According to his website, Dr Harry Hagopian ‘is a qualified lawyer who holds a Doctorate in Public International Law and an LL.M in Alternative Dispute (Conflict) Resolution. He is also the Middle East Consultant for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference in England & Wales, as well as Ecumenical, Legal and Political Consultant to the Armenian Apostolic Church.’
Harry works closely with the Vatican, Lambeth Palace, Majlis El-Hassan and the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies in Jordan, Minority Rights Group International in England, as well as with think tanks, universities and institutes across Europe and North America.’
Dr Hagopian is well-respected and listened to by many influential people. It is therefore disconcerting that Dr Hagopian should choose to write in an article on Israeli-Palestine at Ekklesia in which he cites Ben White’s new book:
The British journalist Ben White writes in his new book Israeli Apartheid: A Beginner’s Guide, that the problems of occupation and violence are deeply rooted in the essence of Zionism and Israeli policies of colonisation in Palestine.
But why of all books has Hagopian chosen to recommend Ben White’s book to understand ‘the essence of Zionism’?
In order to introduce readers to ‘the essence of Zionism’, one of the sources Ben White draws on and recommends is Holocaust-denier Roger Garaudy.
White’s sensitivity towards Jews (and in one instance towards Palestinians) has been repeatedly called into question, not least due to his writing: ‘I do not consider myself an anti-Semite, yet I can also understand why some are‘, and his claim that the arrest of antisemites plotting to blow up a synagogue was a ‘threat to our freedoms‘.
In his Ekklesia article, Dr Hagopian invokes the memory of Dr Martin Luther King Jr:
. If Martin Luther King, Jr, were able to stand up and deliver another sermon at the Riverside Drive Church today, he would surely call it Beyond Occupation!
If using the name of Dr Martin Luther King is designed to conjure up images of the civil rights struggle and the need to combat racism, then it is important to remember that Dr King would be equally concerned about anti-Israeli and anti-Jewish racism as he would about anti-Palestinian and anti-Arab racism.
With this in mind, one wonders why Christians who invoke King’s memory would in the next breath recommend a writer who espouses such appalling untruths about Israel and ascribes the very worst motives to the Jewish desire for a homeland.