Archive for April 16th, 2012

Catholic principal gets “bounced” in Israel

April 16, 2012

Arbour Bounced

Art Arbour (SMC ’60) was  a much respected Catholic elementary principal. In his retirement he was not accepted as a starter at a golf course(Just kidding) so he decided to further God’s reign in the area known as Israel/Palestine. He goes regularly to confront the very ugly Israeli Occupation of Palestinian land.Much of his work is simply walking Palestinian children to school.Here he is often joined by another SMC stalwart Fr. Bob Holmes csb (SMC ’54).

As some of you know I wrote a memoir about my priveleged life growing up in an almost totally Jewish Toronto neighbourhood (Shabbes Goy:A Catholic Boyhood).I went on to poneer Holocaust Studies in Canadian secondary schools.For this work I was honoured by Jewish organizations.Because of my life experience and great affection for  the Jewish community I still am a defender of the Jewish state. But not the ugly and brutal Occupation.

Twenty years ago visiting Israel I saw first hand this reality. Two years ago I returned with Fr. Holmes’ pilgrimage. It was worse. Today as a Christian  I claim a double solidarity:to the continuance and safety of Israel and  to the suffering Palestinian population.The massive propaganda in the West blinds too many people to this injustice. It purchases their silence. We turn away.We self-censor. It is not worthy of us. My telling this to the Jews of Toronto was not appreciated or expected but I loved them too much not to tell them.I lost some friends, was called an anti-semite, the usual defensive rationalization when Israel is criticized. The irony was  none of my detractors had been to Israel.

I likened my gift to an intervention in an alcoholic family. It is painful but you care enough to do it and accept the consequences.

Here I salute my friends and brothers, Art Arbour who gets tossed to the ground and Bob Holmes who films this.

Art’s  intro follows:

 I was committed to attend the seventh annual international Bili’in conference in Hebron. This is a normal part of our work, supporting the efforts of Palestinian people to resist the occupation. It’s promised to be a somewhat boring day filled with speeches but also the opportunity to network with other activists.

After three hours of this 200 people were led to lunch at the local school. The food and The talk were good and on the way back we expected to have a easy afternoon but that changed radically. See the accompanying link and video for all the action.For more context encouraging to explore the site and particularly the books mentioned. They’re excellent and the  video as well.Ali Abunimah is a brilliant writer and fine critic of the situation. He works in Washington and has degrees from Princeton University and the University of Chicago.