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Thursday, August 9, 2012

United Church of Canada leaders team up with 9-11 conspiracy nuts to demonize Israel

As their numbers plummet while the average age of its membership is in the Senior Citizen category, the United Church of Canada is finding some very strange bedfellows in its desperate struggle for relevance.

Unable to find it in a revitalization of religious belief, it has somewhat foolishly turned to finding common cause with radical political movements. In what could be mistaken for an ecclesiastic pantomime of a G20 protest, environmental extremists, anti-Israel fanatics, Omar Khadr aficionados, and  immigration reform opponents have all been courted by the current United Church leadership. The result was not new adherents so much as alienating a large number of the rank-and file and continuing the exodus away from the Church's thinning pews.

One of the most controversial and potentially self-destructive moves the United Church has made has been to engage in yet another foray into the quagmire of the Israeli-Arab dispute, with a decidedly anti-Israel bias. Ironically while striving to demonstrate how "progressive" it is, the United Church's embrace of radical leftist ideology has returned it to the ancient, anti-Semitic roots of early Christian theology. The United Church's Working Group on Israel Palestine, whose report recommends a boycott of Israeli settlement goods, heavily draws upon the so-called Palestine Kairos document. That treatise denies a special relationship between Israel and the Jewish people, places all the blame on Israel for its ongoing conflict with the Palestinians, and refers to "the Israeli occupation" as "an evil and a sin that must be resisted and removed."  The document, which says of Israelis,  "they must liberate themselves from the evil that is in them and the injustice they have imposed on others," is considered by many to be inherently anti-Semitic.

Among the most insidious aspects of the new leftist Jew-hate is its tactic of trotting out ridiculous Jewish anti-Zionist fanatics and displaying them like comical banners at the front of an April Fool's parade. In that vein, the United Church's of Canada's Comox-Nanaimo Presbytery's declaration that they "work with Jewish organizations such as Independent Jewish Voices, which are committed to seeing Justice for the people of Palestine" is less offensive than if Shutzstaffel leader Heinrich Himmler had said "we are working with our Jewish labor camp kapos, who are committed to seeing justice for the Aryan people," but we are only talking about degrees.

Independent Jewish Voices is headed by a 9-11 conspiracy theorist named Diana Ralph. After 12 years hard work of being on Disability Leave from her position of Associate Professor of Social Work at Carleton University, Ms Ralph, who seemed to get around a lot for someone on disability leave, retired from that institution in 2011. With all that additional extra free time, she can now devote herself exclusively to eradicating Jewish national self-determination.

As one might expect, Ms Ralph is not the only 9-11 conspiracy theorist in the organization she co-founded. Her co-Chair and fellow Independent Jewish Voices founder Sid Shiniad shares her views and the organization of fringe radicals is liberally peppered with adherents to a movement that proposes the attack by Muslim terrorists on the World Trade Center and Pentagon was actually the work of "neo-cons and Zionists."

Independent Jewish Voices are, as the National Post's Jonathan Kay observed:
an extremist group whose leaders support a total economic boycott of Israel, defend the UN's original anti-Semitic Durban conference, support the destruction of the Jewish character of Israel through the influx of millions of Palestinians, spread conspiracy theories about the "Israeli lobby," promote the blood libel that Israel deliberately targeted "children playing on roofs" during the Gaza conflict, and cheered on the illegal occupation of the Israeli consulate in Toronto..
If the United Church's leaders think they can shield themselves from being perceived as anti-Semitic by playing footsie with a small group of fringe Jews whose actions and statements could easily be interpreted to suggest serious, unresolved psychiatric issues, they will find themselves sorely mistaken.

Yet in the ranks of the United Church there are still voices of sanity and reason. Reverend Andrew Love of Grace St. Andrew's United Church in Arnprior has launched a campaign to counter the noxious agenda of the denomination's leadership. He says that "there remains an undercurrent of anti-Semitism" in the church. Love has warned that if the recommendations of the Working Group on Israel/Palestine's report are adopted, the United Church, rather than advancing the cause of peace, will destroy its relationship with the Jewish community and render itself irrelevant to playing any role in helping resolve the Israel/Palestine question.

That's an insightful assessment that towers above anything the United Church's leaders have offered on the issue to date. Whether it is one that the Church's leaders heed at its General Council next week will decide less about the future of the mideast than it will about a United Church that is in danger of loosing its bearings.


rick mcginnis said...

"In danger of losing its bearings"? Has lost it's bearings, and a long time ago. The UCC's fate was probably sealed at its inception, when it dispensed with almost two centuries of Protestant nonconformist doctrine in pursuit of some kind of quasi-national church entity, which it felt it could legitimately aspire to considering the numbers the Methodist and Presbyterian congregations it was subsuming commanded in its pews across the country at the beginning of the century.

Demography isn't static, however, and politics poisons churches inevitably, so it's no surprise that, as numbers waned and the UCC diminished inexorably over the decades, its leaders found themselves preferring political and social objectives to spiritual ones; by the 1980s, I'd say that the UCC had become the NDP at prayer, and its fate was sealed.

The last member of the UCC will switch off the lights in the last church building in a generation, of this I am certain. The only question is whether it will become a condo or a mosque.

Richard K said...

I think you may be right about the current state of affairs, Rick. But I have some vague recollection of the UC actually teaching the Bible and the lessons of Jesus Christ at some point in the past.

rick mcginnis said...

That was probably true up until the moment its own ministers started writing articles and giving interviews where they explained that they don't really believe in Christ. I suppose they need to keep up with the Anglican Church in the rush to apostasy.

Anonymous said...

I knew a guy who left the United Church, and then became a Christian. In testimony meetings, he would always make sure to assure the audience that it wasn't because of the Church's doctrine, "because they didn't have any."

Richard K said...

Funny..and sounds very true!

Anonymous said...

Actually, Diana Ralph hasn't been the co-ordinator of IJV for several years. According to Wikipedia the co-ordinator is Scott Weinstein. Also, according to the Wikipedia article: Howard Davidson, a member of the IJV steering committee, stated that Ms. Ralph's past has "nothing to do with the IJV" and that "The positions of Diana Ralph stated in those articles do not represent the positions of the IJV."

Richard K said...

Really? - Wikipedia - the encyclopedia for dummies? she's been out speaking on behalf of the group as recently as last year


And earlier this week, her fellow co-founder and 9-11 conspiracy theorist Sid Shinad was on CBC speaking on behalf of the group

Anonymous said...

She may have written a letter but she hasn't been IJV's coordinator since 2009. You're beating a dead horse and that IJV quote - which is from the National Post - clearly states that her views on 911 have nothing to do with IJV and are not IJV's position. I guess by your argument because former Canadian Jewish Congress co-chair Bulka advocates the pseudo-scientific position that gays can be "converted" into heterosexuals that this must also have been the CJC's position.

Anonymous said...

You'll also notice that in the rabble link you just posted she does not call herself "co-ordinator" or any title.

Richard K said...

It's a group of fringe lunatics that'll get in bed with any Jew- hater they meet as long as they get a chance to get attention for themselves. One of their "spokesmen" was a featured speaker at Toronto's Khomeinist al Quds Rally yesterday, where he complained about the "Jewish Lobby." I thought they were supposed to be "part of the Jewish community too" if the IJV imbeciles are to be believed.

I'm yet to meet one of them that doesn't have serious emotional/psychological problems. Have fun with them.