The PCUSA’s Israel Palestine Mission Network has done it again–linked to the work of a member of the staff of the anti-Semitic site Veterans Today. This time it’s a guy named Stuart Littlewood, whose article “No Such Thing as Justice in the Holy Land” appears at both the Palestine Chronicle (to which IPMN linked, and which includes several other VT staff writers on its own contributors list) and VT. His article, about the visit of three senior clerics to Ireland, includes stuff like this:

Archbishop Theodosius Hanna (Greek Orthodox Church), Monsignor Manuel Musallam (Latin Catholic) and Mr Constantine Dabbagh (Executive Director of the Middle East Council of Churches) are courageous human rights defenders and spiritual leaders from Palestine. They have just completed a tour of Ireland to raise awareness of the situation in their homeland under Israeli military occupation and the plight of the dwindling Christian community there.

During their visit the churchmen described the Israeli occupation as the “crucifixion of the nation of Palestine,” and made a plea to all of Ireland’s leaders to “act and intervene, or nothing will change”.

That’s a common Sabeel trope, too: equating the occupation with the death of Jesus Christ, both of which are laid at the feet of the Jews. The Romans had nothing to do with crucifying Jesus, and Palestinians have nothing to do with the state their people and society is in.

Fr Manuel Musallam told the committee: “I was in Gaza during the war [Operation Cast Lead] and suffered with my people for 22 days. I saw with my own eyes a phosphoric bomb in the school yard. I saw people injured by these phosphoric bombs, although these bombs are forbidden. These crimes against us were ignored by all the people of the world. No-one was courageous enough until now to say ‘No’ to Israel or ‘No’ to America or to say ‘Stop killing’ and ‘Stop making war’.

“What happened in Gaza was not a war. A war is a clash between soldiers, aircraft and weapons. We were victims, just victims. They destroyed Gaza. I was there and saw with my own eyes what happened. We in Gaza were treated like animals… We are not terrorists. We have not occupied Israel.

“We do not want to die to liberate Palestine. We want to live to build Palestine…. We are asking the world to give the Palestinian people their rights. The question is whether peace is possible. Despite all the difficulties, the crimes and the war, we as Palestinians say peace is possible if justice is possible.”

Very moving. Yet as James Wall reminded the world in his most recent screed, the people of Gaza overwhelmingly voted into power Hamas, which is sworn to the destruction of Israel, and has been acting on that oath for most of the last four years. He even mentioned that Hamas has an army, an unusual accessory for a mere political party, but one that gives the lie to Father Musallam’s claim that Israel wasn’t fighting against an armed foe.

At some point a state should be recognised, he says. “From 1948 to the present, our state has no borders. It is the only country state without borders… They refused to discuss borders. They refused to end the state of war. Europe and America were partners in this war and all the crimes committed against us, because they set up Israel in Palestine. People were gathered from more than 20 countries….”

The good father also seems to have forgotten that between 1948 and 1967, the Palestinian territories belonged to Jordan and Egypt. There was no talk of a “Palestinian state” during those twenty years; Egypt and Jordan would never have voluntarily given up those lands to form a new nation, and there was no agitation for them to do so. Instead, the energy was all directed at destroying Israel, at which point maybe a third state would have been set up, or maybe Jordan and Egypt would have simply divided it among themselves. And as late as 2000, Israel made a concrete proposal that would have ended the state of war, and given Father Musallam the borders he craves. Yasser Arafat said no, and preferred to start the second intifada.

Sad to say, the three clerics showed themselves in this article to be beaten down dhimmis in total denial regarding the state of their own communities:

What Constantine Dabbagh said to the committee was clear and simple. “We want to live as Palestinians and for the two-state recognition to be applied in accordance with UN resolutions. This would mean that the Palestinian state would have the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza, lands which were occupied in 1967.” He expressed appreciation for the world-wide support for justice but, he said, it evaporates when it comes to the rights of the Palestinians and the vetoes which are imposed by the United States and other governments.

“The occupation within Gaza has ceased but we are cordoned off and are living in a big prison… A population of 1.5 million people includes 2,000 Christians but we are part and parcel of this community. We have no problem with our Muslim compatriots but it is true that the extremists are growing and I repeat the warning on this point from Monsignor Musallam. This is as a result of the occupation, the oppression and humiliation and the poverty. These factors are making more people side with the extremists and this is what we want to stop. This will only happen with the support and help of the international community and the United States in particular.”

