Monday, December 30, 2013

30-Dec-13: Pretend walls, twisted messages: praising evil, condemning the innocents

In central London, a wall that conceals and vilifies: St James's Church Piccadilly [Image Source]
From a distance, events in our part of the world can appear to be oh-so-simple, particularly to those for whom the most complex of narratives reduce down to strong and bad versus weak and good

Irresponsible dumbing-down of that kind lies behind the embrace by Europeans and Americans of vile and racist terrorism, jihadism and religion-driven violence. And it's behind the infuriatingly dishonest stunt just executed by the management of a prominent London church in honour of this holiday season.

In the courtyard of St James's Church in Piccadilly, London, as part of what they have disingenuously labelled “Bethlehem Unwrapped”the church celebrated their holidays this year via the pricey construction of a wall. It's an 8 meters tall replica of the security barrier erected by Israel in the past decade as an entirely non-lethal response to the relentless, utterly lethal attacks by Islamist terrorists on ordinary Israelis: an expression of hatred and war

Kristine Luken, Kay Wilson's friend,
was murdered by Palestinian Arab
men in a hideous and especially
sadistic act of terror, near
Jerusalem three years ago. 
The St James's leadership have pretty much adopted the same jihadist strategy, using their wall as a focus for a campaign of vilification and hatred against Israelis and projecting anti-Israel propaganda onto it. 

But there is a different and much more positive sort of message that the St James's wall has evoked, without meaning to. An article entitled "Why Israel’s security barrier matters: a harrowing story often forgotten", by Raheem Kassam of points out what the stunted and distorted theological pretensions of that Piccadilly church seek to hide.
On December 18th 2010, Kay Wilson and her Christian, American friend Kristine Luken were hiking through a forest outside Beit Shemesh in Israel, around 15 miles away from Bethlehem, and 20 miles away from Jerusalem. 
Wilson, a British-born Israeli tour guide, would never have thought that on that very day, she would witness her friend being murdered in front of her own eyes, and come terrifyingly close to death herself. But that is precisely what happened, after the pair were set upon by two Palestinian terrorists, Ayad Fasafa and Kifah Ghanimat [they are in the photo below]. 
The pair, who had crossed into Israel illegally, using an area in which Israel’s security barrier was incomplete, plunged a butcher’s knife into Wilson’s chest 13 times before leaving her for dead. Wilson witnessed the last cries of her friend, Luken, as she was killed just metres away. 
Whilst Luken did not survive the attack, Wilson managed to make it to nearby picnickers, who sought help for her. Incredibly, she survived, and should perhaps be one of the most significant voices on why Israel’s security barrier is no “apartheid wall”, but instead, a necessary feature of a country and a people that are threatened daily with terrorist atrocities that make no attempt to differentiate between military and civilian targets. In her attackers’ eyes, Wilson was as legitimate a casualty of their war as an enemy combatant. 
But Wilson’s tale is not told, nor heard, often enough. 
Instead, in the West at least, we are conditioned into believing that Israel’s security barrier is some form of religious, ethnic, or cultural separation wall, designed to keep ordinary Palestinians from the more productive livelihoods that their Israeli counterparts enjoy. Nothing could be further from the truth. 
Incidents such as Wilson and Luken’s, as well as statistics that prove that the wall/fence/barrier, call it what you will, actually succeeds in stopping these heinous attacks, should serve as critical reminders of why such a measure is even necessary. But for many, neither the human implications, nor the statistical data, are enough to alter what is fundamentally a political narrative aimed at demonising the State of Israel. 
And this is what we have seen this week with St. James’s Church in London erecting a fantasy wall in “solidarity” with the Palestinians who have to live on the other side. 
As early as 2006 it was reported that since the fence’s erection, there was an approximate 90 percent decrease in the number of successful terror attacks registered. A drop of approximately 70 percent was also recorded in the number of casualties resulting from terror attacks. 
But it is much easier to stand around a fake wall in London than convey the ultimate truths and realities of the situation on the ground in Israel and the West Bank. In fact, if “Bethlehem Unwrapped” campaign were being honest about the security fence, it would have erected just a metre or two of concrete, and a simple wire fence for the rest of their demonstration, because these are the real proportions of the make-up of the real security fence. Just 10 percent of Israel’s “apartheid wall” is actually a wall, while the rest is a simple wire fence: a fact that you would not find out at the St. James’s Church demonstration. 
And of course, the fence isn’t even complete yet – a fact that Ha’aretz reported was a deciding factor in the murder of Luken, and several months earlier, of Neta Sorek, a feminist activist and English teacher.
Both of these murders, as well as the other crimes to which the suspects have been linked, raise anew the question of infiltrations from the West Bank. The area between Jerusalem and the Gush Etzion settlement bloc is well known as the “illegal migrant path”, where thousands of Palestinian job-seekers – as well as criminals and occasionally, terrorists – migrate on a weekly basis. Nine years after then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s government decided to erect the security barrier, only about two-thirds of the fence is actually standing.
Kristine Luken was a practicing Christian, someone the church should be standing up for and commemorating the life of. Instead, the St. James’s Church display makes a tawdry political mockery of Luken’s life, of Wilson’s harrowing experiences, and of Sorek’s grissly death. 
Until “pro-Palestinian” do-gooders can acknowledge the facts as laid out above, and propose some way of dealing with the horrific challenges the people of Israel face, then I’m afraid we should feel nothing but complete and utter regret towards them, and complete and utter disdain for their high-definition, YouTube-activist pantomime shows.
Kay Wilson's brutal attackers and Kristine Luken's killers: Being consistent,
no seasonal  message of goodwill and cheer from St James's Church,
Piccadilly, would be complete without them
The inimitable Melanie Phillips wrote an open letter to the Archbishop of Canterbury about this very shabby wall and the even shabbier clerical thinking behind it: "A church of hate".

