Palestinian replacement theology and the strange death of Jesus the Jew

Jesus the PalestinianIt is not just Islam and the Left that are responsible for anti-Zionism and the rise of anti-Semitism. Christians who have embraced Palestinian replacement theology (which has disturbing echoes of the Nazis’ depiction of Jesus-as-Aryan) must also be held to account for the propagation of anti-Jewish hatred.

By Richard Mather

In recent decades, the quest to revive Jesus’ Jewish identity has yielded much fruit. Geza Vermes, Hugh Schonfield, Robert Eisenman, E.P Sanders, James Tabor, R. T. Herford, George Foot Moor and Hyam Maccoby are among those who have highlighted Jesus’ Jewish identity and origins. Combined with the shared interest in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Jews and Christians have found common ground in the exploration of the Jewish roots of Christianity.

As most people know, Jesus was born of a Jewish woman in the Judean town of Bethlehem, and was given the Jewish name of “Yeshua,” literally “Joshua.” He was circumcised, attended synagogue services and the Temple, wore tzitzit, was referred to as “Rabbi,” and observed the Sabbath, Passover and Sukkot. He  quoted from the Tanakh and reiterated the importance of the Shema (“Hear O Israel the Lord is our God, the Lord is One”). He also made it clear that he had “come for the lost sheep of Israel” and that “Salvation is of the Jews.”

The historical exploration of the Jewish Jesus has helped many Christians understand the Hebrew origins of their faith, and in so doing, has helped heal the rift between Judaism and Christianity, which led to the genocide of six million Jews in the 1940s. But there are some Christians (and Muslims) who, for highly questionable political and theological reasons, want to bury Jesus’ Jewish identity and resurrect him as a Palestinian martyr.

Jesus was not a Palestinian. There is no reference to Palestine in the New Testament for the simple reason that the land of Israel was generally known as Judea and Galilee until 135 CE. The Gospel of Matthew, which was written around 80 CE does, however, mention “the land of Israel” and the “cities of Israel.” The term Palestine is rarely used in the Tanakh, and when it is, it refers specifically to the southwestern coastal area of Israel occupied by the Philistines who had disappeared as a distinct people by the time of the Babylonian Captivity in 586 BCE.

Christians throughout the centuries have tended to imagine Jesus according to their peculiar prejudices. One of the most outlandish was the Jesus-as-Aryan theory. During the Third Reich, some German Protestant theologians redefined Jesus as an Aryan and Christianity as a religion at war with Judaism. The Institute for the Study and Eradication of Jewish Influence published books defaming Judaism (including a dejudaized version of the New Testament) and a catechism proclaiming Jesus as the saviour of the Aryans.

Since the 1960s, a number of Christians (and Muslims) have revived and revised the Aryan Jesus myth as a tool for propagating anti-Semitism and anti-Zionist propaganda. Jesus the Aryan is now Jesus the Palestinian martyr living “under occupation.” The Jews are depicted as a cruel and oppressive people who have merited everlasting exile. And the Hebrew Bible is “de-Zionised” and/or radically reinterpreted by writers and teachers in order to downplay what they say is Jewish “exclusivity” in the Tanakh (the words “Zion” or “Israel” are removed from the Psalms, for example).

The founding document of Christian Palestinianism is the 1967 Arab-Christian memorandum entitled “What is Required of the Christian Faith Concerning the Palestine Problem.” The document, which had the blessing of Catholic and Orthodox clergy, declares that it is “a total misunderstanding of the story of salvation and a perversion of God’s plan for a Christian to want to re-establish a Jewish nation as a political entity.”

In one of its most audacious passages, the memorandum reads: “The Christian conscience should always discern what is the authentic vocation of the Jewish people and what is the other side of the coin, that is, the racist State of Israel.”  In fact, the memorandum calls for a permanent exile of the Jews on the grounds that “the Jewish race was chosen to serve the salvation of humanity and not to establish itself in any particular religious or racial way.”

The Christian Palestinianist movement was given a fresh impetus in 2009 with the publication of the Kairos Palestine Document. Subtitled “A moment of truth: A word of faith, hope and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering,” the paper claims to speak on behalf of Christian and Muslim Palestinians, who apparently share a “deeply rooted” history and a “natural right” to the land.

In contrast, the State of Israel is viewed as an alien entity, and only exists because of Western guilt over the Holocaust. Israel is even associated with the words “evil” and “sin.” According to the text, the so-called Israeli occupation “distorts the image of God in the Israeli who has become an occupier.”

One of the most vocal Christian Palestinianists is Naim Ateek, who was born in Beth She’an in what is now northern Israel.  He was ordained as a priest in the Anglican Church in 1967 and was (until recently) a cleric in St. George’s Cathedral, Jerusalem.

In 1989, Ateek published Justice and Only Justice: A Palestinian Theology of Liberation, which drew much of its strength from South American liberation theology. Five years later, Ateek founded an organisation called Sabeel – the Palestinian Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center.

