Latest posts on Christian Aid

Why 'Christian Hate?'? An introduction to the blog

Places Christians shouldn't go A quick tour of Christian Hate?'s case against Christian Aid

Christians and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict Read all my posts on this topic

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Season's greetings

Long range posting forecast: occasional light showers possible towards the end of next week, otherwise remaining dry until mid-January.

The seasonal spirit has not quite reached Mr Grumpy yet, and he won't let me sign off without telling you that my Mum, travelling to us bearing a jar of her home-made marmelade, had it unceremoniously removed from her hand luggage at Gatwick yesterday. Marmelade doessn't actually seem to be mentioned in the list of forbidden substances, but doubtless the security man would, if pressed, have argued that it is 'of similar consistency' to hair gel. Which may be true of some marmelades, but emphatically not my Mum's.

Says Grumpy, she's obviously just the kind of suspicious character they need to keep a an eye on, as opposed to murderers fleeing the country in Islamic drag.

Enough! I wish all readers peace and blessings this Christmastide.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Goodwill to men (Jews need not apply)

There's an important post from Melanie Phillips on British Christian attitudes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

If you believe that the left-liberal worldview is the only game in town - and you're not Jewish - you will almost certainly think her attack on the churches is way over the top, not to say paranoid. In which case I'd like to refer you to the Tablet's opinion poll quoted at the end of the post.

The usual caveats about on-line polls apply. The "sample" is entirely self-selecting, and its composition could have been heavily distorted by other sites pointing their readers to the poll. There is no way of knowing for sure that they were not all Peruvian Scientologists. Nevertheless, I'd say a total of 2,815 responses is not so suspiciously large as to make it doubtful that most of them are genuine Tablet readers.

So we're talking about the high and liberal area of the theological spectrum: Catholics, Roman or Anglo, Guardian and Independent readers to a (wo)man. People who would vehemently reject the suggeston that they are in any way anti-Semitic.

But if look at the responses to just two of the questions we find something that takes us beyond the realm of woolly, well-meaning liberalism. 77.6% agree that the churches should 'campaign for the dismantling of the security wall'. Just 57.3% think they should 'call on the Palestinians to recognise Israel and renounce violence'. The difference between these two figures represents slightly more than a fifth of the respondents who positively support the killing of Israeli civilians by Palestinian militants/terrorists. A shocking statement, but it's a matter of simple logic. They don't think the terrorists should stop, and they don't think the Israelis should be allowed to stop them.

I think there's an urgent need for research on the precise mentality and psychology that's coming into play here. But whatever it may be, the end result is clear. Like the Crusaders who rampaged through the Rhineland in 1096 - themselves the radicals of their day - these people have found their way to a reason why killing Jews is a Good Thing.

I have another piece of evidence that the poll is not an aberration. Two years ago Christian Aid were running their 'Child of Bethlehem' Christmas appeal. In one of my early posts I pointed out how this drew for emotional appeal on the archetype of Christian anti-Semitism: the Jews as Christ-killers.

And emotional appeal it certainly had. In their annual trustees' report and accounts (accessible via the Charity Commission but apparently not on CA's own site - transparency?) CA note with satisfaction:-

'The 2004 Child of Bethlehem Christmas appeal featured Jessica Safar, a seven-year-old injured during fighting in the region, .whose family is learning to live with the Israeli separation barrier.

The appeal used this single powerful case study across all communications . The result was a significant increase in donations - income from churches doubled compared to the previous year.'

Doubled from £1.1m to £2.2m. There's evidently quite a market among churchgoers for the notion that poverty and oppression are especially appalling when they can be blamed on Jews.

Theological liberals tend to be optimistic about human nature (Pelagianism is the technical term). In the political sphere this translates into a confidence that their own enlightened attitudes constitute a gnosis enabling them to discern a simple moral dichotomy of right and wrong, exploiter and exploited, oppressor and oppressed, in the most intractable of political problems. 'If only everyone was like us...'

But when the old Adam peeps out like this from their most passionately held moral certainties, they provide what for me at least is a devastating critique of their own theology. 'We do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies', says the Book of Common Prayer, which I am coming increasingly to value.

Just 5.7% of the poll respondents thought the churches should 'not intervene and simply pray for peace'. Perhaps the rest objected to the Tablet's theologically revealing notion that prayer is not 'intervention'. Or perhaps not. There can be no authentically Christian intervention that is not rooted in prayer: prayer for peace, yes, prayer that holds up all sides in the conflict before the Lord, but also prayer that acknowledges our own fallibility and prejudices through which, left to our own devices, we can all too easily make matters worse rather than better.

