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Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Christians in the Holy Land - An Endangered Species?

Speaking Tour of Father Raed Awad Abusaliah

I must confess an interest.  Living Stones, the Christian Charity dedicated to support of Palestinian Christians was founded by Father Michael Prior, who was if I remember correctly, Vice-Principal of St. Mary's College, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham - a sleepy teacher training college where I obtained my PGCE (teaching post-grad certificate) in 1980-1.  Father Michael Prior interviewed me.  I had been blacklisted my Brighton Polytechnic and Sussex University after having completed 2 years as sabbatical officer, as a trouble maker.

 Fortunately Michael Prior quite took to trouble-makers!  I was the only Jewish student in a Roman Catholic college, which then was a tad right-wing, but my course was on the left.  There was a formal debating society where I spoke quite often, led by another Catholic liberation priest Fr. Duncan MacPherson, who was also President of the Twickenham Trades Council.

It was good to land, quite by chance, in a college whose leading lights were so sympathetic to the Palestinians and the mantle is now taken up, by among others, Professor Nur Masalha.  So I am pleased in a small way to publicise the tour of Fr. Raed Abusahlia.

There is an irony in the Christians of Palestine being abandoned by their 'brothers and sisters' in the West - people like Stephen Sizer excepted of course.  But it is actually no irony.  Religion has always been political and American Fundamentalist Protestantism has always been the ideological cover for the most barbaric and racist forms of imperialism.  Starting with the slave trade which it supported and segregation and the Ku Klux Klan, Southern White Christianity has always been a racist species of thought and it is no accident that in the name of the 'return' of the Jews - and they do belive in 'returning Jews to Palestine' they turn their back on the most oppressed Christians.

Religion has always been a reflection of society's politics.  It goes with the grain  In Germany Christian Churches, especially the Protestants, supported Hitler.  In Lithuania and Latvia they openly collaborated.  In Denmark and Bulgaria they actively opposed the Nazis.  In Ireland, the Pope supported the Protestants at the Battle of the Boyne and William of Orange because of course Protestantism in Ireland was reactionary from its inception.

So as a Jewish atheist I am more than happy to lend a hand!

Tony Greenstein
Father Michael Prior

Father Raed Awad Abusaliah
Rev Stephen Sizer


UK  SPEAKING TOUR (June 10-17)

Born in Zababdeh in Palestine, Abuna Raed was ordained priest by the Latin Patriarch in 1990 and began his priestly ministry in parishes in Jordan. After completing higher studies in philosophy at the Lateran University in Rome, Father Raed served as Professor of Philosophy at the Latin Seminary at Beit Jala and as Chancellor of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, until appointed parish priest of the Latin Church in Taybeh (biblical Ephraim) in the Palestinian West Bank, where he is active in initiatives for peace and justice such as the “Olive Branch Foundation” and “Lamps for Peace in the Holy Land”.

Public meetings and Church Services
Friday June 8
Father Raed arrives in England

Saturday June 9
Guest of the Equestrian Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre for their annual Mass at Southwark Catholic Cathedral and lunch afterwards

Sunday June 10
10.00 Mass and meeting at 4.00pm, Saint Philip Howard Catholic Church, 33 Walpole Road, Cherry Hinton, Cambridge,

Monday June 11
Ecumenical service and address for ‘Churches Together’ at 7.00pm. Holy Family and All Saints Catholic Church, Guithavon Street, Witham

Tuesday June 12
Churches Together around Hampton’ public meeting, St Mary’s Parish Church, Thames Street, Hampton, Middlesex

Wednesday June 13
4.00 pm
‘Michael Prior Memorial Lecture’ Heythrop College, University of London, Kensington Square (Near High Street Kensington Underground) 
“Peace and Justice: a Christian Viewpoint from the Holy Land”

Thursday June 14
Evening meeting at 7.30pm in Church of Scotland, Freeland Church, Main Street, Bridge of Weir.

Friday June 15 Evening meeting at 7.30 Evening meeting at 7.30 at Saint Simon’s Polish Catholic Church, Partick, Glasgow (near the University and Kelvin Hall Subway)

Saturday June 16 Ealing Abbey, Charlbury Grove, Ealing, preaching at Saturday evening Mass at 6.00pm and address to parish meeting at 7.30pm

Sunday June 17 preaching at 12.00 Mass at Ealing Abbey before departure


Ernie Christ said...

What do you mean "as a Jewish Atheist"?

