Iraqi Archbishop on Trump’s Executive Order Regarding Refugees

Friday, February 3, AD 2017

 

Well this is interesting.  Crux has an interview with Iraqi Archbishop Bashar Warda:

 

 

What do you make of the protests against President Trump’s refugee order?

Everyone, including the administration, seems to agree that this should have been implemented with more clarity. There was much confusion about what the order meant and many people were very upset.

From my perspective in Iraq, I wonder why all of these protesters were not protesting in the streets when ISIS came to kill Christians and Yazidis and other minority groups. They were not protesting when the tens of thousands of displaced Christians my archdiocese has cared for since 2014 received no financial assistance from the U.S. government or the U.N. There were no protests when Syrian Christians were only let in at a rate that was 20 times less than the percentage of their population in Syria.

I do not understand why some Americans are now upset that the many minority communities that faced a horrible genocide will finally get a degree of priority in some manner.

I would also say this, all those who cry out that this is a “Muslim Ban” – especially now that it has been clarified that it is not – should understand clearly that when they do this, they are hurting we Christians specifically and putting us at greater risk.  The executive order has clearly affected Christians and Yazidis and others as well as Muslims.

Here in Iraq we Christians cannot afford to throw out words carelessly as the media in the West can do.  I would ask those in the media who use every issue to stir up division to think about this. For the media these things become an issue of ratings, but for us the danger is real.

Most Americans have no concept of what it was like to live as a Yazidi or Christian or other minority as ISIS invaded. Our people had the option to flee, to convert, or to be killed, and many were killed in the most brutal ways imaginable. But there were none of these protests then of ISIS’s religious test.

Our people lost everything because of their faith – they were targeted for their faith, just like the Yazidis and others too. Now these protesters are saying that religion should not matter at all, even though someone was persecuted for their faith, even though persecution based on religion is one of the grounds for refugee status in the UN treaty on refugees.

From here I have to say, it is really unbelievable.

It is exactly this reasoning, that religion should not be a factor at all in American policy, that has resulted in Christians and other minority communities being overlooked by U.S. and UN aid programs. We are too small to matter, our communities are disappearing from constant persecution, and for years the American government didn’t care. Now when someone tries to help us, we have protesters telling us that there can be no religious basis for refugee status – even though the UN treaty and American law say that religious persecution is a major reason for granting the status, and even though ISIS targeted people primarily on the basis of religion.

I am not saying that any group should have a blanket preference when it comes to being admitted as a refugee in the United States. Such a policy would not be right, and would clearly be against our Catholic faith and teaching. And that is not the policy as I understand it.

But it is very hard for me to understand why comfortable people in the West think those who are struggling to survive against genocide, and whose communities are at extreme risk of disappearing completely, should not get some special consideration.  We are an ancient people on the verge of extinction because of our commitment to our faith.  Will anybody protest for us?

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8 Responses to Iraqi Archbishop on Trump’s Executive Order Regarding Refugees

  • Islam is an evil pagan cult. Of course there should be a religious test. Catholicism is not a suicide pact. Even Pope Chastisement believes this as he lives behind very high, very thick, very solid walls.

  • The Archbishop speaks with such clarity. I hope his message registers with Western Catholics.

    I don’t think it makes the difference if another pathetic Hollywood embecile climbs onto her soapbox and bemoans America. They are utterly useless to their fellow man.

    The Archbishop is talking about the persecution of one of the oldest Christian groups in the history of the world.

    I’m greatly disappointed with Pope Francis silence. I don’t think there has ever been a Pope in modern times who has stood up for Christians in the Middle East. These Christians need to be protected through strong action and with the same resolve that the world stood up to Communist forces back in the 20th Century. I can’t believe the Vatican has turned a blind eye to their own people for so long. The Archbishop is having to justify why his people deserve help. We should be ashamed by this.

  • Hm. Checking… checking… nope, seems our favorite political commentator has never weighed in on this. I wonder why…

    Would that we Christians (ANY of us, Catholic, Protestant, or Orthodox) had the stones for another crusade. Heck why not have the Vatican fun its own military or hire a PMC to go get our brothers in trouble out of there or provide cover to set up protected enclaves. Something! We live in an age of billions of answers at our fingertips, why does every proposed solution seem to be the same?

  • Trump already said that Christian refugees will be given priority. It’s just a TEMPORARY stop to better vet the people coming in. Why would anyone want to go to a better country to leave behind the evil people if the evil people are coming with them?

  • I have mentioned that I read Brietbart for the news articles. Anytime that there is a news story about anything Catholic the comment box is filled with two types of comments. One type is that the Catholic Church is an evil cult that is not Christian. Another type is made by ex Catholics who hate the church with a passion – often atheist types. Is it any wonder that so little attention has been paid to the poor Middle East Christians? The USCCB’s Catholic charities is only too happy to take taxpayer money to resettle refugees…but they are forbidden to preach religion to them. I did a volunteer day assisting the Pittsburgh chapter and tis is what the director of the office said. What’s more, given the rotten catechesis, most Catholics in the US, practicing or not, are completely unaware of the Eastern Catholic Churches. These poor people have nowhere to go, no one to turn to and are abandoned – by the West, who falls all over themselves resettling Muslims, by the Pope, who would rather let the German bishops dictate what being Catholic should be.

  • God bless Archbsp. Warda and keep him safe.
    It’s my understanding that USCCB receives millions from the federal government for refugee resettlement. I have heard $91 M but don’t know if that is accurate; a review of the USCCB’s financial statement might contain many surprises. Since it is fed money there must be strings attached, one of which, I would guess, is that they cannot assist only Catholics or only Christians. Please correct me if I am wrong. I wonder if Catholic Charities receives federal money?

    The silence and lack of action by the UN, the Vatican, and in the past our central government is appalling. Now the Trump administration is trying to correct that and give assistance to the persecuted groups the Archbishop mentioned and all hell breaks loose from the wackos, Congress and the Courts. This power plays by the liberals and the Democratic Party is aimed at Trump, but meanwhile their behaviour is costing lives. Their lies about the executive order is not only costing lives, but making the lives of the persecuted still in the home countries miserable.

    Where is the Catholic press? We should expect more from them. Yes there is an occasional article or interview, but there ought to be an article in every weekly addition about some persecuted group….Africans, Near and Middle and Far Easterners.
    We do pray for the persecuted Christians at Sunday and daily Masses at our Mission. The occasional collection is taken, however who knows to whom that money really goes.

  • Oops, make that weekly edition vice addition.

  • Islamic State is honest and direct in its persecution. You are a left in no doubt as to your situation. The two-faced culture of the so-called free West is another matter. Their crocodile tears fool no one least of all the death merchants of Da3ish.

Angel of Peace

Sunday, May 17, AD 2015

Abbas and Pope

 

A certain mendacity tends to walk hand in hand with diplomacy, and I hope this was the case when the Pope met with Mahmoud Abbas:

 

“May the angel of peace destroy the evil spirit of war,” Francis told Abbas after presenting him a medallion as a gift, The Associated Press reported. Francis told Abbas that the gift was appropriate since “you are an angel of peace.”

In a 2014 visit to Israel, Francis called both Abbas and Israeli President Shimon Peres men of peace, according to AP.

Mahmoud Abbas, leader of Fatah and President of the Palestine National Authority is many things but an angel of peace is not one of them.  What is he?

1.  As his 1982 doctoral dissertation indicates, he believes that the Zionist movement cooked up the Holocaust with the Nazis:  The Connection between the Nazis and the Leaders of the Zionist Movement 1933 – 1945.

2.  He raised money for the terrorist attack in 1972 at the Munich Olympics that led to the slaughter of Israeli athletes.

3.  He helped organize the Achille Lauro hijacking in 1985 during which disabled American World War II veteran Leon Klinghoffer was murdered.

4.  His family has gotten very wealthy, probably due to embezzlement of funds contributed to the Palestinians.  This is an old tradition of Fatah, Yasser Arafat, his predecessor at the helm of Fatah, left an estate worth north of a billion dollars.

5.  In negotiations with Israel since 2005 Abbas has never shown any interest in actually reaching a deal, which is understandable because if he did he would likely be murdered by one of the various factions of Fatah.   Anyone expecting any courage and leadership from that human weathervane to bring about a settlement simply has not been paying attention to his career.

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33 Responses to Angel of Peace

  • “Anyone expecting any courage and leadership from that human weathervane to bring about a settlement simply has not been paying attention to his career.”

    He is now in the eleventh year of a 5-year term. Elections have been postponed indefinitely, for he knows full well that Hamas would defeat his party 2:1. His real source of political power is the IDF, who consider him the least worst alternative.

  • 3. “He helped organize the Achille Lauro hijacking in 1985 during which the
    disabled American World War II veteran Leon Klinghoffer was murdered”

    .
    In case some readers are unfamiliar with the details of that hijacking, the Palestinian
    Liberation Front hijacked a cruise ship and decided to demonstrate their willingness to
    kill passengers. To that end, they singled out Mr. Klinghoffer because he was Jewish.
    Mr. Klinghoffer, who was disabled and confined to a wheelchair, was taken and
    shot in the forehead and chest by the hijackers. The hijackers then forced two of the
    crew to throw Mr. Klinghoffer’s body and his wheelchair overboard. Mr. Klinghoffer
    had been on the cruise with his wife to celebrate their 36th wedding anniversary.
    Fortunately, she did not witness his murder.
    .
    I can understand that a Pope, in the exercise of his duties, must necessarily have
    dealings with all sorts of people– some of whom may be very bad people indeed.
    I also understand the Pope might need to soft soap bad people to achieve a desired end.
    But I do hope that this Pope understands that Mahmoud Abbas is not only willing
    to use soft soap to achieve his desired ends, he’s also willing to take an elderly,
    disabled man and shoot him and throw him off a ship to achieve those ends.

  • His real source of political power is the IDF, who consider him the least worst alternative.

    Rubbish. He has goon squads all his own and cash pipelines from the UNRWA, miscellaneous occidental governments, and Arab governments.

  • Thankfully, this seems to be one of those “deliberately bad translation” situations– it’s from the BBC and the AP.
    An Italian newspaper translates it as : “May the angel of peace destroy the evil spirit of war. I thought of you: may you be an angel of peace.”
    http://pjmedia.com/tatler/2015/05/16/contrary-to-popular-outrage-pope-francis-didnt-call-mahmoud-abbas-an-angel-of-peace/
    .
    Which is much more acceptable, and– if it were someone else– I’d strongly suspect it of being a rather painfully pointed comment, like when my “two kids IS a big family” relations start asking me to donate the baby stuff I “won’t be using anymore” after each kid.

  • His real source of political power is the IDF, who consider him the least worst alternative.

    Only if you consider “have not assassinated the creep as of yet” to be a source of power. While it’s arguably got a point, I’m not sure I’d really like to apply the not-killing-is-supporting logic.

  • Abbas…typical Muslim Arab politician.

    They have an all-consuming hatred of the existence of Israel. This hatred blinds them towards making a better life for themselves.

    To be fair, the current Roman Pontiff is not the first to make overtures to the Palestinian Arabs. Ararat visited the Holy See – I don’t know how many times. A lot of this is allegedly to help the Palestinian Arab Christians – or at least it is supposed to, with negligible results.

    Some things at the Vatican just…..are. One of them is dealing with the Palestinians hoping they will be nicer to the Arab Christians. Another is wanting to visit Moscow with an invitation from the Moscow Patriarch. As the old saying goes, wish in one hand, **** in the other and see which one fills up first.

  • And another with a long quote:
    The presentation was followed by an exchange of gifts. The Pope presented Abbas with a medallion of the Angel of Peace, saying: “The angely of peace destroys the evil spirit of war.” He added: “I was thinking of you so that you may be an angel of peace.” The Holy Father also gave him an English copy of his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium.
    http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-to-president-mahmoud-abbas-may-you-be-an-angel-of-peace
    .
    Noticing the usual pattern of there being a distinct difference between the quotes that have context and the ones that say something outrageous.

  • Pope Francis to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas: You are an angel of peace

    […]

    The two also exchanged gifts. Abbas gave the Pope relics from the two Palestinian nuns who will be canonized Sunday morning. Using a translator, the mayor of Bethlehem described the gifts to Pope Francis.

    “It’s the rosary that Mary of Jesus Crucified used every day.”

    Pope Francis gave Abbas a copy of ‘Evangelii Gaudium’ and an Angel of Peace medallion.

    “I thought of you. You are an angel of peace.”

    […]

    – From ROMEREPORTS Iink I provided above which has video and text.

  • Yes, I noticed that the story is a transcript of the video’s voice and subtitles, which use a quote almost exactly the same as every other AP feed story, which is a very big and not at all subtle hint that they’re going off of the same source. If the translation was correct, then there would be some sources that had it as part of a longer quote.
    .
    There being a video will do jack all if the translation is bad or utterly removed from context, and the sound is so low at 1:20 that I can’t even catch enough to take a guess at it for a different translation.
    Luckily, turns out that some people did find multiple sources to translate it, and it boils down to the English sources all filching from a bad translation of the original, Italian La Stampa article. The La Stampa translation of their own article makes no such mistake.
    Francis’s original remarks appeared in the Italian-language newspaper La Stampa, which the English-language outlets in question translated as the pontiff calling Abbas outright an “angel of peace.”

    But doubts were first cast on the accuracy of the translation by the Israellycool blog, which pointed out that the Italian was written in the exhortative (using the word “sia”).

    Several Italian-language experts have confirmed that to Arutz Sheva, saying that Francis actually told Abbas that he “may” or “could” be an “angel of peace,” in an attempt to persuade him to return to peace talks with Israel.
    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/195501#.VVlQiPmooes

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  • @FMShyanguya
    *thumbs up*
    You’d think “can speak the language” would be a requirement for all these big time news places, wouldn’t you?
    Then again, you’d think that they’d be able to manage to say how they got their stories, too– I was incredibly upset when I figured out that 90% of the articles I could find on any of my more eclectic interests (…pretty much everything but sports…) were straight off of the AP feed, chewed up and spat back out by reporters who usually didn’t know anything about the subject, which made for a lot of rephrasing drift.
    (Are you familiar with that military joke about how policy is set? Goes something like: the guy on the ground says ‘this is s##t.’ The guy above him says this is fecal matter. The guy above him says it’s fertilizer. The guy above him says it’s a powerful force for growth. The guy at the top says let’s double the dose.)
    .
    Like I say every time one of these misleading stories gets out: it’s not like he doesn’t say enough objectionable stuff on his own!

  • Did he or did he not say Abbas is an angel of peace? Now the Vatican is apologizing for calling him an angel of peace. If it was mistranslated, then no apology needed. Not only do we need frequent clarifications with Pope Francis, now we need clarifications of clarifications.
    http://news.yahoo.com/vatican-says-pope-meant-no-offense-calling-abbas-160118733.html

  • I bet that Vatican press flack Father Lombardi goes home and beats his head against the wall some days!

  • Did you read the article instead of the headline? Yahoo is horrible about their headlines– my sister loves ’em, but they drive me up a wall because it usually isn’t supported by the story, it’s just click-bait.
    .
    Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said he had not heard the remarks himself and had nothing to add to the words attributed to the pope by the pool reporter.

    “It is clear that there was no intention to offend anyone,” Lombardi told Reuters.

    Reporter says: “Pope said X.”
    Father Lombardi: “He did? Huh, I didn’t hear anything like that, but I wasn’t there. I’m sure he meant no offense to anybody.”
    It goes on to say:
    “In any case, the sense of encouraging a commitment to peace was very clear and I believe that the very gift of the symbol of an angel of peace was made by the pope with this intention as well as previous presentations of the same gift to presidents, not only to Abbas.”

    Lombardi said the pope explains the significance of the medal to heads of state who receive it, and that the word “angel” in this context means “messenger”.
    Which, if it were my grandmother doing it, would be what she’d say instead of calling out someone who was not just mistaken but obviously and embarrassingly so– give a polite dodge instead of saying “no, you’re embarrassingly wrong, do you even Italian, bro?”, try to sooth hurt feelings, and then explain what was said.

  • Foxifier, Yes. I read it, and what you posted does not clarify. You have Fr. Lombardi commenting on something he is unaware of and yet able to explain it. “I don’t know what he said. I wasn’t there, but here’s what he meant to say. I’m sure he meant no offense.” Uh. Ok. Sure. Confusion at the Vatican.
    If you don’t like Yahoo News, here’s another source. Point remains.
    http://www.straitstimes.com/news/world/europe/story/vatican-says-pope-meant-no-offence-calling-abbas-angel-peace-20150520

  • Kyle, I’d be rather confused if someone assured me that the Pope had called someone like that an angel of peace, too, especially when I knew that giving the medallion was a standard thing with a standard message.
    *
    Your second link is also from the Reuter’s feed (check the byline)– the service who screwed up the translation in the first place.
    Possibly the reporter was even the same guy who couldn’t tell “may you be” from “you are” when he lifted it from the local newspaper, since only the second link makes it clear that the pool reporter was the one for Reuters.

  • I’m not saying he did say he was an angel of peace. I am saying the spokesman surely confuses things we he says he’s unaware of what was said and proceeds to apologize for it. It’s telling that would be his reaction would be such. Francis saying Abbas is an angel of peace is believable. This pope is like a box of chocolates.

  • Father Lombardi didn’t apologize for it, he stated that even though he wasn’t close enough to hear the exact words, was clear there was no offense intended to anyone, and reiterated the whole point of the meeting and conversation– promoting peace.
    I hope that the Pope wanting fighting in the middle east to stop is not shocking, even if we most likely agree as to the likelihood of it happening in a non-horrific manner?

  • People [even those in the Church] should be extremely careful in how they treat Israel/the Children of Israel. Some have made the connection between the rise of US and its Jews after World War II and now observe that the US is declining as its relationship with Israel becomes strained.

    I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you I will curse; and by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves. – Gn 12:3 (RSVCE)

  • Cf. Pope: “Anyone who does not recognize the State of Israel is guilty of anti-Semitism”

    Francis was also said to have backtracked on statements he was reportedly heard making earlier this month designating the visiting Abbas “a bit an angel of peace.”

  • Both of the “reportedlies” are from the source of the original mis-translation (Reuters/AP), and their quote is not linked to any original source– very different from what the Italian sources have said the entire time, “lei possa essere un angelo della pace,” which was reported by multiple people on site and hasn’t changed; contrast with the new AP quote “‘Lei e un po un angelo della pace” which is simply pasted in as a correction and keep in mind that they also make a false claim about the Vatican “apologizing” for the statement, when Father Lombardi actually stated that it was of course not intended to offend anyone. (Which is kind of null content…what, someone expects the Vatican to be going “yep! Totally wanted to piss people off!”?)

  • @Foxfier: My posting my latest comment is not whether the Pope said what he is reported as having said [only he can clarify], but what he is reported to have done subsequently and the manner in which he has gone about it. An update also on the matter is I believe appropriate.

  • Since the reports of subsequent behavior are all founded on the same disputed actions– including the supposed apology which was, factually, not an apology– then my last comment was at least as appropriate.

  • @Foxfier: no they are not. They are based on someone [veteran Portuguese-Israeli journalist Henrique Cymerman] who claims to have an e-mail from the Pope himself. – http://www.timesofisrael.com/not-recognizing-israel-as-jewish-is-anti-semitic-pope-says/

  • Yes, they are.
    .
    The quote from the email is “anyone who does not recognize the Jewish people and the State of Israel — and their right to exist — is guilty of anti-Semitism.”, the summary of what he was claimed to have said what you quoted, and part that’s from Mr. Cymeran’s email would be The pope recalled telling Abbas in Italian that he hopes the Palestinian chief might one day become an angel of peace in the future, according to Cymerman.
    .
    The part that says Francis was also said to have backtracked on statements he was reportedly heard making earlier this month designating the visiting Abbas “a bit an angel of peace.” is a rephrasing of the string of articles that includes the one you linked, and this earlier one:
    http://www.timesofisrael.com/did-the-pope-call-abbas-an-angel-of-peace-depends-who-you-ask/
    Which, to its credit, actually makes it clear that they don’t actually know.
    ***
    The article means exactly the opposite of what you’ve taken it to mean; it could be rephrased as “Reporter actually asked Francis, and Pope says that he said exactly what the Italian media has quoted him as saying the whole time.”
    It’s just phrased in a cover-your-six manner by the people who spun “I didn’t hear it, but I’m sure he didn’t mean any offense” as an apology, and who supported a single reporter over multiple sources that said something much less juicy.

  • I am not sure what part of veteran Portuguese-Israeli journalist Henrique Cymerman who claims to have an e-mail from the Pope himself is unclear.
    *
    If the pope via e-mail is telling a “veteran” journalist this is what I said that source is very different from people listening to a video feed and trying to figure what the pope might have said. If the pope is explaining himself via e-mail, the video feed, which as you say people cannot agree upon, becomes irrelevant.
    *
    Like I said before, I really do not have an interest or really care for that matter what the pope said. We all go by what is reported. This is the umpteenth time that to me he has rashly and imprudently opened his mouth with damage and damage control in the wake of that lack of forethought.
    *
    This to me is worrisome: the pope has a press office but that’s not the avenue he chose to clarify what he said [even when clarifications were being sought]. And he clarifies only when journalist Cymerman & Rabbi Skorka approach him. [According to the article].
    *
    Let each make of it what they will.

  • PS Cf. this answer of mine to How is what Pope Francis said about provocation in line with “turn the other cheek”? | ChristianityStackExchange.
    *
    This was a case where a pope’s comment triggered a question. Once I became aware of a clarification, I shared it. With the clarification, the question became moot. As with the article here, the sources I used were all from what was reported.

  • http://www.israellycool.com/2015/05/31/live-in-peace-with-your-pope/
    Basically, exactly what this guy said.
    One reporters screwed up. Several times.
    Every other reporter did their job. The Pope even needlessly answered ‘yes, I said exactly what every other source said I did.’
    When bloggers were able to ‘clarify’ using multiple sources, the day after the false story, that he hadn’t said anything of the sort.
    ***
    The only ones who need to backtrack are the nasty gossip “news” organizations that managed to create a story out of their reporter screwing up a quote.

  • Long quote:
    I take strong issue with the use of the term “backtracked”. He did not backtrack: he never said Abbas was an Angel of Peace. He’s also directly disavowing the mendacious correction put out by the AP that enabled them to keep their lying headline and not issue a proper correction. They need to have their feet held to the fire for their nonsense translation of “you are a bit an angel of peace”.
    It was a pure invention of the news wires which was then spread by nearly all outlets. To this moment most have not gone back and noted that their original reports were based on a complete fallacy. … It is all the media who reported this lie that should be backtracking, not the Pope.

We Are Being Sold Out

Tuesday, March 3, AD 2015

“You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor and you will have war.”

Winston Churchill

 

 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tells Congress today that President Obama is selling us out in regard to the proposed treaty with Iran which will inevitably lead to a nuclear armed Iran.

Robert Zubrin at National Review Online gives us the details:

 

Iranian centrifuges now have a capacity of 5 SWU per year each. The regime is working on upgrading this to 24 SWU each, a figure that would match American centrifuge performance. Even if we assume that they will remain unable to reach that goal, the 6,500 centrifuges permitted by the treaty will still give Iran a capacity of 32,500 SWU per year. Examining the table above, we see that while producing 17 bombs from 0.7-percent-enriched natural uranium would require a total of about 75,000 SWU, if the first step of enrichment to 4 percent has already been accomplished, then only 17,000 SWU would be required. Thus, after allowing creation of a large stockpile of 4 percent U235, the 32,500-SWU-per-year enrichment capability that the Obama treaty will grant Iran would allow it to transform that stockpile into first-class nuclear bombs at a rate of 32 per year. We should note that the current cost of natural uranium is about $100 per kilogram, while the cost of one SWU is about $140. Therefore, if all Iran wanted was 4-percent-enriched reactor fuel, it could buy the 100,000 kilograms of natural uranium for $10 million, and have France or Russia enrich it for them at a cost of another $8 million, for a total price that is insignificant compared with the cost that current international sanctions are imposing on the country. It should therefore be clear that there is only one reason Iran needs the enrichment capability it is insisting on: so it can quickly turn reactor-grade material into a powerful nuclear arsenal.
In morally saner times, Obama would be currently facing impeachment and trial, with his own party leading the charge.
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38 Responses to We Are Being Sold Out

  • Americans may not care for the Iranian regime, but unlike other nations in the region, Israel included, they are a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, under which they have internationally recognized rights regarding the development and use of nuclear power. Why would any nation sign such a treaty in the future, if its rights under it are not recognized? As a signatory to the treaty they cannot develop a nuclear weapon. So far, there is no credible intelligence that they are building a weapon. The treaty allows them to enrich uranium, even to fairly high levels.

    The US can deter Iran from any threat they may pose to our own national security. Israel will see to their own defense; we should do likewise with respect to our own. Our interests are not identical though on occasion they do overlap.

  • “As a signatory to the treaty they cannot develop a nuclear weapon.”

    Rubbish on stilts. Anyone who thinks that will deter the Iranian regime from gaining nuclear weapons has a charming faith in paper which is completely unwarranted by the history of the Iranian regime and the ambitions of the despots who rule it. Not to mention the fact that they have already violated that treaty:

    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/world/story/2011-11-08/Iran-nuclear-weapons-treaty/51125744/1

  • Chris C passes forth the same kind of propaganda that I see on a certain liberal progressive web site that happens (ironically enough) to be pro-nuclear power. The Koran permits – even exhorts – its Muslim adherents to lie to non-Muslims, so why should we believe anything that a radical Shiite Muslim regime says, especially a regime which kidnapped and held hostage hundreds of our own citizens back under liberal progressive Jimmy Carter.
    .
    I would also like to know why nothing is being said about Iran’s IR-40 heavy water reactor design to convert fertile U-238 into fissile Pu-239. Do we place the same belief in Iran’s claims that it won’t breed weapons grade Pu-239 as we place in Iran’s claims that it won’t enrich weapons grade U-235? Really? Exactly how gullible does this godless man of sin and iniquity in the White House assume we are?
    .
    All I have to say is this: Benjamin Netenyahu is a real man and a real leader, and Barack Hussein Obama is a despicable, contemptible traitor, but no one will do anything about it because he is the first black president. How racist is that! Oh for a Colonel Allen West in charge!
    .
    God save America because we cannot.

  • Is there anything we can do to stop this? I know of nothing if Osama (misspelled on purpose) chooses to complete the negotiations on his own. He has said repeatedly that he will act without congressional approval–and has done so many times. The only real solution I see to this matter is for Israel to take on Iran militarily.

  • No coincidence, of course, that Bibi received a bust of Churchill as a gift from the members of Congress who listened to his speech.

    I suspect Netanyahu’s address could be one of the most historically significant speeches by a head of state since Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech. The circumstances are roughly similar: Churchill warned of rising Soviet power, Bibi of rising radical Muslim power.

  • Paul, does the “certain liberal progressive website” have anything by Pat Buchanan on it? If not you’ll have to look elsewhere for the sources of my “propaganda”. Yes the Koran says what you said it does. So why is the US neck deep in a relationship; business, political, military with the Saudis? They read the Koran there don’t they? Maybe it’s time we stopped being played for suckers by other nations who would be happy to drag us into war for their own benefit, and certainly not ours. I supported the Iraq War in 2003. It hasn’t worked out well and we went in with bad intelligence. I don’t want to see a repeat.

