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

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Ocean of light, ocean of darkness: Quakers and Islamist anti-Semitism

“I saw also that there was an ocean of darkness and death, but an infinite ocean of light and love, which flowed over the ocean of darkness.”

- George Fox

I heard the words above quoted last week at a Quaker funeral - my first, though I've been to ordinary Meetings for Worship. Beautiful words at a beautiful occasion - just the right send-off for a dear friend.

Because of that experience I'm less inclined than I might at other times be to dismiss this with a shrug and a weary "same old same old". Asked to describe the Quakers I spoke to or listened to, I might suggest "gentle, compassionate, principled, sincere, intelligent". Not one of them could I picture in a brown shirt trashing a synagogue.

So how has it come about that a respected Quaker charity has given six-figure funding to an organisation which harbours promoters not only of violent extremism but also of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories? What is it about Quakers and Islamism? What is it about Quakers and Israel?

These are not rhetorical questions but express genuine perplexity. Here, though, is amore rhetorical one. When Quakers meet Jews in the course of the interfaith work to which they are strongly committed, do they say something like "Oh, just so you're aware, we've given a load of cash to some people who think you lot were behind 9/11. We're sure you'll understand."?

I have three hypotheses, not mutually exclusive:-

1. There is a campaign being waged by an activist minority not representative of Quakers at large.

2. The steady drift away from Quakerism's Christian roots creates a creedal vacuum into which secular ideology rushes. I've noted before that the convictions of anti-Israel campaigners seem to resemble an ersatz religion in their own right.

3. Perhaps there is some kind of attraction of opposites going on, giving herbivorous Quakers a perverse fascination with religion in its most violent and intolerant manifestation.

But it still doesn't really make sense. And would not George Fox want to ask those who follow in his footsteps why they choose darkness over light?

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

BBC: Wyred for balance

Remember Wyre Davies and his matter-of-fact reporting of the ethnic cleansing of 100,000 Tunisian Jews? Here's another little gem from him.

What does it take to get recognised as a terrorist organisation? Planting a bomb on a tourist bus might seem to place the matter beyond reasonable doubt, but our Wyre has reservations. His analysis in full:-
Long before this official report was released by the Bulgarian authorities, Israel had accused Hezbollah (and its principal sponsor, Iran) of being behind the Burgas attack.
Since the July 2012 bombing, Israel and the US have pressed European Union states to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation (denying it access to funding and other financial assets in Europe).

While some, including Britain and the Netherlands, might support such a move, other countries, such as France, oppose it. France counters that Hezbollah is a political and social as well as a militant organisation.

The French argue that proscribing it as an illegal terrorist organisation could destabilise Lebanon and its current coalition government, of which Hezbollah is part.
Just notice how the spineless British and Dutch do as they're told by America and Israel, whilst the bravely independent French have arguments for their position.

And I'm a Jew too!

Notwithstanding yesterday's rant on my other blog, I'm not giving up on this one. There's another admirable piece from Ruth Dudley Edwards, who has gone on the radio to make the case against Ireland's Israel-bashing Catholic aid agency, Trocaire. Would that we had someone as feisty and articulate as her on this side of the Irish Sea to take on Christian Aid. Note the generous state funding Trocaire, like Christian Aid, enjoys on the premise that it's dedicated to helping the world's poorest. As ever, leftist axe-grinders are drawn to the scent of other people's cash like flies to, well, you know what. Like Ruth I take the view that this is not what I pay tax for.

And again: either the Irish bishops are simply too punch-drunk to do their job properly and sort this mess out, or they actually approve of what's going on. Either way, scandalous.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Irish Catholic aid agency blurring the distinction between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism?

I haven't blogged very much here since I became a Catholic in 2011, and one of the main reasons was the feeling that Christian Aid had become someone else's problem, since the Catholic Church is not a partner of Christian Aid but has its own aid charity in England and Wales, Cafod.

If Ruth Dudley Edwards is to be believed, however (and I see no reason why she shouldn't be) Christian Aidism is alive and well in the Irish Catholic Church and its aid agency, Trocaire.

I'm not qualified to gauge how typical of Ireland such attitudes are. They do sound like an ugly mix of old and new, Right and Left. On the one hand the ancient strain of (pseudo-)theological Christian anti-Semitism which one would be less surprised to hear echoed by Richard Williamson and his followers. On the other hand, Christians me-tooing with a secular radical Left in which "anti-Zionism" is a badge of identity and extreme expressions of it have long since ceased to trigger unease.

As Dudley Edwards suggests, the demoralisation of the Irish bishops probably contributes to a situation where the idealogues in Trocaire have free rein to steer the organisation in a direction congenial to themselves. My impression is that Cafod is on a tighter rein - at least as far as this issue is concerned. It all underlines the importance of upholding the letter and spirit of Nostra Aetate, and we are very fortunate to have a Pope who is unequivocally committed to doing so.