26 October 2007

26 October 2007 - The cult of Israel-hatred

Tonight I decided to skip my usual Friday night services and head on down to the Old South Church to attend the opening of the Sabeel conference on “The Apartheid Paradigm in Palestine-Israel.” The church is a beautiful building; what a shame it was to see it defiled by such hatred. The pews were packed with people who dislike Israel in one way or another; one guy wore a t-shirt depicting a burning Israeli flag.

I walked around the room to see where the microphones for question-and-answer would be. There weren’t any, and at the start of the evening we were told that if we wanted to ask a question we’d have to fill out an index card and hand it to one of the ushers. Screened in advance! I should have known. I complained to Phyllis Bennis, one of the moderators, who told me: “This is not an open discussion.” Indeed!

I sat down in a pew near the front and opened the folder of conference materials. The back page of the official program was entitled “Apartheid?” and was filled with quotes and maps aimed at proving the Israel-apartheid analogy. They had a line from Jimmy Carter, a line from Archbishop Desmond Tutu (the conference’s keynote speaker), and a line from—no, wait, really?—Nelson Mandela:

“Apartheid is a crime against humanity. Israel has deprived millions of Palestinians of their liberty and property. It has perpetuated a system of gross racial discrimination and inequality. It has systematically incarcerated and tortured thousands of Palestinians, contrary to the rules of international law. It has, in particular, waged a war against a civilian population, in particular children.”

Sounds rather damning, doesn’t it? And who could disagree with Nelson Mandela? There’s only one problem: Nelson Mandela never said, wrote or endorsed those words. They are the creation of an Arab journalist named Arjan El Fassed. When I exposed El Fassed's fraud earlier this year, he claimed: “There is no possible basis for Pollak to say I intended people to believe the memo was written by anyone other than myself.”

In spite of El Fassed’s admission, the Israel-haters continue to use his Mandela quote to promote their views. But El Fassed’s “Mandela Memo” is a fraud—just as much a lie as the Israel-apartheid equation itself. The entire evening was built on such lies. Keynote speaker Naim Ateek, for example, claimed that the Israeli government has an “intense desire to ethnically cleanse Palestinians.”

But I’m jumping ahead. The evening began with an address by the Right Reverend M. Thomas Shaw, the local Episcopalian bishop, who equated the anti-Israel movement with the anti-apartheid movement: it is “like any movement we’ve had for justice in human history,” he said. “God smiles on this assembly,” he added. This was a feature throughout the evening: religious blessing of hatred against Israel.

After a hymn—“Guide my feet, Lord” (out the door, I wanted to add)—Archbishop Tutu stood up and recited an invocation. “Lead us from prejudice to truth,” he prayed. Amen, I muttered. I flipped through the Bible in front of me and landed on an appropriate verse, Psalm 36:3: “The words of their mouths are mischief and deceit; they have ceased to act wisely and do good.”

A Muslim cleric, Imam Mahdi Bray, then stood up and gave a silly speech about how he had personally experienced apartheid because he had grown up as a black American in the South and his house had been firebombed et cetera. He did not explain how that qualified him to speak about Israel, but nevertheless went on and on in fiery style about the rights of the dispersed Palestinian people.

Next up was Sara Roy. She devoted most of her speech to attacking Jews, telling the audience that Jewish leaders exploit the Holocaust and other examples of Jewish suffering like the Inquisition. (?!?) She then went on at length about “my Holocaust background,” how her parents were survivors and lived through “loneliness and longing,” and how that formed her opinions of Israel. (Hello, exploitation?)

Israelis and Jews, she said, are “racist,” aside from a few exceptions. Though Jews have a strong tradition of dissent, it is unacceptable among Jews to admit “that Palestinians share our humanity,” she said. Spoon-fed this slander from a person with an unimpeachable “Holocaust background,” the audience swallowed every word and rewarded her with a spirited burst of applause.

