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‘There is no veritable religious freedom here’: Postcard from the Christian community in East Jerusalem

Israel/Palestine
on 65 Comments
Pope Francis (R) talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) and his wife Sara (L) during their meeting at the Vatican, December 2, 2013. Netanyahu is on a visit to Italy, which included a meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican. Photo by Amos Ben Gershom/GPO/Flash90

Pope Francis (R) talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) and his wife Sara (L) during their meeting at the Vatican, December 2, 2013. (Photo: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO/Flash90)

As Pope Francis’ controversial visit to Israel and the West Bank nears—he arrives via helicopter in Bethlehem on May 25th—Israeli authorities are placing occupied East Jerusalem under curfew. A two-kilometre area around the Holy Sepulchre and the Gethsemane garden, at the foot of the Mount of Olives is cordoned off and many Christians are deeply unhappy because they will be prevented from seeing the Pope. 

Sami El-Yousef of the Papal Agency for Middle East relief and development told the Middle East Monitor on Thursday:

“My worry and our concern is that we, residents of the old city, will not be allowed to see the pope, let alone the Palestinian Christians in the West Bank having permits or not having permits…We are promised curfew status basically, the roads the Pope goes through will be empty, the streets full of Israeli security.”

A collective group of Christians from East Jerusalem sent a message to the Apostolic Delegate in Jerusalem and Palestine expressing their discontent: 

“We are aware that the Holy Mass will be held in Bethlehem for the Palestinian faithful, yet we believe that as the indigenous Jerusalem population and descendants of the first Christians, meeting our Fathers will be hindered in Jerusalem. We see attempts by the Israeli occupation to impose a curfew on the streets including the Christian quarter during the visit. The curfew is yet another attempt by the occupying power to deny our existence. It is unacceptable for the Pope to pass along the narrow streets of the Christian Quarter, yet find devoid of any signs of life and the faithful. According to international law, East Jerusalem is an occupied city, and we, as the local Church communities, are the hosts of the Holy Fathers in our city. We do not want to be excluded from a historic religious event, and want to offer our good will and cooperation towards the visit’s success.”

But not being able to see the pope is just one dimension of the controversy. While the Pope’s visit to the Holy Land is a purely “religious trip”, the political dimension cannot be separated from the religious one.

“The Vatican is an independent state and as its head, the pope is a political man,” said a monk from a long-established religious order in East Jerusalem who declined to be identified for fear Israel would not renew his visa.

“Like many, I am very worried about the implications of the visit. I don’t believe that the Vatican has really understood that Jerusalem is cut in half,” he said, adding that in 1993 when the Vatican agreed to Israel’s request to be recognized, in return Israel was to guarantee the right for Christians to be able to retain their property, an agreement which was signed, but never ratified.

“It is the only time in my life that I wrote to the Pope,” said another monk. “I told him that if he wasn’t going to defend the rights of the Christians in the region then he should not come. There is no veritable religious freedom here.”

The Christians in the area are descendants of the world’s oldest communities. According to Israeli statistics, roughly 154,000 Christians live in Israel. An estimated 50,000 additional Christians live in the Palestinian territories, for the most part in Bethlehem, Ramallah and occupied East Jerusalem, with 3,000 or so in the Gaza Strip.In violation of international law, Israel has been building a ring of settlements around East Jerusalem in order to separate the area from the West Bank, as well a isolating it. 

One priest I spoke to said that while he approved of the Pope’s likely decision to open up the Vatican’s Holocaust-era archives, Palestinians find it difficult to accept that Pope Francis will be visiting the Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem, built just opposite Deir Yassin, where Palestinian villagers were massacred by the Irgun in 1948, and the depopulated village of Ein Karem, thought to be the birthplace of John the Baptist, where Christian and Muslim Palestinians were evicted in 1948 in the valley just below.

From the calm of the centuries-old monastery, one monk was very clear about the visit: “If this is not to support indigenous and local Christians and obtain recognition for their fundamental freedom of religion, expression, residence, work and construction, then such a visit is seen as a shot in the dark, a deep regret and, more importantly, an abdication of the basic responsibilities of a religious leader who is also a head of state.”

Peace could prevail, he said, “if Jerusalem was indeed managed independently as a true open city for its believers—the three monotheistic religions each of which has its place of prayer…but peace will not come as long as the Israeli and Palestinian governments each claim the Holy City as their capital. The international community has never endorsed such a claim in Jerusalem.”

olivia
About Olivia Snaije

Olivia Snaije is a journalist and editor based in Paris who has covered the Middle East for the past 20 years. Her latest book that she co-edited with Mitchell Albert, Keep Your Eye on the Wall, was published by Saqi Books in 2013. There is an ongoing exhibition of photographs from the book at the Franco-German Cultural Center in Ramallah until June 20, 2014.

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65 Responses

  1. just
    just
    May 24, 2014, 9:12 am

    “There is no veritable religious freedom here”

    Thanks to the Occupiers and perfectors of Apartheid. Shameful.

    from haaretz:

    “Anti-Christian graffiti was sprayed at the entrance to a church in Be’er Sheva’s Old City on Friday, just two days before Pope Francis I is due to begin his tour of the Holy Land.

    Police who arrived at the scene immediately began searching for the unknown suspects, who wrote “Jesus is a son of a bitch” on the wall surrounding the church in Rehov Ha’avot.

    Brig. Gen. Peretz Amar, head of the Negev District, said that the police regard the incident as very serious and will make every effort to apprehend the perpetrators.

    The Be’er Sheva munisipality denounced the vandalism and a team of municipal workers managed to remove the graffiti.”

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/1.592439

    They can scrub and scrub, but the stain remains and will not be forgotten.

  2. Palikari
    Palikari
    May 24, 2014, 9:25 am

    There is veritable religious freedom in Israel. Christians have more freedom and security in Israel than in any other Middle Eastern country. So if these Christians don’t like Israel, then then can move to Judea & Samaria or Gaza. Sure they are more free under Hamas!

    • May 24, 2014, 9:34 am

      Ask the Christians in the West Bank who is oppressing them, the Muslims or the Israelis. Oh, wait. 60 Minutes already did that. And found out it is the Israelis. Surely you remember the outcry from the Lobby when this fact that contradicts the Israeli propaganda appeared on tv? Was less than 2 years ago I believe.

    • bilal a
      bilal a
      May 24, 2014, 9:49 am

      There is a huge Christian community in Egypt which enjoys privileged economic status and over representation in key professions; like all minority faiths they encounter discrimination and bigotry, much like orthodox Christians (or religious Jews) in Hollywood, academia, Wall Street, Journalism, or Vegas.

      But the difference is that in Israel it is state policy backed by police violence and settler terrorism.

      • Palikari
        Palikari
        May 24, 2014, 12:04 pm

        Egyptian Christians sadly have no rights. Their churches are being burnt down and they are being killed by radical Muslims. Many of them have already fled Egypt to Europe or the US. Is this what “overrepresentation” and “privilege” means to you?

