January 2013 Archives

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Father Roy writes:   One wonders whether David Ward’s political career will come to an abrupt end.  It’s possible, however, that he has taken the first step to spearhead new movement in the United Kingdom.   Peace, Roy

source: www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9827223/Lib-Dem-MP-condemned-for-lin……

Sunday 27 January 2013

Lib Dem MP condemned for linking Israeli treatment of Palestinians with Holocaust

A Liberal Democrat MP has been condemned by his party for accusing "the Jews" of inflicting atrocities on Palestinians and linking this to the Holocaust.

David Ward, MP for Bradford East, has been disciplined by his party after making the remarks on his website – coinciding with events to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

Mr Ward was challenged on Sky News over whether his comments were targeted at "all Jews" or just the Israeli state.

"I’m accusing the Jews who did it, so if you’re a Jew and you did not do it, then I’m not accusing you. I’m saying that those Jews who did that and continue to do it have not learned those lessons. If you are a Jew and do not do those things… then I am not criticising you.”

Questioned over the timing of his remarks, he said: "What lessons have been learned? That’s the point that I am making. What better day to raise the issue of learning?"

On his website page, which has since been removed, Mr Ward said he had "signed a Book of Commitment in the House of Commons, in doing so pledging his commitment to Holocaust Memorial Day" and describes Auschwitz as "the Nazi concentration and extermination camp which is the site of the largest mass murder in history".

But he added: "Having visited Auschwitz twice – once with my family and once with local schools – I am saddened that the Jews, who suffered unbelievable levels of persecution during the Holocaust, could within a few years of liberation from the death camps be inflicting atrocities on Palestinians in the new State of Israel and continue to do so on a daily basis in the West Bank and Gaza."

The comments attracted criticism on social media after they were picked up by The Commentator news website.

A Liberal Democrat spokesman said disciplinary action against Mr Ward is an internal party matter.

He added: "This is a matter we take extremely seriously. The Liberal Democrats deeply regret and condemn the statement issued by David Ward and his use of language which is unacceptable."

Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said the comments were "sickening and unacceptable".

“I am deeply saddened that at this sombre time, when we remember those who were murdered by the Nazis, Mr Ward has…abused the memory of the Holocaust causing deep pain and offence," she said.

Baroness Tonge quit as a Liberal peer in the House of Lords in 2010 after refusing to apologise for claiming that Israel would not "last forever".

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Father Roy writes: A challenge like this one deserves the widest possible circulation, throughout the entire Anglican Communion and beyond.  How shall we Episcopalians respond?  Honestly?  Courageously?  Ever so politely?  Impotently?  I highlighted a few of Littlewood’s points which I found especially worthy of note.   Peace, Roy

(nb. highlights are courtesy of Father Roy)

Rowan Williams

Rowan Williams – the retiring Archbishop of Canterbury

source: www.redressonline.com…

January 24, 2013

Zionists call the shots in the Anglican Church

By Stuart Littlewood

Rowan Williams, the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, has stepped down from his post (sigh of relief).

Williams’s role as a figure of unity in the worldwide Anglican Communion, which is represented in over 130 countries, meant that he was in a position to “bring the needs and voices of those fighting poverty, disease and the effects of conflict to the attention of national and international policy makers and donor agencies”. Or so we were told.

Bearing witness meekly, silently

In 2010, when the archbishop announced he was planning a visit to Gaza just a year after the slaughter and devastation of Operation Cast Lead, I asked his Lambeth Palace office for more information. Whom would he meet? Would he see the health minister? Would he sit down and talk with the elected prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, man of God to man of God (for Mr Haniyeh is an imam)? Would he do Gaza (and all of us) proud by spending a generous amount of his time with senior members of the Islamic faith?

His office didn’t reply.

According to the Archbishop’s website he did none of those things. At least, he didn’t mention them if he did. Unless I’m mistaken, he said nothing about Gaza in the House of Lords, where he had the ear of Parliament and the support of 25 other Church of England bishops.