Ateek reinterprets the account of King Ahab and Naboth in 1 Kings 21 to underpin his replacement theology. Ateek teaches how King Ahab (the State of Israel) murders Naboth (the Palestinians) in order to take Naboth’s land, and how the Lord sent Elijah to pronounce judgment on them. According to Ateek, the day is coming when God will judge and punish Israel.

The version of liberation theology espoused by Ateek is that of Jesus as “a Palestinian living under an occupation.” In his 2001 Easter message, Ateek spoke of Jesus as “the powerless Palestinian humiliated at a checkpoint” and he used anti-Semitic language to evoke the image of Jews as Christ-killers:

“In this season of Lent, it seems to many of us that Jesus is on the cross again with thousands of crucified Palestinians around him. It only takes people of insight to see the hundreds of thousands of crosses throughout the land, Palestinian men, women, and children being crucified. Palestine has become one huge Golgotha. The Israeli government crucifixion system is operating daily.”

Yasser Arafat also played on the theme of Jesus as a Palestinian martyr. When he made his first Christmas appearance in Bethlehem in 1995, he invoked the Christian nativity by crying, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill towards men.” To which the crowd responded, “In spirit and blood we will redeem thee, O Palestine!”

Bethlehem obviously held a special place in Arafat’s heart. Not because he had any special love for Jesus and Christianity but because it was a political rallying point. Bethlehem, according to Arafat, was the “birthplace of the first Palestinian Christian, Jesus Christ.”

Other times, Jesus is referred to as a Shahid, a holy martyr of Islam. Arafat often referred to Jesus as the first Palestinian martyr, which is not only historically incorrect, it is at odds with Islamic tradition. There are no references to Jesus as a Shahid in Islamic works, and it is impossible for Jesus to be a martyr if he did not die on the cross, which is the view of the Quran.

Of all the anti-Israel discourses that exist today, Christian Palestinianism is perhaps one of the most disturbing because it resurrects the notion of Jews as accursed Christ-killers who deserve permanent exile. As with all anti-Semitic ideas, Christian Palestinianism is about resentment. It is a projection of a sense of inferiority onto an external scapegoat –the Jews.

Egyptian Jewish writer Bat Ye’or believes that the concept of Jesus the Palestinian is symbolic of a growing religious trend – Palestinian replacement theology and the gradual Islamisation of Christianity. Christian Palestinianists, according to Ye’or interpret the Bible from an Islamic point of view and “do not admit to any historical or theological link between the biblical Israel, the Jewish people and the modern State of Israel.”

Ye’or also points to the similarity between Palestinian replacement theology and Marcion gnosticism, which was a second century Christian heresy. Marcion gnostics rejected the Hebrew Bible and believed that the God of Israel was inferior to the God of the New Testament.  Likewise, Christian Palestinianists want to “de-Zionise” the Tanakh, strip Jesus of his Jewish heritage and neutralise prophetic statements relating to Jews and the land of Israel.

As well as being  politically motivated, Christian Palestinianism is a religious assault on Judaism and should be seen in the context of centuries of anti-Jewish persecution and ridicule by both Christians and Muslims who are embarrassed and frustrated by the continued existence of the Jewish people.

Make no mistake. The cultural-economic boycott of the Jewish state draws a great deal of strength from Christianity. Much of the anti-Zionism emanating from West can be traced back to faith-based organisations who are either ambivalent about Israel or downright hostile. Christian Aid, the Quakers, the Church of England, the Church of Scotland and the Presbyterians are among those who are guilty of demonising Israel.

And then there are individuals such as Reverend Dr. Stephen Sizer (a prominent and notorious Anglican vicar in England) who believes that Jerusalem and the land of Israel “have been made irrelevant to God’s redemptive purposes,” and that Jews were expelled from the land because “they were more interested in money and power.”

In other words, it is not just Islam and the Left that are responsible for the ostracism and demonisation of the Jewish state. Many Christians, especially those who have embraced the new anti-Semitic replacement theology known as Christian Palestinianism, should be held to account for rekindling the same anti-Jewish prejudices and hatreds that resulted in the Holocaust.

[For information about Jewish and Christian campus initiatives that have been hoodwinked by the Palestinianist narrative – including Palestinian replacement theology – check out this article on Jewish Media Agency: Enough! No more brainwashing on campuses ]

Visions of a better world: Hashem’s cosmic covenant of peace

lionBy Richard Mather

There is a theme running throughout the Tanakh that is sometimes called the “cosmic covenant,” a covenant that is connected to the cosmic order and associated with peace and justice. The covenant is like a harmonious marriage – a marriage of heaven and earth, of G-d and his people Israel.

This covenant,  which is described in the book of Isaiah (54:10) as a “covenant of peace,” was established at Creation, when the cosmic elements were fixed in place. As Genesis 1 explains, Hashem divides the light from the darkness, the land from the water, the day from the night.

