Thread: Christians in the Middle East Board: Purgatory / Ship of Fools.


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Posted by Horseman Bree (# 5290) on :
 
what few are left in some of those countries.

Springing from the line of thought in the "Does God do Bad Things to Good People" thread, I am interested to know if any of these evangelicals who so strongly advocate for the need to urge the End Times into fruition have any care for anyone else in the world?

Specific issue: Trump and Pence ("Let the Trump-Pence sound!) have decided that the pot in the ME should be stirred by trying to make Jerusalem the Jewish capital. This is at the urging of the kind of evangelical that supports Trump (even the RC ones, such as Pence**).*

But, so far as I can tell, no evangelical of that persuasion has any idea what they are doing to the Christians of that area. Did God tell them to do this, or did they think it up all by themselves?

Or is this merely a ploy to get the last Christians out of the ME, whether by death deportation or emigration?

*This attitude among Americans goes back to at least the 1880s, since I have read an amusing reasonably-true story of an American family that moved to Jerusalem at about that time, in order to attend the opening scene of the End of the World.

**
Mike "To-Hell-with-the-Pope" Trump, I assume.
 
Posted by Bishops Finger (# 5430) on :
 
O, I expect that the fundies' hope is that any True Christian in the Middle East will be duly Raptured, as and when.

Any others will, of course, be subjected to The Tribulation/Death/Hellfire (delete as applicable).

[Disappointed]

IJ
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
It is neither Jews nor evangelicals (dispensationalist or otherwise) who are primarily responsible for the problems of Christians in the Middle East, but Islamist extremists ie Islamofascists.

But Hell will freeze over before the Ship faces up to that fact.

[ 17. December 2017, 01:55: Message edited by: Kaplan Corday ]
 
Posted by simontoad (# 18096) on :
 
My Coptic Christian psych says that Islam, not just fundamentalist Islam, is a great evil. I give him a pass on that, on the basis that you don't take sentencing advice from the victims of a crime.
 
Posted by Stetson (# 9597) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
It is neither Jews nor evangelicals (dispensationalist or otherwise) who are primarily responsible for the problems of Christians in the Middle East, but Islamist extremists ie Islamofascists.

But Hell will freeze over before the Ship faces up to that fact.

More or less agreed, but with the caveat that those "Islamic extremists and Islamofasicts" have a considerable history of getting material and financial support from western governments, and that these governments in turn have more often than not been strongly endorsed by certain sections of their Christian population.

Western backing for the Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia being just the most egreious case in point.
 
Posted by Augustine the Aleut (# 1472) on :
 
The only evangelical (from a Holiness church) who has discussed this with me had visited Israel and was confused by the churches she had attended there, which were far from those in which she was raised (she was notable among her set for having asked one of the Orthodox hierarchs why there were no believers' testimonies at the liturgy). That, on our first conversation (over cappucino and a copy of a CS Lewis book), I was asked if I were Catholic or Christian, perhaps describes her perspective.

Ottawa has over a dozen congregations of Middle Eastern Xians, most of whom are focussed on bringing their relations over as son as possible,
and I am not sure how long there will be a Xn presence there outside Israel and the Lebanon.
Like Simontoad's doctor, my Coptic friends are not optimistic about the usefulness of Islam at any level; as the recently-immigrated cousin of one had a cross tattooed on her forehead as a small child so that she would be less likely forced into marriage as an adolescent, I must admit that heir life experience is different from mine.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Stetson:
Western backing for the Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia being just the most egreious case in point.

Yes, American support for the repulsive Saudi regime is a concern, and might be prompted only by cynical considerations of oil supply and arms sales.

On the other hand, there is a realpolitik argument that it is important to support it as a counterweight to Iran and its allies, on the same logic by which the West supported the appalling Stalinist Soviet Union against the even more appalling (or at least more immediately dangerous) Nazi Germany.

[ 17. December 2017, 06:41: Message edited by: Kaplan Corday ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
From what I can gather, the head-honcho of the Greek Orthodox in the region along with clergy from canonical and non-canonical Orthodox jurisdictions, begged Trump to reconsider but he, of course, ignored them.

Yes, Islamo-fascism is certainly an immense issue.

That doesn't let the US off the hook. Nor does it excuse some of the dodgy things the Israelis do.

The whole thing is a complete mess. Western support for the Saudis, dodgy regimes in most countries in the region.

My impression of the indigenous Christians in the area is that yes, they are obviously all too aware of the threat from Islamist extremism but they are equally opposed to Zionism.

Their beef with the West is two-fold, support for the Saudis and for Syrian rebels who might be almost as whacky as ISIS on the one hand, unqualified support for Israel on the other.

Does that mean they are Islamophobic or anti-Semitic?

Or does it mean that they can see things we can't or won't?

Opposition to Islamo-fascism doesn't mean we have to give Zionism and US foreign policy a free pass.

Kaplan should know that.

If he can combine being an evangelical without being a Dispensationalist or pre-Trib Rapture merchant (which is something that is easily achieved) then surely he can see that concern about aspects of US and Israeli policy can be criticism without being soft on Islamo-fascism?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
That said, I am sure there are anti-semitic and Islamophobic elements among some Christians in the Middle East ...

None of these things are without their complications.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Does that mean they are anti-Semitic?

Absolutely, in some cases it does indeed.

There is a long and lamentable history of anti-Semitism in various Christian traditions.


quote:
Opposition to Islamo-fascism doesn't mean we have to give Zionism and US foreign policy a free pass.

Kaplan should know that.

If he can combine being an evangelical without being a Dispensationalist or pre-Trib Rapture merchant (which is something that is easily achieved) then surely he can see that concern about aspects of US and Israeli policy can be criticism without being soft on Islamo-fascism?

To discern Islamofascism as the predominant problem for Christians in the ME (which is to say, to exercise some sense of proportion) is not incompatible with recognising shortcomings in Israeli and American policy.

Gamaliel should know that.

Surely he can see that an obsessive preoccupation with Israeli and American policy often constitutes a naive blindness toward, or wilful trivialisation of, the evils of Islamofascism?
 
Posted by chris stiles (# 12641) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
Yes, American support for the repulsive Saudi regime is a concern, and might be prompted only by cynical considerations of oil supply and arms sales.

On the other hand, there is a realpolitik argument that it is important to support it as a counterweight to Iran and its allies

The problem with this analysis is that to the extent that many Middle Eastern and Islamic countries have become less hospitable to Christians it's down largely to the streams of extremist Islam that Saudi Arabia have financed throughout the Muslim world.

