Archive for August 2016

Church: thermometer or thermostat?

August 31, 2016

Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co-workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.

ML King Jr “Letter from the Birmingham Jail” April 16,1963

One of the sad developments over the years has been the loss of power and agency in the institutional Catholic church.

While it is inevitable that large institutions run down and in uber-capitalist countries will be co-opted by the culture, there will always be counter-movements fighting against such lassitude. History is full of examples beginning with the early church in the Roman Empire, then the Beguines, Francis of Assisi, Wesley’s challenge to high church Anglicanism, the Catholic Worker. the examples are too numerous to mention. The Church at Vatican ll stated that it was “ecclesia semper reformanda”, a church always in need of renewal.
Today a Vatican ll pope has arrived, a man who understands that the church must be thrust into society as leaven.his theology is focused on Jesus’s call to God’s reign. Too many bishops are still locked into the church as the heart of the gospel. Sadly they resist Pope Francis.  The world today ruled by corporate power will always resist the gospel. Vatican ll reminded us that “we to must shoulder the cross which the world and the flesh inflict on those who search after peace and justice.” As King reminded us the church should not be a thermometer

In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society.
Birmingham Jail

All of the above and below reminded me of a remarkable student I had in the 80s. John Popiel went on to do significant development in the Dominican Republic and today coordinates the Jesuit Volunteers in Canada.

In the nuclearized 80s I sent out students 2X2 to knock on doors and join the resistance to Canada  testing the Cruise Missile. Johnny came in with  a harrowing tale of some guy running him off his porch , telling him to eff off , saying he was all for testing.

I just laughed and had John read the gospel for that day in home room class.The gospel was Luke 10:5 ff

When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.'”If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you. Earlier the Jesus of Luke gave this advice If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”

John was stunned. The gospel had leapt off the page as it always does when we turn it into action. It’s like putting on 3D glasses—you see a new reality.

Chris Hedges recently wrote (below) about an Anglican bishop who basically asked the church to become the leaven, stop mirroring the corrosive culture and take a stand for God’s reign of peace and justice.
Carrying out sustained acts of civil disobedience is the only option left to defy the corporate state, says retired Anglican bishop Packard, who over the years has been arrested at an Occupy Wall Street protest and other demonstrations. It will be a long, difficult and costly struggle the decorated Vietnam vet says. But there are moral and religious laws—laws that call on us to protect our neighbor, fight for justice and maintain systems of life—that must supersede the laws of the state. Fealty to these higher laws means we will make powerful enemies. It means we will endure discomfort, character assassination, state surveillance and repression. It means we will go to jail. But it is in the midst of this defiance that we will find purpose and, Packard argues, faith.


This is the renewed presence of the church, people of spirit wandering around in the darkness trying to find each other,” Packard said to me before he was taken into custody by police during the Montrose protest. He stood holding one corner of a large banner reading, “We Say No to Spectra’s Algonquin Pipeline Expansion.” “When you find a cause that has spine, importance and potency you find the truth of the Scripture. You find it inside your gut. There is an ache in the culture.” Gesturing toward his fellow demonstrators, he added: “These are a few of the people who are speaking to it. This is what the church used to be. It used to be standing in conscience.”

Not a sports bio

August 30, 2016

The late Protestant theologian Langdon Gilkey wrote a stirring memoir about his 2 years in a Japanese POW camp in China Shantung Compound: The Story of Men and Women Under Pressure.

The book makes for depressing reading about the brutality to which humans can sink to.

Gilkey’s book while interesting is doomed to be seen as a simple precursor to Duncan Hamilton’s For the Glory: Eric Liddell’s Journey from Olympic Champion to Modern Martyr.


Long forgotten now Eric Liddell was the Scot who refused to run in the 100 yard dash in the 1924 Paris Olympic games .The reason—the race was scheduled on a Sunday and Liddell was a committed Scottish Congregational believer, the son of a China-hand missioner who simply refused to run on the sabbath.

