Thursday, March 29, 2007

Cardinal questions loyalty of the Roman Catholic Church to the British Government

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor is the first Roman Catholic leader in nearly 200 years to question whether Roman Catholics can be loyal to the policy of the British Government. He has stated that religion is under attack in the UK, and has condemned outright the Sexual Orientation Regulations designed to protect gay, lesbian and bisexual people from discrimination in the provision of goods and services.

He declared: "For my own part, I have no difficulty in being a proud British Catholic citizen. But now it seems to me we are being asked to accept a different version of our democracy, one in which diversity and equality are held to be at odds with religion.”

This is perhaps the most important ‘but’ since the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829, since which time Roman Catholic leaders in the United Kingdom have consistently emphasised their loyalty to the British state.

In a direct confrontation, the Cardinal said that Roman Catholics and other Christians and faith groups were going to demand their rights to continue to discriminate against homosexuality, and in particular in the Roman Catholic provision of adoption services. He gave his strongest indication that the church would close their nine adoption agencies rather than take an estimated £10m of government funds to run them in compliance with the new law. He said: “My fear is that, under the guise of legislating for what is said to be tolerance, we are legislating for intolerance. Once this begins, it is hard to see where it ends.”

Other key points in his speech included:

"My fear is that in an attempt to clear the public square of what are seen as unacceptable intrusions, we weaken the pillars on which that public square is erected, and we will discover that the pillars of pluralism may not survive.

"The question is whether the threads holding together pluralist democracy have begun to unravel. That is why I have sounded this note of alarm.

"I am conscious that when an essential core of our democratic freedom risks being undermined, subsequent generations will hold to account those who were able to raise their voices yet stayed silent.

"When Christians stand by their beliefs, they are intolerant dogmatists. When they sin, they are hypocrites.

"When they take the side of the poor, they are soft-headed liberals. When they seek to defend the family, they are right wing reactionaries."

The Cardinal said he feared that Britain was becoming a country where faith-based charity work will not be welcomed. Interestingly, it is the stated aim of David Cameron’s New Conservative Party to revive and encourage such faith-based works, and to acknowledge that the church acts very well in numerous areas of social justice where the state has manifestly failed. Mr Cameron’s problem is that he supports the Government on this issue, and so faith-based charities will be limited or eradicated by their obligation to adhere to legislation which conflicts with the tenets of that faith.

Cranmer therefore agrees absolutely and unequivocally with His Eminence, and he despairs at the deafening silence emanating from the Lambeth Palace. The Government and the Opposition have got this very wrong indeed. The Cardinal speaks not only for his church, but for the whole of Christendom.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Hamas: ‘Islam will take over the world’

"Islam will enter every house and will spread over the entire world," says Hamas leader Al-Zahar.

This from the Palestinian Media Watch:

While the Hamas goal of destroying Israel is well known, its aspiration for Islamic subjugation of the entire world is just as basic to Hamas dogma. Both aims appear in the Hamas Charter as God's irrepressible will, and both aims were reiterated this week by senior Hamas leader and former PA Foreign Minister Mahmoud Al-Zahar.

At a mass rally in memory of Hamas founder Ahmad Yassin, Al-Zahar said that the Qur’an promises the ‘liberation of all of Palestine’, meaning the destruction of Israel. Below is the translation of parts of Al-Zahars speech:

We have two important foundations: One is Qur’anic and the other is prophetic. The Qur’anic: The divine promise made in the Al-Israa Sura [Sura 17] is that we will liberate the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, and we will enter it as we have entered it the first time [Sura 17, ayat 7]. And the prophetic foundation is the message of the prophet Mohammad, that Islam will enter every house and will spread over the entire world."

"Our position is the liberation of Palestine, all of Palestine. This is the final and strategic solution for us. There is a Qur’anic message for us, that we will enter the Al-Aqsa mosque, and the entrance to the mosque means the entrance into all of Palestine. This is the message, no one can deny it. Anyone who denies it must check his faith and his Islam.”

So, not much doubt then about the aims and intentions of Hamas. Or perhaps their exegesis is faulty, and they have simply misunderstood the tolerant and peaceful message of the Qur'an...

Monday, March 26, 2007

An Ulster Settlement – a truly historic event

This photograph has been a long time coming, and many a time has the word ‘never’ reverberated through the streets of Ulster. But the years have mellowed political egos and softened spiritual hearts, and the result has been the first face-to-face meeting between Gerry Adams and the Rev Dr Ian Paisley. This is a truly historic event.

Dr Paisley said: ‘We must not allow our justified loathing of the horrors and tragedies of the past to become a barrier to creating a better and more stable future for our children… In looking to that future, we must never forget those who have suffered during the dark period from which we are, please God, now emerging.’

Cranmer foresaw the distinct possibility, and prophesied the likelihood. Dr Paisley is now an octogenarian, the age at which the Lord called Moses, and like a latter-day deliverer from an age of darkness and oppression he shall lead his people to the promised land. It is not so much a land flowing with milk and honey, but Dr Paisley is certain to implement the kind of agenda which would make members of the Conservative Party green with envy, not least because it will include the retention of Ulster’s grammar schools.

When the power-sharing executive is formed, it will have four DUP ministers, three Sinn Fein, two UUP and one SDLP. Dr Paisley will be First Minister, Martin McGuinness his deputy, and the governmental portfolios will be shared by agreement. If the future is to remain British, the Education portfolio is crucial. Sinn Fein guarded this portfolio during their last tenure in office, and they are likely to make a bid for it again.

There are, of course, other formidable obstacles to overcome. Sinn Fein turned from murder and violence as a matter of tactics, not morality. They were also somewhat upstaged by the rise of ‘Islamic terrorism’, and they saw the worldwide revulsion. When the United States threatened their finance, they had no choice but to comply. Sinn Fein would rather do a deal with Dr Paisley while he lives, for his uncompromising ghost would have haunted the political process for decades to come. Had this meeting not taken place, if devolution had not been agreed by May 8th, whoever became leader of the DUP would have lived under the perpetual doubt of ‘What would the great Dr Paisley have done?’ That question is now settled; the doubts have disappeared.

Yet while Dr Paisley spoke of Ulster and Northern Ireland, Mr Adams spoke of the Island of Ireland. They may have jumped onto the same train, but it has two distinct destinations, symbolised by the flags which fly from Stormont. One is to a united Ireland, and the other is to remain a constituent part of the United Kingdom.