The fixing of the cosmic elements and the pacification of chaos during Creation is echoed in subsequent books in the Tanakh, notably:

“I placed the sand as a boundary for the sea, the eternal rule which it may not transgress,” says Hashem in the book of Jeremiah (5.22);

And:

“Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt’?” (Job 38:8-11).

The loosening of the binds and the reintroduction of chaos at the time of the Flood should be attributed to Hashem’s disgust at the state of the world and mankind’s immorality. Peace and justice were apparently in short supply, and social disharmony was rife. In Genesis 6:11, the Torah states that “the earth was corrupt in Hashem’s sight and was full of violence.”

Although Hashem could have completely destroyed the world, He instead instructed Noah to save himself, his family and a remnant of animals by creating a huge ark or sanctuary, before sending an almighty flood:

“The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits. Every living thing that moved on land perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. […] Only Noah was left and those with him in the ark.” (Genesis 7:20-23).

By unfixing the boundaries that were put in place in Genesis 1 and flooding the earth with water, Hashem was (in a sense) remaking the world.

The receding of the waters after the rain had stopped echoes the separating of land and water in Genesis 1. The post-deluge covenant between Hashem and Noah can be interpreted as a reaffirmation of the universal created order. In Psalm 104:9, the psalmist observes how Hashem “set a boundary” so that the waters “might not again cover the earth.”

So Hashem blesses Noah and his sons, and makes a pledge with mankind and the animal kingdom, in which He promises to never again to “cut off” all flesh with the waters of a flood. Hashem commands Noah and his sons to be fruitful, to multiply and to replenish the earth. Hashem also forbids the eating of animal blood (which can be interpreted as an injunction against animal cruelty), as well as the shedding of human blood. There is also an implicit commandment to set up courts of law to punish murder.

The renewal of the covenant after the Flood is a promise of abundance. Hence the following promise in Leviticus:

“Your threshing will continue until grape harvest and the grape harvest will continue until planting, and you will eat all the food you want and live in safety in your land. […] I will look on you with favor and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep my covenant with you. You will still be eating last year’s harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new. I will put my dwelling place[a] among you, and I will not abhor you. I will walk among you and be your Hashem, and you will be my people. I am the Lord your Hashem, who brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians; I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high.” (Leviticus 26:5-6, 9-12).

But there is something about the post-Flood covenant that falls short. Man is allowed to eat animals, which was forbidden to Adam. And it soon becomes clear, with the uncovering of Noah’s nakedness and the cursing of Canaan, that injustice and discord are problems that won’t go away.

Enter the prophets who say unrighteousness is to blame. Injustice, they argue, threatens the harmonious workings of the universe. Individual behavior, national prosperity and the health of the cosmos are all interdependent. In the book of Isaiah, Hashem scolds his “children” for their rebellious ways and promises to “purge away [their] dross” and “shake the earth.”

Then there is this dire warning:

“See, the LORD is going to lay waste the earth and devastate it; he will ruin its face and scatter its inhabitants— it will be the same for priest as for people, for the master as for his servant […] The earth will be completely laid waste and totally plundered.” (Isaiah 24:1-3).

Why is Hashem threatening to destroy his people? It is because they have “broken the everlasting covenant” (24:5) and “therefore a curse consumes the earth.” This is a stark reminder of the story of the Flood in Genesis and a warning that injustice and idolatry are a real threat to the created order.

Jeremiah, too, recognises that mankind’s failure to keep a covenant with Hashem is disastrous:

“If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night no longer come at their appointed time, then my covenant with David my servant – and my covenant with the Levites who are priests ministering before me – can be broken and David will no longer have a descendant to reign on his throne.” (Jeremiah 33:20-22).

Indeed, the breaking of the covenant threatens to return the earth to the chaos of pre-Creation: “I looked at the earth, and it was formless and empty; and at the heavens, and their light was gone” (Jeremiah 4:23).

But there is hope. The prophets look forward to a better time, a day when Hashem delivers Creation and completely restores it. Indeed, the prophetic books are packed with visions of the future when the covenant of peace is full restored and mankind and nature are no longer estranged from each other:

“I will make a covenant of peace with them and rid the land of savage beasts so that they may live in the wilderness and sleep in the forests in safety” (Ezekiel 34:25).

And:

“[…] I will make a covenant with them, with the animals of the wild, with the birds of the sky and what creeps on the ground. I will break bow, sword and war on earth, and I will let them rest in safety I will make thee mine own forever; I will make thee mine by right and justice, by loyalty and compassion, I will make thee mine by faithfulness, and thou shalt know [that I am] the Lord” (Hosea 2:18-20)

Only with the arrival of the Moshiach (Messiah) can the process of healing the world begin. It is the Moshiach who will implement a new moral order that will culminate in the transformation of the laws of nature. This can be seen in Psalm 72:

“Endow the king with your justice, O G-d, the royal son with your righteousness. May he judge your people in righteousness, your afflicted ones with justice. May the mountains bring prosperity to the people, the hills the fruit of righteousness. May he defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; may he crush the oppressor. […] May grain abound throughout the land; on the tops of the hills may it sway. May the crops flourish like Lebanon and thrive like the grass of the field. May his name endure forever; may it continue as long as the sun. Then all nations will be blessed through him and they will call him blessed. Praise be to the LORD G-d, the G-d of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds. Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen. This concludes the prayers of David son of Jesse.”

