Dr Harry Hagopian recommends Ben White book at Ekklesia

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 Israeli Apartheid Guide contains false quotes, poor historiography and what appears to many as an endorsement of racist theology.

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.


Filed under apartheid analogy, bigotry, understanding

9 responses to “Dr Harry Hagopian recommends Ben White book at Ekklesia

  1. Dooley

    ‘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.’

    Because he’s either an idiot or a twat, or both. Simple, really.

  2. modernityblog

    Skim reading Dr Hagopian’s article I get the impression that he was using it to have a quick swing at Netanyahu.

    I can only assume that Dr Hagopian was given a free copy so is feeling charitable to Ben White 🙂

  3. seismicshock

    That may well be the case actually – almost every other article on Israel/Palestine recommends IAG at Ekklesia, it seems.

  4. seismicshock

    Saying that hopefully Dr Hagopian will reconsider his endorsement of White in the light of the information provided in this article.

  5. zkharya

    “In other words, Israel is dragging its feet because it realises that a peace process would require dismantling those 120 settlements, relocating settlers, swapping pre-1967 land for settlement blocs already in Israeli hands, re-routing the separation barrier, ceding control over 40 per cent of the West Bank, sharing Jerusalem as a capital, letting in 10,000-50,000 Palestinian refugees, giving away vital water rights, engaging Hamas, releasing the 11,000 prisoners who are never mentioned when the fate of the IDF kidnapped soldier Gil’ad Shalit comes up for discussion, facing violent domestic opposition and coming face-to-face with its own controversial history.”

    Not as violent as Yassir Arafat’s response as when Barak made him pretty much precisely those offers.

  6. zkharya

    And before any separation barrier existed.

    “I for one, remain troubled as to how Israeli politicians could inflict such suffering upon others – given the teachings of the Talmud and the harrowing enormity of their own past suffering.”

    Given Palestinian Christians’ believing Jews to have been dispossessed from the land of Israel and from just about everywhere else since, one could observe the same about denying Jews not only any kind of right of return but even a refuge from genocide and certain Christian teachings about compassion and imaginative empathy.

  7. seismicshock

    Good point Zak, it seems to be a common thread from Colin Chapman through to Dr Hagopian that, as Jews have ethical teachings, and are not always perfect, there is a ‘sad irony’ that Jews are ignoring their scriptures. Of course neither Christians nor Muslims have to live up to these ethical teachings; “the Jews” are a special case, whom we must comment on and theologise about. We have great empathy for victims of Jews; little empathy for Jewish victims.

  8. Pingback: A fully controlled threat to our freedoms? « Seismic Shock

  9. Pingback: Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) a Christian response? | eChurch Christian Blog

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