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Cause Whores [Anglicans, Israel and Palestinians]
Midwest Conservative Journal ^ | 6/30/2005 | Christopher Johnson

Posted on 07/01/2005 12:02:08 PM PDT by sionnsar

The New Republic's Martin Peretz rips the Anglicans a new one over the Israel disinvestment resolution. The left, notes Peretz, was always eager to obtain Christian leftist approval for their causes although they held Christians in contempt:

About 40 years ago, when I was a young graduate student at Harvard, I drove the aging and very distinguished suffragan bishop of Massachusetts, W. Appleton Lawrence, from Cambridge to some "peace meeting" in the western part of the state. All of our meetings were peace meetings, not least the ones in camouflaged support of some aspect of Soviet foreign policy. Those were also the days when people on the left would do somersaults to persuade clergy--any ecclesiastic, really, to say nothing of someone high in the Episcopal hierarchy--to bring the imprimatur of God to the cause, rather like the politicized God of the American right today. But we never hoped that these prelates would levitate the crowd. About religion and politics, we were cynical, or, let us say, instrumental. Many of us thought of these divines as useful idiots, in Lenin’s derisive coinage, mustered to assure the assembled that our aims were spiritually lofty and socially respectable.

And the Episcopalians were more than happy to oblige.

Somewhere around Amherst, I asked Lawrence what Anglicans believed. His face took on a deep, pensive look. "We believe," he intoned, "in civil rights for Negroes, the admission of Red China to the United Nations, and friendship with Castro Cuba." I do not at all want to belittle the bishop. I liked him. He was not pompous. And probably he thought that this clever Jewish boy from New York would not really be asking him a theological question, which is exactly what I was doing.

ECUSA really hasn't changed much since then.

Still, I was immediately suffused with a sense of the impending decline of the Anglican Church, at least here in the United States. There immediately came to mind Theodore Roosevelt’s devastating quip that the Episcopal Church was the Republican Party assembled for prayer. But I knew that it was no longer true, neither as fact nor even as metaphor. It’s not that there aren’t still Republicans who remain Episcopalians--and they may still outnumber Democrats who are Episcopalians. But Episcopalianism seems to have become intensely preoccupied with a misty meta-politics, instrumental about itself in its own way, utopian in pretense, and reckless in result. For all their purified language, the House of Bishops and the consultative councils of the Anglican Communion are settings either for ideological dogmatism, nearly always with unanimous decisions, or for lifestyle fratricide, as in the debates about gay clergy and gay marriage. In any case, the number of Episcopalians is in steep descent. The influence of the American church--such as it is--seems to be limited to the sway it exercises over the bureaucracies of the 35 other declining Protestant denominations assembled in that portentous rump called the National Council of Churches, always "joining hands and voices" for something goofy or worse.

On the subject of Israel, though, the whole Anglican world has just gotten much worse.

The Episcopal Church in the United States has long been threatening to disinvest from U.S. companies that "support the occupation of Palestinian lands"--such as Caterpillar, whose tractors are used by settlers in the West Bank. (To be sure, it would disinvest from companies that promote violence against innocent Israelis. But which U.S. corporation makes suicide bombs?) 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.)

Peretz correctly notes that the Anglicans justified their resolution with an "analysis" of the Middle East situation that no one with a functioning brain should take seriously.

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.

As to supposed Anglican concern about Middle Eastern Christians, Peretz observes that it is not Israel who is forcing Christians from the Middle East.

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, 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. (In carving up the tiny old city of Jerusalem at Camp David, negotiators proposed placing portions of Jerusalem’s Christian neighborhoods under Palestinian sovereignty, and sheer panic ensued among the city’s resident Christians, whose foothold in the sacred terrain is older than everyone’s but the Jews. Relief only came with the news that Yasir Arafat had turned down the Camp David deal.)

But none of this should surprise anyone too much. For the last 75 years or so, Anglicans have not, as a whole, been very serious people.

I once heard David Pryce-Jones, the learned English novelist and historian, talking about a new instance of the phenomenon of fellow-traveling: the fellow-travelers of Palestine. This, of course, has its precedents in the blind but exuberant support given to both fascism and communism by intellectuals and clerics who had concealed from themselves the evils of these two ideologies. In England, Anglican clerics were part of the establishment ambit of fascist sympathizers disguising themselves as antiwar idealists. These were the folk who soiréed at Cliveden, read and wrote in the London Times, chatted wittily at All Souls--appeasers all, as seen in the movie The Remains of the Day. And the Anglican Church also had its devotees of Stalin, the most noteworthy (or notorious) of whom was Dr. Hewlett Johnson, the "Red Dean of Canterbury," who wrote the adoring agitprop volume, The Socialist Sixth of the World. He was a luminary in Henry Wallace’s pro-Soviet campaign for president of the United States on the Progressive Party ticket. Among Wallace’s most notable supporters were bishops and other high churchmen from the mainstream American Protestant denominations.