        That doesn’t happen in Israel, where Christians have equal rights. Among Israeli Christians you can find judges, officials, soldiers, diplomats, etc.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        May 24, 2014, 12:22 pm

        “That doesn’t happen in Israel, where Christians have equal rights.”

        Baloney. Christian religious practice is restricted in the Israeli state. Not only are Christians not permitted unfettered worship at their religious site – The Upper Room – but they are barred from doing a fundamental Christian practice: seeking the conversions of non-Christians to Christianity. Israel’s vile bar on that practice is an inexcusable violation of religious freedom.

      • Palikari
        Palikari
        May 24, 2014, 1:24 pm

        Well, seeking converts is deeply disgusting. We Jews don’t seek converts. If you want to be a Jew you should come to us. Let people alone with their beliefs!

        Christians -and Muslims- can seek converts in Israel. In all Muslim countries Christians can’t seek converts and in most Muslim countries if a Muslim leaves Islam, then he is prosecuted and condemned.

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        May 24, 2014, 7:05 pm

        Well, seeking converts is deeply disgusting.

        Why? It’s not forced conversion. As Shlmo Ben Ami documented, Judaism went through periods of forced conversion throughout it’s history.

        Let people alone with their beliefs!

        That would require allowing them unfitted access to their religious sites, which Israel does not.

      • bilal a
        bilal a
        May 25, 2014, 9:51 am

        I do not know who is burning churches in Egypt, we know now that during the initial revolution the state security apparatus burned a church killing many christians as a means of sowing religious divisions. Later the state also entered mosques killing protestors.

        But you are wrong about Egyptian Christian rights, they are a privileged and protected community due in some part to their alliances with colonial and neo-colonial elites, yielding community benefits:.

        Egyptian Copts visiting Israel in throngs
        15,000 pilgrims arrive in Jerusalem to celebrate Easter
        http://www.timesofisrael.com/egyptian-copts-visiting-israel-in-throngs/#ixzz32jdubaKv

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      May 24, 2014, 9:52 am

      “Judea & Samaria”

      No such places. Only racists use those dog whistle terms.

      • Palikari
        Palikari
        May 24, 2014, 12:06 pm

        Judea and Samaria has always been the name of the region. It was named “West Bank” after the ILLEGAL Jordanian invasion and annexation.

      • just
        just
        May 24, 2014, 1:01 pm

        LOL!

      • talknic
        talknic
        May 24, 2014, 2:22 pm

        @ Palikari “Judea and Samaria has always been the name of the region”

        It was officially renamed the West Bank by the sovereign.

        “It was named “West Bank” after the ILLEGAL Jordanian invasion and annexation”

        Strange, there are no UNSC resolutions condemning Transjordan for having protected Arab territory against invading Jewish military. Nor any UNSC condemnation for the annexation. The West Bank as it is now known, was legally annexed at the request of the Palestinians Jordan’s annexation was as a trustee only (Session: 12-II Date: May 1950).

        Israel signed an Armistice AGREEMENT, giving Transjordan the right to control it ….. so “ILLEGAL” according to who? Your fertile ziocaine addled imagination?

        Why is it Palikari and co spend so much time writing so much bullsh*t?

      • Zofia
        Zofia
        May 24, 2014, 3:25 pm

        Thank you for replying him! I didn’t have the time… great post talknic :) There is an interesting article: The Jordanian Disengagement: Causes and Effects in: http://www.passia.org/publications/information_papers/Jordan-Disengagement-eng.htm

      • Mayhem
        Mayhem
        May 24, 2014, 10:57 pm

        Strange, there are no UNSC resolutions condemning Transjordan for having protected Arab territory against invading Jewish military. Nor any UNSC condemnation for the annexation

        @talknic, what sort of weasly response is that to Palikari’s totally correct statement about Jordan’s ILLEGAL annexation of Judaea and Samaria.

        You know only too well that it was not accepted by the Arab League and only three nations Britain, Iraq and Pakistan recognised it. There was no outcry that Palestinian rights were being subverted by Jordan.

        There was no Arab fury over the annexation, because Jordan is a state whose ethnic majority is Palestinian Arabs. Your comment proves that it is the presence of Jews in particular that has stirred the conflict i.e. the non-acceptance by the Arabs of the Jews as a sovereign presence in the Middle East.

      • talknic
        talknic
        May 25, 2014, 9:08 am

        @ Mayhem what sort of weasly response is that to Palikari’s totally correct statement about Jordan’s ILLEGAL annexation of Judaea and Samaria

        It’s rational, informed and sourced reply to your pals un-sourced BS.

        Perhaps instead of your repeating unsubstantiated Hasbara BS, you can point to the official legal judgement calling the annexation illegal? Yes? thx

      • Mikhael
        Mikhael
        May 25, 2014, 5:31 pm

        talknic says:
        May 25, 2014 at 9:08 am
        The West Bank as it is now known, was legally annexed at the request of the Palestinians Jordan’s annexation was as a trustee only (Session: 12-II Date: May 1950).

        The annexation of the West Bank was a land grab by the Hashemites through force of arms and by fiat, without the universal consent of the Palestinian Arabs, but by a rubber-stamp conference ex post facto.
        The Jordanians still claimed sovereignty over the West Bank until 1988., 21 years after they were no longer controlled the area.

      • talknic
        talknic
        May 25, 2014, 6:08 pm

        @ Mikhael Your sources are?

        “The Jordanians still claimed sovereignty over the West Bank until 1988., 21 years after they were no longer controlled the area”

        So what? Was it against the law?

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        May 25, 2014, 6:20 pm

        The annexation of the West Bank was a land grab by the Hashemites through force of arms and by fiat, without the universal consent of the Palestinian Arabs, but by a rubber-stamp conference ex post facto.

        LOL! That certainly was the case for Ben Gurion’s Jewish regime. It never conducted a regional congress or held a plebiscite to determine the will of the people in the areas Israel captured beyond the UN partition lines or included a single Arab in the Provisional government. But you can’t say the same thing about the Palestinians of the West Bank or seriously claim that they were annexed by either force or fiat, since the only battles were against the Jewish militias.

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        May 24, 2014, 4:24 pm

        Nope. It used to be the name of the region, just like there used to be a region named “Prussia.”. The only people who use the Zionist labels are bigots and Judeo-supremacists.

      • Mikhael
        Mikhael
        May 25, 2014, 6:01 pm

        Woody Tanaka says:
        May 24, 2014 at 4:24 pm

        Nope. It used to be the name of the region, just like there used to be a region named “Prussia.”. The only people who use the Zionist labels are bigots and Judeo-supremacists.