Furthermore, even if they are under persecution, there are indigenous christian communities in Iran in a way that there just aren't in Saudi. The population of Christians in Iran has even increased slightly due to the arrival of Assyrians fleeing persecution and death in Iraq.

The longer term solution is for the West generally to drop its overblown rhetoric over Iran, acknowledge that it's always going to be a regional power and move on.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
It cuts both ways, Kaplan.

Surely you can see that an obsession with eschatological speculation among large sections of the evangelical constituency in the US is part of the problem too?

Obviously, it's not as major a contributor to the problems facing the beleaguered Christian minorities in the region, but it is a factor.

I don't see a great deal of evidence for the trivialisation of Islamo-fascism.

It's not as if anyone here supports ISIS however much they might rail against the inequalities in the State of Israel or about Trump or US foreign policy or Dispensationalist US evangelicalism.

I think we'd all readily accept that Coptic Christians get a raw deal in Egypt, that Christian communities in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere are under threat, that both Saudi Arabia and Iran are oppressive regimes in their various ways.

What's the answer?

Nuking Iran as some of the more extreme US hawks would do? In case you think I'm exaggerating, I do know of US academics and others who hold such views.

I'll accept that some of the anti-Israel rhetoric does need to be tempered and balanced out here on these boards.

But I don't see anyone suggesting that extreme Islamists should be allowed free rein to massacre Christians and Jews.

Keep things in proportion.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
To discern Islamofascism as the predominant problem for Christians in the ME (which is to say, to exercise some sense of proportion) is not incompatible with recognising shortcomings in Israeli and American policy.

But the degree of influence that anyone here has over, say, Al-Nusra Front, is zero, whereas in theory, the degree of influence we have over our own democratic governments is very slightly greater than that.

So condemning UK foreign policy has a very slightly greater chance of achieving something than condemning Al-Nusra Front and their friends.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
It is neither Jews nor evangelicals (dispensationalist or otherwise) who are primarily responsible for the problems of Christians in the Middle East, but Islamist extremists ie Islamofascists.

But Hell will freeze over before the Ship faces up to that fact.

So it's got nothing to do with the historically local Christians for 2000 years and their European cousins for 1000? It's got nothing to do with pre-Islamic Greco-Roman - European - Christians at war with the Persians for much of half a millennium before? And nothing to do with Christian imperialists for the past 200? Including the British joke occupation of Basra? The Anglo-American one of Baghdad, the American creation of sectarianism and therefore Al Nusra and SCIS through their Shia puppet?

We're so glad you told us who's fault it all is, got us right on that.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
'There is a long and lamentable history of anti-Semitism in various Christian traditions.'

Yes, Kaplan, there is.

I notice, though, that you didn't lament the Islamophobia of more recent vintage.

Of course, given Ottoman rule and persecution under various Islamic regimes, it's hardly surprising that the region's Christians are going to be wary of Islam, at least in its more militant forms.

If we're looking at Arab-Israeli conflicts then both sides have committed atrocities. Neither of them emerge from the whole thing without cases to answer.

My view is that it's just as simplistic, though, to pin all the blame on Islamofascism as it is to blame it all on Trump or Balfour or US / UK foreign policy ...

I would say that Balfour has a lot to answer for. It's pretty clear that the British government wanted to create a client-state in the Middle East akin to Rhodesia or South Africa .. and the Sykes-Picot carving up of the region after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire also led to all manner of problems.

But we are where we are.

Rather than trying to pin blame we should really be looking to find some kind of solution, intractable though the problems appear to be and undoubtedly are.

I have no idea what that solution might look like.

But we have to try and achieve one.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Besides, who or what is this 'Ship' of which you speak?

I've never noticed that there is only one, single voice or stance on Israel aboard this vessel.

Yes, the dominant and most regular voice is that of those who have misgivings about Western policies in the region.

But we've had very pro-Israeli posters here from time to time.

Of course, they may have slung their hooks and crept back overboard once they realised that there were people here who didn't see things the same way as they do ...

Or perhaps people were rude to them?

I don't know.

It's certainly true that certain forms of conservative evangelical get a hard time here, that Dispensationalism in particular receives short-shrift.

The dominant paradigm tends to be small l liberal ... both politically and theologically.

Unless there was going to be positive discrimination to support Zionists, Dispensationalists and Islamophobes (we've had a few of those on board) then I can't see what the Ship can do about that.

Of course, having good words to say about Israel doesn't make one a Zionist, Dispensationalist or Islamophobe, of course ...

But I don't see a uniform view on here when it comes to these issues. Mr cheesy isn't 'The Ship', Chris Stiles isn't 'The Ship', Martin60 isn't 'The Ship' any more than Kaplan Corday or Gamaliel are.

The Ship is the some total of whoever is posting here at any one time.

If Kaplan's is a minority voice on this - and other issues - that's just the way the cookie crumbles.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
I think there's a strong case for sending any thread where the tired old bollocks of accusing those critical of Israel of anti-Senitism down to the glue factory, because I for one am sick of it.

"Kaplan's just an Islamophobe" - see how that doesn't help the debate?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Indeed, it doesn't help it any more than, 'It's all down to Islamo-fascism and I'm the only person on the Ship smart enough to see that ...'

Which is essentially Kaplan's position.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
Well, quite.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
I don't deny the impact of extreme forms of Islam on the Christians of the ME. But I think it is also worth remembering other factors - Christians often seem to have more relatives in other countries than other people - for example Palestine Christians in South America, Lebanese Christians in Australia.

Making this all, and only, about Islam is a mistake.

Second, it seems to me increasingly ironic when Evangelicals go on about ME Christians in the battle between good-and-evil when the group they're talking about are those whom in all other circumstances they'd not regard as "real" Christians - because the Christians of the ME are overwhelmingly Coptic, Orthodox, some variation of RC and so on.

Which just goes to show that Evangelicals have no shame or sense of irony when it comes to using geo-political events in their religious narrative to get what they want.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
I've oft heard it said that it's because most of them are monophysites - which is a stupid idea IMO.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Besides, who or what is this 'Ship' of which you speak?

I've never noticed that there is only one, single voice or stance on Israel aboard this vessel.

Yes, the dominant and most regular voice is that of those who have misgivings about Western policies in the region.

But we've had very pro-Israeli posters here from time to time.

Of course, they may have slung their hooks and crept back overboard once they realised that there were people here who didn't see things the same way as they do ...

Or perhaps people were rude to them?

I don't know.