Liddell probably would have won gold defeating his rather sour pussed rival Harold Abraham. Liddell switched gears and won gold in the 400 metre race gaining international fame.


Liddell then was off to the China mission like his father before him to serve in the new frontier of the Christian mission.

Hamilton’s brilliantly researched biography goes much deeper than most sports bios. The author catches the essence of this extraordinary human being—his sterling integrity, his compassion and deep rooted faith. Hamilton goes way beyond saccharine piety and mines with brilliant dexterity the evaluations of those who knew Liddell intimately in his life and indeed in his time of trial.

Former biographer Sally Magnusson had this to say about The Flying Scot:

There was surely a pair of clay feet there to be revealed; a few weaknesses to be exposed; perhaps, in such a strong minded man, a streak of spiritual pride, a “holier-than-thou” attitude. But was he really that good? I would ask people. The answer was invariably the same – sometimes apologetic, sometimes pained, sometimes indignant, but always the same: Yes, he was.

The aforementioned Gilkey says of the man he shared life in the Shantung Compound (Liddell worked himself to death never saying no to anybody and ultimately dying at 43 of a brain hemorrhage)

Eric never saw himself as a famous athlete—or rather didn’t look as if he though of himself as one.He was surely the most modest man who ever breathed.this was the secret of his amazing life.”

Liddell was resurrected in popular culture by the 1980 film Chariots of Fire which captures Liddell’s athletic life but utterly fails in its depiction of his extraordinary spiritual life. Well, it’s Hollywood and is probably more famous for its award winning theme by Vangelis.

Magnusson describes his life in these terms:

It is rare indeed when anyone has the good fortune to meet a saint, but he comes as close to it as anyone I have ever known.

This book should be read not as a sports story but rather as a spiritual classic. Hamilton is a well known UK sports journalist but here his brilliance lays in unpacking the interior life of a 20th century saint.

Letters on BDS

August 28, 2016

On Saturday August 27 the Star published several letters about columnist Linda McQuaigs’ shining the light on Elizabeth May’s cowardice in running away from the Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) movement, the nonviolent attempt to use global persuasion instead of violence in bringing Israel to its senses over its 50 year illegal occupation.


Ms.May is a fine woman and should not be singled out among all the other leaders of Canada’s political parties. They are all craven in their refusal to confront Israel over its decades of barbaric behaviour.

Israel of course is the third rail for craven politicians, terrified of offending some Jewish voters. The public is now waking up that many jews like the rest of the public who has studied this issue are horrified at the brutal treatment of the Palestinian people.

Today with the advance of computer technologies and hand held devices Israel can no longer hide its state violence.


In particular read the final letter of david Bronfman printed here. It is the ultimate in outrageous commentary. To say that BDS is an attempt to delegitimize Israel is a hoary lie. Israel is here to stay. No one wishes it to disappear. But most of us want the apartheid state resembling pre-Mandala South Africa to come to its senses and live up to its many broken promises to the UN and its abject failure to live up  to the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights which Israel signed onto at the time of partition.

This sadly is the best that our media can do—allow intelligent citizens to print what its editorial department is unwilling to write. All it would take would be to send one reporter for one month to either Gaza or the West Bank.It would lay bare what no Canadian, Jewish or otherwise, would ever tolerate. So far that journalistic courage has not shown itself.
Re: May shouldn’t run away from boycott, Opinion Aug. 22 
Thank you very much for your publishing Linda McQuaig’s powerful piece. As a Jewish-Canadian, I am deeply concerned about our collective failure to hold Israel accountable for its war crimes, human rights violations and ongoing military occupation of Palestine. Support for Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) is not only growing among campuses, church and union groups, it is also increasing in our Jewish communities.
Why have we been silent? Why have we not understood that it is not anti-Semitic to criticize Israel. It is, in fact, pro-human rights and taking the collective wisdom of our peoples’ histories of being persecuted. Tragically, we know the impact of global silence in the face of state terror.
Those of use who care deeply about Palestinian human rights were thrilled to see the Green Party take a courageous stand in support of BDS. I am very hopeful that Elizabeth May will support this position. This is not a radical position. It is simply taking a very obvious, peaceful stance against violence.
Unfortunately, people who publicly criticize Israel (including journalists and Jewish people) are subject to violent threats and accusations of anti-Semitism.
Much gratitude to Linda McQuaig for her excellent commentary and her courage to speak out about such an important issue. And thanks to the Star for printing this. Although you will likely receive pushback from pro-Israel folks, please know you that you are giving voice to a position supported by many of us.
Alisa Gayle, Toronto