        Actually, “Prussia” was the name of an independent state and kingdom that existed until the late 19th century (you’ve heard of the Franco-Prussian Wars, maybe? Hint: They weren’t wars between France and a “region” but between two independent and sovereign states, one called “France” and one called “Prussia”). SO thanks for demonstrating your ignorance of European history and geography in addition to Middle Eastern history and geography.
        However, unlike Prussia, “Palestine” was merely the name of a region (and actually used more by non-residents and foreigners than by the native inhabitants, whether Jews or Arabs) and never the name of an independent and sovereign state controlling and governing its own territory.

        Prior to establishment of the British Mandate, much of “Palestine” in the popular, Western, imagination included land that is currently located within the borders of the present-day states of Syria, Jordan and Lebanon as well as Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

        Mondoweiss cultists and fellow travelers love to link to centuries-old maps drafted by Europeans showing a “Palestine” as proof of the existence of a geopolitical entity going by that name, well, those maps usually depict a region extending over large parts of Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, the PA and Israel–and they also depict the regions known as Samaria and Judea.

        http://www.gilai.com/product_37/Map-of-the-Holy-Land-Palestine-1888-With-the-Borders-of-Judea-and-Samaria-by-George-Cram.

        http://www.gilai.com/product_38/Palestine-or-The-Holy-Land-Map-During-The-Ottoman-Period-1893.-Published-In-Cassells-Universal-Atlas.

        As for Judea and Samaria, these are actual historic names that have been used for centuries, by residents and foreigners, well before the Israeli state came to administer these areas post-1967.
        “Samaria” was one of the administrative districts of the British Mandate, for example. Geographers and cartographers have referred to the Samarian Hills and the Judea Desert for centuries long before the Jews regained independence in a modern state or before that state assumed control of those areas in 1967–even in Arabic–where the name for the Judea Desert has been al Sahara Yahadun.

        So were all the Arabs who have historically used these terms “Judeo-Supremacists”?

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        May 25, 2014, 7:40 pm

        However, unlike Prussia, “Palestine” was merely the name of a region (and actually used more by non-residents and foreigners than by the native inhabitants, whether Jews or Arabs) and never the name of an independent and sovereign state controlling and governing its own territory.

        Palestine was a mandated state. The notion that it was just a region is Zionist propaganda that has been debunked repeatedly here at Mondoweiss, e.g. http://mondoweiss.net/2014/02/slaughter-settler-spokesman.html#comment-642341

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        May 25, 2014, 10:29 pm

        @mikey
        Prussia was the name of a kingdom, a state, and also the name of the region of Europe.
        http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prussia_(region)
        Thank you for demonstrating that you’re an ignorant fool.
        Moreover, whatever the region known now as the West Bank used to be called, in the 15 minutes back in the Stone Age when the Jews ran the place, it is now called the West Bank by it’s right for owners. Only you racist Judeo-supremacists call anything else today.

      • pjdude
        pjdude
        May 24, 2014, 6:25 pm

        Untrue. They are merely city names the modern illegal state of israel has appropriated to try and erase the Palestinians history in Palestine. Judea and Samaria have only recently been used to describe it. The West Bank is a far more accurate honest and historical name

      • Walid
        Walid
        May 25, 2014, 2:40 am

        The bit about the West Bank being a relatively recent thing is not that wrong. During the full British mandate, the terms Judea and Samaria for those provinces were used. Historically before that, there was no left bank or right bank designation used but rather a former Ottoman area that was eventually split by Sykes and Picot to become Palestine and to the east of it across the Jordan River to become Trans-Jordan, hence the name Transjordan that the British allowed to be ruled by the Saudi Hashemites as part of the consolation package offered to them after reneging on the promise made to the Hashemites to grant them a super Arab kingdom after WW I; they let the Hashem brothers rule only Jordan and Iraq.

        The term “West Bank” came into being after Jordan illegally annexed the area in April 1950, which was severally condemned by the Arab League during 2 years until it sort of pardoned Jordan for it. From early on in 1920, the Saudi Hashemites had designs on a Greater Syria kingdom to comprise Iraq, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon and in which the Hashemites would give Palestine to the Jews, so from the start the Hashemites were under suspicion by the other Arabs and their suspicions were proven true in 1919 with the aborted Faisal-Weizmann Agreement and the dealings between the Hashemites and the Zionists leading up to the 48 war.

      • talknic
        talknic
        May 25, 2014, 5:22 am

        Walid “The term “West Bank” came into being after Jordan illegally annexed the area in April 1950″

        What was illegal about it?

        “which was severally condemned by the Arab League during 2 years until it sort of pardoned Jordan for it”

        The West Bank as it is now known, was legally annexed at the request of the Palestinians. At the demand of the Arab League, Jordan’s annexation was as a trustee only (Session: 12-II Date: May 1950).

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        May 25, 2014, 9:30 am

        Historically before that, there was no left bank or right bank designation used but rather a former Ottoman area that was eventually split by Sykes and Picot to become Palestine and to the east of it across the Jordan River to become Trans-Jordan,

        That’s not entirely correct. Samaria was an official district name in the Mandate era, but not Judea. The Jordan river had been the boundary between the Ottoman administrative districts of Jerusalem and Acre in Cisjordan and Syria (aka Damascus) in Transjordan. Likewise, the Roman districts of the modern era used the river as the boundary and called the region Syria Paelestina and Arabia Petraea from the 2nd century onward.

        During much of the Arabian and Ottoman era, the rulers of the Hedjaz governed the region as far north as Amman. The notion that the Hashemites were Saudis is incorrect and anachronistic. In any event, Hashem is buried in Gaza and the Mufti, Arafat, and the Kings of Jordan all claim to be descendants.

        Like John Kerry, the Mufti was for the Hashemite Kings, including Faisal I of Syria and King Al Sharif Hussein Bin Ali, before he was against them. He served as the Secretary of the Palestinian delegation to the General Syrian Congress that named Faisal King of Syria and as head of the Supreme Muslim Council took part in the oath of allegiance, the Bay’ah, of 11 March 1924, according to which the people of Palestine conferred the custodianship of the Muslim Holy sites in Palestine on King Al Sharif Hussein Bin Ali and Transjordan (later Jordan). That role was reaffirmed in the recent treaty between Palestine and Jordan. http://jordantimes.com/jordan-palestine-sign-historic-agreement-to-protect-al-aqsa

        The notion that the Congress of Arab Palestine held at Jericho or the elected representatives of the West Bank acted illegally to form a constitutional union with Transjordan is propaganda that just doesn’t hold water. Half of seats in Jordan’s lawmaking body were reserved for Palestinians, and at times they ran the cabinet and foreign policy through Palestinian Prime Ministers, like Husayn al-Khalidi and ambassadors, like Hasan Abu Nimah .

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        May 25, 2014, 9:47 am

        “which was severally condemned by the Arab League during 2 years until it sort of pardoned Jordan for it”

        The people of Transjordan and Palestine were subjects of the joint Palestine mandate, not the members of the Arab League. When the mandate was terminated, they had every right as emancipated people to establish an Arab state and operate a government of their own without any outside interference from the members of the Arab League.

