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German Bishops rock the Israeli boat
FRANKFURT: A pilgrimage to Israel last week by 27 Roman Catholic bishops from Germany was meant to be a historic symbol of reconciliation between Jews and German Catholics.
Instead, after two bishops drew a link between the plight of Palestinians in the West Bank and that of Jews in the Warsaw ghetto during World War II, it has become a fresh source of recrimination.
Nothing new there then. Those who dare to criticise the barbaric behaviour of the Israeli state can expect to be subject to megaphoned "recriminations" as a matter of course.
German-Jewish groups and the Israeli ambassador to Germany condemned their comments, which were reported in newspapers here, saying they were demagogic and "verging on anti-Semitism."
For crying out loud, think up a new slur! The 'anti semite' slur is, like the protests of the boy who cried wolf, rapidly losing its power. Nobody takes it seriously anymore, because it has become a byword not for those who hate Jewish people, but for those whom the Jewish people hate.
"If one uses terms like Warsaw ghetto or racism in connection with Israeli or Palestinian politics, then one has forgotten everything, or learned nothing," the Israeli ambassador to Germany, Shimon Stein, said in a statement.
What precisely is it that we have failed to learn? That Jewish suffering trumps all others? That anti-Jewish prejudice is the only true racism?
What you and your kind have failed to learn, Mr Stein, is that you do not engage in a genocide in order to right perceived wrongs. What you have also failed to learn is that the world is rapidly growing wise to your two-faced admonishments.
The Warsaw ghetto, established by the Nazi regime in 1940 as a holding pen for Polish Jews before they were deported to concentration camps, has come to epitomize the barbarity of the Holocaust.
And seems to blind some to the barbarity of the open concentration camp into which a large percentage of the Palestinian population has been literally shoe-horned. The concentration camp is otherwise known as Gaza.
The top Catholic official in Germany, Cardinal Karl Lehmann, disavowed the bishop's remarks in a letter made public Wednesday to the director of Yad Vashem, the holocaust memorial in Jerusalem. But the outrage among Jews living in Germany has not yet subsided.
Why is it that those at the top lack the moral courage to stand up to the bullies? The outrage is just going to have to subside, and if you don't like being called on your prejudice and your barbarism, oh chosen ones, then it is up to you to change.
"I made my point. Cardinal Lehmann made his point, unfortunately a bit late," Stein said in an interview. "Now we have to find other ways to deal with this. It tells us we have a problem."
Of course we have a problem. We have Israeli insensitivity to the plight of the Palestinian people. The people who had their land stolen from under their noses in order to facilitate the creation of the supremacist and hate-filled state of Israel.
The trouble started back in Germany when newspapers published more blunt remarks by two southern German bishops: Gregor Maria Hanke of Eichstätte and Walter Mixa of Augsburg.
"In the morning, we see the photos of the inhuman Warsaw ghetto, and this evening we travel to the ghetto in Ramallah," Hanke was quoted as saying by Suddeutsche Zeitung, the German newspaper. "That makes you angry."
That's your chance of making Pope blown, boys!
Mixa described the situation in Ramallah as "ghetto-like" and said the situation was "almost racism."
It is not "ghetto-like". It is a ghetto and much more besides. The West Bank is a concentration camp in everything but name, as is Gaza. It is not "almost racism" but undisguised, unrepentant and belligerent supremacism.
A third member of the delegation, Cardinal Joachim Meisner, the archbishop of Cologne, was quoted by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung as likening the separation barrier in the West Bank to the Berlin Wall. "I never thought I would have to see something like this ever again in my life," said Meisner, who is from the former East Germany.
Well, you did, although I am sure your hosts tried to persuade you that what you were seeing was not a wall, or a barrier, but a mere fence, of the sort most people have separating their gardens.
German-Jewish leaders said the bishops either had a shaky grasp of history or were trying to draw a comparison between the genocide of the Nazis and the policies of the current Israeli government.
I think it was probably the latter, and they were absolutely on-target in doing so. The fact that representatives of the self-appointed "chosen" tribe are upset by such comparison is neither here nor there.
Hanke said in a statement that he had not intended such a comparison. In his letter, Lehmann wrote, "It is inappropriate to connect contemporary problems or situations of injustice, in any way, with the National Socialists' mass murder of the Jews."
I don't get this. Why not? It is as plain as the nose on your face what the ultimate objective of the Israeli state is, and that objective is genocide. It is also blindingly obvious that those chosen by the great real-estate agent in the sky regard the rightful owners of the land as being a sub-species not worthy of humane treatment. Such obsequiousness in the face of such obviously irrational and emotional complaints is tantamount to condoning the denial of justice, freedom and basic human rights to a people who are being severely oppressed right now, not over half a century ago.