    And Don, Iran should be watched carefully and not trusted, but the best means to do so short of war, is a regime of regular inspections and consultation, imperfect though it might be. For that the NPT is the only game in town. Unless you want to go to war now? In which case I don’t expect Russia to sit it out. What in the name of US National Security and Just War principles would justify such an engagement at this point in time?

    And on a side note, the day when the US, and the West for that matter, had any moral credibility to “police the world” is long gone, assuming it there ever was one. A nation advocating as a matter of liberty and justice, for abortion, contraception, and “gay marriage”, and pressuring other nations to go along or else, has no moral standing to set the world right.

  • “Paul, does the “certain liberal progressive website” have anything by Pat Buchanan on it?”

    When it comes to the Israel and Iran, Buchanan is always on the side of Iran.

    , “imperfect though it might be.”

    You can translate imperfect to useless when it comes to the Iranian nuke program.

    “had any moral credibility to “police the world” ”

    Similar arguments were made by those who believed that isolationism was the perfect response to the Third Reich. Actually Buchanan, your go to guy on Iran, still makes that argument:

    http://www.amazon.com/Churchill-Hitler-The-Unnecessary-War/dp/0307405168

    Without a world policeman the wolves of world feed on the defenseless, which is precisely what the Iranian regime intends, and our worthless administration is saying, “Bon apetite!”

  • I don’t think Buchanan would deny being anti-Israel.
    What is it that Iran says about destroying Israel and the US that Chris doesn’t understand?
    Terrorist with a nuclear device supplied by Iran will visit Tel Aviv, New York, Washington, Paris, London…….all on the same day. Let’s noyt get stuck on stupid people.

  • Yes the Koran says what you said it does. So why is the US neck deep in a relationship; business, political, military with the Saudis?

    Because the House of Saud is a status-quo regional power which has not undertaken a mobilization against any other power since 1924, who have no ambitions to cadge territory or erect client states, and whose foreign policy is governed by bland material self-interest (bar a pronounced antagonism to Communism). It’s just business with them in their dealings with just about everyone. C’mon Chris C., this isn’t that difficult.

  • I can’t speak for Mr. Buchanan, but I would guess he’s about as “anti-Israel” as the Vatican, which has on occasion criticized Israeli policies, in particular its treatment of those under continued military occupation. What Iran says is not what ultimately must determine what the US, acting primarily in its own interests and not that of foreign nations who can well defend themselves, should actually do. The US faced down far graver threats from the USSR and the Warsaw Pact, without going to war. Yet we’re beating the war drums now? And Shawn if you’re mortified by what Iran says, and presumably think that warrants war preparations, what do you propose we do about North Korea whose bellicosity makes the Iranians look tame by comparison? The US has ample means of deterrence, and as long as it is mindful first and foremost of its own national interest and national security, it has little to fear unless it panics its way into a war it cannot win. Or do you think a bombing campaign with or without ground troops would have the slightest chance of bringing a lasting peace to the region? Have we learned nothing from our last righteous endeavor? War has taken a horrific toll on the Christians of the Middle-East. Should we add to their already grave burdens? Their plight is never taken into account. It should be front and center, not an afterthought.

  • Maybe it’s time we stopped being played for suckers by other nations who would be happy to drag us into war for their own benefit, and certainly not ours.

    Why not take Philip Giraldi’s poisonous claptrap somewhere else?

  • The US faced down far graver threats from the USSR and the Warsaw Pact, without going to war. Yet we’re beating the war drums now?
    ==
    Because the Soviet regime was governed by a different sort of calculus and could be readily deterred.

    Nuclear weapons draw heat, which is why the vast majority of foreign countries are uninterested in acquiring them. The possession of them does nothing toward the achievement of their political goals. Pakistan was motivated to build a nuclear weapon because they’ve had a series of cage matches with India (also a nuclear power) which ended badly for them. What’s Iran’s object (not shared by any other Near Eastern state)?

  • Or do you think a bombing campaign with or without ground troops would have the slightest chance of bringing a lasting peace to the region?

    The object is to destroy production facilities. Quit playing games.

  • The US faced down far graver threats from the USSR and the Warsaw Pact, without going to war.

    In that instance, it helped our cause that the secular humanists ideologues we confronted had a purely this-worldly, material understanding of the immanenton which they sought to eschatize.

    Unlike the Mullahs, whom view Mutually Assured Destruction as a win-win.

  • “Unlike the Mullah’s whom view Mutually Assured Destruction as a win-win.” -Ernst Schreiber

    A real and frightening truth Mr. Schreiber.

    Wasn’t long ago, 2008 I believe, that the old leader was welcoming all chaos as to open the way of the Mahdi.

  • Saudi Arabia is a very reliable ally against Iran.
    Iran, whose own oil reserves are dwindling, would dearly like to get her hands on the oil-rich Shiite areas of Saudi Arabia, along with those of the Caspian. Don’t forget, a quarter of Iranians are ethnic Azeris.
    What makes Iran particularly dangerous is her rapidly declining birth rate. The government knows that, if it is ever to have a chance of creating a new Persian empire, it must act now, whilst it still has enough men of military age to do so.

  • No doubt Israel has reasons to be very concerned. The whole middle-East is in a ferment at a time of global uncertainties.
    What then is the solution?
    http://www.popeleo13.com/pope/2015/03/02/category-archive-message-board-270-the-time-for-the-jewish-nation-1/

  • After years of Obama regime unilateral, strategic disarmament Israel is better prepared to defend itself than is the United States.

    You know Net hit them where it hurts. The MSM liars (always presenting lies as news) and late-night hyenas (turning lies into farce) were out of control.

  • Saudi Arabia is a very reliable ally against Iran in the exact same sense that Soviet Russia was a very reliable ally against Nazi Germany.

  • “Salvation is from the Jews”. Bibi said, we are “Mishpocha”, and if we neglect our first “family” we do so at our peril.

  • I always get a chuckle out of T Shaw’s descriptions: “late night hyenas.” How aptly does that describe the talking heads on late night TV. I would of course include in their company jackals, baboons, warthogs, and broods of vipers (a phrase John the Baptist and Jesus both used), all different varieties of the same loathsome creature which we know as the liberal progressive Democrat journalist.

  • Saudi Arabia is a very reliable ally against Iran in the exact same sense that Soviet Russia was a very reliable ally against Nazi Germany.

    Rubbish. The House of Saud routed its Hashemite rivals in 1924 and assumed control of the Hijaz as well as Nejd. It’s boundaries have been fixed since. then. The only neighboring state it has injured in the last 90 years has been the ghastly Ba’athist menace in Iraq, and in that circumstance, they were a crucial but secondary participant. The disagreeable features of the regime are organic l products of the local society and culture. The regime’s imperialist and revanchist disposition is nil. They’re nothing like Soviet Russia. They do have no permanent friends, just permanent interests.

  • Shiites, Wahabbists, whatever strand of Sunni Islam ISIS practices, it’s like watching the redshirts, blackshirts and brownshirts street brawl over whose strand of socialism is authentic as far as I’m concerned.

    And the Saudis use mosques much the same way that the Soviets used the Comintern.

  • No state has done more to spread Islamic radicalism worldwide than Saudi Arabia. They haven’t invaded their neighbors but so what? The Iranians haven’t either. The Saudis, by aiding in the establishment of radical Mosques have done more to threaten the US than Iran by far.
    And Art, you failed to address my first comment about the Saudis and the Koran, though you responded as if you did. Paul had pointed out that the Iranians can’t be trusted since the Koran permits them to mislead the infidel.(that’s us). The Saudis can play us for fools as well, and justify it by the same passages in the Koran, such as when they pretend to be an ally while supporting radical Islam. And I agree Art, the object of bombing is to destroy production facilities. So what? It’s an act of war. Feel free to walk us through how that will further the only legitimate and proper object of war; that of securing a lasting and just peace, and enhancing US security in the process.

  • [T]he object of bombing is to destroy production facilities. So what? It’s an act of war. Feel free to walk us through how that will further the only legitimate and proper object of war; that of securing a lasting and just peace, and enhancing US security in the process.

    Curtis LeMay might have some worthwhile opinions on how to best go about it. But yeah, I’m sure you’re right. Blowing up production facilities, while necessary, won’t be sufficient.

  • The Saudis, by aiding in the establishment of radical Mosques have done more to threaten the US than Iran by far

    Rubbish. The only threat generator there would be through the conduit of youths who leave the occident to join paramilitaries abroad, and only that portion thereof which could be attributed to Saudi promotion of the Wahhabi school of interpretation. The Saudi government is not financing foreign paramilitaries beyond the forces arrayed against Soviet Russia and the protection money they paid the PLO.
    ==
    And Art, you failed to address my first comment about the Saudis and the Koran, though you responded as if you did. Paul had pointed out that the Iranians can’t be trusted since the Koran permits them to mislead the infidel
    ==
    I’m not responsible for what Mr. Primavera says. Take your complaints to him. I’m observing the behavior and history of the two governments in question. One’s a self-interested minor irritant with which we’ve done business for nearly nine decades, one’s a lunatic asylum.

  • So what? It’s an act of war. Feel free to walk us through how that will further the only legitimate and proper object of war; that of securing a lasting and just peace, and enhancing US security in the process.

    There is no such thing as ‘a lasting and just peace’. There is merely the equilibrium of the times. Some equilibria are more stable than others. Some more just than others. The point of destroying the production facilities is to take away their capacity to harm others in five and six figure job lots. Quit playing dumb.

  • I have no complaint to make to Paul, and I already addressed the matter with him, but you chose to quote my comment to him but ignored the context, which was if Iran can’t be trusted because the Koran allows them to lie why do we cozy up to the Saudis whose Koran allows them the same privilege? And Art,do you think Augustine et al who developed the Just War theory were playing dumb as well? Maybe they know a bit more than you and I do about how to bring a Christian perspective to issues of war and peace. Back to the Saudis you have heard that 18 of 19 of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi( not Iranian) didn’t you? And are you really unconcerned about Saudi influence in the propagation of radical Islam, including here in the US? This might help you get a handle on it a bit better.http://dttj.blogspot.com/2010/08/saudi-arabias-funding-of-american.html

  • chris c wrote, “Maybe they know a bit more than you and I do about how to bring a Christian perspective to issues of war and peace…”
    I would put more faith in Cardinal Richelieu and Père Joseph. They had both practical experience and pressing responsibility to mould their views.

  • Question, chirs: Were the 9/11 guys working for the Saudi government as part of a larger Saudi foreign policy scheme, do you know?

  • And are you really unconcerned about Saudi influence in the propagation of radical Islam, including here in the US? This might help you get a handle on it a bit better

    Chris, you propagate something, someone has to be listening and receptive. We’ve had since the 2d World War several bureau of the United States government whose work it was to promote an American viewpoint abroad. They operate radio services, run libraries, run exchange programs, have a speakers’ bureau etc. Currently, I think its all subsumed under the Broadcasting Board of Governors and the public diplomacy apparat of the State department. How’s that been working out for us? During the late Cold War, it was astonishing the degree to which the idle public diplomacy of 3d world countries followed a variant of the Soviet line. You want to attribute that to the effect of Radio Moscow? The Soviets may have been the megahertz champion of the world, but their radio programming was comparatively crude and their listenership a small fraction of that of the BBC World Service. These sorts of things may have a good effect (or a bad effect), but they’re a weak vector in influencing the evolution of culture.

    I would refer you to Alastair Horne’s A Savage War of Peace on the Algerian insurrection (1954-62). The association of ulema in Algeria is mentioned once in passing. The Arab world was awash in revanchist political action in 1954, a great deal of it violent. Some of it was praetorianist, some fascist, some variant communist. All of it was evil. What’s happened since is that the revanchism has remained but the idiom has changed. The Wahhabi school of interpretation has had political hegemony in the Nejd since the early 19th century and the House of Saud has been a force of interest since the advent of the Arabian oil industry more than 70 years ago. Violent political Islam dates only from 1978, and the source was not the Wahhabi sect, but the Shi’ite clergy in Iran, who had seized control of the government. This should suggest to you that there’s a limit to the power of ideas per se to motivate action or to breach the compartments people maintain in cogitating about one part of life and another.
    ==
    Back to the Saudis you have heard that 18 of 19 of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi( not Iranian) didn’t you? –

    Fifteen of the hijackers were Saudis and four were Egyptian. They were also bachelors, had long histories of genteel unemployment, and derived from the educated bourgeois minority.

  • I cannot forecast to you the action of the Obama Administration. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. Is Valery Jarrett that key? Now I only know what I read “in the papers” and that isn’t much but to me she seems the dog that didn’t bark. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard the sound of her voice at all. And now we hear of the former Secretary of State using a private server for all of her official business. Did the President know of this? Taken together with the Prime Minister of Israel taking the desperate expedient of going around the President to directly address Congress, these curious affairs should arouse the attention of all citizens. Be gentle as doves but wise as serpents.

  • Art, you are certainly correct; the number was 15 NOT 18. Thanks for the info on the book. Regarding violent political Islam dating only from 1978, the Armenian genocide under the Ottomans might well qualify.

    As to WK, I think the involvement of the Saudi leadership in 9/11 is a matter of some dispute. I have read there are claims that they were involved to some degree, but I’m not sure where the truth lies on that point.

  • chris c wrote, “Regarding violent political Islam dating only from 1978, the Armenian genocide under the Ottomans might well qualify.”
    No, the Armenian genocide was the result of Turkish nationalism, not radical Islam (which the Young Turks detested)

  • Michael though generally the genocide dates from 1915 it was preceded by massacres in 1894-1895, on the order of 100-300,000, and in 1909 by Ottoman forces as part of a purge against the Young Turks. Many Armenians include these events as occurring as part of the genocide, In any event it was directly against Armenian Christians as Christians by a movement that was not indifferent to Islam, although they wanted to bring it into modern times. Turkish nationalism was a movement within Islam, not apart or outside of it, and it saw Christians as expendable. Maybe it’s not equatable with todays Jihadist movement, but I think it still qualifies broadly speaking as an Islamic political movement that had grave repercussion for those in the way because of their Armenian nationality and Christian faith.

  • chris c

    Turkish nationalism was a rejection of Islam, as traditionally understood.

    It rejected the ummah and the caliphate in favour of national independence. It rejected Arab influence (the adoption of the roman alphabet and Roman law, replacing sharia with the Swiss Civil Code, the German Commercial code and the Italian Penal Code, the ban on wearing the fez and the burkah)

    It was no more (and no less) an Islamic movement, than the French Revolution and the Civil Constitution of the Clergy was a Catholic movement.

  • “Turkey is taking advantage of the war in order to thoroughly liquidate its internal foes, i.e., the indigenous Christians, without being thereby disturbed by foreign intervention.” ―Mehmed Talat
    “The Turkish elements here referred to were shortsighted, fanatical, and yet sincere in their belief. The public encouraged them, and they had the general approval behind them. They were numerous and strong.” ―Mehmed Talat

    While it is true that the wartime events occurred under the aegis of the Young Turks whose motivations were primarily nationalistic, it cannot be said that radical Islamic sentiments were not essential to the implementation of the genocide.

    Under the “Bloody Sultan” Abdul Hamid II, Christians were cut down to the cry of “Allahu Akbar”. At mid-day, the butchers knelt down and said their prayers and jumped up to resume their bloody work.
    There had been previous murderous assaults against the Armenian people, who had lived two thousand years in their ancient homeland before the Seljuk Turks conquered it. Sultan Abdul Hamid II was responsible for the massacre of about 200,000 Armenians between 1894 and 1896. Behind the opaque veil of mere statistics there transpired vicious scene after vicious scene of unspeakable horror: “soldiers” falling upon them to “outrage” many to death and slaughtering others with sword and bayonet; children set in line to see how many could be killed with a single shot.
    Throughout these years, sadistic brutality raged against the Christian Armenian population of Turkey. Rarely, a fleeting opportunity of survival was offered when the troopers would crash into an occupied church and demand the congregation to deny Christ, and embrace Mohammed. When no one answered, the troops fell upon them, and the butchery commenced until martyr’s blood flowed from beneath the doors of the church.
    In 1909, another paroxysm of persecution occurred in Adana. Over four-thousand dwellings were torched, and thirty-thousand Armenians slain. These nightmares were but practice for the carefully planned genocide the Turkish government carried out behind the obscuring fog of the “Great War”.
    The government decided that the existence of a Christian minority impeded and threatened the destiny and integrity of an expanding Turkish Empire. On November 14, 1914, to marshal the Musselmen for the task ahead, the sheikh-al-Islam, leader of all the Sunnis, proclaimed a jihad against “infidels and enemies of the faith”.
    The annihilation of one and a half million Armenians commenced on April 24, 1914. On that day, throughout the Armenian villages of Turkey, there appeared a town crier, accompanied by a boy beating a drum, announcing that in so many days they must be prepared to relocate, as part of the war effort, and to assemble at the town square.
    Once assembled, the men were marched out of town, and shot. The defenseless women and children were marched out to a worse fate. As they stretched out upon the roads away from their ancient homes, there lay in wait newly uniformed legions of released-for-the-purpose criminals eager to fall upon them with license to kill.
    One sympathetic witness, Armin T. Wegner, described the doomed deportees arrayed along the road as “like a weeping hedge that begs and screams, and from which rise a thousand pleading hands; we go by, our hearts full of shame.” Most were tortured to death. The thousands drowned by the boatload in the Black Sea suffered less.
    My comments are largely drawn from Peter Balakian’s “Burning Tigris” which has been criticized, although not credibly in my view, for being overly lurid.
    The leaders French Revolution do not appear to have used Catholicism as a motivator of say the Sans Culottes or other elements to obtain their goals. The Church was indeed actively persecuted and Catholics massacred in the Vendee and generally throughout France. Christianity is not easily bent to achieve evil ends. Her concept is of God being Love, not merely power and will. Accordingly, I find Obama’s attempt to compare Jihad and Crusade lame, uninformed or worse.

  • PS: “Who today, after all, speaks of the annihilation of the Armenians?” – Adolph Hitler, eight days before Nazi Germany invaded Poland.

Beecher Bibles

Tuesday, March 3, AD 2015

 

Andrew Klavan does a first rate job demonstrating how much reliance persecuted Christians around the globe can place on the Obama administration.  The answer is quite a bit if the reliance consists of the conclusion that Obama and his gang of merry incompetents would sooner eat ground glass than help them.  However, some Christians in the Middle East are beginning to realize the truth of the admonition of Benjamin Franklin:  God helps them who help themselves.

 

Kino Gabriel, one of the leaders of the Syriac Military Council, an Assyrian Christian militia, said the fight was existential. “[We are] like a tree that you uproot from its land,” he said. “We are a people with a historic lineage. We have been contributing to human civilisation for five or six thousand years, and we can still give.”

The fighters, along with modest Kurdish reinforcements, are trying to defend Tal Tamr, a town that straddles a tributary of the Euphrates river. The Assyrians in the area had taken refuge there three generations ago, fleeing the Simele massacre of their people by the Iraqi kingdom.

The Isis attack on the villages appeared tailored to draw forces away from Tal Hamis, where it is battling a Kurdish push aimed at forcing the group further to the east. The fate of the hostages remains unclear, with some members of the community believing Isis intends to trade them for its own captured fighters, or use them as human shields. Others though, mindful of public executions of Egyptian Copts by Isis militants in Libya, fear a similar grisly spectacle.

“We will defend ourselves,” said Gabriel. “We will not allow another Seyfo to happen to us [in reference to a pogrom perpetrated by the Ottoman’s early last century]. We will sacrifice everything.”

“We want help and support from all the democratic forces in the world that are fighting the extremism in the Middle East, to stop these enemies of humanity,” he said. “Their targeting of our people, the Syriacs, has been ongoing. What they did in Iraq … and [elsewhere in] Syria shows that this is what they want.

“After a couple of generations, the culture will disappear. Nobody will remember us.”

The Assyrians say they deserve support like the Kurds in Kobani, the peshmerga in Iraq and the Yazidis on Mount Sinjar. “We stood with Kobani and supported the resistance there and we are now facing the same thing,” said Gabriel.

 

I hope they will receive support, if not from the feckless governments of the West, then from private Christians.  I recall the “Beecher Bibles” shipped to free soil settlers in Kansas during the 1850’s.

“He (Henry W. Beecher) believed that the Sharps Rifle was a truly moral agency, and that there was more moral power in one of those instruments, so far as the slaveholders of Kansas were concerned, than in a hundred Bibles. You might just as well. . . read the Bible to Buffaloes as to those fellows who follow Atchison and Stringfellow; but they have a supreme respect for the logic that is embodied in Sharp’s rifle.”

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11 Responses to Beecher Bibles

  • Brett and other militiamen (veterans) are the very people the liberal media portray as villain’s and radical’s.
    This lame duck imposter of a Christian and imposter of an American President should be tar and feathered.

    Prayers are needed along with support only Marine’s and Navy Seals can provide. Don’t hold your breath until the duck is cooked.

  • JV team my ass…..just look at the next hundreds of Christians to be slaughtered and tell their families how JV Isis is.
    Oby bomb lama is the JV team.

  • 1st Maccabees chapter 2:
    .
    40 And each said to his neighbor: “If we all do as our brethren have done and refuse to fight with the Gentiles for our lives and for our ordinances, they will quickly destroy us from the earth.” 41 So they made this decision that day: “Let us fight against every man who comes to attack us on the sabbath day; let us not all die as our brethren died in their hiding places.”

  • The best ally the Middle East Christians could have would be an American Catholic President with a keen knowledge of history. I don’t think it will happen.

  • “The best ally the Middle East Christians could have would be an American Catholic President with a keen knowledge of history. I don’t think it will happen.”

    I don’t see that in the foreseeable future either, but an Evangelical Protestant or observant Jewish president with a keen knowledge of history would be the next best thing. I know some Evangelicals in the past have tended to focus almost entirely on Israel and overlook Arab Christians, but recent events have probably cured them of that tendency.

  • well I think we should sign up for “Go Fund Me” and get an honest board together and get these people all the help they need. money, weapons, food whatever! bleepity bleep bleep bleep to this government. Could it even be done? There has to be a way to help our fellow humans without all the encumbrance.

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  • How does one join in the fight against ISIS? I have been pondering this for awhile and am at the point where I can’t hear anymore how our Christian brothers and sisters are being treated. I am ready to leave everything behind and go help.

  • You might check out the link below Daniel for some info. If you have prior military experience I think they can use you.

    http://www.rferl.org/content/islamic-state-ypg-foreign-fighters/26690432.html

  • From Charles Martel at Tours to Andrea Doria and Don Juan at Lepanto to Allenby at Jerusalem (with apologies to T E Lawrence who played a minor role), the west seems not to have learned the necessity of decisive victory, not just the most points on the board. Now,the scourge of God has risen once again to remind the world that serious threats can not be addressed just half way. This is not a new concept. Sun Tzu had some things to say on the subject also 2500 years ago.

  • Where do I send a check?

PopeWatch: Father Benoka

Tuesday, September 2, AD 2014

VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCEThe Cavalry that Christians throughout the Middle East, and particularly in Syria and Iraq have been undergoing continues unabated:

Pope Francis telephoned a priest serving refugees at a camp in northern Iraq last month after receiving a heartfelt letter from him about the suffering of Christians there.

Fr Behnam Benoka, who received the call, told the Zenit news agency that the Pope expressed his closeness to persecuted Christians and his gratitude at the work of volunteers. He also promised to do his utmost to relieve their suffering, the priest said.

Fr Benoka had sent a message via Viber to Rome-based journalist Alan Holdren, who handed it to the Pope on his return from South Korea.

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2 Responses to PopeWatch: Father Benoka

  • Revelation chapter 6:
    .
    9 When he broke open the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar[i] the souls of those who had been slaughtered because of the witness they bore to the word of God. 10 They cried out in a loud voice, “How long will it be, holy and true master,[j] before you sit in judgment and avenge our blood on the inhabitants of the earth?” 11 Each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to be patient a little while longer until the number was filled of their fellow servants and brothers who were going to be killed as they had been.

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Iraq: Wheels Within Wheels

Thursday, June 12, AD 2014

 

 

The internet has exploded with stories of the ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) taking Mosul in Iraq.  Most of the stories do not do justice to understanding the forces currently at work in Iraq.  One of my favorite websites Strategy Page is very helpful for those wishing to comprehend who the players in Iraq are currently, and their strengths and weaknesses:

June 11, 2014: In the north ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) have driven the security forces out of most of Mosul, the third largest city in Iraq. This is going to get interesting because the Kurds believe Mosul is theirs and have the military force capable of taking and holding it. What has stopped them thus far has been the Iraqi attitude that such a move would be an act of war. Mosul and Kirkuk have oil and until the 1980s were mainly Kurdish. Then Saddam began forcing Kurds further north and giving their homes, land and jobs to poor Sunni Arab families from the south. After 2003 the Kurds came back to reclaim the property Saddam had taken from them. The Sunni Arabs resisted, and continue to resist. The claims of all the Kurdish refugees have never been completely settled and the Kurdish government of the autonomous (since the 1990s when British and American warplanes and commandos aided Kurdish rebels in expelling Saddam’s troops and keeping them out) north threaten to take back Mosul and Kirkuk (and the surrounding oil fields) by force. This would trigger a civil war with the Arabs which would probably end in a bloody stalemate. The Kurds support the Kurdish militias in Mosul who keep Sunni Arab terrorist groups like ISIL at bay and since the Americans left in 2011 the two cities remained the scene of constant ethnic (the Kurds are not Arabs) warfare.  

Through all this the well-armed and organized Kurdish army in the north stayed on their side of the provincial border while the Sunni Arab Islamic terrorists fought the Shia dominated army and police force. In the last year Shia soldiers and police were joined by Shia terrorists and vigilantes carrying out “payback” attacks on Sunni mosques and civilians. This motivated the ISIL to put more armed men into the city and strive for a takeover. The radicals in the Sunni Arab community welcome more violence because they believed that if enough Sunni Arabs were killed by the Shia the Sunni governments in neighboring countries (especially Saudi Arabia and, once the Sunni rebels win, Syria) would intervene and restore the Iraqi Sunni Arabs to power. Most Iraqi Sunni Arabs understand that this would never work, but speaking up against the radicals (including ISIL, which has always been a Sunni supremacist outfit) can get you killed. Despite that threat many Iraqi Sunni Arabs do fight the radicals, but that’s a war they seem to be losing as the Shia are coming to believe that all Sunni Arabs are their enemy and all should be treated roughly. One thing most Sunni Arabs can agree on is the need to be united in dealing with the Shia dominated government. The growing violence led to calls for an autonomous Sunni Arab government in Anbar (the province that comprises most of western Iraq) and that is what ISIL is fighting for now. Mosul is the capital of Nineveh province which is adjacent and to the north of Anbar and has a 500 kilometer border with Syria. Taking control of Mosul gives ISIL another victory and even if it does not last it helps with recruiting and fund raising. ISIL is competing with al Qaeda for recognition as the most effective Islamic terrorist group in the world. Whoever holds that position gets most of the cash donations from the many wealthy Gulf Arabs who support Islamic terrorism and that means ISIL would also get most of the young Sunni men from the Gulf States looking to jihad a bit. ISIL has also made Iraq and Syria the main battleground for the continuation of the ancient battle between Shia and Sunni militants. Saudi Arabia leads the Sunni bloc and Iran the Shia. Overall, the Shia are winning in Syria and that is partly because ISIL has concentrated most of its manpower in eastern Syria and western Iraq in an effort to establish a Sunni Islamic State.