You said, quite clearly, in your barmy piece on the PSC's humiliating defeat in Hendon (a litany of antisemitic slurs - "Zionist rich kids", "Hitler Youth types" etc) that "The Jews are not a race".

So - jews aren't a race and you don't believe in God - so by what reckoning can you possibly say you're a Jew?

Ernie Christ said...

I'll keep asking whether or not you post my comments - how can you call yourself Jewish when you say "The Jews are not a race" and you profess to being an atheist? By what reckoning are you Jewish when, ethnically, you claim there is no such thing?

Tony Greenstein said...

Admittedly Mr Christ you find it difficult to chew gum and walk at the same time, but occasionally you should try multi-tasking with your mind.

Since there are no races, they are a political fiction, created by those good friends of the Zionists - like Houston Stewart Chamberlain, Gobineau and Adolf Hitler himself - then clearly there cannot be a Jewish race.

But, as you so rightly infer, Zionism is based on the idea of a Jewish race, which is one of reasons why it belongs to the cesspit of the 19th century - along with all the other characters I mention above.

There are plenty of people who are Jewish atheists. If you weren't so ignorant you'd know that most of the founders of Zionism - Herzl, Ben Gurion, much of Hashomer Hatzair, Tabenkin - were atheists. They substituted a state and the Zionist movement for god, whilst seeking to use religion to wrap themselves in.

So why can't Jews who are anti-Zionists be atheists? Yes we reject the notion of race but you can accept there are certain, albeit diminishing aspects of ethnicity, culture, tradition and history, that distinguish Jews from non-Jews. Admittedly the former are assimilating to the latter in the diaspora, since anti-Semitism has all but disappeared except from Zionist circles and their neo-Nazi friends.

I stand in the tradition of Heine and Spinoza, Bernard Lazarre, Arendt, Deutscher, Einstein and other dissidents. You stand in the traditions of Lieberman, therein lies the difference. People like you, conformists, leave nothing except the bitter nationalism that expresses itself in the current pogroms against Arabs.

The Hendon scum - rich Zionist kids out to defend Lieberman, along with that good friend of the EDL - would only be defended by racist trash like you. Yes they were very similar to what one imagines the Hitler Youth were like. They followed leaders and orders. And like you, they are incapable of swimming against the tide.

Happy now?

Gert said...

Ernie Christ, the wannabee Nurenberg Commissar who decides who is Jewish and who is not... Hoffie, our paid pretend-Zionist anti-Zionist mole, would be so proud of you, Ernie!

ali baba said...

Contradicting yourself again ton ton...

Ernie Christ said...

What a strange, confused, mad-sounding response.

It does nothing to answer my question - merely raises a different question, one concerning your mental health.

I can also see now that it is merely holocaust denial which distinguishes you from Atzmon - your attitudes to Jews is exactly the same...

Ernie Christ said...

Hey Tony, look what your mates in the NK are up to now:

...are you still "anti-fascist" or will you sweep this latest outrage under the covers as you always do? Perhaps accuse the JC of making the whole thing up?

Go on, I'd love to hear you justify your NK friends' new alliance with fascists. Won't make any difference to their alliance with PSC will it? :-)

Anonymous said...

Your friends over at Harrys Place have commented on the recent alliance of the New Right and your Nk praetorian Guard featuring Aharon Cohen of your Stamford Hill chapter . It seems that these exotic beings have decided to rid themselves of you , which is appropriate as it is only the Goyim who merit Tonyles exclusion orders .
So Tonyle are the Nk next for the chop bearing in mind their special relationship with the National Front or will your Judeocentric origins forbid you from staging a new spring clean .
Have you informed what remains of the psc membership that the uber chosen have aligned themselves with the National Front .
More to the point why are you sacrificing the cause for your own vanity .
Take your minders 30 pieces and sail off into a tel aviv sunset .

Tony Greenstein said...

It seems both Atzmon & Christ (although Jesus was a Palestinian!). have posted virtually the same messages. Unsurprisingly.

I haven't seen the JC this week but if there is any form of cooperation or alliance or whatever you call it between Neturei Karta and the National Front then I would condemn it unreservedly.

Bearing in mind that NK's alliance with the NF, if that is what it is, should be welcomed by Christ and his fellow Zionists. Didn't Zionism historically 'pardon' and 'understand' anti-Semitism, so much that one of the most influential Zionist theoreticians and ideologuges, Jacob Klatzkin said, in response to suggestions that maybe Jews should defend themselves against anti-Semitism, that the Zionists need to set up societies to defend Jews from those who would defend them not the anti-Semites who would attack them. And of course this was but one of many.