No problem with their “Muslim compatriots?” An member of the Irish Dail said otherwise, only to be contradicted:

At question time it emerged that even the Irish government has its ‘Zionist Tendency’. Deputy Alan Shatter argued: “I find it extraordinary that a group such as this should make a presentation to the committee on the plight confronting Christians on the West Bank and Gaza and on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict without any particular mention or emphasis on the substantial difficulties that fundamentalism in the Muslim world has created, of the major difficulties in Gaza created by Hamas and of the significant problems for the Christian community posed by extremists within Gaza…

“It is my understanding that there have been a number of incidents in Gaza. When I met President Abbas he detailed many deaths that occurred in Gaza in the context of the Christian community. Fr. Musallam commented on one of the events, which was an attack and looting on the Latin Catholic church in Gaza and a nearby school run by nuns in 2007. From my knowledge of having visited Gaza, pressure has been put on the Christian community. There has been a series of attempts to impose a fundamentalist Muslim perspective on the workings in Gaza.

Archbishop Hanna was able to quickly put the Deputy in his place. “Deputy Shatter’s speech was full of inaccuracies and non-factual statements,” he said. “We are not here as politicians; we are men of spirituality and are talking about peace.”

Right. So I guess this is just made up out of thin air:

Or perhaps Palestinian Media Watch simply made up the embedded video here. Or maybe these incidents simply didn’t happen.

[Archbishop Hanna] admitted there may be some Palestinian extremists who use religion in the wrong way, but he emphasised that the Church and its community stood against terrorism or violence wherever it comes from. Israel, he pointed out, has a violent attitude towards the Palestinians as a matter of state policy.

You’ve got to wonder what alternative dimension these guys are living in. The government of Gaza is sworn to the destruction of Israel, and regularly seeks to kill civilians. But I guess that can’t be a matter of “state policy,” since Gaza isn’t a state. It’s a lunatic asylum.

[Father Musallam said,] “As for the church, Christianity in the region has been destroyed not by Muslims but by Israel. Israel destroyed the church of Palestine and the church of Jerusalem beginning in 1948. It, not Muslims, has sent Christians in the region into a diaspora….Christians in Palestine are not suffering persecution, because we are not considered to be a religious community, but rather the people of Palestine. We have the same rights and the same obligations.

“Islamic fundamentalism… came about because of the occupation of Palestine and the different wars we have suffered. It is a fact that there is fundamentalism in Palestine, yet if the occupation continues it will explode and destroy the world, not just us.”

The Muslim Brotherhood, which lies behind all of the Islamic fundamentalist groups in the Middle East, was founded in 1928, but let’s not quibble about dates. The important thing here is that these clerics are one with their Hamas masters in blaming everything, including the evils that befall their own community from Islamic radicals, in Israel. Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, has a much more reality-based description of the situation throughout the Muslim world:

At the time of Saddam Hussein’s fall, the number of Chaldean Catholics, Assyrian Orthodox, Armenians, Syriacs, and other Christians in Iraq was estimated at 1.4 million. Half of these Christians have since fled, and some observers speculate that this may well be the last Christmas in Iraq for the half remaining.

The majority are Egypt’s Copts, numbering between 8 and 12 million. A year ago, Coptic worshippers were massacred during a Christmas Eve attack on their church in Naga Hammadi in southern Egypt, and several Coptic villages have been targeted by pogrom-like mob violence. In recent decades, Lebanon’s Christians have seen a sharp drop in their numbers, down from the majority there to one-third of the population, about 1.5 million. Syria has about 1 million; Jordan, about 185,000. The West Bank has about 50,000, and Gaza, 1,000 to 3,000. In Turkey, the site of Constantinople, which was the center of Byzantine Christianity from the 4th to the 15th century, some 100,000 Christians remain, less than 0.2 percent of the population. Iran counts about 300,000 Christians. Not all those who have fled from Iraq have left the region. About 60,000 have found refuge in Syria, for example. However, their presence is tenuous: They are barred from working and aid from abroad is scarce; some of the women have turned to prostitution, according to the Chaldean Catholic bishop of Aleppo, Antoine Audo, SJ.

The Persian Gulf region and northern Africa have long since been “cleansed” of their indigenous Christian churches. Native Christians — mostly evangelicals, probably numbering in the thousands — worship largely in secret; Saudi Arabia has only one publicly known native Christian, the oft-imprisoned and extremely courageous Hamoud Saleh Al-Amri. Foreign workers, including over a million Christians, now living in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf are denied rights of citizenship and, in the former, even the right to have churches. Morocco summarily deported scores of foreign Christian educators and social workers last spring.

This religious cleansing of the Muslim world isn’t going on because of Israel, or Zionism, or anything else that can be blamed on the Jews, as the three traveling clerics, Stuart Littlewood, Palestine Chronicle, Veterans Today, and apparently the IPMN would have you believe. I’m not suggesting that Musallam, Hanna, and Dabbagh are anti-Semites, but there’s no doubt that they are being used by them as tools of their war against the Jews–just like IPMN.

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