Archbishop’s Deafening Silence over Israeli Opression

There’s another twist in the recent adventures of the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. This Christian Top Cat visited Gaza in February – a year late, let it be said – but afterwards made no public statement about the wretched human conditions still prevailing there.

He didn’t even reveal his findings to the House of Lords where he has the support of a large gaggle of bishops.

This despite his claim to be “in a unique position to bring the needs and voices of those fighting poverty, disease and the effects of conflict, to the attention of national and international policy makers”.

And despite his declaration that “Christians need to witness boldly and clearly”.

And despite his urging greater awareness of the humanitarian crisis to ensure that the people of Gaza are not forgotten.

But there’s more …

A reader writes that she sent 18 emails to Lambeth Palace (the Archbishop’s headquarters) asking if the Archbishop’s party could please bring back some deaf children’s art, which should have been picked up by members of the last Gaza blockade-busting convoy. The Palace eventually declined saying the Israelis would not allow it.

She complained that by not using his position in the House of Lords and elsewhere the Archbishop was failing to improve the situation for Palestinians. She even quoted the words of Desmond Tutu: “Where there is oppression, those who do nothing side with the oppressor.”

The lady tells me she was later informed that the Israelis permitted the Archbishop only an hour inside Gaza. This made me sit up and quiz the person she had spoken to at Lambeth Palace…

“Somebody tells me that the Israelis allowed the Archbishop and his party only an hour in Gaza so that he was restricted to a quick visit to the Ahli Hospital and nowhere else. Is this true? If so, what was the Archbishop’s reaction, please, and why wasn’t this shocking interference with the Church’s pastoral business in the Holy Land — of all places — reported on your website, in press releases and in the House of Lords where the Archbishop has a powerful voice?”

There was no response so I telephoned the person in question. He said the Archbishop had been refused access to Gaza but was eventually permitted a measly one-and-a-half hours in the shattered enclave. This was just enough time for a hurried visit to the hospital and no more.

My questions were forwarded to the Archbishop’s public affairs spokesman, whose reply was headed “NOT FOR PUBLICATION.” Normally I ignore such prohibitions from people in public affairs, but since this happens to involves the office of the leader of my own Church I‘ll play their game. Suffice to say the Israelis from the start refused access to Gaza and only at the last minute allowed the Archbishop a piddling little window of opportunity.

The spokesman also mentioned how the Archbishop was very personally involved in trying to improve the situation of the Palestinians and promote a two-state solution.

Two states? Given the facts on the ground, only Zionist sympathisers eager to preserve the racial purity of the Jewish entity are still taking that line.

The Archbishop’s visit to the unholy Holy Land raises many questions. His website reports how he hobnobbed with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, paid his respects to Yad Vashem and the Holocaust, and talked with the President of Israel — the latter no doubt sniggering up his sleeve at his guest’s frustration at being prevented by Israel’s thugs from seeing what horrors they had inflicted on Gaza.

There’s no mention of a get-together with senior Islamic figures, leaving a question-mark over his commitment to inter-faith engagement.

Why did he agree to fraternise with Jewish political and religious dignitaries when it was clear that his wish to carry out his Christian duty in Gaza would be obstructed?

Does Lambeth Palace not realise that meekly accepting such insults only serves to legitimise the Israelis’ illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories and gives a stamp of approval to the vicious siege of Gaza, the daily death-dealing air strikes against civilians, the persecution of Muslim and Christian communities and the regime’s utter contempt for international law and human rights?

You don’t turn the other cheek to bullies like the Israelis. If you do, they’ll slap it again and again, just as they’ve been doing for 62 years. They walk all over fawning sycophants masquerading as Western political leaders. Our spiritual leaders, however, are supposed to be made of sterner stuff and expected to perform to a higher standard, show moral backbone and face down evil. The Pope too chickened out over Gaza. Who’s next?

Canterbury’s bewhiskered prelate would, I feel, have done better to cancel his dalliance with Israel’s warmongers and broadcast their despicable interference with his God-given work.

The Archbishop’s deafening silence about the shaming of his Church — my Church too — and the endless terrorising of Christians and Muslims of the West Bank and especially Gaza, is still unexplained.

Stuart Littlewood, after working on jet fighters in the RAF, became an industrial marketeer in oil, electronics and manufacturing, and with innovation and product development consultancies. He also served as a Cambridgeshire county councillor and a member of the Police Authority. He is an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society and has produced two photo-documentary books including Radio Free Palestine (with foreword by Jeff Halper). Now retired, he campaigns on various issues, especially the Palestinians' struggle for freedom. Read other articles by Stuart, or visit Stuart's website.

5 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. bozh said on May 3rd, 2010 at 9:55am #

    Looking at christianity as science 3, baalism science 1, or mosheism science 2 still stuck in millennium 5, 2, and 4 respectively, one cld expect that the clergy wld behave exactly as the clergy of 2, 5, and 4 k yrs ago.

    Each of these sciences have their own eternal verities. Surely, clergy wld eternal defend them, regardless how harnful they are to some people.
    Lucky for us the science 7 of galileo is not stuck in yr 1500; science 7 2010 differs much from science 7 1777.
    And science 7 3010 wld differ from science 7 2010. Its only etern truth is that we are all equal. To all other sciences, one etern ‘truth’ they hold is that we are not all equal. tnx

  2. Mulga Mumblebrain said on May 3rd, 2010 at 11:15am #

    Let’s face facts. The Zionists control the West, including the UK, so thoroughly that no political or religious leader dares challenge their power. How someone like the Archbishop,if we reject the proposition that he is simply a racist and bigot who shares the Zionists’ utter hatred and contempt for their victims,is controlled invites some interesting speculation. We know of numerous instances where the Zionists have collected information on influential figures, then blackmailed them. Perhaps the Archbishop has a skeleton in the cupboard. If not the only explanation must be utter moral cowardice, not unknown in ‘religious’ leaders.

  3. Rehmat said on May 3rd, 2010 at 6:32pm #

    Jewish leaders around the world were outraged by Pope Benedict XVI’s personal preacher, Father Raniero Cantalamessa, who called attack on the Pope for not mentioning the child sexual abuse (padophilia) cases within the Church in his Easter message – as “anti-Semitism”. The Zionist controlled Western mainstream media was quick to point finger on this glaring omission in the traditional Easter Messages delivered by both Pope Benedict XI and the Archbishop of Canterbury. However, the same media ignored the glaring omission of estimated 1000 Muslim children being killed each day as result of the wars created by Christian West in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Sudan, Somalia, Chechnya and Philippines. The Pope, Archbishop of Canterbury and the leaders of other Churches while preaching love and moral values – did not consider worth mentioning the world-wide children gencide because the victims happen to be Muslims.

    Easter Message: Anti-Semitism and genocide of Muslim children

  4. kalidas said on May 4th, 2010 at 8:19am #

    Archbishop: a Christian ecclesiastic of a rank superior to that attained by Christ.
    -H. L. Mencken

  5. mary said on May 5th, 2010 at 1:11am #

    Mr Littlewood criticizes the main parties in the General Election campaigns for their omission of this subject in the discussions.

    “UK general election: Shhh… don’t mention the Israeli

    Stuart Littlewood views the conspicuous absence of any mention of
    the Israeli occupation in the British general election campaign, against the
    background of the paralysing influence of the Israel lobby on the three main political parties and the silent complicity of the mainstream media, including the BBC, and the Church in Israeli crimes.