Ateek was the last to speek, and was introduced by Hilary Rantisi, who claimed that the event organizers had come under pressure to “disinvite” him. She attacked his critics but did not attempt to explain his religious bigotry, reported recently by Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe (whose article was distributed with the conference materials, along with a defense of the event by a local reform Rabbi).

Ateek said that he opposed violence on both sides, and supported a two-state solution and Israel’s right to live within the 1967 borders (which only a handful of people in the room applauded). However, he said that the government of Israel doesn’t listen and refuses to end the “evil” occupation. He then quoted a Ha’aretz article in which Israeli Jews themselves had used the word “apartheid.”

He equated the Hebrew word hafradah (“separation”), used by some Israelis to describe the security barrier, with the Afrikaans apartheid. He claimed this was a sign that Israelis now support an apartheid policy. (What hafradah actually refers to is separation from land, not people—from the occupied territories, not from Arabs, who are more integrated into Israel now than ever before. Sigh.)

There was a break, and after confirming that there were to be no questions from the floor, I decided to leave. Karl Popper once said that a theory is only scientific if it is falsifiable, i.e. if it is open to being disproved. In the same way, any political idea which is not open to challenge and debate cannot possibly be true. However, if you repeat it often enough, as the saying goes, people start to believe it.

Fraudulent accusations against the Jewish state, based on fabricated evidence. Religious endorsement of hatred, couched in the rhetoric of social justice. False caricatures and stereotypes of an entire people. The parading of token Jews to verify everything said from the stage. Sound familiar? They used to have a word for that. But you can’t use “antisemitism” anymore. So I’ll just call it a disgrace.

110 Comments:

At 2:44 PM, Blogger The Sanity Inspector said...

Congratulations on the lizard-lanche

 
At 2:44 PM, Anonymous WalterBoswell said...

Great post Joel.

 
At 3:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I question the credentials of all these false prophets.

Thanks for showing up and giving us the report.

 
At 3:52 PM, Anonymous Jonathan said...

Way to go Joel!

Thanks for the read, you're wonderful...
Keep going on- truth will prevail eventually.

 
At 3:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is correct, the truth will eventually prevail However, you must open your eyes to the truth. There is not one mean spirited bone in the body or mind of Desmond Tutu. He is as sincere as any human born. You should read more of his teachings.

 
At 4:03 PM, Blogger DD877 said...

Good Job First time I saw your Blog.
And to anonymous Jesus Christ said to care for the least of these Which is a bit more inclusive than was the use of the South Church for this "EX" clusive evening. Maybe you can spare some time for his teachings?

 
At 4:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fantastic and extremely well conveyed thoughts. Thanks.

 
At 4:27 PM, Blogger Myron said...

Well, of course the Israel/South African Apartheid analogy is absurd.
But aside from that, what is more absurd is that Tutu has come to Boston, grieving for the "Palestinians." You see, it's this way; now that his South Africa is no longer the most dangerous country on the planet, and that all the problems of sub-saharan Africa have been overcome--massive poverty, a pendemic of civil wars and gangster wars, slavery, corruption on a scale never before seen on Earth, child =labor and slavery on a scale never before seen on Earth, pandemics of malaria, HIV/Aids on a scale never before seen on Earth: now that Zimbabwe is once again a lush and happy utopia, Tutu now can allow himself the luxury of addressing social, political and relgious problems in those areas of the world which have not yet become
the utopia enjoyed by all sub-saharan Africans. I AM LAUGHING AND CRYING AT THE SAME TIME. TUTU=a sick joke.

 
At 4:52 PM, Blogger el said...

If they've got a problem with Israel why are they blaming all Jews?
It's the A'jad madness they've adopted; it's the Zionists, not the Jews, he says he wants to be rid of.
But the problem for now and forever is that there is no such thing as a Zionist-only bomb! Nor can they create a Zionist-exclusive virus!
There are no such things as anti-Zionist, or anti-Israel animals; there are only anti-semites.
All the rest is flatulence!

 
At 5:04 PM, Blogger Alan said...