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11 Responses to Iraq: Wheels Within Wheels

  • There is one word which sums up all that is occurring domestically and internationally: “catastrophe.”

  • “What may well be going on now is the long predicted three part division of Iraq: Kurdistan in the North, a Sunni dominated state in Mosul and a Shia state dominated by Iran in the South.” Except that Turkey will never tolerate an independent Kurdish state on its Eastern border and there are enough Kurds in the North-West of that country to give the Iranians concerns about it, too.

    Given that the Turkish officer corps is the most nationalist and the most secular element in Turkey, the Turkish armed forces would be more than willing to eliminate ISIL, given the opportunity.

  • If the United States pulls out completely from Iraq, then will not Iran be tempted to sweep in to fill the void?
    .
    The following analogy isn’t perfect, but history has a nasty way of repeating itself because the state of man does not change – from Daniel chapter 5:
    .
    24 “Then from his presence the hand was sent, and this writing was inscribed. 25 And this is the writing that was inscribed: mene, mene, tekel, and parsin. 26 This is the interpretation of the matter: mene, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; 27 tekel, you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; 28 peres, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”
    .
    30 That very night Belshaz′zar the Chalde′an king was slain. 31 And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.
    .
    Again, the analogy isn’t perfect, but Obama with his hashtag diplomacy merits the words MENE MENE TEKEL PARSIN. Soon – very soon – the Iranians will have enough Uranium-235 enriched to weapons grade or perhaps even Plutonium-239 from its heavy water Arak nuclear reactor (in spite of Iranian assurances to the contrary). May God have mercy on both Iraq and the United States of America.
    .
    PS, just one well-navigated gun boat having a small fissionable weapon come near a US carrier task force will be sufficient for Obama to utter the words of Augustus Caesar when the 17th, 18th and 19th legions were lost to Arminius:
    .
    Quintili Vare, legiones redde!
    .
    But I digress – again.

  • I’ve never understood this three part idea? If someone from outside or inside were to effect a division why wouldn’t it just be separating the Kurds from the Arabs? Also the Sunni and the Shia seem to be distributed throughout both of theirs geographical “parts”…a mix. The Sunni and the Shia work together when they want to or in response to outsiders. Ultimately they have to work it out between themselves don’t they? I don’t see any imposed solutions working.
    .
    Is the West (or is Israel) any safer when Islamic states are preoccupied internally, or with each other?

  • No. In the first place because they can’t keep their domestic squabbles from spilling out into the yard for the neighbors to see. In the second because they only stop fighting with each other long enough to feud with those neighbors. Soon, the entire block is involved in some manner, which disturbs the peace of the rest of the neighborhood.

  • These squabbles have a way of resolving themselves one way or another. The area of Turkey now referred to by the Kurds as “Northern Kurdistan” used to be known as “Western Armenia,” the Armenian inhabitants having been displaced by the Ottomans in 1894-6 and 1915.

    It is a great mistake to talk of these things in terms of “questions” or “problems,” for a question implies an answer and a problem a solution; conflicts have neither, merely outcomes.

  • “,” the Armenian inhabitants having been displaced by the Ottomans in 1894-6 and 1915.”

    For “displaced” read massacred. The Middle East is a poor place to be born into.

  • Yes Donald. I just became aware of the Armenian holocaust within the last couple of years. We have to take it upon ourselves to study history since some things are only very rarely mentioned in history classes or books.
    Michael P-S I don’t understand how we Christians can live with the idea that we can not work to solve or answer problems, that we don’t in fact influence the outcomes for good or for ill.
    We have responsibility because we love, and we believe in Good to help shape events. Otherwise it sounds pretty fatalistic. Fatalistic.

  • Anzlyne wrote, “I don’t understand how we Christians can live with the idea that we can not work to solve or answer problems”
    I agree there are real problems, to which solutions can be found, in health, in agriculture and in many other fields where the human lot can be ameliorated. Politics is not one of them.
    The Catholic political philosopher Carl Schmitt argues that every realm of human endeavour is structured by an irreducible duality. Morality is concerned with good and evil, aesthetics with the beautiful and the ugly, and economics with the profitable and the unprofitable. In politics, the core distinction is between friend and enemy. That is what makes politics different from everything else.

    The political comes into being when groups are placed in a relation of enmity, where each comes to perceive the other as an irreconcilable adversary to be fought and, if possible, defeated. “Every religious, moral, economic, ethical, or other antithesis transforms itself into a political one if it is sufficiently strong to group human beings effectively, according to friends and enemy.”

    Of course, he denies the possibility of neutral rules that can mediate between conflicting positions (the Liberal fallacy); for Schmitt there is no such neutrality, since any rule – even an ostensibly fair one – merely represents the victory of one political faction over another and the stabilised result of past conflicts. Internal order is usually successfully imposed only to pursue external conflict

    “The peaceful, legalistic, liberal bourgeoisie is sitting on a volcano and ignoring the fact. Their world depends on a relative stabilization of conflict within the state, and on the state’s ability to keep at bay other potentially hostile states.”

    And, no, I don’t like it, but that’s the way it is.

  • I hope the Kurds take Mosul. The Christians will be safe under them. They practice a secular form of Islam and are the most gentle and kind to Christians, however remain with their heads still attached to their bodies.

Rank Amateurs

Tuesday, September 10, AD 2013

I didn’t think the Syrian fiasco could get much worse.  Now it has.  Fearing the near certainty that Congress would not authorize an attack on Syria, Obama has supported a Russian proposal to have Assad turn over his chemical weapons to an international agency, presumably all of this to be supervised by Russia.  Actually the proposal first came out of the mouth of the Metternich of this administration:  John “Reporting for Duty!” Kerry, sans any Russian involvement, in an off hand response to a question. What is wrong with this:

1.  Assad will Cheat-Assad is fighting a life and death struggle to hang on to power.  The idea that he will not hang on to, and use, any chemical weapons he deems necessary to prevail is rubbish, and is a tribute to policy-as-make-believe that infests this administration and its supporters.

2.  Putin-Yeah, we can always rely upon this ex-KGB thug to act in the best interests of America.

3.   War Goes On-The Syrian opposition will not stop fighting until they are all dead or Assad is a corpse or fled.  Chemical weapon use is a symptom of a desperate civil war and that will go on.

4.  Russian influence in the Middle East-Obama has opened the door to renewed Russian influence in the Middle East, helping to ensure that future conflicts in the Middle East will have the possibility of a US-Russian clash.

5.  Paper Tiger-Mao in 1956 on the US:  “In appearance it is very powerful but in reality it is nothing to be afraid of; it is a paper tiger. Outwardly a tiger, it is made of paper, unable to withstand the wind and the rain. I believe that is nothing but a paper tiger.” 

In a very dangerous part of the world Obama is making sure that our enemies treat with complete contempt US threats and warnings, at least so long as he is President.

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19 Responses to Rank Amateurs

  • Obama to his credit never really wanted to fundamentally transform the Middle East; he reserves that for the US. If the proposed attack on Syria is really to send a message to Iran, why don’t Krauthammer and the AIPAC advocate attacking Iran and see how that flies. The very clever McNamara lost the war in Vietnam by sending bombing messages that North Vietnam refused to read. I must say I enjoy immensely the sight of the Russians employing jiu-jitsu against the war-mongers. Marvin Heir even brought in the ever serviceable Holocaust story. At the end of this ideally all WMD including those possessed by Israel and Iran should be on the table.

  • Rubbish from start to finish Ivan. Obama’s weakness as a leader invites a major war in the Middle East and Putin is only too happy to take advantage of his fecklessness in order to prop up the Russian client state of Syria which supplies the Russians with their naval base in the Mediterranean. The idea of Iran being convinced diplomatically to give up its quest for a nuclear weapon is absurd, along with your bizarre equation of Iran’s bomb lust with Israel’s defensive nuclear arsenal. Whenever people look to Russia as a solution to a crisis I know I have entered Cloud Kookooland.

  • 2. No, really! I place greater reliance on Putin than Joe, Barry and Kerry to act in America’s best interests.

    I’m with the majority (Onion polling) of Americans that believe that 535 Washington-based, Capitol idiots, and Barry and Joe need to get their boots bloody dusty in Syria.

    Ivan’s correct. The war (to save America from fundamental transformation) is to be fought in Washington not Afghanistan, Syria or the Mid-East.

  • Anyone who trusts Putin for a nano-second T. Shaw is a total fool. I oppose the Syrian intervention because I see no advantage for the US in it. That does not mean that I do not perceive Assad as an enemy of this country along with Putin. Obama and Kerry are idiots who are weakening this country, but those who think we have no stake in what occurs in the Middle East are also idiots.

  • How many Iranians do you personally know Donald? I’ve known a few, Muslim and peaceable. The Iranians have a new president, its no longer the Mahdi man in charge if he ever was. This is a nation of seventy millions that we are talking about, patriotic to their own country who have a natural right to defend their own when attacked. As to the big bad Iranian nuclear arsenal, the NIE way back in 2007 assessed that the Iranians are not pursuing one, so far that has proved accurate. In my rebound from the lies of the Likudniks, I’d take the NIE’s word over that of pundits both in Israel and America, who have popped up every few months or so from 2006 to the present assuring us that an Iranian bomb was around the corner. Israel finds itself is in a part of the world that is unstable and riven by tribalism and religious discord. It is has to do what is necessary to secure peace. My concern, for what it is worth, is that all American interference has achieved since 2003 is to destroy the fragile Christians communities who have their own modus vivendi with the Muslims. The spectacle of some pundits enjoying from their “Villa in the Jungle”, the sight of Arabs slaughtering each other leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

  • “How many Iranians do you personally know Donald?”

    That sounds precisely Ivan like those idiots in England who could not believe that Nazi Germany was a threat because they had met Germans who were so nice and polite. (I have known several Iranians, all over here because the Iranian government would persecute them if they could.)

    “This is a nation of seventy millions that we are talking about, patriotic to their own country who have a natural right to defend their own when attacked.”

    And whose leaders routinely talk about using nuclear weapons.

    ” As to the big bad Iranian nuclear arsenal, the NIE way back in 2007 assessed that the Iranians are not pursuing one,”

    Rubbish:

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/interactive/2011/nov/09/iran-nuclear-programme-iaea-report

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/09/us-iran-nuclear-iaea-idUSBRE9880B620130909

    http://www.almanar.com.lb/english/adetails.php?eid=109723&frid=19&seccatid=32&cid=19&fromval=1

  • Ivan, what is the basis for your first statement that Obama does not want to bring about change in the middle east?
    After his Cairo speech and his peace prize he stated his support for the creation of a Palestinian state. His and announced that his job is to make peace with muslims, and seems to cast doubt on our long time friendship with Israel.
    His approach to the factionalized muslims makes his approach and intentions very hard to read.
    His “after the election I will have more flexibility” statement also indicates that he does have some intentions for action of some kind.
    Ivan your tone is a bit smart alecky: if Krauthammer thinks this could have an impact ultimately on Iran why does he just advocate attacking Iran. Please.
    Saying that you enjoy the jujitsu of Putin on the world stage is like a gawker in the depth of the crowd at a tragic event, mocking and ridiculing and jeering without understaning the weight of what is going on.

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  • Donald, either the Iranians are too stupid to duplicate in a decade what the US achieved in four years in WWII, in which case there is little to worry about, or their programme has been sufficiently disrupted that it poses little threat. Iran is not Nazi Germany which could work on weapons of the future whatever the difficulties the Allies imposed. Apart from Israel, the Iranian Shiites have to deal with the ambitions of the Turks, Saudis and the Pakistanis all Sunnis. There is clearly little love lost between them. When I was a 110% supporter of Israel, I had welcomed the idea that these people should kill each other. The fact is peace in the Middle-East require sacrifices from all, and this includes poor, helpless, powerless, land-grabbing, nuclear-armed Israel.

    Analyze, I have followed Israeli news from the time I was a boy in the early seventies – the Yom Kippur War onwards, and I know that the Obama, his meaningless rhetoric aside, is the one president whom the Israelis have to fear the least. This is not to say that there was a conspiracy afoot. There was none. It is not Obama’s fault that brain-dead Christian Zionists, myself included, had tagged him as a crypto-Muslim. Obama has done nothing to undermine Israel in any way, in any forum, hell there isn’t even the usual make-believe shuttle diplomacy between the Israelis and the Palestinians which is obligatory for second-term presidents.

    If I were a Likudnik, I’d worry not about Obama, but how ineptly the AIPAC and such like have handled this, in the middle of a poor economy, battle fatigue and resurgent isolationism. For the apogee of Israel’s support in the US has passed, the numbers may hold for a while, but the general perception that the US is being inveigled into another war for Israel in the name of WMD, will definitely mark down any support for action against Iran should that prove necessary.

  • Mac,

    Trust? I’m highly uncertain whether Puting’s hatred of America is less than Barry’s.

  • “Donald, either the Iranians are too stupid to duplicate in a decade what the US achieved in four years in WWII, in which case there is little to worry about,”

    Apples and rock salt. What the Iranians have been doing makes absolutely no sense unless they wish to attain nuclear weapons.

    http://www.irantracker.org/nuclear-program/zarif-timelines-data-estimates-july-10-2013

    http://blog.rizwanladha.com/2012/05/iran-nuclear-weapons-not-energy.html

    Iran at any time could call a halt to this. That they have not indicates that nuclear weapon possession is the main goal of Iranian foreign policy.

  • I don’t speak for brain dead anybody, or political party. Neither did I indicate any thought of a conspiracy. I say that Obama is still largely. Mystery, an unknown . Unlike you I can not clAim to KNOW his thoughts and policy plans in the Middle East ,

  • “Anyone who trusts Putin for a nano-second T. Shaw is a total fool.”

    I trust Putin – to do anything that advances whatever Putin wants at anyone else’s expense.

    That said, I don’ t think we should go to war in Syria. Let Assad and the rebels fight it out. Both sides are using chemical weapons and both sides are evil. Sadly, it is the innocent who are suffering and dying.

    🙁

  • Apples and rock salt. What the Iranians have been doing makes absolutely no sense unless they wish to attain nuclear weapons.”

    Correct. Why does everyone talk about Iran’s gas centrifuges being used to enrich U-235 to weapons grade, but nothing about Iran’s heavy water reactor that is being used to breed Pu-239 from U-238 by the U-238 absorption of a neutron, becoming U-239, which beta decays to Np-239 which also beta decays to Pu-239. If Iran does it right, then it can extract the Pu-239 and make a bomb, or at least a very dirty (radiologically speaking) weapon. No centrifuges needed. Iran is using a two-pronged approach to a nuclear weapon, one a U-235 bomb and the other a Pu-239 bomb.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IR-40

  • Paul, you are indispensable for this blog when nuclear issues arise!

  • I am against intervening in Syria because there is no up side for the US in intervening. I rather hope that Putin as a result of this debacle caused by Obama decides to pour weapons and money into Syria in support of Assad, as I suspect that Assad, eventually, will be on the short end of this conflict no matter how much material Putin gives him.

  • I think Obama is just trying to uphold the honor of his Nobel Peace prize: if a leader doesn’t start a war or two—Libya, Syria—people won’t think he is really serious about peace.

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  • 7. Putin and Assad questionably give up the use of poison gas in exchange for avoiding a pin prick but substantial response, or something, from our ego wounded warrior Obama. Poison gas is not a strategic weapon like a nuke (such as is the goal of Iran) and is only a useful tactical weapon when delivered through artillery for bombardment on massing troops as was done in the Iran Iraq war, or as a terror weapon to be used on innocent civilians as was done by Iraq against the Kurds.  Conventional weapons like napalm, frac and cluster bombs are far more effective tools of war not dependent on weather and wind conditions, etc.   As a weapon in a civil and guerrilla war, gas has almost no tactical value at all making it less likely that assad had any preference for the use of gas—it simply does not make sense.   So the day after Putin checkmates Obama, Assad launches a massive offensive and is being re-supplied mightily by Russia.  In the meantime, the Turks, Jordanians and Saudis recognize that Obama abandoned his pledge to aid their surrogate Sunni terrorists.    And finally, Iran now recognizes with absolute certainty that Obama is indeed a paper tiger, and thus is proceeding with its strategic nuclear ambitions while Russia supplies Iran with its advanced missile defense system to ward off an attack by Israel while at the same time using the court of low information world “leaders” to advance a condition that the US back off from its tour de farce in the Med. In the meantime, Obama is gutting the military in armament, preparedness, morale, and even purpose.

    Bottom line—Assad and Putin gave up nothing. The world is now becoming exponentially more dangerous due to our mastermind POTUS….and the obamabots march on.

Shrewd, Very Shrewd

Tuesday, August 20, AD 2013

10 Responses to Shrewd, Very Shrewd

  • Now a shrewd US politician needs to draw attention to the burning churches and perhaps wonder out loud why Obama and Kerry continue to support the burning of churches.

  • “…underlines in the minds of most Egyptians that if they are sick and tired of endless strife and destruction they must suppport the military in its struggle against the Muslim Brotherhood.”

    The problem is that there is a sizable percentage of the population of Egypt, sizable enough to get Morsi elected as PM, that is perfectly happy with strife and destruction as long as it is directed at their non-Salafi neighbors.
    We enable great evil when we mistake democracy for freedom. Democracy without the foundation of a moral society is simply tyranny with better press. As a whole, Egytian society, like American society is becoming, is unfit for democratic rule.

  • “The problem is that there is a sizable percentage of the population of Egypt, sizable enough to get Morsi elected as PM, that is perfectly happy with strife and destruction as long as it is directed at their non-Salafi neighbors.”

    They had the excuse of ignorance. It is one thing to be the supporter of a political faction agitating against an unpopular regime, and it is quite another to remain a supporter of a faction after it takes power and falls flat on its face. The Muslim Brotherhood had been a consistent enemy of the military regimes that had ruled Egypt since 1952. Rebels tend to be popular until they win.

  • It’s not so much Sisi’s cleverness/shrewdness.

    It’s more Obama’s, Clintion’s, Kerry’s, et alles leftist stupidity and knee-jerk support for any and all dystopian radicals.

  • If it’s a tactic, it depends on the rest of the world having the capacity to recognize and reward decent acts. It won’t impress those who don’t mind the suppression of Christianity in the Middle East.

    Then again, it could be a message to the people of Egypt. Consider the flag of the Egyptian Revolution of 1919 for an idea of what Egyptian national aspiration used to look like. That revolution was a big inspiration for the recent one.

  • Too cool. Political decency from an unexpected quarter. The Egyptian military obviously has a lot going for it!

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  • Pinky and everyone else,

    I would love to see the return of that flag, WOW!

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John Kerry, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Copts

Tuesday, August 20, AD 2013

 

 

John Kerry, our hapless Secretary of State, is backing the Muslim Brotherhood in the current incipient Civil War raging in Egypt between the Egypptian military, which removed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood former president of Egypt, and the supporters of the  military, and the Muslim Brotherhood.  Kerry’s fondness for the Muslim Brotherhood goes back quite a ways.  Here is an excerpt from a post by terrorist expert Andrew McCarthy at National Review Online from December 14, 2011:

 

Senator John Kerry (D., Mass.) is in Egypt, meeting with leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood — the Islamist organization whose goals are to destroy Israel, “conquer Europe” and “conquer America” (to quote its most influential jurist, Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi).

The Brotherhood, which operates throughout the world, seeks the imposition by governments of strict sharia law (as outlined in Reliance of the Traveller: A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law) and, eventually, a global caliphate. Naturally, the Obama administration describes it as a “largely secular” and moderate organization — and William Taylor, President Obama’s hand-picked “special coordinator for transitions in the Middle East,” announced last month that the administration would be quite “satisfied” with a Brotherhood victory in the Egyptian elections.

As the Investigative Project on Terrorism reports, Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee and key Obama administration congressional ally, “welcomed the results of Egypt’s first democratic elections,” in which “voters gave the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) nearly 40% of seats, and more than 24% went to the ultra-conservative Salafi coalition led by al-Nour Party.” [ACM: by ultraconservative, IPT means al-Nour is somewhat more impatient than the Brotherhood for the imposition of supremacist Islam; as I’ve explained on other occasions, the Muslim Brotherhood is Salafist in its ideology.] 

In addition to praising the Brotherhood’s election as a model of transparency and integrity, Sen. Kerry also called for an infusion of cash from the International Monetary Fund to undergird Egypt’s new Islamist government.

The United States, though over $15 trillion in debt, is the leading contributor-nation to the IMF, providing close to a fifth of its funding. That is about three times as much as second-place Japan, more than four times as much as China, more than six times as much as the leading Islamist country (Saudi Arabia), and more than the combined contributions of the three top European donors — Germany, Britain and France. (See Wikipedia Table, here.)  Consequently, a cash infusion by the IMF to the Brotherhood-led Egyptian government would be a redistribution of wealth from American taxpayers to Islamists whose goal is to conquer American taxpayers — assuming, of course, there is any money left in the IMF after the Obama administration gets done using it as the device through which tapped out American taxpayers bail out, at least temporarily, Europe’s collapsing experiment in trans-continental socialism.

Ironically, Kerry’s overtures and pledge of support to the Brotherhood come only a few days after a federal appeals court upheld the convictions of five top Brotherhood operatives in the 2008 Holy Land Foundation (HLF) trial, the Justice Department’s most significant terrorism support conspiracy prosecution in recent years. As the proof overwhelming demonstrated, the Brotherhood, through its American affiliates, channeled millions of dollars to Hamas to support terror operations against Israel. Hamas is the Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch, and underwriting its campaign to destroy Israel has long been a top priority for the Brotherhood’s satellite organizations in the West — many of which were designated “unindicted coconspirators” by the Justice Department in the HLF case, and shown by the evidence to have abetted the Hamas-support scheme.

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16 Responses to John Kerry, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Copts

  • J. Christian Adams: “It’s Sunny at the White House! But not in Egypt if you are a Christian or a Franciscan nun.

    “All over Egypt, Christian churches are being burned, Christians murdered, and nuns paraded in the streets as ‘prisoners of war.’

    “The war can only mean a war of Islam vs. Christianity, right? What other ‘war’ could they be prisoners of? Their words, not mine.

    “The Muslim Brotherhood, and their thug adherents, are conducting a war of genocide against Christians, and trying to erase the Copts from the land, one of the oldest Christian groups in the world.”

  • I think we can safely put the final nail in “democracy.” It has been overrated for two centuries and frequently abused and exploited. At this point in the game I’ll take any form of government that will ensure rule of law. That seems to me the operative term.

  • I think that Democracy is the worst form of government Matt, as Churchill observed, except for all the other forms of government ever attempted. Our mistake is to view it as a panacea in situations where it is obvious that those elected will swiftly make sure that the only way they can be removed from office is by force rather than by the ballot box. Democracy is only successful if a clear majority of the citizenry are willing to play by its rules.

  • I think we can safely put the final nail in “democracy.” It has been overrated for two centuries and frequently abused and exploited. At this point in the game I’ll take any form of government that will ensure rule of law. That seems to me the operative term. –

    It generally bumps and grinds along passably enough most parts of the world, but it is a tall order in and among the Arab states and we are seeing that graphically demonstrated (though the Algerian disaster, 1988-99, should have instructed us well).

    The alternative to parliamentary government is seldom a dignified autocrat like Augusto Pinochet who makes good calls and generally only jails people who fancy they should be active in politics. You see them here and there, but mostly you get cack-handed military regimes (Argentina, 1943-83), kleptocracies (Ferdinand Marcos and Joseph Mobutu and the Somoza crew), abattoirs (China, 1949-76), and cohorts of cousins who are happy to run their countries into the ground so long as they rule the ruins (the Duvaliers and the Assads).

  • To reverse Michelle Obama’s 2008 remark, this is the first time I am not particularly proud of my country.

  • Democracy is only successful if a clear majority of the citizenry are willing to play by its rules.

    I think ‘a clear majority of working politicians’ is closer to the actual prerequisite. You get publics who are fodder for capable demagogues (Adolph Hitler, Juan Domingo Peron, or Gamal Abdel Nasser), but some inscrutable process (or historical accident) must generate the demagogue to make use of the fodder.

    ==

    A real problem we face in the affluent Occident to day is the loss of any sense (in and among the chattering classes) that they compete with others and are engaged in argument. The social psychologist Jonathan Haidt has been trying to dissect this phenomenon. Raymond Aron spoke of the ‘unification of the elites’ and Angelo Codevilla speaks of the regime class v. the country class and it seems about right in our time. Conjoin that to very real structural defects in our political institutions (see Anthony Kennedy and Harry Reid) and you get multiple toxic brews.

    There is another problem which has come to the fore in recent years. It is not merely that the regime class cannot process disagreement, but that sections of the fancied opposition are readily suborned. You look at the doings of figures as disparate as John McCain, Reince Preibus, David Frum, Daniel McCarthy, and the crew currently in charge of the Institute on Religion and Public Life and you do wonder if some sort of common social psychological impulse is at work.

  • Yes, USA’s Kenyan Muslim president stumbles from one foreign policy disaster to another along with his enablers.
    It appears that a Coptic monastery was attacked and burned, and this will be the first time in 1600 years that Mass has not been celebrated there daily.
    The Egyptian Army had the common sense to get rid of Morsi.

  • So John FARC Kerry made more stupid comments! This is not news considering Kerry is the source.

    I have despised John FARC Kerry for years. Do you want to know why I call his middle name FARC? FARC is the Spanish acronym for the Marxist narcoterrorist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. You will hear nothing about what the FARC does in any American media outside of the Miami Herald. In 2003, David Horowitz of Frontpagemag.com quoted then Presidential candidate Kerry as saying, “The FARC has legitimate complaints.”

    Former Colombian President Uribe led the Colombian government to make tremendous gains against the FARC, whcih have been reversed since Santos took power there. Former House Speaker Nancy (“Brainless”) Pelosi blew off Uribe when Uribe visited Washington.

    Muslims have hated Christianity for centuries. Protestants, mainline Protestants, reformed Protestants and evangelical Protestants, rarely did any battle against Islam until Great Britain plunged into the Levant in the 19th century. Therefore, the evangelicals in America have no history of struggling against Islam. They haven’t a clue about Islam.

    The chattering class is, of course, stupid – about Islam and about all other things.

    Only the Catholic and Orthodox Churches have any history of successful struggle against Islam…..and the Vat II bunch likes to pretend it never happened.

    Unlike a golddigging, stupid politician such as Señorito FARC Kerry, I know my Catholic history. We have our heroes – Pelayo, Queen Isabel the Catholic, Servant of God, Don Juan of Austria, and the Polish Hussars led by John Sobieski. They knew what to do when faced with Islam.