        A number of writers have noted that all of the members of the League eventually took steps which amounted to either de facto or de jure recognition of the union. Thomas Kuttner noted that de facto recognition was granted to the Jordanian regime, most clearly evidenced by the maintaining of consulates in East Jerusalem by several countries, including the United States. See Israel and the West Bank, By Thomas S. Kuttner, Israel Yearbook on Human Rights 1977, Volume 7; Volume 1977, edited by Yoram Dinstein, Kluwer Law International, 1989, page 176.
        Joseph Weiler said that other states had engaged in activities, statements, and resolutions that would be inconsistent with non-recognition. See Israel and the creation of a Palestinian state: a European perspective, By Joseph Weiler, Croom Helm, Ltd. 1985, page 48, footnote 14
        Joseph Massad said that the members of the Arab League granted de facto recognition and that the United States had formally recognized the annexation, except for Jerusalem. See Joseph A. Massad, Colonial Effects: The Making of National Identity in Jordan (New York: Columbia University Press, 2001), page 229.

    • Hostage
      Hostage
      May 24, 2014, 10:13 am

      There is veritable religious freedom in Israel. Christians have more freedom and security in Israel than in any other Middle Eastern country. So if these Christians don’t like Israel, then then can move to Judea & Samaria or Gaza. Sure they are more free under Hamas!

      Frankly, it’s people like you who prove that political Zionists lack the maturity required for self-government. If you can’t accomplish the task without violating the rights of others or excusing your wrongful behavior by saying you are like other wrongdoers, then you simply invite outside intervention on behalf of the oppressed religious communities, i.e.:

      As I understand the mandate, the Palestine mandate is an A mandate. The essence of that is that it marks a transitory period, with the aim and object of leading the mandated territory to become an independent self-governing State. Indeed, the articles of the mandate make it clear that that is so. It is true that in the final article–Article 28–it is stated that, when that day comes and the mandate is terminated, perpetual provision must be made for the care of the Holy Places and particularly the Christian Holy Places, which neither the Moslem majority nor the Jewish minority, nor yet a Judeo-Moslem commonwealth is, in the opinion of the world, capable of protecting. It is the clear intention of those who framed the mandate that there ought to be permanent provision for this end.

      — Testimony of Secretary of State for the Colonies, William Ormsby-Gore to the League of Nations Permanent Mandates Commission, July 30th, 1937 http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/FD05535118AEF0DE052565ED0065DDF7

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        May 24, 2014, 6:31 pm

        Sure they are more free under Hamas!

        P.S. This just in from the Kahanist Newsdesk

        On Thursday it was announced that 650 Christians from Gaza would be allowed to leave the Islamist-ruled enclave to travel to Judea and Samaria for the pope’s visit.

        However, 20 priests from the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, which presides over Arab Catholic communities in Judea and Samaria, wrote the pope a letter on Thursday, complaining that they had not been allowed to enter Jerusalem without IDF permission.

        — Vatican Says Pope Will Demand ‘Sovereign Palestine’ http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/180928#.U4Ebxp-mLYU

      • Shingo
        Shingo
        May 24, 2014, 7:06 pm

        they had not been allowed to enter Jerusalem without IDF permission.

        Oh snap!

      • Walid
        Walid
        May 25, 2014, 6:45 am

        talknic, one of your sources is the Knesset and the other the Jewish Virtual Library. For the Knesset’s position, you have to account for the pre-48 pie-cutting between Jordan and the Zionists by which the Zionists would let Jordan grab the west bank in exchange of Jordan, that had the only decent army among the Arabs, to keep its hands in its pockets and pretend it was putting up a defense when the impending (48)war would actual break out and let Israel grab the rest of Palestine. Jordan of course cheated on the deal and grabbed East Jerusalem, which wasn’t in the agreement. Going ahead and annexing the West Bank the following spring was natural in light of the pre-war deal and the excuse used by Jordan was the vote by some of the West Bank clan chiefs that had recognized Abdullah as their king at Jericho before the war broke out, but those chiefs did not speak for all Palestinians as the Gaza-based ones wanted a union with Egypt. The Arab league was pissed off at Jordan because Abdullah still had a Greater Syria on the brain and the annexation was to be part of it.

        The only Arab state to not condemn Jordan for the annexation was Iraq that pretended that the annexation was actually Jordan taking in the West Bank under trusteeship to protect it from the Zionists. Of course Iraq would say that, the king there was related to Abdullah’s brother that tried to give all of Palestine to Weizmann.

        Eventually, the Arab League bought into the bogus alibi advanced by Iraq and forgave Jordan.

      • Zofia
        Zofia
        May 25, 2014, 8:10 am

        Walid you write: “During the full British mandate, the terms Judea and Samaria for those provinces were used”.

        But there weren’t Judea and Samaria provinces…. There was only District of Samaria: Nablus as Headquarters: sub-districts: Nablus, Jenin, Tulkarm: in Salman Abu Sitta, Atlas of Palestine 1948, p.12.
        Palestinians didn’t use that name, they used Nablus Area or Jabal Nablus, etc (borders more or less the same…). British administration as we all know had a specific relation with Zionists..so no wonder they used their name or in parts their maps to decide the borders of Palestine and its districts….

        British survey: “In the closing days of the Ottoman Empire the area which is now Palestine was divided for the purpose of administration into three Sanjaqs (Districts); the two northern Sanjaqs, those of Acre (corresponding roughly to the present day Districts of Galilee and Haifa) and Nablus (corresponding to the present day District of Samaria)” in: http://www.palestineremembered.com/Articles/A-Survey-of-Palestine/Story6442.html
        See The Boundaries of Modern Palestine, 1840-1947, by Gideon Biger- he writes about Zionists that pushed their territorial plans, how British officials used them (or not), and how the borders of the district were created… Bible was also used by the British as a reference…

        In the mid-nineteenth century, the social space of previous hit Jabal Nablus next hit encompassed close to 300 villages, whose economic, social and, to a lesser extent, political life was more closely tied to the city of Nablus than to other urban centers. These villages filled a space stretching along the coastal plains from Haifa and Jaffa in the west to the Ajlun and Balqa regions beyond the River Jordan in the east and from the Galilee in the north to the hills of Ramallah and al-Bireh in the south The peasants of these villages farmed some of the richest agricultural lands in Palestine.- In: Rediscovering Palestine, by Beshara Doumani+ map no 2.

        At Jerico there weren’t only “clan chiefs” as you wrote….There were mayors of Hebron, Bethlehem, Ramallah, the Arab Legion Military Governor General, military governors of all the districts, and other notables= several thousand ppl. The All-Palestine Government at that time was weak and in shambles…. Couldn’t do much also thaks to other Arab states meddling (especially Egypt).

