Sunday 31 March 2024

Christ is risen!

 


I wish all my Catholic and Protestant readers Happy Easter!

The Jesus Seminar, a group of liberal, publicity hungry New Testament scholars who were very fashionable in the USA around the turn of the century, disbelieved most of the Gospels, thought Jesus never claimed to be the Son of God and his corpse was probably thrown into a shallow dirt grave, where it rotted away or was eaten by wild dogs.

In fact few non-Christian historians doubt the crucifixion happened (the contemporary Jewish historian Josephus records it) and that something happened very shortly afterwards to create a movement which swept the civilised world.

The non-Christian New Testament scholar Gerd Lüdemann said ‘It may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the disciples had experiences after Jesus’ death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ.’

These experiences were also enough to lead Peter and Paul to suffer death rather than renounce their faith that Jesus had risen from the tomb and was the Son of God. Their martyrdom under Nero is not questioned by any historian, as far as I ever heard. Peter is said to have been crucified upside down at his request because he did not believe himself worthy of the same death as Jesus, but this seems to be a legend.

The resurrection is the most significant event in the history of not only the West but the world, whether or not you believe it happened.

Talleyrand met a young man at a party who asked him for his advice about how to start a new religion. The renegade bishop turned pagan replied, 'First die and on the third day come again'.



This is a slightly adapted version of what I posted at other Easters.

Wednesday 27 March 2024

Western media do not invent the facts but they invent the news. They are the great threat to peace.

Why is the big story on the BBC and world newspapers the collapse of a bridge in America, a day after it happened? 

If it happened in Pakistan or Chad it would be forgotten at once.

Why did people care about the death in custody of a petty criminal in America three years ago? 

Why was September 11 such a huge story, come to that? 3,000 people died the previous weekend in a natural disaster in Central America.

I allow myself only to skim the news each morning in a few minutes but I was very sad when a friend told me that the Princess of Wales (it is not polite to call Her Royal Highness Kate) has cancer. I wish her a swift recovery. 

Lots of stories, jokes and conspiracy theories had been circulating about her disappearance but I was angered that an Observer writer complained that 'On X, the influence of its “free speech absolutist” owner Elon Musk has been palpable. Among the more publishable conspiracies are the insistence that the footage of the princess was a body double, or that she was in a coma, or recovering from plastic surgery or was, in fact, dead.' 

I was angry because why shouldn't any silly theory be published, if not defamatory or obscene?

I don't remember believing in any conspiracy theory, though after everyone else I realised that Epstein was obviously in some way a blackmailer, working for some nefarious organisation. I don't know for whom. I have no idea if he worked for the Israelis (whom I recently learnt sought to use Monica Lewinsky to blackmail Bill Clinton). 

But what is wrong with people believing in conspiracies? 

I am more worried about people who believe the media.

Such innocent people believed the Ukrainians had a chance of driving the Russian army out of the Crimea and that anyone who suggested a negotiated peace was a Putin apologist and an appeaser. 

They think, unless stopped in Ukraine, Russia will invade NATO countries. 

They think the Houthis were impeding world trade before the Anglo-Americans intervened in the Red Sea. They were only impeding Israeli vessels (with possibly one exception) but thanks to the intervention the Red Sea is closed to traffic.

They think Iran and China endanger the West. They don't, but America does, by exporting Woke and seeking to overturn regimes (including the governments of Nato allies like Hungary and possibly Turkey). 

They imagine Israel was a democratic country going about her business blamelessly on 7 October when, for no reason, evil terrorists suddenly struck, beheading babies and raping women. Evil they may well be but this story starts in 1917. What AJP Taylor said of Hitler applies to Hamas too. "Hitler was a rational, though no doubt a wicked, statesman." 

They think people demonstrating against Israel or shouting 'From the river to the sea' (which is a crime in England) are antisemites. 

They think the Pope is trying to reform the financial and sexual corruption in the Catholic Church. 

Stories of what has been and is happening in the Vatican sound like the insanest conspiracy theories but most have been proven!

But can a cardinal, in order to cover up his financial crimes have tipped off the Australians to arrest Cardinal Pell who was conducting an audit? Cardinal Pell then went to gaol because of untrue allegations of interfering with a boy. I want to say no, of course not, but....

Yet the media do not talk much about this and nor about very many other Vatican scandals, because the liberal Pope is their hero. During Pope Benedict XVI's reign it was very much otherwise. 

And so it goes.

The Western media are controlled by Washington DC and the British secret service and make the world very much more dangerous than it would be without them. 

Rather like NATO.

Monday 25 March 2024

Quotations

Ah! there is nothing better than a trusty friend, neither wealth nor monarchy; a crowd of people is of no account in exchange for a noble friend.

Euripides, Orestes 1155-1156 (translated by Edward Coleridge)

Question the world, the furniture of the heavens, the brightness and arrangement of the stars, the sun providing for the day, the moon which comforts the night; question the earth bearing its yield of herbs and trees, full of animals, completely furnished in every respect; question the sea, full of so many and such a variety of swimming creatures; question the air, pulsing with so many flying things; question them all, and see if they don't answer you, after a fashion in their own way, "God made us." Serious and great-minded philosophers have inquired into these things, and have come to a knowledge of the artist through the works of art.

