Praise for Palestinian Christians

by Richard on November 8, 2010

Paul Martin has the story

{ 161 comments… read them below or add one }

1

Earl 11.09.10 at 1:03 pm

The perspective of Arab Christians and Thomas reflect their own bias. It is of course understandable. That Arab Christians would view Israel’s management of its land as sin, mortal or otherwise, is also understandable. Thomas particular view of the matter reflects is of no more consequence than his estimate of Christians.

2

PamBG 11.09.10 at 1:06 pm

The perspective each each individual person, national, cultural group, etc. reflects his or her own bias. There is no such thing as a perspective without bias.

3

Alec 11.09.10 at 2:37 pm

Does that include the Methodist Church, Pam?

4

PamBG 11.09.10 at 2:43 pm

Yes, Alec, absolutely it does. Of course.

Your point being?

5

Alec 11.09.10 at 3:22 pm

That it follows that criticism of Church policies is not necessarily malicious.

6

Earl 11.09.10 at 3:35 pm

“Then it follows that criticism of Church policies is not necessarily malicious.” It all depends. It all depends on whose ox is being gored.

7

PamBG 11.09.10 at 3:38 pm

That it follows that criticism of Church policies is not necessarily malicious.

I absolutely agree with you. And, as in real life, it’s often possible to tell the malicious from the non malicious criticisms. Of course, it is even good to hold out the possibility that one might be wrong in making those judgments. But most people will take past behaviour - like years of expressing very negative and misrepresentative views of the Methodist Church - into account.

And I doubt you’d know how to dialogue with me if, every time I disagreed with your views, I declared that the only reason you disagree with me is that you’re a misogynist. I might very sincerely hold that view but it’s going to shut the dialogue down, I suspect.

8

Alec 11.09.10 at 3:59 pm

But most people will take past behaviour - like years of expressing very negative and misrepresentative views of the Methodist Church - into account.

Is this a particular individual, or complainants in general? Karen Burke certainly didn’t name names when she wrote an immediately defensive piece for the Guardian when it turned out there was more to take than gushing praise from the WCC.

As for the topic, accusations of bias definitely can be levied at Mark Thomas. I had to look him up (well, no I didn’t; that’s a point about the presumption of minor celebrities that they have any relevance): whilst any support for non-violence is to be welcomed, Israeli policy does not occur in a vacuum.

Might is not always right. But sometimes it is. Israel responds at times with overt violence. Yet, she invariably was the target of it in the first place, and the Church “condemning Hamas attacks” belongs in a comfortable debating hall.

9

PamBG 11.09.10 at 4:11 pm

Alec, I think we’re talking on totally different levels here. The individual who is threatening the lawsuit against The Methodist Church is known to many people here and he has been unhappy with The Methodist Church for a number of years. Many of us feel that we as individuals and the church in general have been utterly misrepresented by him. I believe that he truly does care about the Jewish people - as do I - but I also think that this issue is just a mechanism for him to attack the church and, if it were not this issue, it would be another one in the future.

In terms of the issues that you raise above, I honestly don’t know how to continue this conversation. You entered at the tail end of months of conversation and I’m simply weary. I don’t like the report much, as I’ve said many times. I do wish it were intentionally more balanced to represent both sides. But I do think that the church had the “right” to commission it. And my own personal experience in British Methodism is that the knee-jerk support of the members is for Israel and against Palestinian Christians rather than the unconsidered antisemitism that many people are trying to paint. You may disagree with me, but all I can tell you that I’ve experienced what I’ve experienced.

10

Alec 11.09.10 at 4:34 pm

Alec, I think we’re talking on totally different levels here.

Oh, I’m being intentionally playful.

The individual who is threatening the lawsuit against The Methodist Church is known to many people here and he has been unhappy with The Methodist Church for a number of years.

Yes, I’m coming to that view as well. Yet, as has been discussed, one of the big cheeses behind the report has used the authority of his position to present an impression of there being a germ of support within the Church for a wider boycott; as well as overseeing other individuals who have engaged in less than reputable practices.

I am not inclined to legal redress as a first means. Yet, this ceased to be an internal Church matter when the views of non-Methodist was cited on non-Methodist topics, and Church representatives and delegates and mere members started appealing to something called international law.

Many of us feel that we as individuals and the church in general have been utterly misrepresented by him.

Doubtless you are aware that he has been penning missives for a secular blog. The administrators of this blog would be more than happy to give you or someone else from the Church an opportunity to respond.

You entered at the tail end of months of conversation and I’m simply weary.

Not meaning to belittle you, but the arguments which I’ve seen presented here really aint innovative. I’ve seen them all before. And I have been aware of the machinations within the Church.

But I do think that the church had the “right” to commission it. And my own personal experience in British Methodism is that the knee-jerk support of the members is for Israel and against Palestinian Christians rather than the unconsidered antisemitism that many people are trying to paint.

My experience from attending Methodist services in the early 2000s was that those who did talk about it used casual terms of political extremism *against* Israeli policy. But, they were the ones who defined themselves by their political statements: others, if not antagonistic towards Palestinian Arab Christians, were sympathetic towards Israeli Jews for religious reasons (really, a problem as well: the territory is for living in; not constructing a Biblical theme park).

Back to Mark Thomas… what are his qualifications in the field? Last night’s Nightwaves discussed the possibility of heroics requiring actual effort, rather than the mere fact of being the public gaze (where the individuals often had placed themselves).

Alain de Botton has just tweeted “A chief effect of the internet [me: or mass-media in general] is to boost the already unhelpfully strong sense that the answers are ‘out there’ rather than within”.

11

Paul Martin 11.09.10 at 4:50 pm

Can’t we just be grateful that Christians who witness to their faith through working for justice in a non violent way have impressed even a tough minded non believer such as Mark Thomas? Surely that is good whether you agree with those Christians on everything or not!

12

PamBG 11.09.10 at 4:57 pm

Yet, as has been discussed, one of the big cheeses behind the report has used the authority of his position to present an impression of there being a germ of support within the Church for a wider boycott; as well as overseeing other individuals who have engaged in less than reputable practices.

I don’t know. I’m not a member of Conference nor am I privy to the inner workings. All I can do is hear what you are saying and watch what happens in the future as the report develops. I’m willing to be open-minded and eventually conclude, on evidence, that the whole thing was deliberately unfair. But I also remain skeptical about the painting of Naim Ateek and Sabeel as organizations that don’t represent a legitimate Palestinian Christian experience but are rather just ideologically antisemitic. I’m also an ideological pacifist - not just in the Middle East, but in all contexts - and I don’t accept the idea that being a pacifist makes a person anti-Israel although I understand why it is a threatening ideology to people who are subject to the violence of others.

Doubtless you are aware that he has been penning missives for a secular blog. The administrators of this blog would be more than happy to give you or someone else from the Church an opportunity to respond.

I’m certainly not an appropriate person to respond. I have zero knowledge of what went on.

Not meaning to belittle you, but the arguments which I’ve seen presented here really aint innovative.

It doesn’t belittle me because I have no idea why I should care if arguments are “innovative”. I’m not trying to be innovative. I have no idea what being innovative would mean in this context. If someone had thought up an innovative way to achieve world peace, this mess of illegitimately trying to prioritize one ethnic group over another wouldn’t exist, would it?

My experience from attending Methodist services in the early 2000s was that those who did talk about it used casual terms of political extremism *against* Israeli policy. But, they were the ones who defined themselves by their political statements: others, if not antagonistic towards Palestinian Arab Christians, were sympathetic towards Israeli Jews for religious reasons (really, a problem as well: the territory is for living in; not constructing a Biblical theme park).

OK, thank you. I hear that. It feels credible to me. Where I was, the region was rather poor and people often asked why we had to give money to folk outside the UK when there were people on our doorsteps who were hungry. They tended toward the Christian Zionist position and a number of people attended monthly meetings of a separate Christian Zionist organization.

Back to Mark Thomas… what are his qualifications in the field?

Is this a rhetorical question? I have no idea and I really don’t want to be put in the position of seeming to defend everything that is going on with this report.

Alain de Botton has just tweeted “A chief effect of the internet [me: or mass-media in general] is to boost the already unhelpfully strong sense that the answers are ‘out there’ rather than within”.

Good point. The other effect of mass media is that it seems to have legitimized “You are a jerk” (or words to that effect) as a substantial point of debate. Ad hominem is no longer the last resort of the inarticulate but now a reasoned argument.

13

Methodist Preacher 11.09.10 at 5:12 pm

PamBG you say:

” The individual who is threatening the lawsuit against The Methodist Church is known to many people here and he has been unhappy with The Methodist Church for a number of years.”

My understanding is quite the contrary. He has worked within a Methodist Church for over a quarter of a century, has written a book praising Methodisms, is an active preacher (and I’m told in demand), holds several offices in his local church and gives as much as he can given a variable income and heavy demands on family expenditure. Other members of his family are also heavily involved in the Methodist Church in various ways. In fact he seems to be exactly the sort of lay member we should encouraging rather than belittling.

But then, of course Pam, and “to many people on here” you know this individual far better than I so are in a much better position make judgements.

14

Paul F. 11.09.10 at 6:48 pm

“Can’t we just be grateful that Christians who witness to their faith through working for justice in a non violent way have impressed even a tough minded non believer such as Mark Thomas? Surely that is good whether you agree with those Christians on everything or not!”

Well, Paul, (nice name!) some of us stopped being grateful for “Christians who witness to their faith through working for justice in a non violent way” a long time ago. Scratch that–some of us never started.

15

dh 11.09.10 at 7:57 pm

Paul Martin, why should we be greatful for people who are overly judgemental who call Israel’s management of the land as sin when nobody has addressed the clear repugnation we should have toward Hamas and Hezbollah?

Again, one must address the problem of Israel being condemned more often than Hezbollah and Hamas. Having a boycott without addressing Hamas and Hezbollah is totally hypocrtical and totally biased. Also for people to not address Hamas and Hezbollah and the wacky way that Palastinians continue to vote for Hamas then much of the hostility would be dramatically diminished.

16

Paul Martin 11.09.10 at 9:35 pm

Dh you really are a a silly Billy. You see people doing their best for justice in a way that includes the rejection of violence and you don’t like it.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. You preferr a murdering, torturing scumbag such as George W Bush. Well I think these Palestinians reflect Christ a lot more than the man of bloodshed!

17

Tim Chesterton 11.09.10 at 9:48 pm

Having a boycott without addressing Hamas and Hezbollah is totally hypocrtical and totally biased.

As opposed to being partially hypocritical and partially biased?