The problem with Ms McQuaig and her fellow travelers’ support of BDS is that it singles out Israel, not just in the region but amongst the nations of the world, and does nothing to move along the peace process. To say that the solution to the 100-year conflict lies solely on one side can only be rationalized by someone wearing blinders.
Ms May’s thoughtful rejection of supporting this movement should be praised. Ms McQuaig is the one to be admonished for her stance.
Morris Sosnovitch, Toronto

I agree with writer Linda McQuaig. The leader of the Green Party should not only stay but work as hard as ever that her party does not become the hijacked home base of the anti-Israel bashing club that singularly focuses on Israel and excludes all others.
The solidarity with Palestine is all well and fine except that there is only silence for the people of Sudan and Syria who we see slaughtered daily on a scale that is horrific and cruel.
The military occupation over Palestinian lands will end when there is trust and a true commitment in place to build peace based on a two-state solution by both sides. Peace will never flow by punishing and demonizing one side in a complicated two-sided conflict.
Elizabeth May needs to stay to fight for the soul of her party. She needs to ensure that the Green Party remains committed to real principles and not false narratives.
Martin Gladstone, Toronto 

Linda McQuaig’s article presents several incorrect statements and a false narrative. BDS is not a “peaceful way to protest” Israel’s perceived misteps – it is an odious attempt to delegitimize the State of Israel. Palestinians live under Israeli occupation because Jordan refused to stay out of the Six Day War, forcing Israel’s hand to take the West Bank from Jordanian occupation. And the author fails to state that West Bank Palestinian Arabs enjoy far more rights than anywhere else in the Middle East.

David E. Bronfman, Toronto

Desperate Florida Anti BSD

August 25, 2016


One would have to be historically challenged not to understand a natural alignment of thought and understanding between American and Canadian blacks

Read on brothers and sisters as the Jewish Thought Police, Florida division, come down on Senator Dwight Bullard

Black Lives Matter and so Palestinian Lives under  occupation.


Bullard told The Electronic Intifada that he went on the trip to “develop an understanding” of the Palestinian side that is often missing from the mainstream narrative. He added that he is willing to go on a trip hosted by a pro-Israel group as well, though he is unhappy with the reaction he has received from such groups since his return.
“Had I gone on an AIPAC trip or toured with the [Anti-Defamation League] there would be no outrage or Palestine group protesting outside my office,” argued Bullard, referring to two of the major national pro-Israel lobby groups. “It’s only a news story if you pick the wrong side.”
American lawmakers routinely travel to Israel on delegations hosted by Israel lobbying groups like AIPAC – it’s practically a requirement for politicians at the national level.
Bullard was especially frustrated by the demands from Israel’s supporters that he shut out constituents based on their political views.
“As a public servant I’ve meet with a number of groups that I fundamentally disagree with on 85 percent of issues but I still meet with them. I’m a strong pro-choice advocate but I meet with all the pro-life folks,” he said. “And we go all through it on why I can’t support their issues. I won’t close the door on them.”
The smear campaign against Bullard is just the latest fault line between pro-Israel groups and African American activists and leaders affiliated with the Movement for Black Lives.
Early this month, pro-Israel groups attempted to discipline MBL for expressing solidarity with Palestinians in its platform.



The Dream Defenders, which endorsed the MBL platform and whose members helped draft it, strongly denounced the reaction from Zionist groups.
After meeting with Palestinians who support BDS and seeing the repressive conditions they live under, Bullard has come to understand the boycott as part of their struggle for their civil rights.
“I think what people need to do is recognize why an African American would feel a sense of alignment with oppressed people,” said Bullard.
“It’s not just hearing about injustices happening to the Palestinian people. When you see it first hand, that’s a game changer,” he added.