Yet he began his Ecumenical letter that Easter by declaring: “Christians need to witness boldly and clearly.”

A lady wrote to me saying she had emailed Lambeth Palace 18 times asking if the archbishop’s party could please bring back some deaf children’s art, which should have been picked up by members of a recent Gaza blockade-busting convoy. The palace eventually declined saying the Israelis wouldn’t allow it.

If he’d been “witnessing boldly” as he exhorted other Christians to do, the archbishop would surely have instructed his staff to pick up the children’s art and dare the Israelis to confiscate it.

The archbishop’s website joyfully reported how he hobnobbed with the Chief Rabbinate, paid his respects to Yad Vashem and the holocaust, and talked with the president of Israel…

She complained that by not using his position in the House of Lords and elsewhere the archbishop was failing to improve the situation for Palestinians, quoting the words of Desmond Tutu: “Where there is oppression, those who do nothing side with the oppressor.”

It was later revealed that the Israelis severely restricted the archbishop’s time inside Gaza. I asked why such interference with the church’s pastoral business in the Holy Land, of all places, wasn’t broadcast on the website, in mainstream media and in Parliament.

His office confirmed that the archbishop had initially been refused access to Gaza but was eventually permitted one-and-a-half hours. This was just enough for a hurried visit to the Ahli hospital and no more. When my questions were forwarded to the archbishop’s public affairs spokesman, the reply was headed “NOT FOR PUBLICATION”. Suffice to say the Israelis from the start blocked the archbishop’s visit to Gaza and only at the last minute granted him a piddling 90 minutes.

Was this his idea of “witnessing boldly”?

The archbishop’s website joyfully reported how he hobnobbed with the Chief Rabbinate, paid his respects to Yad Vashem and the holocaust, and talked with the president of Israel – the latter no doubt sniggering up his sleeve at his guest’s frustration at being prevented by Israel’s thugs from seeing what horrors they had inflicted on the Gazans.

Why did he agree to fraternize with Jewish political and religious leaders when his wish to carry out his Christian duty in Gaza was so rudely obstructed? Did Lambeth Palace not realize that meekly accepting such insults only served to legitimize the Israelis’ illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories and gave a stamp of approval to the vicious siege of Gaza, the ongoing air strikes against civilians, the persecution of Muslim and Christian communities, and the regime’s utter contempt for international law and human rights?

There was no mention of a get-together with senior Islamic figures, leaving a question-mark over Williams’s real commitment to interfaith engagement.

Earlier, while the Jewish state was putting its finishing touches to Operation Cast Lead (the infamous blitzkrieg launched over Christmas-New Year 2008/09 against Gaza’s civilians, including the Christian community there), the archbishop joined Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks in a visit to the former Nazi camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland to demonstrate their joint solidarity against the extremes of hostility and genocide.

The Holy Land is the well-spring of the Christian faith, but you wouldn’t think so from the don’t-give-a-damn attitude among senior churchmen.

“This is a pilgrimage not to a holy place but to a place of utter profanity – a place where the name of God was profaned because the image of God in human beings was abused and disfigured,” said the archbishop. “How shall we be able to read the signs of the times, the indications that evil is gathering force once again and societies are slipping towards the same collective corruption and moral sickness that made the shoah [holocaust] possible?”

Read the signs? Surely they were plain to see. The forces of evil had already pushed some societies into the moral cesspit. He needed to look no further than the hell-hole that the Holy Land had been turned into by the Israeli occupation, with good old England’s blessing. If ever there was a place where “the name of God was profaned” this is it.

Who will step forward and save it? The Holy Land is the well-spring of the Christian faith, but you wouldn’t think so from the don’t-give-a-damn attitude among senior churchmen.