    “No more will we hear the taunts of the Mohammedans – O Christians, where is your God?”……John Sobieski

    September 12, the Most Holy Name of Mary, due to the favor requested and received by John Sobieski from the Most Holy Mother of God when the Hussars made one last charge at the Ottomans at the gates of Vienna, will be observed in the Latin Church in just over three weeks. Chances are, most parishes will not even mention it in their weekly bulletins – because it is due to a victory in a successful battle. Pope Paul VI removed the Most Holy Name of Mary from the new Church Calendar. Pope John Paul II put it back – in both the new and Traditional Church calendars.

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  • ‘a clear majority of working politicians’ must consist of statesmen and patriots. The rest are a bunch of imposters, usurpers and pretenders.

  • In the Muslim Brotherhood if a woman is raped, she is put to death, but the rapist goes freeee. I’m am so glad John Kerry as Secretary of State is on the side of Justice and upholds the sanctions against rape of another sovereign person, male or female, or is that too much trouble for Kerry?.

  • Democracy just doesn’t work with Muslims.

    The best compromise is the secular republic model set up by Turkish nationalist hero Ataturk.

    Turkey is over 90% Muslim (large numbers of Greek Christians, Armenian Christians who lived in the area of modern day Turkey were pretty. Much killed off, ethically cleansed after World War I, Muslim Turks used to enslave, tax infidel Christians, but finally they got tired of this and did what Muslim Brotherhood is doing to Coptic Christians now).

    Anyway, the Atakurk secular republic system works OK, there is limited “democracy”, with the stipulation that Tuekey is a modern secular republic, looks to Europe for science, economics, women have education rights, any religious or Marxist groups threaten the secu,ar Republic, Turkish army steps in, kills, imprisons trouble makers. The Turkish mi,Italy has Stephen in a few times since World War II. Islamic parties are pushing their luck in Turkey now.

    In Middle East, secularly army rule in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Algeria is way better than Muslim mob rule.

  • It is a sad state of affairs. As history tends to repeat itself, it would be helpful to study that of the Turkish genocide of the Armenians from the late Nineteenth Century to the time during and somewhat after World War I. Several years ago, I wrote a book report of sorts about “The Burning Tigris” by Peter Balakian. If I may impose upon your time and space, I append it here:

    Armenian Amnesia
    Bill Walsh

    “Who today, after all, speaks of the annihilation of the Armenians?” – Adolph Hitler, eight days before Nazi Germany invaded Poland.

    Are you old enough to remember your mother or father shaming you to eat everything on your plate by reminding you of the starving Armenians? Most children had little idea what had brought the Armenians to the point of starvation and death. Hitler was right, at least in that no one any longer spoke of it. How much does anyone today know about the terrible fate, between 1915 and 1919, at the hands of the Ottoman Turks, of nearly an entire people who were victims of a secret but entirely official plan of genocide?

    There had been previous murderous assaults against the Armenian people, who had lived two thousand years in their ancient homeland before the Seljuk Turks conquered it. Sultan Abdul Hamid II was responsible for the massacre of about 200,000 Armenians between 1894 and 1896. Behind the opaque veil of mere statistics there transpired vicious scene after vicious scene of unspeakable horror: “soldiers” falling upon them to “outrage” many to death and slaughtering others with sword and bayonet; children set in line to see how many could be killed with a single shot.

    Throughout these years, sadistic brutality raged against the Christian Armenian population of Turkey. Rarely, a fleeting opportunity of survival was offered when the troopers would crash into an occupied church and demand the congregation to deny Christ, and embrace Mohammed. When no one answered, the troops fell upon them, and the butchery commenced until martyr’s blood flowed from beneath the doors of the church.

    In 1909, another paroxysm of persecution occurred in Adana. Over four-thousand dwellings were torched, and thirty-thousand Armenians slain. These nightmares were but practice for the carefully planned genocide the Turkish government carried out behind the obscuring fog of the “Great War”.

    The government decided that the existence of a Christian minority impeded and threatened the destiny and integrity of an expanding Turkish Empire. On November 14, 1914, to marshal the Mussulmen for the task ahead, the sheikh-al-Islam, leader of all the Sunnis, proclaimed a jihad against “infidels and enemies of the faith”.

    The annihilation of one and a half million Armenians commenced on April 24, 1914. On that day, throughout the Armenian villages of Turkey, there appeared a town crier, accompanied by a boy beating a drum, announcing that in so many days they must be prepared to relocate, as part of the war effort, and to assemble at the town square.

    Once assembled, the men were marched out of town, and shot. The defenseless women and children were marched out to a worse fate. As they stretched out upon the roads away from their ancient homes, there lay in wait newly uniformed legions of released-for-the-purpose criminals eager to fall upon them with license to kill.

    One sympathetic witness, Armin T. Wegner, described the doomed deportees arrayed along the road as “like a weeping hedge that begs and screams, and from which rise a thousand pleading hands; we go by, our hearts full of shame.” Most were tortured to death. The thousands drowned by the boatload in the Black Sea suffered less.

    Such horrific atrocities as the Game of Swords, the Dance, and the Cross are too nightmarish to describe here. Those who can endure such lugubrious material should read Peter Balakian’s “The Burning Tigris” published by Harper Collins. Those who would prefer less graphic information may go to the Armenian National Institute’s website: http://www.armenian-genocide.org/index.html

    Is the Armenian massacre alone in the mists of modern amnesia? Are the Kulaks and other millions killed by Stalin in there too? Are hidden also the millions killed in China’s “Great Leap Forward”? Are Pol Pot’s victims in Cambodia and the poor souls we abandoned in Vietnam also lost to modern memory?

    They are where “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.” We remain where such terrible things can happen again. We must firmly resolve to see that they do not.

  • William P. Walsh

    I highly recommend the (now banned) History Channel documentary – the Ottomon War Machine:

    http://m.youtube.com/?reload=2&rdm=uid0m1he

    (Search on google, it comes up on youtube)

    The documentary bends over backwards to be fair, respectful to the brutal Ottomon Muslim Turks, but the brutal truths co e through that the Muslims had an open policy of conquest, enslavement of European Christians. the Conquoring Muslims had a policy to grab White Christian girls as sexual slaves, concubines and the Sultans had an interesting policy of ensuring male successors through the children of his White harem.

  • Democracy just doesn’t work with Muslims.

    There are currently elected legislatures and civil peace in two (of three) Muslim states in the Far East, one (of two) states on the Indian subcontinent, 1 (of six) Muslim states in Central Asia, four Arab states, and five (of seven) Muslim states in West Africa. In Kuwait, this has been the case about 80% of the time since 1961 and in Morocco and Senegal this has been ongoing since about 1977.

  • There are currently elected legislatures and civil peace in two (of three) Muslim states in the Far East…

    Actually, that is a pretty dismal scorecard, especially when one takes a closer look at the exceptions (say, Boko Haram in Nigeria.) If anything, one might conclude you are reinforcing the post you reference, as opposed to refuting it.

    Perhaps a better way to analyze or refute any claims regarding the compatibility of orthodox Islam with democracy would be to observe whether a country transitioning into or out of Islamist rigor becomes more or less democratic (and more importantly, more respectful of minority rights). That particular scorecard is similarly not very encouraging (though it, too, contains exceptions — given what happened in Rwanda under Christian leaders, it would be difficult to claim that the rising number of Muslims there is going to make things much worse.)

    Granted, Catholic elites took a very long time to warm up to the notion of democracy, and oftentimes fell woefully short on matters of minority rights, but they have not traditionally punctuated their reservations with suicide vests and exploding underwear to the acclaim of millions of their followers.

We Apologize For Breathing

Friday, September 21, AD 2012

Hattip to AllahPundit at Hot Air.  Your tax dollars at work.  The State Department is paying for the above video to run in Pakistan.  I find it breathtaking in its complete incomprehension.  The foolish anti-Mohammed video is merely a pretext for the Jihadists to carry on their war with us.  Obama and Clinton could apologize from now until Doomsday and it would have no impact, except to convince watching muslims that the United States leadership is weak and confused which is a completely accurate assessment of the Obama administration abroad.

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15 Responses to We Apologize For Breathing

  • Liberals simply do not understand. We have one at work. He was complaining about a totally separate subject: that Romney wants to open up more fossil fuel supply that will pollute the atmosphere. I tried explaining that Obama’s appointment of an anti-nuclear power activist as head of the US NRC and his undermining of US commercial nuclear power (the only viable alternative to fossil fuel) are even worse. But the truth didn’t matter. His eyes are fixed on the Obamessiah, yet a better technical engineer or more dedicated one I have yet to meet.

    I am convinced that liberalism is a disease of the mind that blinds the self to the truth.

  • I’m being charitable here. The liberals running us into the mud are idiotic, unprincipled cowards. It’s why they lost the Middle East and North Africa (now regime-sponsored terrorist recruiting centers and training camps), Africa, and are losing the global terror war against us.

    Paul, the useless idiots are also at war with coal, electricity generation, oil (e.g., ban Keystone pipeline), and the (evil, unjust) private sector.

    The one campaign promise Obama has kept: skyrocketing energy prices.

  • What we can and cannot do in the Near East and adjacent areas is quite constrained by costs and (with regard to certain functions) a deficit of capable and loyal personnel. A great deal of this is just political tides you cannot manipulate readily, certainly not with the clandestine services we have (in which Aldrich Ames was promoted how many times?). That having been said, a security cordon for diplomats is certainly something we can afford and that is what they did not supply to the departed Mr. Stevens and others. Instead of owning up to that they give us this. As for the odious Mr. Morsi, a reminder that we have a long memory might do for the time being. With our fiscal house in better order we might just be able to graduate to ‘nice little canal you have there; pity if someone took it from you’.

    Please note with regard to your second video that murderous intent applies primarily to the Jews and is regarded indulgently by the twerps currently in the employ of Ron Unz and Taki Theodorogetdrunkfalldownchaseskirts and also by the soi-disant Catholic peace-and-justice types (see Jonathan Tobin’s recent brief critique of Margaret Steinfels commentary).

  • “Please note with regard to your second video that murderous intent applies primarily to the Jews”

    I can think of a lot of Copts and other Christian Arabs who have the misfortune to have been born in the Middle East Art who would beg to differ as to that sentiment.

  • You are wrong – the video would have worked if Madam Hillary had worn a Hijab and covered herself appropriately. What was she thinking!?!

    Actually, I am with the Muslims on covering Hillary from head to toe – finally, common ground we can work from!

  • In his statement, the pres said, forgive me if I get the words wrong as I’ve listened several times, the that he objects to the demograte??? of all faith beliefs.
    I wonder how he can say that when he and his administration are basicly at war with the Catholic Church and other Christian faiths with all these mandates that go against the moral values of the faith of others. Is he in fact saying he will not stand for anyone to make comments or other fourms of communication against the Muslim religion but will promote it against Christian religions.

  • “wonder how he can say that when he and his administration are basically at war with the Catholic Church and other Christian faiths ”

    We don’t form murderous mobs and hunt and kill American ambassadors. Additionally I think Obama views Islam through the usual liberal prism where colorful members of the Third World can do no wrong and America can do no right. It is as condescending to them in its way as any Brit colonel in the nineteenth century ranting about WOGS in India. On the other hand, Christians in general, and Catholics in particular, are viewed as enemy number one, always standing in the way of the building of a global secular utopia. (I realize the glaring contradictions that these beliefs contain, but I do think that is how Obama and many secular liberals rationalize in their own minds the disparate treatment they mete out to Muslims and Christians.)

  • WHY do we reject this video’s content and message? On what grounds does the US government take a stand on a particular religious message? The video, as I understand it, was a privately-funded piece of art with a religious commentary. The President can personally condemn it, and Congress can pass a resolution condemning it, but seriously, how in the world can the US government state a position on it?

  • I can think of a lot of Copts and other Christian Arabs who have the misfortune to have been born in the Middle East Art who would beg to differ as to that sentiment.

    Agreed they have been on the receiving end of more abuse the last 37 years. The aspirations the Arab world’s enrages have toward the Jews remain unfulfilled due to Israel’s military.

  • Yes this apologizing thing is out of control. Jesus would have NEVER apologized for anything especially for the sake of an attempt at peace.

  • Last time I looked Bob Obama wasn’t Jesus, although I think some of his more deluded followers may be confused on that point. Anyone who believes these apologies will do anything other than to encourage Jihadist attacks, needs to put down the crack pipe and take a cold shower, stat.

  • It is correct that Jesus would never ever apologize. He is God. God is without apology. So when he had a fit in the temple, overturning the tables of the money changers and whipping them out, he did so without apology. When he condemned Tyre and Sidon, he did do without apology. When he ripped up one side and down the other of that society’s self-righteous leaders (can you spell social justice Democrat?), he did so without apology. When he told the disciples to arm themselves with a sword just before Judas met him to betray him, he did so without apology. And when he told Pontius Pilate that his kingdom was not of this world, and Pilate would have no power except what God gave him (something Obama would do well to remember), he did so without apology.

    No apology for righteousness, holiness, virtue, integrity, honor ad true justice! None! Not then. Not now. Not ever. And Jesus Christ will one day return to Earth on that great white horse with that great sword coming out of his mouth exactly as Revelation 19 explains, and without apology there will be hell to pay. You get that, Bob?

  • The pres has different views as to what needs apoligies for and what not – we know he is sending out apology messages to the Muslin nations but now a word of apology to Christians over a pice of art of Christ Crucified covered with urine, that is acceptable to him and no apology to Christians needed or condemnation of the artist.
    I made a comment to others that after the Pres took office he went to Egypy on his ‘apology tour’ to the Muslim nations, maybe he needs to go back there right now, stand in the middle of all those Muslims yelling ‘Kill Americans’ while they burn Our Flag and apologize to them again, in person.

  • This is one of the most shameful moments in American history. When before have we cowered before our enemies like this?
    What Carter began in the Muslim world, Obama will finish. What started in Iran now infects the entire region.
    He has no idea what he is unleashing.
    Others have pointed out that what the United States has repeatedly shown to the Muslim world through its actions is that we fear only one thing: Allah.
    Oh, the things they have observed.

    Americans troops don’t dare chase Jihadi’s into our mosques.
    Americans will burn Bibles at their military bases so they can’t be used to corrupt the faithful.
    They treat the Koran with the respect it deserves, wearing gloves when they touch it and never putting it on the ground.
    When Mohammad (insert appropriate verbage here) is shown disrespect, the nation’s very own leader buys time on our televisions to apologize.

    Bush was so very wrong. We are at war with Islam. And we are losing.

  • Impeach, try and convict the Secretary of State.

    It’s the only way to be sure.

5 Responses to Obama on Top of Libya

Israeli Spy Arrested by Saudi Arabia

Tuesday, January 4, AD 2011

Many have sought to question the Zionist narrative that Israelis are strictly the victims of Arab hate when it comes to Middle East conflict and their darkest fears are certainly confirmed by this story of Mossad perverting nature in order to spy on their neighbors:

Saudi Arabian security forces have captured a vulture that was carrying a global positioning satellite (GPS) transmitter and a ring etched with the words “Tel Aviv University.” They suspect the bird of spying for Israel, Maariv-NRG reported Tuesday. The GPS and ring were connected to the bird as part of an long-term project by Israeli scientists that follows vultures’ location and altitude for research purposes.

The arrest of the vulture – whose identification code is R65 – comes several weeks after an Egyptian  official voiced the suspicion that a shark that attacked tourists off the Sinai shore was also acting on behalf of Mossad. The incidents may reflect a growing irrational hysteria among Arabs surrounding Israel’s military prowess and the efficacy of its intelligence services, possibly fueled by the Stuxnet virus’ success.

Those vultures!

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10 Responses to Israeli Spy Arrested by Saudi Arabia

  • Some irrationality can be expected after the almost certain Israeli involvement in the Dubai assassination, the Iranian computer virus, and most recently in the Lebanese spy cameras.

  • Oh, you beat me to it! Where is Karlson to warn about the threat posed by Zionist avians? How does a vulture keep Kosher? How does this connect to the mass bird drops in this country? Inquiring tin foiled covered minds want to know!

  • Perhaps if the vulture converts to Islam it will be forgiven.

  • Some irrationality can be expected after the almost certain Israeli involvement in the Dubai assassination, the Iranian computer virus, and most recently in the Lebanese spy cameras.

    Based on what little I know I would bet that Israel was indeed responsible for those things. However, I don’t think that is or should be the cause of irrationality in the region (or the West!). I think the irrationality in the region preceded and even created those events.

    For example, the Iranian government, frothing with hatred toward Jews and Israel, outwardly talks about wiping Israel off the face of the map and is trying to build nuclear weapons to that end. The virus, if created by Israel with Iran as the target, intended to thwart Iran’s horrific objectives via non-violent means. I’d say the irrationality of Iran led to the virus’ creation.

  • Not to mention that, if WikiLeaks is to be believed, the leaders of Saudi Arabia and other local countries privately told the US: You need to make sure that Israel does something about that Iranian nuclear program.

    Still, I can’t resist getting a chuckle or three out of the dastardly Hebrew Vulture. You simply can’t make these things up.

  • I do know the Jews against Zionism website know that political zionism is no joke even though this is made to look like one.

  • You cannot be too careful!

    Seems saudi security is “taking a page from the playbook” of the Obama/Napolitano homeland security strategy, which boils down to grope Grandma, poke grandpa.

  • If that vulture is a Mossad spy, I’d like to know who his handler is! ROTFL!

  • How does a vulture keep its yamaka on?

  • So, the Mossad is now training birds and fish to spy. Right! Then again the U.S. Navy was discovered training and working with dolphins.

Is Islam Part of Gods Plan?

Sunday, July 11, AD 2010

Most of us are aware of the Christian exodus from the Middle East where the fundamental problem is Muslim intolerance towards non-Muslims.

Father Samir hopes to change all of that.

In this interview with Father Samir Khalil Samir done by Mirko Testa of Zenit, Father Samir explains the possibility of learning form Lebanon’s coexistence between Christians and Muslims:

The coexistence of Christians and Muslims is good for civil society because their mutual questioning of the other’s faith acts as a stimulus and leads to deeper understanding, says a Jesuit priest who is an expert in Islamic studies.

This is the opinion of Father Samir Khalil Samir, an Islamic scholar and Catholic theologian born in Egypt and based in the Middle East for more than 20 years.

He teaches Catholic theology and Islamic studies at St. Joseph University in Beirut, is founder of the CEDRAC research institute and is author of many articles and books, including “111 Questions on Islam.”

ZENIT spoke with Father Samir regarding the June 21-22 meeting in Lebanon of the Oasis International Foundation, which seeks to promote mutual knowledge among Christians and Muslims.

ZENIT: Why was the subject of education placed at the center of the Oasis meeting this year?

Father Samir: The problem we are experiencing both in the Church as well as in Islam is that we are not always able to transmit the faith easily to the new generation and the generations to come. The question we ask ourselves is: In what way should we rethink the faith for young people, but also in parishes or in mosques, in the talks that religious address to their faithful?

This is what we want: to make a study of the Christian experience in Lebanon, and the Muslim Sunni experience and the Muslim Shiite experience in this ambit. We want to compare, to identify even if it is only the common difficulties, to seek together an answer to them. I think this has been the main objective of our meeting in face of a dialogue of cultures in the Christian and the Muslim faith.

ZENIT: What effect would the disappearance of the Churches of the Middle East have on the Christian and Muslim world?

Father Samir: The disappearance of the Churches of the Middle East would be, first of all, a loss for Christianity, because, as John Paul II said, the Church, as every human being, lives with two lungs: the Eastern and the Western. Now, the Eastern Churches were born here in the land of Jesus, in the territories of the Middle East, where Christ lived. And if this experience, these millennia of tradition are lost, then the loss will be for the whole Church, both of the Christians of the East as well as the Christians of the West.

However, there is more to this: if Christian leave the Middle East, in other words, if the Muslims remain alone, an element of stimulation will be lacking — represented, in fact, by that element of diversity that Christians can contribute. Diversity of faith, because Muslims ask us every day: How is it that you say that God is One and Triune? This is contradictory. And we say: How is it that you say that Mohammed is a prophet? What are, for you, the criteria of prophecy? Does Mohammed answer to these criteria? And what does it mean that the Quran is from God? In what sense do you say that it descended on Mohammed? We say that the Bible is divine, but mediated through human authors, whereas Muslims want to remove Mohammed’s mediation.

These questions that they ask us and that we ask are a stimulus, not only for civilization, but also for civil society. It would be a great loss because the risk exists of wishing to found a society, a state based on the sharia, that is, on something that was established in the seventh century in the region of the Arabian Peninsula, even if for Muslims the sharia is generic and true for all centuries and all cultures.

And this is Islam’s great problem: how can Islam be re-thought today? The absence of Christians would make the problem even more acute.

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4 Responses to Is Islam Part of Gods Plan?

  • Nice ideas. Maybe they will work. We can pray. Our Lady is revered by the Muslims, at least as much as any woman is revered by Islam – she can lead them to the truth. We need to ask her.

    That being said, Lebanon was drowned in 15 years of civil war for political reasons born of the Muslim mind and that includes the influence of Islamic thinking patterns on Christians. Islam is like the Matrix, even non-Muslims living in Muslim lands are plugged into the lie.

    As for Muslims and Christians getting along in Lebanon – sure they do, however, some like Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Hizb’Allah, don’t like it and will only lie in wait until they are strong enough to do something about it. In any event most Muslims and Christians that get along are essentially secularists. I am not so sure that indifferentism toward all religion is a cure for the plight of Christianity in the region that Christ walked.

  • Is malignant melanoma part of God’s Plan?

  • There has always been a certain percentage of Muslims who sincerely seek the truth. Never more than a tenth of the population at any given time, they are the earnest ones who have questions about the Trinity and the Eucharist. Such Muslims by their very nature do not threathen the Christians. No Christian is about to abandon his home and hearth, just because he can’t handle the apologetics. Instead they are leaving because they are being murdered as in Iraq, through widespread intimidation and the unfailing standby of harassment of their women.

  • I think we need to discuss the Catholic ex cathedra dogma extra ecclesiam nulla salus and not just accept the secular media’s interpretation. This is important for our understanding and relationshoip with Muslims.
    http://eucharistandmission.blogspot.com/2010/07/apologist-simon-rafe-in-real-catholic.html#links

    Thursday, July 15, 2010
    APOLOGIST SIMON RAFE IN REAL CATHOLIC DIFFICULTY : MAGISTERIUM SAYS EVERYONE NEEDS TO BE A VISIBLE MEMBER OF THE CHURCH FOR SALVATION, EXTRA ECCLESIAM NULLA SALUS

    Apologist Simon Rafe says:

    The teaching of the Church is that a person CAN be saved if they are not a visible member of the Church.
    Lionel: Yes. True. This is not being denied.

    Rafe :To deny this is to cease to give full acceptance to the Church.
    Lionel: It is not being denied.

    Rafe:Non-Catholics can be saved, DESPITE their failure to be a visible member of the Church. This is the teaching of the Church.
    Lionel: This is not the official teaching of the Church. This is a popular interpretation.

    I would say everyone needs to be a visible member of the Catholic Church to be saved and there are no known exceptions. If a person was saved without being a visible member of the Catholic Church it would be known to God only, we cannot know any such case.

    It’s a real Catholic difficulty these days, with the new doctrine, which goes like this: everybody needs to enter the Catholic Church for salvation except for those in invincible ignorance, the baptism of desire or a good conscience.

    When people say that everybody needs to enter the Catholic Church except for those in invincible ignorance, with the baptism of desire and a good conscience it could be right or wrong depending on the interpretation.

    1. It is WRONG if they mean that every one does not need to become a visible member of the church. Then this is a new doctrine and contrary to the Deposit of the Faith.

    2. It is RIGHT if they mean every one does have to become a visible member of the Catholic Church to avoid Hell and if there is anyone with the Baptism of Desire, genuine invincible ignorance and a good conscience it will be known only to God.

    (Note: Above I affirm the Baptism of Desire, invincible ignorance and a good conscience and I also affirm the dogma that everybody needs to be a visible member of the Catholic Church to avoid Hell.)

    The dogma says everyone needs to be a visible member of the Catholic Church.

    ‘…it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” (Pope Boniface VIII, the Bull Unam Sanctam, 302.). Ex Cathedra

    ‘…none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation…

    No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.” – (Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441.) Ex Cathedra
    The dogma does not contradict other Church Documents regarding the Baptism of Desire.

    Simon Rafe’s problem is one being faced by many Catholics, including those who have orthodox Catholic beliefs.Some Catholics are describing the situation as ‘a mystery’.So Rafe is only repeating the problem as other Catholics face it i.e everyone needs to be a visible member of the church and everyone does not need to be a visible member of the Church.

    Catholics in erroe interpret the Catechism and the Vatican Council II according to the Jewish Left media and believe there is no other interpretation. Simon Rafe and others needs to interpret the Catechism of the Catholic Church,Vatican Council II and the Letter of the Holy Office 1949, in line with the ex cathedra dogma which says everyone needs to be a visible member of the catholic Church and there are no exceptions. Simon agrees everyone needs to be a visible member of the Catholic Church for salvation but when I ask him of Lumen Gentium 16 contradicts this teaching of the dogma he does not answer.

    The Magisterium of the Church cannot reject an ex cathedra dogma.
    So interpret all Church documents according to extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

    Catholic Church documents say everyone needs to be a visible member of the Church to avoid Hell and there is no Church document issued to refute it.

    1. For instance we can misinterpret the Letter of the Holy Office 1949.

    In order for someone to be saved, it explained, “it is not always required that he be incorporated into the Church as an actual member, but it is necessary at least to be united to her by desire and longing.”-Letter of the Holy Office 1949. The same message is there in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    True however this (not receiving the Baptism of water as an adult and being saved) is only known to God. It is not as real as the Baptism of Water. So it was wrong to suggest that everyone does not have to be a visible member of the Church, as if the Baptism of Desire is explicit and visible by nature. So this is a distorted interpretation of the Letter of the Holy Office using the Cushing Doctrine. It is heresy. It is clear ‘double speak’. Discerning Catholics consider this new doctrine a hoax, the equivalent of the fabled Emperors New Clothes. Liberals call it a developed doctrine.

    Through his books Fr. Hans Kung uses the Cushing Doctrine, suggesting Lumen Gentium 16 refers to explicit and not implicit salvation, to question the infallibility of the pope ex cathedra. He maintains the Kung Deception that the Church has retracted extra ecclesiam nulla salus after Vatican Council II.

    Without the Cushing Doctrine, one could say: For salvation everyone needs to be a visible (explicit) member of the Catholic Church with no exception and if there is anyone with the Baptism of Desire or who is in invincible ignorance it will be known to God only.

    If this point in the Letter is ministerpreted one could also misinterpret the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

    2. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says the Church alone saves from the flood like Noah’s Ark and so everyone needs to enter the Ark to be saved. Extra ecclesiam nulla salus.

    N.845 To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son’s Church. The Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. The Church is “the world reconciled.” She is that bark which “in the full sail of the Lord’s cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world.” According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah’s ark, which alone saves from the flood.-Catechism of the Catholic Church n.845
    Here we have an interpretation of the Catechism affirming the dogma.

    3.”Outside the Church there is no salvation”

    846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

    Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.-Catechism of the Catholic Church 846
    CCC 846,847 like Lumen Gentium 16 refer to implicit salvation, those saved ‘in certain circumstances’ (Letter of the Holy Office 1949).They are known to God only.

