Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Some of the most rabid haters of anything Jewish are found amidst the Catholic clergy. You have to read the entire letter from Dr. Denis MacEoin to the Archbishop of Westminster .... it's delicious.
....What you mean exactly by ‘a land’ is neither here nor there, since most of the world is in some kind of darkness and has always been so. It is the curse of the human race. We are in agreement. But in a moment we are not. You continue by saying:
‘That shadow falls particularly heavily on the town of Bethlehem tonight. At this moment the people of the parish of Beit Jala prepare for their legal battle to protect their land and homes from further expropriation by Israel. Over 50 families face losing their land and their homes as action is taken to complete the separation/security wall across the territory of the district of Bethlehem. We pray for them tonight.’
‘Particularly heavily’? Can you in all sincerity say that your singling out of events in Beit Jala merits that use of ‘particularly’? A difficult and misunderstood situation for some people becomes a paradigm for the shadow enveloping mankind? Of all the people in the world, you single out 50 Christian families in Beit Jala and expect those who hear you to recoil, cut to the heart by the horrors of that situation. You speak as if the world had no greater shadow to offer. Thousands have died and are dying in neighbouring Syria, but that gets no mention from you. An entire population is repressed and religious minorities are persecuted in Iran and you say nothing. Muslims who convert to Christianity in Pakistan, Afghanistan and elsewhere are put to death, yet you are silent. In Egypt, Coptic Christians are killed and persecuted and their churches are destroyed, yet you cannot find a sentence in which to condemn it. Christians are not allowed to possess Bibles or to worship or seek converts in Saudi Arabia, yet your voice is not raised. Christians are murdered and their churches burned to the ground in Nigeria, but I do not hear your voice. Yet Muslims are free to worship, open schools, have their own courts, and missionize in every Western country, yet you do not point out the anomaly.
Instead, it is the predictable condemnation of one of the world’s most democratic, liberal, and tolerant states that occupies your thoughts. You speak of a ‘separation/security wall’ without irony. Overall, this barrier is not a wall, it is a fence: it will be about 500 miles long when finished, and only about 3 percent of it will be a wall or is a wall now. There are very cogent reasons why some sections are built from concrete and are very high, unlike the rest, which is primarily chain-link fence. When the second intifada erupted in 2000, gunmen belonging to Fatah Tanzim squads went into mainly Christian houses in Beit Jala and used them as strategic points from which to fire into the Jewish civilian enclave of Gilo, a mere 800 meters away. They fired at first with Kalashnikovs and stolen M16s, then with heavy machine guns. The battles fought in Beit Jala, together with the return fire the Fatah shooting provoked, caused great difficulties for the Christians of the town, who wanted to stay apart from the Muslim-centred violence, whereas the Muslims of the Tanzim wanted to attract return fire into Christian properties. Not surprisingly, the Christian residents tried to force these terrorists (many of whom were from outside Beit Jala) outside their homes. In retaliation, the gunmen beat Christians badly. Christian women were harassed by Muslim men from a nearby village, Beit Awwad......
............Your fifty families – if, indeed, there are fifty families – will, at worst, face a legal battle, knowing they will be vindicated if their claims are valid. Israel will not set their homes alight, nor gun them down, nor desecrate their churches nor violate their priests nor execute their converts. It will not do to them what the Muslims of Egypt have done in a long and systematic persecution. It will not do to them what the Taliban have done to Christians in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It will not intimidate or hector or torture or kill them. It’s time this was recognized, especially by a leading churchman like yourself.............