November 17 – 2010

Caspari Center Media Review – November 17, 2010

During the week covered by this review, we received 7 articles on the subjects of anti-missionary activity, Christians in Israel, the Pope and the Vatican, and anti-Semitism. Of these:
2 dealt with anti-missionary activity
3 dealt with Christians in Israel
1 dealt with the Pope and the Vatican
1 dealt with anti-Semitism
This week’s Review continued coverage of Eddie Beckford’s conviction.
Anti-missionary Activity
HaShavua BiYerushalayim, November 15; Chadashot Shelanu, November 5, 2010
These two pieces reported last week’s news of Eddie Beckford’s conviction for assault and attempting to run over an anti-missionary activist
Christians in Israel
Haaretz, November 15 (x 2); Jerusalem Post, November 12, 2010
According to a report in the Jerusalem Post (November 12), “A Belgian living in Even Sapir was detained for police questioning Thursday on suspicion that he buried a dead friend in his yard without a permit some 10 years ago … Police announced that the suspect is Christian, but he himself does not define himself Christian per se, and has no connection to the St. John in the Desert Monastery which is located in Even Sapir. The suspect, whose residential status is undefined, told police that he and two other friends arrived in Israel 20 years ago. One of them, an alcoholic, was hospitalized in the nearby Hadassah University Hospital at Ein Kerem, and died there about 10 years ago. At the deceased’s behest, according to the suspect, he was buried in his friend’s yard. No foul play is suspected, and the Belgian man was released on bail later on Thursday.”
The Pope and the Vatican
Jerusalem Post, November 12, 2010
“Pope Benedict XVI has told Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of the discrimination and violence Catholics suffer in the Middle East and said he hopes relations between the local Catholic Church and authorities can improve. The Vatican released the text of a letter Benedict wrote to Ahmadinejad after receiving a letter from the Iranian leader last month. Ahmadinejad had thanked the pontiff for opposing a Florida pastor’s threat to burn the Quran on the Sept. 11 anniversary. In his letter, dated Nov. 3 but released only Thursday, Benedict noted that a recent meeting of Mideast bishops had decried the discrimination many Catholics face in the region. He said he hoped a bilateral commission would help address the legal status of the Catholic Church in Iran.”

The Israeli cabinet has once again announced its decision to “‘bring the last of the Falashmura to Israel’” (Haaretz, November 15 [x 2]): “Falashmura are descendants of Ethiopian Jews who converted to Christianity. Yesterday’s decision, which covers some 8,000 Falashmura in all, sets four conditions for their immigration: They must be ‘of the seed of Israel’ through their mothers, be willing to convert to Judaism, have relatives in Israel who apply on their behalf, and be on the list of transit camp residents that was compiled in 2007. The Interior Ministry will be responsible for determining eligibility. Over the next year, 200 Falashmura will be brought here every month, and all 8,000 will be brought over within the next four years, the decision stated … Once all 8,000 have arrived, there will not be any more large-scale Falashmura immigration to Israel, the decision said. But individuals will still be able to apply on a humanitarian basis. Though several previous governments have announced an end to Falashmura immigration, each time the transit camps in Ethiopia quickly filled up with new applicants, some of them relatives of earlier immigrants, and activists began agitating for them to be relocated here as well … For two decades – ever since Operation Solomon, the 1991 airlift of Ethiopian Jews to Israel – every government has wrestled with the Falashmura dilemma. Numerous committees have presented contradictory recommendations, none of which were ever implemented, and estimates of the number of Falashmura remaining have all proven to be divorced from reality … The decision also has a logical flaw. If there is no justification for bringing the Falashmura here, why is Israel doing it, despite the considerable social and economic costs involved? If, alternatively, they are entitled to Israeli citizenship, why set a quota? For citizens of what other country has Israel ever set an immigration quota? Indeed, this smacks of pure racism.”
Jerusalem Post, November 12, 2010
This article noted that, “A report published by a Jewish community organization on Thursday highlights how old anti-Semitic themes to depict Israel and Zionism have become more widespread in mainstream British circles during the past year. Comparisons of Israel and its supporters to Nazi Germany have become increasingly common among the public, and anti-Semitic conspiracy themes are being used more freely in conversation, the ‘Anti-Semitic Discourse in Britain in 2009’ indicated. The 57-page report was published by the Community Security Trust, which monitors anti-Semitism and provides security for the Jewish community in Britain … At the heart of revived anti- Jewish sentiments, according to the study, is the ‘corruption and debasement’ of the word ‘Zionism,’ which is found not only in extremist discourse but more commonly in mainstream circles. The overlap of the words ‘Zionist’ and ‘Jew’ also manifests such corruption and reflects modern-day anti-Semitism, according to the CST report … ‘Depicting the Jewish state as a uniquely racist or imperialist enterprise serves to threaten, isolate and demonize all those who believe that Jews have a right to statehood,’ the document reads. ‘Indeed, anyone who shows support for Israel or Zionism risks being defined and castigated for this behavior, rather than gauged by any of their other actions and beliefs’ … The comparisons of Israel to Nazi Germany became more popular during and in the aftermath of Operation Cast Lead, according to the report. This, it says, represents ‘the deliberate abuse of diminishing the tragedy of the Holocaust and playing upon Jewish sensitivities in order to provoke.’ The Nazi comparisons were seen during the often violent demonstrations that took place in London during the 22-day Gaza conflict. One of the main organizers, the British Muslim Initiative, produced placards saying ‘STOP the Holocaust in Gaza’ … Citing a number of examples, the community report shows how Jewish conspiracy theories and secret-Jewish lobby charges have increasingly slipped into mainstream conversation. In 2009, two stories in The Independent newspaper assumed a Jewish conspiracy charge was valid. The suspected scheme surrounded the appointment of two Jewish academics to the British government’s Iraq War Inquiry – Sir Martin Gilbert and Prof. Lawrence Freedman … The report also highlights how a medieval accusation, claiming that Jews steal children in order to use their blood, was also revived and frequently used last year in accusations that Jews and Israelis steal body parts. The London-based but Iranian-run Press TV revived the blood libel charge, according to the CST document … British media watchdogs, like Adam Levick of CiF Watch, praised the report for bringing to the surface rampant bias against Jews in daily publications. ‘The CST report is a shocking indictment of how so-called progressive news outlets such as The Guardian are mainstreaming the type of anti-Jewish hate speech that was once the province of the far-right,’ said Levick, whose organization particularly monitors The Guardian’s ‘Comment is Free’ blog.