It's certainly true that certain forms of conservative evangelical get a hard time here, that Dispensationalism in particular receives short-shrift.

The dominant paradigm tends to be small l liberal ... both politically and theologically.

Unless there was going to be positive discrimination to support Zionists, Dispensationalists and Islamophobes (we've had a few of those on board) then I can't see what the Ship can do about that.

Of course, having good words to say about Israel doesn't make one a Zionist, Dispensationalist or Islamophobe, of course ...

But I don't see a uniform view on here when it comes to these issues. Mr cheesy isn't 'The Ship', Chris Stiles isn't 'The Ship', Martin60 isn't 'The Ship' any more than Kaplan Corday or Gamaliel are.

The Ship is the some total of whoever is posting here at any one time.

If Kaplan's is a minority voice on this - and other issues - that's just the way the cookie crumbles.

The liberal Ship put up with me while I was still a Zionist, Dispensationalist, Islamophobe exulting in God the Killer and proclaiming liberal interventionism in my name.
 
Posted by Augustine the Aleut (# 1472) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
*snip*
Second, it seems to me increasingly ironic when Evangelicals go on about ME Christians in the battle between good-and-evil when the group they're talking about are those whom in all other circumstances they'd not regard as "real" Christians - because the Christians of the ME are overwhelmingly Coptic, Orthodox, some variation of RC and so on.

Which just goes to show that Evangelicals have no shame or sense of irony when it comes to using geo-political events in their religious narrative to get what they want.

I have on several occasions (including the one which I mentioned in my above post) heard western Xns just back from the Holy Land exclaim with puzzlement that the service they attended were nowhere what they were used to. More than one has raised with me how useful it would be to all if they could but renew and reform Middle Eastern Xty. I told them that it had been tried, and we have Arab Presbyterianism, Anglicanism, and Methodism, to prove that there had been efforts, but the Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox seemed to feel otherwise. I may have been slightly devilish in suggesting that they themselves might want to open up desert monasteries near Lethbridge or Tucson, so as to properly participate in the spiritual strength which has so long sustained believers under persecution.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
I've oft heard it said that it's because most of them are monophysites - which is a stupid idea IMO.

Really? Outside the rareified intellectual atmosphere of the Ship, I'd be surprised to meet a western Christian of any theological stripe who even knew what a Monophysite was.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
OK maybe I shouldn't have used the general term evangelical, as there are clearly a range of opinions on ME Christians within Evangelicals.

But, it seems to me, those who munter on about how Islam is a huge threat to world peace (..look at how the Christians of the ME are treated..) are primarily Evangelicals of a certain type.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
The dominant paradigm tends to be small l liberal ... both politically and theologically

A genuine political liberalism would acknowledge the faults of American and Israeli policy, but appreciate, and concentrate on, the overwhelming danger of Islamofascism.

It would not occasionally nod a cursory acknowledgement of the evils of Islamofascism in passing, and then settle down to the endless and congenial past-time of America-bashing and Israel-basing.

It comes down to a question of proportion and priority.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Second, it seems to me increasingly ironic when Evangelicals go on about ME Christians in the battle between good-and-evil when the group they're talking about are those whom in all other circumstances they'd not regard as "real" Christians - because the Christians of the ME are overwhelmingly Coptic, Orthodox, some variation of RC and so on.

As far as I am concerned, these people are my brothers and sisters in Christ.

You now have the option, of course, of claiming that I am not a 'real' evangelical.
 
Posted by Ricardus (# 8757) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:

But, it seems to me, those who munter on about how Islam is a huge threat to world peace (..look at how the Christians of the ME are treated..) are primarily Evangelicals of a certain type.

I think that's more because Evangelicals for a variety of reasons have the loudest voice in the US and to a lesser extent the UK.

ISTM the loudest anti-Islamic Christian voices in Hungary or Austria or Poland are Catholic and in Greece or Russia are Orthodox.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
What Ricardus said. Orthodoxen from the old countries are the consummate islamophobes. Makes one think Muslims in traditionally Muslim parts of the world are different from the ones in the u.s.

[ 17. December 2017, 19:56: Message edited by: mousethief ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Sure, I've come across RCs and Orthodox who'd make some Islamophobic evangelicals look like Islamophiles ...

As for Kaplan being a 'real' evangelical. Of course he isn't - according to the definitions that some Big E Evangelicals would apply.

Kaplan would not be Reformed enough for some Big E Evos.

He'd also be too liberal for some US evangelicals ...

Mind you, his needle seems to have got stuck on this thread.

If we're bashing the US or Israel then we are turning a blind-eye to Islamo-fascism.

Yeah, right ...
 
Posted by Augustine the Aleut (# 1472) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
OK maybe I shouldn't have used the general term evangelical, as there are clearly a range of opinions on ME Christians within Evangelicals.

But, it seems to me, those who munter on about how Islam is a huge threat to world peace (..look at how the Christians of the ME are treated..) are primarily Evangelicals of a certain type.

I think many of us are guilty of using the term loosely. Evangelical is perhaps becoming a word like socialist, where it raises more questions than it answers. I find that most of my North American evangelical contacts are preoccupied with certain social issues and are focussed on a conservativish perspective (but not all of them!!).

Anyway, perhaps that's another thread.
 
Posted by simontoad (# 18096) on :
 
A monophysite is a new and very scientific discovery that they are putting in shampoo. They found it in the Dead Sea.

I'm pro-israeli, and I note with quiet hope that Netenyahu was interviewed for the ninth time on corruption allegations recently.
 
Posted by Ian Climacus (# 944) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by simontoad:
A monophysite is a new and very scientific discovery that they are putting in shampoo. They found it in the Dead Sea.

Is that why there are 3 Israeli men at my local centre of consumerism selling Dead Sea lotions?

My sister, who I'd describe more as a fundamentalist than an evangelical tends to like the attitudes ascribed here. Constantly going on about the final war in the Middle East to bring on the Second Coming. You'd think there'd been enough false starts, but, no, the next one is always "the one". I try not to engage. Her opinion on the existing Christians: "I met a Lebanese Orthodox who found Jesus". These people exist. And have Christmas dinner with us.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
By Kaplan's logic, Putin's Russia would be turning a blind-eye to Islamist extremism as it tends to take a pretty dim view of the USA, Israel and their allies in the Middle East.

Of course, Russia engages in Middle Eastern Realpolitik as much as the US. It backs those it feels will best represent its own interests in the region

I can't say that I've noticed the Russians being soft on Islamic extremism or Islamic terrorists.

