Saturday, July 05, 2008

Palestinian Bishop Brings Brings Anti-Israel Gospel to Dearborn

The Detroit News’s Gregg Krupa, and The Free Press’s Niraj Warikoo were on duty this weekend doing serious spin on the appearance of Archbishop Theodosios Attallah Hanna, of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem, at this week’s convention of the American Federation of Ramallah Palestine at the Hyatt Regency. (“Mideast Christian group gathers”).

The gathering is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of an organization “formed when refugees fled to the United States from the close-knit town of Ramallah after the wars of 1948 and 1967 between Israel and Arab states.”

Now all these years later, as Krupa writes:

These Christian Palestinians say they are among the dispossessed, yearning for a nation to call theirs. Leaders of Christian denominations around the world say they fear these Palestinians may disappear from the Holy Land forever.

And what better way to lend legitimacy to the cause of these dispossessed Palestinians than by having a high religious official--a Christian archbishop no less--stumping for the anti-Israeli cause? As Nirak Wairkoo gleefully reports, “The top Christian leader for Palestinians is in metro Detroit this week, offering words of hope for Palestinians and criticizing Israeli occupation.” ("Palestinian Christian leader calls for American support").

The tenor of both articles is that Archbishop Hanna’s primary concern is peace in Palestine through "dialogue," and preserving a Christian presence in Palestine. Quotes Krupa:

"I believe in dialogue among the three religions and I am against the extremists," Theodosios said. "Everyone must be free to practice their own religion, and they cannot use religion to advance their causes."

Like an increasing number of residents of the territories, Theodosios said the only justice for the people of the region is a one-state solution in which Jews, Muslims and Christians live side-by-side, seized Palestinian land is returned to Palestinians, and all groups vote for a parliament.

In other words, the only solution is no Israel.

Then Archbishop Hanna had a nice meeting with Imam Hassan Qazwini, Imad Hamad, Osama Siblan, and Dawud Walid at Islamic Center of America in Dearborn.

According to Warikoo,

At the end of a talk, the archbishop presented Imam Qazwini with a relief of the city of Jerusalem and said to him:

“I hope that one day you will visit us in Jerusalem after it’s liberated from the occupation and the Arab Palestinian flag is there.”

In other words, he’s hoping for a day when there is no more Israel.

But say, didn't Hanna just tell the crowd at the Hyatt he believed "in dialogue among the three religions"? and that "Everyone must be free to practice their own religion, and they cannot use religion to advance their causes"?

Well, Archbishop Hanna isn’t an absolutist about that, as we will note below.

Though none of this was mentioned in either article whitewashing Archbishop Hanna, besides being a champion of "dialogue" and "justice," he's cut quite a controversial figure back home.

When he was Father Hanna, he was so extreme in his anti-Semitic and pro-terrorist outbursts he actually was fired as spokesman for Patriarch Irineos I, who himself was completely rah-rah for the PLO-brand of justice. The Patriarch was stopped twice trying to get into Arafat’s Ramallah compound illegally, the first time lying to guards about a weapon he was trying to smuggle in.

It also became known that Patriarch Irineos had written two letters “to Arafat and the PA's diplomatic representative to Greece in 2001 and 2002, before being confirmed as patriarch. Irineos pledged his continued support for Arafat's aims, suggested cooperation concerning the Greek Orthodox Church's extensive land holdings in Israel, and accused Jews of murdering Jesus Christ.” (“The Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem and Terror”).

In one of the letters to Arafat, Irineos wrote this:

"You are finally aware of the sentiments of disgust and disrespect that all the Holy Sepulcher Fathers are feeling for the descendants of the crucifiers of our Lord Jesus Christ, actual crucifiers of your people, Sionists (sic) Jewish conquerors of the Holy Land of Palestine. (emphasis added)."

Then FrontPage Magazine (“Peace" Through Anti-Semitism”) reported this about Hanna in 2005:

Hanna, an Arab born in Haifa, was serving as the patriarchate's spokesman when he subtly advocated suicide bombing as part of the Palestinian intifada in June 2002 during an address in Abu Dhabi to a think tank run by the Arab League.

"Some freedom fighters adopt martyrdom or suicide bombings, while others opt for other measures," the Gulf News quoted Hanna as saying. "Don't expect us to keep distance and watch. We are in the struggle whether it is martyrdom or any other means. The Muslims and the Christians are one and cannot be separated from the struggle for the liberation of Palestine."

Irineos, who had yet to be confirmed and did not need adverse publicity, fired Hanna that July. One month later, Israeli police arrested and questioned Hanna on suspicion of inciting violence, having relations with terrorist groups and illegally visiting Syria and Lebanon, which remain in a state of war with Israel. Hanna left the country to meet with Hezbollah's leader, Sheikh Hassan Narallah, so police placed Hanna under house arrest and confiscated his passports.

Nevertheless, Hanna has since used even more vituperative rhetoric without any apparent public protest from Irineos. At a reception in Haifa on January 11, 2003, Hanna expressed emphatic support for suicide bombers:

"The fidaiyin are the heroes of this nation. We are proud of them and resolutely refuse any attempt to defame their deeds. They are not committing suicide, as some claim, and they are not terrorists, as others claim -- they are resisting the occupation. We unreservedly support the martyrdom operations."

Six days later, in a rally at Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Hanna was even more enthusiastic:

"Martyrdom operations are an excellent and good way to resist the Zionist invasion of the Palestinian land. In front of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, we bless the souls of the heroic shahids (martyrs) and the families of the shahids.

"The names of the fidaiyi shahids will be inscribed in the history of our Palestinian and Arab people in holy white letters. The voices of those who defame these acts of heroism and honor are nothing more than anomalous voices that do not represent Arab and Palestinian public opinion."

But Hanna saved his most extreme rhetoric for his sermon of January 19, 2003 -- the Orthodox Epiphany:

"Palestine is from the (Mediterranean) sea to the (Jordan) river. We emphatically refuse any concession on (even) a grain of the land of our precious homeland. Just as Ramallah, Gaza, Nablus, and Jenin are Palestinian cities, so are Haifa, Nazareth, Jaffa, Ramle, Lod, Beersheba, Safed, and others Palestinian cities.

"We do not believe in so-called 'peace with Israel' because peace cannot be made with Satan. Israel is the greatest Satan. No concession and no truce must be made. The Palestinians' rights will be restored only by resistance. What was taken by force will be restored only by force.

"The Zionist Jews are foreigners in this land. They have no right to live or settle in it. They should go somewhere else in the world to establish their state and their false entity. Jerusalem is an Arab city and the Jews must not settle in it, be masters over it, or carry out any type of religious ritual or ceremony in it. They must leave their homes. They have no right to live on land, cities or villages that are not theirs."

This is the cleric whom CAIR's Dawud Walid praised, and Imad Hamad called “a man of principle.”

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