I've added some links to this blog. Ruth got me started. Anglicans for Israel are revolutionising attitudes in the Church. Melanie is ... well, Melanie. Normblog is a former colleage; his daughter went to school with mine. And the others are pretty explanatory.
I hope soon to link to the Haifa blog which welcomes olim from France and elsewhere. They have certainly welcomed me.
What a week so far. Yesterday's Clitheroe lecture on the Israel/Palestine conflict was even worse than expected, run by the local strategic partnership and a Muslim foundation. When the lecturer (a Flem, as he put it) stated that any Jews in the audience would agree with him that there had never been any spiritual quest for the Jews to emigrate (he didn't even say 'return') to Israel, and it was mainly the imperial power of the British and also the Holocaust which were the main movers, I just had to get up and disagree, didn't I? Great mistake. He said I wasn't an expert and a man from behind told me to shut up and let the speaker get on with it.
Later, in the break, when I went to have a quiet word with said Flem, the Muslim organiser and another guy, who I suppose was from the strategic partnership, accused me of harassing their 'guest'. Me, a mere female, with three big men! Really wants to make you weep, doesn't it? Well, what I say to that is that it was a public meeting which had been advertised as being open to all. And when people are making defamatory statements about Jews, and you happen to be in the audience and are Jewish, and are even urged to participate by a regular attender, who has assured you more than once that there was nothing to fear, and there sure is, well really, what is the point of staying in this country any more? It is a long time since I have put myself in the position of experiencing sexism and racism at one venue, but I sure did last night and will think twice about doing so again. And then another guy got up and said that Jesus and his disciples had been Jewish, as the 'Last Supper' ws actually the Passover meal and that wasn't recently, but 2000 years ago, so what was the speaker going on about. It was obvious that most in the audience were unaware of this fact. In fact this guy was so good and convincing, that he too was barracked and told to shut up.
In the second half, the speaker at least admitted that Hamas was a real problem and that the Christians under their rule were being Islamicised. So when I got up and thanked him for saying this and went on to talk about the present and future, having stated that I disagreed with him on the past, I mentioned that many Jewish people are risking their lives in Israel for peace. Some of the women came over after and thanked me and one even asked me to join the local interfaith group, which has no Jews in it at present, which of course I can't do, but it was nice of them to ask.
And then the area Anglican interfaith advisor came up and introduced himself, right at the end, because we had been in e-mail correspondence. He had witnessed all these intimidatory tactics against Jews and had done not a thing to stop them. No, he was more concerned about Muslim-Christian dialogue, and said so.
At least he was honest. But this unholy alliance between Christians and Muslims will probably tear the Church asunder, and tomorrow's Church of England Newspaper has an article about Bishop Riah, Anglican spiritual leader of Jerusalem (what a joke), stating that we are no longer the chosen people. I have news for you, Bishop, it doesn't matter what you say, because only time will tell, and in the meantime you come across as a very dangerous buffoon. Oh yes, and Caterpillar is doing very well thanks to publicity from you and the machinations within the Church of England.
And I later found out that the speaker had been told during the break that he was seriously misleading the public and had to get his act together. And it was a male who had told him that, so he had listened and although still proposterous in some of what he said, at least made some concessions to the truth.
But would I have done any better in an audience of such intimidatory types? You always tailor your talks to the audience and I don't think the organisers or the speaker expected anyone to disagree with the main approach, because let's face it, how many Jews actually live in Clitheroe? Exactly.
And when we learn this week that Britain is the antisocial behaviour capital of Europe, we only have to go to the Clitheroes of this country to find out why.
And now for the BBC. They broadcast a dreadful trio of pro-Muslim propaganda features on last Sunday's 'Sunday Programme'. First, and in contrast even to this most biased of speakers in Clitheroe, they interviewed Christians in Bethlehem who said that life under Hamas was hunky-dory, thereby agreeing with their leader, Bishop Riah. It was only the Israeli government which was the problem, they said. Then they had a feature about a new Muslim-Jewish enterprise in Cambridge and the presenter, Roger Bolton, stated that the main problem between Muslims and Jews was the behaviour of the State of Israel. And the guest did not disagree (maybe he is not a Jewish woman) and, moreover, said that the Muslims had every right to 'Al Quds'. And the final piece of this unholy trinity dealt with a review of mosques in Britain, which stated that everything was hunky-dory, and if not, that was nothing to do with the Muslims, but everything to do with socio-economic factors. Very like our Flemish lecturer, in fact.
But what can you expect from an organisation which doesn't realise till it is too late that the expert they are interviewing on internet use is actually going for a job as 'data cleanser'. Pity, they didn't let him loose on the Sunday Programme: cleansing a bit of that data wouldn't have gone awry. Come to think of it, I believe there is a vacancy for the top job in Religion and Ethics....
Talking of which, we had the Christian Aid Week sermon at Canterbury Cathedral on Sunday, in which the speaker cited the Jewish prophet, Amos, who he appeared to misconstrue, in order (it seemed to me in any case) to let rip at Israel, but without actually mentioning her by name. Clever ploy: Christian Aid has come in for a lot of criticism in the last few years, for its stance on Israel. I know what it is like to be booed and hissed at in Manchester University's Anglican chaplaincy, merely for daring to disagree with them on Israel. But after all, Christian Aid is an extremely wealthy and powerful charity, which brooks no dissent. So, a bit of subliminal really does do the trick. Of course, I could be wrong, and I do hope I am, but being married to a psychologist....
And finally, three great articles in the Times. How to cook a week's suppers for two for £25 (problem is, her sausages cost 49p, a bit less than the kosher variety), but still, a good lesson in frugality. Then there was one on how to assess the different types of awful bosses. And Dr. Thomas Stuttaford had a good one on how exercising the mind is as important as exercising the body, and cites the example of an elderly Polish-Jewish woman, who currently has an art exhibition running. Had a soft spot for him ever since he advocated bone scans for women in their '50s. When my own doctor at first demurred, I showed her his article, was offered the scan, and found that because I had done a lot of walking as a teenager, my bones were great. So thank you, Dr. Stuttaford, and you and your article certainly make up for Clitheroe.