And finally there is eschatological hope in the book of Isaiah, when the Moshiach will be endowed with the “Spirit of the Lord” and “the wolf will live with the lamb”:

“The leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”  (Isaiah 11:6-9).

And so the cosmic covenant or covenant of peace is fully restored. Having been through so much bloodshed and disaster, the entire created order – mankind, animals, heaven and earth – will be at peace with each other, and full of the knowledge of G-d.

 

 

 

 

 

Zionists out of CUNY: Jewish exclusion and the politics of “safe space”

CUNYBy Richard Mather

There is a problem on American and  British campuses, a problem that is all too reminiscent of the McCarthy era or even the fascist book burnings of the 1930s. Jewish students are being metaphorically excluded from something called “safe space,” and there is a danger that the metaphor will become a literal reality.

Safe space originated in the 1970s with the rise of identity and gender politics. The idea behind safe space is that people of all identities are entitled to a tolerant environment to express who they are. But judging from the rhetoric and behaviour of some students, the practise of safe space is not extended to Jews who risk being demonised as politically incorrect persons.

Lately, many gay, transgender, black and Muslim students have been urging university administrators to keep them “safe” from ideas they don’t agree with. And they demand “trigger warnings” before certain issues are debated.

Visiting speakers and academics are sometimes “no-platformed” in case they upset or offend students. Pro-Israel speakers are slandered, abused, interrupted, even barred by pro-Palestinian students. By contrast, speakers who are openly anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist and sympathetic to Islamist terrorism (such as Hezbollah’s Ibrahim Mousawi) are welcomed with open arms.

Students are becoming increasingly infantile and menacing (two aspects of the hybrid known as the “cry bully”). They are intolerant of ideas they don’t like, but they simultaneously demand that their intolerance is tolerated. Disturbingly, it is often the same students who claim safe space for themselves who harass and intimidate Jews.

At a recent rally calling for free tuition, student protesters at City University of New York (CUNY) chanted for “Zionists” to be excluded from the institution.

As retired Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz pointed out, when CUNY protestors chant “Zionist,” they mean “Jew.” Indeed, university officials were forced to apologise for anti-Semitic statements made by students during the rally.

The “Zionists out of CUNY” chants followed a Facebook petition issued by Students for Justice in Palestine. The petition attributed the financial plight of students to CUNY’s “Zionist administration” that “hosts [Jewish] birthright programs and study abroad programs in occupied Palestine [Israel], and reproduces settler-colonial ideology … through Zionist content of education.”

The phrase “Zionist content of education” is not just nonsensical and absurd, it is an outright anti-Semitic slander.

Given the climate of hostility towards Jews on campuses and the totalitarian mindset of many left-wing and Muslim students, it is only a matter of time until such students call for an end to “Jewish privilege.” They will argue that by reason of association with Israel, Jewish identity is politically incorrect and that being Jewish is a kind of “identity aggression.”

And then they will demand that ALL Jewish students, lecturers and administrators (whether they support Israel or not) are banned from campuses.

That is already the implication and the direction of travel. In other words, safe space on campuses not only excludes Jews, it could actually lead to attempts by student organisers to literally exclude Jews from academic life.

(In contrast, the sensitivities of Muslim students are protected to an absurd degree. Student authorities at University College London recently prevented a talk by a man who fought against Islamic State. And last year, the National Union of Students rejected a motion condemning Isis because it might offend Muslims.)

Joanna Williams of Kent University’s Enhancement of Learning and Teaching unit, who has written about politics on campus, says that “censorship powers are being used more often and against a wider variety of targets.”

And Dennis Hayes, professor of education at the University of Derby and founder of Academics for Academic Freedom, says that universities are increasingly afraid of upsetting students: “Universities don’t want to be associated with views which aren’t part of the moral consensus.”

Moreover, universities are driven by commercial concerns. If fee-paying students demands to be treated like customers who expect a certain type of service from their campus administrators, then it is likely that universities will capitulate to their political demands in order to keep the money rolling in.

As things stand, university authorities are already quite bad when it comes to dealing with anti-Semitism on campus. Lord Jonathan Sacks, the former Chief Rabbi, has spoken of the intimidation of Jewish students in Britain as “part of a long, slow, insidious process intended to undermine academic freedom and it must not be tolerated.”

A couple of examples from Britain: In May 2011 the University and College Union (UCU) voted overwhelmingly to disassociate itself from the EU’s working definition of anti-Semitism, which prompted Jewish leaders to condemn the body as “institutionally racist.”