At what point will the carriages need to decouple?

Pope: EU is committing ‘a form of apostasy’

His Holiness was unlikely to have been reading Cranmer’s blog yesterday, but his conclusion on the ultimate fate of the EU was identical – oblivion. While the politicians were enjoying a birthday party of banter, beer, and Beethoven, another meddlesome priest introduced a sour note of pessimism.

There, however, the coincidence ends. Cranmer prophesied the EU was ‘doomed to failure’ because of its diminution of the nation state and the lack of a distinctly European demos; the Pope prophesied ‘oblivion’ because the EU failed to mention God or Europe's Christian roots in The Berlin Declaration to mark the 50th anniversary of its founding.

That God should get a mention in the EU Constitution was a favoured theme of Pope John Paul II, because this was the ‘very soul’ of the continent. Pope Benedict is simply perpetuating the dream of Rome, and he asks: ‘If on the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome the governments of the union want to get closer to their citizens, how can they exclude an element as essential to the identity of Europe as Christianity, in which the vast majority of its people continue to identify?... Does not this unique form of apostasy of itself, even before God, lead it (Europe) to doubt its very identity?’

It is this ‘identity’ that divides Protestants and Roman Catholics, and even the Jesuit-educated Dr Richard North has observed this principal fissure:

The question of whether references to Christianity should be included in the European Constitution had come up before with the countries dividing mostly but not exclusively along Catholic/Protestant lines, though ultimately the suggestion was blocked by President Chirac for political rather than religious reasons. Much of post-1789 French history has been taken up with battles between the Church and the State with the latter now in firm ascendance.

And Cranmer likes the observations of Dutchman Derk-Jan Eppink, who worked behind the scenes of the European Commission in Brussels. He said: ‘I arrived in 1984 as a Calvinist, I'm leaving in 2007 as a Jesuit’, referring to the differences between the principle-driven approach of the protestant Dutch and the devious conspiracies which are sometimes attributed to the Roman Catholic order of the Jesuits. But this is the modus operandi of the EU, and the tendency is to ‘get sucked in’. Indeed, one tends to lose one’s job, or find oneself indefinitely suspended, if one fails to conform.

The Pope's compatriot, Chancellor Angela Merkel, has made consistent pleas for the revived Constitution to include references to Christianity. This has led the Pope’s co-religionists across the Union to once again echo the call. Italy’s Romano Prodi said he had pushed for inclusion of 'Catholic roots' in the document but that ‘the main task ahead for Catholics was to carry on a dialogue with religions like Islam and Judaism’ (Note the supplanting of 'Christian' with 'Catholic', for therein lies the concern of many Protestants...)

But the EPP, which Mr Iain Dale has established is Roman Catholic to the core, has taken matters into its own hands by including mention of the EU’s religious roots in its own anniversary declaration: ‘Europe's Judeo-Christian roots and common cultural heritage, as well as the classic and humanist history of Europe and the achievements of the period of enlightenment, are the foundation of our political family,’ said the EPP statement, adopted at a meeting attended by Chancellor Merkel and other EU leaders.

Pope Benedict warned the bloc could not deny its ‘historical, cultural and moral identity’ that Christianity helped to forge. He continued: ‘A community that builds itself without respecting the true dignity of the human being, forgetting that each person is created in the image of God, ends up doing good for no one.’

Now, who said the EU was about mere matters of economics and trade?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Happy Birthday to EU

According to the EU’s propaganda information site, the ‘whole world’ is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome. The truth, of course, is that the celebrations are not only limited to the Continent, they are further limited to members of the EU, and even further still to Europhile factions within those member states. A minuscule percentage of ordinary people actually cares about this anniversary; it is principally an occasion of feasting and back-slapping by politicians.

To mark the occasion, they have revealed The Berlin Declaration. It is anodyne because it has to be, but for those who have eyes, it sustains the fore-ordained, pseudo-religious aspirations to unite the peoples of Europe under a single government.

But the celebrations cannot conceal the divisions which exist among member states. The Constitution lurks in the background, refusing to die; there are divisions over further expansion, notably to include mostly-Muslim Turkey; there is still an appetite for a European army, with little understanding of the consequent need for a common foreign policy; and there are concerns over the EU’s ability to compete economically with the United States and emerging Asia.

Nations are not meant to be forced into conglomerates. They are mentioned as early as the book of Genesis (22:18), and their original purpose (exemplified in the division of language groups) was to restrain evil by limiting the accumulation of power (11:1-9). This theme is continued into Old Testament law (eg Deut 17:14-20). The authority of the state is accepted by both Christ (Mt 22:21) and St Paul (Rom 13:6f). It seems to be the unit of earthly government which best suits the diversity of humanity, and acknowledges the need for cultural identity.

The subtle erosion of citizenship and the diminution of the nation state in the EU may seem a relatively unimportant manifestation, especially when placed in the context of starvation or regional conflicts, but it is worth remembering that citizenship and nationalism were at the root of the Bosnian conflict; these issues are central to Quebec’s attempts at secession from the Canadian federation; they are the reasoning behind the pleas for Scottish independence; and the nexus of civil wars within the former Soviet Union.

There is no concept of a European demos around which the EU’s political aspirations may cohere, and it is therefore doomed to failure. It is, however, Cranmer’s prayer that the collapse of the empire would be instigated by our leaders – that it would be top-down and political. The alternative is a bottom-up strategy of protest, civil unrest, and ultimately civil war. Let us hope our rulers have learned the lessons of history.

(And for the pedants, Cranmer is fully aware that it is actually Happy Birthday to the EEC, but that obviously did not work in a trite, tabloid kind-of-way, and he is in any case more concerned with the deception inherent in wishing this political monstrosity ‘happy’ anything when he feels no benevolence toward it at all.)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The triumph of the Act of Sexual Uniformity

Despite a protest by hundreds of concerned Christians, Baroness O’Cathain has failed in her attempt to defeat the Sexual Orientation Regulations in the House of Lords, which the Roman Catholic Church says could lead to the closure of its adoption agencies. The Regulations will outlaw discrimination against homosexual people in the provision of goods and services, and there are immense concerns about the potential impact on church schools.

The regulations undoubtedly compromise religious liberty and will result in litigation over the content of classroom teaching. It will be difficult for teachers to address the topic of heterosexual marriage, or to talk of homosexuality as ‘sin’. Not since 1559 has there been an Act of Uniformity requiring everyone to assent to a particular worldview, and it took more than 300 years to eradicate that. But 2007 sees a new Act of Uniformity which elevates sexual orientation to a quasi-religious status which trumps any religious worldview which opposes it. It is secular pluralism by statute law.

