Israel with the Jewish people – all of whom are virtual Israeli citizens whether they want to be or not. This means that the Zionists insist that the Jewish people as a whole be identified with Israel’s practices and policies – including the disregard for human rights and implementation of “ongoing state terror.”

Conclusion

Despite this Zionist contention that Israel and the Jews are equivalent, we know that this cannot be literally true. Israel’s sins cannot be the sins of the Jewish people as a whole. At the beginning of this essay I indicated that increasing number of Jews are actively supporting Palestinian rights and thus opposing both Israel’s undermining of the principle of human rights and its erosive effect on the moral status of the Jewish people.

However, the logic of the situation does make one thing literally true, and that is that the Zionist ideology, as it has evolved in practice, is a dangerous enemy of Jewish morality. As long as Zionism stands against human rights while at the same time insisting that Israel stands in for the Jews, it must be the enemy. Ignorance of this logic is also an enemy. Therefore, it is time to heed the call of Rebecca Vilkomerson, head of Jewish Voice for Peace: “Seventy years into the ongoing dispossession and displacement of Palestinians, fifty years into Israel’s military occupation, and ten years into the siege of Gaza, we think it is time for American Jewish communities [and those in the rest of the world as well] to have some really uncomfortable conversations.”

 

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