Richard Williamson

I'll have more to say later about the recent controversy over Pope Benedict's rehabilitation of the bishops of SSPX, including the Holocaust-denying Richard Williamson.

In the meantime, I thought I'd share this little passage from a letter Williamson wrote about the appropriateness of women wearing trousers, which is from the SSPX website:
Girls, be mothers, and in order to be mothers, let not wild horses drag you into shorts or trousers. When activities are proposed to you requiring trousers, if it is something your great-grandmother did, then find a way of doing it, like her, in a skirt. And if your great-grandmother did not do it, then forget it! Her generation created your country, your generation is destroying it. Of course not all women who wear trousers abort the fruit of their womb, but all help to create the abortive society. Old-fashioned is good, modern is suicidal. You wish to stop abortion? Do it by example. Never wear trousers or shorts. [source]
Not his most serious problem, but it is revealing.

Williamson's recent comments denying the Holocaust on Swedish television are being well-publicised. Less is being made of previous things he has said and/or written, which show that this is not coming out of the blue. This is from John L. Allen at the National Catholic Reporter:
In 1989, for example, police in Canada briefly considered filing charges against Williamson under that country’s hate speech laws after he gave an address in Quebec charging that Jews were responsible for "changes and corruption" in the Catholic church, that “not one Jew” perished in Nazi gas chambers, and that the Holocaust was a myth created so that the West would "approve the state of Israel."

Williamson also praised the writings of Ernst Zundel, a German-born Canadian immigrant whose works include Did Six Million Really Die? and The Hitler We Loved and Why, both considered mainstays of Holocaust denial literature.

In 1991, Williamson issued a letter from Winona, Minn., where he served as rector of a Lefebvrite seminary, stating, "Until [Jews] rediscover their true Messianic vocation, they may be expected to continue fanatically agitating, in accordance with their false messianic vocation of Jewish world dominion, to prepare the Antichrist’s throne in Jerusalem." [source]
Incidentally, Ernst Zundel should no longer be called a "Canadian immigrant," as he has been deported (and imprisoned) in Germany. Also, he did not write Did Six Million Really Die?, though he did publish it. Which takes nothing away from Allen's point, I just wanted to be accurate.

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Why don't North American papers publish stuff like this?

From Haaretz columnist Meron Benvenisti:
An odious scent of imperialistic mildew wafts from the Gazan operation as well as similar operations that have been launched in the past. European statesmen, who recently paid a visit here, could have swapped memories with Ehud Olmert about acts of cruelty committed by their countries... Everyone is ashamed of their past, save for the Israeli, who is actually proud of his deeds.

Ignoring the fundamental shift in international norms since the colonial era apparently has no bearing on the efficiency of the brutal Israeli operation. It created the desired results in favor of the stronger party, thus Israelis can boast of their victory when they are desensitized to the humanitarian repercussions. As such, they remove themselves from the group of civilized nations of which they claim to be part. [source]
Amazing that stuff like this is routinely published in a mainstream Israeli newspaper like Haaretz, but never in mainstream North American newspapers. Theres something not right about that.

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Israeli Refuseniks

This is a really inspiring video of some very courageous Israelis who have refused to serve in the occupied territories. It deserves to be seen, widely.

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Naomi Klein: It's time to boycott Israel

Naomi Klein's recent article, published recently in numerous places, makes some very good points:
The world has tried what used to be called "constructive engagement". It has failed utterly. Since 2006 Israel has been steadily escalating its criminality: expanding settlements, launching an outrageous war against Lebanon, and imposing collective punishment on Gaza through the brutal blockade. Despite this escalation, Israel has not faced punitive measures - quite the opposite. The weapons and $3bn in annual aid the US sends Israel are only the beginning. Throughout this key period, Israel has enjoyed a dramatic improvement in its diplomatic, cultural and trade relations with a variety of other allies. For instance, in 2007 Israel became the first country outside Latin America to sign a free-trade deal with the Mercosur bloc. In the first nine months of 2008, Israeli exports to Canada went up 45%. A new deal with the EU is set to double Israel's exports of processed food. And in December European ministers "upgraded" the EU-Israel association agreement, a reward long sought by Jerusalem.

It is in this context that Israeli leaders started their latest war: confident they would face no meaningful costs.
It seems to me that more and more people are beginning to look at Israel a little more critically. It may be hoping too much, but maybe we are seeing the beginning of something that might finally convince Israel to end the murderous occupation of Palestine.

Here are a few places you can read the whole article:


The Guardian

The Nation


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On Richard John Neuhaus (1936-2009)

I have avoided saying much about the recently deceased Richard John Neuhaus over the years, in deference, perhaps, to my grandmother's advice: "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."

The one exception was nearly three years ago, in response to an article by Damon Linker that is not presently available online.

Linker's reflection on Neuhaus's recent passing is worth checking out.
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