    847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

    Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.-Catechism of the Catholic Church,N.847

    848 “Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.”-Catechism of the Catholic Church,N.848
    Those saved implicitly (CCC 847,848) for us, they are just a concept, something hypothetical, a possibility. It is not explicit. Since it is not explicit it does not contradict CCC845, 836.It does not contradict Ad Gentes 7, Lumen Gentium 14 and the infallible teaching outside the church there is no salvation.

    CCC836 which says all people need to enter the Catholic Church include all Christians who are not in full communion with the Catholic Church, Jesus’ Mystical Body.
    If CCC 846,847(invincible ignorance etc) referred to explicit salvation, it would be irrational. Since we cannot judge who has a baptism of desire or is in genuine invincible ignorance.It would also mean that the Catechism, which is the ordinary Magisterium of the Church, is correcting and contradicting an ex cathedra teaching. So it would be a rejection of the dogma on the infallibility of the pope.It would mean CCC 846,847 (implicit invincible ignorance etc) is a new Christian doctrine or Christian Revelation.
    Yet this teaching was not mentioned for the first time in the Catechism of the Catholic Church or Vatican Council II (Lumen Gentium16).It was referred to in the Letter of the Holy Office 1949 to the Archbishop of Boston, Richard Cushing. The popes over the centuries always considered those saved by implicit faith as, implicit. Hence the ex cathedra teaching said everyone with no exception needs explicit faith (the baptism of water and Catholic Faith).
    So 846,847 do not refer to explicit salvation. Otherwise it would be irrational, illogical and contrary to the Magisterium of the past and present.
    The Catholic Church is saying everybody needs to be a visible member of the Church to avoid Hell.Those who are aware of Jesus and the Church and yet do not enter are on the way to Hell, definitely.
    CCC is also saying that all non-Catholics in general need to enter the Catholic Church to avoid Hell. All. If there is anyone among them with the baptism of desire, invincible ignorance etc (implicit faith) it will be known to God only. We cannot judge.
    De facto everyone needs to enter the Catholic Church for salvation.
    De jure there could be the probability, known only to God, of someone ‘in certain circumstances’ (Letter of the Holy Office 1949) being saved with implicit faith. God will provide all the helps in the manner known to Him only; it could include explicit faith (the baptism of water).So if someone says the Catechism says that they can be saved who are in invincible ignorance etc, the answer is: ‘Yes, as a concept only. In principle.’ De facto everyone explicitly needs to be a Catholic to go to Heaven is the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.(CCC 845).Simon Rafe needs to clarify this point.

    “For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament” (CCC 1259).
    In other words everyone needs to de facto be a ‘card carrying member’ of the Catholic Church, everyone needs to have his name on a Parish Register. All who are in Heaven, people of different countries, cultures and times, are Catholics, the chosen people of God, the Elect, the people of the New Covenant. I think Simon Rafe and Michael Vorris would agree here. They recently produced a video on ONLY CATHOLICS IN HEAVEN! ( http://www.youtube.com/user/RealCatholicTV#p/a/u/0/2Dcfj0PU_JQ ) . It is highly recommended.( I try not to miss Michael Vorris’ videos)

    4.In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the sub title‘Outside the Church there is no salvation’ has been placed over N.846.It should really be above number 845.

    The ex cathedra dogma says everyone needs to explicitly enter the Church for salvation. It is in agreement with n.845

    N.845 To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son’s Church….(quoted above in full )
    Here is the ex cathedra dogma:

    1. “There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved.” (Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215). Ex cathedra.

    2.“We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” (Pope Boniface VIII, the Bull Unam Sanctam, 1302.).Ex cathedra.

    3.“The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.” (Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441.) Ex cathedra
    – from the website Catholicism.org and “No Salvation outside the Church”: Link List, the Three Dogmatic Statements Regarding EENS http://nosalvationoutsideofthecatholicchurch.blogspot.com/
    It says everyone needs to be a visible member of the Catholic Church to go to Heaven and avoid Hell.

    So CCC 847,848 must be interpreted as referring to implicit salvation, in ’certain circumstances’ and unknown to us, otherwise it would contradict the infallible teaching.

    847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

    Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.-Catechism of the Catholic Church
    848 “Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.”-Catechism of the Catholic Church
    CCC 847, 848 do not refer to explicit salvation and so do not contradict the dogma. There is no de facto baptism of desire that we can know of. There is no explicit Baptism of desire that we can know of. While implicit Baptism of Desire is only a concept for us. Since it is known only to God.

    So if asked if everyone needs to enter the Catholic Church for salvation the answer is YES.

    5. Everyone explicitly needs to enter the Catholic Church for salvation and those who have the baptism of desire or are invincible ignorance would be known only to God.

    All men are certainly called to this Catholic unity. The Catholic faithful, others who believe in Christ and all mankind belong to or are ordered to Catholic unity.-CCC 836

    Here again we have an affirmation of the ex cathedra dogma and the word all is used as in Ad Gentes 7.

    6.

    How do we understand this saying from the Church Fathers? All salvation comes from Christ through his Body, the Church which is necessary for salvation because Christ is present in his Church…-CCC846
    Here the Catechism places de jure and defacto salvation together. It does not conflict with the ex cathedra teaching that everyone with no exception needs to enter the Catholic Church .We cannot personally know any cases of a genuine invincible ignorance, baptism of desire or a good conscience.

    7.

    However, those, who through no fault of their own do not know either the Gospel of Christ or his Church, can achieve salvation by seeking God with a sincere heart and by trying to do God’s will (Second Vatican Council). Although God can lead all people to salvation, the Church still has the duty to evangelize all men.-CCC 848
    Those who are in invincible ignorance can be saved -and this does not conflict with the ex cathedra dogma that everyone with no exception needs to enter the Church to avoid Hell. It is a conceptual, de jure understanding.

    8. CCC 1257 The Necessity of Baptism

    CCC 1257 affirms the dogma when it says that the Church knows of no means to eternal beatitude other than the baptism of water. This is a reference to explicit salvation for all with no known exceptions.

    CCC 1257 also says that for salvation God is not restricted to the Sacraments. This must not be interpreted as opposing the dogma or the earlier part of CCC 1257. This is a possibility, ‘in certain circumstances’ (Letter of the Holy Office 1949) and we cannot judge any specific cases. Th Baptism of Desire is never explicit for us humans.
    I repeat the Church refers to the ordinary means of salvation (Redemptoris Missio 5. The word ordinary is used in RM 55).

    In Dominus Iesus the words de jure and de facto are used in the Introduction.

    In CCC 1257 we have the baptism of water as the ordinary means of salvation for all people with no exception.

    In CCC 1257 we also have those saved with implicit faith (invincible ignorance,BOD etc) as the extraordinary means of salvation.(‘God is not limited to the Sacraments’).

    VI. THE NECESSITY OF BAPTISM

    1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation.59 He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them.60 Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament.61 The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are “reborn of water and the Spirit.” God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments. -Catechism of the Catholic Church 1257

    The Letter of the Holy Office 1949 while affirming the dogma and the need for everyone to be a visible member of the Church to go to Heaven with no exceptions- also says that ‘in certain circumstances’ a person can be saved with implicit faith, if God wills it.

    However, those, who through no fault of their own do not know either the Gospel of Christ or his Church, can achieve salvation by seeking God with a sincere heart and by trying to do God’s will (Second Vatican Council). Although God can lead all people to salvation, the Church still has the duty to evangelize all men.-CCC 848

    St.Thomas Aquinas says God will ‘provide the helps necessary for salvation’ by sending a person to baptize the one needing help in this extraordinary situation OR telling the person what he needs to do.

    Here we are in a conceptual area, open to theories since this is the nature of the baptism of desire etc which cannot be explicitly known to us humans.
    St.Thomas Aquinas also said that everyone with no exception needs to be a visible member of the Catholic Church for salvation. De facto everyone needs to enter. De jure there could be the man in the forest for St.Thomas Aquinas. He did not have a problem with de facto and de jure.

    On the Saint Benedict Centre website, the community founded by Fr.Leonard Feeney in New Hampshire,USA it is written, that Fr.Leonard Feeney knew that his view on the Baptism of Desire was only an opinion.
    Finally everyone’s view on the Baptism of Desire is ONLY AN OPINION. De jure. This is seen clearly in CCC 1257.
    It reminds one of Jesus’ saying that ‘he who does not collect with me disperses’ and ‘those who are not against us are for us.’

    9.When it is said that only those who know about the Catholic Church need to enter to avoid Hell (Ad Gentes 7) we can mistake this to mean only this category of people are on the way to Hell. Instead we know that all non Catholics are on the way to Hell with no exception ( ex cathedra dogma) and if there is any one among them who is in invincible ignorance etc it will be known only to God.

    Those who are in invincible ignorance can be saved-and this does not conflict with the ex cathedra dogma that everyone with no exception needs to enter the Church to avoid Hell. It is a conceptual, de jure understanding.

    So the Catechism is not asking us to reject the notion that one can be saved without the Sacraments according to the ordinary way of salvation. (Redemptoris Missio 55).If one says it does it is a misinterpretation of the Catechism.

    Where it refers to being saved without the Sacraments it is referring to that exceptional case, which in ‘certain circumstances'(Letter of the Holy Office 1949) are known only to God. We do not even know if there has been any case of the Baptism of desire during our lifetime.

    A.Practically speaking everyone needs to enter the Catholic Church to go to Heaven.

    B.Theoretically (de jure, in principle) a person can be saved through implicit faith (if God wills it) even without the Baptism of water.This is the official teaching of the Church.

    B is in accord with the Catechism which mentions the Baptism of water as a concept (it cannot be anything else other than a concept)

    B is in accord with Fr.Leonard Feeney who mentioned the Baptism of Desire (catechumen).It was a concept in his mind (something dejure).

    B is in accord with the website of the Saint Benedict Centre,one of Fr.Leonard Feeney’s communities, which defines the Baptism of Desire. A definition is a concept.

    So when Simon Rafe says in his e-mail to me that ‘Non-Catholics can be saved, DESPITE their failure to be a visible member of the Church. This is the teaching of the Church.’ it is true ( de jure, in principle). However de facto everybody with no exception needs to be a visible member of the Catholic Church, Jesus’s Mystical Body to go to Heaven and avoid Hell.

    -Lionel Andrades

    _______________________________________________________________________________

    Simon Rafe

    Simon Rafe is a former undergraduate in the Department of English Language and Linguistics at Sheffield University, England. An immigrant to the United States, he is an adult convert to Catholicism, formerly being what he describes as a “militant atheist”. Simon has been heavily involved in the Internet for over a decade, working as a webmaster and performing web design for several companies in the UK. He is well-versed in the ethos of the “New Evangelization”, having both found his wife and come to know Christ and the Catholic Church thanks to the Internet. He is the author of the book “Where Did The Bible Come From?” and consultant-author for the Saint Michael’s Basic Training series.

    ——————————————————————————–

Vatican Weighs in On Middle East Christian Crisis

Tuesday, June 8, AD 2010

The Vatican  released a working paper during Pope Benedict XVI’s pilgrimage to Cyprus to prepare the way for a crisis summit of Middle East bishops in Rome. What I take away from this- along with the Holy See’s call for lifting the blockade of Gaza- is something of a vindication for my more raw views urging for a sea change in American Catholic opinion and action regarding the overall situation in the Middle East, and in Israel-Palestine in particular.

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14 Responses to Vatican Weighs in On Middle East Christian Crisis

  • We really need to get even-handed if we even want to have credibility in the larger Arab world- something the polls indicate we are sorely lacking- to be it mildly.-Tim Shipe

    “Even-handed” in relation to the Arab world of progrom-states and their target is… what, exactly?

    Hamas and extremist Jewish settler movements…

    Conjoining those two categories leads one into a muddle. Let’s have a look at how many missiles, homicide bombers, etc. the two groups, normal Hamas supporters and ‘extremist’ Jewish settlers, have used to terrorize their neighbors.

  • Bravo. There won’t be peace in the Middle East until Americans, including Catholics, stop spoiling Israel and start treating it like we treat every other nation.

    I think this is the one area of Obama’s presidency where I think Obama has been more positive than negative-though he still does too little.

    Conjoining those two categories leads one into a muddle. Let’s have a look at how many missiles, homicide bombers, etc. the two groups, normal Hamas supporters and ‘extremist’ Jewish settlers, have used to terrorize their neighbors.

    The settlers have no need of such tactics since they’re supported by the Israeli military. If they need force, they don’t strap on a bomb; they have the planes drop a bomb instead. It is unquestionable that settlers, at the behest of the government, have continued to expand and continued to take Palestinian land. This is clearly not a motive of peace but one of a desire to usurp and it ought to be opposed.

  • “The settlers have no need of such tactics since they’re supported by the Israeli military.”

    The body count would seem to indicate that the Israeli military then is doing a poor job. From 2000-2008 I believe 45 Palestinians have been killed at the hands of Settlers while 238 Settlers have been killed at the hands of Palestinians. In regard to umbrage at the Settlers, I am a bit puzzled. I have heard some people here at AC condemn Arizona’s law against Mexican illegal aliens as Nazi-like. Perhaps any moral difficulty with the Israeli Settlers could be cured if we simply consider them to be illegal aliens on the West Bank?

    Of course I believe the preferred term would be undocumented immigrants. Someone else on the net has already taken the Israeli Settlers as undocumented immigrants concept and ran with it:

    http://bikyamasr.com/wordpress/?p=12393

  • Tim, the political leadership in the West Bank, Gaza, and the camps want no settlement that is not constructed on the ruins of the Jewish state. Deal with it, please.

  • The body count would seem to indicate that the Israeli military then is doing a poor job. From 2000-2008 I believe 45 Palestinians have been killed at the hands of Settlers while 238 Settlers have been killed at the hands of Palestinians.

    Don:

    Here is an opposing view which objects to the stats you and your favorite paper, the NYT, toss about.

    http://www.ifamericansknew.org/media/nyt-report.html

    Statistics are like “you know whats”. Everybody has one.

  • Art Deco – I agree with your post whole-heartedly.

    The Pope is wrong here. Israel can give up its blockade after he sends the Swiss Guard home. Before this flotilla stunt, did anyone know that Gaza was being blockaded? A response like this from the Holy See indicates that the stunt has worked.

    The Jews have built a beautiful, thriving country in the desert within the span a 50 years. A feat the Arabs have not managed to do in their own countries for centuries. This whole thing is about envy.

    Arab Christians are being routed by whom exactly? This is not a difficult question to answer.

  • Fuji, your calling the New York Times my favorite newspaper is almost as humorous as your citing If Americans Knew, an organization which is bitterly hostile to Israel. Paul Findley is on its board. Findley was the pro-abort and pro-PlO Republican Congressman from Springfield in my state of Illinois. Thanks to my efforts, along with the efforts of many others, he became an ex-Congressman in 1982.

    I would as soon accept a press release from Hamas as a credible source, as I would anything put out by If Americans Knew.

  • The ADL has some interesting information linked below on Alison Weir who runs If Americans Knew.

    http://www.adl.org/Israel/anti_israel/alison_weir/anti-Semitism.asp?m_flipmode=3

  • Fuji,

    You’ve completely misunderstood the purpose of the If Americans Knew “study” — it doesn’t deal at all with whether the statistics which the NY Times publishes about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict are accurate, it deals with how often deaths on each side are mentioned in the headline or the first paragraph of an article. Its claim is not that the NY Times presents false information, but that it talks more about the deaths of some people than those of others.

    An example of this would be, if one news story said, “A Hamas suicide bomber blew himself up in a shopping center, killing three Israeli adults and two children.” and then the next day another story began, “The Israeli defense minister promised to take ‘strong action’ in retaliation for the attack Monday which killed five Israelis, including two children, at a crowded shopping center,” this ‘study’ would consider that to be reporting 200% of the number of Israeli dead, since they were mentioned in two separate stories.

    Nor is the statistic that Palestinians kill more Settlers than Settlers kill Palestinians inconsistent with the fact that overall far more Palestinians have died in the conflict than Israelis, since obviously not all Israelis are settlers and not all Palestinians killed (indeed, very few) are killed by settlers.

  • You can take your rose-colored spectacles off when viewing Israel and still conclude that Hamas and other Islamofascist groups are evil. Not blindly supporting Israel is not a tacit approval of all things Arab and/or Muslim.

    In regards to this so-called peace flotilla – it is obvious that it was a false flag operation designed to denigrate Israel and it is working. In regards to Israel – they are a far better friend than Arab/Muslim states – but they are not a very good friend.

    Israel has a right to exist and to defend herself and I would argue to occupy territories the UN and the British gave to Egypt and Jordan for her defense. Who constantly gets screwed as Muslims and Arabs use the Palestinian Arabs as a tool to beat the West with? Not Israel – the Palestinian Arabs do. The people, especially the children and most especially the Christians suffer at the hands of so-called Palestinian leadership, a secular Jewish state that engages in horrible behavior and the UN and other Arab states.

    Now that we have allowed the Isalmofascists to indoctrinate generations it is practically impossible to work for peace and no one wants it anyway – no one save for possibly the Pope and the poor Christians who live in the Holy Land.

    Can peace be brokered – we can hope – but it is doubtful until the King returns. Muslims specifically never enter a permanent peace with anyone in Dar Al Harb (the House of War). They certainly won’t enter a permanent peace with Jews – Mohammad practically built his religiology on capture of booty, imperialism and slaughter of Jews. Not to mention copious copies of the Torah and Nestorian heresies.

    Strategically speaking, the USA would be fools to turn our backs on Israel – but having blind support for her is just as foolish. I don’t necessarily fault Israelis for their bad behavior, historically speaking – they were coming from a very frightening place and fear makes you do stupid things – they are nevertheless, still responsible but that does not absolve the British for solving their Jewish-problem with better PR than the Nazis. Instead of killing the Jews, the British shipped them out of England to their own homeland – neglecting to tell them they promised the same land to the Arabs that had lived there since the 7th century.

    What did they think was going to happen? Had a different and more balanced solution been developed between 1917 and 1947 – the current mess could have been avoided. I doubt that is what those who want a weak and unstable mid-East wanted. Lebanon and Palestine had the best chance for Christianizing the rest of the Arab and Muslim lands – however, just like the Crusader Kingdoms – the West dropped the ball on supporting them and the price is war and the shrinking of the Christian population and the ascendancy of Islam. Make no mistake – Islam is an imperial totalitarian ideology and will align with the subversive Left in the West to gain entry and then turn on their tolerant, peace-loving, pot-smoking friends.

    If anyone can broker an honest peace in the Middle-East it would be the Pope, but he may need American guns.

  • How would the gallant Turkish (NATO member) army/navy respond to the following? A bunch of Armenian-Americans (two Israeli humanitarian groups already are planning such) get up a couple tons of humanitarian aid and stage a huge guerrilla theater propaganda extravaganza of bringing it to the six Armenians not yet murdered in Turkey. Or better analogy, do it for the Kurds fighting for their independence.

    Hamas, Hizbollah, etc. will end the terror war against Israeli civilians, women and children (and the Arab women and children they use as human shields) when the last Israeli is either murdered or driven into the sea.

    The Pope ought to denounce the Holy See bureaucRAT that came up with this hateful paper.

  • I don’t think you can figure out the justice of a conflict simply by counting up bodies. However, it is a fact that far more Palestinians than Israelis have died in the conflict.

  • I’ll take the Vatican seriously on matters concerning the Middle East, if they would express themselves in the same forthright manner on other wars and conflicts that plague the globe, in particular those that concern Catholics and Christians. The Catholic Church’s hollowness in these matters could be seen most clearly at work in early 2009. In December of 2008 the Israelis invaded Gaza to put an end to the constant rocket barrage, and my how the Catholic press and heirarchy waxed eloquent, counterpoising each other with elavated talk about ‘just war’, ‘human rights’ and the rest of it, not stinting to blame the Israelis by name for all manner of wrongs real and imagined. The bishop here in Singapore (where I live) got on the bandwagon and launched an appeal for Gaza.

    Three months later, in March the Sri Lankans launched their final push into Jaffna, when the dust settled more than 20,000 civilians were dead. Given the proportion of Catholics in Jaffna, it is reasonable to surmise that the number of Catholic dead alone exceeded the total death toll in Gaza. Yet where was the Vatican in all this? Why was no appeal launched for them? Does the criteria of ‘just war’ not apply to the darker nations? Apart from generalised handwringing, nothing much was heard from our Vatican friends. No one tagged the Sri Lankan army with brutality. Their reticence doubtless owed much to the restraining hand of Msgr Malcolm Ranjith, himself a Ceylonese and thus in a position to know that the government would take out any displeasure on the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka.

    This in essence is the well established pattern of Vatican hypocrisy; when it comes to Israel, break out the tomes on jus ad bellum and set them terms that no nation in history has been able to follow, and thereby not incidentally burnish the Vatican’s own street cred with the Muslims at the expense of Jews. On the other hand, when it comes to countless attacks against Christians, from Nigeria to Pakistan to Indonesia, put out a pro forma declaration hoping that the problem goes away.

  • An aside. But perhaps an example of how diplomacy doesn’t work, or at least works poorly:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/08/AR2010060805406.html

Son of Hamas Founder Converted to Christianity, Helped Israel

Friday, February 26, AD 2010

Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of Hamas co-founder Sheikh Hassan Yousef has a just written a book, Son of Hamas which is surely going to cause some controversy. Mosab, who now resides in California, writes about how starting in 1996 he became an informant for Israel, passing information about suicide bombers and terrorist attack to Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, from the innermost circles of Hamas.

He tracked down suicide bombers and their handlers from his father’s organisation, the Haaretz newspaper said.

Information supplied by him led to the arrests of some of the most- wanted men by Israeli forces, including Marwan Barghouti, a Fatah leader tipped as a potential president, who was convicted of masterminding terrorist attacks, along with one of Hamas’s top bombmakers, Abdullah Barghouti, who is no relation of the jailed Fatah chief.

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10 Responses to Son of Hamas Founder Converted to Christianity, Helped Israel

  • A wonderful story Darwin. He of course will now be a marked man by Hamas, unless the influence of his father can protect him.

  • Now who could doubt a French communist paper? No Karlson, although it is an article of faith of the Israel hating Left, the Mossad did not create Hamas.

  • I’m not entirely clear what your point is, Henry. Yes, there are persistent rumors that Mossad initially gave some covert support to Hamas in hopes that they would weaken other Palestinian nationalist organizations. However, even if one accepts that as entirely correct, it doesn’t change the fact that Hamas is in fact run by Palestinian nationalists and religious radicals, and that it is in no way controlled by Israel or doing what Israel wants at this point. This is like when people point to the fact that the US supported Islamist insurgents against the Soviets in Afghanistan back in the 80s and then make the irrational leap from there to suggesting that Al Qaeda is in some sense US controlled or doing what the US wants.

    If anything, it’s a good example of why governments should be very leery of helping nationalist insurgent movements in hopes of some pragmatic gain. But I’m not clear what bearing it’s supposed to have on the story of Mosab Yousef, either his work against terrorism or his conversion to Christianity.

  • Let’s look at this clearly:

    The son himself is more or less admitting the family work with Hamas is all as informants for Israeli intelligence. That it has been suggested, with good evidence, that his father was indeed doing that from the beginning, and we see him saying he was doing it, there is a good case that the whole Hamas was indeed just that. And if we see that is the formation, then it is not hard to see further actions, even now, are in line with the Mossad and at their orders. Something is fishy with his story (as with many other “former Hamas” who then create all kinds of legends about Palestinians which are false).

  • No, Henry, that’s not looking at it clearly, that’s looking at it nonsensically.

    If there’s serious evidence which seems credible to those in Gaza that Sheikh Yousef works for Israel, why does he continue to be revered by Palestinian nationalists and elected to the Palestinian Parliament, even as he’s imprisoned by the Israelis?

    He in no way says that his whole family are informants for Israel, in fact he says the _opposite_. Where are you getting that?

    I mean, seriously, what are you trying to suggest here? That Israel is fighting a proxy war against itself through Hamas just to keep the Palestinians in Gaza down and have an excuse to cause trouble? And that in the process, the totally innocent populace, which would on its own have no interest in such a movement unless provoked by the evil Israelis, were in the process duped into elected Hamas as their dominant political party in Gaza? Surely that’s not where you’re going. That makes about as much sense as the old Protocol Of The Elders of Zion narratives, and probably springs from roughly the same instincts.

    Seeing defectors from violent and despotic regimes join the other side is hardly unusual. There was, for instance, a steady trickle of defections (some of them fairly high level) from the communist bloc countries to various Western nations throughout the height of the Cold War. And exactly what “legends about Palestinians which are false” are being spread here?

    I get that you have a strong dislike of Israel, but don’t lead that into accepting every crack-pot theory you run into on the “internets”. That way lies madness (or at least extreme conversational tedium.)

  • Lovely case of the apple not only falling far from the tree, but being an entirely different type of fruit.

    Hope the guy has a CC license.

  • I think that the historical record is pretty clear that the geo-politics of the U.S. and also that of Israel- was from the 50’s well into the 80’s, that the threat to the status quo was found in Arab/Persian secular nationalist movements- this led to many decisions to support in mostly covert ways- the Islamist movements- which they hoped would be ultimately controllable much like the conservative but radical House of Saud- just keep a lid on the people redirecting them from concerns over foreign dominance in the economy and so forth. Fromkin’s treatise on the history from after WWI – A Peace to End all Peace- is necessary reading.

    Of course, I don’t find too many on the Right here in America willing to accept the fact that the causes of many of America and Israel’s current problems of security are found in the geopolitics of the past decades- just as not many are fond of looking squarely at the question of just what are America’s “interests” that have defined our collective governmental and corporate behavior towards other nations and lands over the past decades. I am a Catholic and an idealist- I don’t accept the philosophical premises of Pragmatism or Real Politick- so I took Pope John Paul II’s advice and looked at the root causes of Middle Eastern terrorism and Palestinian violence, and found many unsavory partnerships, historical patterns of imperialism/neo-imperialism, and flaws all around. The choice to try to quell, disrupt or destroy nationalist movements across the Middle East- before the Islamists were dominant- similar to the way the U.K. decided to deal with the Irish Catholics by way of overwhelming force and dehumanization- these approaches led to more rage and temptation to violence- that much is certain in my mind.

    If one wants to box in the Left as America haters, then I would return the favor and declare that the Right is the group of ideologues that loves America but could care less for the rest of the world. Of course, since I am not a Leftist ideologue I don’t believe that either statement above is true- but the true Left and Right believers seem to really believe that all criticisms coming from the Left or Right are always wrong- never right- and that approach to things is decidedly one-sided, ideological, and definitely contrary to the life and teaching example of our Magisterium/Holy See on matters related to global politics. I want to be defined by my love of Truth, not by my hatred to one or another ideological group that will soon change, fade or die off.