(Sorry - just my nitpicky side coming out. Hyperbole gets my goat sometimes :) )

18

Adam 11.09.10 at 10:08 pm

PamBG, you asserted in a previous blog that Israel wasn’t being singled out, because the Methodist Church was boycotting Zimbabwe.

I have found no source online for such a claim. i would be most grateful if you would provide one.

Thank you.

19

dh 11.09.10 at 10:16 pm

Paul M., Bush wasn’t a murderer. He prevented a murder from continuing his murdering behavior and allowed for multiple nations the freedom to choose their leaders in a more democratic way than they ever had. He also inhibited other murderous regimes from the amount of murderous behavior than otherwise. He also did actions which obtained information which prevent thousands of people from being murdered as well.

Paul M., where have you condemned Hamas and Hezbollah? Are you ready to condemn them as much as the Israeli government or are you going to continue your double standard ways? Also, it is clear that you don’t understand the conclusions of what would have happened if GWB would have done or not done as you have suggested. Many many more people would have been murdered, multiple countries would have murderous regimes and murderous regimes would have had an attitude that they could get away with continuing their murderous ways.

I think you have your statement of scumbag misplaced. How about calling Saddam, Chavez, Amadinajad, Kim Jong-il and the like scumbags? It appears you are a hyporcite by being blinded by your hatred toward GWB as opposed to people who are truly murders. I say “double standard” and misplaced anger. At least GWB did not intentionally kill innocent people. There is a difference between that and what the leaders of the evil regimes mentioned above.

Wow Tim, I didn’t realize that you would admit to being hypocritical and biased against the Israeli’s “partially” is admitting to something. :) I’m so glad you are seeing the error of your ways and thinking. Now if we can

20

dh 11.09.10 at 10:20 pm

Paul M. are they rejecting the violence of Hamas and Hezbollah as opposed to the Israeli government alone? Isn’t that a double standard as well? I would have a lot more respect for people to say in equal amounts and strength their condemnation of Hamas and Hezbollah in addition to all of the other things. I might disagree with the condemnation of the Israeli government but I would have a lot more respect and I probably wouldn’t say anything if I happened to see that. However, I’m not holding my breath. People are blinded by their hatred to the point of ensanity towards GWB and the Israeli government

21

PamBG 11.09.10 at 10:41 pm

Irony Alert. (For those who don’t recognize irony.)

Dear DH

You got us. We are actually antisemitic communist pinko man-hating feminist single mother lesbian whales who are plotting the downfall of the free world by advocating peace in order that Israel and all other US allies will be destroyed.

Our plan is that this will lead to the downfall of the United States. Once this happens, we can start implementing our plan of pure evil, including the abolition of poverty and the implementation of universal healthcare. This will be funded by a progressive taxation system designed to cripple the rich in order that all business development will stop.

Our ultimate aim is that everyone should be unemployed, fat and lazy and procreating as much as possible. Except, of course, for traditional nuclear families where we will force all married women to have abortions. We plan to fuel our abortion factories with wind power which will eventually result in the depletion of all wind on earth. At which point we will be abandon our pacifist stance and implement our real objective which is to destroy all human life with left-over Soviet nuclear weapons and by inciting North Korea.

However, our plan will backfire on us because it will result in Rapture, Armageddon (armageddon tired of all this, aren’t you?) and the second coming of Jesus to condemn all who don’t hold Precisely Correct Doctrinal Ideas About Jesus to an eternity of torture. On the grounds of “justice”, of course.

22

Tim Chesterton 11.09.10 at 10:44 pm

Of course I’m partially hypocritical and biased, DH - aren’t you?

23

Paul Martin 11.09.10 at 10:46 pm

People who are dead are the evidence that Bush was a murderer. What else did he have to do? If he didn’t deliberately kill innocent people he was obviously rather careless.

I have always been critical of Hamas. Indeed one of the reasons I argue agaisnt settlement sand for a two party solutiuon is that teh failure do deliver this has played into hands of Hamas.

I am not anti Israel I support a two party solution. Frankly I am fed up waiting for it.

And as for Palestinian Christians who you clealry do not regard as your brothers and sisters, had you bothered to read the article, you would have realised that that what Thomas admired was their commitment to justice expressed in a non violent way.

Is that clear on Planet dh?

24

Paul Martin 11.09.10 at 10:47 pm

Pam, you gave our identity away. Mind you dh probably believes what you wrote!

25

Paul Martin 11.09.10 at 10:48 pm

oh and dh I have regularly raised the issue of people executed in Iran - indeed I raised the Sakinah case only last week!

26

Paul F. 11.09.10 at 10:57 pm

“People are blinded by their hatred to the point of ensanity towards GWB and the Israeli government”

DH, would you say that includes those limp-wristed Palestinian Christians, working towards peace and justice without bullets and bombs?

‘Cause religious pacifists would be the first I’d suspect of being blinded by hatred.

27

Adam 11.09.10 at 11:04 pm

Paul Martin

Winston Churchill ordered the carpet bombing of several German cities, which resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands of German civilians. Indeed, during the liberation of Normandy, the Allies (not the Germans) killed 100,000 French civilians.

Were Churchill and the Allies “murderers”?

28

Adam 11.09.10 at 11:05 pm

As for the whole basis of this article, I wonder if anyone is aware that there is only one location throughout the entire Middle East where the Chritian population is growing, rather than declining.

That place is…Israel.

29

dh 11.09.10 at 11:09 pm

Paul just because people have died doesn’t mean GWB was a murderer. When a mother is being attacked by a gang member and a son comes to the mothers aide to the point of killing the gang member that doesn’t mean that the son was a “murderer”. War against murdereous regimes always results in innocent people dying but it prevents more people from being murdered in the future and allows for people to live a more freedom than otherwise. I would rather die fighting for greater freedom than to live under Saddam, Kim Jong-il, Amadinajad, Chavez, etc.

Also Paul, while I disagree to a point with the Palestinian Christians I DO consider them my brothers.

Pam, you need to prove that some of what you said was irony because much of what you said here is similar to what you have said many times on other threads. I understand that some of it might be ironic but some of it seems to reveals an underlying issue of concern I have for you.

“Our plan is that this will lead to the downfall of the United States. Once this happens, we can start implementing our plan of pure evil, including the abolition of poverty and the implementation of universal healthcare. This will be funded by a progressive taxation system designed to cripple the rich in order that all business development will stop.” This sure does sound verbatim what you have siad on previous posts.

“We are actually antisemitic communist pinko man-hating feminist single mother lesbian whales who are plotting the downfall of the free world by advocating peace in order that Israel and all other US allies will be destroyed. ” While I wouldn’t call you “man-hating” or a “whale”, the rest also sounds similar to previous posts that you have stated.

30

PamBG 11.09.10 at 11:23 pm

Pam, you need to prove that some of what you said was irony because much of what you said here is similar to what you have said many times on other threads.

ROTFLMAO!

I wanted to introduce a bit of levity, but this is far funnier than anything I said. :D

31

Tim Chesterton 11.10.10 at 12:10 am

G.K. Chesterton said ‘the devil fell through force of gravity’.

32

Alec 11.10.10 at 12:33 am

People who are dead are the evidence that Bush was a murderer.

It’s true that one man’s modus ponens is another man’s modus tolens, but sometimes it is a logical fallacy. There is ample legal framework to decree certain killings as lawful or justified, so without knowing the context of these deaths, this statement is unsustainable.

Even the oft-quoted claim that he’s the greatest mass-murderer of recent times, due to those executed whilst he was Governor of Texas, is false. Harold Shipman killed more.

On that topic, I wonder how many calling for his arrest over the water-boarding admissions, such as Geoffrey Robinson (who elected him?) and other otherwise-nobody “human rights activists, also approve of Abu Hamza’s retention of his British passport or defend “on principle” active A-Q members from being returned to Pakistan to face the music.

My guess is quite a lot.

33

Alec 11.10.10 at 12:43 am

You preferr a murdering, torturing scumbag such as George W Bush.

Out of interest, would you say this of Mugabe and Putin and Bashir and Ahmadinejad and Wen Jiabao and Than Shwe and Kim Jong-il… or is it mainly individuals who wouldn’t kill you if you were in their country that you speak of thus?

Well I think these Palestinians reflect Christ a lot more than the man of bloodshed!

Okay, enough of George Hasbah or Hilarion Capucci or Elie Hobeika, what about George W. Bush?

34

Paul Martin 11.10.10 at 8:14 am

I don’t know why I waste the time but Aec I have criticised the people you mention plenty of times on the net and in person. I wasn’t limitimg bush’s crimes to his executions but nice to know that the last President on that basis doesn’t quite come up to to Harold Shipman. Great praise indeed!

My point was that dh was immediately prepared to think the worst of his bothers in faith who advocate non biolence whilst constantly exalting Bush who is nothing but a barbarian - apologies to decent hardworking barbarians for the comparison!

35

Kim 11.10.10 at 8:48 am

What a strange, indeed perverse moral calculus. Here we have Christian apologists for the mass killing of civilians - and in the case of Dresden (and don’t forget Hiroshima and Nagasaki) one can’t even lie behind the Orwellian phrase “collateral damage” - who equally (presumably) in the name of Jesus decry a nonviolent witness for peace. As ever, there is no theological argument, rather realpolitik trumps both scripture and tradition. Persuasion will clearly be ineffective with people so possessed, only an exorcism will do.

36

Adam 11.10.10 at 10:17 am

PamBG, I was wondering whether you had a source for the claim that the Church boycotts Zimbabwe. I haven’t been able to find anything online.

Many thanks.

37

Alec 11.10.10 at 10:17 am

Paul, it still strikes as odd for someone who appeals to Christian love to bandy around epithets such as “scumbag”. I can speak in sympathetic terms both about Bush and Mugabe (less so about the others, but I don’t know enough about Wen Jiabao)..

The point stands… such situationism carries no risk for the speaker, sitting safe protected by the greatest security and military forces in human history. It’s a form of decadence in which the speaker believes they can exist only in a world of ideas.

Also, “in person” doesn’t mean what you appear to think it does.

Here we have Christian apologists for the mass killing of civilians

Whereas you’re a polemicist against the Allied war-effort. I guess one had to be there to know what pressures were on.

[...]- and in the case of Dresden (and don’t forget Hiroshima and Nagasaki) one can’t even lie behind the Orwellian phrase “collateral damage”

Of course they can. I’ll warn you now, pretty much anything I imagine you’re going to say about Dresden comes from the discredited Holocaust Denier, David Irving.

