Sunday, July 24, 2011

Grim Coptic Realities

The WCC and its local members whine about the alleged tribulations of the Middle East's only growing Christian population--here in Israel.

Have a look at the testimony of a Coptic Christian regarding the horrendous persecution of Egypt's Coptic minority. Church-burnings, torture, kidnap, and rape are often the fate of this beleaguered native minority. Christians pre-dated Muslims in Egypt by nearly a thousand years, and now are fleeing small towns to live as zabaleen in Cairo's garbage dump district. The smell is bad, but this ghetto is safer for Christians as Muslim persecution grows.

The situation  has only worsened since the downfall of the Mubarak regime.

The video is here, and transcript excerpts are available here.

Christian Hypocrisy in Two Acts

This from Elwood McQuaid via the excellent Tundra Tabloids blog:

"Lutherans from the United States, Catholics and Protestants from Bethlehem and Nazareth, Orthodox Christians from Greece and Russia, lecturers from Lebanon, and Copts from Egypt gathered at a conference recently to declare the Jewish state 'a sin' and occupying power that dehumanizes Palestinians; they called for resistance (jihad) as “a Christian duty."

But wait! Don't these Christian "humanitarians" look suspiciously like this next group? Have a look at this nice ecumenical posting on the AJC website:

"In Jerusalem and the Galilee the AJC leaders from across the United States met with the leading patriarchs, bishops and clergy of the various Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant communities that minister to the approximately 200,000 Christians living in Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The group met with the leadership of the Latin and Greek Orthodox Patriarchates; the Melkhite, Lutheran and Anglican churches; as well as with the Papal Nuncio to Israel and Apostolic Delegate in the Holy Land." 

Remember the Syrian-based Melkites? Their former bishop of Caesaria, Hilarion Capucci, was arrested in 1974 for smuggling arms to the Palestinians, and last year he was a passenger on the Gaza Flotilla's Mavi Marmara. Regarding the arms-smuggling conviction, the Melkite Church condemned his arrest, comparing Capucci's activities to those of anti-Nazi resistance fighters.Sounds like malicious Israel-bashing to me...

But, in a startling display of naivete, an AJC official states:

"AJC’s interreligious activity brings us into regular contact with American Christian friends of Israel genuinely concerned about the situation of their co-religionists in the Holy Land, Rabbi Noam Marans, AJC’s director of Interreligious and Intergroup Relations [stated]...'The region’s Christians are symbolically important to Christians everywhere.  As Jews, it is both a strategic interest and a moral imperative that motivates us to build and maintain good relations with Israel’s diverse and vibrant Christian communities.'”

Marans has succesfully conflated the Christian Zionist real friends of Israel, with those WCC affiliates who regularly engage in demonization against both Israel and Christian Zionists. You also can't help but notice that the AJC had no salient quotes to print from the Christian group.

This is yet another case similar to that of the Israeli Rabbinate's totally meaningless 2006 Joint Declaration signed with the Church of England. Why are these groups so in love with interfaith rhetoric, while studiously ignoring the inflammatory statements made by Christian anti-Semites? Could it have something to do with the professional interfaith diplomat, Rabbi David Rosen, who has positions with both AJC and the Rabbinate?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

UK Methodist 2011 Conference--Better, But...

Southport Synagogue:
Methodist delegates attended Model Seder

Methodist Preacher gives a very good overview of this year's UK Methodist Conference conference and the very well-attended "fringe event" which was held at a local synagogue. Moderates worked hard with the UK Jewish community to mend fences.

The radicals who shoved the nearly the whole Sabeel agenda into Methodist legitimacy last year were marginalized this year, but the pro-suicide bombing speaker still spoke at another fringe event. Furthermore, the anti-Israel, Palestinian-crucifying accusations still stand on record.

Read more at this link.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Interfaith Sudoku

Just a few meanderings on the Rabbinate and the Church of England topic…
I noticed that Rabbi David Rosen seems to have been hard at work in the Interfaith Business, and yet not serving his clients’ best interests, the clients being the Israeli Rabbinate, where he serves as a consultant.
I also noticed, as I wrote in the previous post on this topic, that Rosen is an International Committee Advisor at the Parliament of World's Religions as is Archbishop Desmond Tutu, one of the icons of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. Tutu falsely claims that Israel is an apartheid state, and backs up the false assertions in the 2009 Kairos Palestine Document which was promulgated by anti-Israel Anglican canon Naim Ateek and other similarly hostile Palestinian Christian clerics.
So, if we look at this as we would a Sudoku puzzle, and try to figure out what game Rosen is playing, we can find pairs of options as to how the facts fit.  Either the committee Rosen sits on is merely window-dressing, with few or no actual meetings, or Rosen does have contact with Tutu. If Rosen has contact with the Anglican bishop but has absolutely no influence to persuade Tutu of the fact—obvious to almost anyone who has been to Israel—that there is no apartheid here, then is a poor advocate.
One-staters like Ateek and his Sabeel Institute funders and far-left sympathizers do claim there is apartheid. Why? Because they want there to be one state with millions of returned “refugees” inside pre-1967 borders, and no Jews allowed in the West Bank and the Old City of Jerusalem. So, from a one-state perspective, and disregarding Arab Israeli citizens with full democratic rights, there is one law for Israelis, and others for Palestinians ruled by the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Hamas. In this upside-down view, letting the non-democratic PA run everything and throwing out all the Jews over the Green Line for a start (ethnic cleansing) would constitute non-apartheid. Get it?
This opens another option—if Rosen isn’t a poor advocate, then maybe he is an advocate of the same policies held by Israel’s delegitimizers.  In which case, he has no business doing business with Israeli government clients.

Actual Humanitarian Aid

Elder of Zion has this video showing how needy Palestinian children receive life-saving free heart surgery in Israel...and a trip to the zoo!