    For the record- I don’t support or condone Hamas terror attacks, I don’t support Israel’s rejection of Palestinian rights to a true independent nation, I don’t support the huge flow of American tax money and political clout to support Israel’s rejection of the Palestinian case according to international law and UN resolutions- as well the Holy See and Holy Land Hierarchical positions on such. I do support the positions of the Holy Land’s Catholic Hierarchy- and I reject the idea that American Catholics know better than Palestinian Catholics, the situation dealing with Muslims and Israelis in Israel/Palestine. I spent 3 months living with Palestinian Catholics to research some of this at the ground level. Not many who have actually spent time with the people and the clergy there in the Holy Land come away from the experience and fall all over themselves praising the U.S. and Israeli policies- quite the contrary- so either the palestinian Catholics are excellent brain-washers, or the facts on the ground just scream the truth which only a brute could ignore.

  • I’m not clear that it is the case that conservatives reject the notion that the problems in today’s Middle East are to a great extent the result of the machinations of the Western powers after the Great War and WW2. It’s fairly obvious that the fact that the Allies helped bring European ideas of ethnic and cultural nationalism to the Middle East in order to undermine Turkey, and in the process ended up promising multiple groups the same territory, would result in nationalist strife. Indeed, both Israelis and Palestinians can rightly feel aggrieved in that the European powers had at various time promised both Arabs and Jews control over the entire region.

    However, I think what conservatives (rightly) reject is that the fact that the Middle East was infected with ideas of ethnic nationalism and then forced into a highly compromised set of borders somehow means that the behavior of nationalistic groups in the region is somehow justified.

    At this point, it’s been a very, very long time since the ’48 and ’67. I think the best and most Catholic outcomes would be either:

    – For the West Bank and Gaza strip to cease thinking of themselves as temporary camps until they’re able to return to lands within Israel’s current borders, and instead focus on building a stable and peaceful country where they are now

    – Even better, for people to get past that nationalistic idea that each ethnic/cultural group should have its own exclusive state. Israel has, at least, made more progress in this area than any other country in the region, in that it has had throughout its history Arab Muslim and Druze members of the Knesset. While I would see it as better if Israel was simply a “state” rather than a “Jewish state”, it is by far the freest and most egalitarian country in the region to live in — so long as one isn’t bent on blowing up its citizens.

Conservative Catholicism And Liberal Islam

Wednesday, May 6, AD 2009

I just finished reading Thomas F. Madden’s Empires of Trust: How Rome Built–and America Is Building–a New World, and I’m planning to write a couple posts shortly reviewing the book and the ideas it presents. As a prelude of sorts, however, I’d like to revisit some thinking I did a while back:

A month or so ago I finally had the chance to read Steven Vincent’s account of life outside the green zone in post-war Iraq: In The Red Zone. It’s a very fair book, and worth a read whether you support the war in Iraq or not. The author, since then killed in Iraq by militants, was a New York art reporter who watched the attacks on 9-11 and supported the Iraq war. Having supported the war, he felt like he should go over and see what was really happening over there. The book has the advantage of being writing from a culture writer’s point of view rather than a political writer’s. And although Vincent starts out as an enthusiastic supporter of the project, he ends unsure whether it’s possible for democracy to flourish in Iraq. (I’d be curious to read later work by him and see what he thought of the elections and the provisional constitution, both of which post date his book.)

This reminded me of my long held intention to read more about Islam, so I pull off the shelf the copy of Living Islam(now apparently out of print) by Ahbar S Ahmed which I’d bought on remainder some nine years ago and had been meaning to read ever since. Living Islam is half cultural history, half apologia (think a very, very light weight version of Letters To A Young Catholic with lots of pictures and basic intro information.)

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32 Responses to Conservative Catholicism And Liberal Islam

  • Great post, and it gets to the heart of what has puzzled me as well. For instance, in reading Mark Steyn’s America Alone, I certainly agreed with his analysis about the dim prospect of Europe’s future based on the influx of (for lack of a better term) radical Muslims. Yet at the same time we’re trying to instill a democracy in a Muslim state that would be dominated by those very forces. (Of course we can get into all sorts of side debates about whether the war in Iraq was useful in other respects, and whether or not democratization ought to be a goal of our foreign policy, etc. Hopefully this thread will remain on point and not delve into those issues for now).

    Similarly, I often see Muslim “dissidents” on the likes of O”Reilly and other conservative talk shows. I forget the most prominent one, but I’m sure you all know I am talking about – she’s a Muslim female that’s written several books critical of Islam. But I can’t help thinking that I’d be pretty annoyed if Richard McBrien was on a talk show in Saudi Arabia peddling the same talking points, only in support of moderating Catholicism. Like Darwin, I tend to favor the more orthodox members of any religious group, but there’s a tension in trying to promote Islamic orthodoxy while also hoping for a freer and more democratic climate in such places.

  • Good post Darwin.

    Islam may simply be incompatiable with our Western institutions. Bruce Bawer and Spengler are worth a look here.

    http://www.city-journal.org/2009/19_2_pim-fortuyn.html

    http://www.firstthings.com/spengler/?p=76

  • It’s a thorny issue. On the one hand, I don’t care at all about whether Muslims are more ‘orthodox,’ if being ‘orthodox’ means denying human rights. In that case, the more unorthodox the better from my perspective. But I hope this isn’t the case. The world would be a better place if, as in Christianity and Judaism, orthodox Islam was compatible with respect for human rights, or required it.

  • It’s a tough question, and I don’t know that there is a solution, apart from clear-eyed pragmatism. Essentially, work with the various forms of Islam where it advances the common good (as understood in Catholic terms) and let the rest of the chips fall where they may. I agree that holding up, say, an Irshad Manji as an exemplar of Islamic thought won’t get you any traction in the greater Islamic world, never mind her qualities as a thinker or writer. It’s of a par with my reading of some well-meaning ignoramus’ suggestion in the immediate post-9/11 aftermath that the works of Mustapha Kemal be translated into Arabic as part of a reform effort. Um, no.

    We don’t have much say with if or how Islam will make the necessary adjustments to modernity, much less put our imprimatur on a particular approach (I know that’s not what you’re suggesting). That’s really up to them, and all we can do is react to it.

  • Darwin,
    I think there’s another category of Muslim beyond the secular ones lauded by Fox News and the conservatives who don’t really accept human rights. I would argue Islam doesn’t need Luther of Spong, it needs to replace fundamentalism with Resourcement and aggiornamento, and there are scholars, some more liberal, some more conservative, engaged in that. Tariq Ramadan, in Switzerland, is probably the most prominent, although he still doesn’t move far enough to the “individual human rights and dignity” model we’d like to see take hold in Islam. Khaled Abou el-Fadl at UCLA seems to be on a similar project and more amenable to thoughtful Western religious conservatives.

    The French scholar Olivier Roy, in his book The Globalization of Islam argues that most of the currents we see in Islam, from the Salafism of bin Laden to the modern Islam of Ramadan, are the result of Islam taking on a more Western model. Rather than being a religion primarily about communal norms and practices, at it was traditionally, it has absorbed the Western focus on the individual achieving salvation. For the Salafists, that means individuals trying to live according to strict imitation of Muhammad and his early followers. For others, it’s developing new habits of prayer, scriptural study, moral casuistry (like the modern phenomenon of Islamic banking), evangelization. I’ve heard Roy originally wanted to call his work “The Christianization of Islam” but that was too controversial. It seems to me that this focus on individual salvation may prepare Islam for a personalism grounded in its tradition and scripture, although I don’t know enough about either to ascertain how certain that is. If it is possible, it would mean Christianity (particularly the Catholic Church) needs to engage with Muslims in the West to encourage this possibility, and both need to make more connections with institutions in the Muslim world to encourage it. One way to start would be for Western Muslims like Abou el Fadl to have a greater role training the Ulama, Islam’s authorities on Sharia. Until there’s someone like John Courtney Murray in a majority-Muslim country, and he’s accepted rather than persecuted, ostracized, or silenced, I don’t know when that might be possible though.

    Also, some of the sufi groups, in Turkey particularly but also in W. Africa and maybe South and Central Asia, seem to have a model for Islam that may be open to a humanist or personalist outlook.

  • Islam has never developed the concept of Mosque and State. Islam is the state. The Church, spending the initial three centuries usually in opposition to the Roman Empire, has often allied herself with the state, but the division between Church and State has always been a fact of life in the West. All states in Muslim areas are illegitimate to the extent that they deviate from the rule that Islam is the state. Kemal Ataturk in Turkey accomplished a miracle by defying this. Whether this miracle will prove viable long term over centuries is very much in doubt. I hope, for our own security, that we will see more regimes like Turkey and now Iraq, but based upon the history of Islam I am pessimistic.

  • Darwin,

    Excellent post.

    In my opinion it will be nearly impossible to find a form or strand of Islam that would be able to engage the world in a positive manner and share the same views on human rights as Jews, Christians, and Buddhists view them.

    In Islam God is absolutely transcendent which leaves no room at all for the individual. The identity of the individual emanates from God, hence the individual is an instrument rather than having any autonomy whatsoever in the Judeo-Christian sense. The individual in Islam has a reality, but it is contingent upon God.

    Hence the notion of human rights in the West never came to fruition in Islam. An excellent example is the radical notion of a nation-state which is completely absent in Islam. Not until the 20th century has this notion taken hold in Islam. The Ottoman Empire is a continuation of Mohammad’s empire that united the Arabian peninsula. Ask any Muslim in most countries, especially in a Muslim dominated country, and their answer is they are Muslim first, Turk, Persian, Arab second.

    A faulty parallel in the west would be communism or fascism, where the state supersedes the individual. So it is in Islamic theology that God supersedes absolutely every detail of life. Hence why the other notion of ‘Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar, render unto God that which is God’s’ never existed in Islam. The notion of separation of Mosque and State is alien to Muslims. To think politically is identical to as to think theologically. Not even the ‘model Muslim’ country of Turkey is immune. They declare a purely secular state, yet the government funds the building of mosques and the training of preachers.

    So this leaves us the conundrum of what model in Islam can we engage that will benefit both societies? Sadly, there is no model.

    Though there is hope. The Sufi form of Islam is quite engaging and more humanistic than what the Sunni’s, Shiite’s, and Salafists have to offer.

    There is no Bishop Spong, no Martin Luther, but possibly an aggiornamento in the likes of Khaled Abou el-Fadl at UCLA as Zach pointed out. Though it’s going to be a slow process that may take decades if not centuries for a more humanistic form of Islam to emerge.

  • May peace be upon you.
    I am a Muslim and let me explain certain things about Islam that you westerners don’t quite get along with.

    First of all, what basic human right that Islam doesn’t encourage?We are talking about education, the right to inherit, free speech, and such. I gotta tell ya, it’s al inscripted inside the very words of the Quran.

    Alright let me tell you some thing, in case you don’t know, the first revelation of the Holy Quran is about learning. It goes ,

    “Read, in the name of the God who created”

    The first word is about learning. So it is clear that Islam promotes learning to all mankind. Not just to men, but also unto women. In fact, Prophet Muhammad once said that learning is compulsory upon Muslim (men) and Muslimah (women). There is no restriction for women to learn, to gain knowledge. They have just the same right as men does.

    I guess for you to find a true scholar from an Islamic country to get to know what is it all about with Islam. And dont get mixed up traditional rights and cultural views. Coz most of your misunderstanding and misconception derives from the very misleading cultural rites that doesn’t belong to Islam.

    I am a Malaysian. I am a Muslim. And in Malaysia we don’t really had any major argument with the people of other faiths especially the Christians.They respect our religion as well as we respect theirs.

    In Islam, we need to believe in the earlier prophets before Muhammad (peace be upon him).And that includes our Prophet Jesus Christ (Isa Al-Masih ibn Maryam) and Prophet Moses (Musa).If we don’t believe in any one of these Prophets, our Faith in Islam wouldn’t be whole.

    Also, we have to believe in the earlier Books which are the Bible (Injeel) revealed upon Jesus Christ the Prophet and Torah (Taurat) revealed unto Moses.

    Islam encourages its follower to speak up their mind. But also, in Islam we have our own guidance of doing so.We cannot say something that is not truth as in lying, and spreading rumours. It is forbidden in Islam. Islam is all about saying the truth.

    And when you say that Islam doesn’t allow its followers to choose the way they want to lead their lives as in what to wear, to drink, to socialize etc, that is because in Islam, if you were to live in te Faith, then you have to follow every rites and rules.You cannot choose what to follow and what not to follow.if you are a Muslim, you have to follow every single thing.That’s why we don’t recognize any form of “LIberal Islam” because there is no such thing! It is either you choose to be a Muslim or not.AND once you already a Muslim, you cannot simply quitting the religion just like that. Muslims are very adhere to their religion. Someone who chooses freely to quit from being a Muslim is a major sinner!Thus he should be killed. And as a non- Muslim, you cannot argue about this because it is not your religion.To us Muslims, it is revealed by God himself, so we have to adhere.Just as you are with your religion right?

    Believe me, in Islam, every single rules and rites has its own explaination and benefits. See, I am not a pious man, I am not an Ulama or Imam, but I strongly believe and have faith in my religion that is Islam and I am proud with it.

    It is not fair for you westerners to judge our religion as you are not a part of it. If you really are looking for the truth, you should be honest with yourself and be fair.try to confer to any world renowned Ulamas or Imams.

    I take it that you too have strong and firm believe in your faith.so you shouldn’t be scared if the truth is all you are looking for.

    You sure know about our politician Anwar Ibrahim right?He is an example of a well-rounded Muslim. He lives by his faith in the religion and is a successful figure in the world.

    We Malaysians are not blessed with oil wealth like most Islamic countries especially the Arabs.But we do well with our economic models and social interaction with our fellow non – Muslims Malaysians. How do we suppose to do that if our religion is so intolerants and barbaric as you westerners portray?

    Again, I suggest you to have a dialog, or conference with Muslim leaders in the world, who can give you detailed explaination about this religion of our own.
    We used to have Benazir Bhutto,and we still have our own Anwar Ibrahim and Hasanal Bolkiah (Sultan of Brunei). If you come to Malaysia, you’ll get alot of informations and figures to confer so that you can have an extended knowledge about Islam.

    Again, I suggest for you to be fair and just when you are commenting about other people’s religion.

    Thanks for your time and space.

    May peace be upon you.

  • I agree with Mr Tito.
    Thus the conclusion is, just leave us with our own religion as we do unto yours.
    We never argue about yoru religion. We never comment what you are doing in the Churces.
    Why should you ever be so jealous with our state of religious believe?
    Islam is Islam. Christianity is Christianity.
    There shoudn’t be any argument from both sides of the world.

  • Kamarul,

    Thanks for joining us. One question I have. How do you seen Islam and Christianity working together where the two religions exist side by side? How do we resolve conflicts between the two?

  • Mr. Kamarul Azhar,

    Thank you for participating in this discussion. I share some of your views from a Christian point of view.

    I believe we as Christians (most of us anyway) do not want to change Islam. What we would like, as Phillip noted, how do we work together in order to be able to live side by side in peace and harmony? How do we resolve conflicts when they arise?

  • Kamarul Azhar,

    First, I’d like to thank you very much for taking the time to provide us with such a lengthy explanation. I think it’s always fruitful when believers are able to explain their religious beliefs to each other without in the process compromising or watering-down their faiths.

    In Catholicism we use a Latin phrase meaning “peace be upon you” which is, “Pax vobiscum”. The response to this is, “Et cum spiritu tuo” or “And with your spirit”. So if I may respond thus to your kind greeting:

    Et cum spiritu tuo

    As I hope I expressed clearly, being someone who believes strongly in the importance of the true interpretation of Christianity, I naturally sympathize with those who take their own faiths seriously within other faiths. Yet at the same time, I as a Catholic and you as a Muslim hold different beliefs about what is God’s will. So for instance, when you say:

    It is either you choose to be a Muslim or not.AND once you already a Muslim, you cannot simply quitting the religion just like that. Muslims are very adhere to their religion. Someone who chooses freely to quit from being a Muslim is a major sinner!Thus he should be killed. And as a non- Muslim, you cannot argue about this because it is not your religion.To us Muslims, it is revealed by God himself, so we have to adhere.Just as you are with your religion right?

    I find myself in disagreement, because as a Catholic I of course believe that it would be a good thing if a Muslim did indeed quit being a Muslim and became a Catholic. Just as, I am sure, you would believe it would be a good thing if I quit being a Catholic and became a Muslim; and in that sense if Catholics held that someone who quit being a Catholic should be killed, you would think that was a bad thing — because as a good Muslim you would see a Catholic becoming a Muslim to be a good thing, not a sin, and thus clearly not worthy of death.

    So I think it is in these kind of areas where we run into tensions. Clearly, as a Catholic, I can’t see it as good if Muslims were to execute a Muslim man who became Catholic, and in that sense I’d see it as a good thing if Muslims took a more “liberal” approach to that law. Not as a matter of offense to Muslims, but because with our different faiths we have different beliefs as to what God’s will is.

    Thank you again for your comment.

    Pax vobiscum.

  • Paul,
    I’m guessing you’re thinking of Ayan Hirsi Ali, though she’s by no means the only female Muslim dissenter out there.

  • Yeah, cminor, she’s the one I was thinking of.

  • Salam Aalay Kum Warahmatu-Lah,

    There is no way a truthful Muslim would compromise his religion just to conform with modernity.
    And by modernity means, something that is created out of logical thinking. Yes, to be logic, one shoudn’t be killed just because he chooses to quit from his original religion.This is logic, and this is what modern thinking is.

    But to us Muslims, what we human create is not for eternity. It will not be relevant in another hundred years. But what God sent to us, what God has revealed upon Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), will always be relevant and beneficial to all humankind, not just Muslims, till the Judgment Day.

    And for a Muslim, if he or she commit sins, it is favourable for them to be punished here according to Islamic Crime Law (Hudud)rather than to be punished later in the Judgment Day by God Himself because the punishment would be unbearable.So you see in most conservative Islamic country such as in Saudi, Iran and Afghanistan where they practice this Hudud Law, their crime rate is very low compared to other secular country.This can eventually discipline the people of the country.

    But if we take it logically, we would say, are they insane???to whip an adulterer 100 times?to amputate a thieve?this is barbaric!!!this is against human rights, we would say.

    but again, if human rights we are fighting for, we shouldn’t be unfair. we have to cater to all kind of human rights.some people would say it is a woman’s right not to wear hijab (covering their hair and most part of their body), but what about a man’s right not to look at those parts?are we willing to sacrifice any of these rights?i wouldn’t say so.

    In Islam, it is the right for men to lead a congregation prayer like Friday prayer.
    It is the right for women to take care of the house and the children.
    You, as logical thinking westerners might look at this as somewhat discriminating, but to us Muslims, it is not. It is our right!

    In Islam, a mother who constantly has to bear the hotness of the stove just because she is preparing meals for the family is guaranteed a place in the heaven.
    In Islam, a wife who willingly let her husband to marry another woman is guaranteed a golden umbrella and a throne during the Judgment Day where everybody would be assembled at an Assembly Field named Mahsyar in a very hot weather that the Sun is like only one inch from the heads.
    In Islam, the blessing of Allah (God) lies on the Blessing of the parents. And the status of a Mother is three times higher than the father.
    These are the rights in Islam. Basic human rights that we are talkiing about.

    Islam doesn’t cater to only human rights on this world of the day. Islam also caters to human rights in the Day After.This is what Islam is all about, to gain happiness and peace in this world, and in the world after.

    but we wont force these believe upon other people of other religions.so why shouldnt other people of other religions want to force their believe on us?

    In the Quran there’s a Phrase (Surah) which tells that the Non-Believers will always force their religion on Us the Muslims. and to them we shall say,

    “O ye non-believers!I don’t worship what you worship!
    ANd you also not worship what I worship!ANd I (again) don’t worship what you worship!And you (again) not worship what I worship!For you your religion, and for me mine!”

    May Peace be Upon You

  • Kamarul Azhar,

    You describe a number of ways in which Islam challenges the human rights notions of the West, but when you say, to Muslims, this is the way, or Muslims believe this, I must ask, according to who? Which school of jurisprudence (Madhab) should Muslims rely on? The Grand Mufti of Egypt, Ali Gomaa, who belongs to the Shafi’i school which is the most priminent Madhab in Malaysia, has argued that it is not permissible to execute a Muslim who converts to Christianity (see http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/7355515.stm). It is only certain Hadith, and not the Quran, which says apostasy should be punished with death, and the Quran says that “there is no compulsion in religion” (2:257). So I don’t understand the basis on which you can assert clearly that Islam says that someone who leaves Islam to become Christian must be killed.

  • I think Zak makes an important point, but even assuming it to be the case that Islam clearly states that apostates must be executed and theives must have their hands cut off, the disconnect here is that Catholics and Muslims have very different ideas of what God’s will is in regards to these matters.

    Clearly, if a Muslim believes that is God’s will that someone who leaves Islam and becomes Christian be killed, and if as a Catholic I believe that it is God’s will that that Muslim become Christian, then from my point of view if I did not attempt to twart that Islamic justice I would be violating God’s will. I’m not sure if perhaps this is different in Islam, but from my point of view as a Catholic God’s will applies to all people, not just members of one religion. So the fact that something is according to the tenets of Islam does not put it beyond the realm of critique. (I would assume that it is the same for you, that if as a Catholic I wanted to do something you believed was contrary to God’s will you’d see it as best to stop me.)

    And since I’m not really in a position to say what Islam should say from an internal perspective, I’m likely to look most kindly on those interpretations of Islam which clash least with my own understanding of God’s will.

    I don’t necessarily see an easy way around these difficulties, as we have very different ideas about God’s revelation to humanity. However it’s unquestionably a very good thing that we are able to discuss these things calmly and with charity towards each others beliefs.

    Pax vobiscum.

  • Dear friends, People of the Book,

    I think in trying to get the ultimate decision on how do we built that bridge which can link both the world of Islam and the Western Institution is by respecting each others rights and believes.

    We certainly never force our believe to the people who are not of the same faith. Thus, we expect others to treat us the same as well.

    About the differences of Mazhab (jurisprudence), they are different in interpretation of the Quran and the Hadith only. The fundamental beliefs are still the same. The situation is just the same like in Christianity, where you have Catholics, Methodist, Protestants, Seventh Day Adventist and such. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    Islam does not against any religions. In fact, during the reign of the Caliphate Al Rashidun, to the Abbasids, Umaiyyads, Fatimids, and the Ottomans, other religions are still flourished and secured, even when they were ruled by an Islamic Caliphate.In fact, even when we are labeled to be anti-Semitic, the Jewish people were treated accordingly under the rule of the Islamic Caliphate.It is not the Muslims, who initiate Hollocaust, if there were any.

    Yes, in the Quran, it is stated that there is no compulsion in religion.I beg you not to take this out of context because it means that if the people doesn’t want to accept Islamic teaching, then it is ok. Just as I said earlier, we have never force our religious belief unto other people of other religions.

    And for your information, what the Mufti of Egypt was saying is about the People of the Book. Which means the original believers of the faith that was brought by Prophet Moses and Jesus Christ.These people are considered to be believers of the same faith as Islam.
    I am sorry if my words would hurt you but in our point of view, the religion of Judaism and Christianity nowadays have been corrupted by some people with certain interests. Again, I apologize for that matter.

    Again, I would like to express here that Islam are not against any other religions. I have stated earlier that “For you your religion, and for me mine”.Thus, we expect with high gratitude that people of other religion would respect us, as much as we do respect them.

    The problem we face nowadays between the Islamic world and the Western cultures would not arise if both parties respect and embrace each others opinions and beliefs.We should not take that any of our ides as greater, or supreme than the other one. We should not see it from only one side of perspectives.

    To be honest. we Muslims despise the hedonist culture brought by Western Cultures. But we never condemn them as to attack any of these Western countries just because what they believe (total free speech and free will).

    And I would like to disassociate Islam with terrorism, which has been promoted by the Western media upon us.
    Islam is not Al-Qaeda. Islam is not Abu Sufyan.
    Islam is peace.Yes, Allah allows us to fight our enemies, and to be in war with our enemies, but there are actually guide lines to doing so. If we are in a war, we are not suppose to kill children, women, old folks, religious people in any home of worships,surrendered people, people without arms, livestocks, trees, animals and such. We are not allowed to ruin places of worship, regardless of any religion they are belong to.We are just required to fight those people who would not surrender, who fought us ( the armies). We are not suppose to harm civilians.

    We are not Al-Qaeda. We are not Abu Sufyan. We are not the Talibans.

    But we certainly support those people who fights because of protecting their home, their land, their country.In Islam, it is a major sin if we fled the battlefield while fighting for our home and country.
    Patriotism is highly regarded in Islam.

    But I should warn the West not to put us under pressure. We are peace loving people, but as peaceful as we are, we certainly would retaliate if we were attacked!Just as any civil society would do if their home and country being attacked for whatever reasons!

    Thus, I call for all people to unite regardless of what religion you belong to, because the bottom is we are all humans. And humanity should be upheld in whatever conditions.

    Salam Aalay Kum.
    Peace Be Upon You.

  • Kamarul Azhar: Thank you for joining in this conversation. I would like to know how Islam honors Mary, the mother of Jesus, who as you probably know is also very important to Catholics. It is my understanding that Mary is mentioned in the Quran, and that the Prophet himself said she was one of the most blessed women in Paradise.

    Many years ago I was told that devotion to Mary was something Catholics and Muslims had in common and might help bring about peace between the two faiths. Do you, as a Muslim, believe this is possible?

    Thank you, and peace be upon you!

  • Dear Ms Krewer,

    Yes, we do honor Mary (Maryam) as one of the most blessed women in history, and she is guaranteed a throne in the highest of all Heavens (Jannatul Firdausi), along with most Prophets, from Adam until Mohammad (peace be upon them).

    Mary was an “abid”. In those years, our Faith allows people to be highly devoted to only praying for the God.Mary is one of them.When she was conceived by her mother, initially her mother wanted a Son, so that he could be an “abid”.But after she gave birth to a daughter, her mother was praying so hard to God, and eventually God sent a revelation, saying that the baby girl (Mary), worth more than thounsands of Sons.

    So, Mary was raised by a Prophet, Zechariah.She was made an abid, and believed to be the most “sacred” of all Virgins.This is because as an abid, she had few interactions with anyone, let alone a Man.So, she is “pure” of all sins.

    Then, one day a Man came to her. She was terrified. Later, the Man told her that He wasn’t any Man. In fact, He was the Angel Gabriel.The Archangel. He told Mary that he got good tidings for her, that she was about to conceive a baby, whom one day would become a great man. Mary was confused, because she had never being touched by a Man before, then how could she possibly be pregnant?Then the Angel told her that it was God’s will that she got pregnant, not by any Men.

    But in Islam, we believe that Jesus Christ is not the Son of God. In fact, he was created by God, just as Adam was made, not begotten by God Himself. This is the different between Islam and Christianity beliefs.

    In Islam, God is one. God is Eternal. God has no Parents nor Children.

    Thank you.
    Salam Aalay Kum.

  • Kamarul Azhar,

    Thank you for sharing that bit on the Blessed Virgin. Many Christian prelates believe we can share in our devotion of Mary as a bridge towards peaceful coexistence and dialogue. Many Marian shrines across the world are visited by Muslims in great numbers to show their respects for her. It is a fascinating subject and one that can be fleshed out more among leading theologians from both the Christian and Islamic worlds.

    We also agree that God is one with Jesus and the Holy Spirit, the Triune God since all time. We do have differences of approach, but Christians are monotheists as with our older brothers the Jews and with Muslims.