Japan was given an alibi by the A-bombs for her actions in East Asia. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were two major industrial centres for a fascist, fully militarized [1] State which already had absorbed city-wide fire-bombings with greater death tolls; and was engaged in inflicting an even greater death toll across East Asia *each* *month*, as well as intending to fight to the bitter end (for tens of thousands of Allied troops, the main concern of the Allies; and hundreds of thousands, even millions of her own citizens).

The A-bombs were acts of mass-murder. They also prevented multiple acts of mass-murder. Not something I would expect anyone in the stable 21st Century West (including me) to fully comprehend.

[1] Real militarism, not the marshal atmosphere or recruiting sergeants in high schools which causes peace activists to clutch their white poppies in talismanic alarm.

38

Paul Martin 11.10.10 at 11:27 am

I find it hard to use other language re Bush. Actually I think it is unfair to use the term ” scumbag” as many of those so described in our press are shall we say much less cavalier about killing than Bush - indeed many have never killed . so apologies to those labelled “scumbags” for in any way linking them with this killer..

39

Paul Martin 11.10.10 at 11:31 am

Why would I quote David Irving? I despise everything that man stands for.

Where do you get the idea that I am a “polemicist against the allied war effort?” I have not mentioned the Second World War and take offence at your suggestion?

All I will say is that how one opposes evil is a legitimate issue ofdebate.

40

Kim 11.10.10 at 11:41 am

Paul, Alec is a very confused individual. As well as not knowing his ass from his elbow, he doesn’t know you from me. Not, Paul, that you and I are dissimilar in our views, especially on this one; still it shows a worrying inattentiveness to the small detail of two different people when Alec cites me and then assails you. The Irving business demonstrates just how monomaniacal poor Alec is. Let’s put him on our prayer lists for the intellectually ill.

41

MP 11.10.10 at 11:55 am

@dh, Alec, Adam etc:

What I don’t think Richard Hall (or Paul Martin) quite understand is that the ONLY thing which will appease fundamentalist Islam is the dismantling of Israel and the evacuation or death of all Jews in the region. Until that happens there will always be a “resistance” to the “occupation” in the guise of Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda, etc etc.

Some people think sacrificing Israel is a price worth paying if it keeps us in the UK safe in our beds. I do not.

Fundamentalist Islamic ideology does not tolerate other religions. Not Judaism and not Christianity. There are countless examples of this all over the world. Furthermore it does not tolerate political dissent. This is the same ideology that thinks acceptable forms of political activism are to bomb school buses, launch rockets into peoples’ homes, or to hold 700 school children hostage in Chechnya before murdering 200 of them.

The only salvation for people and institutions that do not “conform” to totalitarian Islamisist doctrines - that includes Christians, as well as Jews, homosexuals, women who do not wish to wear a full face veil and only speak when spoken to - is liberal, democratic Israel, which jealously protects the rights of its more vulnerable citizens through the rule of law and, when necessary, through military force. For that reason they are hated by those that wish them harm, and that hatred is poisoning the discourse on the subject.

Israel (much like Lebanon) is a dangerously vulnerable country with many disparate and frankly nasty groups having a vested interest in its demise. Those groups are winning. They - NOT JEWS - have the political leverage and the money to influence world opinion and government policy, and are prepared to use violence against people that do not agree with them in order to stifle dissent.

If people within the Methodist Church think that the correct way to show solidarity with Arab Christians is to lend support to the most radical elements of Palestinian society - those that call for economic attacks against Israel - then that is their choice. Personally I think it is a betrayal of more moderate voices, and is a dangerous and immoral stance which will ultimately cost lives and will destabilise the region beyond repair.

I don’t think they will realise what their efforts have achieved until the Church of the Nativity becomes a mosque. By then it will be too late.

I will end this post with a plea to those of fair mind reading this blog to seek out and listen to other points of view from the region - Christian or otherwise. There are plenty.

Kind regards

42

MP 11.10.10 at 11:57 am

Kim I think you are being very rude. Alec has been extremely polite and respectful in his postings, I think the least you could do is show him the same courtesy.

43

Paul Martin 11.10.10 at 12:18 pm

Indeed!

44

Methodist Preacher 11.10.10 at 12:27 pm

Kim,
“Let’s put him on our prayer lists for the intellectually ill.”

As far as I know Alec is not a Christian. I must say I admire his spirit.

Just what impression do you think he will have or Christians and the practice of prayer from such an abusive comment?

Sorry, I forget, you don’t do abuse.

David

45

Alec 11.10.10 at 12:46 pm

Gawd bless the Interweb. Making stupid people clever since 1991.

Kim, maybe you base your views concerning Dresden on something other than the meme which David Irving introduced. Anything is possible.

Good point. The other effect of mass media is that it seems to have legitimized “You are a jerk” (or words to that effect) as a substantial point of debate. Ad hominem is no longer the last resort of the inarticulate but now a reasoned argument.

PAM-BG

Indeed.

46

Alec 11.10.10 at 12:49 pm

Where do you get the idea that I am a “polemicist against the allied war effort?”

Where did you get the idea I was responding to your interjection?

Actually I think it is unfair to use the term ” scumbag” as many of those so described in our press are shall we say much less cavalier about killing than Bush - indeed many have never killed . so apologies to those labelled “scumbags” for in any way linking them with this killer.

It almost is like a ritual form of hate. D’you have to hold the cup of wormwood with a certain hand?

47

Paul Martin 11.10.10 at 1:04 pm

Well you had addressed me by name. You didn’t exactly make it clear that you was now addressing Kim. use of name to signify the change would be helpful and courteous.

Incidentally you must be mad bringing David irving into a discussion on Dreseden. There are plenty of reputable scholars who have contributed to that matter. But I suspect it was a cheap point.

And yes, I am happy to use strong language about those who launch wars and approve of torture! If I didn’t I would be a blob of no convictions!

48

MP 11.10.10 at 1:31 pm

MP 11.10.10 at 11:55 am
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Apparently Richard Hall does not agree with my views and wishes to deny me a voice.

49

Alec 11.10.10 at 1:46 pm

You didn’t exactly make it clear that you was now addressing Kim.

Considering that I was quoting from her interjection, and ceased referring to you by name, I would have thought it wasn’t that great a leap. You will find that responding to more than one individual is common practice in Internet discussions.

Normally I do indicate the individual’s name, as I did with Pam-BG. I forgot this time. A central rule of argument (in the classical sense) is to assume the best possible motives until shown otherwise. You and Kim bloviated on in, and were wrong.

Incidentally you must be mad bringing David irving into a discussion on Dreseden.

He wrote the first English-language study of it, and his conclusions (which have been tarnished by his Holocaust Denial, and subsequent retro-active analysis of his works) still are cited (such as the morally crapulent attempt to equate it with the Shoah, as is done with current Israeli policy).

The presenation of Dresden as a unique act of the Second World War derives, in no mean part, to this publication.

If you are unaware of this, I wonder how much more of period you are less-than clear on. Such as the A-bombs and Showa Era.

There are plenty of reputable scholars who have contributed to that matter.

Such as? Are you sure you are not projecting your 21st Century sensibilities onto your historiographical understanding of the event? Not to mention an assumption that Bomber Command had access to smart-bombs or guided missiles in 1945.

50

Earl 11.10.10 at 2:33 pm

“Can’t we just be grateful…” Well, no. The day and hour they actually do something more than make statements, etc., then they will be worth some attention. Until then, in spite of good intentions, they are of as much consequences as the number of angels who can dance on the head of a pin.

Israel has no more reason to give attention to those who embrace hamas and hezbollah than they are obligated to be concerned with the interest of those who vote for arab nationalist pretending to represent a non-existent state. Such people are so wrapped up in their own self-serving supposition of justice that they expect Israel to give to its enemies what those enemies and the u.n. have not been able to take by acts of war or political manipulation. In the face of such efforts so called to “construct a lasting peace,” it is understandable that Israel is disinclined to acquiesce.

Regarding President Bush, murder is the term useful to describe those who ran Iraq and those who enabled him to continue his regime. Now everyone understands why little Yugoslavia was a different matter. It was after all “european.” It was right to go in and stop what was happening because it was genocide. Of course that little word seemed not to be in the dictionary of the u.n. when it came to Iraq… Rwanda, etc. How odd. Apparently if it is not in europe, the blue helmeted little folks from the u.n. are next to useless. But one can understand when such venting is done. There are those who find it easier to hate than to face the truth. Some are even incapable of telling the difference between their elbows and whatever else they don’t recognize. Of course one can understand when they excuse their hatred or their ignorance, whichever may be the case. Some people can’t take the truth. It is too inconvenient.

For those who live in an alternate universe the idea that Israel should share its land with arab nationalist is “fair.” How odd? In any other world, the idea that one should be expected to buy one’s enemies off is nothing less than tribute or even surrender. Israel is to be commended for refusing to give its enemies anything less than a high wall and an unflinching commitment to Israeli national interest. If someone wants an end to violence, then arab nationalist and militant fundamentalist islamic terrorist have only to stop their acts of violence against Israel. Amazing!!! The end of all that fighting is in the hands of those who are the enemies of Israel. They only have to stop attacking and get on with their one lives. How simple is that?

Now if one wants to discuss mass killing, then get real about it. Like it or not, the day of limited war have been eclipsed by killing on a industrial scale. Cutsey complaints not withstanding, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed for the exact same reason Tokyo, Berlin, London and Antwerp, etc. were bombed. Some people just make distinctions because they are more comfortable with some methods of war than others. Ours is a post-modern world where war is plebeian and not simply the province of those who wear uniforms. If one wants proof, it is only necessary to skim the headlines for the latest toll of death resulting from the latest act of terrorism by the latest group of fundamentalist muslim extremist who, of course, abide by no “rules of engagement.”

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Tim Chesterton 11.10.10 at 2:38 pm

Kim is a girl? I never knew!

Wasn’t it Hiroshima where five orders of Catholic nuns were wiped out by their ‘Christian’ assailants? How does that square with ‘See how these Christians love one another’, I wonder?

But isn’t it about time to get back to the Palestinian Christians? Two of them spoke at our Canadian General Synod last year, and people found them most impressive .

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Alec 11.10.10 at 3:00 pm

Wasn’t it Hiroshima where five orders of Catholic nuns were wiped out by their ‘Christian’ assailants? How does that square with ‘See how these Christians love one another’, I wonder?

Did the crew of the Enola Gay set out to kill them? Would it have been any different had there been no Christians on the ground? Was the killings of East Asian Buddhists monks and nuns over the preceeding decade and a half by Imperial Japanese forces less noteworthy?

But isn’t it about time to get back to the Palestinian Christians?

The subject material is about non-violent resistence, which is why it’s moved onto a wider discussion about what to do when it’s resisting forces which, as policy, are out to kill you and vast numbers of your compatriots.