Open door for the bully-boys The multitude of interfaith committees and Christian-Jewish councils has opened the door to the Zionist lobby and made it easy for them to meddle in Church business and bully Christians into submission. There’s even a propaganda outlet calling itself Anglican Friends of Israel. A few weeks ago Zionists, no doubt emboldened by the church’s appeasement policy, put the squeeze on the Bishop of Newcastle, Martin Wharton. The Representative Council of North-East Jewry wrote to him complaining that he voted for a motion at the General Synod which supported the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) despite their “grave concerns … that it would encourage anti-Semitism”. His action, said the letter, “makes any further contact with the Jewish community in the North-East impossible”.

So be it, would seem an appropriate response. But oh no. What brought this on, according to the Church Times , was Bishop Wharton’s agreement to speak at a conference, “Peace and Justice in the Holy Land”, organized by a group of people who had taken part in the EAPPI programme. Its sponsors included Christian Aid, CAFOD and Friends of Sabeel UK.

The chief executive of the Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ), the Reverend David Gifford, said that the conference had “the potential of becoming yet another anti-Jewish meeting, creating more anxiety and distrust between the north-east Jewish community and the Church”. Then the Board of Deputies of British Jews chimed in saying that the EAPPI was “partisan” and “anti-Israel”.

Let’s be clear what the EAPPI is actually about:

The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) brings internationals to the West Bank to experience life under occupation. Ecumenical Accompaniers (EAs) provide protective presence to vulnerable communities, monitor and report human rights abuses and support Palestinians and Israelis working together for peace. When they return home, EAs campaign for a just and peaceful resolution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict through an end to the occupation, respect for international law and implementation of UN resolutions.

The EAPPI programme was set up by the World Council of Churches in response to a call by the churches of Jerusalem. Its mission includes engaging in public policy advocacy and standing in solidarity with the churches and all those struggling against the illegal occupation. Few people except those who support the brutal Israeli regime would disagree with the programme’s principles and objectives. And few, surely, would condemn the humanitarian work the EAPPI carries out with great courage in the face of criminal hostility. Nevertheless its success has whipped the usual suspects into an orchestrated frenzy.

As reported in the Jewish Chronicle, John Dinnen, whose motion sparked the Synod debate, pointed out that well-known Jewish groups such as Jews for Justice for Palestine and the Israeli Committee Against House Demolition [ICAHD] are entirely supportive of EAPPI, and that five per cent of EAPPI volunteers are Jewish “which is a higher ratio than the number of Jews in England”.

But despite having the moral high ground Wharton caved in and decided not to attend the conference “for the sake of good relations between all the faith communities in Newcastle”. The Roman Catholic Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, Seamus Cunningham, also decided not to attend. He told the Jewish Chronicle that he had become aware “that many Jewish people in the north-east were angry and upset”. Perhaps the angry and upset should go themselves to the West Bank and experience the behaviour of their brethren towards Palestinian women and children and the EAPPI volunteers.

Throughout his time on the archbishop’s throne Williams was mad-keen on interfaith dialogue, for what good it has done, and spent an inordinate amount of time with Chief Rabbi Sacks. At one point the Israeli newspaper the Jerusalem Post suggested that the chief rabbi had “in some respects eclipsed the archbishop as the religious voice of the country”.

This is the UK, remember, where Jews comprise just 0.5 per cent of the population and Muslims are eight times greater in number.

Nor was the Archbishop the best-known Christian, according to a survey three years ago. Harry Webb (aka Cliff Richard) beat him into second place . The survey made Cliff even “bigger than the Pope”, who trailed in seventh place.

Now we hear that the squeaky-clean, born-again-Christian megastar is to perform in Israel in July, and the Israeli media are making a meal of it. Does none of these pious dudes understand the appalling, inhuman situation out there?

I’m not sorry to see the back of Rowan Williams – a good guy but not the right man at this time. And what are we to make of his replacement, archbishop number 105, who will be enthroned at Canterbury Cathedral in March? Justin Welby is touted as an expert in conflict resolution, but he comes from nowhere and is not known for his concern about the Holy Land. His grandfather was a Jewish immigrant and Welby was Bishop of Durham for barely five minutes before landing this top job.