And in 2013, a survey revealed that Jewish students at the prestigious University of Edinburgh in Scotland faced a “toxic atmosphere” in which they were forced to hide their identity and were quitting courses “in despair” following anti-Israel demonstrations.

Dershowitz believes that “the fog of fascism is descending quickly” over many universities.

“We are seeing a curtain of McCarthyism descend over many college campuses,” says Dershowitz.  “We have to remember it was the college students who first started burning books during the Nazi regime. And these students are book burners. They don’t want to hear diverse views on college campuses.”

In other words, the suppression of debate not only erodes academic freedom, it also prevent the free exchange of ideas, which is crucial if age-old prejudices such as anti-Semitism are to be challenged. And if students are unable to tolerate ideas that are considered “unsafe,” how are they going to cope when it comes to tolerating and living among other people, such as Jews?

That is a question for debate. Unfortunately, some debates are just too sensitive for today’s students.

 

 

 

Europeans must pick a side – Israel or the Islamists

GTY_eiffel_tower_kab_150107_16x9_992Europe has the sown the wind of Islamic extremism by aiding and abetting the Palestinians, and now it is reaping the whirlwind

By Richard Mather

For decades the West has lectured Israel on the need to partition its territory in order to placate Arab terrorists. Under pressure, Israel has pursued the narrative of land-for-peace but without success. The Arabs have rejected a two-state solution on seven or eight occasions over the past seven decades. Why? Because religion – and not land – is at the core of their rejectionism.

Anti-Jewish violence in the Middle East has always been religiously-motivated. Look at the documents, news reports and speeches from the 1920s and 1930s, and you’ll see that Arab invective aimed at Palestinian Jews was couched in extreme religious terms. The anti-Jewish histrionics of Amin al-Husseini (who sought assistance from Hitler) is a case in point. Not surprisingly, a democratic Jewish state, where Jews run their own affairs, was (and still is) anathema to the supremacist instincts of those Arabs who wanted (and still want) a pan-Arab nation or Caliphate where minorities are stripped off their rights and/or murdered.

The West, which has become increasingly secular in recent decades, is blind to the religious warfare being waged against the Jews. Westerners, particularly western Europeans, are inept in their understanding of religious conflict. They tend to misread the Israeli-Arab dispute as a clash over land. Or they think that acts of terrorism are symptomatic of capitalism’s failure to cater for the excluded poor. So it is no surprise that that many Westerners (particularly those on the Left) are simply incapable of recognising the religious (i.e. Islamist) character of terrorism when it occurs in Paris, London or Madrid.

This is where the Islamists have the advantage. They understand only too well that the war against Jews and the West in general is a religious, imperialistic, even apocalyptic, conflict. The West, by contrast, is ignorant of this reality because it is embarrassed by colonialism and has rejected religion as a way of life. The near-total destruction of Jewish life in the 1930s and 1940s, combined with the post-1945 deChristianisation of Europe, has left the continent without a religious counter-ideology on which to base a comprehensive response to Islamic imperialism.

The situation would not be so bad if Europeans had embraced a robust and confident humanism, which emphasises critical thinking, freedom and progress. Sadly, many Europeans have become politically-correct automatons who tolerate the intolerable by creating “safe spaces” on their campuses and institutions for a whole host of unsavoury people who wish to kill Jews and undermine pluralistic values. And anyone who dares to criticise this set-up is branded an “Islamophobe,” “racist,” “Zio-Nazi” or “Tory scum.”

But there is one thing that Europe could do, while it is still possible.  And that is to stop sending out mixed messages over the Israeli-Arab issue and pick a side. Either Israel or the Islamists. Do the French, English, Danes and Italians etc have more in common with a democratic, secular and pluralistic society like Israel or with an anti-democratic, gay-bashing, Islamist quasi-state such as Palestine? (Of course, unless Europe gets its act together and stops the creeping Islamisation of its societies, it will become less like Israel and more like Palestine).

Moreover, if Europeans are not prepared to divide Paris or London for the sake of peace, then they should not demand that Israel divides Jerusalem. If they really believe in tolerance, progress and equality, then they should support the Jewish state, not pander to Palestinian leaders like Mahmoud Abbas who regularly incites violence against Jews and denies the Holocaust. And if Europeans believe that the best response to the Paris terror attacks is to drop bombs on Islamic State, they should not criticise Israel for bombing Gaza when Hamas kills Israeli civilians.

The EU’s support for the Palestinians (and the concessions made to the anti-Semitic BDS movement) is possibly one of the worst policy decisions ever made. By criticising and demonising the State of Israel, Europe has not only emboldened Muslim fascists in the region, it has also stiffened the resolve of Islamists around the world who smell the decay of Western moral failure and attack civilians in European schools, cafes, bars, workplaces, supermarkets, nightclubs, trains and buses.

In other words, by picking the wrong side in what is shaping up to be a global conflict between liberal democracy and Islamism, Europe is reaping the whirlwind.