I know Kaplan was talking about the Ship rather than Russia, but I put this out to highlight how his overly simplistic approach is flawed on various levels.

On the evangelical thing ... it's tended to be a result of the particular evangelical circles I've moved in, but the kind of air-headed eschatological approach cited in this thread has always seemed like a minority sport to me. Yes, I did encounter some egregious examples of Dispensationalism early on when I was first exposed to the Brethren, but by and large, the rest of UK evangelicalism at that time was less inclined to run that way.

Of course, there were a few eccentrics like my dotty mother-in-law who'd swallow any Israel / End Times schema that came her way.

For the most part, the kind of loopy-doopy obsessions with the Holy Land were decidedly off-beat.

That said, although my contacts within independent evangelicalism aren't what they were, I do get the impression that this sort of approach is on the rise in the UK, even among people who'd have had the good sense to have repudiated it at one time, however much they may have imbibed other equally doolally aspects of revivalism.

These things are always features not times of uncertainty, flux and change.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ian Climacus:
Is that why there are 3 Israeli men at my local centre of consumerism selling Dead Sea lotions?


Dead-sea mud products are one of those things that the Israelis market really well around the world. And, to give them credit where it is due, they're really good at it. The irony is that it is said that much of the mud is actually extracted within the Palestinian territories, because Israel only has a relatively small access to the dead sea compared to that which backs onto the West Bank and Jordan.

I don't know for certain where the mud originates from - however I do know that Israeli companies market limestone from Hebron (usually called Jerusalem gold), even though there are no quarries in Israel. For various reasons (not all deliberate), it is easier for Palestinian owners to sell to Israeli marketing partners than to try to do it themselves.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:

But, it seems to me, those who munter on about how Islam is a huge threat to world peace (..look at how the Christians of the ME are treated..) are primarily Evangelicals of a certain type.

I think that's more because Evangelicals for a variety of reasons have the loudest voice in the US and to a lesser extent the UK.

ISTM the loudest anti-Islamic Christian voices in Hungary or Austria or Poland are Catholic and in Greece or Russia are Orthodox.

OK this is fair comment, I don't move in RC or Orthodox circles so I don't know how things are framed in those discussions.

I suppose I was mostly thinking of the stuff coming out of the Barnabas Trust and CSW - which have quite a lot of traction amongst Evangelicals of a certain stripe in the UK and often seem to have the ear of (at least some sections of) government.

And I don't think it is even that what they're reporting is wrong - there is abundant evidence that individual Christians in many parts of the ME are facing abuse and discrimination.

But it is something about the way these things are framed, knitting together incidents into a narrative about global Islamic domination.
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Yeah, I was influenced by Barnabas in my Islamophobia to say the least. I was told by the top, in person that they could have a C130 with an SAS squad with a nod.

[ 18. December 2017, 09:16: Message edited by: Martin60 ]
 
Posted by Eutychus (# 3081) on :
 
"They"? "Have"?
 
Posted by Barnabas62 (# 9110) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Yeah, I was influenced by Barnabas in my Islamophobia to say the least.

The Trust, presumably?

(If I have had any influence as a Shipmate, it would I hope have been benign).
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
Aye, the Fund. And aye, so I was MOST reliably informed. One could be deployed in the context of the sectarian killing of Christians in Iraq after 2003. The offer was declined. By the person telling me. Allegedly.
 
Posted by Augustine the Aleut (# 1472) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Ian Climacus:
Is that why there are 3 Israeli men at my local centre of consumerism selling Dead Sea lotions?


Dead-sea mud products are one of those things that the Israelis market really well around the world. And, to give them credit where it is due, they're really good at it. The irony is that it is said that much of the mud is actually extracted within the Palestinian territories, because Israel only has a relatively small access to the dead sea compared to that which backs onto the West Bank and Jordan.

I don't know for certain where the mud originates from - however I do know that Israeli companies market limestone from Hebron (usually called Jerusalem gold), even though there are no quarries in Israel. For various reasons (not all deliberate), it is easier for Palestinian owners to sell to Israeli marketing partners than to try to do it themselves.

*tangent alert* Israel has free-trade agreements with the US and Canada, and an overall trade agreement with the European Free Trade Association, and the Palestinian Authority does not. Palestine-origin or Palestinian-produced material is usually marketed through Israeli partners, who have better access to financing, and access to international markets through the free trade agreements. I am reliably informed by an acquaintance in the public relations biz that international companies which had interest in operating out of Palestine were discouraged from doing so by the publicity which Sodastream had received, and liked the legal stability of Israel, but (according to him) were happier with Arab Israelis or Palestinians as employees than Jewish Israelis.

With respect to this thread, Palestinian Christians have widespread commercial and personal networks, and many Israeli companies seem comfortable in working with them---in one case of which I am aware, much more comfortable than were a few of the Jewish Canadian executives. Disclosure: I benefitted by a free lunch and a bottle of Lagavulin 16-year-old for smoothing things over.
 
Posted by chris stiles (# 12641) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
Aye, the Fund. And aye, so I was MOST reliably informed. One could be deployed in the context of the sectarian killing of Christians in Iraq after 2003. The offer was declined. By the person telling me. Allegedly.

ISTM that 'the Fund' has long since vanished into the realm of the military-conspiracy complex, and at this point shouldn't really be trusted for information on the state of the world in general and the state of the ME in particular.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Augustine the Aleut:

*tangent alert* Israel has free-trade agreements with the US and Canada, and an overall trade agreement with the European Free Trade Association, and the Palestinian Authority does not.

This doesn't really show the complete situation. The West Bank and Gaza has a trade deal with the EU which allows the tariff free export of products see this. Canadian imports of Palestinian goods are said to be treated similarly to Israeli goods with regard to tariffs.

quote:
Palestine-origin or Palestinian-produced material is usually marketed through Israeli partners, who have better access to financing, and access to international markets through the free trade agreements.
Yes to the former but no to the latter. Hebron stone can be imported directly from the quarries into the EU without duty - as can various other Palestinian products.

quote:
I am reliably informed by an acquaintance in the public relations biz that international companies which had interest in operating out of Palestine were discouraged from doing so by the publicity which Sodastream had received, and liked the legal stability of Israel, but (according to him) were happier with Arab Israelis or Palestinians as employees than Jewish Israelis.
This is wrong. What happened was that Sodastream was a brand operating from the settlements in the occupied territories, and the EU determined that settlement products could not be labelled as coming from Israel nor benefit from the EU-Israel trade deal.
Palestinian workers were working in the settlement, but this is a different issue to the one I've discussed above about the export of "West Bank and Gaza" products from Palestinian-owned businesses inside the Palestinian Authority area.

quote:
With respect to this thread, Palestinian Christians have widespread commercial and personal networks, and many Israeli companies seem comfortable in working with them---in one case of which I am aware, much more comfortable than were a few of the Jewish Canadian executives. Disclosure: I benefitted by a free lunch and a bottle of Lagavulin 16-year-old for smoothing things over.
People generally do not appreciate how dependent the Palestinian economy is on clients in Israel.