The Jewish Chronicle reported that Welby last year helped mount a Holocaust Memorial Day exhibition in Liverpool Cathedral and – wait for it – abstained in last summer’s vote at the Anglican Synod which endorsed the EAPPI.

In my view, anyone who cannot bring himself to give wholehearted backing to a worthy humanitarian project like EAPPI shouldn’t be leading a great Christian church.

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United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories, Professor Richard Falk, is again under the spotlight for apparent bias against Israel, which is seen as being incompatible with his role in the UN.

This time the issue is the comparison he made between Hamas militants and the French Resistance in World War II. His point seems to have been simply that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. This would seem innocuous enough, but comparing the enemies of Israel to those who fought the perpetrators of the Holocaust has evidently aroused some sensitivities!

Falk is also under attack for publishing a cartoon on his blog that has been widely condemned as anti-Semitic. You can see the cartoon here. It depicts a dog wearing a kippah and an American flag, urinating on a statue of Blind Justice and eating human bones and blood. Certainly the cartoon could be depicted as being in bad taste, but it seems to me that the dog is supposed to be the USA and not the state of Israel.

Falk, who is an American Jew, has been accused multiple times of being a self-hating Jew. I don’t know whether anyone has accused him yet of being a self-hating American?

Father Dave

Ricahrd Falk

Richard Falk

source: www.thejc.com…

UN Palestine expert Falk: Hamas like French resistance

The United Nation’s Palestine expert has compared Hamas terrorists to fighters with the French resistance during the Holocaust.

Richard Falk, UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, made the comments in a piece posted on the Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine website.

In an article that included repeated condemnations of Israel, Mr Falk asked his audience to “imagine the situation being reversed as it was during the Nazi occupation of France or the Netherlands during World War two”.

“Resistance fighters were uniformly perceived in the liberal West as unconditional heroes, and no critical attention was given as to whether the tactics used unduly imperiled innocent civilian lives,” he said.

“Those who lost their lives in such a resistance were honoured as martyrs. “[Khaled] Meshaal and other Hamas leaders have made similar arguments on several occasions, in effect asking what are Palestinians supposed to do in the exercise of resistance given their circumstances, which have persisted for so long, given the failures of traditional diplomacy and the UN to secure their rights under international law.”

read the rest of this article here: www.thejc.com…

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Father Roy writes:   More and more of the Churches in the US are "mobilizing" and standing strong and speaking out.  Arthur Hagopian is a writer and journalist currently based in Australia.   He has worked for the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem.  The highlights in his piece are mine.   Peace, Roy

US religious leaders seek two-state solution for Palestine and Israel

By Arthur Hagopian

27 Jan 2013

Leading figures among the Armenian and Greek Orthodox churches in the US have joined other leaders of Christian, Muslim and Jewish religious and lay organisations and institutions, pledging to mobilise support for peace in the Middle East.

Armenian Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, the Director of Ecumenical Affairs for Armenian Orthodox Church in America Father Mark Arey, the Director of the Office of Ecumenical Affairs for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, believe time is running out for both Israelis and Palestinians.

The loose umbrella of the US National Interreligious Leadership Initiative (NILI) for Peace in the Middle East, which includes Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, Imam Mohammed Magid, President, Islamic Society of North America, and Rabbi Peter Knobel, Past President, Central Conference of American Rabbis, warns that the possibility of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was waning, and urged "immediate, sustained US leadership before darkness falls on the hopes for a peaceful resolution."

Among the other leaders are Kathryn Mary Lohre, President, National Council of Churches of Christ (USA) and Richard Stearns, President, World Vision US.

The group believes the most viable solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict is a two-state agreement that provides for a secure and recognised Israel living in peace alongside a viable and independent Palestinian state.

"With the support of the international community, Israelis and Palestinians can achieve a lasting peace. A new dawn is possible," they said in a recently released statement.

Mourning the lives lost and shattered during the recent violence that gripped the region, the group warns that what had been seen, over the past years, "will keep happening if movement towards a viable two state-solution continues to stagnate."

