In Memory of the great anti-war priest Daniel Berrigan

In Memory of the great anti-war priest Daniel Berrigan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Post-Blog

Most priests and
religious leaders are like our own Chief Rabbi Mirvis.  Pious nationalists who tie the interest of
the State to that of religion.  In Nazi Germany
the Protestant Reich Church had as its slogan ‘with the cross in our hearts and
the swastika on our breasts’.  Chief
Rabbi Mirvis [see Ken Livingstone and the hard Left arespreading the insidious virus of anti-Semitism] believes that Judaism and Zionism are inseparable.  Strangely, when Zionism first came on the
scene, there was no more ardent opposition to this secular heresy than the
Orthodox Jews.  Chief Rabbi Herman Adler
in Britain was firmly opposed.  As
politics have changed so the religion has changed and all the old religious
arguments against it have now been junked.
Which goes to show
that religion is merely a reflection of current politics.  Religious leaders like Mirvis just provide a
sanctimonious legitimation to Zionist racism by invoking god.  Of course every nation that ever went to war
did so with god on its side.
Daniel Berrigan was
one of those few exceptions.  A
conscientious Roman Catholic priest who went to prison for opposing the Vietnam
War and burning draft papers.  In Nazi Germany
the only Catholic priest who openly opposed Hitler’s anti-Semitism was Pastor
Lichtenberg, whom the then Pope Pius XII did nothing to help.  Among Jewish rabbis today there is a similar
paucity of figures who stand out against the racism and chauvinism of Zionism.  This is especially true of Orthodox Rabbis
(the Neturei Karta sect excepted) who prostitute their religion to the chariots
of Israeli chauvinism.
Tony Greenstein

Rev. Daniel Berrigan in the 70s

I
believe this is called a drive-by shooting. The New York Times devotes a whole
page or so to an obituary of the great Daniel Berrigan, the Catholic priest who
died yesterday in NY at 94. But this is paragraph 39:

After
visiting the Middle East, he bluntly accused Israel of “militarism” and the
domestic repressions” of Palestinians. His remarks angered many American Jews. “Let us call
this by its right name,” wrote Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, himself a contentious figure among religious
scholars: “old-fashioned theological anti-Semitism.”
The
Boston Globe, too.
Father
Berrigan’s involvement with politics did not end with his release from prison.
He drew widespread criticism for a 1973 speech denouncing Israel.
Sadly
the Times did not quote from the speech in any fair measure. Here is the NYT’s coverage of Berrigan’s speech to the Association of Arab University Graduates in
Washington 1973. The Times article came out two months after the speech, when
Jewish organizations had made it controversial, and sought to have Berrigan
stripped of honors for the remarks; after they were printed in a publication of
the Clergy and Laity Concerned group.
The
speech was an antiwar statement that denounced Israel as a military settler
state in the same moral basket as the United States, which was pursuing an
imperial adventure in Vietnam.
Quotes
in that New York Times PDF include Berrigan’s view that Israel was, like the
United States and South Africa, “seeking a biblical justification for crimes
against humanity.”
The
world had known criminal Christian communities, he said, but “we had never
known a criminal Jewish community.”
In the wake of the Holocaust, the “Jews
arose like warriors, armed to the teeth… Israel entered the imperial
adventure.”

A
similar racist ideology to Nazism was creating “the myth of the barbarian
Arab.”

It
was a tragedy, Berrigan said, that in
place of Jewish prophetic vision, Israel should launch an Orwellian nightmare
of double talk, racism, fifth-rate sociological jargon, aimed at proving its
racial superiority to the people it has crushed. …
Israel
has not abolished poverty and misery; rather she manufactures human waste, the
byproducts of her entrepreneurs. the military-industrial complex. Israel has
not freed the captives, she has expanded the prison system, perfected her
espionage, exported on the world market that expensive blood-ridden commodity,
the savage triumph of the technologized West, violence and the tools of
violence.
Her
absurd generals, her military junk are paraded on national holidays before the
narcotized public.  The model is not the kingdom of peace, it is an Orwellian
transplant, taken bodily from Big Brother’s bloody heart.
Berrigan
said that were he a Jew in Israel, he would be living as he did in the U.S., in
resistance to the state and being hunted by the police or in prison.
Berrigan
also signaled the corruption of the Jewish establishment in order to lobby the
U.S. government in the Vietnam era: “major American Jewish leaders were capable
of ignoring Asia’s holocaust in favor of economic and military aid to Israel.”
Here
is the JTA’s coverage at the time:
The
52-year-old Jesuit priest who served 27 months in Danbury Federal Penitentiary
for burning draft records in Catonsville, Md. in 1968, attacked Israel as an
imperialist nation” and a “settler” state” which is “the creation of an elite
of millionaires, generals and entrepreneurs.”..
Among
the charges Berrigan made against Israel before the Arab graduates was that
“she had turned the law of nature into a mockery, creating ghettos,
disenfranchised peoples, exiles, hopeless minorities, cheap labor forces has
expanded the prison system, perfected her espionage, exported on the world
market that expensive blood ridden commodity, the savage triumph of the
technological West–violence and the tools of violence.” In an interview
published today in the NY Post, Berrigan was quoted as reaffirming his
condemnation of Israel and saying he “was very depressed by the silence of my
own church about Israel.” He denied, however, that he was anti-Semitic. “I’m as
anti-Semitic as I am anti-Catholic,’
the Jesuit priest was quoted as saying.

That article quotes Jewish leaders calling for
Berrigan’s reeducation.
[shades of Naz Shah
MP’s ‘re-education’]
In
his book, Middle East Illusions, Noam Chomsky takes Berrigan’s side and describes Hertzberg’s characterization of Berrigan’s speech as “fabrication,” including
Hertzberg’s claim that Berrigan sought the end of Israel. Berrigan called on
Arab leaders to show “de facto respect for Israel, a de facto state,” and said
that American Jews had expressed an “acute and legitimate concern for Israel.”
Chomsky points out that Hertzberg regards Arab concerns about Palestinian
refugees as “moral hysterics,” and Chomsky savages Hertzberg’s claim that
Israel’s acceptance of Jewish refugees from the Soviet Union and Arab countries
was an example of the “Jewish passion for the poor and forgotten.” In fact,
Chomsky says, it was evidence of the Zionists’ need to build a Jewish state on
an ethnocentric basis.

It’s
a pity that the New York Times doesn’t explain that Berrigan’s critique of
Israel was equally harsh to his criticism of the United States at the time; and
more important, that it was prophetic

 

 

 

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