And Kay Wilson, who is mentioned in Raheem Kassem's short essay above, and whose harrowing background is described here, published the following open letter yesterday on the Algemeiner website.
I believe that I of all people could be forgiven for hating Palestinians. I believe too that I could be forgiven for thinking all Palestinians are terrorists. But I do not. On the contrary, I have maintained relationships with my Palestinian friends, so that my ignorance will not give me reason to hate. I hate hatred. It is the hatred of St. James’ Church in London, in the form of a Christmas stunt, that has compelled me to write. 
I would like to think that as Christians, the church would never condone Kristine Luken’s heinous murder or the attack on myself. I suspect, however, that you may rationalise this savagery as an inevitable result of the “Israeli occupation.” 
You would probably suggest that the Palestinians who murdered my friend were themselves victims who grew up in depravity. I would concur, but would point out that if poverty was the cause, the aristocrats who flew into the twin towers had no reason to commit their crimes. 
The Palestinian terrorists were indeed victims, victims of a radical and primitive Islamist regime that force feeds them a morally malnourished diet of hatred of Jews and hatred of any life – including their own. They were also deprived: deprived of an education that cherishes culture, history, literature, art, and the dignity of difference. Their impoverished morality coupled with ignorant generalizations is what enabled two men to butcher defenseless women without so much as blinking an eye. 
The “wall” that has been erected outside St. James’ Church is hopefully just a result of your own ignorance and generalisations concerning the complex situation here in the Middle East. Nevertheless, like all walls, it serves as a facade and a barrier. 
If the wall was scrutinized, one would see that underneath the whitewashed surface that concerns itself with Israeli policies, there are blocks of anti-Semitism. These bricks stand high. They raise expectations from an entire people group. This wall precedes to separate the nation of Israel as non-desirable. 
The wall is cemented together by a superior theology that tells its people that G-d gave up on the Jews. This is the same theology that lies behind radical Islam. G-d tried the Jews, then the Christians, but ultimately it was the Muslims who He ultimately chose. 
The wall, is just one brick in a global wall of an Islamist agenda, an agenda that will stop at nothing until the destruction of the Jewish State. To your own cultural detriment, it is a wall that obstructs truth and ultimately seeks not only to destroy Israel but every Judeo-Christian society.
The wall inflames an ancient conflict that for those like myself, who live in this region, long not for an exacerbation in hatred but for a quenching of hostilities. 
The wall is an affront to Kristine Luken and other victims of terror who may well have been alive today had there have been a wall erected on the other 90 percent of land that separates us from our Palestinian neighbours. 
The wall is an injustice to Christians living under Muslim despots. Ironically it is the State of Israel, that you deem pariah and unjust, that is unique in the Middle East because unlike all of our neighbours, our Christian population is flourishing and our Christians have full religious rights. Please write on your wall, under the cross, now obscured by the crescent… RIP Kristine Luken.”
Sadly, we know from experience that people who are ready to spend large sums of cash and months of effort in creating a stunt like St James's (Lindsay Meader, Lucy Winkett, Hugh Valentine, reachable via the public email address neither listen nor noticeably understand. Trying to share the complexity of the situation with them is like talking to a wall.

So too is reminding them of the life of our daughter, Malki, terminated violently and brutally by the thuggish Hamas murderers with whom the worshippers of St James's have aligned themselves and articulately expressed solidarity.

UPDATE: Several readers who contacted us after reading the posting above requested to know how they can support the concrete good work that has been done daily and on an entirely non-political basis in memory of our murdered daughter, Malki, for the past decade. For them, and for the members of the St James's Church who will surely come to understand how deeply their understanding of how barriers and terrorists work have misled them and do teshuva, and also for readers who are as disturbed as we are by the shallowness and hypocrisy of the St James's Church leadership, here is an invitation to visit the Malki Foundation website. Giving support - perhaps just a tiny fraction of what the St James's clergy spent on their public relations bill - to the non-sectarian work of the Malki Foundation for the benefit of children from every religious persuasion in the holy land is, to our way of thinking, an excellent way to reaffirm our belief in the goodness of humanity and to acknowledge the beneficence of the divine. Click here to learn more about the Malki Foundation's work. Or view the very short video clip below.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I like the title of your blog, because it is not afraid to use the word 'war' when it is appropriate. Furthermore, I think it can be proven that the war is not only ongoing, but also unjust. And an unjust war is a crime committed by those who wage it. That the crime against humanity constituted by this ongoing unjust war has remained unacknowledged since 1948 is the true measure of anti-semitism in world politics. And it makes all those who implicitly deny the crime into accessories to the crime. That's how bad it is.

Last year, in the name of my deceased German grand-parents, I wrote an electronic letter to the German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel asking her to let Germany be the first state to recognise this ongoing crime against humanity, thereby supporting not only Israel's right to exist, but also its implication, the right to be left in peace. I got no response.