        **The formal announcement of the creation of a new Palestinian government came Sept. 22, 1948. The administrative center was in Gaza. (Egypt controlled it). The establishment of the government was mainly related to the opposition to Transjordan’s territorial policy Transjordan and with the desire to protect the territorial claims of neighboring Arab states. That new government was derived from Arab Executive which was renamed in January 1947 to Arab Higher Committee (again) and included members who were favorable to Amin (In May 1946, Hajj Amin al-Husayni arrived in Cairo. Arab League ordered to resolve the Arab Higher Committee and established a new Arab High Executive, headed by mufti). So the new gov headed by mufti had its own representational problems…Egypt and other states didn’t give Amin much power… Read: Shlaim, The Rise and Fall of the All-Palestine Government in Gaza or Confronting an Empire, Constructing a Nation: Arab Nationalists and Popular Politics in Mandate Palestine, by Weldon Matthews. Oh and Iraq didn’t aproove the annexation (IT WASN’T ANNEXATION IN REALITY, see: link to http://www.passia.org/publications/information_papers/Jordan-Disengagement-eng.htm) all the way….

      • talknic
        talknic
        May 25, 2014, 8:55 am

        @ Walid May 25, 2014 at 6:45 am

        Sources?

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        May 25, 2014, 11:03 am

        For the Knesset’s position, you have to account for the pre-48 pie-cutting between Jordan and the Zionists by which the Zionists would let Jordan grab the west bank in exchange of Jordan, that had the only decent army among the Arabs, to keep its hands in its pockets and pretend it was putting up a defense when the impending (48)war would actual break out and let Israel grab the rest of Palestine.

        That was always tenditious propaganda that never held water. The British had been unable to maintain law and order in Palestine, even with a 100,000 man occupation force, which included the 9,000 man Arab Legion and its garrisons in Rafah and Gaza. The British were required to turn over territory to competent Jewish and Arab authorities as they withdrew their own forces. The Allied powers that established the UN had long-since ruled out any possibility that they would ever acquiesce to letting their wartime enemy, the Mufti, takeover the government of Palestine.

        The Palestinian Arabs were defenseless. So, nearly every town and village in Palestine either signed a non-aggression pact with the Haganah or called upon the King of Transjordan to protect them after the British withdrawal. Foreign Minister Bevin had advised Transjordan that Great Britain would not provide funding or supplies for any fighting in territory allocated by the UN to the Jewish state. For its own part Transjordan advised Bevin that its small force could only secure the territory adjacent to Transjordan in Central Palestine and would be unable to secure the rest of the territory allocated to the Arab state without assistance from the Arab League.

        The Arab Legion had no air forces of its own and no heavy armour or artillery. It had a mutual defense treaty with the British and relied upon them to provide those combat capabilities. So deploying a 9,000 man army with no air support in Arab Palestine was like pouring a package of Kool-Aid in the ocean and the pie cutting had already been done by the UN and the Mandatory regime. They had given explicit marching orders to avoid border clashes and stay out of the territory of the other state.

    • eljay
      eljay
      May 24, 2014, 10:17 am

      >> Christians have more freedom and security in Israel than in any other Middle Eastern country.

      Zio-supremacists constantly claim that their oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Jewish State” is a “moral beacon”, but when it comes to justifying and defending its past and ON-GOING (war) crimes, they never fail to compare it to Saudi Arabia, Mali or African “hell-holes”.

      It’s a bad joke.

    • Kay24
      Kay24
      May 24, 2014, 11:05 am

      Here is an example of the veritable religious freedom and security you mention:
      “Less than a month after a monastery at Latrun was vandalized with “price tag” graffiti, similar graffiti was found Tuesday morning on a door near the Church of the Dormition on Mount Zion, just outside the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City.

      The graffiti, which read “Jesus, son of a bitch, price tag,” had already been removed by midmorning Tuesday, Israel Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said.

      Jerusalem Police Chief Maj. Gen. Yossi Pariente yesterday ordered the formation of a special investigative team to locate the perpetrators. No one has yet been arrested for last month’s vandalism.

      Jewish extremists are thought to have carried out similar vandalism on churches, mosques and army property in response to what they consider pro-Palestinian government policies. The Latrun vandalism occurred shortly after settlers were evicted from the illegal outpost of Migron.”
      Haaretz
      I am sure Christians feel that love you want us to believe in.

      • Walid
        Walid
        May 25, 2014, 1:00 pm

        Zofia, you are right, of course. For the sake of this quickie discussion today, I took a few shortcuts. Last November I was a bit more thorough about it in addressing a question by Mahane as follows:

        Walid November 6, 2013 at 12:21 am
        “@Walid: I little confused from your summery and have two questions. ”

        Mahane1 (the original), I didn’t say the Arabs, and certainly not the Palestinians are now calling the area “as-Samirah/Yahudia” especially after the Israeli theft of 67 followed the Jordanian one of 49. Between the Jordanians bastardizing the area’s name into “West Bank” and the current thieves into “Samaria/Judea”, you can conclude that the name surely originated in Biblical times, but it’s the Zionist that are making political hay out of calling the areas by those names today. The reviving of the Biblical names was done by the British occupants around 1920 to designate a northern and a southern province of Palestine as they were more or less in the days of the Roman occupation of the region. The Zionist grabbed that ball and have been running with it since.

        If you really want to get serious about this and put aside your Zionist hocus-pocus, the proper name and most used name, at least the one on record for at least 3 hundred years until the time of the 2 grand thefts for the northern part, is Jabal-Nablus. It’s documented by the British Reverend John Mills from his 2 trips to the area in the 1850s and written about in his travelogue “Palestina” and more recently in 1995 by Beshara Doumani in his book “Rediscovering Palestine: Merchants and Peasants in Jabal Nablus 1700-1900” that was acknowledged and reviewed by the shark pool of Daniel Pipes.

        Jabal-Nablus also went by “Jabal-al-nar” (the mountain of fire) because its inhabitants played leading roles in fighting invaders through history since the periods of the Egyptian pharaohs and more recently in fighting against the invading Egyptian forces in 1834; they rebelled against the British rule in 1936-39; The first armed uprising against the British was led by Sheikh Izeddin al-Qassam (it gives you an idea who the Gaza rockets were named after) who set his headquarters in the wooded hills of Ya’bad village; and the Palestinians of Jabal-Nablus led the intifada against the Israeli occupation in 1987-88.

        Walid November 5, 2013 at 10:45 am with 20 replies
        Other than for Zionists using them to enshrine their theft of the land, the terms Samaria and Judea are just as appropriate as the term “West Bank”, an invented term by the Jordanians. Given the choice in names between calling the area “West Bank” and “Judea-Samaria”, I’d prefer Judea-Samaria by their Arabic names as there is nothing behind the name “West Bank”. It’s a regrettable the Zionists are using the term for the wrong reasons. In Arabic, Samaria is “as-Samirah” or “Jabal Nablus” and Judea is “Yahudia”. It was the British that revived the provincial names Samaria and Judea.

