Friday, July 29, 2005

"Ignorant or Mendacious"

As previously reported, the global Anglican (Episcopalian) church voted to urge member churches to divest "from companies involved in Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands."1 Though the United Church of Christ recently rejected divestment, other mainline Protestant denominations are divesting; under false pretenses, says New Republic editor Martin Peretz:
The Episcopalians are not the first of the Protestant churches to go down the disinvestment route against Israel. The Presbyterians have that distinction. But, just last week, in England, the Anglican Consultative Council, including the present Archbishop of Canterbury, voted unanimously to do the same. (The previous archbishop criticized the move.) The Anglicans have an analysis backing up their position: “It is the Israeli occupation in its many facets that foments the violence and fuels the conflict.” This ignores so many facts that it boggles the mind. Neither the Arabs of Palestine nor the established Arab states were willing to accept an Israel within very crimped borders; the occupation began in 1967 after the Arabs provoked—but lost — a war to eradicate precisely such a precarious Israel; and the Palestinians rejected out of hand the near-total withdrawals that Israel offered at Camp David in 2000 and Taba in 2001. These peace-mongering Anglican bishops are playing the role of “useful idiots,” this time for Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the other irredentist and murderous factions of the Palestinian polity that will be remembered for adventures like sending, last week, a troubled young woman to blow herself up at a hospital in Beersheba where she had been treated conscientiously and competently for her maladies.
Prejudice alone explains the outcome. The church's evidence and debate lacked "reciprocity and proportionality. Nothing was said about the victimization of Palestinian Christians by other Palestinians, or the fact that more Palestinians have been killed by Muslims than Israelis, or why there was no campaign to disinvest from far, far worse regimes." Indeed, the vapid "Report" recommending divestment claimed (page 12) there was "little will on behalf of the Israeli government to recognize the rights of the Palestinians to a sovereign state to be created in the West Bank—which includes East Jerusalem—and Gaza." Obviously, this somehow overlooks Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's imminent unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, a controversial decision (whether correct or not) that could still topple Israel's conservative government.

The Church's advisory body claimed divestment would be "a message of solidarity with Palestinian Christians." Nonsense, according to Peretz:
The Anglican luminaries are either ignorant or mendacious. A church spokesman, James Rosenthal, stated that the resolution expressed the Anglican concern for the situation of Palestinian Christians living in the territories. Now, it is true that Christians are in deep despair in emerging Palestine, but not because they are endangered by Israel. They are tormented and threatened by Muslim extremists inside and outside the Palestinian Authority. Ever since the handshake on the White House lawn, (September, 1993) Christians have been deserting the territories out of fear that the Israelis will abandon them to the twin mercies of virulent Arab nationalism and Islamic fanaticism.

Until the Oslo agreement, Christians were perhaps 60 percent of the population of Bethlehem. Now they are down to 30 to 35 percent. Bethlehem is not the only town that Christians are forsaking. Some of them have gone to Detroit, others to Australia. The responsibility for the predicament of Palestinian Christians lies squarely with those Palestinian Muslims whom the Anglicans and Presbyterians and everybody else with supposed good in their hearts have long tried to appease.
Throwing Israel over the side won't save the Protestant boat from Islamic terror. Rather, it shows Anglican leaders are ignorant of history, lack common sense and haven't read Kipling. It's lamentable that the Protestant movement has succumbed to political correctness.

1 At the same time, "the Anglican Consultative Council voted to continue to exclude the American and Canadian wings of the church from the council and other central decision-making bodies because of those churches' acceptance of gay ordinations and blessings for same-sex unions." This might exempt North American Episcopal congregations from the outcome. Nevertheless, eliminating any doubt about their bias, the report also urged the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq.

(via LGF)

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