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PamBG 11.10.10 at 3:32 pm

If I can understand that sometimes violent resistance is the least worst option, I reckon God can understand that too. But this is usually not the situation with wars.

It is one thing to fight for one’s own survival. It is another thing to declare ex post that my nation was entirely righteous and the deaths of my enemy blessed by God and unworthy of lament. Normally in war, both sides murder and try to claim God’s exclusive blessing for their acts of murder.

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Tim Chesterton 11.10.10 at 4:09 pm

Did the crew of the Enola Gay set out to kill them? </i?

I think the crew of the Enola Gay set out to kill everyone in the city, didn’t they?

And no, of course it wasn’t worse than killings of non-Christians by the Japanese. The question isn’t what’s better or worse, the question is what Christians who are trying to follow Jesus ought to do when they are commanded to kill by the State. And it becomes even more poignant when the people they are commanded to kill include their fellow-Christians, because in this case the command of Jesus includes not just ;love your enemies and pray for those who hate you’ but also ‘by this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another’.

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Tim Chesterton 11.10.10 at 4:10 pm

Oops. Formatting error there. Sorry, Richard.

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Alec 11.10.10 at 4:48 pm

I think the crew of the Enola Gay set out to kill everyone in the city, didn’t they?

That is not what you said. But, in response to your answering a question with a question (bad form), no I don’t. They set off to drop a new type of bomb which was beyond the comprehension of more-or-less everyone (even the planners who allowed for a high altitude detonation to maximize the explosion-spread, inspired by the SS Mont-Blanc explosion in 1917 which was worsened by the steep sides of Halifax shore).

Once again, are you sure you aint projecting your early 21st Century understanding of nuclear weapons onto a bunch of grunts who fought total war 70 years ago in an arm of the military which was experiencing as much as 50% casualty rates? Bias may be an integral part of the human experience, but at least you could try to avoid it.

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Richard 11.10.10 at 4:49 pm

MP, you jump to conclusions. All first time commenters go into moderation for approval. But that approval isn’t based on my agreement. After the first time, most comments go straight through. Some go into moderation as the software decides. Even mine, very occasionally. I believe that some blogs moderate every comment. But not this one.

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dh 11.10.10 at 5:26 pm

Paul M. Alec was able to say what I was trying to say but in a better way. I totally agree with what Alec said maybe not to the level but agree nonetheless. Although I do not have great impressions of Mugabe and reject the idea that Mugabe and Bush indirectly mentioned as being similar. Mugabe does not deserve any respect. Anyone who forcibly and violently steals from anyone should be condemned. Bush has never done that.

If I gave you an impression of being “anti-Palestinian Christian” that was not the case. They are my brothers I may strongly disagree but would have respect if they had the same responde and condemnation to Hamas and Hezbollah who are truly the purpetrators of the atrocities. The fact is it wouldn’t take much to have as much appreciation for them as you have to them. I personally abhore everything that Hamas and Hezbollah stand for and they are the ones that people who condemn Israel fail to address at the equal level and number as they do to Israel. No matter how much they say otherwise actions speak louder than words. However, I have seen lately you seem a little more balanced on the Israel/Palestine thing than others for which I appreciate.

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Ian Howarth 11.10.10 at 5:27 pm

The question of how Christians respond to evil is as old as the Christian faith and I find it just as intractible as ever. We are told to overcome evil with good, and love our enemies, and as I understand it the early church was committed to pacifism.

My grandfather was a pacifist CO in the first world war, and my father and uncle in the second, and I was brought up to believe that this was the only Christian option. As I have studied history I generally believe that even on a pragmatic level violence creates more problems than it solves, but I am glad that Nazism was defeated, and now am not sure I can take a total pacifist position.

However the nature of war is that even those fighting for justice commit horrendous evil acts, and I think Dresden and Hiroshima are such, as are Abu Graib and other atrocities committed by allied forces in Afghanistan.

Is this a price worth paying for peace? I am glad I have never had to make the decision whether or not to kill for a righteous cause.

That is why when Christians see an injustice that can be challenged non-violently they will want to support it. An economic boycott falls into that category. I have much more problems with any suggestion that Christians support Hamas or any violence against Israel, and do fear that because we can see the reasons that lead people to radicalism, we ignore what I do believe is the evil of Islamic fundamentalism. (just as for the sake of Christian unity Liberal Christians find themselves having to work ecumenically with Christian fundamentalists, and are afraid to speak out against their bigotry.)

I think there is a real danger of liberal Christians underestimating the power of evil. Working out how to overcome evil with good needs to be higher up our agenda, rather than just trying to be nice to everyone!

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Joe Millis 11.10.10 at 5:37 pm

I’m just wondering whether I will be invited to the opening of the Methodist churches in Saudi, Pakistan, Iran, UA,E etc…hang on a mo…You wouldn’t be singling out Israel, would you?

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Tim Chesterton 11.10.10 at 5:40 pm

Working out how to overcome evil with good needs to be higher up our agenda, rather than just trying to be nice to everyone!

Ian, I really resonate with this; thank you.

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MP 11.10.10 at 6:02 pm

Richard: Thank you for publishing my comment, and I apologise for jumping to conclusions about your motives.

I’d like to say (following my earlier post) that I am very sympathetic to the plight of people of all faiths throughout the entire Middle East, especially Christians who are very isolated and live in fear. It is commendable that church groups stand up for such people. But I really do feel that you’re going about it the wrong way and that you are taking a destructive path.

Unlike many people (it seems) in the Methodist blogosphere I do not hold Israel responsible for their woes. It is the Arab regimes in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt that have deliberately and wantonly exacerbated the crisis for purely political reasons, whereas Israeli governments have done what they have done for reasons of self defence and protecting their own citizens.

Israel is the only country in the region that has any political will to make things better for oppressed and downtrodden people. All other countries have a vested interest in prolonging the problems as a means to an end.

Israelis are nice people who have a real interest in improving the conditions of their neighbours. You will find them to be superb allies who will want to help, if you give them a chance and approach them offering friendship and mutual cooperation instead of attacking and vilifying them.

Please do not support boycotts against Israel.

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Earl 11.10.10 at 6:04 pm

Those who died at Hiroshima died as a result of being in a combat zone which was exactly the case for people who died at London, Coventry, etc. It does not matter who they were. They died because they were in a area where combat operations were being conducted. Japanese casualties as a result of U.S. Army Airforce bombing were entirely the consequence of Japanese acts of war against the United States and Japanese failure to cease combat operations and surrender. The Japanese were and are entirely responsible for every single life lost and every single person maimed as a result of their aggression that launched the Pacific Campaign of WWII. As far as Christian love is concerned, it was infinitely more loving to take whatever steps were needed to end that war than to timidly fiddle around and let more lives be lost while someone tried to find a nice diplomatic way for the Japanese smile and mumble, “So sorry.” Of course one happy consequence of that war was that since the United States forced Japan to surrender, millions of innocent people were spared being forced to join in supporting the expansionist Japanese vision of a Pacific empire cowering under a rising sun. And of course others are afforded the privilege of sitting around contemplating such lofty questions as what Christians should or should not have done when faced with doing what they decided had to be done to stop an evil that was outrageous and destructive beyond imagination. Only someone completely lacking in conscience advocates much less celebrates war. We are to seek peace and pursue it. As much as possible we are to live at peace with all men. But the simple facts of life are that peace can seldom be gained except by winning it and peace can only be maintained by being prepared to keep it. History demonstrates the sorry consequences that have been the experience of those who have failed in that preparation.

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Ian Howarth 11.10.10 at 6:24 pm

I visited a 90 year old woman today who was with the Air Ministry in the war and was stationed in Jerusalem at the end of the war, who said even then she felt sorry for the Arabs who culturally were at a great disadvantage when the better educated European Jews came over after the war, and even then were not able to work in equal partnership, setting up resentments that have only festered over the years.

It is not so much about rights and wrongs but being honest about the issues as both sides see them. The Isrealis are not just about Jewish expansionsim, although some are, the Palestinians are not just about Islamic takeover, although some are. I am not sure the Methodist report looked at the picture from as rounded a view as it should have done but the things it did highlight about the plight of the Palestinians are issues that need to be looked at dispassionately and compassionately, and not with a knee-jerk reaction that assumes it is anti-Jewish.

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dh 11.10.10 at 6:30 pm

Ian, I respect totally what you said. I do want to add that if I gave the impression that Christians support Hamas or violence against Israel that is not the case. What I’m saying is that Liberal Christianity is so quick to condemn at a high intensity Israel on numerous occasions but when one looks at the level of intensity, the number of occasions against Hamas or Hezbollah the level and and the number of occasions Liberal Christians condemn Hamas and Hezbollah are found wanting. That is all I was trying to say. I’m not suggesting they are condoning Hamas and Hezbollah but that liberal Christianity seems more complacent in their condemnation of Hamas and Hezbollah as compared with Israel. I know I hear well “with much given much is required” but that argument “doesn’t hold water” when one looks at the level of atrocities between the two groups regarding Israel/Palestine. I will say that many Conservative Evangelical Christians get the label “fundamentalist/bigot” unnecessarily and wrongly.

Maybe I misunderstood, but I see a big difference between Christian fundamentalism and Islamic Fundamentalism. It is an extreme overgeneralization to lump the two in the same category in relation to other groups outside of those.

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dh 11.10.10 at 6:35 pm

Amen, MP and Earl. Thanks for the response. Ian, how about the plight of Israel in relation to Hamas and Hezbollah? Where did the Methodist church condmen them and if they did how does the level and the number of condmenations compare with what they said against Israel? The knee-jerk reaction is in relation to the lack of intensity in any way and/or the number of times of condemnation toward Hamas and Hezbollah. That failure is what “begs the question” and results in the accusation of being “anti-Jewish”.

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MP 11.10.10 at 6:49 pm

I’d like to add that I do think the Methodist conference’s resolution was extremely disrespectful to British Jewry and I’m surprised that people have expressed so much shock and disbelief at the reaction. When I read people such as David Warnock accusing Jews or Israelis of playing the “Holocaust Card” it makes me very angry, and it does reflect very poorly on the Methodist church as a whole.

This is the kind of “criticism” Jews have to put up with here in Blighty:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fUKsDG9v2A&feature=player_embedded

I’m sure most of us are horrified by this and would want to distance ourselves from such disgusting attitudes.

I really do think an apology and reconciliation is in order. Perhaps the right thing to do would be to work with the Board of Deputies and/or the Zionist Federation to seek better ways to improve the situation for Palestinian Christians.