        The term West Bank was coined by the Jordanians after they seized it in the 48 war; the terms Samaria and Judea were used in the proposed UN Partition Plan :

        The Arab State would receive the Western Galilee, with the town of Acre, the hill country of Samaria and Judea, and the southern coast stretching from north of Isdud (now Ashdod) and encompassing what is now the Gaza Strip, with a section of desert along the Egyptian border. “

      • Walid
        Walid
        May 25, 2014, 1:36 pm

        “talknic says:
        May 25, 2014 at 8:55 am
        @ Walid May 25, 2014 at 6:45 am

        Sources?”

        Look into Shlaim’s “Collusion Across the Jordan: King Abdullah, the Zionist Movement and the Partition of Palestine”.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        May 25, 2014, 1:47 pm

        Look into Shlaim’s “Collusion Across the Jordan: King Abdullah, the Zionist Movement and the Partition of Palestine”.

        Reviewers, including award winning historian Neil Caplan, have described the changes in Avi Shlaim’s views on the subject in his more recent works:

        The Politics of Partition is a revised paperback version of Avi Shlaim’s ground-breaking and more scholarly hardback Collusion Across the Jordan. It was recently reissued, with a new preface, because both works have been out of print since 1995. In his original 1988 study, Shlaim characterized the contacts between the Zionists and the Jordanian king as going beyond simple co-operation, alliance or strategic accord; these relations were given the sinister qualities of conspiracy, collusion and ‘unholy alliance’. This resulted in some harsh criticism from reviewers and led the author to reconsider the quality of those relations and to dropping the provocative word ‘collusion’ from the title of the subsequent edition because of its pejorative connotations (xiii-xiv, xvii-xviii).

        — See Zionism and the Arabs: Another Look at the ‘New’ Historiography
        Reviewed work(s): Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-1999 by Benny Morris; The Israel/Palestine Question by Ilan Pappe; The Politics of Partition: King Abdullah, the Zionists and Palestine, 1921-1951 by Avi Shlaim, Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 36, No. 2 (Apr., 2001), pp. 345-360.
        Shlaim subsequently co-edited a volume “The War for Palestine: Rewriting the History of 1948” with Oxford faculty historian Eugene Rogan (one of Simha Flapan’s post-grad Harvard research assistants on “Myths and Realities”). There was an entire chapter of the book devoted to the persistence of an official Jordanian narrative that is supported by declassified documents in the UK and US government archives. It has always held that there was no collusion or conspiracy, just the pragmatic attempt to avoid civil chaos, more massacres, and further clashes with superior numbers of well armed Jewish forces along the frontiers.

    • amigo
      amigo
      May 24, 2014, 11:10 am

      “then then can move to Judea & Samaria” Palikari

      How can they move to somewhere that does not exist.

      I believe you are confusing it with “The Occupied West Bank”.

      The same Occupation that is confirmed by the IHCJ in their ruling on case # 2056/04 which states quite clearly that the West Bank “Is held under Belligerent Occupation by Israel”.

      Couldn,t be clearer unless one is a self created myopic.

  3. Stephen Shenfield
    Stephen Shenfield
    May 24, 2014, 9:56 am

    These are descendants of the first Christians — that is, of the original community of Christians in Jerusalem that dates back to the time when Christianity existed as a movement wholly within Judaism, before Paul opened it up to Gentiles. If Israel really were a Jewish state it would treat them with special respect.

    • Hostage
      Hostage
      May 24, 2014, 11:17 am

      These are descendants of the first Christians — that is, of the original community of Christians in Jerusalem that dates back to the time when Christianity existed as a movement wholly within Judaism, before Paul opened it up to Gentiles.

      No, in fairness the “Gospels” say that Jesus talked about “the sign of Jonah”, i.e. the repentance and turning to God on the part of the Gentiles of Nineveh, and said it would be the only sign given to the disbelieving Jews of that generation. Sometimes the metaphor he employed was Moses lifting up the bronze serpent or a rebuilding of the Temple/David’s tabernacle, but he always indicated the sign (his death and ressurection) would be accompanied by an in-gathering of Gentiles, like the men Nineveh or the Queen of Sheba, who he claimed would condemn Jewish disbelievers on the Day of Judgment. It was Jesus who claimed that the Kingdom would taken away from the Jewish elders of the Second Commonwealth era and given to a nation that would “bring forth the fruits thereof”.

      So all of the Christian scriptures consistently portrayed the Messiah as a character who would fulfill the prophecies about a Gentile in-gathering into the congregation of God. In Acts Chapter 15, James cited the words of the prophets to that effect and said they were in agreement with the acceptance of Gentiles. In the same chapter Simon Peter pointed out that he, not Paul, was responsible for accepting the first uncircumcised Gentile convert (Cornelius Acts 10). He asked what was I to withstand God? when he noted that Cornelius had been given the heavenly gift without the need for circumcision (Acts 11). All of that happened without Paul. The notion that Paul invented Christianity is a just a revisionist attempt to discredit the Jewish roots of the stream or sect.

      I’m a secular Jew and I can still grasp all of that. I think that we need to avoid tendentious readings about Pauline theology.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        May 24, 2014, 4:38 pm

        Oh, gee, not cut? Heaven forbid. That’s why we enlightened ones in the USA still pursue routine male baby boy circumcision even though there’s scant medical or health reason for it, and even though Europe has done fine without if for decades. We Americans like to think Seinfeld Show is the holy rule on this issue, an aesthetic one for the females–we don’t bother to ask EU girls. American goys are really stupid. I don’t blame the ethnic chauvinists for taking advantage of their ignorance. It’s so easy.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        May 24, 2014, 8:27 pm

        Wandering off topic a bit, here.

        Reference to the Gospels is not sufficient to refute Stephen’s claim. We do not know when the Gosples and Acts were written*, but it does seem pretty clear that they were written, and edited, and adjusted, after the invention of “Pauline” Christianity. Even if they are not total fiction, we cannot blandly assume that the attitudes reflected therein are accurate representations of those of Jesus, if he existed.

        What is pretty clear from the ancient literature (and precious little is) is that there was a “Jewish Christian” movement which held that Jesus was for Jews only.

        The most interesting representatives were the Ebionites, who allegedly regarded Paul as a liar. They say that he was a Gentile who converted and was circumcised because he fell in love with the High Priest’s daughter. But she rejected him, and so he turned against the Law and began corrupting the Jesus movement.

        The early Christian fathers who tell us about this take the the line that these were heretics divagating from the message of Jesus, but we have no good reason to suppose it was not the other way round.

        (Of course, in the writings attributed to Paul (did he really exist?) he represents himself as prepared to spin the truth a bit in order to spread his message.)