As things stand now, "the status quo is unsustainable and dangerous to both Israelis and Palestinians," they conceded, but stressed now is not the time for "another cycle of recriminations. It is time to break the cycle of violence with bold initiatives for peace."

"The current dangerous stalemate, including the legacy of past failed peacemaking efforts, undermines our security and that of others, destabilises the region, fuels terrorism and extremism, allows continuing Israeli settlement expansion, and prolongs Palestinian disunity. These realities and the absence of negotiations threaten to kill the prospect of a viable two-state peace agreement, the only realistic solution to the conflict," the US National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East says.

The group urges strong and determined action, proposing a peace of the brave, because as people of faith, "we proclaim that we should never underestimate what is possible."

"We know the challenges are daunting, but we believe a bold new initiative for an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement should be an immediate priority of the new [US] Administration in 2013. We fear the opportunity for a peaceful resolution is rapidly waning and the current stagnation encourages the rejectionists on both sides," the statement declares.

The signatories note that the US "has unique leverage and credibility in the region" and that no past progress towards peace has occurred in the Arab-Israeli conflict without US leadership, facilitation or staunch support.

"Once again, we need active, fair and firm US leadership to help break the current deadlock and to achieve a two-state peace agreement now before it is too late," they add.

They pledge to mobilise the strong support that exists in churches, synagogues and mosques across the US, in the push for peace.

"Twilight is upon us; but the hope for a new dawn remains. Let us together bring the new light of hope and work for negotiations leading to a final status agreement," the statement from the US National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East concludes.

* More on NILI: www.nili-mideastpeace.org…

© Arthur Hagopian is a writer and journalist currently based in Australia. He has worked for the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

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I find this report hard to digest and I sincerely hope that it is false or at least exaggerated! It reads like something out of an Orwellian novel! Even so, the UK’s ‘Independent’ is a serious publication and the journalist seems to have done his research.

If the Israeli government has really been involved in a program of forced sterilisation of members of its immigrant community, this is as sickening as it is criminal and highlights a deeply racist agenda on the part of those responsible.

Let’s give this one some time. Perhaps more facts will surface? I find it hard to believe that any government in the 21st century could be sterilising sections of its population on the basis of their ethnicity! God help us!

Father Dave

source: www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israel-gave-birth-control-to-ethiopian-jews-without-their-consent-8468800.html…

Israel gave birth control to Ethiopian Jews without their consent

by Alistair Dawber

Sunday 27 January 2013

Israel has admitted for the first time that it has been giving Ethiopian Jewish immigrants birth-control injections, often without their knowledge or consent.

The government had previously denied the practice but the Israeli Health Ministry’s director-general has now ordered gynaecologists to stop administering the drugs. According a report in Haaretz, suspicions were first raised by an investigative journalist, Gal Gabbay, who interviewed more than 30 women from Ethiopia in an attempt to discover why birth rates in the community had fallen dramatically.

One of the Ethiopian women who was interviewed is quoted as saying: “They [medical staff] told us they are inoculations. We took it every three months. We said we didn’t want to.” It is alleged that some of the women were forced or coerced to take the drug while in transit camps in Ethiopia.

The drug in question is thought to be Depo-Provera, which is injected every three months and is considered to be a highly effective, long-lasting contraceptive.

Nearly 100,000 Ethiopian Jews have moved to Israel under the Law of Return since the 1980s, but their Jewishness has been questioned by some rabbis. Last year, the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who also holds the health portfolio, warned that illegal immigrants from Africa “threaten our existence as a Jewish and democratic state”.

Haaretz published an extract from a letter sent by the Ministry of Health to units administering the drug. Doctors were told “not to renew prescriptions for Depo Provera for women of Ethiopian origin if for any reason there is concern that they might not understand the ramifications of the treatment”.

Sharona Eliahu Chai, a lawyer for the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), said: “Findings from investigations into the use of Depo Provera are extremely worrisome, raising concerns of harmful health policies with racist implications in violation of medical ethics. The Ministry of Health’s director-general was right to act quickly and put forth new guidelines.”