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PamBG 11.10.10 at 6:58 pm

Once when I was a child - I think I couldn’t have been any more than three - I got angry at my grandfather for not taking me to the playground and I kicked him in the shin. My father picked me up, told me that kicking was bad and made me go sit on the stairs for what seemed like an eternity in punishment.

From this I concluded that my father hates me because if he didn’t hate me he wouldn’t have told me that kicking my grandfather is wrong. From the point of that reprimand - 50 years ago - I have gathered family allies around me asking that they proclaim that my father is an evil man. I will not allow anyone to say anything good about him. Anyone who says anything good about my father is automatically my enemy.

My father hates me because he said what I did was wrong. Anyone who is kind to my father or has a good word to say about him is my enemy and must be hurt. My friends are people who join me in hurting my father.

Sound ridiculous? Yep. And so our conversation continues in the same vein it’s been going on for many months.

(For the narratively-challenged, this story is entirely fictional.)

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Richard 11.10.10 at 7:08 pm

I thoroughly approve of dialogue by story Pam.

This has turned out to be an epic thread — a bit surprising, since it was intended to be a link elsewhere. I’m glad of the visits of course.
MP, you blog elsewhere. I notice that you’ve used the fact that your comment went in to the moderation queue as evidence of Methodist ‘anti-Israel rhetoric’. You retract in the comments with an apology, which is nice. But the headline remains. Thanks for that.

At 68 comments long I can’t possibly catch up with this thread, though. Play nice.

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Adam 11.10.10 at 7:09 pm

Ian Howarth, of course it is anti-Jewish - because Hamas was let off the hook. No boycotts for them or fatah, for Iran or Syria. Just those settlet Jews justify a boycott. Are you seriously telling me that they are so evil, so heinous, that they warrant a boycott when Hamas does not?

PamBG, with the greatest respect, you made much play of your assertion that Israel was not being singled out, because the Church also boycotted Zimbabwe (let’s leave aside the moral repugnance of equating Israeli Jews with the despotic killer Mugabe). I have found no evidence that Zimbabwe is being boycotted by the Methodist Church. Could you provide it please?

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Adam 11.10.10 at 7:15 pm

MP, I agree completely. I didn’t know about the “Holocaust Card” remark - how utterly disgusting - and a classic example of Jew hatred.

I find little acknowledgement that the resolution has been roundly condemned by Jews of the left and right, of the Orthodox, Conservative, Reform and Liberal persuasions. In short, across the board. Yet all we get is denial that it was a mistake. Instead, I get the feeling that several here feel that THEY are the victims, when it was the Church’s resolution which is part of the global bullying campaign against the world’s Jew, Israel.

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Alec 11.10.10 at 7:26 pm

I’ve just stolen that story, Pam.

who said even then she felt sorry for the Arabs who culturally were at a great disadvantage when the better educated European Jews came over after the war, and even then were not able to work in equal partnership, setting up resentments that have only festered over the years.

What is this? An inferiority complex? Those European Jews who were better educated and more resourceful (not the same as saying European Jews were then better educated and more resourceful) were so because of their own hard work and smeddum. Nor does this take into account the dirt-poor Eastern Jews who came to Israel in the 40s and 50s, and have flourished.

Furthermore, the Arab population of the territory rose due to immigration to satisfy labour demands as well as being attracted by the better quality of life which Arab-majority areas couldn’t offer. A significant proportion of those “indigenous inhabitants” can trace their lineage to before the first half of the 20th Century.

One of, perhaps the best scientist of the last century is Ahmed Zewali, an Egyptian who rightly received the 1999 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for inventing an entirely new scientific discipline. Yet he had to leave a region which does not have one university in the top 500 (apart from the half dozen which are in Israel).

Arabs are no better or no worse than other ethnic groups. What has been their blight has been the easy money of oil and the cult of victimhood as displayed above, and the welfare-dependency encouraged by the UNWRA.

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Alec 11.10.10 at 7:27 pm

A significant proportion of those “indigenous inhabitants” can trace their lineage to before the first half of the 20th Century.

Cannot trace.

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Earl 11.10.10 at 7:28 pm

“Maybe I misunderstood, but I see a big difference between Christian fundamentalism and Islamic Fundamentalism. It is an extreme overgeneralization to lump the two in the same category in relation to other groups outside of those.”

There’s no reason you should be misunderstood. Such generalizations as you describe are a common tactic in political debate whereby one demonizes and deligitimizes ones opponent. Such IED’s (Improvised Explosive Descriptions) are common weapons used to misdirect and confuse or even terminate political debate.

Fundamentalist have about as much legitimacy as liberals. Either is an extreme where little is to be found worthy of admiration or emulation. When it comes to fundamentalist in general, Christian fundamentalist have not as yet adopted explosive vest. And Christian fundamentalist usually only engage Christian liberals in verbal exchanges where the only wounds are to bruised egos. However, islamic fundamentalist are a entirely different breed of cat. They worship a god who they not only think but believe wants them to kill people all in the name of their supposed faith. For themselves and even for their children, they consider explosive vest the latest thing is fashion and faith. And from their conduct it is apparent that to islamic fundamentalist, islamic liberals are convenient targets of opportunity, especially female muslims who fail to comply with the most strict tenets of the most narrow-minded mullah. The difference between Christian fundamentalist and islamic fundamentalist is apparent, unless of course one is trying to avoid making a distinction that is unflattering to islamic fundamentalists, in which case it is hard to make such a distinction.

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Alec 11.10.10 at 7:42 pm

Surely all practicing Christians, especially Proddy groups like Methodists aspire to be fundamentalists? Maybe people mean extremists or clerical-fascists.

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Richard 11.10.10 at 7:58 pm

I don’t recall Dave W or anyone else making a ‘Holocaust card’ remark. Where was it?

I can feel a post coming on about fundamentalism — it will have to wait. But no, Alec. Christians do not and should not “aspire” to be fundamentalist.

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Alec 11.10.10 at 8:05 pm

Richard, you mean you don’t aspire to understand and honour the fundamental meaning of the Gospel? How very odd.

Why do you not (and in response to David Hallam’s correctly surmising that I aint a Christian [1]) take my route and become a Classicist, like that explorer in Doctor Who, who believes in the evil that men do?

[1] Although, I don’t take comments on blogs to be representative of any wider group other than bloggers, who’re a weird bunch anyway.

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Richard 11.10.10 at 8:08 pm

>> “Richard, you mean you don’t aspire to understand and honour the fundamental meaning of the Gospel?”

I do. But that isn’t what fundamentalism is.

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Alec 11.10.10 at 8:14 pm

Yes it is, Richard. What has been described as “fundamentalism” in the pejorative sense is separate and, due to overuse, has become as unreal as “progressive”.

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Earl 11.10.10 at 8:30 pm

“Christians do not and should not ‘aspire’ to be fundamentalist.” Hum… there’s something wrong here. Wonder what it could be? “Christians do not and should not ‘aspire’ to be liberals.” No!!! That’s not it! That’s no improvement at all! In fact, it’s just as problematic! “Christians do not and should not ‘aspire’ to be extremist.” Eureka!!! That’s it! Yes, that’s it!

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DaveW 11.10.10 at 9:27 pm

Richard,

“I don’t recall Dave W or anyone else making a ‘Holocaust card’ remark. Where was it?”

As is no surprise in this “discussion” there is a degree of misquoting and twisting.

My first comment was.

A complaint was made.

I responded.

Quite content to stand by it. Oh and of course I stand by it in my own name unlike MP.

Dave

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Richard 11.10.10 at 10:12 pm

So that sentence “When I read people such as David Warnock accusing Jews or Israelis of playing the “Holocaust Card” it makes me very angry” was in fact completely misleading. As you say — big surprise.

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PamBG 11.10.10 at 10:15 pm

I liked I was very disturbed by a reference to Alec on the semi-official anti-Israel, anti-Zionist Connexions site. in a blog post entitled “Let’s raise the standard of Methodist blogging”.

Apparently, we raise standards by lying. (By the way, the previous sentence doesn’t mean “I am offended”. It means “David lied.”)

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Richard 11.10.10 at 10:20 pm

I saw that, Pam. I agreed with the headline. The rest is “same old, same old”. A strange way to go about raising standards.

Talking about being ‘economical with the actualité, remember ‘Rolly’ who lectured me about the Geneva Convention and who wrote “As a Methodist I am truly sorry for the upset, we, The Methodist Church, have caused…”, “Again, I ask what has any of this to do with us Methodists?”, “Let’s return Methodism to the Methodists and get rid of the anti-semites from within our midst” and “These guys, Avraham Reiss,Jonathan Hoffman and Jon_i_Cohen certainly know their facts”? Turns out to be the same person as Jon_i_Cohen! Or at least, they share the same email and IP address. And when I asked Jon about it, he went strangely quiet on me. Funny that.

So I’ll be taking no lectures on truth-telling or raising standards.

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dh 11.10.10 at 11:02 pm

Thanks Alec, Earl, MP and Adam for the extra insights. I also appreciate Ian’s input as well. The whole “fundamentalist between Christian and Islam” is where I took issue but not in a harsh way. You had some grwat points that I appreciate I was just operating from an operindi of “can we look at the equivilent level of intensity between attacking Israel and Hamas/Hezbollah?”

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Adam 11.10.10 at 11:17 pm

So PamBG, do you retract your statement that the Church has implemented a boycott of Zimbabwe? No-one has confirmed it, and I can find no evidence of it.

So Israel is singled out then, treated to a different standard to others, isn’t it?

And that’s antisemitism.

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PamBG 11.10.10 at 11:42 pm

Just to be clear, Alec, your argument is that if the Methodist Church hasn’t boycotted Zimbabwe specifically, that it was acting from antisemetic pre-meditation?

Can you give me an explanation, then, why we forbade our members from being members of the fascist British National Party?

I think that a reasonable argument might be that the result of this report could be anti-semetic in effect. I have always been willing to listen to that point of view. But as long as folk are invested in this idea of “The church always hated Jews and was just waiting to come out with an antisemetic statement”, I will continue to resist it. Not only because I sincerely believe it to be untrue. But also because I think it promotes - and springs from - the idea that Israel’s wrong-doings may never be named as wrong and must always be called righteous.

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Kim 11.10.10 at 11:43 pm

Earlier today Paul’s comment #43 appeared after my comment #40, not (as now) after MP’s comment #42. Just for the record, is Paul’s “Indeed!” an affirmation of my comment or MP’s - i.e., does he think that I’m right or (with MP) just (!) rude?