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, accused Tony Blair of an ‘abuse of parliamentary democracy’ in forcing the regulations through the Commons, with no debate and a single vote which the Government won. “Profound public concern about aspects of these regulations has not been heard,” he said. Bill Cash MP told the Prime Minister: "You have given more preference to those who stand for gay rights than those who are concerned with conscience, with family and with religion."

Christians who oppose the SORs are insulted, persecuted and compared with extremists. They are ‘bigots’ who simply do not understand. Cranmer has experienced and knows the consequences of such sentiment only too well.

Why is it that homosexuals who will not tolerate the doctrinal stance and consciences of Christians may not be similarly abused?

And why is David Cameron and the Shadow Cabinet siding with the Government on this? Has the NewCon Party lost sight of the foundational importance of religious liberty and freedom of conscience? Has it forgotten that these hard-won liberties are crucial for the peace and security of the Realm? Has Mr Cameron forgotten, if he ever knew, what it means to be Conservative in the realm of religion?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

An auspicious anniversary…

Today is the 451st anniversary of His Grace’s sad demise, yet the glory of the Gospel is that out of death comes new life, and this day also marks the first anniversary of the conception of His Grace’s august blog of intelligence and erudition. He would like to thank all of his communicants for their observation of and participation in his analyses of religio-political concerns, and he thought it appropriate to indulge in a little birthday fest.

This blog was never meant to be a source of news, nor of comment on matters politically Conservative. It was never conceived to break a scoop, but to offer a platform for erudite and intelligent comment upon that dimension of politics which is increasingly ignored or completely sidelined in today’s ‘secular’ sphere. Sadly, politicians have not noticed that the Western World is entering its most ‘spiritual’ phase since the Reformation: the Enlightenment manifestly failed to usher in an era of scientific rationalism, with assurances of the end of human conflict and promises of eternal Utopia, and now a postmodern era of inviolable human rights and environmentalist tree-hugging is sweeping across the known world, promulgating a new uniformity of pluralism which presents its own unique set of dangers.

On this first anniversary, Cranmer would like to share a few statistics:

In one year, he has received in excess of 113,000 unique visitors, mostly through Google.

His principal blog referrers are Mr Iain Dale, with 1083 unique visitors; ConservativeHome with 639 unique visitors, and Mr Croydonian, with 529 unique visitors. The statistics for other referrers may be observed in the right-hand bar, but (Google aside) these three have contributed most significantly to His Grace’s presence in the blogosphere.

His Grace featured in Iain Dale's Guide to Political Blogging in the UK. He not only made it into the Top 100 Conservative blogs, to his great surprise Cranmer entered in the Top 10, and was ranked No 8.

On average, His Grace receives more than 450 hits from around 325 unique visitors each day, now from 68 countries.

There are some 544 links to Cranmer’s posts, from around 172 blogs.

The longest thread to date, and the topic which most captivated communicants, was 'Catholic Church blackmails Government', with 180 comments.

Many have commented on the quality of His Grace’s blog, but his favourite is the observation from one Mr Guido Fawkes, who finds His Grace ‘boring and bigoted’. This is by far the greatest compliment that he has ever been paid.

His Grace would like to thank all of his communicants, but in particular those whose erudition and intelligence are evident in the comment threads, and make this blog what it is. These are frequently a dialogue of iron sharpening iron, and offer an undoubtedly rich source of pooled wisdom for future generations.

Blessings upon you all.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The nature of the Palestinian Unity Government

His Grace has acquired the Guidelines of the Palestinian Unity Government. Here is a translation of the clauses relating to Israel (from the Arabic), which Communicants will doubtless find most interesting.

The document:

The political level:

1. The government emphasises that the key to regional security and stability is ending the Israeli occupation over Palestinian lands, recognition of the Palestinian right for self determination, and the government will act together with the international community to end the occupation and to return the legal rights of the Palestinian people, so that we could build a strong infrastructure for peace, security and prosperity in the region.

2. The government is committed to protect the supreme national interests of the Palestinian people, to guard its rights and to accomplish its national objectives, as were ratified in national council resolutions, in the national reconciliation document (i.e. the Prisoners document) and in decisions of the Arab summits, and on this basis will respect the "legitimate international resolutions" and agreements signed by the PLO.

3. The government is committed to rejecting a state within provisional borders, since this idea is based on diminishing of the legal rights of the Palestinian people.

4. The government is devoted for the right of return to the Palestinian refugees to their lands and properties.

5. The government will vigorously act for the release of the heroic prisoners from the jails of the Israeli occupation.

6. The government will resist Israel's measures of occupation - assassination, arrests and attacks. The government will view the struggle against Israel's policy in Jerusalem and the holy sites as particularly important.

7. The government will strengthen the relations with Arab and Muslim states, and will develop regional and international cooperation based on mutual respect.

The occupation:

1. The government emphasises that the regional peace and security are dependent upon ending all forms of occupation of the Palestinian lands, the removal of the racist fence and the settlements, and ceasing making Jerusalem Jewish and the annexation and returning the rights to their owners.

2. The government emphasises that the resistance is a legitimate right of the Palestinian people, and according to all international agreements and conventions it is the right of our people to defend itself against any Israeli attack, and the resistance will only stop after the occupation ends, independence is obtained and the right of return is implemented.

3. The government - through the mutual national reconciliation – will work to set the truce and to expand it towards a comprehensive and mutual truce, in exchange for an Israeli commitment to halt all measures of occupation (including) assassinations, arrests, attacks, house demolitions, land sweeping and the excavations in Jerusalem, and will act for the removal of checkpoints, will open the crossings, will remove the limitations on movement and transportation, and will release prisoners.

4. The government reaffirms the content of the national reconciliation document, that the negotiating authority is given to the PLO and the President of the Palestinian National Authority, and any important agreement will be brought to the approval of the Palestinian National Council, or for a referendum amongst the Palestinians "inside" and "outside".

5. The government will assist the on-going efforts and will strengthen all sides to end the problem of the imprisoned Israeli soldier as part of an honourable prisoner exchange deal.