I once was in a Palestinian clothing factory in the Bethlehem area, and the owner showed me some socks in a bin he was getting ready for a client. They were lime-green and destined for the Israeli military.

Whether the IDF knew where their socks were coming from, I have no idea - I suspect there were various intermediaries hiding the real origin.
 
Posted by LutheranChik (# 9826) on :
 
It amazes me the extent to which people in non- Evangelical/ fundamentalist churches have absorbed the mindset that conflates the modern state of Israel with the biblical sense of Israel.

I'm in the ELCA, a denomination that, with its predecessor bodies, has spent years trying to educate its people about Palestnian Christians and the human rights abuses that make life difficult for all Palestinians/promulgates terrorism. Yet whenever our Presiding Bishop makes a statement of concern about Palestinian Christians or offers a criticism of Israeli policy toward Palestnians, she is immediately piled on by churge membwrs who accuse her of cozying up to terrorists and/or defying God God's own self by not supporting Israel at all costs. I can only imagine these are Lutherans by church roll/ con evs by disposition who get much of their theology and worldview from popular Christian books and other media, not from their actual faith communities.

My former pastor went on a tour of the Middle East with an ecumenical group of clergy. When he got back and talked about his experiences speaking with Palestinian Christians, or witnessing the everyday indignities suffered by Palestinians trying to go about their business...you could tell it just wasn't connecting with people. Some seemed surprised that there actually were Christians in the Mode East who weren't recent converts. Very frustrating.
 
Posted by Augustine the Aleut (# 1472) on :
 
@Mr Cheesy. My Sodastream reference related to the PR aspects of it (evidenced by trolling through NY Times archives and other publications) as described by a (Arab Canadian) professional in the field; he did not mention the trade agreement aspects. Thanks for the information about the application of the Canada-Israel FTA applying to Palestinian products.

Fans of diplomatic trivia may be interested to know that the Palestinian Authority representation in Canada shares the same status as the Delegation of the Aga Khan and the Knights of Malta.
 
Posted by no prophet's flag is set so... (# 15560) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
On the other hand, there is a realpolitik argument that it is important to support it as a counterweight to Iran and its allies, on the same logic by which the West supported the appalling Stalinist Soviet Union against the even more appalling (or at least more immediately dangerous) Nazi Germany.

Is Iran appalling in the region, more so than Saudi Arabia?

The realpolitik in the region is that countries there need to be economic vassals of western countries, particularly the USA, and if they object they must be threatened, governments overthrown, subject to proxy wars, or directly invaded. Iran as it is today is more of a prodigal son than spawn of the devil, notwithstanding that it is always nice to have a number manufactured enemies available so as to maintain economies on a profitable war footing with home populations supporting. In many ways, the Middle East is a lot like Latin America if you trade oil for bananas.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
Is Iran appalling in the region, more so than Saudi Arabia?

I was explaining the realpolitik argument, not pushing it.

FWIW, I am not particularly enamoured of either regime.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
By Kaplan's logic, Putin's Russia would be turning a blind-eye to Islamist extremism as it tends to take a pretty dim view of the USA, Israel and their allies in the Middle East.

Hmm, compelling analogy.

So, let's see if I've got it.

It was my perception that, of the few dozen who post on this topic on the Ship, a majority display a disproportionate interest in condemning the wrongs of America and Israel as compared with the far more serious wrongs of Islamofascism.

However Russia, an authoritarian world power, pursues a foreign policy which is anti-US, anti-Israel and anti-Islamist.

Ergo, all moral equivalence which condemns flawed liberal democracies with the same vehemence as it condemns neo-fascism is actually normal and acceptable - "Proof positive!", as Neddy Seagoon used to say.

When it's laid out for you as clearly as that, you can't understand why you didn't see it earlier.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
You are being deliberately obtuse, it seems to me.

I'd fully accept that there's a level of special pleading on the part of some who criticise Israeli or US policies.

I once heard a Jewish pro-Palestinian activist maintain that a photo of a Palestinian youth aiming a slingshot at an Israeli army outpost depicted an act of 'political performance art'.

The reason she gave for that was the distance from the target. Anyone could see that he wouldn't have been able to hit anyone from that distance ...

I remain unconvinced.

I am intrigued though, as to why Kaplan remains silent on the very evident inequalities facing Palestinians within Israel.

That's obviously of no concern because the existence of Islamo-fascism obviously trunmps all of that and makes it if no account ...

How's this then?

I deplore Islamo-fascism and Islamist extremism of all kinds. I condemn any violence and acts of terrorism from whatever source and in whatever cause.

All that goes without saying.

At the same time I deplore the illegal expansion of Israeli settlements and the way the Israeli military have often conducted themselves.

If Kaplan wants to turn a blind-eye to that and to the existence of an essentially apartheid system within Israel then that's up to him.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Besides, the reason for criticising liberal democracies when they behave unacceptably is precisely because they are liberal democracies and ought to know better.

Neo-fascism is as neo-fascism does. It is deservedly condemned for that.

If a liberal democracy, the US, the UK, Israel, Australia ... act in illiberal ways then they should be called on it.

Australia is a liberal democracy. That doesn't stop it acting like an arsehole at times in the way it treats refugees and asylum seekers.

If I called some Aussie politicians a bunch of xenophobic twats because of their poor record in that respect, am I somehow letting the Saudis off the hook for their war-crimes in the Yemen?

No, of course not.

Twats are twats. Wherever they come from.
 
Posted by chris stiles (# 12641) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:

It was my perception that, of the few dozen who post on this topic on the Ship, a majority display a disproportionate interest in condemning the wrongs of America and Israel as compared with the far more serious wrongs of Islamofascism.

Alternatively, that may be because there are fewer people on the ship who advocate a 'my country/ideology right or wrong' approach to 'Islamofascism' (whatever that is - given your rather confused addition of Iran into that mix).
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Islamo-fascism certainly exists.

Many predominantly Islamic countries are hardly beacons of liberal democracy and tolerance. I once attended a reading London by exiled writers from various countries. The level of censorship some of these writers had experienced was extraordinary, even over the most anodyne of references.