As for Alec, heck, he doesn’t even know what the word “fundamentalist” means in theological discourse. As with the term “anti-Semitism”, like Humpty Dumpty a lot of you guys stuff words with your own meaning for your own ideological purposes. And then you get all prissy when Paul calls someone a “scumbag” or I refer to Alec’s intellectual illness. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s not abuse - it’s a duck!

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PamBG 11.10.10 at 11:50 pm

I apologize for confusing Adam and Alec.

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Paul Martin 11.10.10 at 11:50 pm

I was agreeing with your criticisms of Alec, Kim. This was re identity of those he was debating with. Also I strongly objected to him bringing in Irving which degraded the debate by not so subtly implying anti semtism on the part of thee or me - a disgusting libel in either case. I felt anger at this and was glad you expressed your irritation at this playground approach to a serious issue.

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Richard 11.10.10 at 11:56 pm

>> “Earlier today Paul’s comment #43 appeared after my comment #40, not (as now) after MP’s comment #42″

That’s because there were comments sitting in moderation - they appear in the order they were posted, not the order they were approved.. It can get confusing. So can having contributions from “MP” and “Methodist Preacher”. It would easier to follow if everyone used their own names, but I realise that some people have good reasons for not doing that.

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Kim 11.11.10 at 12:06 am

Rereading this thread, as a whole - it’s Pythonesquely hilarious. And will become even more so if someone now intervenes with a grumpy comment about my facetiousness…

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Richard 11.11.10 at 12:08 am

>> “Rereading this thread, as a whole…”

Maybe tomorrow!

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Adam 11.11.10 at 10:04 am

Dave W said the following:

“It worries me that the Holocaust seems to be used at times as a kind of trump card that means no other suffering ever counts”

He made this statement in the context of Israel’s conflict with Hamas in Gaza.

Not only is it untrue (and I challenge you Dave W to find one single example where a Jew has said no other suffering counts because of the Holocaust) - it is utterly disgusting. That people make excuses for such casual remarks is itself disgusting. It is deeply insulting to Jews everywhere.

Shameful.

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Adam 11.11.10 at 10:07 am

PamBG, it is now apparent that there is no boycott of Zimbabwe, despite you basing your argument on that claim. It is therefore transparently obvious that Israel has, as I said before, been singled out for boycott. No other place on earth warrants it apparently.

You say that you may accept that the consequences of the boycott may be antisemitic, but that it was not he motivation behind the boycott.

What other reason other than antisemitism can lie behind singling out Jews?

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Alec 11.11.10 at 10:45 am

Kim, in “theological discourse” the term fundamentalism refers to a specific form of Christian quietism. So, applying it to religio-political and clerical-fascist iterations of Islam of the past few decades is fraught with difficulties. It was first applied by the mainstream media to the latter during the Islamic counter-revolution in Iran [against secular opponents of the Shah], so applying it now to various Salafist or Deobandi movements within Sunni Islam shows the catch-all nature of the term.

Given that a Methodist preacher once asked me if cycling were my “passion”, I think there’s a bit of leeway with even the established theological terms.

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Richard 11.11.10 at 10:50 am

Will you please listen, Adam?

Israel is not being boycotted. How many times? THERE IS NO METHODIST BOYCOTT OF ISRAEL. Enough already!

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Richard 11.11.10 at 10:54 am

Alec - I actually agree with you about the problem of using ‘fundamentalist’ to describe Islam. But i the Christian context, it really doesn’t mean what you said it did. I’m going to have to come back to this. But not today.

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Alec 11.11.10 at 10:56 am

Accepting that Pam confuddicated me with Adam, a one-sided criticism of Israel may not be predicated on antisemitism, but this is not an excuse either.

Those who cited international law in these cases clearly are imagining themselves as the arbiters/enforces of this law (i.e. Police). If the traffic Po-Po were pursing only motorway speeders at 70 mph, and not boyracers tearing-up residential areas, I would ask why. That’s the thing about enforcing the law: you have to enforce all of them, or you are enforcing none of them; just pursuing personal obsessions.

I didn’t suggest Paul (or Kim) were supportive of Irving’s Holocaust Denial. That one, or both, of them thought I was doing so is a case the the lady doth protest too much, methinks. Whether they care to admit to it or not, the popular impression of Dresden being a unique event in WWII *does* come from his 1963 publication.

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Alec 11.11.10 at 11:24 am

Aye, Richard [about a fundamentalist Christian belief]. Yet, even though it was, I think, those weirdo Baptists who codified the term, it still arose aback the period of revival of Protestantism in the 19th Century of which Methodism was a part.

I don’t know if you’re TT, but doubt you’d take a bottle of wine to a Church event you were unfamiliar with.

As for there being no boycott of Israel, it’s not what those responsible for this motion want. Stephen Leah already has presented the Church indaba as being prepared to consider one, and an external backer (Ben White) shows a stunning lack of concern about suicide-terrorism against Israeli civilians.

More importantly, there is no comparable boycott of aspects of other countries’ economic output. For instance, no boycott of Moroccan products in the Sarawai region. No campaign to label Chinese goods from being from Tibet if appropriate.

The Green Line (cf. 1967 boundary with the West Bank) is a line in the sand. Because of Arab rejectionism, it is not an internationally-recognized border: one of those is with Jordan. The Territories are disputed, and no amount of appeals to the shibboleth of international law will change this.

The civilians residing/working there are no different (semantically at least) to ordinary Zimbabweans who may work alongside Zanu-PF influence, yet no-one is spiteful enough to ostracize them. (And those numpties who disrupted the Chinese Olympic torch procession through London - including grabbing it from a kid who was honouring his father who’d died of cancer - were spiteful.)

“These guys, Avraham Reiss,Jonathan Hoffman and Jon_i_Cohen certainly know their facts”? Turns out to be the same person as Jon_i_Cohen! Or at least, they share the same email and IP address. And when I asked Jon about it, he went strangely quiet on me. Funny that.

If that’s true, it’s pretty fucking stupid. I’d state my reputation on Jonathan having no role in it.

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Adam 11.11.10 at 11:30 am

Richard, the Israeli Jews living in Samaria and Judea are being boycotted by your church. They are the only people on this earth deemed worthy of a boycott by the Church. They are singled out, and held to a different standard to others. That is racism.

In addition, truly appalling comments like those of Dave W, which you have not condemned, betray the true feeling of those behind the boycott.

No, it isn’t enough.

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Richard 11.11.10 at 11:56 am

Alec - I don’t fully understand your comment. The relevance of whether I’m TT or not lost me completely. As I say, I’ll be coming back to fundamentalism: it needs a post of it’s own. But I’m not in a position to write anything sustained just now so it will have to wait. You’re right — it is no secret that Stephen Leah would have liked a complete boycott of Israel. But the position of the Methodist Church is not determined by individuals, no matter how prominent. That right belongs to the Conference.

As for the last part of your comment — “If that’s true…” Why would I make it up? Providing the evidence would mean giving away email and IP addresses, and I won’t be doing that. But you can take it from me that “Jon_i_Cohen” (who blogs for the Jewish Chronicle) and “Rolly Downton-Hille” (who claimed to be a Methodist) share the same IP and email address. That doesn’t mean they’re the same person of course. Housemates, possibly. But when I asked Jon about it he went quiet. As for whether Jonathan ‘had a role in it’, I neither know nor care.

Adam - “They are the only people on this earth deemed worthy of a boycott by the Church” is not true. The Methodist Church also joined the boycott of Nestle. But I don’t know why you’re so hung up on this. The boycott of the Settlements is largely symbolic. In theory I support it, but I’m not aware that it has changed my shopping habits and i suspect the same is true of many others. Meanwhile, the Church is also encouraging the Methodist people to travel to Israel. If they take that up — and I’ve a feeling that many will, over time — the economic impact of that will be much more significant. So, no. It is not true that the Methodist Church is boycotting Israel. And it’s even less true, if that were possible, that the Church is motivated by antisemitism.

We’ve had enough in that sense that it is a long time since any new point was made on this issue. I think we should leave it now.

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PamBG 11.11.10 at 12:36 pm

@Adam: What Richard said above.

If people really care about antisemitism I think they would do better to try to show how this report could have antisemetic effects and how it might be changed to eliminate that possiblity. The comments from the Leeds Messianic Fellowship and the BOD are good models.

But I don’t think that everyone is mainly and genuinely concerned with antisemistism. Some people, for their own reasons, are mainly concerned with discrediting Methodism.

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Adam 11.11.10 at 12:37 pm

The Jews of Judea and Samaria are the only people the Church is boycotting. The Nestle boycott ended years ago - and boycotting a company is hardly the same as boycotting a national/religious group, on the basis of where they live.

What about Dave W’s comment? Are you really happy with it?

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Adam 11.11.10 at 12:38 pm

The fact that you don’t understand “why I’m so hung up about it” just goes to show how out of touch many in the Church are regarding the upset they have caused.

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Richard 11.11.10 at 12:57 pm

>> “…just goes to show how out of touch many in the Church are…”

Fair enough. But you haven’t done much to put us in touch. In any case, we really have gone with this as far as we can. Unless there’s some new point you’re desperate to make?

Incidentally, the boycott of Nestle is ongoing.

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Alec 11.11.10 at 12:59 pm

Richard, my point about being TT was that this was once an integral part of the Methodist experience, the abandonment of which non-TT Methodists do not feel has diminished their faith.

In it’s hayday, the Temperance movement ran alongside an opposition to all stimulants, including caffeine (does the term TT not come from an excitable and stuttering proponent who stated he was t… t… t-totally for it?).

Likewise, upper-case Fundamentalism (in the same way I distinguish between c/Church) referred to a list of fundamental tenets, including acceptance of the Immaculate Conception and Virgin Birth, and historical fact of the Gospel miracles). Maybe you don’t hold with this, but why the dogmatic insistence that no Christian should aspire to f/Fundamentalism?

Why would I make it up?

I find this entirely credible, and simply was using a politik term. Using a supposedly Methodist name strikes as exactly the same technique that many anti-Israel agitators on the Internet use when they adopt stereotypically Jewish names (or, as Stephen Leah’s Secretary at the York PSC did, try to rig an Internet poll to present Jews as a bloc supporter of racist groups).

Providing the evidence would mean giving away email and IP addresses, and I won’t be doing that.

There’s no reason why you shouldn’t. Provision of IP addresses to Internet comment forms is standard practice (and, a few years ago, frequently were published with the text). Assuming this was from a domestic Internet provider with a large IP bank, the terminal could be tracked down only with access to the ISP’s connexion-database which will be confidential.

I came in at the fag-end of that particular exchange. From an initial read of your quoted comment, it looked as if you were including Jonathan as one of the potential culprits. I cannot believe that, but if you weren’t, then you weren’t.