“The fact that it was so in your face, you realize your own privilege even in circumstances related to race. We talk about driving while Black [in the US]. The idea that [in Palestine] you have to be carrying a particular ID in order to move freely within spaces in a place that you call home, that stuck with me,” he said.
Bullard was so disturbed by what he witnessed, he felt compelled to wear a kuffiyeh – a Palestinian checkered headscarf – at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last month, “to show solidarity with Palestine,” he said.

A Jewish Telegraph Agency reporter noticed Bullard’s scarf and snapped a photo of him that was published with a story on Bullard’s trip to Palestine.
“There’s segregation and injustice going on over there,” said Bullard, “and in the words of Dr. King, injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Cynical cruelty: administrative detention

August 22, 2016

In a 2010 letter to students urging the University of California to divest from Israel, Bishop Desmond Tutu wrote: “ Despite what detractors may allege, you are doing the right thing. You are doing the moral thing…I have been in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and I have witnessed the racially segregated roads and housing that reminded me so much of the conditions we experienced in South Africa under the racist system of Apartheid.”

Linda Mcquaig, Toronto Star, Aug. 22


The West blinded by celebrity gossip, sports, cowardly journalism and fear of criticizing the apartheid state never writes about Israel’s pride of “no capital punishment.” This of course does not includes targeted assassinations the ability to get rid of people without a fair trial, throws people in prison on outmoded British Mandate “administration detention ” which empowers military commanders in the West Bank to detain a person with no charge for 6 months, then at the whim of the jailer can extend this for another 6 months.
Gideon Levy recently wrote about this cruelty:
One case is like a thousand witnesses: the case of Bilal Kayed. A young man who completed a prison term of 14.5 years – his entire sentence – without a single furlough, without being allowed to at least say goodbye by phone to his dying father; a clear sign of evil. About six weeks ago, Kayed was getting ready for his release. A representative of the Shin Bet security service – one of the greatest agencies of evil in Israel – even showed him a photograph of the home his family had built for him to stir him up even more ahead of his release. And then, as his family waited impatiently for him at the crossing point and Kayed grew ever more excited in his cell, he was informed that he was being thrown into administrative detention for at least another six months, without trial and without explanation. Since then, he has been on hunger strike. He is cuffed to his bed. His family is not allowed to see him. Prison guards never leave his room and the lights are not turned out for a moment. Evil.


OK we are a pariah state..what next?

August 18, 2016

On August 7 of this year Israel ‘s Strategic Affairs Ministry Director Sima Vaknin told the Knesset that Israel is is perceived a “pariah state” in the international community,  adding that the ministry intends to reverse this stance in the next decade.


This is only news to those who bury their heads in the sand.These  are the National Post and the Toronto Sun who represent the tribe, never the universal ethical values of Judaism. All these are foreign to them.I t’s those damn Palestinians. Israel is always the aggrieved, the victim, never the propagator of egregious crimes. You cannot get to these people. They  would personally never tolerate a day under the incessant Palestinian  occupation.  If course, they have never visited the West Bank or Gaza on the brink of starvation, they are tribalists. They do not have to see. They know.

As a longtime friend of the Jewish community, as indeed as one once honoured by Bnai Brith for my pioneering work in Canada for teaching the Nazi holocaust, I am pained to see Israel descend to such depths. I take no pleasure at all in this. I want Israel to succeed. nobody wins as long as occupation stands

In the last 25 years we have seen the curtain pulled back on the unremitting and callous humiliation of the Palestinian people. With the advent of the internet, cell phones, Facebook et al ,Israel’s cruel brutalization of an indigenous people has become manifest to all people of conscience. For me who grew up in the bosom of the Jewish community it has taken me decades to unravel the mystery of thow he victims of the Nazi genocide could subject the Palestinian people to war criminal policies of mass deportations,, transfer and ethnic cleansing.