 

 

Product labelling is symbolic of Europe’s colonial arrogance

UE-PalestineThe EU is economically and politically committed to the prevention of the fulfilment of the mitzvah of yishuv ha’aretz (settling the Land of Israel) in order to make way for a hostile Arab state.

By Richard Mather… 

The decision by the European Union to approve guidelines under which its member states would label products from the “West Bank” settlements looks back to the Nazi labelling of Jewish goods and looks forward to the dismantling of Jewish communities in Judea-Samaria, the Golan Heights and east Jerusalem.  Despite international law being on Israel’s side (contrary to popular opinion), the EU remains stubbornly committed to a State of Palestine on Jewish land.

Europe has a history of dispossessing Jews and/or deciding where they should be located. The EU’s labelling decision is a hangover of centuries of prejudice when a succession of emperors, princes, popes, priests, dictators and fascists decreed where Jews were allowed to reside and work. Even in the twenty-first century Jews are being outlawed because they do not conform to the international diktat that says they’re not allowed to live in certain parts of Eretz Israel.

How is it that Europe, which is responsible for extermination of one-third of world Jewry, has the audacity to dictate policy to a tiny country that is home to the descendants of Holocaust survivors? I cannot be the only person who is repulsed by this hypocrisy. The fact that the EU does not apply the same labelling criteria to other countries that are accused of “occupation,” such as Morocco and Turkey, only makes things worse.

Antipathy towards Jews is one explanation for the EU’s attitude towards the Jewish “settlers.” And, of course, the EU is probably using the Palestinian issue to ingratiate itself with the growing Muslim community inside its borders. But perhaps Europe’s unquestioned support for the Palestinians is motivated by a desire to resurrect European influence in the Middle East. By coalescing into a single powerful unit, Europe is now in a position to flex its muscles. Europe may not have the military might to exert its influence, but it has plenty of soft power in the form of diplomacy, trade and aid money.

The European Commission is the biggest donor of financial assistance to the Palestinians. Europe has squandered billions of euros in development aid to the Palestinians over the past twenty years regardless of the Palestinians’ involvement in terrorism and incitement against Jews. The money flowing out of Europe into the hands of the Palestinians is a core component of a European mission called the Action Plan in which the EU and the Palestinian Authority work together “to build up the institutions of a future democratic, independent and viable Palestinian State.”

The EU is pre-empting final status negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians by urging the latter to carry out construction projects in Area C and east Jerusalem without Israel’s cooperation. The EU also wants the Palestinians to become more politically active in east Jerusalem in order to create conditions for a future Palestinian capital. In other words, Europe has dispensed with the Oslo Accords and is urging the Palestinians to act unilaterally.

Make no mistake about it. The EU is economically and politically committed to the prevention of the fulfilment of the mitzvah of yishuv ha’aretz (settling the Land of Israel) in order to make way for a hostile Palestinian state. One could argue that the creation of a State of Palestine in Judea-Samaria and east Jerusalem is the core objective of EU foreign policy. And even if it means isolating and delegitimising the Jews who already live there, the EU will continue to press ahead with its colonial ambition of creating a twenty-third Arab state.

Europe is reverting to type

Boycot_of_Jewish_shops_april_1_1933

When it comes to how it treats the Jews, Europe is reverting to type. 

By Richard Mather 

In 1973, Abba Eban, the foreign affairs minister in Israel, spoke of the rise of the New Left that identified Israel “with the establishment, with acquisition.” The New Left, he observed, is the “author and the progenitor of the new anti-Semitism.”

It is now 2015 and nothing has changed. If anything, the Left’s war on Jews, Judaism and Israel has got worse, particularly in Europe. What’s especially troubling is the Far Left’s descent into aggressive “brown shirt” activism.

The original “brown shirts” were the Sturmabteilung (SA) or Stormtroopers founded by Hitler in 1921. Outfitted in brown uniforms, the SA roughnecks would march in Nazi rallies, assault Jews, and stand menacingly in front of Jewish-owned department stores, saying “Go to Palestine!”

Fast forward to 2015 and we have our modern equivalent of the Sturmabteilung comprising Socialist Worker thugs, Stop the War morons, anarchists and wanna-be jihadis, who march in anti-Israel rallies, assault Jews in the street, and stand menacingly in front of Jewish stores saying “Free Palestine!”

Today’s street fascists – these modern-day brown shirters who parade through our cities and barricade Barclays Bank and Marks & Spencer – view Israel through the anti-Semitic prism of money and influence. In the mind of the average anti-Zionist thug, boycotting Israeli products is just one way of disrupting capitalism. And capitalism, of course, is associated with Jews.

Meanwhile, the EU is planning the first European boycott of Jewish goods since the Nazis. As MK Michael Oren says, “The EU decision to label Israeli products is anti-Semitic. There are dozens of border disputes and ‘occupations’ in the world but the EU decided to single out Israel. They are not labelling products from China, India or Turkey – only Israel.”