Didn't happen but should have done

Howard Jacobson writes magnificently about Ahmadinejad's jamboree for Holocaust deniers in Saturday's Indie. This is the point about the logic of Holocaust denial that can't be made too often:-

'Everything the Nazis said about the Jews, in other words, has been borne out after the event and would have justified a Holocaust had there only been one. By which reasoning it was only by a sort of historical oversight - the inadequacy of the railway lines running into Auschwitz, the shortcomings of the gas chambers - that there wasn't. Which oversight, if he gets his bomb, Ahmadinejad all but promises to rectify.'

There are no excuses left for anyone who makes excuses for this man.

Monday, December 18, 2006

German Jews under siege - from whom?

The SPIEGEL performs a valuable service in highlighting the increasing insecurity of Germany's Jewish community. Unfortunately the article also reflects an equivocation about the source of the danger which British readers may find familiar.

For a start, there's this:-

'Berlin's state parliament lists 62 reported cases under the category "(right-wing) extremism" in its study "Indicators of Violence at Berlin's Schools, 2004/2005." That's a steep increase in comparison with the previous year, when only 39 cases were registered. The category "(right-wing) extremism" includes "anti-Semitic, racist / xenophobic and right-wing extremist remarks" by children and adolescents, in addition to remarks that "incite racial hatred or express fundamentalist / Islamist fundamentalist views."'

So Muslim anti-Semites are lumped in with neo-Nazi ones - a positively Livingstonian sleight of hand by Berlin's 'Red-Red' (i.e. Social Democrat and Socialist) ruling coalition. And it seems they're less than keen on providing a breakdown...

'The incidents prompted Peter Trapp, a member of the Christian Democrat Party (CDU) in Berlin's parliament, to submit a formal query: Trapp wants to know how many such incidents have occurred recently. He also wants to know how many of those incidents can be attributed to "the right-wing extremist camp" and how many can be traced to adolescents "of non-German origin." Trapp has yet to receive a reply -- indeed, the CDU complains that it is taking unusually long.'

If Herr Trapp ever gets his answer, what will it show? My guess would be based on the following factors:

1. Berlin is home to by far the largest Jewish community in Germany.

2. The neo-Nazi strongholds in Berlin are the bleak working-class estates on the edges of the former East Berlin - and these are not areas where you will find many Jews. Rather, it is black people who become easy targets for the skinhead thugs. The rest of the city is, relatively speaking, mercifully free from the neo-Nazi problem.

3. Berlin has a vast Muslim (mainly Turkish and Arab) population - several times the size of the Jewish community in the whole of Germany, let alone in Berlin. Inner-city areas close to the city centre, such as Kreuzberg, have overwhelmingly Muslim populations. But these are also areas where many of the recent Jewish immigrants from the former Soviet Union have settled.

So, lots of Muslims, and lots of Muslim votes to be lost by left-wing politicians if they were to speak out too plainly against Muslim anti-Semitism. Much better to fudge the statistics. Any of this sound familiar?

Or to redefine it as something that isn't quite anti-Semitism as such. Again, you may be reminded of Ken 'concentration camp' Livingstone. The report quotes one Peter Wagenknecht from 'the Kreuzberg-based project "Educational Building Blocks Against Anti-Semitism"' (I'm pretty sure it sounds better in the original German). I'm reluctant to knock what must surely be an eminently worthy project, but all the same it's depressing to see how the Left's betrayal of the Jews has been internalized even by somebody working in total good faith to combat anti-Semitism (or is this just the SPIEGEL reporter's spin?):-

'Students from Arab or Turkish families have been politicized by the conflict in the Middle East such that their "anti-Israeli" attitude sometimes crosses over into open anti-Semitism'

Sorry, but the Israel-demonizing 'politics' which these kids have absorbed wouldn't 'cross over' into the beating up of a Berlin schoolgirl if it wasn't itself anti-Semitic at its core. It emanates largely from countries which are Jew-free and glad to be so. If it had anything to do with human rights they'd be beating themselves up too in protest against the Iraqi insurgency and the Janjaweed. And even if every last Jew in Israel were dripping with Palestinian blood, such an attack would not be one jot less racist. Just as it would be racist to brand all of Germany's Turks and Arabs as rabid anti-Semites on the strength of the actions of a small minority, or to inflict 'collective punishment' on them for the crimes committed by Islamic regimes. Anyone who has failed to grasp this has simply not understood what racism is and what is wrong with it.

For there are always reasons for anti-Semitism. Once there was a man who wrote a book full of them. He attracted a following among ordinary people who had been 'politicized' by the bitter experiences of defeat, hyperinflation and mass unemployment. How many of today's lefties, if they'd been around in 1933, would have declared that it was all very worrying and unpleasant but not really anti-Semitism?

