Category Archives: bigotry

Palestine Day at St Thomas Church, Hanwell

St Thomas Church of Hanwell is allowing the Friends of Al Aqsa to host a politically-minded event in its church for its ‘Palestine Day’. Friends of Al Aqsa is run by Ismail Patel, a Hamas supporter who thinks Disney is a Jewish conspiracy, and rallies against Israel and her supporters.

This is the kind of peaceful rhetoric you can expect from the Ismail Patel:

But is St Thomas Church, Hanwell aware of Ismail Patel’s views? And if so, why is the church providing Patel’s group with a platform?

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The United Church has a Jewish problem

Here.

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BNP “Christian Council” uses God to justify racism

Read about this on There is Nothing British about the BNP.

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Facts about Hamas

Reuters have just published a FACTBOX about Hamas. Do read it. These facts are worth bearing in mind next time you hear that the lack of peace in the Middle East is only due to Israel.

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Limerick 1904/Kelowna 2009

Shame on the United Church of Canada if they follow through with their proposals for a boycott of Israel, which are currently being discussed in Kelowna.

According to the Vancouver Sun, the four resolutions call for a “comprehensive boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions at the national and international levels”. Furthermore, pro-Israel advocacy group Camera complains that UCC members have been pushing a faulty analogy between Israel and apartheid South Africa in order to justify the boycott proposals.

However, the UCC are insisting the proposals are not intended to be antisemitic. Their spokesman Reverend Bruce Gregersen commented:

The Canadian Jewish Congress has consistently argued that language that seeks to undermine the existence of the state of Israel is anti-Semitic. And we would agree with that[…] But these proposals are not meant to undermine the state of Israel but rather calling on them to make moves towards peace. In 2003, the Church said that we affirm the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state. And that’s a significant commitment. What is means is that we are strongly supportive of the existence of Israel for the sake of the Jewish people in the world.

The UCC doesn’t seem to grasp a simple point: just because you are not being racist deliberately does not mean you are not being racist.

Does the UCC not realise the history of church boycotts against Jews? For most Jews this boycott will have nothing to do with the Middle East. This policy will be interpreted as the next shameful episode of Christian antisemitism. It will be an embarrassment for the church itself, and will cause more harm than good.

The Kelowna boycott is intended to hurt Israeli businesses. It will also affect Jews with cultural and academic links to Israel, and will lead to the exclusion of individual Israelis who hold similar political views on Israel/Palestine to the UCC. People will be shunned from public life because of where they are born.

As for historical resonances, you can learn about the 1904 Limerick Boycott here, which was inspired by clergyman Fr John Creagh.

Justifying his decision to boycott Jewish business in the Northern Whig, 8 Feb 1904, Creagh wrote:

“…and, as for the Jews in business, I am quite prepared to admit that there are many who are irreproachable. What people have been pleased to call my crusade has been directed only against a class of Jewish traders who grind and oppress those who are unfortunate enough to get into their power – who exact extortionate sums under the instalment system from those who can ill afford to pay them.”

The United Church of Canada should be able to show its desire for peace between Israelis and Palestinians without excluding persons and businesses of either nationality.

Yet clergy-led boycotts of Jews are a part of a shameful history of Christian antisemitism that should be shunned by all churches which are serious about avoiding racism and discrimination.

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Stormfront discuss Norwich North

On Liberal Conspiracy, Cath Elliot draws attention to the neo-Nazi discussion board Stormfront, who want to deport her in response to her article on the BNP’s lies in Norwich North, where the BNP’s clergyman Robert West ran for election.

Eliot notes an interesting contribution on the Stormfront message board from a BNP supporter:

“Its time to drop the reverend. Having a fake vicar puts us down with the crank candidates and thats where our vote has ended up.

People aren`t stupid ( well actually they are on the whole) but they have seen through this fake Reverend gimmick.”

And it seems that BNP supporters aren’t the only ones not entirely convinced by Robert West’s Christianity.