Interroga mundum, ornatum caeli, fulgorem dispositionemque siderum, solem diei sufficientem, lunam noctis solatium; interroga terram fructificantem herbis et lignis, animalibus plenam, hominibus exornatam; interroga mare, quantis et qualibus natatilibus plenum; interroga aera, quantis volatilibus viget; interroga omnia, et vide si non sensu suo tamquam tibi respondent: Deus nos fecit. Haec et philosophi nobiles quaesierunt, et ex arte artificem cognoverunt.


St Augustine, Sermons 141.2 (Patrologia Latina, vol. 38, col. 776; translator Edmund Hill)


I asked the earth, and it answered me, "I am not He" and whatsoever are in it confessed the same. I asked the sea and the deeps, and the living creeping things, and they answered, "We are not Thy God, seek above us." I asked the moving air; and the whole air with his inhabitants answered, "Anaximenes was deceived, I am not God." I asked the heavens, sun, moon, stars, "Nor (say they) are we the God whom thou seekest." And I replied unto all the things which encompass the door of my flesh: "Ye have told me of my God, that ye are not He; tell me something of Him." And they cried out with a loud voice, "He made us."

interrogavi terram, et dixit, 'non sum.' et quaecumque in eadem sunt, idem confessa sunt. interrogavi mare et abyssos et reptilia animarum vivarum, et responderunt, 'non sumus deus tuus; quaere super nos.' interrogavi auras flabiles, et inquit universus aer cum incolis suis, 'fallitur Anaximenes; non sum deus.' interrogavi caelum, solem, lunam, stellas: 'neque nos sumus deus, quem quaeris,' inquiunt. et dixi omnibus his quae circumstant fores carnis meae, 'dicite mihi de deo meo, quod vos non estis, dicite mihi de illo aliquid,' et exclamaverunt voce magna, 'ipse fecit nos.'

St Augustine, Confessions 10.6.9 (translated by E.B. Pusey)


Thanks to Laudator Temporis Acti for the classical quotations.

Friday 22 March 2024

Quotations

Interviewer: If you lived in the West Bank or Gaza, what would you do?

Ami Ayalon, former director of Israeli Security Agency Shin Bet: I would fight back, I would do everything in my power to secure my liberation. They know they’re the oppressors, they just don’t care.

An outside caterer preparing the nave ⁦of St Edmundsbury Cathedral ⁩ for a Masonic fund-raising dinner tonight

 



This is normal now in Protestant cathedrals in England. A silent discotheque took place in Canterbury Cathedral recently, which was the shrine in Catholic times of St Thomas a Becket, and the nave of the ancient Rochester Cathedral was used for crazy golf in 2019.

Tuesday 19 March 2024

The World Crisis


'Not even a faint reservation was heard from the IDF's general staff in November, when the commander of the army's 36th Armored Division, Brig. Gen. David Bar Kalifa, issued a handwritten battle directive to his troops, calling on them to take revenge on the Palestinians.

'...Brig. Gen. Barak Hiram not only ordered his troops to open fire on Israeli civilians and blew up a Palestinian university in Gaza without permission, but also stated in an interview with journalist Ilana Dayan right as the war started that Israel's political leadership should refrain from any prospect of a political solution to the crisis. The IDF's chief of staff didn't say a word then either.'

Yagil Levy in Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz today

Sunday 17 March 2024

'Israel Is on the Brink of the Abyss'

'The Shin Bet security service and Military Intelligence "completely failed" to detect what Yahya Sinwar, Hamas' leader in the Gaza Strip, had planned, one defense official acknowledged. "It's also true that a few days before October 7, the consensus of all the intelligence agencies was that Hamas was growing only moderately stronger and hadn't found an alternative" to the cross-border attack tunnels Israel blocked.

'"Nevertheless, the defense establishment's expectation was that if the government continued the judicial overhaul, Bezalel Smotrich continued his life's work of erasing the Green Line [between Israel and the West Bank] and Itamar Ben-Gvir heated up the Temple Mount and the West Bank, it would end in rivers of blood," he added.'

Vladimir Putin at the Valdai International Discussion Club in September 2010

'But I would like to remind you that in the wake of Kosovo we did not recognise the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. We stopped short of that. As I said in public quite recently, we "swallowed" it. The only thing that I did at the time was to sign a decree on the development of economic relations with these territories. By the way, that was in line with United Nations requirements, because the UN was against the economic isolation of these territories. That was all. In principle, we were prepared for further dialogue.

'And yet armed forces were used. Some quarters are so fond of shooting and bombing that they thought they would succeed here too. Why did they think that they would succeed here when they had no success elsewhere, in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Middle East? They failed here as well, and those who believe that it is the most effective instrument of foreign policy in the modern world will fail again and again.

'...One cannot behave in the world like a Roman emperor.'