Thank you for sacrificing your Shabbat to report on this vile event.

 
At 5:32 PM, Anonymous steve said...

Thanks for the review Joel. Way to go on the LGF link!

 
At 7:20 PM, Anonymous Jamieos said...

Desmond Tutu = Jimmah Carter

Old and demented meddlers.
Sowing deceit everywhere.

Never read your blog before, and I found the link at Little Green Footballs.

 
At 7:49 PM, Anonymous Bokkie said...

Mazel-tov on an excellent report. I admire your ability to actually enter the belly of the beast, so to speak. Regarding an earlier comment on the sincerity of Tutu: the man has always been an opportunist. I wouldn't attach too much credence to anything he says.

 
At 7:57 PM, Anonymous Sam said...

To Ed,
I hate this new politically-correct claim: "I looove Jews, its the Zionists I hate".
People dont realise that "Zionism" simply means "a belief that Jews should have a homeland". That's why there are millions of Christian Zionists. Supporters of Israel must understand this and get the message out.

 
At 8:18 PM, Anonymous bushleague said...

I am a member of an episcopal church in Wellesley MA that, I am embarrassed to say, claims theRight Reverend M. Thomas Shaw as it Bishop. I want you to know that I will be challenging the Rector as to his views and withholding my (meager) contribution to our church. This depresses me as I left the Catholic Church to get away from hypocrisy but clearly did not do my homework.

 
At 10:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The ugly truth, what more will American people swallow, will America one day be where Germany was, I pray not. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, those who love her will be blessed. Bless our Jewish friends, as it goes with her, it will be for us.

 
At 10:14 PM, Anonymous lovely! said...

You know why the old 'mainline' protestant denominations (like the Presbyterians and Episcopalians) are losing membership? Why the evangelicals are growing instead?

For exactly this kind of crap. the Episcopalians are a freakish joke at this point.

 
At 10:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would guess that the vast majority of that audience could tell you nothing about the attacks on Palestinians by the Jordanians and the Lebanese. They pretend to care about 'the plight of the Palestinians' but the fact is they just hate Jews. This is especially hypocritical coming for North Americans who are also living on land that other people used to live on.

 
At 11:42 PM, Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

Tutu has said that the Jews control America. He makes repeated comments about the power of the Jewish lobby. Either Tutu is very stupid or he's an anti-semite, or of course, both.

Can anyone be that stupid?

 
At 11:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arjan El Fassad is also one of teh founders of Al Awda (The Return) that support the annihilation of ISrael by Hamas and sues the slogan "from the river to the sea."
Fassad is also one of the founders and contributors the Electronic Intifada propaganda website. Nothing these people say has any credibility when it comes to Israel.

 
At 1:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is unfortunate that the church was used for political activities. A religious organization that receives tax empt status should not engage in such activities, unless it wishes to participate in paying for the well being of the community in which it exists. The church would have been better used for preaching the gospel of Christianity, i.e. Peace, love, compassion and not for espousing hate.

 
At 3:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It certainly was a shameful & anti-Semitic evening. Thank you for exposing this disgusting event, Joel. There is no apartheid whastsoever in Israel. However, apartheid is practised by every Arab League state. For example, can a Christian openly worship in Saudi Arabia? Of course not!

 
At 10:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is absurd that anyone calls Tutu anti-semitic. In the Isreal Palestinian situation both sides have made HUGE mistakes in order to achieve their goals. If you only see the situation one sided, then you are not objective in your views.

 
At 10:23 AM, Blogger Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

Dear Guide,
I think it important to point out that the reality through history was the opposite from what Tutu/Bennis/ateek et al. claim. Jews in Israel and other lands under Arab-Muslim rule were in the status of oppressed dhimmis [as were Christians and others]. They paid special taxes that Muslims did not. Their testimony was worth half of a Muslim's in court. And other forms of humiliation. This system of oppression/exploitation/humiliation took place over a period of more than a thousand years, since the 7th century. This system was much closer to South African apartheid than anything that Israel may have done to Arabs.

