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'Sanctimonious judgments' won't solve Mideast despair
Wednesday, March 24
Re: Amid Mideast Despair: Hope, letter to the editor, March 23.
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In 1938, Bishop A.C. Headlam, chairman of the Anglican church's Council of Foreign Relations in Canada, condemned the "folly and violence" of Nazi attacks on Jews. But in the same breath, blamed Jews for "the violence of the Russian Communists" and accused Jewish freethinkers of using Judaism to defame Christianity.
In 1938 in the wake of Kristallnacht, the opening gambit of the Holocaust, John Inkster, the minister of Knox Presbyterian Church in Toronto, suggested that Jews were not blameless for their persecution because they had failed to embrace Christianity.
In April, 2002, Michael G. Peers, Archbishop and Primate, Anglican Church of Canada declared, "The current violence in Palestine has deep roots, but Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory ... is at its heart."
In April 2002, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Marion Purdy, moderator, United Church of Canada stated in a letter to this paper: "The United Church nevertheless strongly states that at the root of the violence and instability of the region is Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian territories."
And yesterday, the Rt. Rev Peter Short, the Rt. Rev. Peter Coffin, and the Most Rev. Martin Currie, writing again to this newspaper on behalf of the United, Anglican and Catholic churches of Canada, spoke at length of the suffering of the Palestinians, with barely a passing mention of the relentless slaughter of Israelis. They bemoaned "the isolation and consequences of Israel's policy of collective closure and punishment" while failing to acknowledge that the removal of these horrible impositions requires only one small and reasonable step -- namely, Palestinians should stop killing Israelis. They paint a picture of Palestinians as the innocent victims of gratuitous Israeli brutality.
While millions of evangelical Christians support Israel's right to peace and security, the response of Canada's mainstream churches to the killing of Jews has been consistent from the Nazi Holocaust until today. Some Christian humility may be in order, rather than the sanctimonious judgments being offered.
When mainstream Christians fail to learn from history, it is always the Jews who are forced to relive it.
Alastair Gordon, Toronto.
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