Where did you originally confront Jon?

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Alec 11.11.10 at 1:15 pm

Richard, Nestle is not the name of an ethnic group in some of the Swiss cantons. It’s a company.

On the other hand, the boycott of Settlement products restricts an entire population group - civilians, Government/military personnel; men, women and children - based on which side of an arbitrary man-made line on the map they live. If youse were being consistent with the Church’s condemnation of Hamas, youse would support a similar boycott of Gazan products ‘cos, as we’re all told, Hamas is the democratically elected Government there.

Yet, no-one is so spiteful to do that.

The boycott is not just “symbolic”, it’s vacuous. It entails no risk on Church members part to check where their tomatoes and avocados come from, as opposed to IDF developed mobile ‘phone technology. I happen to know that Birmingham City Council uses specialist sewage valves from a Settlement in Golan… I don’t see any Brummie Methodists vowing to use slop-buckets until this is reversed.

Boycotts, in general, are a way for comfortable middle-class types to feel warm and fluffy at, well, not buying things they didn’t need in the first place. And before anyone mentions South Africa, those boycotts neither were total nor of definite effectiveness.

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Richard 11.11.10 at 1:30 pm

I didn’t “confront” Jon. we were having a civil exchange of emails about the Geneva Convention (which he initiated). I just happened to have the comments admin page open at the right place, which was how I came to notice it. You’re right about IP addresses of course, so here are some screenshots from the blog admin and my email…

screenshot

screenshot

screenshot

The that others may or may not have used this technique doesn’t make it OK. Does it?

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Richard 11.11.10 at 1:35 pm

Whether boycotts are effective or “good” is an entirely separate question. But I’m done arguing.

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Alec 11.11.10 at 1:55 pm

I meant confront as in to ask him about it. Nor was I minimizing it ‘cos others have done in: in fact, I was saying it was as bad.

The IP belongs to BT Broadband. Stupid and dishonest.

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DaveW 11.11.10 at 2:04 pm

Adam,

Since you seem to believe that I need condemning. I would like to ask your view of one of the remarks to which I was responding:
Avraham Reiss 10.27.10 at 10:35 pm

Angela S-J, you shoukd be aware that when you discuss anything concerning Jews, that we all see ourselves as graduates of Auschwitz.
Since then we shoot first and then ask questions. And it isn’t going to change - unless we find faster triggers.”

When you look back in that thread to what Angela had actually written I still understand this to be an attempt to use a “trump card”. My understanding is still that Avraham was saying to Angela that because of what happened at Auschwitz she could not comment on suffering and that because of Auschwitz Jews have the right/the need to “shoot first and ask questions later” while looking for “faster triggers”.

Please note that I have made my views on the horrors of Auschwitz and the Holocaust very clear. I have made my views on the terror of Suicide Bombers and Mortar attacks very clear.

If I need to be condemned for what I wrote then presumably you believe that all Jews would agree with Avraham. Do you believe with Avraham that ALL Jews see themselves as graduates of Auschwitz? Do you believe with Avraham that when someone else talks about suffering that it is appropriate to try to outdo them by claiming to be a graduate of Auschwitz?

Of course even if you believe these things it is not true to say that all Jews believe them. That is why in the thread on my blog we were able to have a helpful discussion without the need to condemn each other in every breath.

I also note that you are enjoying the freedom to condemn me from anonymity whereas I have dared to be vulnerable enough to not try to hide who I am.

[Admin note: slightly edited for formatting]

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Alec 11.11.10 at 2:16 pm

I’ll add that, whilst I have criticized Dave for seeing the formation of modern Israel through the prism of the Shoah and European involvement, on his blog I explicitly called that interjection from Avraham Reiss a bit bonkers.

In fact, I wondered if he were one of those anti-Israel agitators who adopt stereotypically Jewish posting names to make barking mad comments.

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Richard 11.11.10 at 2:27 pm

Avraham is the fellow behind JCWatch

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Alec 11.11.10 at 3:26 pm

Yes, someone who believes the JC is a pinko, liberal hotbed (’cept when it hosts Jon Rollypolly-Hille and Jonathan Hoffman) is a bit bonkers.

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Adam 11.11.10 at 7:08 pm

Richard, as has been made clear to you, it is absurd to equate a boycott of a company with a boycott of a national/religious group. Is that reallly the best argument the Methodist Church can put out?

You keep saying that “nothing new is being said.” But no-one on your blog has provided a substantive reason for the Jewish settlements to be boycotted when truly horrendous events in the world go unremarked upon. Even within the context of the Middle East, a boycott of the Jews of Judea and Samaria makes explicit the Church’s view that this conflict is their fault - and their fault exclusively (or predominantly, as only they warrant a boycott). No-one has provided a coherent or substantive argument as to why the Jews are singled out in this way.

I’ll ask the question again - why the double standard?

That is why I keep bringing it up - because you and others either ignore it, or downplay it - as though it’s nothing, or a chance happening. Clearly, when the offense has been felt across the Jewish spectrum, it is something important.

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Adam 11.11.10 at 7:13 pm

Dave W, you use the reasoning “someone else made me say it.”

You don’t seem to get it. Whatever context you made that statement, it is truly horrendous. It is a classic antisemitic trope that Jews only care about themselves, and don’t care about the suffering of others. Indeed, that they “use” the Holocaust (your word) to downplay the suffering of others.

That is a disgusting and shameful thing to say.

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Adam 11.11.10 at 7:14 pm

In fact such statements give away the motive behind the one-sided and exclusive boycott call.

What a surprise.

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Richard 11.11.10 at 7:21 pm

Adam, I don’t know what purpose you think you’re serving. As I said before, I’m done.

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Paul Martin 11.11.10 at 7:54 pm

I can see absolutely nothing to condemn Dave W for. Adam seems to be just making a fool of himself. No wonder he hides his true identity!

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dh 11.11.10 at 9:56 pm

“But no-one on your blog has provided a substantive reason for the Jewish settlements to be boycotted when truly horrendous events in the world go unremarked upon. Even within the context of the Middle East, a boycott of the Jews of Judea and Samaria makes explicit the Church’s view that this conflict is their fault - and their fault exclusively (or predominantly, as only they warrant a boycott). No-one has provided a coherent or substantive argument as to why the Jews are singled out in this way.”

Come on people. Adam is asking an unfoolish question hear that is reasonable and not reprehensible. Why is it that no one can answer his or my question as to the one sided boycott?

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Richard 11.11.10 at 10:23 pm

*sigh*

“The Jews” are not being singled out.
Israel is not being boycotted.
This isn’t the only occasion when the Methodist Church has commended a boycott.
The position of the Methodist Church is that settlements are illegal. I understand that Adam doesn’t like that conclusion, but it is hardly unique to British Methodism.
This ‘conversation’ has been characterised by misrepresentation and straightforward lying. I’m really out of energy for it.

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Adam 11.11.10 at 10:46 pm

Thank you dh. I am astonished that no-one can answer a fairly straightforward question.

Why are Jewish settlers, alone, the only people deserving of a boycott?

It’s really not difficult - unless of course you don’t have an answer.

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Richard 11.11.10 at 10:49 pm

I do get it Adam. I get that you’re not satisfied. But like it or not, I’m done. And because this is my blog, so are you. Unless you have a new point to make.

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Earl 11.12.10 at 12:23 am

“I am astonished that no-one can answer a fairly straightforward question.

Why are Jewish settlers, alone, the only people deserving of a boycott?

It’s really not difficult - unless of course you don’t have an answer.”

When truth is a movable target, standards are relative. As far as not answering straight questions, one need only remember the tactics of freshmen students trying to bluff and dodge their way through essay questions on a exam. It has a lot to do with not having an answer.

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Richard 11.12.10 at 12:24 am

If you say so, Earl.

127

Adam 11.12.10 at 1:02 am

Why are my posts being censored Richard?

Richard replies: Before you accuse me of censorship, I invite you to re-read the comment threads associated with this topic. If, when you’ve done that, you can honestly say that I’ve been stifling opinions because I don’t agree with them, by all means go ahead. But this is my blog. We’ve put our arguments forward. You’re not satisfied with mine, but I can live with that. However, a repetition of “Your arguments are rubbish” or “You haven’t answered the question” is unnecessary and dull. I said we were done unless you had a new point to make. So we’re done, unless you have a new point to make.

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Felonious Monk 11.12.10 at 1:04 am

Richard 11.10.10 at 8:08 pm

>> “Richard, you mean you don’t aspire to understand and honour the fundamental meaning of the Gospel?”

I do. But that isn’t what fundamentalism is.

Before anyone starts posting about ‘Fundamentalism’ may I suggest looking it up in the ‘Evangelical Dictionary of Theology’ published by Marshall Pickering? Alec isn’t far off the mark. However, it has been coloured by American forms which would be unfair to impose on UK believers. The big issue is over the definitions of inerrancy/infallibility of Scripture and of the nature of inspiration. Everything else is pretty standard even for most liberals.

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Paul F. 11.12.10 at 7:19 am

I would say Alec is off the mark, and good luck to anyone attempting to “understand and honour the fundamental meaning of the Gospel.”

The Gospel always escapes our grasp, lest we make it an idol, or congratulate ourselves for finally “getting it.” That’s why being a theologian can be such a daunting task: the subject constantly forces you to ask if–even after years of study–you’ve even figured out the basics, and that maybe you need to tear up all the floorboards and start over.

I don’t want to psychoanalyze a group of believers I don’t spend much time around (for the sake of my mental health), but I think the folly of fundamentalism is it doesn’t want that ambiguity or elusiveness. It gets anxious when it hears things like “It doesn’t matter if the Bible is factually accurate or not, what’s important is to have a conversation with it” or “different atonement models should be celebrated and adapted for evangelizing in different cultural contexts”.

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Richard 11.12.10 at 8:18 am

Time is pressing again this morning, so I’ve set up some reblogs to go out today. Theme of the day? Fundamentalism.

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Adam 11.12.10 at 10:10 am

I see Richard. So it’s OK for Paul Martin to call me a fool, and I don’t get the right of reply.

I have not said your arguments are “rubbish”. I’m saying you haven’t put forward an argument, nor an answer to my question.

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Richard 11.12.10 at 11:21 am

*sighs deeply*

133

Adam 11.12.10 at 2:08 pm

Richard,

Why publish my last comment but censor the others?

“Sighs deeply”.

Try being at the receiving end of a concerted campaign of boycott calls, vilification and delegitimisation. Even accusations of using the deaths of one own family to downplay the suffering of others by someone supposedly representing a moral viewpoint.

Then sigh deeply.