We shouldn’t be surprised. Anti-Semites – whether they be Catholic, Arab, Nazi or European – always adopt boycotts as the first weapon of choice against Jews. Of course, these things never end with boycotts. Boycotts of Jewish business are part of a delegitimisation process, and are always harbingers of violence, of death.

In the years after the Holocaust there was much hand-wringing and talk of “Never again!” But Europeans have short memories. Europe is reverting to type. 1933 and 2015 may be decades apart, but anti-Semitism, it seems, is timeless.

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The world revolves around the Palestinians – and it has got to stop

where-is-palestine

The world should not revolve around the Palestinians – not when they don’t want a state of their own; and not when there are other matters to attend to like Kurdish independence or the freeing of women and children enslaved by Islamic State. And hasn’t enough Jewish blood be spilled over the Palestinian issue?

By Richard Mather

The world seems to turn on a Palestinian axis. It is remarkable that the Palestinians, who have no historical, cultural or legal rights to the land of Israel, are endowed with so much international and economic patronage by the European Union, the United States, the United Nations, and other organisations, such as Oxfam and Christian Aid. How did the Palestinians and their international backers manage to achieve such a feat? Why does the world revolve around the Palestinians?

There are two answers to this. One is the Palestinians’ cynical calculus of terror. They have learnt that violence is rewarded by the West. Acts of terror against Jews only strengthen the West’s belief that a Palestinian state is the answer. Hence the two-state solution based on the so-called pre-1967 borders. But the West is being fooled. Palestinians do not want a political solution, not when terrorism reaps dividends. That’s why Yasser Arafat instigated the second intifada. He did it to mask his rejection of the Camp David deal in 2000. And what happened? The world blamed Israel for the “occupation,” which garnered further sympathy for the Palestinians.

Arafat, Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas all know that terrorism focuses worldwide attention on Israel. Should the Palestinians ever have their own state, Western leaders and newspapers would lose interest and turn their full attention to other matters such as Kurdish dispossession, Chinese human rights abuses or the enslavement of women and children in Syria. This is not what the Palestinians or other Arabs want. They want the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to continue because it exerts unbearable pressure on the Jewish state.

The second reason why the Palestinians enjoy so much international privilege and patronage is because they appeal to Western sympathy for the underdog (although this sympathy rarely extended to Jews during the 1930s and 1940s). Palestinians have achieved this by doing something rather remarkable. And that is to appropriate another people’s history and suffering.

First of all they stole the name. The word “Palestinian” was a designation given to Jews in the nineteenth and early twentieth century. It acquired its modern connotation in the 1960s when Arafat began talking of “the Palestinian people.” Then they appropriated and inverted the Holocaust so that Palestinians could project themselves as the “new Jews” and the Israelis as the “new Nazis.” Then they appropriated places of importance to Jews. The biblical name of Judea-Samaria has been replaced by “West Bank” or “Occupied Territory.” And Judaism’s holiest city, Jerusalem, is called Al-Quds. To add insult to Jewish injury, the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb are now considered integral to a future State of Palestine. And there are attempts to appropriate the Western Wall as an Islamic holy site.

Appropriation on its own would not be enough, however. The Palestinians had to invent an entire backstory in order to fool the world. Claims that the Palestinians are descendants of the Jebusites and Canaanites are risible. In truth, most of the people who now call themselves Palestinians descend from migrants who left Egypt, Syria, Iraq and the Balkans (among other places) in the eighteenth century onwards. In fact, the UN has acknowledged that many had only lived in Palestine for two years prior to Jewish independence in 1948. By contrast, there has been a continuous Jewish presence in the land for thousands of years.

So the Palestinians have managed to convince the world that they are an indigenous people who are now in exile because of Zionism. But some of the credit for this elaborate hoax should go to the Kremlin. In the 1960s, Soviet authorities and their Arab allies dreamt up the fiction of a Palestinian human rights struggle in order to destabilise Israel and its main ally, the USA. According to Major General Ion Mihai Pacepa (the highest ranking Soviet bloc defector), the Kremlin’s vision was to create an international anti-Zionist movement that would “instill a Nazi-style hatred for the Jews.” In other words, the Palestinian cause was a Cold War strategy to win the Middle East for Russia.

This “Nazi-style hatred for the Jews” has a name. It is called Palestinianism. The ideology draws strength from a number of anti-Semitic canards, archetypes and sources, including the religious (“Jews are forsaken by God”), the conspiratorial (“the Israeli government is infecting Palestinians with Aids”), and the economic (“Zionists control international finance,” “Boycott Israeli products”). The interchangeability of “Zionist” and “Jew” in Palestinianist political discourse is, of course, indicative of its anti-Semitic nature.

The ideological similarity to other Jew-hating phenomena such as Lutheranism and Nazism should not surprise us. Palestinianism is just the latest manifestation of an age-hold hatred. Christians and the Nazis were just as convinced as the Palestinianists of the righteousness of their causes. Indeed, each generation believes it has the answer to the so-called Jewish problem. Palestinianism is just the Final Solution by another name.

