The revival of an ancient calumny
In response to the genocidal Hamas agenda, churches have turned on its Jewish victims
There’s an unmistakable drumbeat to the antisemitism that’s erupted across the west in the wake of the October 7 pogrom. In response to the genocidal Jew-hatred fuelling Hamas and the Palestinian Arabs, an even older form of the oldest hatred has surfaced— Christian hostility to the Jews.
The wholly unwarranted western condemnation of the Israel Defence Forces for causing an allegedly disproportionate death rate among Gaza civilians echoes the ancient Christian calumny that the Jews are killers motivated by revenge and blood lust. The churches themselves are explicitly fuelling this demonisation.
Last Saturday, the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem claimed in a statement that “a sniper of the IDF murdered two Christian women inside the Holy Family Parish in Gaza, where the majority of Christian families has taken refuge since the start of the war. No warning was given, no notification was provided. They were shot in cold blood inside the premises of the parish, where there are no belligerents.”
This incendiary allegation was repeated uncritically as fact across the western media.
The following day, however, Fox News reported an IDF statement that an incident took place instead “near the Latin Church in the Shejayia area,” a different church altogether in another part of Gaza where IDF troops had “operated against a threat that they identified in the area of the church”.
The Elder of Zion website reported that this didn’t stop The Christian Post from claiming the IDF had “confirmed” it had shot and killed the two women “on the grounds of Gaza City’s only Catholic church”. Yet confusingly, the paper also said the IDF had “confirmed” to Fox News that the incident took place near the church in the Shejayia area of Gaza during an operation against Hamas terrorists.
The Christian Post, whose report has been removed from the web, may have been confused by the IDF mistakenly referring to the Shejaiya church as Latin. Shejaiya is the location of a Greek Orthodox and an Episcopalian church; the Holy Family church, in Rimal, is the only Gaza parish under the Jerusalem Latin Patriarchate.
On Monday, Israel ended any such confusion when the Prime Minister’s Office stated categorically: “There was no fighting in the Rimal neighbourhood on Saturday where this Catholic church was located.”
Yet that same day, the Pope’s message-board Vatican News not only repeated but even embellished the original accusation. The Israeli military, it said, had “entered the compound of the Holy Family Catholic Parish in Gaza, shooting at anyone leaving the church”.
On top of this fresh and unsubstantiated allegation, which ignored the Israelis’ flat denial that they had been operating anywhere near this church, the Vatican then upped the ante and framed this as a religious war by claiming: “Israelis have opened fire on Gaza’s Christians.”
This hysterical and vicious misrepresentation of Israel’s desperate battle to destroy Hamas reflects the moral bankruptcy of Pope Francis himself.
Not only did he claim that Israel was subjecting unarmed civilians to bombings and shootings and that “this even happened inside the parish complex of the Holy Family,” but he has also repeatedly described Israel’s war to destroy Hamas as terrorism.
In October, he reportedly held a fraught phone call with Israeli President Isaac Herzog whom he told: “It is forbidden to respond to terror with terror.”
Equating the attacks by Hamas with the attempt to destroy its capacity to repeat them is to strip Israel of the legitimacy of its defence against genocide.
The church has simply lost its moral compass. Although it condemned the October 7 pogrom, it has rendered this worthless by attacking the victims of Hamas’s genocidal agenda. This inevitably calls to mind the shocking record of the Catholic church during the Holocaust, when Pope Pius XII turned a blind eye to Nazi atrocities.
The same prejudice has been on copious display in the liberal Protestant churches led by the Church of England. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: “The relentless bombardment of hospitals and civilians in Gaza is intolerable. It’s against international humanitarian law — it must stop and stop now. The misuse of hospitals by Hamas does not justify attacks by Israel. Two wrongs don’t make a right.”
Welby conspicuously failed to acknowledge that under international law a hospital can be attacked if it is being used as a terrorist command centre or ammunition store, as Gaza’s hospitals have been.
Moreover, for the leader of Anglicanism to represent the battle between civilisation and barbarism as “two wrongs” reveals a church that has lost all claim to moral authority.
Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, blamed what he described as “this new cycle of violence” on “decades of occupation”. Even though Israel left Gaza in 2005, both the Catholic and liberal Protestant churches believe that Israel is illegally occupying the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria.
Totally ignoring the brainwashing of the Palestinian Arabs to hate and murder Jews and drive them out of the whole of Israel, and refusing to acknowledge the relentless attacks on Israelis who live in the disputed territories in accordance with international law, the churches have swallowed the left-wing view that the Palestinians are victims of Israeli oppression.
This unholy upending of truth and morality results from the synthesis of an ancient Christian calumny with Palestinian propaganda.
Some Christians are among the most committed supporters of Israel in the world. Nevertheless, the deepest root of many churches’ hostility to the Jewish state lies in the resurrection of the previously discredited doctrine of “replacement theology,” also known as “supersessionism”.
This doctrine, which holds that because the Jews denied the divinity of Jesus they were stripped of God’s favour so that Christians became the “new Israel” while the Jews were damned, was the source of centuries of Christian atrocities against Jews until the Holocaust drove it underground.
It was given new life by Palestinian Christian “liberation theology,” which falsely states that the Palestinian Arabs were the original possessors of the Land of Israel. This invested the Palestinian claim to the land with the status of Christian writ, turning Israel into an ungodly interloper and its defenders into God’s enemies.
It is a variant of liberation theology, the doctrine propounded in the 1960s to suggest that socialist revolution was the proper fulfilment of the Christian duty to the poor —a doctrine of which Pope Francis is a leading exponent.
In its anti-Israel iteration, Jesus becomes a Palestinian persecuted by the Jews while Jesus’s “descendants” become today’s Palestinians, crucified in the very land that was supposedly promised to them. Their liberation would, of course, require the dissolution of the Jewish state.
This ludicrous and lethal fiction has been pumped out for decades by the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Centre in Jerusalem. Its founder, Father Naim Ateek, is a close friend of many senior Anglican bishops. Sabeel, used as a major resource by Anglican clergy, aid agencies and pilgrimage companies, is a crucial source of systematic, theologically based lies and libels about Israel.
Meanwhile, Christianity is under actual assault all over the world from radical Islam. Last April, churches in Pakistan and Uganda were attacked and burned by Muslim mobs. In the same month, dozens of Christians were murdered in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The vicar of Babwisi parish said: “In one night of unfathomable horror, men, women and children were slaughtered like chicken.” In Nigeria, more than 52,250 Christians have been butchered or hacked to death since 2009.
Yet on this worldwide Christian persecution, the churches are all but silent. Israel is the only country in the Middle East where Christians are safe. Yet the churches dump on Israel while genuflecting to Islam.
In this terrible war against the forces of evil in Gaza, the Christian church is once again tragically turning on its Jewish parent while embracing its Islamic assassin.
My most recent exclusive post for my premium subscribers argues that it feels as if the west has signed up en masse to Nazism scripted by Kafka. This is how the piece begins:
Frightening evidence has emerged of Hamas plots against Jews in Europe. Seven people have been arrested in Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands on suspicion of planning terror attacks against European Jewish institutions. Danish police said on Thursday that they had foiled a terrorist plot by a network with international links, having arrested two people and with four more being investigated for terrorism. The arrests, which were carried out in coordinated actions, “thwarted a terror attack plot that aimed to kill innocent civilians in Europe,” according to a joint
And you can read my most recent post that’s available to everyone, arguing that the UK is marching in lockstep with America’s disastrous Middle East policy, if you click here.
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