It is heart warming to see so many Jews of conscience speaking against occupation.

it is staggering to see the harassment of teachers like Nadia Shoufani pilloried for appearing in public and virtually parroting Canada’s opposition to Israel’s increasing theft of Palestinian territory.


It is embarrassing to see Jewish organizations attempting to shut down the civil rights of a citizen.To B’nai Brith and the Wiesenthal Centre I say Shonda. Shame on you for your disgusting harrassment of a canadian citizen.You need to get in touch with the beautiful deep wells of universal Judaism insteId of a worn out Zionism. You need  to remember the Exodus message (22:21) of not oppressing a foreigner as you were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. Your support for the present day  apartheid-like policies of Israel is a form of idolatry with Israel replacing God and Judaism’s universal moral and ethical values.

Call off your crude witch hunts. You are on the wrong side of history. Do everything you can to bring Israel to its senses. Right now you and organizations like AIPAC are doing immense damage to Israel.Nobody wishes to delegitimize Israel. it simply wants the state to live up to its 1948 promise:

It will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex.”

That idealist vision is betrayed daily in Israel. such hollow, hypocritical words.

Nadia Shoufani and Christians like her are merely responding to the call  not only  of Jews of Conscience but the entire Christian leadershp in Palestine who wrote in 2009 (the Kairos document).


Our word is a cry of hope, with love, prayer and faith in God. We address it first of all to ourselves and then to all the churches and Christians in the world, asking them to stand against injustice and apartheid, urging them to work for a just peace.”

We proclaim our word based on our Christian faith and our sense of Palestinian belonging – a word of faith, hope and love.
We declare that the military occupation of Palestinian land constitutes a sin against God and humanity. Any theology that legitimizes the occupation and justifies crimes perpetrated against the Palestinian people lies far from Christian teachings.

A pariah state can only be redeemed by ending this cruel occupation not by attacking and scapegoating Canadian citizens who are defending international law and the right to resist oppression.


Palestinians: Do Not resist

August 11, 2016

It is to shake your head to see how desperate the out of touch Canadian Jewish organizations like the Simon Wiesenthal Centre and Bnai Brith are when it comes to anybody expressing solidarity with justice for Palestinians under occupation.


On August 7 in Israel Strategic Affairs Ministry Director General Sima Vaknin told lawmakers that Israel is perceived a “pariah state” in the international community and the ministry intends to reverse this stance in the next decade. You can read this in Israel but you will never see it reported here in our major dailies.


But for organizations like the Wiesenthal Centre and Bnai Brith the problem is those damn Palestinians who refuse to shut up and accept what Jewish writer ben Ehrenreich calls “the humiliation machine”.

We know that the Israeli ministry will do what it always has—more PR, more greenwashing and pinkwashing and never the obvious: It’s the occupation stupid!


The latest desperate move by the above organizations is the pathetic attempt to shut down the civil rights of Catholic elementary teacher Nadia Shoufani who had the actual gall to appear at a rally defending Palestine’s right to resist the illegal occupation of its land.


Now this will be ultimately laughed out as Ms Shoufani was engaged in legitimate activity outside school hours.
But the Catholic board Dufferin-Peel and the the teachers union OECTA are less than bold in their own justice making activity. OECTA particularly has been embarrassingly mum in responding to Kairos Palestine (2009) which is shockingly seven years in the past.


We are a Christian Palestinian movement,
born out of the Kairos Document, which advocates for ending the Israeli occupation and achieving a just solution to the conflict.

Based on Kairos South Africa, the clarion call 31 years ago (1985) by all the Christian churches for support in ending apartheid.

It is absolutely stunning to see a Catholic trade union of educated people mum on this issue, a document put forth by all, yes all, the Christian churches of Palestine.

Our word is a cry of hope, with love, prayer and faith in God. We address it first of all to ourselves and then to all the churches and Christians in the world, asking them to stand against injustice and apartheid, urging them to work for a just peace.”