Moreover, experts like Francesco Gabrieli and Moshe Sharon have written that in practice the Jews in Arab-Muslim-ruled lands were at the very bottom of the social barrel, even below the Christians, their fellow dhimmis.

Another fact to point out over and over is that the Arab nationalist movement, the chief leader of the Palestinian Arabs in particular, Haj Amin el-Husseini [British-appointed Mufti of Jerusalem] collaborated with the Nazis in the Holocaust. See link:
http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2007/10/arab-leaders-had-helped-nazi-mass.html

How do ateek/bennis/roy et al. deal with the fact of Arab-Nazi collaboration in the Holocaust???

 
At 10:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like it that there was at least one person with common sense at the conference!

 
At 11:48 AM, Anonymous Tia said...

Thanks Joel, for bearing witness and documenting the hate and perversion of Sabeel:

Other reports from objective attendees of Sabeel:

http://kaplanwatch.blogspot.com/2007/08/sabeel-conference-in-berkeley-th

"A combination of Arab petrodollars, Marxist zeal and good old-fashioned anti-Semitism will be on hand at Sabeel's conference in Berkeley this weekend."

http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/search?q=cannibals

"Nearly every speaker tried to convince us that they had nothing against Jews, many of their friends were Jewish, they loved Jews oh boy did they ever and what a pity that some of them refused to see the how right the Palestinians were and how wrong the Zionists but what else can you really expect from those people and in any case they themselves only speak to the sympathetic apologetic pro-Pally Jews nowadays, which is the Zionist Jews' fault, they started it and they are heartless, cruel, and calculating.

Subtle suggestions of Jewish plots, and too much Jewish influence in the halls of power, and in Christian churches. The Jewish establishment. The Jewish lobby. The Jewish censorship.

Subtle, in this case, means fairly blatant."

 
At 7:51 PM, Blogger Rondur- JEWISH ADVOCACY said...

It is indeed perplexing to consider that so called elders of humanity can be so obtuse as to propagate fantasies and consider lies about the most reviled who have given mankind most ethics.
Carter is an obtuse unpersonality who will be enshrined as the most famous ignoramus in recent history. He will descend in unhuman achievement to the same trashcan level as did Goebels, Himler and Haman.
Is not the genocide of Sudan in Darfur and the barbarian cruelty where ever sadistic butchery practiced by Muslim Arabs occurs , obvious and disgusting?

 
At 1:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Rondur

"We live in a world where when Christians kill Muslims, it's a crusade. When Jews kill Muslims, it's a massacre. When Muslims kill Muslims, it's the weather channel. Nobody cares."

- Ambassador Dan Gillerman (Israel's UN ambassador), 2007

 
At 11:54 AM, Anonymous Jordan said...

Bravo, bravo!

 
At 12:01 PM, Blogger Thermblog said...

anonymous 10:04
It is absurd that anyone calls Tutu anti-semitic.

Is it any more absurd than Tutu sticking Israel with the "Apartheid" label?

Of course not and Carter, Tutu et al should expect this, particularly when Nelson Mandela can suggest Bush and Blair are racist.

Enough double standards.

 
At 3:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a joke, right? Israeli racism - light unto nations. Preaching to the converted is quite satisfying, no? Shoot and cry.

 
At 6:45 PM, Blogger LEL said...

Thanks for this report. I don't know how you managed to stomach this in person.

These people are not true Christians. Their fraudulent Christianity is a guise for a sinister agenda. They have nothing whatsoever to say about the persecution and murder of Christians throughout the muslim world, but condemn the one country in the Middle East where Christians are free. If that is not proof of their virulent antisemitism, I don’t know what is.

 
At 7:25 AM, Anonymous Ariel said...

@ 31.

Racism and discrimination are endemic to all societies regardless of government, culture or whatever.

However there is no negative discriminatory laws in Israel against it's non-Jewish citizens.

Please qualify by what you mean by shoot and cry.

 
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