Saturday, July 14, 2012

Taking on Clerical Antizionism


This blog is Australian. About as Australian as you can  get really without being of the people who were here before the rest of us. Or a known convict.

I say that because that's all that has to be said and I mean that quite literally . I have the enormous privilege of being born in a place where anything else about you personally is pretty much your own business really once the birth has been registered unless you choose to make it otherwise or are dealing with the lawful authorities of our liberal democracy. This is particularly so with regard to "religion". And "politics" too come to think of it Or lack of it.

We prefer things that way. This is the Australian secular society.  I don't care what religion you are, sport, if you have one, so long as you keep your hands off the kids and out of  the public till , do not preach hatred, hold people against their will or try to shove it up my face..

 Or blow it up my face.

It would be better if you minded your manners but you can't have everything.

The same goes for atheists. And agnostics. .This  blog has no particular issue with religion.  On the contrary the value and force of religion, for those who choose it, and sometimes for those who do not, is a fact of human life. . Religion only becomes an issue for this blog when clerics make it an issue.

They do that when they make it a human rights issue. This really isn't that difficult.

Then you remember that bad men come in all types, sizes and colours and of course they include clerics  and not just Muslim clerics. Some of the worst men  in the world and in history have been driven by religion and bad men always use religion when they can. Even the ones who try to suppress it. . It is trite to  single out Islam as unique but right now you would have to be wilfully blind or really hate Muslims if you did not recognise that there is a terrible problem with radical violent political Islam across large swathes of the planet and that it is Muslims who most of all have to pay the horrible price of that. Muslims are the first and last victims of modern radical political Islam as surely as the Germans were of Nazism, an ideology with which it shares a striking similarity. This should not surprise given the documented cross-fertilisation.

Which brings us to the Clerical Antizionists  and especially the Christian Antizionists. There are Jewish Clerical Antizionists as well but they are a tiny sect and rather quaint and comical. A reminder of just how odd religious belief can get.

But there is nothing quaint and comical about the spread of Christian Antizionism even when it purports to be peaceful just as there is most certainly nothing quaint and comical about Muslim Antizionism,  it's more strident and bloodthirsty clerical ally.

Both must be opposed not because ultimately this is a religion thing but because it is not. Or should not. It is a human rights issue pure and simple. If a Christian cleric chooses to buy into a human rights  issue this profound, on the wrong side, as an opponent of human rights, in open alliance with the worst human rights  violators in history, then he (and it nearly always is a he) has forfeited any benefits of clergy.

The first of these is any assumption that a Christian Antizionist  does not know or understand what is at the core of the dispute. They must know that it is not the "occupation" or the "settlements". It never has been and no one can  honestly and ethically claim otherwise  now what passes for a "Palestinian" leadership, and their string tuggers, are open and out with the truth. No Jewish state no matter what. Eternal war is fine by them. They keep on saying so.

They know what is at the core of it and it is getting worse. This is a violent religious ideology whose clerics will not tolerate one another let alone a liberal democratic very productive secular little country in the most vigorous traditions of our civilisations and whose clerics, God bless them, most of them anyway, are more or less in their places and doing their jobs..

Just as they are in Britain and Australia. Doing good work and upholding values. Most of them anyway. Just like Israel you will get the bad ones. There have been a few of them. Quite a few.

A Christian Antizionist can not get away with being agnostic on the key issue any longer.. The objection to Israel is that it is ruled by human made laws that can be changed in a vigorous and free political process that does not require referral to holy men who claim to know the mind of God and whose idea of the cosmos is that infidels  are to be despised and not tolerated and when circumstances permit and warrant  can be put to the sword if they do not convert or submit to an ideological hegemony and belief system that is vile anathema to any rational and free human being.

Perhaps as Christians they have lost the folk memory of what an ugly imposition religion is when clerics are in a position to impose it. They will do that of course when they can. History has taught us that. Perhaps some Christian clerics still think that's a good idea. There has to be some reason why they have taken the position they have.

Firstly there is this important piece from Melanie Philips reporting some bad news for decent Christians and especially if they are in communion with the Church of England.

Decent Christians are extremely upset, and rightly so, about the resolution passed at the General Synod a few days ago endorsing the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel. The EAPPI aims to bring ‘internationals to the West Bank to experience life under occupation’. Its mission is to ‘accompany Palestinians and Israelis in their non-violent actions and to carry out concerted advocacy efforts to end the occupation’, and it has called on supporters to stage sit-ins at Israeli Embassies, to hack government websites in order to promote its message and of course promote the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel.

Read it all. It gets far more offensive and not just for decent Christians.

This is important for a number of reasons but let me just pick one. BDS is part of a campaign  aimed at the destruction of Israel as the entity it is because it's population is not Muslim and therefore the truth before them has to be  obliterated from existence by means of some kind of compulsory religious delusion. 

Here's a fair question. Will Anglicans involved in this venture take the opportunity to ask their friends about accepting  the Jewish state?

Everything else has been offered time and time again and to deny that would require one of those horrible religious delusions that you would have hoped had not been a part of Anglican tradition since the hunting of witches and heretics and anything else that would run. 

So it all gets down to this. Either the Israelis give up all of their human rights, including, incredibly, religious freedom, and there are Anglican clerics who go along with this?  Or at the very least are not prepared to clarify exactly what their friends want of the Israelis if they cannot accept what they say themselves time and time again and behold that is exactly what they want.

This is offensive not because of religion but because of its casual contempt for human rights. This attack on the rights of Israelis transcends religion. Christians associated with it should be ashamed of themselves. To the extent they are inspired by their religion they disgrace it.

This is a sad time for the Church of England. 

Anyway, like a bad day it gets worse.

Daphne Anson has an important post that deserves to be read in full and I will lift slabs of it when I get a moment. In the meantime she has some breaking news about a few British Methodist clerics who have opted to take a position that warrants scrutiny  

Cross posted   Israel Thrives


  1. Incidentally, geoffff, I left a link on the Methodist minister's blog to a great new pro-Israel Christian site's post re the peril of Christians in Gaza.

    I think his reaction will interest you.

    Remember, this is a minister who thinks nothing of linking to anti-Israel and arguably antisemitic stuff from the Electronic Intifada and Mondoweiss.

    He has also yet another post re big bad Israel...

  2. Thanks for that Daphne. This has prompted me to write something orclike.