Have a look at this discussion:

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Daniel Blanche and the democratic people’s republics

In his review of Ben White’s book, evangelical blogger Daniel Blanche compares the Jewish character of the state of Israel to the BNP:

[…] it defines itself in ethno-religious terms. Only Jews can be Israeli nationals; all Jews are welcome in Israel. Imagine if someone suggested that Britain should define itself in terms of a particular ethnic identity! Oh, wait, that would be the BNP – and we don’t like them, right?
Ultimately, Ben argues that Israel/Palestine must be a place where Jews and Palestinians are equal under the law, and a state which exists for the good of all its citizens. This is much more radical than the two-state solution, much more difficult to move towards than even that mirage. But anything else enshrines racism as a successful nation building strategy.
The world really doesn’t want to go there.

Blanche is then asked a simple question by a reader:

Do you consider states like the ARAB Republic of Egypt or the
Great Socialist People’s Libyan ARAB Jamahiriya to be intrinsically racist? If not, then why do believe that of the world’ one Jewish state?

To which Blanche replies:

1. I am as bothered by Hamas as I am by Israel, except that Israel makes claims (to liberal democracy) that Hamas doesn’t, and therefore invites the world to hold it to a higher standard.

2. Likewise, I am unimpressed by countries which define themselves as Islamic, or in terms of any other ethnic/religious identification. Also likewise, if they were to make pretensions to liberal democracy I would be even less impressed.

So Blanche is unimpressed because Israel claims to be a liberal democracy (which it is), yet doesn’t seem to notice that Libya describes itself as a ‘Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya’. Well, is it great? Is it socialist (i.e. does it care for its citizens)?

From the U.S. Department of State on Libya:

The government’s human rights record remained poor. Citizens did not have the right to change their government. Reported torture, arbitrary arrest, and incommunicado detention remained problems. The government restricted civil liberties and freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and association. The government did not fully protect the rights of migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees. Other problems included poor prison conditions; impunity for government officials; lengthy political detention; denial of fair public trial; infringement of privacy rights; restrictions of freedom of religion; corruption and lack of transparency; societal discrimination against women, ethnic minorities, and foreign workers; trafficking in persons; and restriction of labor rights.

Does Blanche have anything to say about the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya? Is he disappointed that Gaddafi’s brutal regime does not live up to socialist ideals, nor truly serve the people it claims are proud of Libya?

Or let’s consider the Arab Republic of Egypt. Here’s the first definition of ‘republic’ I found:

1. a state in which the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them.

The same state which ordered the culling of thousands of pigs belonging mostly to poor Coptic Christians as a response to swine flu, and the same state which ordered the arrest of innocent citizens, prompting Ben White himself to write an entire article about human rights in Egypt. Is not Blanche appalled that Egypt considers itself a republic?

Then we have the Republic of Sudan, responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Darfuris. How is Sudan’s republic acting like a true republic? Surely Daniel Blanche should be far more disturbed by Sudan than he is by Israel?

How about Islamic states which themselves claim to be democracies? What about the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, responsible for disapperances, tortures, massacres, and various other crimes against human rights? Is not Algeria an offence to democratic ideals? Is it really democratic to slap fines on Christian minorities? How does Blanche cope with Algeria’s claims to be democratic?

And, lest we forget, the Islamic Republic of Iran, which also claims to be democratic, and yet really fails to be. The president of Iran’s democratic republic, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, remains in power due to a campaign of rape and murder. Iran, that bastion of freedom where Christians fear for their lives. Surely Blanche is appalled that Iran also claims to be a democracy?

Daniel Blanche claims that Israeli democracy invites the world to hold it to a higher standard, yet why does Blanche not appear to hold Iran or Algeria to similar standards, despite their claims to be democracies?

Finally, we have the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, a state where over 200,000 people (including 40,000-60,000 Christians) are imprisoned; a nation which has been making headlines recently for all the wrong reasons. This is a nation which claims to be a Great, Revolutionary Society, and look what life is like for North Koreans!

Perhaps Blanche will soon be drawing our attention to North Korean human rights issues, given that North Korea claims to be a democracy. Perhaps Blanche will soon be comparing the aforementioned republics and democracies to the BNP. Otherwise, Blanche’s claim that he holds Israel to a higher standard solely because it is a democracy appears insincere.

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