Thursday, 19 January 2012

Tony Greenstein's Letter in the Church of England Newspaper

I find it hard to take seriously any analysis based on the Harry’s Place website. It is a right-wing, pro-war, Islamaphobic site that defames its opponents.

I suspect the reason that Stephen Sizer spoke about a ‘massacre’ in Gaza is that some 1400 people, including 400 children, died. Can you imagine what would be the reaction if terrorists blew up a Jewish community centre and killed say one-quarter of those figures? I know I’d be the first to condemn it as a massacre and more. Are Jewish children more important than Arab children?

This is not an idle question. It is seriously argued by hundreds of rabbis in Israel, who have backed a notorious book ‘Torat HaMelech’ by Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, a supporter of the mainstream Orthodox Lubavith movement. Among the choicer quotes is the following:

‘“There is justification for killing babies if it is clear that they will grow up to harm us, and in such a situation they may be harmed deliberately, and not only during combat with adults.” Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, Torat Ha’Melech (The King’s Torah)

Rabbi Dov Lior, Chair of the Yesha (Settler’s) Rabbinical Council, who has been repeatedly elected by fellow rabbis to Israel’s Supreme Rabbinical Council (& blocked by the state for political reasons) has openly stated that a Jewish fingernail is more valuable than a thousand non-Jewish lives.

The myth that Israel is surrounded by its enemies and is fighting for its existence is a typical settler myth – the product of the siege mentality common to settler colonial states. Exactly the same was said in South Africa and Rhodesia.

Stephen Sizer is to be commended for speaking out when others passed by on the other side of the street. Perhaps if the Confessional Church in Germany had not passed by on the other side of the road, if Bishop Galen had included the Jews in his famous 1941 condemnation of the murder of physically and mentally handicapped Jews, if Pastor Lichtenberg of Hedwig Cathedral had been supported for speaking up for the Jews when he was taken to Dachau (& died soon afterwards) many many more lives would have been saved.

But no doubt Bonhoffer and Lictenberg’s critics also castigated these rebellious priests for speaking out rather than giving comfort to the Volk. I know whose side I would have taken and Stephen should be congratulated not isolated and browbeaten.

Tony Greenstein

See also letters from:

Dr Mark Braverman, Author of the Fatal Embrace
Rabbi Professor Dan Cohn-Sherbok, Lampeter University
Jeremy Corbyn MP, Islington North
Professor Scott Elias, Royal Holloway, University of London
Tony Greenstein, Founding Member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign
Professor Mary Grey, Patron, Friends of Sabeel UK
Dr Jeff Halper, Co-founder of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions
Canon Garth Hewitt, Founder of the Amos Trust
Dr Ghada Karmi, Exeter University
Venerable Michael Lawson, Rector of St Saviour’s, Guildford
Jeremy Moodey, Chief Executive, Biblelands
Professor Ilan Pappe, Exeter University
Rabbi Dr Stanley Howard Schwartz, Hospice Chaplain and retired Army Chaplain

Church Times: Vicar is not Anti-Semitic
Church Times: Rabbi Clears Vicar of Anti-Semitism
Jewish Chronicle: Bishop: anti-Zionist vicar ‘no antisemite’