1. A thorough examination of the guidelines establishes that in comparison to the "Mecca Agreement" and to the "National Reconciliation Document" ("Prisoner's Document"), there is no moderation on behalf of Hamas, rather, there is a hardening of ideological positions. Other than the issue of the future (conditional) release of the abducted soldier Gilad Shalit, which was inserted due to pressure from Abbas, all the other positions agreed upon represent a capitulation on Abbas's behalf to Hamas. Hamas has thus been able to impose its agenda on the Palestinian moderates.

2. The new Palestinian unity government guidelines prove that Hamas has once again advanced towards its medium range goal of positioning itself as the leading movement in the Palestinian struggle, without having to compromise ideologically. This has been attained by agreeing to technical compromises, such as the acceptance of a short term ceasefire (which Hamas anyhow has an interest in maintaining), while on the other hand the hardening of its political positions, including the right to resist all Israeli occupation (Hamas views the term "occupation" as including Israel proper, and not just the West Bank and Gaza Strip), and the continuation of 'the armed struggle' until this goal, as long as the return of refugees to their "property and land" in Israel, is achieved.

3. The emphasis on the "Right of Return" for refugees is Hamas's answer to the Israeli attempt to amend the Saudi peace initiative by removing the clause in it which refers to the right of return (invoking UN General Assembly Resolution 194). If the "Right of Return" remains an integral part of the peace plan, it will be very difficult for Israel to consider the initiative as a basis for future negotiations.

4. Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah are more limited in their future negotiations with Israel or the international community in the future. In Clause 4 of "The Occupation" section, despite the fact that "negotiating authority is given to the PLO and the President of the Palestinian National Authority" (Abbas), which gives the Palestinian government the veneer of international credibility, "any important agreement will be brought to the approval of the Palestinian National Council, or for a referendum". This means that Hamas can veto and block any initiative which does not conform to its ideological outlook.

5. Another limitation on Abbas is the rejection of the option of having a Palestinian state in provisional borders (clause 3, the political section), which prohibits several proposed intermediate solutions, including the Road Map for Peace (which is not even mentioned in the document), and restricts Abbas's negotiating capability.

6. The call for a "period of calm" with Israel, does not represent a moderation of Hamas's position, but instead gives Hamas a tactical 'time-out' in its struggle with Israel which will allow it to strengthen its internal position as well as to build up its military forces.

7. The Palestinians would like the international community to engage with certain government ministers "on a selective basis", in the hope that this would lead to the lifting of international sanctions, even on a partial basis, and without meeting the three Quartet conditions. However, dealing with any minister in the unity government risks granting international legitimacy to this rejectionist administration as a whole - including Hamas.

8. To conclude, in the internal Palestinian sphere, Mahmoud Abbas believes that bringing Hamas further into the Palestinian political system, will allow him to contain their ambitions and actions. However, it would seem that in this particular instance, as part of an attempt to improve the internal security situation and to break the boycott on the Palestinian Authority, Abbas reached a compromise with Hamas's position which allows Hamas to continue on its set course of military build-up as a preparation for the next round of the conflict.

9. Additionally, the Israeli government is committed to the Road Map and the vision of two states - Israel and Palestine - existing side-by-side in peace, and will continue to maintain contact with moderate Palestinians, who will distance themselves from the Hamas government and its ideology.

10. The three conditions issued by the Quartet - recognising Israel, renouncing terrorism and honouring previous agreements - are not mentioned, addressed, or honoured.

11. There is no mention of a two-state solution, or any reference to the 1967 borders. Furthermore, according to Hamas's theological interpretation, all of historic Palestine - Israel, the West Bank and Gaza - is perceived as Islamic religious endowment (Waqf), and therefore using the words "Palestinian lands" [clause 2, political level], is an explicit rejection of the idea of the two-state solution.

12. The rejection of a Palestinian state in provisional borders [clause 3, political level], contradicts the 2nd phase of the Roadmap.

13. The continued support for "resistance" (use of violence), which is the "legitimate right of the Palestinians" [clause 6, political level + clause 2, occupation] should be noted. "Resistance", in Hamas's rhetoric, is nearly always a euphemism for systematic terrorism and violence.

14. It is hypocritical for Hamas to call for the facilitation of the release of Gilad Shalit as part of a prisoner exchange deal [clause 5, occupation], when Hamas kidnapped him in the first place (and took responsibility for it).

Perhaps someone could enlighten Cranmer as to why European Union aid should flow into this ‘Authority’, as many demand, and why this should be done not only without auditing, scrutiny, or accountability, but also without regard for the Peace of Jerusalem.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Cranmer’s Pulpit

His Grace has observed the propensity of certain of his communicants to deviate from the subject matter of his posts, and pursue – how shall he put it? - a dialogue of creative relevance, yet of doubtless import to themselves. Mindful of the spiritual liberation afforded by his own pulpit experience with the Provost of Eton, Dr Henry Cole (illustrated above, on that fateful day soon to be commemorated), His Grace has decided that there shall be an occasional ‘open thread’ for his communicants to raise whatever religio-political or politico-religious concerns they do so wish.

This henceforth shall be known as Cranmer’s Pulpit.

Over to you…

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The stirrings of the Lords Spiritual

As the House of Commons goes head-to-head with the Lords on reform of the Upper Chamber, there is a (rare) stirring from the Lords Spiritual. The Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Rev John Gladwin, said of the 26 Church of England bishops and archbishops in the Lords: ‘We have been entrusted with the spiritual well-being of the people of this country. Over many centuries, it has been thought and practised that, in shaping our laws and customs in the character of governance of our country, Parliament should take account of our spiritual inheritance.’ Indeed it should, but this Labour Government has spent almost a decade riding roughshod over our 'laws and customs', so much so that those institutions which were constructed upon centuries of solid foundation now stand upon a distinctly shifting sand.

The Bishop of Durham, Dr Tom Wright, said that the Lords Spiritual were not there to hang on to some archaic public privilege, but to speak for God in the public domain. He described other faith leaders as being supportive of the bishops’ speaking out, but maintained that this would be far more difficult if they had to stand for election.

The Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, spoke against an all-elected second chamber, saying: ‘We should note that election does not bring the following: an age-range of 18-90; the breadth of experience through luck in life, sheer hard work, which leads to some appointments; specialist gifts in areas of life; and conscience and values which stem from beyond the elector.’ These made for wisdom, and, most importantly, freedom. Dr Sentamu said that the Lords Spiritual saw themselves not as representatives, but as connectors with the people and parishes.

