August 21, 2009
An extremism upgrade
The United Church of Canada pulled back from considering an anti-Israel resolution that could have resulted in boycotts of the Jewish state, which left Jewish communal leaders satisfied but not thrilled. The decision, at the church's conference in Kelowna last week, was not a repudiation of the despicable boycott idea, but a decision to put the issue on the backburner for now.
The United Church has a long history of conflict with the Jewish community, particularly through years of anti-Israel propaganda in the church's magazine in the 1960s, '70s and '80s. In recent years, the church has not been at the forefront of the anti-Israel movement, but they have leaned toward the knee-jerk anti-Zionism of their liberal theological and ideological bedfellows.
It was wise heads that eventually prevailed in Kelowna, but not before the Jewish community did some heavy lobbying before and during the church conference. This, along with a host of recent attempts by the anti-Israel movement, has gone down to defeat, but not without hurt feelings and a lot of misrepresentations by the other side. It is notable that a church as seemingly open-minded theologically would even have entertained a policy so ideologically fundamentalist as this. But, it is the nature of the anti-Israel cause to convince seemingly rational people to wildly irrational ethical and intellectual compromises.
Meanwhile, and ultimately far more seriously, fundamentalist insanity of a whole other calibre is taking place in Gaza, with an extremely extreme extremist group attacking the too-liberal extremists of Hamas.
The paradoxical thing about fundamentalist religions of all types is the profound audaciousness of people allegedly "of faith" presuming to know without reservation what God thinks and, more, taking it as their job, not God's, to see justice meted out.
As alarming as the power struggle on Israel's border between religious extremists and those for whom religious extremism is too mild a term, is the world's reaction to it. While Sheikh Abu al-Nour al-Maqdessi, the leader of the modestly named Soldiers of the Partisans of God, "has now gone to his virgins," as Jonathan Kay wrote in the National Post, the blood of this martyr will no doubt beget more blood before anything like civilization reaches the shores of Gaza.
"Their agenda is the creation of an Islamic emirate in Gaza and the total destruction of Israel," wrote Kay, adding in parentheses: "It's a platform they share with Hamas, but they complain Hamas isn't doing it with enough gusto."
As uproariously absurd as this pit bull-gores-Rottweiler story may be, it is, in fact, deadly serious. The nature of the threat on Israel's flank is bad enough with Hamas, to say nothing of the atrocities being perpetrated on the ill-fated residents of Gaza. To imagine an even more hostile enemy in power stretches imagination. We have already seen the practical application of having a Hamas-led terror regime on Israel's border. We now face a prospect of an even more hostile enemy. We wait for the media to realign their language in keeping with the new political paradigm in Gaza. Soon, will it be the "moderate" Hamas versus the "hardline" Soldiers of the Partisans of God just as, by comparison, Fatah was earlier cleansed of its extremism in the Western popular imagination solely in contrast with the mania of Hamas?
What the world community insists on denying is that Israel is not at issue here, per se. Israel is the first battle in an inevitable war for the survival of pluralism and, well, Western civilization. Sorry for being a buzzkill.
Meanwhile, unlike responsible outlets including the Post, media seem more concerned with the publicity stunts of the latest celebrity than they are with the very real possibility that before global warming does us in, sharia law will kill us limb by limb.
Most of the world – the United Nations, certainly – seems blind to the reality that the fate of Israel will be the fate of us all. We have noted here before that the gay community tragically provided the world a warning about the potential of AIDS. While the human immunodeficiency virus was still largely limited to a small demographic, quick scientific action could have prevented or at least mitigated a massive epidemic. As it turns out, decision-makers like Ronald Reagan and his cabinet secretaries ensured that money would not go to research into a disease affecting mostly gay men and now there are millions dying worldwide annually – an entire generation of orphans in some countries – paying the consequences, paradoxically, for the homophobia of world leaders in the 1980s.
Israel is the distant early warning system for Western civilization. But, proving the adage that history (like Neville Chamberlain at Munich) repeats itself, the world is largely content to insist that Israel will be just fine if it gives in to the demands of the ever-more-fundamentalist fundamentalists holding peace hostage.
The world is unwilling to devote any resources to fighting a disease that largely affects only Jews. So the epidemic incubates.