        *Nor do we know who wrote them, or where they were written, or where the authors got their information, or what the literary relationship between them is. (There certainly is one.) We do not even know for what purpose they were written.

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        May 25, 2014, 10:21 am

        Reference to the Gospels is not sufficient to refute Stephen’s claim. We do not know when the Gosples and Acts were written*, but it does seem pretty clear that they were written, and edited, and adjusted, after the invention of “Pauline” Christianity.

        I’m aware of the theories derived from the various “form” or “textual” schools of criticism about the Hebrew and Christian scriptures. In all but a few cases, they aren’t based on solid manuscript evidence or considered to be proven beyond any reasonable doubt. If you let the books speak for themselves, there just isn’t any documentary, “scriptural” support for the proposition that “Pauline Christianity” was a major departure from the framework of the Church Jesus described from the outset of his teaching on the subject of the Kingdom of Heaven and its relation to Jewish traditions.

      • john h
        john h
        May 25, 2014, 2:40 pm

        >>> “If you let the books speak for themselves”.

        Ah, there’s the rub. Plenty don’t do that, preferring their own theories from their centeries later ivory towers. Little more than a hill of beans. The truth is indeed that:

        “there just isn’t any documentary, “scriptural” support for the proposition that “Pauline Christianity” was a major departure from the framework of the Church Jesus described”.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        May 25, 2014, 8:25 pm

        “If you let the books speak for themselves, there just isn’t any documentary, “scriptural” support for the proposition that “Pauline Christianity” was a major departure from the framework of the Church Jesus described from the outset of his teaching on the subject of the Kingdom of Heaven and its relation to Jewish traditions.”

        Since the books were, it seems, written after the development of “Pauline Christianity, and were selected as scripture by Pauline Christians, it is hardly surprising that they show no departure. However, the writings of the early Christian fathers show a tangle of variant forms (“heresies”), some of which had their own scriptures which are now lost. These include Jewish groups who regarded Jesus as their founder but which adhered to Jewish Law.

        But even in the current set of scriptures, in Acts and Galatians, we see a tension between Paul and the Jerusalem followers of Jesus, specifically around the issues of Gentiles and the Law.

      • Walid
        Walid
        May 25, 2014, 2:16 pm

        ” We do not know when the Gosples and Acts were written*, but it does seem pretty clear that they were written, and edited, and adjusted, after the invention of “Pauline” Christianity. ”

        The Gospels of Mark, Matthew and John were written by Jesus’ disciples of the same names, not less than 40 years after the death of Jesus. The Gospel
        of St.Luke was written by Luke, not a disciple but a companion of Paul who is reputed to have dictated to Luke what to write. Luke like his master Paul, chose to believe that Jesus was the saviour of all men rather than the Messiah of the Old Testament.

        The Book of Acts was also written by Luke to detail the early history of the church and its foundation after the death of Jesus. The Epistles to the Romans, Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Thessalonians were written by Paul. There were 9 other minor epistles written by others while the Book of Revelations was written by the cryptic John of Patmos. All New Testament books were written in Greek.

        As to the “written, and edited, and adjusted” part, this went on until the stroke of genius by Guttenberg. Until then all copies were individually written by quil-copyists that were reputed to alter the contents of what they were copying to fit their personal opinions on how the stories should go.

      • RoHa
        RoHa
        May 26, 2014, 2:15 am

        That is the traditional claim. It may be that the traditional account of authorship is correct, but the arguments to support it are very flimsy, and (in my judgement) slightly weaker than the arguments against it.

        The earliest attributions come from the second half of the second century. (Irenaeus, Theophilus of Antioch, and perhaps, if we take the earliest suggested date, The Muratorian Canon.)

        Eusebius (260CE? – 341 CE?) gives us alleged quotations from Papias (writing about 140) that refer to writings by Mark and Matthew, but we don’t have Papias’ original to check.

        It is pretty clear that Luke and Acts have the same author, but who he was and when he wrote are not clear.

        The first canon of Christian writings seems to have been put together by Marcion(c. 85 – c. 160) . He claimed that Jesus came from the higher God to save us from the lower (Jewish) god. He rejected the Jewish Law, customs, and scriptures as being detrimental. His collection consisted of letters of Paul and a Gospel which is usually referred to as an abridgement of Luke, but which might have been the foundation on which the Gospel of Luke was based. Marcion claimed Paul understood Jesus, and the disciples didn’t, and that the letters of Paul had been “adjusted” by the orthodox to conceal Paul’s own Gnostic beliefs.

        Early Christian literature, from the Pauline letters on, includes a huge amount of forgery and fiction. The Christians who put together the collection of writings we have as the New Testament were well aware of the problem, and they rejected many of the writings as false and without merit. Forgery was not acceptable (though common) in ancient pagan culture, and plenty of the Church Fathers shared that attitude. But that does not mean they were successful in eliminating it all. Many of the letters (including Ephesians) they included are now widely regarded as forgeries, and at least two of the four endings of the Gospel of Mark are forgeries.

        The origins of Christianity are a matter of guesswork and conjecture. In spite of centuries of careful New Testament scholarship, there is very little that can be firmly established, and that includes the authorship of the Gospels. We simply don’t know.

      • Walid
        Walid
        May 26, 2014, 5:30 am

        “That is the traditional claim.”

        I agree, RoHa, like the Quran there was a lot of picking and choosing of which parts would be included in the final formal version. Therefore it has to be concluded that what we have today is not necessarily the right story. Other than for the lucky 4 that made it on the canonical list, there are 50 other historic gospels that were discarded by the Church. Same situation happened with the Muslims’ gathering of various loose data that eventually became the Quran.

      • john h
        john h
        May 24, 2014, 11:50 pm

        >>> “I’m a secular Jew and I can still grasp all of that”.<<<

        Yeah, and didn't you do it so well. Spot on, as usual. I am a Christian and I say gracias!

    • Walid
      Walid
      May 25, 2014, 1:39 pm

      Wasn’t there a report a few years back indicating that Palestinians were closer genetically to the Jews than to any other Arab group?

  4. Woody Tanaka
    Woody Tanaka
    May 24, 2014, 9:57 am

    Until the occupiers allow the full liberation of the Palestinians, the Pope should not give them one second of propaganda time.

  5. LeaNder
    LeaNder
    May 24, 2014, 10:58 am

    this is a long comment, and slightly off-topic here, but strictly about religion. I promise to shut up again for a while after that.

    But I had no change to post two responses on the latest contribution of Marc H. Ellis. The list was closed before before I could respond.