Spiritual insight and an independent voice on the political process will be lost if the proposed reforms of the House of Lords go ahead. The consensus among the Lords Spiritual is that their quota of 26 should be retained; any tampering with this risks a move towards disestablishment. This is supported even by Lord Harries, formerly the Bishop of Oxford, though he qualified this with a request to the Statutory Appointments Commission to appoint distinguished people who could represent other Christian denominations and other faiths.

Cranmer has a slight concern over the possibility of Lord Hamza entering the legislature. It remains to be seen precisely how those who represent 'other faiths' will be selected. Islam has no unified voice, and an appointee from the Muslim Council of Britain is likely to be viewed as a compromised, establishment figure. Will there be a Shi'a as well as Sunni, and what of the Sufi? And will any of these representatives of Islam be female, and if not why not? And if no gender quota is to be imposed upon the Mohammedans, why should it be imposed upon the Lords Temporal?

And Cranmer wonders, amidst all this tampering and meddling, whether the Vatican will drop its long-held opposition to Lords-Cardinal...

Friday, March 16, 2007

On the Blessed Feast Day of the Red Nose

Article XII - Of Good Works

Albeit that good works, which are the fruits of faith and follow after justification, cannot put away our sins and endure the severity of God's judgement, yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively faith, insomuch that by them a lively faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit.

May the lonely be comforted, the homeless housed, the starving fed, and the troubled find rest unto their souls.

Cranmer’s exhortation for the Blessed Feast Day of the Red Nose:

Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver (2Cor 9:7).

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Mark Mardell on the EU’s Catholic/Protestant fault-line

The Roman Catholic foundation of the European Union is not usually a topic one hears about from the MSM, and certainly not the BBC, and most definitely not from Mark Mardell. But in his examination of hypocrisy, Mr Mardell puts all misunderstandings down to the disparity between the Protestant work ethic and Roman Catholic ‘culture’.

The whole article can be found here, but one is warned that links to it will always lead to the latest update, and Cranmer half suspects it will soon disappear into the BBC’s black hole of obscure archives. In order to sustain this rare internet presence, some of Mr Mardell’s most interesting observations include:

The gist of it was that (Manuel Barosso) could not see why politicians - technical experts at designing the best possible laws - should have to behave in a certain moral fashion before any such law is introduced.

My contact claims this is a line through Europe, much more wobbly and patchy but just as real as the olive oil / butter line. It is the political line between Catholic and Protestant Europe. He thinks it is very Protestant to expect politicians to be secular saints who lead by example.

According to this theory, most Catholic nations accept flawed human nature for what it is and know that preachers may stumble in practice without affecting the truth of their doctrine, or indeed the wisdom of their laws. The flaw in this argument is that in resolutely Catholic Belgium it has been a great sport for the press comparing what monstrous cars ministers drive…

…the difference in European social policies goes back to the ancient Greeks. To sub down a complex argument to its very basics, he says that the Aristotelian tradition of man as a social being fed in to Catholicism, but the Stoic distrust of emotion and human motives contributed to Protestant thought.

So Aristotle's theory of natural social hierarchies leads to a welfare service run by society at large and focused on those in most need. Stoicism, with its distrust of human nature, leads to universal provision run by the state. And he suggests the Calvinist doctrine of the elect, saved spiritually and rewarded by God materially, leads to an ‘on yer bike’ mentality which ‘one might be inclined to blame... for... some of the acute problems of modern neo-liberalist ideologies’.

Although superficial in his analysis (an undoubted understatement), Mr Mardell does in fact touch on something quite profound about the nature of the European Union. There is a certain tendency to infallibility in the Commission’s view of itself, of its creation, and of its ultimate destination. And there is further an acceptance, quite antithetical to the traditions of the United Kingdom, that fraud, tax evasion, nepotism, inefficiency, and corruption, are all par for the course. Mr Mardell is not the first to posit the view that one may stem from the Protestant doctrine of individual accountability, and the other a consequence of a corporate and unaccountably hierarchical worldview.

Mr Mardell has, however, got Aristotle quite wrong, but he probably did not do Classics, and would probably favour its eradication from the education system.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Muslim children are not born Jew-haters

A most encouraging story from The Independent, (with thanks to Anglicans for Israel). The King David School, in Birmingham, England is a state primary school, where the children learn Hebrew, recite Jewish prayers, eat kosher food and wave Israeli flags. King David is a strictly Jewish school: Judaism is the only religion taught, there's a synagogue on site, the children learn modern Hebrew, the official language of Israel, and they celebrate Israeli independence day.

But half the 247 pupils at the 40-year-old local authority school are Muslim, and apparently the Muslim parents go through all sorts of hoops, including moving into the school's catchment area, to get their children into King David to learn Hebrew, wave Israeli flags on independence day, and hang out with the same people whom some would have us believe that they hate more than anyone in the world - Jews.

The Muslim parents, mostly devout and many of the women wearing the hijab, say they love the ethos of the school. The school is also respectful to Islam, setting aside a prayer room for the Muslim children and supplying Muslim teachers during Ramadan. At Eid, the Muslim children are wished Eid Mubarak (Blessed be Eid). Muslim students are allowed to wear a traditional Muslim head covering, but dozens choose instead to wear the Jewish kipah.

Muslim parents are not shy about telling observers why they love this Jewish school: “We actually bought a flat in the catchment area for the children to come here," says Nahid Shafiq, the mother of Zainah, four, and Hamza, nine, and wife of Mohammed, a taxi driver. "We were attracted by the high moral values of the school, and that's what we wanted our kids to have. None of us has any problem with it being a Jewish school. Why on earth should we? Our similarities as religions and cultures are far greater and more important than our differences. It's not even an issue."

Muslim parents are pleased that ‘all the kids mix and go to one another's parties and are in and out of each other's houses’. The Jewish parents and teachers too are just as enthusiastic: “You know, in these difficult times in the world, I think we show how things should be done. It's really a bit of a beacon," says one teacher, whose three children all went to King David and ended up at Oxford University. One Jewish parent commented: "My son is eight and has loads of Muslim friends." And perhaps most important of all is that some of the cross-cultural friendships forged at King David last a lifetime.

Who says all faith schools should be abolished?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

EU to abolish the Crown

The Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is not only symbolic of majesty, but of covenant, and of political sovereignty. Throughout history, it is intrinsically linked to defending the rights and liberties of the people - rights and liberties which are themselves gradually dwindling away. In Northern Ireland, for example, the Crown has been already been deleted from the badge of the Royal Ulster Constabulary, now the Police Service of Northern Ireland, and the Royal coat of arms has been removed from state buildings because it is considered ‘divisive’. And now, the European Union is to abolish it altogether...