From what I've gleaned, Iran is a far more mixed and nuanced a society than is often portrayed, but I don't think anyone would claim it's in any way liberal ...
 
Posted by chris stiles (# 12641) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Islamo-fascism certainly exists.

Many predominantly Islamic countries are hardly beacons of liberal democracy and tolerance.

Which isn't evidence that there is a particular ideology called 'Islamofascism' that animates all such repression. A lot of the arguments around this seem to come from people who readily confuse historical contingencies with universal particulars (ignoring the Christian commentators who seem to yearn to be part of the military industrial complex).

Not to mention that the extent of religious and political repression varies widely in time - with some of the most secular regimes also being the most repressive, and the difficulties with generalizing across countries differing vastly in ethnic mix and religious ideology.

If Salafism is the thing closest thing to any form of 'Islamofacism' then Saudi Arabia (the West and Israel's current ally) has done more to facilitate it's spread than any of the countries the West has invaded or bombed in the past.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Perhaps.

I think an analogous point though,would be to consider an issue such as the plight of the Rohingya minority in Myanmar / Burma.

There are Islamist militants among them.

Presumably they would fall within Kaplan's definition of Islamo-fascism.

In which case, are we to say, 'Why worry about the plight of the Rohingya? Surely the issue of Islamo-fascism is a bigger issue? The plight of the refugees pales into insignificance alongside that ...'

Which is where Kaplan's accusations of assymetry ultimately leads.

Fuck them they are only Muslims / Jews / Irish / Vietnamese boat people [insert minority of choice] ...
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
'Islamofascism' (whatever that is - given your rather confused addition of Iran into that mix).

Islamofascism certainly includes the toxic hatred of Jews which characterises the Iran regime.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I think an analogous point though,would be to consider an issue such as the plight of the Rohingya minority in Myanmar / Burma.

We do "consider" - and pray about -this situation all the time, because my wife does English conversation classes with an asylum-seeker organisation, and the family of one of her students was forced to flee to Bangladesh, carrying the aged mother, after Burmese troops attacked their village and shot his sister.

She has helped him in his determination to record his own and his family's experiences, an exercise which might or might not have some therapeutic benefit.

Go and teach your grandmother to suck eggs.

quote:
There are Islamist militants among them.
Allegedly, ie according to the Burmese authorities

quote:
Presumably they would fall within Kaplan's definition of Islamo-fascism.
Even if they exist, they have no power, no realistic chance of taking over Burma or establishing a nation separate from it from Burmese territory, and are therefore fairly irrelevant to this discussion - unless you are grasping at straws..

[ 19. December 2017, 05:02: Message edited by: Kaplan Corday ]
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Glad to hear all that, Kaplan.

However, one could argue that the Palestinians have no power, no realistic chance of forming a government, etc etc.

That's not clutching at straws, that's simply to acknowledge the reality of the situation.

The only chance the Palestinians have would be:

- If all the surrounding Arab nations invaded Israel with Russian support, a scenario some conservative evangelicals envisage as it accords with their interpretation of scripture and their eschatology. Not a scenario I'd welcome in any way, shape or form.

- If some way could be found to broker a two-state system or - in an even more utopian way, as Karl has indicated, a state where it does matter whether you are Jewish, Muslim or Christian but there's a level playing field. I don't see that happening any time soon.

As for anti-Semitism in Iran. Yes, long history of that. Jewish people were forced to move. It's also an illiberal regime in all manner of ways, as I've indicated from my account of my encounter with exiled writers.

How to deal with Iran?

Treat it as an international pariah or try and draw it in from the cold in some way? That's seen as akin to Neville Chamberlain's Appeasement by some US hawks I've come across.

Nuke it? Sanction it?

How to deal with the Saudis? Stop selling them weapons might help.

How to deal with Israel?
Recognise Jerusalem as their capital? Offer them unqualified support? Or act as some kind of critical friend?

Whatever approach weight favour is fraught with difficulty.

I don't pretend to have the answers.

Railing here on Ship in either a pro or anti-Israeli way isn't going to help.

There are two equal and opposite errors we can fall into, it seems to me. We can either play down the very real threat of Islamist or jihadist extremism on the one hand or we can blithely ignore the systemic inequalities of the State of Israel on the other.

How we tread a fine line between those is the tricky part.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
There is no contradiction in saying that Palestinians have a very bad deal whilst also deploring the disgusting Saudi regime.

In the same way there is no contradiction in highlighting the impacts of Australian immigration at the same time as deploring the regime in The Philippines.

This whole project to try to insist that one must not feel strongly about something because something far worse exists is bogus.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
I think the other thing is there are no significant voices defending the Saudis or Iranians. Israel on the other hand has many apologists, so it's natural there wil be more debate, focus and attention on it.
 
Posted by L'organist (# 17338) on :
 
posted by Mr Cheesy
quote:
There is no contradiction in saying that Palestinians have a very bad deal whilst also deploring the disgusting Saudi regime.
Maybe not but one should look at the history of the Saudi-Palestinian relationship and try to find out why it appears that Riyadh has decided to cut loose from 70+ years of unquestioning support for the Palestinians to give its backing to a peace deal (nascent, to be sure) with US support.

As for the disgustingness of the Saudi regime: this appears to be changing, although one should not take all of the actions taken by the new crown prince at face value.

In the meantime, it will be interesting to see how Riyadh reacts to the new Belgian Ambassador who is female.
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
Maybe not but one should look at the history of the Saudi-Palestinian relationship and try to find out why it appears that Riyadh has decided to cut loose from 70+ years of unquestioning support for the Palestinians to give its backing to a peace deal (nascent, to be sure) with US support.

Saudi is a dominant player in the region. In fact there have been peace plans put forward by the Arab League since 2002. The idea that the Saudis have suddenly and recently gone alone with the Americans in putting forward an option for peace isn't really coherent.

Anyway, there isn't a whole lot of influence by Saudis on Palestinians and hasn't been for a long time.
 
Posted by leo (# 1458) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
I've oft heard it said that it's because most of them are monophysites - which is a stupid idea IMO.

Really? Outside the rareified intellectual atmosphere of the Ship, I'd be surprised to meet a western Christian of any theological stripe who even knew what a Monophysite was.
Though many are such without knowing it.

The PC term these days is miaphysite.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Ricardus:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
I've oft heard it said that it's because most of them are monophysites - which is a stupid idea IMO.