The Rabbinate’s Exceedingly Strange Bedfellows

Good to be back after a hiatus caused by lifting a cute & small, but surprisingly heavy little niece...

Why is the Israeli Rabbinate “fig leafing” for the Church of England? By “fig leafing” I mean serving as a cover for a fair amount of nasty business which appertains to the Church as a whole, as well as members of its clergy.  In 2006 the Chief Rabbis, Yonah Metzger and Shlomo Amar signed what was trumpeted as a historic agreement between Christians and Jews.

Along with a slew of kumbaya proclamations about the importance of dialogue and mutual respect, two actually salient points were raised. The first issue, raised in item 7 of the Joint Declaration, reads, “Neither evangelism nor conversion has a place amongst the purposes of the dialogue and we emphasise the importance of respect for each other’s faith and of rejecting actions intended to undermine the integrity of the other.” If the Rabbinate was led to believe that this constituted a renunciation of missionary activities, they were deceived. This statement in no way obligates the Church to desist from their ongoing attempts to recruit Jews to Christianity.

In fact, the Church of England runs an entire subgroup called the “Church’s Ministry Among Jewish People” (CMJ), which has been around since 1809. This group is active in six countries, including Israel, where it runs and cultivates “Jews for Jesus” congregations and activities throughout Israel. Another Church of England missionary group, the Church Mission Society, also operates in Israel and runs tours of the based in Bethlehem and Nazareth. These tours allow participants to meet with Palestinian Christian and Muslims, while meeting with Israelis holding anti-Israeli viewpoints as well as “Messianic Jews”.

It is important to note here is that neither of the Chief Rabbis is fluent in English, and it is highly unlikely that the Talmudically-oriented staff at the Rabbinate spent time poring over Church internet sites to find out exactly to whom they were talking. The facilitator of this historic meeting of clerical minds, was Rabbi David Rosen, who was described recently by a Rabbinate staffer as “masterful” in his dealings with the Christians. However, on this point, if the Rabbis demanded a statement decrying missionary work, score one for the Church, zero for the Rabbinate.

The second key issue, already hinted at is the anti-Israel slant of Church positions, as well as highly visible clergy and affiliated organizations. The Church of England has stated that it is in basic agreement with the Kairos Palestine Document which compares Israeli policy to apartheid. The Church of England states that, “the cause of the crisis rests with the Israeli’s illegal occupation of Palestinian land”. Furthermore, the Church itself has already acted in accordance with groups like the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in divesting its holdings in Caterpillar Corporation, as Caterpillar sells machinery to the IDF.

Christian Aid UK is a development agency linked to the World Council of Churches (WCC), a group which has admitted its anti-Israel bias. It is also the preferred charity for members of the WCC, including the Church of England. The board of Christian Aid UK is chaired by Anne Owers, who has strong ties with the Church of England, and three Church of England clerics also sit on the board. NGO Monitor points out that: Christian Aid engages in a highly politicized approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Its reports disproportionately focus on alleged Israeli "violations" and dismiss the impact of Palestinian terrorism.”

But Christian Aid does more than whitewash terrorism—NGO monitor also notes that: “Many of its partners are among the most radical NGOs involved in the conflict, including Sabeel, ICAHD, and the Alternative Information Center. These NGOs, and other Christian Aid partners, attempt to isolate Israel internationally through boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS).”

The Church also has highly visible clergy such as the Revd George Pitcher. Pitcher was hired as Press Secretary to the Archbishop of Canterbury less than a year after he expressed in print his general “disgust” with Israel and for “shooting [Gaza's] children in the back of the head” as if this were an actual policy, instead of a patent blood libel. But Pitcher is not alone in his anti-Israel ranting. Revd. Garth Hewitt, who styles himself as a guitar-playing peace lover, rages against Israel in a similar but much more heated manner. Hewitt is a Guild Vicar in London, and an honorary canon at St. George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem, and runs an anti-Israel group, the Amos Trust. The Church does not condemn Hewitt either.

None of this squares with the text of item 12 in the Joint Declaration, in which the Church states they: condemn without reserve those who deny a place for Israel and especially those who engage in the evil work of seeking to bring about its destruction.”

Interestingly, a recent Christian Aid propaganda flyer for the “World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel”, lists among its “Ecumenical and International links with useful worship and campaigning resources”, not only the organizations cited here, but also the organization founded by the “masterful” Rabbi David Rosen, Rabbis for Human Rights.

 A document put out by the UK Methodists remarks on Israel’s right to exist vis-à-vis the Palestinians, “In connection with attitudes to the 'land' of Israel, some Jews are also aware that holy texts can be abused. ‘We have a battle for our holy texts' declared Rabbi David Rosen, of Rabbis for Human Rights in Jerusalem, at a session on theologies of the ‘Land' at the Parliament of World's Religions in Barcelona.”

In the same text, a member of the interfaith commission from the Church of England which meets with the Rabbinate, the Archdeacon Michael Ipgrave, complains that Yad Vashem, as a national institution is creating a victim ideology for “Oriental” Jews, whom he wrongly claims were unaffected by the Holocaust. Note that Rosen is an International Committee Advisor at the ecumenical Parliament as is Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a man of much stature, and who falsely claims that Israel is an apartheid state.

While the Joint Declaration is certainly another fine feather in Rosen’s ecumenical cap, it is clear that his collegial connections not only fail to support Israel, but they include Israel’s vituperative detractors and delegitimizers. It is time to admit that this was a bust, and stop the taxpayer-funded junkets and hours spent at meetings here and in England. There is no reason for our Israeli Rabbinate to serve as the fig leaf for the Church of England's proselytizing and hateful activities.

By Chanah Shapira