Monday, January 26, 2009

Since I try not to just past judgment without considering other options (mostly), I do sometimes find myself rethinking my position regarding certain issues. One of those issues is my post the other day about Israel and my agreement with Jonathan Mark, of the Jewish Week, who wrote that he believed Israel lost the war with Hamas because they did not stop the rockets and Gilad Shalit has not yet come home.

I expressed my arguments (and Mr. Mark's as well) in an email to my cousin, who lives in Israel. Here is her response:
Hi. Don't be so ready to kill Olmert. Even though I am not a fan of his and did not vote for Kadima, the situation is very different from here.
  1. We new we were playing against time. The longer the war goes on, the less the support was for Israel
  2. The plan was not to destroy the Hamas. It can not be done without reoccupying Aza (Hebrew for Gaza). Which is not our intention.
  3. It is impossible to completely stop the missiles. We are talking about rocket launchers that can be placed on rooftops or hide between trees that are hooked to Shabbat timers. It is impossible- you can only stop it with an agreement.
  4. We have a great relationship with the US. As much as America hated Bush, he was a good friend to Israel. We went in at the end of his term and didn't leave him to deal with the problem yet we had to leave Aza before Obama came in. We have no idea how he will act towards Israel and we didn't want to be his first project that he had to use to Prove Himself.
  5. We had certain goals. We killed about 700 terrorists and we will probably let out 1000 in exchange for Shalit .Less of an issue since we killed so many .
  6. We have sent a message to Hamas that we are "crazy". We will go in again if necessary .
  7. Egypt has been strengthened and hopefully has realized it is in their interest to keep the borders smuggling free. It's hard and may not work but Egypt (and Jordan) have realized that Peace is better for their country than War. We are waiting for Syria and Lebanon to realize this as well.
  8. Only time will tell. Everyone had said that the second Lebanon war was a failure yet during this war, that front was quiet,
  9. Our boys are home safe and sound. 10 soldiers were killed . For those families it is a disaster but half of those soldiers were killed by friendly fire. 4 people were killed by missiles. Every death is a tragedy but we had 3 weeks of fighting and this is our casualty list. It is very low
  10. Only time will tell. You are right . We would have like to have destroyed them completely- but the price was high. It would have meant going house to house when all of the streets are bobby trapped, no world support and perhaps the country would have stopped supporting the war. There was so much unity among the people here in a way that I have not seen in years. You did not hear opposition. They were few and far between . Even the southern cities that were being hit were sitting in silence asking the army to continue even though they were being rained with mortar rockets.
I guess you have to be here to understand. We all wish it could have ended perfectly but as I said, time will tell.
If there is anyone who's words would change my mind, it's hers. So if she feels I'm wrong here, I have to agree.

Next topic:

My friend - and fellow blogger - Allison asked me to comment on the news that the Pope has reinstated notorious Holocaust denier (and 9/11 troofer) Bishop Richard Williamson. The Bishop, who was excommunicated back in 1988, first by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, and then three days later by Pope John Paul II, had long held anti-Semitic views and often expressed his belief in the fictional book "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" - a fictitious document commissioned by Czar Nicholas and used initially as the "reason" for the pogroms that murdered many Jews in the late 1800's Russia. Hitler referred to the Protocols while writing Mein Kampf and today, the document is one of the best selling books in the Arab world.

In addition, he is on record as denying the existence of the gas chambers.

"I believe there were no gas chambers.... I think that 200,000 to 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps but none of them by gas chambers," Williamson was quoted as saying in an interview with Swedish SVT television.

"There was not one Jew killed by the gas chambers. It was all lies, lies, lies!"

From AFP News:

Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and the Simon Wiesenthal Centre on Sunday slammed a Holocaust-denying English bishop whose ex-communication has been cancelled by Pope Benedict XVI.

"It is scandalous that someone of this stature in the Church denies the Holocaust," the institution said in a statement, referring to Bishop Richard Williamson who has publicly denied the murder of six million Jews during World War II.

"Denial of the Holocaust not only insults the survivors, memory of the victims and the righteous among the nations who risked their lives to rescue the Jews, it is a brutal attack on truth," Yad Vashem said.

"What kind of message is this sending regarding the Church's attitude toward the Holocaust?"

The Wiesenthal Centre, an international Jewish human rights body, said: "The Pope's decision to welcome back such a hater into the Church lends moral credence to deniers of history's worst crime.

"In addition to Bishop Williamson's Holocaust denial looms the unchanging virulent anti-Semitism of the Society of Saint Pius as a whole," it said.

I think Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs said it best:
"This is a disgrace."

Just in case you might be tempted to believe the media are exaggerating Williamson’s Holocaust denial, here’s video:

So to answer your question, Allison - I think it's horrible and I believe that considering the rise of Antisemitism raging throughout the world right now, the timing is especially poor. While it is not my place - nor any other Jewish person's place - to question the Catholic church, I have to admit this is exceptionally disturbing and even a little frightening.

I greatly appreciate the fact that there are many Catholics (yourself included) who are stunned and embarrassed by the Pope's move. I mentioned to you the other day that you can not condemn religion based on the action of on of it's leaders (even the main guy). But this does bear watching.


Allison Guerriero said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Allison Guerriero said...

Thanks for posting this Shayne. I think a good first step is that the Church has aready condemed what Bushop Bullshit has said and the Curch does not share his views on the holocaust. I'm confident that he will be excommunicated again. I know why the desision was reversed (it was a group of four who were excommunicated together so the Pope took them back together). I'm horrified by that, but also am encouraged to see that the stage is being set for him to be ousted from Mass mighty soon!