We proclaim our word based on our Christian faith and our sense of Palestinian belonging – a word of faith, hope and love.

We declare that the military occupation of Palestinian land constitutes a sin against God and humanity. Any theology that legitimizes the occupation and justifies crimes perpetrated against the Palestinian people lies far from Christian teachings.


Does an body at OECTA which constantly parrots its commitment to “human rights” even know about the Kairos document?

Don’t ask.

Indepoendent Jewish Voices and the Greens

August 10, 2016

Independent Jewish Voices is the voice of sanity and social justice for progressive Jews in Canada.



Like any progressive party, the membership and conventions decide party policy.

At their last conclave the Greens voted to support the BDS movement.

This sent leader Elizabeth May into a convulsive state.

All leaders of Canadian parties when it comes to Israel  are totally out of touch with the brutal reality of occupation in Israel/Palestine but for many reasons are terrified of being accused of being anti-Semitic, a worn out canard if there ever was one.


Today with the advent of the internet, cell phones, Facebook and exposure tours Israel’s crimes and flaunting of international law as well as its massive disproportionate slaughters in Gaza have been laid to bare.
Today there is a massive disconnect between institutional Jewish leaders from rabbis to NGOS and millenials who have cut through the decades of propaganda.
Congrats to the Green membership says IJV in their latest press release
We congratulate the Green Party of Canada on the passage of its historic Palestinian rights resolutions

“The Green Party of Canada has passed two resolutions of historic importance that can only have a positive impact on the pursuit of justice and peace in the Middle East, as well as on Canadian democracy,” said Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV) spokesperson Tyler Levitan.
On Sunday, the Greens passed a resolution endorsing the non-violent tactic of Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS). The BDS movement began in 2005 when a broad coalition of Palestinian civil society organizations called on international activists, governments, and institutions to apply pressure on the Israeli government to comply with international law and respect Palestinians’ rights.
Levitan explained that,“This is the first time a Canadian political party with representation in the House of Commons has taken a strong and positive position in solidarity with the grassroots Palestinian movement for freedom, justice and equality.”
In 2004, the International Court of Justice ruled that the route of Israel’s segregation wall and its use of Jewish-only settlements to displace and dispossess Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories were illegal. “I read [that] decision,” said Lisa Barrett, the Green Party’s Shadow Cabinet Critic for International Affairs. “The decision was made by highly qualified jurists and we as a Party have to support social justice. We’ve seen BDS tactics work against the Apartheid regime in South Africa, and if we hadn’t pursued it vigorously then, Nelson Mandela would have died in jail. Our resolution is very explicit that we are targeting those Israeli companies that profit from the Occupation of Palestine,” Barrett said.
“One day the Palestinian people will have a just peace. Those who fail to stand for Palestinian rights will be judged harshly. Let us not be judged harshly.” – Dimitri Lascaris, Green Party Justice Critic (who submitted BDS resolution)
At the convention, the Greens also passed an historic resolution in support of revoking the charitable status of the Jewish National Fund of Canada (JNF Canada), an organization whose flagship project, “Canada Park”, is situated over the ruins of ethnically cleansed Palestinian villages within the occupied West Bank.

While the original resolution referred specifically to the JNF Canada, the resolution that passed held to the original resolution’s intent, but broadened its scope to include all charities that are in violation of Canadian or international human rights law. Elizabeth May stated that “I want to be clear about this: the Jewish National Fund has been complicit and involved in human rights violations in building Canada Park on top of land that was dispossessed from Palestinians who are living there in 1967.”

Yearning for the past

August 8, 2016

In Detroit on the weekend I spent time talking with a lifelong Detroiter near St.Mary’s Catholic Church in Greektown. Old St Mary’s as it is now called is the third oldest Roman Catholic Church in Detroit and the first German Church. Many parishes in American cities I have visited are ethnically based. Many Germans came to Detroit before the Civil War and in 1841 the first St.Mary’s was built. Detroit was then an ooutpost, the beginning of the Midwest and its population was but 5,000. In 1884 the origianl was replaced by a lovely Victorian Gothic structure.