Since 1699 the stamp of the Crown at the top of a glass has constituted a guarantee that it delivers a full pint. It is a symbol of British sovereignty and legal conformity. But now this symbol is to be replaced by the 12 stars of the EU. This may sound minor, trivial, and utterly insignificant, but it is a further indication of the extent to which a 50-year-old institution is supplanting the UK’s centuries-old institutions, and its infallible directives increasingly know no bounds. It is no longer for Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Weights and Measures to ensure the public are not deceived, but an EU ruling gives the Conformité Européenne (CE) mark primacy to ensure conformity and accuracy across the Union. Yes, the new mark is French.

Make no mistake, the loss of the Crown will be followed by the loss of the pint itself, with British drinkers being required to switch to metric measures. We have already seen greengrocers hauled before the courts for refusing to abide by EU rules that fresh produce must now be sold in kilos and grams, rather than pounds and ounces. Metric is supplanting Imperial inexorably. Of course, the pint will not be abolished next week; that is not how the EU works: it erodes and chips and fragments incrementally, and then constructs by stealth. The important dimension to this is that the EU does not recognise imperial weights and measures. The usurping of the Crown with the EU’s 12-star logo is therefore transitional. Eventually, we will be drinking our ‘pints’ from litre glasses, still with the EU logo, and no-one will have noticed.

But the UK has agreed a temporary derogation. A DTI spokesman said the ruling applies ‘only to glasses that went on sale since October. No-one has to get rid of the Crown-stamped glasses they are already using. Glasses already in use are unaffected and can stay in use as long as they last.’ So that’s alright then. It’s simply a case of persuading Britain's drunken louts not to smash too many of them on Friday and Saturday nights, in the hope that they might be preserved for their children, and their children's children...

Catholic teenager sues over Protestant foster parents

The 18-year-old Roman Catholic girl is suing Highland Council for £70,000 damages, for placing her with Protestant foster parents. There is no logical end to this manner of lawsuit, so Cranmer is amused that Lord Uist has said that the case raises ‘novel and difficult questions of law’. The issue of fostering is muddied by the further complaint that the girl was sent to a school ‘which did not meet her needs by providing lessons suitable for her learning disabilities’, but the principal grievance is that Highland Council had ‘failed to facilitate’ her religious persuasion.

This, of course, caused her ‘anxiety, depression and educational impairment’, and ‘breaches the European Convention on Human Rights’.

Cranmer thanks his communicant, Mr Angry Steve, for drawing his attention to this case, but wonders if the 'biased-BBC' would have bothered reporting it had it been a matter of a Protestant child suing a council for placing him/her with Roman Catholic parents…

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The inexorable drive to a United Ireland

Northern Ireland is the most polled corner of the United Kingdom, with 35 election or referendum campaigns in 34 years. The cumbersome process of counting the votes in this latest poll has taken two full working days, but once again the 81-year-old Rev Dr Ian Paisley has emerged as the people’s choice as First Minister. His party secured 36 of the 108 seats, with Sinn Féin taking 28. The Ulster Unionist Party won 18 seats, the SDLP 16, and the Alliance Party seven seats.

Dr Paisley now has a decision to make – possibly the most difficult of his life – and he will be damned either way. He either agrees to a power-sharing arrangement with Sinn Fein/IRA, or he resists and is blamed for abolition of the Stormont Assembly, with direct rule restored, and cross-border bodies imposed. A foreign country, run from Dublin, would then have direct governmental input into the running of this part of the United Kingdom. Either way, the March 26th deadline will see a further step towards a United Ireland. As recently as 2005, Dr Paisley said that sharing power ‘would be treason and we would never be guilty of that’. It was this stance which ended David Trimble's primacy and obliterated the UUP. It hardly seems likely that Dr Paisley would do a u-turn, and yet…

There was a time when a DUP vote of this magnitude would have spelt the end of all moves toward power-sharing in the province. Dr Paisley was the absolute Dr No, and his battle cry was ‘No surrender’. But this time DUP voters have voted for devolution and the restoration of Stormont, and resistance will be put down to Dr Paisley being a cantankerous, stubborn old man.

And what is to be his legacy? Will he finally share power with the ‘Fenians’, make concessions to the Nationalists, compromise with the Catholics? Or will he reject the whole arrangement as a dog’s breakfast, and ask why the poll losers should be rewarded with government portfolios? This is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and Her Majesty is Head of State, and the Throne is Protestant by law. If one may be excluded from Westminster by refusing to swear the Oath of Allegiance to the maintenance of this settlement, why should one be permitted to govern any constituent corner of the Kingdom if one is sworn to terminate her title and end her jurisdiction? And why should parties that come second, third or fourth end up running education, health, or housing? If Ulster’s voting system were to be replicated at Westminster, only about a third of the Cabinet would be Labour; the rest being comprised of portfolio holders whose politics would be antithetical to everything that Labour stands for. It would be a recipe for no coherent government at all, and yet that is what the system expects from the politicians of Northern Ireland.

It is not quite mixing oil and water, but it is certainly a formidable political objective of high improbability. It is like asking Israel to ‘share power’ with the Palestinians, or India to ‘share power’ with Pakistan. These are all sensitive issues of mutual exclusion, in history, religion, and sovereignty, yet only in Ulster is the alternative to agreement the insensitive imposition of ‘power-sharing’ with Dublin. Gerry Adams and his illegal army must be delighted. One wonders if the Loyalist paramilitaries have really ‘gone away’…

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Bishops to remain in ‘all-elected’ Lords

As the rape of the Constitution continues apace, 800 years of history was swept aside last night as the Commons voted for an all-elected House of Lords, or Senate, or ‘Reformed Chamber’, or whatever they are going to call it.

But most of the media has got the reform wrong. The second chamber is not to be 100% elected, but a 'hybrid' of elected and appointed peers. Anglican bishops and archbishops are to keep seats, not least because Cranmer doesn’t think they’d win many votes, and their eradication would end the privileged status of the Established Church. Other reforms include:

Reduce size of House from 746 to 540 members
End hereditary and life peerages over time
Elected peers to be voted in at same time as Euro elections
Maximum time in office of 15 years for elected and appointed peers
Appointees a mixture of party politicians and non-party figures
Lords may be renamed - possibly 'The Reformed Chamber'

According to the BBC, some form of Proportional Representation is to be used to elect their Lordships, or the Senators, or the Reformists (Cranmer rather likes the sound of this one…), or whatever they are to be called. There would be ‘partially open lists’ which will ‘represent the "diversity" of UK society’. So 26 bishops will be sitting with Abu Hamza and a few of his ilk. Presumably, the new house is to be made up of a proportion of women, Asian, gay, and disabled candidates, so one-legged lesbian Muslims will be fast-tracked.