    Critics of Marc should consider this:

    Collaborators in the War Against the Jews. Marc H. Ellis

    Campus Watch: Profile of Marc H. Ellis: Director of the Center for American and Jewish Studies at Baylor University

    ****
    Stephen Shenfield: I didn’t manage to respond to your justified challenge to my use of “interesting”. In a nutshell: The Kapos too, must have been a a more complex crowd, at least it feels. I know one story where some decided to work for the Nazis to find out more about what was going on around them. Can any of these critics actually imagine how easy that was? Later they started a revolt. … But strictly why I use “interesting” instead of “disgusting”, what it obviously is. I basically wouldn’t want to judge anyone that was forced into this context on superficial knowledge. But that is exactly what happens here. Thus “interesting”.

    ****
    W.Jones, feels I am struggling with it less [the Jewish/indigenous prophetic] and less. But yes, basically it may well help to have a better grasp of Judaism, which the Jews among us have. A more solid knowledge of religion may help too. I have to admit that religion caught my attention in connection with the neoconservatives or more precisely the books I read when I stumbled accross the larger discourse.

    Could there be a larger struggle in American theology between Liberation theology and its more power friendly representatives, e.g. the religion from the Paleoconservative and the Judeo-Christian economic vision of religion of the neoconservatives:

    Neoconservatives,
    Jewish and Christian alike, respond that this is too broad a reading of the concept. They note that the Constitution prohibits the establishment of an official state religion but does not say that religion has no place as a motivating force in politics. The state merely cannot do anything for interfere with the individual practice (or non-practice, a point on which neoconservatives do not all agree) of religion. Judeo-Christian morality is the starting point of American culture, and neoconservatives believe that such controversial events as invocations at public school graduations and
    Nativity scenes on municipal property reflect this morality and do not stop followers of other faiths from practicing them.

    W.Jones: Ellis has chosen to write in free thought style rather than a scholarly one here that would address it, which would be very interesting, at least for me.

    This one does not feel “free thought style” to me, but rather well reflected. I wouldn’t have converted the speech to a Kindle file, if it did not trigger the desire to grasp it better. But its true, Marc has a wide range of styles sometimes he is almost poetic. He no doubt handles language pretty well.

    ****
    I just discovered that another American theologian and professor in social ethics may belong to Marc’s support group. I read all of Gary Dorrien’s book on the neoconservatives. But at one point I also read the Catholic neoconservative camp in the US: First Things. Concerning Gary Dorrien, I remember, I was slightly wondering at the time, why an American theologian shifted to writing about politics. On the other hand, I cannot deny that in Marc Gerson’s book about the neoconservatives reviewed above religion drew my attention too. Maybe more than anything else.

    Now, I will shut up for a while, but some may wonder, why Marc H. Ellis uses the coinage Constantinian Judaism and Christianity. It feels to me, he has this in mind. Link to Wikipedia

    • Stephen Shenfield
      Stephen Shenfield
      May 24, 2014, 12:23 pm

      LeaNder: I don’t venture to judge anyone trying to survive under such extreme circumstances, but in order to keep a position as kapo you had to demonstrate to the SS that you were treating ordinary prisoners with the requisite brutality and ruthlessness. And if you were stripped of your position you were very unlikely to survive: if the SS did not dispose of you then the other prisoners would take their revenge. So even those kapos who did have admirable motives or tried to help others surreptitiously had to put on a good show of brutality. Most kapos, however, were former violent criminals and had no such motives.

      Zionists use the word “kapo” as a term of abuse for Jews who “aid the enemy.” In that sense it resembles “self-hating Jew,” the difference being that the “kapo” derives material advantages from his/her treachery while the “self-hating Jew” betrays “the Jews” on account of his/her twisted mentality. Both these terms are used routinely, it’s hard to say which is more popular — “kapo” perhaps. There is nothing unusual in this usage, it doesn’t reflect any deep thinking, that is why I didn’t find it interesting. When someone who has actually been in a concentration camp, like Norman’s mother, is called a “kapo” it is not clear whether it is being claimed that she was a real kapo in the camp or whether (like Jewish “traitors” who were never in a camp) she is just being accused of behaving “like a kapo.”

      • LeaNder
        LeaNder
        May 24, 2014, 1:36 pm

        Stephen, I will try to check your site occasionally.

        But strictly I have this in mind: My Translation: Victims and Perpetrators at the same time? The moral dilemma of the Jewish (Funktionshäftlinge) functional camp inmates during the Shoa

        Most kapos, however, were former violent criminals and had no such motives.

        How do you know. One keeps hearing about 10 percent of inmates in this context. No doubt according to the Nazis Jews were to a high percentage also criminals, but how many actually were? Considering the high upward mobility and emphasis on learning at least in the German Jewish community, and strictly I wonder if it was so different anywhere else?

        Why don’t we ever hear about the “Judenrat” the Jewish councils in a similar vein?

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        May 24, 2014, 4:46 pm

        Huh? Kapo is just another name for what Americans these days call an opportunist, seeking the holy grail of lots of $. It’s a defining characteristic of the USA today. With less at stake (in terms of humanity) today, the same thinking applies. We just sink lower, lower…

  6. Daniel Rich
    Daniel Rich
    May 25, 2014, 12:39 am

    Bibi – “Yes, darling, this is what a human acorn looks like… or should I say ‘religious nut?’

  7. DICKERSON3870
    DICKERSON3870
    May 25, 2014, 2:32 am

    RE: “We see attempts by the Israeli occupation to impose a curfew on the streets including the Christian quarter during the visit. The curfew is yet another attempt by the occupying power to deny our existence.” ~ A collective group of Christians from East Jerusalem

    MY COMMENT: As extremist, right-wing Jewish groups (e.g. Kahane worshipers) become more and more common in Israel (and more likely to resort to violence), the government will have a handy excuse for imposing ever more draconian security measures on Christians and Muslims (ostensibly to protect them from the Jewish extremists) while not considering it politically feasible to rein in the Jewish extremists, despite perhaps giving ‘lip service’ to the idea of doing so.
    This is yet another reason that Jerusalem must be made an international city pursuant to General Assembly resolution 181 (II) November 29, 1947, which provides for the full territorial internationalisation of Jerusalem: “The City of Jerusalem shall be established as a corpus separatum under a special international regime and shall be administered by the United Nations.”

  8. ritzl
    ritzl
    May 25, 2014, 3:09 am

    OT- Has the recent comments sidebar quit scrolling, or is it just my computer?

    • tree
      tree
      May 25, 2014, 3:44 am

      It seems to have stopped as of Friday evening. If you click on the “Recent Comments” link you can see the latest comments, but the sidebar seems to have stopped working.

      • ritzl
        ritzl
        May 25, 2014, 2:28 pm

        Thanks tree. I hadn’t used that before.

  9. Daniel Rich
    Daniel Rich
    May 25, 2014, 4:17 am

    Off topic.

    The following might be of interest; The first Palestinian English channel from Gaza – Noor Harazeen.

  10. eGuard
    eGuard
    May 25, 2014, 8:13 am

    BBC World Service has lost it:
    “The concrete wall Israel is building around the West Bank”.

    (Newshour, May 25, 13:05 London time)

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