Monday, December 11, 2006

More killers

This doesn't sound much like an accident, either. Never mind, though, I'm sure Archbishop Tutu will be along soon to sort it all out.

The Denier and the Truth-teller

Remember how my mate President Ahmadinejad wasn't actually denying the Holocaust, just wanting a no-holds-barred examination of the evidence (see his bizarre letter to Chancellor Merkel offering the Germans solidarity against the Zionist foe)? Brace yourselves for a shock: it turns out he's a lying hypocrite.

If I wanted to make a really cheap point, I could drag in Mahmoud's penchant for scantily-clad (faces out for the lads!) dancers of the female persuasion. Over this distressingly sordid topic, however, I prefer to draw a veil.

Whereas, not for the first time, this blog takes off its hat to the decency and courage of Palestinian Holocaust-affirmer Khaled Kasab Mahameed. If there's an atom of justice in this world the man will get the Nobel Peace Prize.

The child-killers

This doesn't sound very much like an accident.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

George and the dragophobes

'If St George was a Liberal, he'd have teamed up with the dragon then insisted we celebrate his bravery in taking on a dangerous maiden.'

'I wish I'd said that!'

'You will, Grumpy, you will...'

Not that I've given up on liberalism - the real thing - yet. But Dumb Jon once again has your average self-styled lib bang to rights.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Redefinition of ceasefire holds

Inevitable follow-up to the Beeb report quoted here: the ceasefire in which Hamas have kindly reduced the number of rockets fired at Sderot has now been broken by... yes, you guessed. The bastards. The utter bastards.

(update: sorry, I forgot to include the link. Here it is)

Letter from America

'Sir: I'm glad your Christmas Appeal will help needy people, but I'm troubled by your approach. The Palestinians in your article of 5 December are humanised individuals: the souk merchant, the grieving survivor, the odd-job man. Israel, on the other hand, is the "other", a capricious force that shells houses and terrorises children. Israeli opinions are only honoured when they criticise their government. Palestinians en masse are always "dispossessed" and "abandoned". Just in time for Christmas, we have a morality tale.

'But there are two sides to this issue, even one in which Palestinians are complicit in their travails. The Gaza pullout was a chance for autonomy and growth. Instead, the Palestinians chose martyrdom and elected Hamas. They selected extremist representatives and a violent platform, which inevitably invited retaliation.

'Please continue to help people who need it. But spare us the one-sided tale of good vs evil.'

- a splendid (as I hope regular commenter Fran will agree) letter from America in today's Indie. The one immediately before it isn't too bad either, says he modestly.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Wrong kind of imperialism

'Sadly, the anti-imperialist left will not be joining us. They don't support the West Papuan freedom struggle. The Indonesian killers are the wrong race, the wrong nationality and the wrong religion. In other words, they are not white Christian American killers.'

Nor Jewish ones, one might add. My one-sided relationship with Peter Tatchell is somewhat of the love-hate variety, but here he's spot on. (via)

Exit Her Ladyship

How can she be a fit person to act as a trustee of a major Christian charity?

- I asked concerning Baroness Tonge's relationship with Christian Aid in October.

Answer: she can't.

My call for some transparency as to who thought it was a good idea to have her on board in the first place still stands (and by the way, you wouldn't know from CA's website that they've mislaid a trustee). But, whatever has led to her resignation, it sends a very welcome signal.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Who's watching who?

A 'study' by 'think tank' Demos (yes, I know, that's more than enough ironic quotes) repeats the accusation that UK government ministers have told Muslims to 'spy on their children' (read more).

What a wealth of emotional manipulation is contained in that little phrase! All must watch on Big Brother's behalf. Perfect nourishment for the already not exactly underdeveloped Muslim sense of victimhood. You'd think Maddy of the Sorrows was still in the tank.

I have one little question for Demos and all those of like mind. If you can remember as far back as August 2002, you might recall that in that month a Florida man was arrested and charged with planning a series of bomb attacks on mosques. How did the police catch up with him in time? His wife turned him in, that's how. So, Demos, MCB et al, did she deserve praise for very possibly saving many lives? Or censure for 'spying' on her nearest and dearest?

Lexicographers note: Beeb redefines 'ceasefire'

A free drudgery-saving service to the lexicography community...

'The ceasefire has put an end to five months of intense fighting in Gaza and raised hopes it could lead to a renewal of long-stalled peace talks.

'Israeli forces withdrew from Gaza and the number of home-made rockets being fired at Israeli civilian targets has drastically reduced.'


On the positive side, the article has news of changes in Israel's approach to operations on the West Bank which are welcome and, many would say, long overdue. Let's see if there is reciprocation.