Tag Archives: christians

St James’s Church’s replica of Israel’s security wall cost….£30,000.

Take a look at the above photo. That is what £30,000 looks like. That is the cost of St James’s Church’s replica of Israel’s security wall according to St James’s churchwarden Jo Hines.

Hines said the money was all privately raised, presumably from the likes of vicious anti-Israel charity War On Want, Amos Trust, Holy Land Trust, Interpal, Jews For Justice For Palestinians, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, P21 Gallery, Tipping Point North South, Zaytoun CIC all of whom are “associated with” Bethlehem Unwrapped.

Last night it was the turn of Jewish comedians Ivor Dembina, Dave Cohen and Andy Zaltzman to go on stage for Bethlehem Unwrapped, which is pretty ironic seeing as one of their audience members was Jane Green, probably a pseudonym, who is a notorious Holocaust mocker. As she went in to the church last night I asked her what she thought of the Holocaust to which she replied “What Holocaust”.

Then, of course, there is this clip of a discussion outside St James’s Church where a supporter of Israel is called “a frigging Jew” (see from 4 mins. 15 secs.).

All pretty disturbing stuff especially in the week of Nicolas Anelka’s alleged reverse Nazi salute.

When I put it to Hines that the £30,000 could have been better spent feeding the homeless and heating the elderly she responded that that argument could also be made in relation to statues and that there are 20 or so homeless people sleeping in St James’s Church at night.

Imagine had St James’s Church’s courtyard, where the replica wall stands, been made into a structure for the 12 days where even more people could sleep, be fed and be kept warm. Churches, I thought, were in the business of looking after the poor and caring for the elderly.

After the 12 days of Christmas are over the replica wall is due to be taken down. That amounts to a cost of £2,500 a day. At least a statue usually stays up for the long term so over time its daily cost is minimal.

So what is St James’s Church’s replica wall going to achieve? St James’s Church states “All net proceeds to the ‘Future Peacemakers Appeal’, Holy Land Trust, Bethlehem.” I’d be amazed if there are any “net proceeds” when you take into account the £30,000 cost of the replica wall. Admittedly, chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s friday night £125/head “Bethlehem Feast” could make inroads into the £30,000.

For British Jews the replica wall and Bethlehem Unwrapped are a disaster. I agree with Melanie Phillips when she states that its inevitable effect will be “to incite hatred against Israel and all who support its defence”, which means even more vigilance at synagogues, Jewish schools and Jewish events.

Some will benefit though. Ottolenghi and his chef partner Sami Tamimi and Dembina, Zaltzman and Cohen will have had their faces and names plastered all over the gates of the Church which looks out onto one of the busiest roads in London. Not forgetting Justin Butcher, Geof Thompson, Dean Willars and Deborah Burton who all helped to design the replica wall (see below).

In the end the £30,000 cost of the wall could have been donated to help those that St James’s Church, Piccadilly, really claims to care for: the people of Bethlehem.

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More blood shed for Gaza (Viva Palestina)

Palestinians are not adverse to internecine violence (as noted previously 539 Palestinians were murdered by their own people between November 2000 and August 2008, and that before the Gaza War when we saw footage of Hamas members pushing Fatah activists off the the tops of high buildings with their hands cuffed behind their backs). But now they are murdering other Arabs.

The Viva Palestina convoy of 500 people and 200 vehicles bringing aid for the Palestinians was left stranded in Aqaba in Jordan for five days having been turned away from Egypt’s nearest crossing point into Gaza. Then, inexplicably, the convoy was forced back up through Jordan to Syria from where flights were boarded and ferries taken to get the convoy back to El Arish on Egypt’s Mediterranean coast at a cost of $300,000.

Proposed route to Gaza before the convoy was sent back up to Syria at huge expense (vivapalestina.org)

Well, the convoy has now arrived. And guess what, it still isn’t being allowed into Gaza!

To be exact 59 of the 198 vehicles are not being allowed into Gaza via the Rafah, Egypt crossing and have to go to Gaza, if at all, via Israel now.

The distinction seems to be that the vehicles required to go via Israel contain “pickup trucks, sedans, generators” and, more worryingly, “other equipment”. Only medical aid and passengers are allowed via Rafah, Egypt into Gaza.

The simple explanation could be over worries that the trucks, generators, sedans and other equipment could have a sinister use and if Israelis, or Egytians, get killed from a Kassam rocket or suicide bombing manufactured by this equipment then the Egyptian government doesn’t wish to be blamed.

But negotiations are carrying on as we speak to get the whole convoy into Gaza via Rafah, Egypt.

Sadly, a life has been lost. After Hamas called for protests at the Egytian blockade it then tried to disperse the crowd by firing shots. Soon after an Egyptian border guard was shot dead by a Palestinian sniper. There is no suggestion that the border guard was behaving aggressively.

Palestinians riot just before an Egyptian was shot dead (bbc.co.uk)

Many others have been left injured after violent scuffles and stone throwing by Palestinians.

The Viva Palestina campaign has put out an emergency call. People are being asked to boycott Egypt and protest to Egyptian officials at Egyptian Embassies worldwide. Kevin Ovenden, the convoy leader, said: “We have now blocked the entrance to the port and we are now faced with riot police and water cannons and are determined to defend our vehicles and aid”.

And Dr Hanan Chehata, who is travelling with the convoy and who is director of public relations at the Middle East Monitor (MEMO), asks: “Why is Egypt adding to the suffering of the Palestinian people?” “Why are the Egyptians not helping their Muslim brothers and sisters – aren’t they part of the Muslim Ummah (community) as well?”

I have tried to answer those questions above but more interesting is Dr Chehata’s lack of interest in Gaza’s Christian community. Gaza has Christians too! Palestinians constantly remind us that Gaza’s Christian Arabs are a quickly diminishing community and blame Israel. (Christians are generally financially better off and so are more able to leave the poverty, unemployment and radicalism of Gaza. It has nothing to do with Israel).

We wait with bated breath as to when the Viva Palestina convoy will enter Gaza and from where. The convoy has been long complaining about the lack of publicity for its charitable gesture of travelling thousands of miles over land, sea and, now, air to support the even longer suffering people of Gaza. But with violence erupting, one dead and many injured there will be no shortage of publicity.

And an Egyptian family begins to mourn its loved one.