PZ posted on Paul Oestreicher’s “deep thoughts” on Zionism here. Melanie Phillips has a particularly stinging rebuttal.
Today, a churchman has replied to Sir Jonathan in terms which suggest that the Chief Rabbi’s remarks understated the unfathomable depths of the venom towards Israel within parts of the church. In the Guardian Paul Oestreicher, a former member of the General Synod, former director of the Centre for International Reconciliation at Coventry Cathedral and now a chaplain at the University of Sussex, has written a riposte which turns the stomach through its combination of manipulation, misrepresentation and sheer unadulterated hatred – which is even more disgusting because it has the gall to present itself as love. Yes, says Oestreicher, Sir Jonathan is right that hatred of Judaism continues to stalk the world. But then, having carefully wrapped himself in the mantle of both Judaism and the Holocaust through his Jewish-born father, and having even more carefully identified himself with ‘Jewish fears’ over Iran’s threat to obliterate Israel, he says this hatred of the Jews is their own fault. They have brought it on themselves through Israel’s behaviour. And he supports this odious claim with a series of gross misrepresentations. Thus:
I cannot listen calmly when an Iranian president talks of wiping out Israel. Jewish fears go deep. They are not irrational. But I cannot listen calmly either when a great many citizens of Israel think and speak of Palestinians in the way a great many Germans thought and spoke about Jews when I was one of them and had to flee.
Now let’s get this right. He’s comparing Israeli Jews to German supporters of the Nazi party. German Nazis believed the Jews were a global virus which had to be exterminated. Israelis have been under existential attack by Palestinian Arabs for fifty years. Israelis don’t want to wipe out Palestinians; Palestinians want to wipe out Israelis. The comparison beggars belief – and Oestreicher wraps himself in the mantle of the Holocaust to make it.
Read the rest. Part of what makes Oestreicher’s discussion particularly disturbing is how deeply it is pervaded by this comparison of Israelis with Nazis when the appropriate comparison is with the Arab desire to destroy Israel and its addiction to both genocidal hatemongering and violence.
This equation of Zionism and Nazism used to be relegated to the margins of the extreme fringe of the anti-Zionist left. Since the outbreak of the Intifada 2000, however, it has become an increasingly common theme of people who claim to inhabit the mainstream. This is one of the lasting legacies of the MSM’s coverage of the “Second Intifada”, in which the disastrous error of reporting the Israeli killing of Muhammad al Durah played a critical role both in the Arab world and in the West. After the catastrophic reporting of both the outset of the violence and again the “massacre” of Jenin, the floodgates opened. International forums given over to demonizing Israel, like the Durban conference that concluded days before 9-11, gave international legitimacy to Arab rage. Apparently the gates remain wide open despite how much the world has since learned about the way Jihadis play the game.
What will it take for Europe to awaken from its suicidal slumber?
Update. A very interesting post on Oestreicher at Oliver Kamm’s blog from May 2004, for those of us who just discovered the man’s twisted moral universe. (Hat tip: David Adler)