134

Paul Martin 11.12.10 at 2:25 pm

Saying someone is ” making a fool of themselves” is not quite the same as calling someone a “fool.” But I’m not wasting time if Adam wants to get touchy!

135

Adam 11.12.10 at 3:03 pm

Paul Martin

Perhaps you can answer then, before accusing others of foolishness? Here it is again:

Why are Jewish settlers, alone, the only people deserving of a boycott?

And do you honestly think that saying the Holocaust is “used” to downplay the suffering of others is perfectly fine? Perhaps you can give an example.

136

Richard 11.12.10 at 3:18 pm

>> “Why are Jewish settlers, alone, the only people deserving of a boycott?”

Wrong question. The boycott is not against Jews as Jews.
The boycott is targetted at ILLEGAL settlements. I know. You don’t agree that they’re illegal. We’re going to have to differ on that.

>>”do you honestly think that saying the Holocaust is “used” …”

That isn’t what was said.

Those are your answers Adam, like them or not.

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Alec 11.12.10 at 3:19 pm

Richard, one of my comments is being swallowed up. Trying again… Adam, Governments censor. Bloggers, edit.

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Earl 11.12.10 at 4:03 pm

“The boycott is targetted at ILLEGAL settlements.” Wonderland is not reality so one does not get to have ones own facts. The boycott is targetted at Israel because arab nationalist and old europe cannot accept the fact that Israel controls its land in precisely the exact same manner as does every other nation in the world. Now since the arab nationalist have not been very successful in taking the land from Israel and since the fine fellows in the u.n. have not been very successful in politically forcing Israel to play kindergarten and “share” their land with those who are their enemy, it is now supposed that Israel is to be forced to pay for peace by politely giving its land to its enemies. Understanding the historical value of scraps of paper, the Israeli’s have managed to come up with a more concrete solution to the problem of terrorists and their supporters. They must have been reading a bit of Robert Frost as they’ve found that good fences really do make good neighbors. It is a simple happy solution to a problem of long standing. Arab nationalist and extreme islamic terrorists get to wear their explosive vest as fashion statements in mosque and Israeli’s can go about their daily lives in peace.

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Alec 11.12.10 at 4:07 pm

They must have been reading a bit of Robert Frost as they’ve found that good fences really do make good neighbors.

That’s why I once lived before a dealer in stolen goods.

I’ll get my coat.

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Adam 11.12.10 at 4:13 pm

Richard, you say that it is the wrong question, because they are not boycotted “as Jews.”. But it is only Jews that you boycott, isn’t that correct? So it’s on a racial basis that they are boycotted. You are saying that no Jew should be allowed to live in Judea and Samaria, and if they do, you will boycott them. It is appalling racism.

You then say that they are boycotted because “they are illegal.” As I previously pointed out, accepting for argument’s sake that they ARE illegal, why does this illegality suddenly become so important to the Church, when a hundred other examples of illegality around the world under international law (with REALLY catastrophic consequences, such as genocide in Darfur), do not? (At least not enough to call for a boycott)? Isn’t that a double standard?

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Richard 11.12.10 at 4:16 pm

Earl: “Wonderland is not reality so one does not get to have ones own facts”
That much we agree on.

Alec (& Joseph): I’d prefer it if you stuck to the substance of what is actually said or referenced from here. Doing anything else gets really complicated.

142

Adam 11.12.10 at 4:17 pm

Richard, are you aware that several of the so-called “settlements” are in fact re-settled after the Jews of those areas were ethnically cleansed by the Jordanians and Palestinian Arabs in 1948 (and even in the Arab riots of the 1920’s in the case of Hebron, before there was even an Israel)? Are they to be boycotted too?

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Adam 11.12.10 at 4:17 pm

Well said Earl.

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Richard 11.12.10 at 4:18 pm

>>“So it’s on a racial basis that they are boycotted”

Last time. No it isn’t.

This is silly now.

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Adam 11.12.10 at 4:20 pm

Richard, as for Dave W’s comment, I read it. I re-read it. Yep, that’s what he said. He even said “used”.

I have yet to be given an example of this “use”.

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Alec 11.12.10 at 4:20 pm

Richard, I’m lost, what did Joseph do?

And, no it aint racial. Arabs who work on the Settlements also will be punished.

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Richard 11.12.10 at 4:24 pm

Joseph was also getting in to what Ben White might have said or done elsewhere.

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Alec 11.12.10 at 4:36 pm

Oh, I see… his comment initially went into pre-moderation.

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Adam 11.12.10 at 4:58 pm

Richard, would you mind addressing the totality of my post to you - when you have a moment?

Richard says: I think I’ve said all I can for the time being.

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dh 11.12.10 at 8:25 pm

“why does this illegality suddenly become so important to the Church, when a hundred other examples of illegality around the world under international law (with REALLY catastrophic consequences, such as genocide in Darfur), do not? (At least not enough to call for a boycott)? Isn’t that a double standard?”

Richard for the upteenth time can you answer the question? You have never done that.

Richard says: You know what DH? I’ve just done a three hour drive. I’ve still got a little work to do. And I’ve just spent an hour going through this comment thread. ( I still haven’t finished) So you’ll forgive me for not jumping with joy at your hectoring.

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Paul Martin 11.12.10 at 9:46 pm

Because it gets in the way of a peaceful outcome. Because the consequences for the world are dire if this dispute are not solved> As simple as that!

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Adam 11.12.10 at 10:53 pm

Paul Martin

Hamas’ call in its charter for every Jew on earth to be exterminated stands in the way of a peaceful outcome. iran’s call for Israel to be wiped off the map, and its persistent Holocaust denial whilst it prepares for the next with its nuclear program, stands in the way of a peaceful outcome. So does the terrorism of Hizbollah (also committed with several public declarations to killing all Jews worldwide), backed by the police state Syria. Sio does Fatah saying it will never recognize Israel, in any sized borders, as a Jewish state.

No boycotts for them though.

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Earl 11.13.10 at 4:14 am

Re: hamas…iran…hisbollah…fatah, and any and all other extremist, terrorists and arab nationalist front groups… everyone must be understanding of their concerns. And of course the fact that they are sometimes prone to explosive fashion statements or getting all flustered about little things like cartoons and such mitigate against actually doing anything more than issuing polite statements about their “activities.” And given that they are so well known for their commitment to liberty, fraternity and brotherhood, one must cut them some slack if occasionally they fail to measure up to that standard in their dealings with cartoonist, broadcasters, Christians attending Mass and of course Israel. Especially one must be understanding of their difficulties with Israel. After all, they have been so provoked by outrageous intransigent Israeli failure to meekly submit themselves to the reasonable demands of the arab and islamic groups working so hard to achieve lasting peace in the Middle East. No progress can be made toward peace in the Middle East until everyone is as committed to mutual understanding and peaceful co-existence as these fine examples of arab and muslim in their demonstrated resolve for peace. They are an example to be emulated by all men of good will who desire to seek and see an end to senseless strife and bloodshed.

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Richard 11.13.10 at 7:16 am

You’re right, Earl. Of course everyone who opposes Israeli injustice against the Palestinians is a tool of the terrorist. It isn’t possible to oppose terrorism and injustice.

Not.

Historical parallels can be misleading, but I think the British experience in Northern Ireland has some relevance. Growing up in the 70s I remember that there was strong suspicion of anyone who expressed sympathy for the situation of the Catholic community. Those who questioned the differntial of employment opportunities between the communities, for example, or spoke up against internment, or who suggested that negotiation was necessary (if repugnant) were taking sides with the IRA.

Except, of course, they weren’t.

Until we get away from the language of goodies & baddies and stop behaving as though the crimes of some in a community means that any treatment of everyone is acceptable, there won’t be peace in the Middle East or anywhere else.

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Kim 11.13.10 at 7:35 am

Yep - it’s this sub-Christian Manichean view of the universe which, thanks to Huntington’s “clash of civilizations” thesis - a paragon of oversimplification - and the rhetoric and propaganda of Bush et. al., has become commonplace since 9/11.

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Paul Martin 11.13.10 at 8:51 am

And Adam offers nothing to a peace agenda. Nobody here has supported Hamas. But why were people so disillusioned as to vote for them?

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Adam 11.13.10 at 10:16 am

And Paul, no-one has voted to boycott them. Why not?

(People voted for them for two reasons - the virulent antisemitism which they advocate was very popular, and people were fed up with the corruption of Fatah).

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Earl 11.13.10 at 1:39 pm

Progress is being made! Very cool! Very cool indeed! Other than the idea that good and bad must not be attached to people and organizations, progress is being made! Excellent! In any supposition of right and wrong, any reasonable person can see that it is not just wrong but a perpetuation of injustice to expect, demand and even require that Israel comply with the demands of its enemies. It is completely just as well as right, good and proper in every respect that Israel act in its own best interest. The enemies of Israel understand strength and power. The enemies of Israel are not impressed with compliance and submission. Israel is communicating to its enemies a message that they can understand in a language that they understand. What the rest of the world thinks is of no consequence.

The fundamental difference between Ireland and Israel is that the British have never had any legitimate claim to any say in Ireland. Only by virtue of their own armed aggression did Britain enter Ireland. Only by virtue of superior armed force and a policy of balkanizing the Irish population and political process did Britain continue to control and manipulate the Irish national government and economic process. British “disengagement” has come not from some sort of heartfelt largess but as a consequence of being worn down by opposition. Israel has claim to the Land of Israel by virtue of nothing less than the unfailing promise of God. And that particular divine right trumps every other presumption, be it monarchy or parliament or council.

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Paul F. 11.13.10 at 3:39 pm

Last night, God told me that my property was mine by divine right, and that I have carte blanche to open fire on anyone who tries to take it from me. I have claim to the Land of Paul by virtue of nothing less than the unfailing promise of God. And that particular divine right trumps every other presumption, be it monarchy or parliament or council.

Trust me, it happened. I was there, man. I even wrote it down in a book. That proves my case.

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Kim 11.13.10 at 7:15 pm

Israel has claim to the Land of Israel by virtue of nothing less than the unfailing promise of God. And that particular divine right trumps every other presumption, be it monarchy or parliament or council.

Jeez, Earl, you’re one bad and scary dude. You make Ian “Never! Never! Never!” Paisley sound like Mother Teresa.

161

Alec Macpherson 11.13.10 at 7:42 pm

I think this thread has lost all sense of direction, and we only are trying to hit 200 comments.

I remember a Spitting Image sketch in which Roger Cook went round to God’s house where He was pruning the roses, to ask why He’d promised the same land to two different peoples. After feigning ignorance, God chased Cook away with a garden spade.

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