For Peretz, it is hard to figure out why Anglican leftists should invest so much emotional capital in a society that is so hostile to their values.

Indeed, anyone who envisions a future Palestinian polity must wrestle with the grim and ongoing realities of a stagnant class structure, unproductive economic habits, an uncurious and increasingly reactionary culture, deeply cruel relationships between the sexes and toward gays, no notion of an independent judiciary, and a primitive religious mentality that gains prestige in society even as it emphasizes the promise of sexual rewards in paradise for martyrs--a crude myth that has served successfully as an incentive for suicide bombings not only in Israel but also in Iraq and throughout the Arab world. And no real challenge to any of these backward actualities has arisen in all of the turmoil the movement has sown.

All of which leads Peretz to one sad but inescapable conclusion.

Which takes us back to the church deleriants for Palestine. What kindles the fire in their hearts for Palestine? There is little or nothing in Palestinian society that would fill a progressive with enthusiasm. And these churches do not generally exult in the promise of yet one more nation-state. In fact, these churches are against the nation-state, especially the U.S. nation-state. (In Nottingham last week, the Anglicans demanded the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq.) And, even if you take to the harshest reading of Israeli behavior in their ongoing conflict with the Palestinians, dozens and dozens of other peoples in the world, some of whom have a much sounder claim to be a real nation than those for whom the official Anglicans and Presbyterians shed so many tears, suffer infinitely more deprivation and indignity than they do. But tears are not shed for those people at Canterbury Cathedral in England or, for that matter, at Christ Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts, whose rectors have for years been virtual street agitators against Israel. So I come to an unavoidable conclusion. The obsession here is not positive, for one side, but rather negative, against the other side. The clerics and the lay leaders on this indefensible crusade are so fixated on Palestine because their obsession, which can be buttressed by various Christian sources and traditions, is really with the Jews. A close look at this morbid passion makes one realize that its roots include an ancient hostility for the House of Israel, an ugly survival of a hoary intolerance into some of the allegedly enlightened precincts of modern Christendom.

More and more, I think that this ACC resolution is the worst thing Anglican Christianity has ever done in the last hundred years, far worse than the consecration of Gene Robinson and New Westminster's approval of same-sex marriage. Both of these were heretical but they were also local. Two churches in the Communion might be expelled over these issues, the Anglican Communion ight have to do with a good deal less money for a while, some orthodox Christians in the US and Canada might be inconvenienced for a time but the Anglican world will go on and no doubt become stronger for its trial.

But with the passage of this resolution with only one dissenting vote(not unanimously as Peretz states and many of us first reported), the Anglican Communion officially chooses sides in the Middle East conflict. And it does so based upon the criminally-biased Anglican Peace and Justice Network report as well as a willful ignorance of history. Anglicans had to deliberately choose to forget that "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."

The historical premises are ludicrous. Peretz correctly points out that "dozens and dozens of other peoples in the world...have a much sounder claim to be a real nation than those for whom the official Anglicans and Presbyterians shed so many tears." I've asked this question several times before and have never gotten a satisfactory answer. If the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza have always been "Palestinian" land, why was not a "Palestinian" state brought into existence at any time between 1948 and 1967, when Jordan controlled the first two and Egypt the third?

And this resolution rewards terrorism by implicitly equating genocidal murder with national self-defense. A Palestinian who blows up Israeli school kids on a bus and Israeli efforts to prevent that sort of thing are both part of the "cycle of violence." Feigned concern for the victims of violence on both sides notwithstanding, no distinction is made between groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, who would like to kill every Jew they can get their hands on, and Israel, who would like to prevent that from happening. For the crime of defending itself against people who would like to exterminate its people and wipe it off the map, Israel has become the new South Africa.

It does no good at all to talk about how watered-down this resolution is and how disinvestment is not mandatory. The concept has been introduced into Anglican life and nothing whatsoever will happen to Anglican churches who want to pull investments from companies who sell to Israel. And do not remind me that Anglican wheels grind slowly, it will take time to eradicate this sentiment from Anglican councils and that I should take a long-term view. Does it serve the Gospel of Jesus Christ to play such rhetorical games from the comfort of our homes in the United States when the lives of innocent people are at stake?

Given all this, Peretz' charge of anti-Semitism is impossible to dispute. Which leaves this cradle Episcopalian in an impossible position. In the Gene Robinson and New Westminster situations, I at least had some place to go in "official" Anglicanism, even if that place was a hotel meeting room. But since the whole Anglican world, including my erstwhile conservative allies, passed this abomination, I am forced, if I want to remain an "official" Anglican, to associate with certain Christians for whom a particular bigotry is apparently no big deal. And my mother raised me to believe(and my church used to teach) that bigotry is a bad thing.