The original school staffed by Christian brothers in 1855 stands across the road—ready for development! and the vultures have moved in, probably condos near downtown.

The gentleman laughed when I asked him about the parish run by the Spiritan order.

“Well, nobody lives here in Greektown but they come in freom the burbs and  pack the place on Sundays—for the Latin mass and boy they do not like this pope,”,he laughed.

The parish is replete with nuns in traditional garb, eucharistic adoration and the Tridentine mass.


More Catholics yearning for the past, freezing a moment in time as “The Tradition.” Very sad indeed.

Scripture has a great story at people who look over their shoulder instead of the onrush of the future and the Spirit’s presence there.

But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. Gen.19:26

My old prof Mcluhan used to say,” It’s great to have a rear view mirror but you’ll miss what’s ahead of you.”

Theologian Jarosalv Pelikan has a nice distinction between tradition and traditionalism.

Tradition is the living spirit of the dead.Traditionalism is the dead spirit of the living.

Here in the Tridentime mass and in all nostalgia movements which sacralize the past you create the past; you have the external structures which never by themselves give life—but the living spirit has fled.

Sounds like old St Mary’s.

The Spiritans are like many religious orders. Many who embrace the living Spirit and some still mired in a long gone past.


Netanyahu’s Hypocrisy

August 4, 2016



In July Israel’s  Prime Minister on Facebook but not in the Knesset apologized to Palestinians for his racist remark that “Arabs were rushing to the polls to vote.”Designed for international consumption—he would have been tarred and feathered if he dared to do this in Israel’s parliament, the pseudo-apology  has fallen flat everywhere for obvious reasons.. Asking Palestinians to work together? Not on their watch.The  great newspaper Haaretz asked  Mohammed Bakri to respond:

Minister Netanyahu, I Don’t Believe You
What is this equality you suddenly speak of? Your empty speech has no basis in reality. For the sake of both the peoples living here: resign.


To Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister.
I saw you speak, and I thought how happy I’d be had I believed even one word that came out of your mouth. Much water has flowed to the sea since you warned Israeli Jews, in a live broadcast a few hours before the polls closed, from the flood of Arabs heading out to vote. The lie was soon found out, and now too the lie in your words is clear.
I am a citizen of Israel, and I am proud of my artistic and personal accomplishments. I achieved them not thanks to you, but thanks to my work and my talent and my insistence on sticking to my principles. For the latter, I have paid, and still pay, a heavy price. I am boycotted and ostracized solely because I dared to come out against the occupation and the moral crimes committed during Operation Defensive Shield in the West Bank in 2002.
The Israeli government did everything in its power to persuade the nation that my film “Jenin, Jenin” was a web of lies and manipulations — and it succeeded. You turned me into a traitor and a hater of Israel; you placed the mark of Cain on my brow. (People in the street ask me, “Where did you disappear to? Why don’t we see you on the screen anymore?” And I’m usually ashamed to tell them the truth).
So what is this equality, this democracy, you speak of? How can someone like me, who believed his whole life (and who still believes) in the right of both peoples, Israeli and Palestinian, to live side by side in love and respect and equality, be a full partner and work shoulder to shoulder with my Jewish Israeli brothers when you’ve stripped me of the right to open my mouth and the ability to provide food for my children?
How can I believe your statements when on the ground the occupation continues to flourish, and plans for building thousands of apartments for Israeli Jews in the West Bank are published day after day? How can I believe them when in reality, you’ve demolished houses in Ramle’s Dahamesh neighborhood again and again, persecuted its young men and women and beaten them with batons?
Unlike you, I genuinely dream of a future for our children — one without an army, without wars, without despair, without the Islamic State, without crazy fanatics. I dream of a shared life, without hatred, without oppression of the other — a life of genuine, mutual love and respect.
Your empty speech has no basis in reality. You’ve proven with your deeds that not a word of it will come true as long as you are in power. For the sake of both the peoples living here: Resign.

Mohammad Bakri
Haaretz Contributor