Really? Outside the rareified intellectual atmosphere of the Ship, I'd be surprised to meet a western Christian of any theological stripe who even knew what a Monophysite was.
Though many are such without knowing it.

The PC term these days is miaphysite.

And while we are on things Chalcedonian, the PC term for Nestorian is Dyophysite - but Assyrians get pissed off if you refer to them as either.

[ 19. December 2017, 19:06: Message edited by: Kaplan Corday ]
 
Posted by Bishops Finger (# 5430) on :
 
Well, who wouldn't?

I'll get me coat.....

....though I suspect many of these nuances and definitions have little meaning to those caught in crossfire or bombing raids.

IJ
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
Well, who wouldn't?

I'll get me coat.....

....though I suspect many of these nuances and definitions have little meaning to those caught in crossfire or bombing raids.

IJ

Well yes, I dare say that those in the homeland have got other things on their mind, but there is an Assyrian diaspora to whom such distinctions matter.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
Well, who wouldn't?

I'll get me coat.....

....though I suspect many of these nuances and definitions have little meaning to those caught in crossfire or bombing raids.

IJ

Well yes, I dare say that those in the homeland have got other things on their mind, but there is an Assyrian diaspora to whom such distinctions matter.
Given that Assyria has been gone now lo these 2600 years, how meaningful is it to speak of an Assyrian diaspora?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Assyrian Christians. Look them up on Google. They are a variety of Christian from Iraq and it's environs and they do have a diaspora.

They are a bit like the Syrian Jacobites or the Copts in Egypt, sort of Orthodox but not quite kosher from a canonical Orthodox perspective as they aren't Chalcedonian as far as I know.
 
Posted by Prester John (# 5502) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
Given that Assyria has been gone now lo these 2600 years, how meaningful is it to speak of an Assyrian diaspora?

I've met and protested with some of them. If the lack of a political entity is what matters can we speak of an Kurdish diaspora?
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Look up The Assyrian Church of The East. They are a kind of Syriac Christian Church with their HQ in Erbil, Iraq I think.

Their head-honcho is some kind of Patriarch-Catholicos.

The Assyrians seem to have taken the brunt of the ISIS assaults, hence the diaspora.

There are also Chaldean Christians too. Some of them are in communion with Rome.

There are a whole range of ancient churches in that part of the world that the rest of us know very little about.

Many have been settling in the US, Australia and in Western Europe as things became tougher for them after the invasion of Iraq and the chaos that followed.
 
Posted by chris stiles (# 12641) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:
Well yes, I dare say that those in the homeland have got other things on their mind, but there is an Assyrian diaspora to whom such distinctions matter.

A sizeable number of whom now live in Iran having gone there from Iraq, so much for the success of battling 'Islamofacism'.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Yes, like Kurds, Assyrians are an ethnic group. They may no longer 'come down like a wolf on the fold' with 'their cohorts (were) gleaming in purple and gold' and have those neatly plaited beards and distinctive hats like the dudes on the reliefs in The British Museum but they are still an ethnic group.

Think Kurds. Think Basques. Think Romanies. Think Laplanders. None of those ethnic groups have political territories such.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
This whole project to try to insist that one must not feel strongly about something because something far worse exists is bogus.

This is a misrepresentation and a straw man.

I'm reluctant to attempt any analogies, because dodgy ones not a hundred miles from here have given them a bad name, but here goes.

Japanese-Americans were treated appallingly 1941-5, and it is perfectly legitimate to remember, publicise and deplore ("feel strongly" about) this regrettable episode.

However, if anyone were to constantly bring it up as the most salient aspect of the Japanese War 1937-45, or treat it as somehow equivalent to atrocities such as the Rape of Nanking/Nanjing (the outbreak of which was commemorated a few days ago) we would question their grasp of moral and historical proportion, and suspect that they had lost the plot.

Believe it or not, it is possible to condemn the intrinsic wrongness of a phenomenon AND understand its place in some sort of scale of priorities.

Islamofascism, as found in groups such as ISIS, is a far more serious evil than any transgression which Israel might have
committed, and it is obtuse to pretend otherwise.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
They are a bit like the Syrian Jacobites or the Copts in Egypt

Except that Jacobites and Copts are (putatively) Monophysite/Miaphysite while Assyrians are (putatively) Nestorian/Diophysite.
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:

Given that Assyria has been gone now lo these 2600 years, how meaningful is it to speak of an Assyrian diaspora?

There was an Assyrian Church well before the founding of Constantinople, and has continued until today. Of course there have been schisms and divisions along the way in a manner reminiscent of sad divisions in the churches related to Constantinople. From memory, there is or at least was an equivalent to the various Uniate churches, in communion with Rome but retaining a distinctive liturgy

And an Antiochian Church predates Constantinople as well.
 
Posted by Augustine the Aleut (# 1472) on :
 
IIRC, the Assyrian Catholics are generally known as Chaldaean Catholics. Under the Patriarch of Babylon, they have 21 dioceses of which 4 are in Canada, the US, and Oz.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
What does Constantinople have to do with anything?

I didn't realize that "Assyrian" referred to a currently existing ethnic group. So fucking sue me.
 
Posted by Augustine the Aleut (# 1472) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
What does Constantinople have to do with anything?

I didn't realize that "Assyrian" referred to a currently existing ethnic group. So fucking sue me.

I know a few of the local Assyrians. They are very pleasant, pleased to be in a place where the worst headache they have is the snow, have splendid pastries after the liturgy, and will patiently explain about their history. Their weddings are very very long indeed with lots of splendid food (a neighbour's United Church nephew has just added some Assyrian into the Ottawa Valley gene pool) and I think the only danger is of an arranged marriage to bring someone's cousin in through Immigration. You could do worse, I think, and you should be safe from lawsuits.

Ecclesiastical trivia fans may be aware of the Archbishops' Mission to the Assyrians, an interesting initiative begun by Edward White Benson of Canterbury to provide educational support to the Assyrian Church of the East, which included Anglican staff serving as ecclesiastical judges in the Assyrian church courts. Canon William Wigram of the mission was active at the League of Nations supporting the Assyrians whom he felt were hard done by at the end of the British mandate in Mesopotamia.

[ 20. December 2017, 03:57: Message edited by: Augustine the Aleut ]
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:


Believe it or not, it is possible to condemn the intrinsic wrongness of a phenomenon AND understand its place in some sort of scale of priorities.

Islamofascism, as found in groups such as ISIS, is a far more serious evil than any transgression which Israel might have
committed, and it is obtuse to pretend otherwise.

