By Simon Rocker
January 23, 2009
Writing in the Catholic weekly, The Universe, the columnist James Kelly explains why "I'm apparently a member of a minority group... when I learn about what's happening in the Middle-East, I don't feel the need to rush out and burn the nearest Israeli flag.
"Despite the way it's presented as a perfectly reasonable thing to do, I don't find myself making a placard in support of terrorist groups who have as their goals the destruction of Israel and all Jews."
Although critical of Israel's assault on Gaza, he was repelled by some of the "deeply unpleasant" scenes of protest outside the Israeli Embassy.
"Equally as disgusting," he concludes, "is the opinion that Israel has forgotten its own history and is now committing a holocaust against Muslims, that Palestine has become like the Warsaw ghetto.
"The Holocaust was the deliberate and planned attempt at the racial extermination of the Jews. Israel is not systematically attempting to wipe Muslims from the face of the Earth. Anyone who claims that is misguided or deliberating undercutting Israel's very right to exist, born as it was out of that horrendous event.
"And there perhaps lies the real problem. Many in the Middle East do not recognise Israel's right to exist. Mixed with a virulent does of antisemitism, this mindset means peace becomes ever more unlikely."
The (Anglican) Church Times, however, lays into Israel with a hostile editorial entitled "Israel is judged by what it destroyed" and a letter co-authored by Canon Paul Ostreicher who cites his Jewish background in calling for economic sanctions.