But Cranmer exhorts all of those who are appalled by these proposals not to panic. The vote may have been won in the Commons, but their Lordships have to agree to their own demise, and this is highly unlikely. And if the Parliament Act is deployed, the reform will forever have a questionable legal foundation.

If, however, by some turn of fate, this appalling government succeeds in wiping away centuries of tradition and heritage, His Grace will announce is candidature for membership of the ‘Reformed Chamber’, and a counter-reformation shall begin…

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Israel and Serbia – facts, fiction, and faction

It is occasionally interesting to observe the disparity between religio-political fact and politico-religious fiction. The MSM has a propensity for demonising certain ethno-religious groups, principally by propagating highly inaccurate information propaganda, and yet choosing frequently to ignore the results of careful research, or indeed any judgements or declarations which are deemed ‘inconsistent’ with its fore-ordained worldview.

For example, it appears that there are Arab and Muslim groups in Israel who are not merely content for Israel to exist, but for it to remain Jewish.

The chairman of the forum of the Druze and Circassian authority heads, Nabiah Nasser A-Din, has criticised the ‘multi-cultural’ Israeli constitution proposed by the Israeli Arab organization Adalah, saying that he finds it unacceptable: “The state of Israel is a Jewish state as well as a democratic state that espouses equality and elections. We invalidate and reject everything that the Adalah organization is requesting," he said.

And remember the widely reported accusations against Israel that depleted uranium was used in the summer 2006 ‘Middle East Crisis’ war with Lebanon? A panel of experts from the United Nations, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and other international agencies has announced: “To date, there is no evidence of depleted-uranium-ammunitions use during the 2006 conflict in Lebanon." Didier Louvat, IAEA head of radioactive waste issues, told a news conference hosted by the National Council for Scientific Research in Bir Hassan.

And the Serbs…The Ruling of the International Court of Justice - the World Court in The Hague, declared on Monday 26th February: “Serbia has not committed genocide, through its organs or persons whose acts engage its responsibility under customary international law. Serbia has not conspired to commit genocide, nor incited the commission of genocide. Serbia has not been complicit in genocide, in violation of its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide."

This judgement inclines Cranmer to believe that Mr Blair did not only lie about the Iraq conflict, but thousands died and millions were made homeless in the Balkans because of imperialism and vanity (and not only Mr Blair’s). He is dangerous and deluded; his ‘Messiah complex’ knows no bounds.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Labour to abolish Privy Council

The Government’s constitutional vandalism is set to continue with the abolition of one of the United Kingdom’s oldest departments of state, and the oldest form of legislative assembly still functioning in the UK. According to The Daily Telegraph, the Privy Council, which can trace its origins to the 12th century, is being ‘downgraded’ as part of ‘efficiency savings’.

Not content with the dog’s breakfast it has made of the House of Lords, or the embarrassment caused by attempts to abolish the Lord Chancellor, the Government is intent on tinkering with an institution which fulfils a crucial role in the UK’s constitutional settlement. The Privy Council is indeed a council of government, which in many respects was supplanted at the Glorious Revolution by the Cabinet, but its members also give counsel, and in that regard Privy Councillors are actually Her Majesty’s Privy Counsellors. Each member, whether from the Government, the Opposition, the Lords Temporal, or the Lords Spiritual, has the right of access to the Sovereign in order to tender advice on public affairs. Peers enjoy right of access individually; members of the House of Commons possess the right collectively.

The following oath is administered to Privy Counsellors before they take office:

You do swear by Almighty God to be a true and faithful Servant unto The Queen's Majesty as one of Her Majesty's Privy Council. You will not know or understand of any manner of thing to be attempted, done or spoken against Her Majesty's Person, Honour, Crown or Dignity Royal, but you will lett and withstand the same to the uttermost of your power, and either cause it to be revealed to Her Majesty Herself, or to such of Her Privy Council as shall advertise Her Majesty of the same. You will in all things to be moved, treated and debated in Council, faithfully and truly declare your Mind and Opinion, according to your Heart and Conscience; and will keep secret all matters committed and revealed unto you, or that shall be treated of secretly in Council. And if any of the said Treaties or Counsels shall touch any of the Counsellors you will not reveal it unto him but will keep the same until such time as, by the consent of Her Majesty or of the Council, Publication shall be made thereof. You will to your uttermost bear Faith and Allegiance to the Queen's Majesty; and will assist and defend all Jurisdictions, Pre-eminences, and Authorities, granted to Her Majesty and annexed to the Crown by Acts of Parliament, or otherwise, against all Foreign Princes, Persons, Prelates, States, or Potentates. And generally in all things you will do as a faithful and true Servant ought to do to Her Majesty. So help you God.

To the modern mind, this oath might appear a little over-egged. It is, however, the oath by which acts of treason may be exposed, prevented, or restrained. And while ‘treason’ is also one of those terms which appears to belong to a bygone era, it is the taking of this oath which has been adduced as being incompatible with the support of successive governments for UK membership of the European Union. Essentially, when the Maastricht Treaty of 1992 was ratified by the House of Commons a year later, Her Majesty became a ‘citizen’ of the EU, subject to its laws, and the judgements of its courts.

One cannot simultaneously be both sovereign and subject. The Government is therefore resolving the conflict by eradicating the oath by which government ministers are required to uphold Her Majesty’s sovereignty. Well, something had to give…

Sunday, March 04, 2007

David Cameron reflects in the Holy Land

Cranmer is increasingly impressed by HM Leader of the Opposition. He has a blog, which is not only sincere, it is utterly human in its appreciation of the frailty of relationship, the imperfection of creation, and the inadequacy of superficial politics. This picture with Prime Minister Olmert is not of a man obsessed with his legacy (of which, one prays, the Peace of Jerusalem may one day be), but of a politician spending time with the wise, in order that he may become wise.