Because that’s what Palestinianism is about: genocide. It does not entail a peaceful political or diplomatic solution to the crisis. When Palestinians and their supporters chant “Palestine will be free, from the river to the sea,” they are calling for the genocide and/or mass expulsion of millions of Israelis. This is what Western leaders fail to realise. Or they overlook it in the hope that boycotting Israeli goods will bring Israel to the negotiating table. This is not how Abbas and his acolytes view the boycotts. They see the boycotts as economic warfare against the Jews, with the ultimate aim of bringing down Israel.

But there is another reason why Western leaders need to wise up. The Palestinian issue, however bogus, has resulted in decades of terrorism and a new wave of anti-Jewish prejudice.

Westerners, especially well-meaning people like Quakers, liberals, trade unionists and charity bosses, suffer from cognitive dissonance. They are horrified by images of the Holocaust but they are unable to support a country that is run by Jews for Jews. If Israel was any other country – that is to say if it wasn’t a Jewish state – most people would gladly support a young, innovative, multicultural and thriving democracy. The only explanation as to why liberals, Christians and leftists are apologists for far-right terror groups like Hamas and Hezbollah is that they harbour (perhaps unconsciously) unsavoury attitudes about Jews.

The rise in anti-Semitism in contemporary Europe has received little attention or sympathy because much of the abuse is carried out by Muslims and left-wing activists, who do not conform to the image of the anti-Semite as National Front skinhead. But the new anti-Semitism is more dangerous and more nuanced than the neo-Nazi thuggery of the 1970s. In addition to the hijackings, suicide bombings, shootings and knife attacks, Jews have faced a barrage of anti-Semitic propaganda emanating from pressure groups, universities, political institutions, charities, churches and media outlets.

The rise in anti-Semitic violence has started to attract some (belated) attention. British prime minister David Cameron has condemned Islamist Jew-hatred. The former Canadian premier Stephen Harper warned of a dangerous new form of anti-Semitism and said the world has a moral duty to rally around Israel. But the issue of anti-Semitism is not a priority for most policy-makers, international bodies or newspapers. In fact, some politicians and opinion-makers are complicit in the murder of Jews because they either foment Judeophobia by telling lies about Israel or turn a blind eye to Palestinian incitement (or both).

The situation cannot continue. Not when Jews living in Jerusalem and Paris are being abused, attacked and butchered. So much for “never again.” Even before the Gaza conflict of 2014 when anti-Semitism was at its highest since World War Two, around half of all Jews living in France, Belgium and Hungary were considering emigrating because they no longer felt safe in their respective countries.

So perhaps people of influence in the West should be asking themselves one simple question: Is Palestinianism really worth so much Jewish suffering?

Let’s look at the facts: There have been over half a dozen opportunities since 1937 for the Palestinian Arabs to create their own state. Since 2000, the Palestinian leadership had three major opportunities to establish an independent state, the most famous being the Camp David talks where Arafat was offered 92% of the West Bank, 100% of Gaza and east Jerusalem. In 2008, the Israelis put forward a proposal in which the Palestinians would receive Gaza, the majority of the West Bank, parts of east Jerusalem, safe passage between the West Bank and Gaza, and the dismantling of settlements in the Jordan Valley and eastern Samaria. Abbas did not give a final response on the matter and negotiations ended.

Another fact: Palestinian Arab figureheads and organisations – from Amin al-Husseini to Hamas – have been murdering Jews under the banner of Islam since the 1920s. So is the creation of a predominantly Sunni Muslim state between Israel and Jordan really a good idea, especially in our age of ultra-violent Islamic extremism?

How likely is it that a State of Palestine will make peace with Israel? Will homosexuals and lesbians in a Palestinian state be given equal rights or thrown off tall buildings? Will women have equal rights? Will there be a free press or will journalists be imprisoned and silenced?

In short, will a State of Palestine be a blessing or a curse?

Since it is clear that Jewish blood is flowing; since it is clear that the Palestinians are not interested in peaceful co-existence; since it is clear that the decay of Arab nations in the Middle East looks set to continue; and since it is highly likely that a Palestinian state will be a human rights basketcase, wouldn’t it be better for the international community to put aside childish notions of a Palestinian state and lavish their time and resources on more important matters?

The liberation of the Kurds from Islamist imperialism may be a good place to start. Or what about putting an end to the Syrian crisis? An end to sex slavery or bonded labour? There are so many pressing issues that require our immediate and full attention, that it seems absurd to pursue the creation of a State of Palestine when it is obvious that the Palestinians themselves don’t want a state and the Jews are paying the price with their blood.

Well, the world is bloodstained enough. What is perceived as a dispute over a tiny piece of land in the Middle East is, in fact, a racial war against the Jews. And as long as sensible people in the corridors of power in London, Brussels and Washington DC continue to play into the hands of obsessional and irrational anti-Semites, the security of the Jewish people will become increasingly perilous.

It is time to tell the Palestinians and their fellow travellers that enough is enough. The world should not revolve around them any longer.