Believe it or not, it is possible to have different priorities. I never said that the situation in Palestine is the worst in the world. For various reasons it is complicated and has far reaching impacts.

But I'd be the first to wish to see the destruction of Saudi regime before Israel.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
... Of course there have been schisms and divisions along the way in a manner reminiscent of sad divisions in the churches related to Constantinople. ...

So different, so very different, from the home life of our own dear Protestants.

[ 20. December 2017, 06:10: Message edited by: Enoch ]
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Kaplan Corday:


Believe it or not, it is possible to condemn the intrinsic wrongness of a phenomenon AND understand its place in some sort of scale of priorities.

Islamofascism, as found in groups such as ISIS, is a far more serious evil than any transgression which Israel might have
committed, and it is obtuse to pretend otherwise.

Believe it or not, it is possible to have different priorities. I never said that the situation in Palestine is the worst in the world. For various reasons it is complicated and has far reaching impacts.

But I'd be the first to wish to see the destruction of Saudi regime before Israel.

Thing is, this is a debate board. "Iran hangs gays, this is terrible" would not really provoke debate. "Israel shot an unarmed, legless man while protesting" https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.829384 will provoke a massive debate of claim, counterclaim, argument and quite possibly another uberthread. It's because it's controversial that it creates, well, debate. On a debate board.
 
Posted by Gee D (# 13815) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
... Of course there have been schisms and divisions along the way in a manner reminiscent of sad divisions in the churches related to Constantinople. ...

So different, so very different, from the home life of our own dear Protestants.
It's probably fair to say that not even the US Episcopalians have split into as many groups......
 
Posted by mr cheesy (# 3330) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
Thing is, this is a debate board. "Iran hangs gays, this is terrible" would not really provoke debate. "Israel shot an unarmed, legless man while protesting" https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.829384 will provoke a massive debate of claim, counterclaim, argument and quite possibly another uberthread. It's because it's controversial that it creates, well, debate. On a debate board.

I think it is also because Israel is tied in many ways to many of us in ways that Iran isn't. It is tied in many ways to our history. It receives much financial assistance from the US in ways that Iran does not. It is a society built on a Western European democracy model.

One reason that Israel has a particular tug on the West is that it looks to us for support, tries to engage with us in a vigorous form of public relations - and, let's be clear, much of the population has recent origins in Europe and North America. I suspect the combination of those things makes many believe that it is actually possible to change Israel.*

Iran doesn't really have that kind of connection. Saudi isn't talked about much in polite conversation. I don't think anyone really thinks that either can be changed by Western pressure, and the politicians are so compromised by the financial oil connections with Saudi that they're never going to do anything very much.

* I think this is changing as Western societies are changing - and there are many who are more interested in focussing on abuses in Iran and Saudi than Israel. Personally, I can't see this as a bad thing. But, again, I feel that there are more than enough problems to go around and there is no special obligation on anyone to focus on one issue rather than another.
 
Posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider (# 76) on :
 
Yes, I think that is the other element. It's a bit like the way I still get annoyed about my kids leaving the washing up gloves in the bowl, while other kids somewhere are nicking cars and dealing coke. If anything, rather than the anti-Semitism with which people are so often labelled, it's a faith that the Israelis have a better nature to which we can appeal, whilst there's an unspoken feeling that the Iranians and Saudis are less so.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
@Kaplan, sure. In Gamaliel parlance, 'a bit like' means 'sharing a passing resemblance to' ...

What I was trying to say was that their relationship with the canonical Orthodox (and yes, Mousethief, Constantinople does come into the equation but not necessarily in a Vatican-ish way), is similar to that of the Copts and Syriacs - and the Armenians and Ethiopians for that matter, insofar as they aren't seen as kosher by the Big O Orthodox in communion with the Ecumenical Patriarch brigade ...

Whether they are Nestorian or not seems to depend on who you speak to.

In a similar way to whether the Copts and Armenians etc are Monophysite or Miaphysite ...

You'll probably be aware that there was 19th century interest in 'The Nestorians' among Anglican, Brethren and other Protestant missionaries who saw them as potential allies against Rome (and yes, Constantinople to a certain extent).

I once read a delightfully eccentric account from the 1840s by an Englishman who'd travelled among 'The Nestorians' and who evidently considered them as potential fellow travellers as they weren't in communion with Rome and didn't have as much bling and flummery as some of the other Eastern Churches.

I don't know about that. All these ancient churches seem to have elaborate liturgies and a great line in funny hats.

They get a thumbs-up from me for that alone.

You can't beat a funny hat.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
... You can't beat a funny hat.

That gets a [Overused]
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
You can't beat a funny hat.

Amen.

I was once in a large evangelical bookshop when three Coptic priests came in looking for something.

In their black robes, pectoral crosses and exotic headwear, they stood out from the milling t-shirt and jeans-clad low-church clientele like the proverbial canine gonads.

They were utterly magnificent.
 
Posted by Kaplan Corday (# 16119) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Augustine the Aleut:
IIRC, the Assyrian Catholics are generally known as Chaldaean Catholics. Under the Patriarch of Babylon, they have 21 dioceses of which 4 are in Canada, the US, and Oz.

Assyrian Christians and Chaldean Catholics have the same geographical and (Nestorian) theological roots, but the latter are uniate, having their own liturgy but recognising papal authority.
 
Posted by Gamaliel (# 812) on :
 
Nice one, Kaplan.

These guys certainly look cool.
 
Posted by mousethief (# 953) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
But I'd be the first to wish to see the destruction of Saudi regime before Israel.

Me too.
 
Posted by Enoch (# 14322) on :
 
This may shock some people but I tend to regard an awareness of and strong sympathy for the position of Christians in the Middle East as a bit of a test marker for whether to bother to take any notice of what a person says or thinks about the endless sorrows of that part of the world.

This has been very marked with, and a useful tool for assessing the worth of commentary on the Syrian Civil War.

That goes just as much for those who ferociously pro-Palestinian as for those who are ferociously pro-Israel or those who either don't know there are indigenous Christian communities in that part of the world or who take the line that they don't count and can't really be proper Christians because they're not interested in the Five Points of TULIP Calvinism.


Incidentally, if you can access this where you are, you might appreciate this BBC World Service broadcast about ikon painters in Bethlehem.

[ 24. December 2017, 14:37: Message edited by: Enoch ]
 
Posted by Martin60 (# 368) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
But I'd be the first to wish to see the destruction of Saudi regime before Israel.

Me too.
And replaced in the ruins by what?
 


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