I expect this sort of inconsistency from liberals. But it would be encouraging and helpful if my fellow conservative Anglicans would hurry up and repudiate this disgraceful resolution. Because if they don't do it quickly, I'll have a great many more years of desert wandering ahead of me.

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant
KEYWORDS: divestment

1 posted on 07/01/2005 12:02:08 PM PDT by sionnsar
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To: ahadams2; anselmcantuar; Agrarian; coffeecup; Paridel; keilimon; Hermann the Cherusker; ...
Traditional Anglican ping, continued in memory of its founder Arlin Adams.

FReepmail sionnsar if you want on or off this moderately high-volume ping list (typically 3-7 pings/day).
This list is pinged by sionnsar and newheart.

Resource for Traditional Anglicans:

Speak the truth in love. Eph 4:15

2 posted on 07/01/2005 12:02:38 PM PDT by sionnsar (†† || Iran Azadi || <Airbus A380)^: The BIG PIG)
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To: sionnsar
Israel brings out the stupid in the ACC
Wannabe Newbie Anglican

Nothing seems to bring out the evil and sheer stupidity of man like existence of God’s chosen people, Israel. And so there is no misunderstanding, I do mean that as a bad reflection on mankind, not on Israel.

History is full of hatred of Israel – and of the stupidity that produces. In the book of Esther, Haman has it made. He’s high up in government and is living the life. But his genocidal hatred of Jews proves his undoing. In modern times, the Arab nations’ slowness to accept the existence of the small nation of Israel resulted in their getting their butts kicked – four times.

Now the Anglican Consultative Council has made fools of themselves as well in their resolution concerning Israel.

I’ll be very charitable and not say anti-semitism was behind it, although I fully understand those who do. And ++Rowan Williams is wisely doing some damage control in saying it wasn’t a divestment resolution.

But what is very clear is how stupid this resolution is. For starters, where is the sense of proportion? So maybe Israel isn’t perfect in everything they do. They are a nation under prolonged terrorist attack. Yet they have gone beyond the call of duty to try to bring about peace, including giving back most of the land that they won fair and square in defensive wars. But this resolution says there are being too mean to the terrorists and their supporters. What rubbish! (I could use stronger words, but I’m Anglican now, you know.)

And isn’t there a multitude of governments in the world far more deserving of public rebuke than that of Israel? Heck, I have more problems with the shiny happy gulag of Canada than with Israel.

This resolution feeds Jewish perception of Christians as being anti-semitic. It’s a therefore a terrible negative witness. This resolution combined with those coming from the World Council of Churches, the Presbyterian Church USA, and their ilk has already undone many years of efforts to improve Jewish-Christian relations.

The fallout has been strong and swift as documented over at the Midwest Conservative Journal. There is widespread outrage. And, frankly, there should be.

If this resolution ever does any good, it won’t come close to outweighing the ill will it has created.

Maybe there wasn’t any anti-semitism behind it. But there sure was an abundance of stupidity.

3 posted on 07/01/2005 12:11:05 PM PDT by sionnsar (†† || Iran Azadi || <Airbus A380)^: The BIG PIG)
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To: sionnsar
I once heard David Pryce-Jones, the learned English novelist and historian, talking about a new instance of the phenomenon of fellow-traveling: the fellow-travelers of Palestine.

Yeah. There are also fellow-travelers of "Bosnia" and "Kosova", who tend to also be fellow-travelers of "Palestine". It's no wonder--they're all dhimmis, pure and simple!!!!

The liberal Anglicans/Episcopalians think that as long as they have "bishops", and use the "right" liturgy (even if they cross their fingers when saying or singing parts of it), then they are Christians, and all is OK. But they forget that the whole point of bishops is to connect us to the faith of the Apostles, and to defend that faith!!!! If they have fake "bishops" like Spong and "Selfish Gene" Robinson, who deny and desecrate all that is apostolic, they have nothing at all but a gnostic club, not a church.

4 posted on 07/01/2005 2:33:12 PM PDT by Honorary Serb (Kosovo is Serbia! Free Srpska! Abolish ICTY!)
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To: sionnsar
More and more, I think that this ACC resolution is the worst thing Anglican Christianity has ever done in the last hundred years, far worse than the consecration of Gene Robinson and New Westminster's approval of same-sex marriage.

Of course I'm not Anglican, but I would think that reversing a teaching of the deposit of faith (doctrine on the morality of homosexual activity) has got to be worse than a mere prudential statement of political opinion, no matter how wrongheaded.

5 posted on 07/01/2005 3:18:13 PM PDT by Unam Sanctam
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