Mr Cameron has visited Jerusalem’s holiest sites, and reports:

An exhausting, but fascinating day. Started at 6.30am in Jerusalem watching the sun rise over the old city, an incredibly beautiful sight… In between I've toured the old city on foot, driven round Jerusalem with a human rights lawyer, walked into the West Bank to a Palestinian village with Friends of the Earth and held meetings in Tel Aviv with the PM, Foreign Minister, Shimon Peres and Bibi Netanyahu. Add in about half a dozen interviews and that's just about does it (and me, incidentally).

Perhaps most incisive of all was the Human Rights lawyer who said that Israelis and Palestinians in Jerusalem were like Siamese twins: tied together and both reliant on the same vital organs.

And he concludes:

In a nutshell, my time in the helicopter and my time with the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah sum up the Israeli/Palestinian dilemma. The Palestinians want their land and their dignity – and the Israelis want their peace and security. Can a way forward be found to deliver land for peace before it is too late?

Cranmer is in agreement that the Palestinians must have their dignity, but Israel is not ‘their land’. It is one thing to lead ‘a modern and compassionate Conservative Party’ that ‘looks to the future’, but it would be quite foolish if that future were not informed by the past. His Grace will be praying for this man, not merely because Mr Cameron is likely to be the next prime minister and His Grace is exhorted to pray for those in authority, but because he must bring those around him who know about religio-political sensitivities and complexities, in order that policy may be formulated intelligently, through the prism of history.

Cardinal: “Rowan Williams is the Antichrist”

Well, not quite, but these might as well be the words of Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, former Archbishop of Bologna, who told the Pope: ‘The Antichrist presents himself as pacifist, ecologist and ecumenist’.

In the past, Cranmer was in no doubt as to the identity of the Antichrist, and declared on that fateful day: ‘And as for the pope, I refuse him as Christ's enemy and antichrist, with all his false doctrine. And as for the sacrament…’ The speech was curtailed when His Grace was abruptly seized and dragged out to be… well, you know. It is best not spoken of.

While Archbishop Rowan Williams may indeed by averse to war, green, and ecumenically minded, he is no ‘angel of light’ (2Cor 11:14), in the way that Pope John Paul II manifestly was. Even Pope Benedict XVI has transformed his rottweiler tendencies in order to broaden his appeal. But appearances aside, what is interesting is the Vatican’s attack upon ecumenism. Cardinal Biffi said that the Antichrist ‘will convoke an ecumenical council and will seek the consensus of all the Christian confessions, granting something to each one. The masses will follow him, with the exception of small groups of Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants.'

Such anti-ecumenism is consistent with Cardinal Ratzinger’s document Dominus Iesus, issued in 2000, which ignored and even negated the progress toward reconciliation that had been made in over 30 years of ecumenical dialogue. For ecclesial communities which are deemed to have not preserved a valid episcopate or Eucharist, the Cardinal declared that such communities ‘are not churches in the proper sense’. The criticism was clearly directed to the Protestant Church of England and the worldwide Angican Communion.

And yet…

Cranmer wishes to point out that while ecumenism has come to be concerned with promoting unity among churches or religions, ecumenical councils throughout history have been exclusively catholic affairs; indeed, oikoumenikos is in many respects synonymous with katholikós - both terms have the sense of ‘known world’, ‘the whole’, or ‘universal’. And if Cardinal Biffi knew anything about Church history, he would know that councils like those convened at Chalcedon or Nicea were precisely to ‘seek the consensus of all the Christian confessions, granting something to each one’. They produced political as well as theological declarations, which have since become fundamental catholic orthodoxy.

Yet Cardinal Biffi prophecies that all will follow the Antichrist ‘with the exception of small groups of Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants’. Could it be that these ‘chosen few’, faced with a common enemy, form an ecumenical alliance to resist the darkness, and the Antichrist succeeds in fulfilling the prayer of Jesus ‘that they may be one’?

Friday, March 02, 2007

Israel’s first Arab president

You may think this sounds as unlikely as a Protestant pope, but Cranmer assures you that it is actually true. Majallie Whbee, a Druze Arab, will serve as President of Israel while acting president Dalia Itzik is in the United States of America. He becomes Israel's first non-Jewish president, and repudiates utterly the increasingly vociferous assertions that Israel is an ‘apartheid country’.

Israel’s ‘apartheid’ has been the subject of debate in universities the length and breadth of the United Kingdom. Many of our most august seats of learning, including Oxford University, recently held an ‘End Israel Apartheid Week’, during which they discussed ‘the nature of the State of Israel’ and ‘its treatment of Palestinians’. Both phrases are so implicitly derogatory that it comes as no surprise that all of those who participated agreed unanimously on the strategies of boycott, divestment, and sanctions against the Israeli State.

The ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ is so named in order to inculcate into the student body that Israel shares in and replicates the injustices perpetuated under apartheid system of South Africa, and the corollary is that Israel should suffer the same fate.

There are many countries, including several in the Arab-Muslim world, that practise and promote discrimination against particular religious or ethnic communities. There are no university weeks given over to explore ‘the nature’ of these countries, and no demands for boycotts or sanctions against them. And what is Israel’s alleged ‘apartheid’ in any case? In South Africa, there was a legally enshrined system for discrimination, but in Israel the precise opposite obtains. Its constitution enshrines equality before the law for all its citizens regardless of religion or ethnicity, and any discrimination which does occur can be challenged in the courts, which was certainly not the case in South Africa. And what of those areas of social cohesion evidenced in many hospitals and schools, where Jews and Arabs work peacefully side by side to the mutual benefit of both? The black people of South Africa were strictly separated from the white, and the black people invariably got the least and the worst. The black people had no votes, yet in Israel Arabs not only have full democratic rights, there are Arab members of parliament, Arabs in government, and Arabs in the judiciary. Majallie Whbee’s appointment as President clearly exposes the lie that the Jewish state is an apartheid country. He said that his ascent to the position proved that those who draw such a parallel with the former South African regime were ‘ignoring the facts on the ground’. None of this was possible in South Africa, so there is absolutely no comparison.

Discrimination is a social ill that is manifest in Israel just as it is in every nation on earth. It is legitimate to criticise Israel for its failings, but the charge of ‘apartheid’ is a malicious libel designed to demonise the only democracy in the region. Those involved in our universities, which professes to prize knowledge and to pursue truth, are guilty of, at best, extreme ignorance or, at worst, collaboration in the effort to delegitimise the Jewish State and stir up anti-Semitic sentiment on a scale and ferocity not seen since the Nazi era.
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