    Pax vobiscum,

    Tito

  • Kamarul Azhar,

    Selamat datang. Saya tidak bisa berbicara dalam Bahasa Melayu, tapi saya tinggal di Indonesia selama beberapa bulan. Berbicara dalam Bahasa Indonesia sedikit. Yang itu agak serupa, ya?

    Terima kasih karena berkunjung. (Ma’af untuk kesalahan saya!)

  • Oh: Tito benar. Agama katolik menyatakan satu Tuhan. Doktrin Trinity tidak menunjukkan tiga tuhan!

  • Mr.J Christian,

    Sudah semestinya saya bisa memahami Bahasa Indonesia. Lagian, kitakan serumpun Bangsa. Akan tetapi, adalah lebih elok jika kita hanya berbicara dalam Bahasa Inggeris. Kan lebih mudah difahami oleh semuanya.

    Thus, from all of our discussions earlier I can conclude that we Muslims and Christians has a lot in common. So why don’t we share these commonness to bring our two worlds closer so that more ties and relations can be fostered.

    We shouldn’t see one beliefs as greater than the other. I say, stick to our own beliefs, but never question others beliefs. If we are very devoted and have good faith in our religions, thus we shoudn’t be scared or tempted by other faiths.

    I have explained the position of Jesus Christ in Islam. And that is my belief. You may either accept it or not.

    But, i would like to know what is the position of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon Him) in this sacred religion of Catholicism? I have had some discussions wth my Catholics friend in Malaysia, and they said there is someone mentioned in the Bible as “the comforter”. They said, he could be Prophet Muhammad.

    It could be because in the Quran, Allah has mentioned that the Prophet Muhammad is to bring Good News to all mankind. So He could be this “comforter” mentioned in the Bible.

    Is it true?Maybe anyone can clarify this?

    Salam Aalay Kum.

  • Kamarul has very eloquently and respectfully highlighted the difficulty that Christians must recognize in finding a path to peace with Islam.

    The crux of the problem is this: “Let there be no compulsion in religion.” (Sura 2: 256). Until all of Islam reconciles with that statement of the Koran, there will be no peace for those in and around Islamic states. Until this sura applies to those who wish to leave the religion, women who wish to be educated, or drive a car, or have coffee at a “co-ed” Starbucks, then there is no peace. Until many people don’t have to die as a result of a cartoon or the pope alluding to a violent nature in Islam, there is no peace.

  • Dear Matt,

    You seem to be urging the Muslim community to conformed with the Western norms. Until no party have to be doing what you just did, there will be no reconciliation between the Muslim world and the West.

    Again, I beg all of you, not to misinterpret the Quran. Misinterpretation of the Quran and the history of Islam such as by the Pope Himself has been known to spark hatred and anger among Muslims and non-Muslims.

    The Quran says, Let there be no compulsion in religion, only to those non-Muslims who has been given explaination and preachings about Islam, yet they don’t want to convert to Islam, then there is no compulsion upon them. This does not apply to Muslims, who already are Muslims, who were born Muslims, and yet they want to renounce the religion!I hope I have had this issue clarified.

    Of course women can be educated!I also have stated earlier in my many comments here about the compulsion of learning!The first revelation by God to The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon Him) is about learning.And it applies to all Muslims and Muslimah.
    “Read!By the name of thy God who creathed”
    The issue here is because some institution of learning, especially in the West, they don’t allow the Muslimah students to be wearing hijab, or simply head-scarfs to cover their heads!This is the main discrimination by the West upon Islam. To observe one aurat (areas to be covered by Muslims and Muslimah) is compulsory in Islam!Please understand our religion more before you made any commentary, sir!

    Of course women are allowed to drive a car!As long as she observes her aurat, and the intention of the journey is pure, and allowed by her mahram (care taker), than it is OK!You might refer to some jurisdiction like in Saudi Arabia where women are prohibited to drive, that is because in Saudi, the situation is rough. There are highway robbers like everywhere. Thus, in order to protect these women from any harm, and from any evil-intentions, they prohibit their women from driving alone.

    Please, not every community is the same like the Western community. We have to understand the culture, and sensitivity of the people of that particular place.Yet, we should always observe revelations by God as the utmost sacred rules and guidance.
    Like in Malaysia, our women enjoy the same privilege with their men counterparts. It is not because of Western modernization, mind you, but it is because of the mind set and the pure intentions of our founding fathers, who successfully interpret and adapt the teaching of Islam into our daily modern day.

    You don’t simply put the case of the Cartoon which portrays our beloved Prophet Muhammad as “just mere cartoons”!In Islam, we are prohibited to paint the image of the Prophets, angels, and God.The painting itself is an insult to us, let alone the false accusations made by the author upon Prophet Muhammad!
    What would you feel if someone insults Jesus Christ?You surely would retaliate right?

    Please, do not take Quran out of context, and please be more undrstanding towards Islam. And if you couldn’t, just don’t comment, because it is not your place to say anything that you know nothing of.

    Salam Aalay Kum.
    Peace be upon you.

  • Kamarul,

    you further highlight my point. While Catholics can agree that everyone must follow their religious obligations, we do not believe that anyone can be physically harmed by rape, beatings, or beheaded for straying or leaving their faith.

    the history of Islam such as by the Pope Himself has been known to spark hatred and anger among Muslims and non-Muslims.

    The pope implies their is a nature of violence within Islam results in massive violence by Muslims, and you say that the pope makes an error of history?

    What would you feel if someone insults Jesus Christ?You surely would retaliate right?

    Christ set the example in this case when he turned the other cheek to the Roman soldier who slapped him. While attacks on Christ are offensive to us, violence is not the appropriate response.

    I do recognize that not all Islamic nations apply sharia uniformly, but as you said, Muslims agree that it is acceptable to physically punish men and especially women who stray from the religious observance.

    I understand all I need to about Islam. THere will be no peace with Islam until Islam accepts that there is NO compulsion in religion, and that includes compulsion against “infidels”, those who stray or those who wish to depart the religion.

  • Matt,

    “The pope implies their is a nature of violence within Islam results in massive violence by Muslims, and you say that the pope makes an error of history?”

    I thought the same thing when that happened… as if they were saying, “we’re going to show you how wrong you are about Islam being a religion of violence by having a violent protest!”

  • Thank you, Mr. Azhar, for sharing your thoughts on Mary. You confirmed something I had heard but wasn’t quite sure was true — that Muslims believe in the virgin birth of Jesus even though they regard Jesus as a prophet and not the Son of God.

    It is also my understanding that in the early centuries of Islam, from about 1000 to 1300 A.D. or so, Muslims (Moors) in Spain lived pretty much in peace with Christians and Jews, and developed a thriving intellectual and artistic culture. Muslim/Arab scholars made great strides in medicine and other sciences and invented the numbering system we use today (Arabic numerals). Imagine trying to do algebra (itself another Arabic term!) with Roman numerals — “if Train I travels CXL miles at LX miles per hour and Train II travels CXC miles at LXX miles per hour, which train will arrive first?”.

    So my next question is: what happened to the Muslim intellectual culture? Does it still exist anywhere today? Why did it seemingly disappear, and can anything be done to bring it back?

  • Elaine,

    The peace that existed in Spain at the period you mentioned is arguable. If there was peace it was one-way where Muslims lived in peace and Christians were 2nd class citizens.

    The numbering system was actually invented in India where the numbering system and algebra were invented by Hindus living under Islamic rule. It was transmitted via the Islamic caliphate to Spain where Christians were unaware of their origins so they attributed this to the Arabs incorrectly.

    As far as the disappearance of Muslim intellectual culture is concerned, some of it can be attributed to the finality of the Koran. The Koran is the final word of God and nothing else is needed because God gave final instruction in the Koran. This is mostly along the lines of Sunni thought and varies to degree in parts of the Muslim world where Sunni’s live.

  • Spanish History is one of my passions. 1100-1300 witnessed Spain in turmoil with the Almoravides and Almohades invasions from North Arica and the ongoing Christian reconquista. Some Christian kingdoms and Moorish kingdoms in Spain would sometimes be in temporary peace or temporary alliances, but overall this was a time of war.

  • One must also be reminded how exactly Islam “surged” from the Arabian peninsula to take over the Byzantine Empire, ultimately to Spain, Southern Italy and the Balkans. It was not the way that Christianity spread I assure you.

    Reading the Koran in context means understanding that the earlier sura’s were written while Muhammad did not possess power, while the later ones which under Islamic theology override, he had political and military power. The later sura’s describe the treatment of infidels who refuse to submit (dhimmitude) under Islamic rule, and the strategy of making tactical treaties with non-Islamic rule, but strictly temporary ones to allow time to consolidate power.

A Catholic Narrative of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Wednesday, April 8, AD 2009

A Catholic Narrative of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Over a decade ago, I read the story of a Palestinian priest living in a small village in Galilee. His name was Father Elias Chacour, and the book’s name was – Blood Brothers-. I made pilgrimage to the Holy Land and volunteered at Fr. Chacour’s school for some months, and traveled into the West Bank as well. What I saw and heard during my experiences there changed my life forever. I realized then that the Palestinians truly are the “victim’s of the Victims”, as Edward Said so eloquently phrased it, referring to the fact that the Jews, who were the biggest victims of World War II, were now in the position of the oppressor with respect to the Palestinian people.

From a Catholic vantage point, the American policy of pretty much one-sided support for the Israeli State is both detrimental to the cause of Holy Land Christians, and is a primary root cause of Middle Eastern anger and terrorism directed at otherwise innocent Israelis and Americans.

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39 Responses to A Catholic Narrative of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

  • The State of Israel encompasses 78% of historical Palestine…the remaining 22% was occupied by Israel in 1967, and this is all Palestinians want- a small part of what they had before 1947. They want that 22% to be free of occupation

    If only this were really true.

  • Considering that the PLO was founded in 1964 and under its original charter declared its intention to “liberate” all of Palestine, I’d say the ultimate goal of the PLO is to ensure that Jews rule in no part of Palestine. Everything else is for Western consumption. The evidence for this is overwhelming. For example Fatah is the largest component of the PLO. In March Muhammad Dahlan, former Fatah security commander, called on Hamas not to recognize Israel’s right to exist because Fatah never has done so, distinguishing Fatah from the PLO.

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1237114855755&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

    Of course all of this is part and parcel of Palestinian politics. Hamas controls Gaza, and the PLO controls the West Bank. They hate each other only a little less than they hate the Israelis, and have frequently murdered members of the other group. Dahlan in his statement was attempting to refute the frequent Hamas refrain that the PLO are sellouts to the Jews. Of course the simple truth is that if it will get them something they want, the PLO will be willing to recognize the right to exist of Israel, until they have the power to destroy it. This does not mean they will not continually engage in a terrorist war against Israel, as in a Fatah attack which killed 8 yeshiva students in March.

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull&cid=1204546441603

  • “PRESIDENT CLINTON was preparing last night to cut short his visit to Japan and fly back to the United States after Israel conceded a key principle by publicly accepting that Palestinians could control part of Jerusalem.

    Point of agreement: Ehud Barak, Madeleine Albright, the US Secretary of State and Yasser Arafat enjoy a lighter moment at Camp David

    The Israeli move was viewed as an important breakthrough and US officials said that Mr Clinton would press Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader, to give up his demand for Palestinian sovereignty over the city.

    Mr Clinton, who had already delayed his arrival in Okinawa for the G8 economic summit because of the Camp David talks, decided to return early after an Israeli cabinet minister revealed that Palestinians could be granted control over an autonomous East Jerusalem.

    Michael Melchior, who had been part of Israeli premier Ehud Barak’s negotiating team, said that Israel was prepared to accept an American plan on the future of Jerusalem. The talks had continued under Madeleine Albright, the US Secretary of State, since Thursday but officials said that another concerted push for an elusive deal was only possible with the president at the reins.

    White House officials said that if Mrs Albright told Mr Clinton that the Palestinian and Israeli positions were moving closer then he could be back at Camp David, where Mr Barak and Mr Arafat had remained, as early as tomorrow.

    But Hanan Ashrawi, the Palestinian spokesman, said that Mr Arafat believed that the US plan was unacceptable. He said: “What the Israelis are trying to do is find formulations whereby they would maintain an illegal Israeli sovereignty over occupied Jerusalem.”

    Seems like there was some give by Israel over the Jerusalem question in 2000.

  • I’m not buying, either. The “Palestinians” may have peace at any time once they stop attempting to wipe out the Jews.

    If they put half as much effort into agriculture, animal husbandry, industry, and the elimination of their political corruption as they put into trying to kill Jews, I might be willing to consider the argument.

    That many “Palestinian” Christians and fellow travelers continue to spread this sort of propaganda invites uncharitable thoughts regarding dhimmitude.

    Islam means submission. And neither Jews nor Christians should be willing to submit. That is the crux of the problem, not the policies of the State of Israel or the United States of America.

  • I am attempting to represent a Catholic perspective on the Holy Land conflict, not a Christian/Jewish Zionist perspective- so my information reflects my own on-site observations taken over several months, and a wide-ranging research that began by seeking counsel from local Catholics who actually live in Israel proper- I suggest all Catholics who are seeking the true circumstances, begin by reading Father Chacour’s Blood Brothers book, followed that with – We Belong to the Land. It is incorrect to frame the root cause of this political conflict between the majority Israelis and majority Palestinians as primarily a Muslim problem- any more than the story of Northern Ireland’s “Troubles” were primarily a Catholic problem. I personally want to see Jews, Christians and Muslims all live and take care of their families in peace- and I think the jewishvoiceforpeace.org perspective is a much better one than that put forth by the AIPAC establishment.

  • Flame,

    Are you serious?

    “If they put half as much effort into agriculture, animal husbandry, industry, and the elimination of their political corruption as they put into trying to kill Jews, I might be willing to consider the argument.”

    Every incursion against the Palestinian people I have ever read of in the whole history of this bloody conflict has involved Israeli troops uprooting and destroying their agriculture – their olive trees, their farms, etc.

    Does anyone think the Palestinian people choose to live in over packed ghettos with no access to basic human necessities? When you treat people like animals, they become animals. Then they become rabid.

    I’m not ashamed to say that I am anti-Zionist, that that the terrible crime of the Holocaust should have been paid for by the German government, not Palestinian goat herders and peasants.

  • I think Flame’s assessment is about as balanced as Tim Shipe’s.

  • This is not a “Catholic” perspective, it is a personal perspective. Period.

    Every incursion against the Palestinian people I have ever read of in the whole history of this bloody conflict has involved Israeli troops uprooting and destroying their agriculture – their olive trees, their farms, etc.

    In response to what? Tell the truth. Israel has been under almost constant terrorist attack since before 1967 from those “peace loving Palestinians”. Do you want them to just give in?

    Let me ask you this. If you’re a Christian Arab would you feel safer living in Israeli controlled territory or Hamas/Fatah controlled territory?

    What happened to the greenhouses that Israel left intact when it voluntarily left Gaza???? They were destroyed out of hatred. Until the Palestinians change their focus they will not have peace.

    Stop spreading lies about the denial of “basic human necessities”, if this were true would be all dead. Where does Gaza get it’s electricity from?

    The US has provided massive assistance both financial, technical and diplomatic to the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank… in response, what happens? They elect an avowed terrorist organization and fall into civil war…

  • Israeli policy on settlements has been wrong, to be blunt. It’s a legitimate gripe of the Palestinians, as is the expropriation of land for security purposes. Moreover, there are influential personalities in Israeli politics (Avigdor Lieberman) who are repellent bigots, not to put too fine a point on it. People who are pro-Israel (I count myself among them) have to be vigilant to the problems Israel creates for itself through its own wrong-headed actions, and not wave them away or give blank checks for retaliatory actions.

    Of course there’s a qualifier coming.

    But we need to look at the wider picture here. Israel is perfectly capable of giving back land and establishing modus vivendi with neighbors who are rational actors. Egypt, Jordan, and even Syria (although the last is shaky, but still workable) are all nations with whom the Israelis have managed to establish functioning relationships despite multiple bitter shooting wars and Israeli occupation of portions of each of their land. All three have one thing in common–resolutely secular, if unpleasant governments.

    What’s different with the Palestinians? Increasingly radically Islamicized leadership which will not agree to the existence of Israel. Less so in Fatah, obviously, but when you have an auxilliary called the “Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade,” the writing’s on the wall.

    Look, I think much of Soren’s analysis deserves thoughtful consideration, but shrugging off the religious element of the problem does it no credit.

  • Dale,

    good point. I concede that Israel has not always been as innocent as a lamb (not sure there’s many nations out there that could claim such), but as you have done, there has to be a clear distinction made between those who seek peace and those who seek the destruction of others.

  • Thanks Joe and Dale for your analysis- just so you know Dale- SorenAugust is just my user name- my real name is at the bottom of the piece- I don’t like anonymous comments, I like to stand by my own words so I will see if I can change my user name to reflect that.

    Dale- I know that the situation has deteriorated since I was in the Holy Land- the religious factor has become a much bigger player- just like the jihadist-type movement in general- this larger problem has come into the Palestinian problem- and this is something we Americans must also take a lot of responsibility for- I’ve been reading Steve Coll’s book on our involvement in Afganistan and the short-sightedness in our policy elites who played games with pakistani and saudi intelligence agencies to promote the heck out of the jihadist movement because at the time it was being directed primarily at the Soviets- our policy wizards thought they could control these elements just to make the Soviets “bleed”- they didn’t really think they could defeat the Soviets, and when they did they naively thought they could just waltz in and control the Taliban with some Unocol pipeline opportunities! And Israel has a little history of promoting jihadist elements as well- Hamas was initially supported by Israel’s policy makers in order to drive a wedge in the Palestinian community- the dominant PLO was secular- and like the PA today they have major difference with radical Islamists- Dreyfuss wrote a book everyone should read- Devil’s Game- which traces a lot of this.

    I notice that no one who is attacking my positions here is calling Archbishop Elias Chacour or former Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah liars or jihadist sympathizers- so I have to ask my critics- if my line of thinking on this correlates to the local Catholic Hierarchy in the Holy Land- how is it I am accused of not offering a “Catholic” narrative? What are your Catholic sources in the Holy Land? Wouldn’t these be the best sources of information for the worldwide Catholic community to draw upon? Are American Catholics more sympathetic and interested in Israeli Jewish community sources than in Palestinian Catholic community sources? If so why? Is this the new anti-Semitism, to take the side of Jews over Christians in the Holy Land because the Christians happen to be Arab??

  • Oh, shoot–sorry, Tim. I’ll note that for next time.

    An actual substantive response later–am a bit pinched for time.

  • soren,

    no one who is attacking my positions here is calling Archbishop Elias Chacour or former Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah liars or jihadist sympathizers

    because there is no need for anybody to engage in ad hominem.

    Wouldn’t these be the best sources of information for the worldwide Catholic community to draw upon

    not necessarily. People embroiled in a situation do not always have the most accurate perspective.

    Were you going to answer the question on where you would prefer to live if you were a Palestinian Christian, under Israeli control or Hamas/Fatah?

    BY the way, do your sources in Gaza have an accurate count of the number of Christian Churches burned down by Hamas since they took over control? How many Israeli soldiers are currently occupying Gaza?

    ps. the answer to the last question….exactly 1 he is held hostage and denied access to the Red Cross to see to his needs.

  • Matt,

    I ask you again, what is your problem? Accusing me of “spreading lies”, as if the Palestinian people don’t live in overcrowded ghettos that are blocked off on all sides by the Israeli military?

    Let’s say I was wrong about that – why would you assume I was lying, and that perhaps I myself have not been lied to? You have a real attitude problem.

    “Israel has been under almost constant terrorist attack since before 1967 from those “peace loving Palestinians”. Do you want them to just give in?”

    The European Jews that settled in Israel committed dozens of acts of terrorism against the British to establish their power there. One good turn deserves another, doesn’t it? Israeli settlers have been violently expropriating native Palestinians since the beginning, and you wonder why they are reacting with terrorist violence?

    Why do the Palestinian people get denied valid human emotions and reactions? Why does their history get entirely erased, wiped out of the books? As if the European Jews just started showing up and declaring, “we wish to leave peacefully, side by side with you”, and the Palestinians said “no, never!” That’s the lie here.

    And don’t talk to me about Christians living in the Holy Land. I still have family in in Northern Lebanon, Maronite Catholics who may well be targeted by jihadists for ethno-religious cleansing in the future. But none of that excuses the obscene violations of human rights that the Palestinian people suffer at the hands of the US-backed Israeli war machine.

    And no amount of shrill accusations of “liar!” or whatever else from you is ever going to change my mind. The facts are what they are. You can’t sanitize this or justify it. The European Zionists made their bed when they came to Israel and decided to expropriate the Palestinians by force.

    In the same way I don’t blame Native Americans for fighting American troops, or for that matter, Polish and Russian partisans for fighting Nazi invaders, I’m not going to say that the Palestinian people have no right to be angry about the invasion of their homeland. To expect anything less is to expect these people not to be human. Its insane.

  • Well, this is certainly a Catholic perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I would hesitate very much to say that it is the Catholic perspective on it.

    The big problem here (and the reason we’re unlikely to see peace there any time soon) is that the conflict is deeply rooted in nationalism, both Zionism (Jewish nationalism) and Palestinian nationalism.

    While I’m hesitant to lay out “the Catholic position” on things, it seems to me that nationalism (in the sense of holding that a particular people have by virtue of their ethnic and historical background a God-given right to rule a particular region) is not a Catholic point of view. In this sense, it is not necessary from a Catholic point of view that Palestine be either an explicitly Jewish or a an explicitly Palestinian/Arab state. Whatever state is in that region should provide due representation and human dignity to all residents.

    However, with the dissolution of Turkey and the brief colonial period in which the Brits ran things, the powers that be unhelpfully promised sovereignty to both Jewish and Palestinian leaders. And the borders that were originally set up by the UN in 1947 took two nationalist states and created such a patchwork of them as to make the situation naturally unstable.

    The borders at the end of the 1949 war were arguably pretty reasonable, but this made the “occupied territories” part of Jordan (arguably the most stable solution) and for Palestinian nationalists this was not acceptable as they wanted to explicitly be Palestinians not Jordanians. (And the West Bank territories have been either occupied or semi-autonomous since Jordan, along with Israel’s other Arab neighbors, attacked Israel and lost in 1967.)

    While, as Dale says, I certainly would not defend everything that Israeli leaders have said or done, I find myself sympathetic to Israel these days since they seem quite willing to be peaceful so long as they are not attacked. And I think it would be a mistake to endorse the actions and desires of Palestinian nationalists simply because they are Christians. The fact is, nationalism is always a false and dangerous ideology.

    I recently had the chance to pick up A Peace to End All Peace by the always interesting David Fromkin, which I’m very much looking forward to reading. It centers on the origins of this whole mess: the breakup of the Ottoman empire, the British and French colonial period, and the various nationalistic groups that were played off each other in the process.

  • The Jews accepted the Partition Plan of the UN. The Arabs were sure that they could drive the Jews into the sea and rejected it. Considering the subsequent invasion of Palestine by the armies of every neighboring Arab state, I can understand why they were confident. Unfortunately for them, the Jews decided that one Holocaust in a century was more than enough for them. Here is a link to a map of the partition plan.
    http://domino.un.org/unispal.nsf/9a798adbf322aff38525617b006d88d7/3cbe4ee1ef30169085256b98006f540d!OpenDocument

    A good chunk of the land allocated to the Jews was desert in the Negev. The Arabs should have taken the deal.

  • I ask you again, what is your problem? Accusing me of “spreading lies”, as if the Palestinian people don’t live in overcrowded ghettos that are blocked off on all sides by the Israeli military?

    That’s not the lie you spread, while I disagree with this characterization as well, they are blocked on the west by the sea, and the south by Egypt (such as it is).

    Let’s say I was wrong about that – why would you assume I was lying, and that perhaps I myself have not been lied to? You have a real attitude problem.

    I said “Stop spreading lies”, there is no judgment as to whether you are aware they are lies… YOU have a real attitude problem.

    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Peace/aidgaza.html
    On December 29 alone, Israel sent 63 trucks (1,545 tons) of humanitarian aid goods into the Gaza Strip including rice, yeast, flour, sugar and 64 tons of medical supplies. On December 31, 98 trucks and 2,366 tons of food and supplies were delivered in Gaza. On January 5, 80 trucks delivered goods to the area. On January 6, 49 trucks were sent into Gaza by means of the humanitarian unit of the IDF. 100 trucks and 500,000 liters of diesel fuel were sent in through the Kerem Shalom crossing on January 7.

    This data from the recent Israeli anti-terror action so it is obviously limited due to the logistical difficulty in bringing aid into a combat zone.

    “Israel has been under almost constant terrorist attack since before 1967 from those “peace loving Palestinians”. Do you want them to just give in?”

    The European Jews that settled in Israel committed dozens of acts of terrorism against the British to establish their power there. One good turn deserves another, doesn’t it? Israeli settlers have been violently expropriating native Palestinians since the beginning, and you wonder why they are reacting with terrorist violence?

    No, one good turn does not deserve another. Those terrorist acts you’re referring to (from the 40’s) are condemnable (while generally designed to avoid civilian deaths), but they do not justify THOUSANDS of terrorist attacks SPECIFICALLY targeting civilians. Surely you recognize the difference?

    Why do the Palestinian people get denied valid human emotions and reactions? Why does their history get entirely erased, wiped out of the books?

    I don’t see anyone here suggesting that.

    As if the European Jews just started showing up and declaring, “we wish to leave peacefully, side by side with you”, and the Palestinians said “no, never!” That’s the lie here.

    Well the former is true mostly and the latter is false mostly, but the situation changed when the Palestinians allied with the Arab states in an invasion of Israel (the Israeli Arabs who did NOT ally with the Arab States are referred to not as Palestinians but as Israeli citizens).

    And don’t talk to me about Christians living in the Holy Land. I still have family in in Northern Lebanon, Maronite Catholics who may well be targeted by jihadists for ethno-religious cleansing in the future.

    Where not the Maronite’s supported and aided by Israel? I’d advise to not personalize this discussion.

    But none of that excuses the obscene violations of human rights that the Palestinian people suffer at the hands of the US-backed Israeli war machine.

    Where human rights have been violated it is condemnable, but that occurs wherever there is conflict, in this case one side uses human rights violation as it’s principle action, the other side does not.

    And no amount of shrill accusations of “liar!” or whatever else from you is ever going to change my mind.

    Didn’t make such accusations… you’re the one sounding a little shrill.

    The facts are what they are. You can’t sanitize this or justify it. The European Zionists made their bed when they came to Israel and decided to expropriate the Palestinians by force.

    That’s just not so, the “Zionists” took unoccupied underutilized land which they settled legally and made it prosper, they did not expropriate it by force.

    In the same way I don’t blame Native Americans for fighting American troops, or for that matter, Polish and Russian partisans for fighting Nazi invaders, I’m not going to say that the Palestinian people have no right to be angry about the invasion of their homeland. To expect anything less is to expect these people not to be human. Its insane.

    What’s insane is to call it human to strap dynamite to a teenage girl and sending her to blowup other children.