Thursday 14 March 2024

Quotations

“Hamas leaders know they cannot defeat the IDF militarily. Their only hope is to provoke Israel into killing enough civilians to defeat Israel politically. This is a classic terrorist strategy of provocation. Israel has fallen for it, hard.” Professor Virginia Page Fortna of Columbia University, writing today in Ha'aretz. She is an American political scientist and a specialist in the study of peace negotiations.

Sunday 10 March 2024

“Six times in the past 12 years Netanyahu rejected plans to eliminate the Hamas leadership”

“Six times in the past 12 years [Benjamin Netanyahu] has rejected plans proposed by the heads of Israel’s secret security agency, known as Shabak, to eliminate the Hamas leadership.” 
So writes former Israeli PM and general Ehud Barak this month in the American defence establishment's house magazine, Foreign Affairs

A tale of two rabbis: Eliyahu Mali and Elhanan Beck



From Anadolu Agency (AA), the Turkish state-owned news news agency.

1. Eliyahu Mali

An Israeli rabbi urged the killing of women and children in the Gaza Strip and said he considered it a response to the teachings of halakha, or Jewish law.

Friday 8 March 2024

Macron the Jacobin

"Today’s not the end of the story, it’s the beginning of a combat. If France has become the only country in the world whose constitution explicitly protects the right to an abortion in all circumstances, we will not rest until this promise is kept throughout the world. We will wage this battle on our continent, in our Europe, where reactionary forces first and always attack women’s rights, before going on to attack the rights of minorities, of all the oppressed, of all freedoms.”

Macron on 8 March 2024.

"We are convinced that Russia’s defeat is essential for the security and stability of Europe… Europe is at stake."

Macron on 26 February 2024

Charles De Gaulle was a Catholic who believed passionately in France, usually took a foreign policy distinct from that of America and the United Kingdom, in order to preserve France's identity wanted no more than a few Muslim immigrants and during the war talked to the Comte de Orleans about restoring the monarchy. Macron, on the other hand, represents the universalist, anti-Christian spirit of the French Revolution. I wonder if De Gaulle were he alive today would support the Gaullist leader agreeing to collaborate with Marine Le pen.

Wednesday 6 March 2024

Saudi Arabia's missing princes

'For God's sake let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings.'
Richard II, Act 3, Scene 2.

I missed, in August 2017, these astonishing accounts on the BBC site - they read exactly like a thriller - of three Saudi princes kidnapped in Europe, taken back to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and probably executed.

They scarcely made the news and I don't remember them being mentioned when Adnan Khashoggi was murdered.

This is England and America's gallant ally, whom we armed to fight the Houthis.

That sometimes silly former British Ambassador Craig Murray wrote about the cases well.

As he says, Mohammed Bin Salman no doubt thought the death of Khashoggi, in a Saudi consulate in Turkey, would go equally unnoticed, but he wrote for the Washington Post and journalists do not like their colleagues being killed. Meanwhile Erdogan, unlike his European allies, was not prepared to tolerate Saudi political murder in his country.

The Yinon Plan is not important, but Israel wants to be surrounded by failed states and with US help has partly achieved this goal

Ten days after declaring the existence of the State of Israel, David Ben-Gurion told the Jewish army's general staff: “We must immediately destroy Ramle and Lod. ... We must organize Eliyahu’s brigade to direct it against Jenin in preparation for the Jordan Valley. ... Maklef needs to receive reinforcements and his role is the conquest of southern Lebanon, with the aid of bombing Tyre, Sidon and Beirut. ... Yigal Allon must attack in Syria from the east and from the north. ... We must establish a Christian state whose southern border will be the Litani. We will forge an alliance with it. When we break the strength of the [Arab] Legion and bomb Amman we will eliminate Transjordan too, and then Syria falls. And if Egypt still dares to fight, we will bomb Port Said, Alexandria and Cairo.”

Israel did some of those things eventually. 

Sunday 3 March 2024

A 'western military source' quoted by John Helmer, the senior Western journalist in Moscow

“I’m not so sure, as some of the Russian milbloggers are, that the broad front approach [Russian General Valery] Gerasimov is taking heralds a new approach to modern warfare – or operational art, if you like. The push at different points, conserving men and materiel in favour of firepower is being done as much, or more out of political considerations, which include those of a domestic character (Putin’s public support, domestic stability); and also the military objective since Day One of the Special Military Operation — to draw in and destroy as many and as much of the US-NATO manpower and equipment in the Ukraine as possible.”

1984

The body charged by the European Union with restricting freedom of expression on the internet is called the  Agency for Fundamental Rights.


George Galloway and the Decline of the West

I really must not read the British or American newspapers. I have almost given up but I skim and wish I hadn't.

The British Labour party deselected its candidate in the Rochdale by-election for saying that Netanyahu knew beforehand about the Hamas attack on 7 October.

This was anti-Semitic, said the Labour Party, without explaining why. 

Predictably the seat which Labour could not contest, because it was too late to nominate someone else, was won by the pro-Palestinian ex-Labour firebrand George Galloway. 

This is said to be a dark day for democracy because now there will be a pro-Palestinian member of the British Parliament.