  • Yes- definitely A Peace to End All Peace is a fantastic read- there is a great section on the Christian Zionism of some very powerful British leaders- Lloyd George and Winston Churchill- the influence of religion cuts in many directions all at once- and the HOly Land is awash in all kinds of conflicting religious motives and theological interpretations. I have found the Vatican and Palestinian Catholic Hierarchies to be very convincing indeed on the large questions pertaining to what needs to happen for a secure and lasting peace in the Holy Land. The Vatican-PLO Accord of 2000 shows that there was a general line of agreement between the Palestinian establishment and the highest reaches of the Church- what happened? The view that I subscribe to is that the Israeli settlement expansion into the West Bank, which doubled the number of settlers AFTER the Oslo Treaty- this broke the back of the Palestinian peace makers like Hana Ashrawi- they lost credibility, the level of Palestinian resistance/violence/terrorism after Oslo was incredibly low- the wide majority of Palestinians were willing to give peace another chance- hope was sky high- but the Israelis used the peace to advance more “facts on the ground”, they gave the palestinians a police force, a flag and post offices, but they didn’t give up the occupation and the aggressive territory expansion, along with resource control and all the rest that came with expanding the settlements. The awareness of this cruel hoax is what I believe led to the explosive 2nd intifada- and let’s not forget that the first Intifada was hardly a hard-core jihadist terrorist movement- it was kids and young men throwing rocks at Israeli tanks and soldiers and getting slaughtered or imprisoned and tortured- it was this generation that became the hardcore leaders of the next generation ‘no holds barred’ terrorists. Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that this is some kind of war between equals- Israelis live like Europeans, they have an internationally respected military funded to the hilt by the U.S.,they have MOSSAD intelligence service that is a global force, they have nuclear weapons without any inspection demands from the Western powers- and the Palestinians? Come on. It doesn’t matter that the population of the Israelis is something like 5 million to 500 million Arabs in the Middle EAst, the U.S. has only 6% of the world’s population but has the military might of the next 20 some nations, and has the economic clout to match. Israel is a regional superpower, the Palestinians are treated like dirt by the Arab leaders who are allied with U.S. interests- which of course leads them to find common cause with those opposed to U.S. interests- see Iraq, see Iran, see Osama Bin Laden. Hamas found favor with most Palestinians in Gaza because they found ways to provide real material support and charity to the poor- this is the reality from the Palestinian perspective.

    I lived with Palestinians living in Galilee in Israel proper, and the village was one-third muslim, one-third Catholic, and one-third Orthodox, the people there saw the Israelis as their oppressor, and yet the claims of the jihadists have become increasingly popular because the Christians and the Americans have not brought anything positive to the Palestinians- everyone who isn’t radically connected to Christian or Jewish Zionism knows that both of America’s major political parties is extremely pro-Israel- by that I mean they go out of their way to please the AIPAC lobby- there is no competition between the lobby strength of Palestinians vs. Israaelis here in America. I believe that American Catholics have the potential to break this monopoly, but it may indeed be too late- the Christian Palestinians are now beginning to get it from all sides- from muslim Palestinians as well- but this is a self-fulfilling prophesy of those who have pushed the Palestinian people right up to the wall- literally- the Separation Wall, the check-points, the land grabs by racist settlers, with American Christian Zionists cheerleading every stolen acre and home- wow- what a mess.

    Please everyone read Fromkin’s A Peace to End All Peace- the Great Game must end- the Middle East is not a video game, not a chess match- it is full of actual people, mothers, fathers, and children- if you want to hate muslims and arabs that is your sin- not mine. I want what the Church has long proclaimed- a Two-State Israel and Palestine, with Israel going back to the 67 borders, and all international law and UN resolutions dealt with fairly- the right to return of palestinians must be respected in some way- perhaps with generous compensation and with trade-offs in terms of territory and the like- and Jerusalem should be either an International City as the Church long suggested, or a capital for Israel in West Jerusalem and a capital for Palestine in East Jerusalem. It remains to be seen if President Obama will throw the Palestinians under the same bus he has thrown the unborn- he and Hillary made their deep bows to AIPAC on the campaign trail- so I’m not too optimistic, but at least he doesn’t seem infected with the ethnic-cleansing religious beliefs of the Christian Zionists who surrounded George W. (who may be one himself).

  • soren,

    if you want to hate muslims and arabs that is your sin- not mine

    If YOU want to hate Jews and Israelis that is your sin, not ours. What’s so ridiculous is that you acknowledge the same people which you accuse of “ethnic-cleansing religious beliefs” are supporters of Arabs and Muslims in many other countries who are not part of the death cult.

  • Matt,

    I don’t have to approve of the particular tactics of the Palestinian resistance to understand the reason that the resistance exists at all.

    If the Palestinian militants were fighting a “conventional” guerrilla campaign, would that legitimize their cause in your eyes? Somehow I doubt it.

    The Muslims understand the meaning of “total war” and many would rather die than live under Israeli rule. As a Christian I think suicide in general is a mortal sin, and I would choose to live under occupation before blowing myself to bits – but Muslims believe different things, and hence no one should be surprised by their tactics.

    I’m not surprised when a vicious attack dog bites some kid who teases it, and I’m not surprised when Muslims living in utterly hopeless conditions, humiliated and impoverished, blow themselves up in the hopes of getting to Paradise. You can’t oppress people and expect them to smile about it. It’s never happened in history and it isn’t going to happen now. The European Zionist Jews did not want to be partners with the Palestinian people, but overlords. European nations went along with it because they wanted an outpost in the Middle East.

    In the final instance Zionism is colonialism, there is no justification for it, and there are orthodox Jews who agree. And as for attacking civilians, there are hundreds of documented incidents of the Israeli military deliberately targeting civilians. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Red Cross, the UN, all of them have extensively documented these war crimes. But thats all a part of the global liberal conspiracy agenda, I suppose.

  • Bryan Caplan recently posed four hypothetical questions that he would like to ask Palestinians. I’ll leave out the first (which I suspect would only promote needless controversy), but I find the other three to be pretty apt:

    2. The Israelis could easily have killed or exiled every Palestinian. Why didn’t they? What does that say about their objective function – and/or the objection functions of other Western countries that put pressure on Israel?

    3. Suppose all the Jews left Israel tomorrow. What would greater Palestine’s GDP per capita be ten years from now? Want to bet on that?

    4. Suppose all the Jews left Israel tomorrow. How many Palestinians would still die violent deaths during the next ten years? How many political prisoners will there be in ten years? Want to bet on that?

  • Tim,

    I think you’re missing a bit of perspective there, though:

    1) You say “the population of the Israelis is something like 5 million to 500 million Arabs in the Middle East”, but within Israel itself the breakdown is 5.4M Jews to 1.6M others. Plus 2.3M in the West Bank and 1.5M in Gaza, if you want to include those.

    2) Israel isn’t just made up of European Jews who have moved in during the last 120 years — not only are there Jews native to Palestine but the surrounding Arab countries expelled (through hard or soft methods) roughly 800,000 Middle Eastern Jews who ended up in Israel between 1948 and 1970. They and their descendants now make up, by some estimates, around 40% of Israeli Jews. And like the Arabs pushed out of Israeli territories in the 1940s, their land and possessions were left behind in the countries they came from. (They’re not agitating for a “right of return” because going back to Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, etc. is not exactly a fun plan for Jews these days and they’ve made new lives for themselves in Israel.)

    3) While it’s true that now the money and military might are all on the Israeli side, it’s important to understand this was not the case prior to 1970. Indeed, up until the 1967 war (in which Israel’s Arab neighbors tried to wipe them out) it was pretty widely expected that the Arab nations could (and indeed would) crush Israel. Coincidentally it was after 1970 that opinion turned much more heavily against Israel in Europe, leading some cynics to remark that everyone was fine with Israel so long as it was doomed.

    Again, I don’t hold truck with Jewish nationalism, though I can certainly sympathize with the desire for a Jewish state after the way that the Jewish people were treated in the first half of the 20th century. But I don’t see Palestinian nationalism (or Arab nationalism more generally) as being any more valid. There is no right for a specifically Arab state to control the region of Palestine.

    It’s all very well to point out that it’s only natural and human for Palestinians to resist what they see as Israeli domination. (Though again, I think it’s important to recall that we cannot accept ethnic nationalist ideas of what constitutes “domination”.) But at the same time, it’s also only natural and human for the Israelis to take serious security measures when militants are constantly trying to attack them. When Israel has existed for 60 years and has had its current borders for roughly 40 years, one eventually has to accept it as a reality and work within it as an accomplished fact. Otherwise, nationalist strife will never end.

  • Man, I gotta stop, but a couple points for Joe:

    The Muslims understand the meaning of “total war” and many would rather die than live under Israeli rule.

    As I see it, though, this is precisely the problem. Being a member of a country which is predominantly of another ethnic or religious group should not result in total war. That’s nationalism of the worst sort.

    Catholics only make up 20% of the US, should we fight to get out own country?

    Hispanics used to dominate the South West and are demographically close to doing so again: should they fight a war to get their own country?

    That way lies madness.

    You can’t oppress people and expect them to smile about it. It’s never happened in history and it isn’t going to happen now. The European Zionist Jews did not want to be partners with the Palestinian people, but overlords. European nations went along with it because they wanted an outpost in the Middle East.

    I think this is an overly simplistic and negative reading. The early Zionist leaders were actually very optimistic about how they would live with and work with the Palestinian Arabs, albeit in a somewhat patronizing fashion. If I may quote the post I linked to above:

    Thus, while encouraging both piecemeal Jewish immigration into Palestine and diplomatic attempts to secure sponsorship of a Jewish homeland in Palestine from one of the great powers, the early Zionists mostly attempted to assure themselves that the sparse Arab population in the area would be glad to see them. Herzl published a speculative novel entitled The Old New Land in 1903 charting out the way in which the founding of a Jewish state might go, and in it presented a local Arab character who said of the new state, “The Jews have made us prosperous, why should we be angry with them? They live with us as brothers, why should we not love them?” In the novel, political rights of Jews and non-Jews were the same, and local Arabs gladly adopted the hybrid Jewish-European culture of the new country.

    By the 1940s things were obviously on a much more violent footing, but even so a major part of the problem is that both Jews and Arabs had undergone a nationalist awakening, and so Arabs saw the mere existence of Israel as oppressive regardless of how it treated them.

    Needless to say, so long as both groups consider it oppression for the other group to even exist, there will never be peace. (And the Jews in Palestine exist as surely as the Hispanics in California do.) At this vantage point in history, it seems to be the Israeli’s who are willing to play the liberal democracy game and give rights to everyone who isn’t intent of killing them. The Palestinians show no such promise at this time.

  • I would recommend a couple of Israeli historians who present the case that the threats from the Palestinians and the neighboring Arab states historically was way overblown- check out Benny Morris and Tom Segev’s books- funny thing about Benny Morris is that he readily acknowledges that the Zionist forces basically went about ethnic cleansing operations, using a few massacres and massive propaganda to good effect, but he apparently is arguing that they probably should have just gone all the way with the ethnic cleansing- now it would seem that many American Catholics would agree- even though the Church clearly teaches that you cannot even do something good by use of evil means- and I don’t think one could really argue that any ethnic cleansing is ever a good idea for starters.

    Now another must read is John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy- they make a very solid academic case for the facts I have stated earlier- this is really about lobby power here in the U.S.- the fact that every mainstream candidate for President and even Congress makes ridiculous efforts to come across as being absolutely in adoration of the State Of Israel, pretty much completely connecting the fate and state of Israel to America’s- well that says quite a lot. And there isn’t even a difference between Republican candidates and Democratic ones in this regard- why is this? It’s not a conspiracy that is hidden, it is a very open ‘secret’- if you read – They Dare to Speak Out- you will get even more specifics from actual former Congressmen and others. Now the whole point here is that the truth is that the current state of affairs does not serve anyone- not majority Jews in Israel or America, certainly not Arabs/Palestinians, and not majority Americans – if we look at long-term interests in security and economics.

    I also spent time living with an American married to a Russian Jewish emigre in West Jerusalem- and it is not the majority view, but there are more Israelis who seem to hold very different views on the status quo policies of Israeli-American establishments than we are led to believe. It is certainly not anti-Jewish to choose the viewpoints as represented at Jewishvoiceforpeace.org and American Jewish scholars like Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein is it? I am very critical of many establishment American policies regarding other countries- particularly poor and third world countries- am I to be thrown in with anti-American zealots? Are Jewish critics of Israeli establishment policies re: the Palestinians all self-loathing Jews? I will answer to the above- certainly not. I am one who served in the National Guard for 6 years, I am patriotic, but I am Catholic first, I belong to Jesus Christ and I will stand on principle always- I may be missing some things, but my motives are clear as best I can declare them- I hate no one, but if the truth leads me to take unpopular positions, then so be it. I have offered my personal eyewitness testimony and I have given an extensive paper trail of books, authors, and web sites- I will have to leave it at that- I will leave all the bloggers here with some goodwill- I will assume that everyone here is not motivated by racism towards Arabs any more than I am motivated by hatred of Jews- if you know more of my background which is quite personal, you would have even more reassurance on that score! So this is a Catholic blog with a Catholic disagreement of the facts of history and ongoing facts on the ground. We should be having this argument, we should be challenged with the various claims- that is all to the good- I only wish this argument was taking place all over the mainstream media- I do think I have made some pretty serious claims with substantive backing- that doesn’t win the day outright, but it should offer a case that the mainstream Catholic and secular media isn’t presenting much of this for the public to receive a proper education as to the real choices available to us- and this is something we all should know from our pro-life work! God Bless – let’s recall Christ’s command to love our enemies even as we try to perfect them through correction, and let us be open to charges of sounding as clanging gongs at times with our righteous truth-telling. This may come down to a democratic exercise just as the lobby wars go on- each of us should take our civic responsibility serious enough to engage the media with our case for or against the standard Israel or Palestinian narrative. I once wrote an open letter asking Pope John Paul II to go and take up residence in the Holy Land during the second Intifada as a sign of the ultimate peacemaker in action- I may ask Pope Benedict to please make this an even greater priority for his papacy to restore trust among Christians, Jews and Muslims, and offer more public commentary on the path to peace.

  • So Darwin,

    Are books such as Ralph Schoenman’s “The Hidden History of Zionism” just totally wrong?

    This is another one of those cases where we can cite historical texts to one another and still disagree. Were there European Jewish settlers who wanted to live in peace and solidarity with their Palestinian Arab neighbors? Undoubtedly. But was this the impetus behind the project as it was presented to the leading governments of Europe, particularly the British Empire? Certainly not!

    Zionism was a colonialist, imperialist venture right from the beginning. To say that the Zionist leaders was “patronizing” is to say the least – of course they weren’t going to admit outright the violent nature of their endeavor. But you don’t move in and occupy a country without bloodshed. You don’t expropriate thousands of people from their homes, their farms, their orchards and villages without massive resistance.

    Early in the Zionist project it may have been possible for the settler Jews and Palestinian natives to co-exist because the migration hadn’t occurred in great numbers. But after WWII there was an explosion of immigrants and once the British were driven out the Zionists turned against their Arab neighbors. Starting in 1948 hundreds of villages were razed to the ground as thousands fled before the Israeli military.

    So I repeat – you can’t uproot a people and oppress them and expect them not to fight back. I hate the tone this debate takes, as if the Palestinians have zero justification for taking up arms against Israel and even resorting to terrorist methods, lacking as they do the “civilized” methods of massive aerial bombardment – as if some people can’t even fathom it. I’m not accusing you of this, Darwin, but there are some people who do go that far and its infuriating.

  • Now another must read is John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy- they make a very solid academic case for the facts I have stated earlier

    Haven’t read the book, but did read the original paper which became the basis for the book. As I recall, Noam Chomsky found the Walt / Mearsheimer’s thesis not sufficiently anti-American (and, on its own terms, unconvincing); and Benny Morris took offense at their abuse and misuse of his historical research.

    http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/4134 [Chomsky]
    http://americanfuture.net/?p=2159 [Benny Morris]

    I do think I have made some pretty serious claims with substantive backing- that doesn’t win the day outright, but it should offer a case that the mainstream Catholic and secular media isn’t presenting much of this for the public to receive a proper education as to the real choices available to us

    You mean like the BBC or CNN?

  • I mean, if quotes like this are accurate, who can blame the Palestinians?

    “We came here to a country that was populated by Arabs, and we are building here a Hebrew, Jewish state. Instead of Arab villages, Jewish villages were established. You do not even know the names of these villages and I do not blame you, because these geography books no longer exist. Not only the books, but also the villages do not exist.”

    –Moshe Dayan, former Chief of Staff and Minister of Defense

  • Joe,

    Starting in 1948 hundreds of villages were razed to the ground as thousands fled before the Israeli military.

    you’re suggesting that the Arabs are innocent of attacking the Jewish villages? You are aware that there remain many Arab villages in Israel, and that the inhabitants are full citizens with voting rights and even a number of members of the Knesset? This story of yours doesn’t ring true.

    as if the Palestinians have zero justification for taking up arms against Israel and even resorting to terrorist methods, lacking as they do the “civilized” methods of massive aerial bombardment – as if some people can’t even fathom it.

    There is no justification for resorting to terrorist methods:

    2313 Non-combatants, wounded soldiers, and prisoners must be respected and treated humanely.
    Actions deliberately contrary to the law of nations and to its universal principles are crimes, as are the orders that command such actions. Blind obedience does not suffice to excuse those who carry them out. Thus the extermination of a people, nation, or ethnic minority must be condemned as a mortal sin. One is morally bound to resist orders that command genocide.

    I’d like to ask a question. Do we all agree that if ethnic cleansing was attempted by Israel at any time since crushing the Arabs in the 67 war, they would have had it wrapped up before anyone could say or do anything to prevent it. Why wouldn’t they simply do this? One fell swoop and the whole Palestinian question is moot, a few years in the doghouse, and they would apologize, and go on with life, by now everyone would love them. Instead they repeatedly make attempts to return territory to the Palestinians and the troubles drag on. If the “Zionists” are so “evil” why wouldn’t they do this?

    By the way, who is the Zionist project to be considered colonial and imperial? That doesn’t seem to make any sense to me. If I was going for empire, I’d set my sights on something a little bigger a place the size of New Jersey, 2/3 of which is desert, the rest can only be cultivated with great effort due to minimal rainfall.

  • Army of Shadows: Palestinian Collaboration with Zionism, 1917-1948 (UC California Press, February 2009)

    Inspired by stories he heard in the West Bank as a child, Hillel Cohen uncovers a hidden history in this extraordinary and beautifully written book—a history central to the narrative of the Israel-Palestine conflict but for the most part willfully ignored until now. In Army of Shadows, initially published in Israel to high acclaim and intense controversy, he tells the story of Arabs who, from the very beginning of the Arab-Israeli encounter, sided with the Zionists and aided them politically, economically, and in security matters. Based on newly declassified documents and research in Zionist, Arab, and British sources, Army of Shadows follows Bedouins who hosted Jewish neighbors, weapons dealers, pro-Zionist propagandists, and informers and local leaders who cooperated with the Zionists, and others to reveal an alternate history of the mandate period with repercussions extending to this day. The book illuminates the Palestinian nationalist movement, which branded these “collaborators” as traitors and persecuted them; the Zionist movement, which used them to undermine Palestinian society from within and betrayed them; and the collaborators themselves, who held an alternate view of Palestinian nationalism. Army of Shadows offers a crucial new view of history from below and raises profound questions about the roots of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

    Sounds like another book one might read for an education into Israeli-Palestinian relations.

  • Matt,

    Are you trying to suggest, by invoking the Catechism in the way that you do, that Palestinian attacks on an occupying force constitutes attempted “genocide”? It’s a perversion of moral logic. If you came into my home with the intent of forcing me to live out in my back yard and I responded with force, would I be the criminal?

    The Zionist settlers – like every other colonial invading force in history (so it has nothing to do with their being Jews) – instigate bloodshed and destruction to carve out a place for themselves in a land that isn’t theirs, and to which the native inhabitants did not invite them.

    They and their European backers initiated the cycle of bloodshed. Suicide bombing is the fruit of colonialism in the Muslim world, just as the scalping of white settlers was the fruit of colonialism in the United States. The aggressor bears the moral burden.

    It has always been justified as “the white man’s burden”, the task of bringing “civilization” to the backward natives whether they want it or not. Do you think this is a valid theory? If you do, why? If you don’t, how do you defend Zionism?

    “If I was going for empire, I’d set my sights on something a little bigger a place the size of New Jersey, 2/3 of which is desert, the rest can only be cultivated with great effort due to minimal rainfall.”

    Do you really know absolutely nothing about the history of Zionism as a movement, or are you just trying to be cute?

  • They and their European backers initiated the cycle of bloodshed. Suicide bombing is the fruit of colonialism in the Muslim world, just as the scalping of white settlers was the fruit of colonialism in the United States. The aggressor bears the moral burden.

    Justifying Palestinian suicide bombing of civilians as a valid response, Joe? — are you serious? Some ‘Catholic’ moral narrative.

  • No, I don’t “justify” it. I think I stated pretty clearly before that I believe suicide is a mortal sin and contrary to any rational understanding of natural law.

    Here I am speaking of simple cause and effect. Don’t want suicide bombings? Don’t herd a bunch of Muslim fanatics into an impoverished ghetto.

    Was the “shock and awe” bombing of Baghdad and other Iraqi cities a “valid response” to some vaguely stated case for WMDs? Is a bomb dropped from 20,000 feet on a densely populated city somehow “more moral” than a suicide bombing in a cafe?

    Or is it just a case of, “when its for my cause, its right, and their cause, wrong”?

  • By the way, are the collective punishments inflicted on the Palestinian people by the Israeli military – incidents documented by major human rights organizations in clear violation of international law – a “valid” response?

  • Sigh. I hate this debate, because of what I just did – pointing out the evil others commit in response to the evils someone else already commented on. It’s no way to get at moral truth.

    It’s all disgusting to me – suicide bombings, civilian deaths, aerial bombardment, “shock and awe”. If I were completely wrong about the Palestinians being the victims and the Israelis being the aggressors, then I’d rethink my views.

    I don’t want to justify any atrocities, but the rational part of my brain says, “these Palestinians are desperate, they’ve been terrorized and humiliated and they are lashing out like madmen”. I see a method in the madness, and if I were Muslim, and not Christian, I’m not sure how I would respond to the situation.

  • By the way, are the collective punishments inflicted on the Palestinian people by the Israeli military – incidents documented by major human rights organizations in clear violation of international law – a “valid” response?

    I’ve wrestled with this previously (see Thoughts on Israel’s war with Hamas American Catholic 12/30/2008), and I think it would depend on the specific action taken (I’m inclined not to issue a general condemnation of Israel’s actions until I know the facts).

    As I stated then, in ascertaining moral culpability, I think you’d have to address several pertinent questions:

    Did Israel adopt all other means at its disposal to prevent the attacks before resorting to armed force?

    In resorting to armed force, did Israel deliberately target Palestinian civilians, or target a site with the specific intention of killing civilians?

    Did Israel take necessary precautions to prevent harm to civilians?

    However, I cannot fathom any moral justification for bombing with the deliberate attempt to inflict mass casualties upon civilians, as is the intent and product of suicide bombing.

    Benny Morris’ books give accounts of terrorist acts of this nature by both Israelis and the Arabs. Both were gravely wrong in doing so.

  • Benny Morris is an interesting case. He began his career on the far left of Israeli historical thought and was one of the “New Historians” who took a highly critical, and I thought highly selective, view of Israel’s history. However, Morris has developed into perhaps the best Israeli historian of his generation. His 1948 is the most accurate history I have read about that conflict, and I think generally gives a good overview of the war, although on the military aspect his lack of military experience shows. His political views have largely become more conservative over time. This Wikipedia article gives a decent overview of him and his work.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benny_Morris

  • Zionism was a colonialist, imperialist venture right from the beginning. To say that the Zionist leaders was “patronizing” is to say the least – of course they weren’t going to admit outright the violent nature of their endeavor. But you don’t move in and occupy a country without bloodshed. You don’t expropriate thousands of people from their homes, their farms, their orchards and villages without massive resistance.

    Well, come to that, we could probably have a pretty extensive argument about colonialism and imperialism too — but that’s for another day. (Say, not in Holy Week.)

    I don’t have any interest in justifying the actions of the Stern Gang and other various Jewish militias back in the 30s and 40s. (Nor, I imagine, do you have any interest in doing so for the Arab militias.) Unquestionably things got very ugly and there is plenty of blame to go around on both sides.

    However, I think it’s problematic to denounce the whole project of Jews having moved into Palestine in the late 19th and throughout the 20th century, or to denounce their wanting to stay there and maintain a stable government at this time. Going back to the late Ottoman period when all this got started, there were sizeable Jewish and Arab and Christian populations in the area, and it was honestly pretty sparsely settled. I don’t think we can say that the Jews had no right to move there seeking to create a better life for themselves anymore than we can say that Jews had no right to move to the US in the 30s and 40s, or that Hispanics have no right to move to the US now.

    (As a half-Hispanic from California, this strikes me as particularly relevant. A lot of towns in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and California are now almost entirely Hispanic, and major cities have very large Hispanic populations. However, thankfully, both nationalist Hispanics of the La Raza sort, who insist that the Southwest should become a Hispanic ethnic state, and anglo nationalists who insist that its a violation of their rights for so many Hispanics to move in, are distinct minorities in our country. Nationalism of this sort has never been much of an American phenomenon.)

    So unless we’re to accept nationalist assumptions about particular ethnic groups having a divine right to a specific piece of land, I don’t think we can say that Jews immigrating to Palestine was any kind of a problem. What did create strife was the fact that both the Jewish and Arab populations in the region became caught up in ethnic nationalism such that by 1947 both wanted to have a specifically ethnic state in the same place.

    What impresses me about Israel is that despite its occasional paranoia and excesses in self defense (and at a human level, who can blame them given their history over the last 60 years) it has moved beyond this ethnic nationalism to become a pluralistic democracy. And what I think would be by far the best thing for the Palestinians would be if they would do the same — either on their own or simply reconciling themselves to Israel and its existence.

    The comparison is telling: nearly a million Jews were expelled from surrounding Arab states, and they forgot about what they’d lost and absorbed into the Israeli population — making up roughly 40% of the current Jewish population in Israel. The Arabs who were expelled (or left thinking that the Jewish state would soon be wiped out and they could return) from Jewish territory have not been absorbed by Jordan, Syria and Egypt — those countries have been quite happy to keep them on Israel’s doorstop, in poverty, as a political and military tool against Israel.

    Hard as it may be to swallow, Israel is now a 60-year-old fact (as old as many countries in the world right now) and fighting against it now is not necessarily more reasonable from a just war perspective than if the descendants of the plains Indians were still fighting against the US in the 1930s and 40s.

  • If the Jews should leave Israel because of colonialism and imperialism, then I assume the same would apply to the Arabs who should return en masse to Saudi Arabia? If the same logic would apply to the US I’m not sure what would happen to me. Perhaps my Cherokee blood would allow me to stay?

  • With my Yaqui blood I have a choice of Northern Mexico or Arizona. I think I’d choose Arizona.

    Anyway, why didn’t the Palestinians welcome all those Jewish immigrants to Palestine. It is required per Catholic Social Teaching. 😉