Edited Under Fr. Leonard Feeney M.I.C.M. — Saint Benedict Center
AN UNHOLY PEOPLE IN THE HOLY LAND
I — Action of the Jews
It is not yet ten years since Missouri Jew Eddie Jacobson saw his former clothing-store partner, Harry Truman, commit the United States of America to formal recognition of a Jewish State in Palestine. In less than a decade, we have watched the bloody beginning and aggressive growth of the Jewish nation’s first politically sovereign ghetto in nineteen centuries. And although our effort at keeping contemporary track of developments in the Holy Land is necessarily a choppy and piecemeal performance — still, the choppings do fall into a general pattern; and the pieces, like those which follow, will make a discernible picture.
The long list of Jewish desecration and destruction of Catholic Church property in the Holy Land ought well to be supplemented by the considerable enumeration of Church buildings left intact by the Jews and converted by them into Jewish facilities. Chief among such would be Terra Sancta College, the former focal point of Franciscan education in Jerusalem’s New City. The college has been appropriated for Jewish university classes and does service as the seat of the National Library of Israel.
To accompany a nine page report on similar Jewish injustices, Archbishop George Hakim, most outspoken leader of the 25,000 Catholics who still remain within the borders of the Jewish State, wrote in April of this year: “Unless something is done to improve this situation … we would be faced with the extinction of the Christian flock in the Holy Land.”
The civil strictures imposed upon those Catholics who have been allowed to continue their ancient residence in the land of Our Lord’s birth, leave them, along with the rest of the Arab population, second-class citizens, at best. A rigid curfew is imposed on non-Jews. Free movement is curtailed by interminable military “pass” requirements. Eighty-five per cent of the Arab populace is confined to specified non-Jewish residence areas — always the poorest and least desirable sections. Arab workers are paid consistently lower wages than Jews. All government and public business is conducted in Hebrew, which few Arabs know or understand. Government offices (which abound in every settlement) defer answering letters written in Arabic, and any ultimate reply is sent in Hebrew. No Catholic religious mission may be introduced into the Jewish State. Those which survived the terrorism of the “war of independence” are allowed to remain, subject to government regulation, with an iron rule that the personnel of any given convent or monastery is in no way to be increased. Most strictly limited is display of Christian symbols. So extreme is this prohibition that even the Judaeophile Red Cross organization is excluded. In its stead, the Jewish State maintains the Red Star of David (Magen David Adom), which is affiliated with Red Cross international headquarters, but operates free of that hated name and symbol, the Cross.
Last year, when Jewish professor Melford Spiro prevailed upon Harvard University to publish his summary of life in the kibbutzim (the Jewish State’s communal farms), he made available to the public some very frank insights into present Palestine. On page 185, he summarizes: “The importance of the Soviet Union in the belief system of the kibbutz cannot be exaggerated. It is a combination of the Vatican and of heaven: from it come authoritative pronouncements on important social, political, and intellectual matters: toward it are directed the aspirations of all the downtrodden of the earth. Not only is the Soviet Union the center of peace, justice, and freedom, but everything in the Soviet Union is superior — its art, literature, science, technology are all superior to their counterparts in the rest of the world.”
Loud rejoicing was heard in the kibbutzim after the 1954 Jewish elections, when it was announced that the bustling town of Nazareth, childhood home of both Our Lord and His Blessed Mother, had voted 38 per cent Communist — with six out of fifteen council seats going to local Communist Jews.
There were many kibbutz young people among the Jewish State’s national delegation of 250 who attended the Communist International Youth Festival in Moscow this summer. And as the Communist youth of Palestine passed through the Iron Curtain countries into Russia, they undoubtedly crossed paths with that body of East European Jewish delegates who were headed for the Second World Congress of Jewish Studies recently held at Jerusalem. The Jewish Telegraph Agency dispatch on the Congress gave top billing to the delegation of Jewish scholars who arrived, with Communist blessing, from Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Bulgaria.
Another and more fluid interchange between Russia and the Jewish State is one of oil for orange juice. Last year, the U. S.&nsbp;S.&nsbp;R. was the big customer (600,000 cases) for the Jews’ export citrus crop. In return, Premier Ben-Gurion helped keep his war machine on the road with tankerfuls of Russian petroleum.
The Jews’ military superiority over the neighboring Arab countries has been ascribed by the analysts to a long list of causes, chief among which is the Jewish State’s “preparedness program.” This is an inoffensive way of referring to a perpetual armed-to-the-teeth mode of living. At the age of 14, Jewish boys are training with man-size guns and live ammunition. And not only are Jewish men subject to a universal draft law — the women also, before they are twenty, must fulfill two years of compulsory military training. Upon release from the army, they continue to be “on call” until they reach the age of thirty-four, and each year they must return for a month-long “refresher” course.
On July 4, 1955, the Jewish State’s prime minister announced that, in less than five years’ time, his government had received in outright gifts from the government of the United States, $396,150,000 — a sum of more than $1,000 per Jewish family in the Holy Land. And these figures are modest beside the tally of funds poured into Jewish national projects by the Jews of America through their United Jewish Appeal. From 1939 through the present year, the total approaches one and one-half billion dollars!
Perhaps the cleverest scheme devised for steering American money into Palestine was the German reparations agreement. It was decided that a split-up and exhausted Germany ought to pay to the Jewish government a series of reimbursements to compensate for German ill-treatment of Jews. To make the deal look thoroughly above-board, Germany was also assessed to make reparations to our own government. When the impoverished Germans pleaded inability to pay, the U. S. claims were waived, and American money and manufactures were advanced to ensure a satisfactory settlement of all that the Jews said they deserved. Net result for the Jewish treasury: $715,000,000.
According to the Zionists’ own evaluation, “one of the most important” Jewish agencies in Palestine is the Institute for Instructors Abroad. Located in suburban Jerusalem, this processing center gathers in young Jewish leaders from thirty-seven countries, trains them as “apostles” of Jewish nationalism, and then returns them to preach the Zionist word to all the Jewish State’s citizens-in-exile. Particular emphasis is placed on indoctrinating Jewish young people, and trainees of the Instructors Institute are required, upon return home, to spend two years at full-time Zionist youth work.
In a plea for the furtherance of such activity, Premier Ben-Gurion formulated his provocative Credo of a Jew — delivered this summer upon the 53rd anniversary of the death of Theodore Herzl. Ben-Gurion said, in part, “Every Jew, wherever he may be, belongs to the Jewish people. There is a national unity of the Jews of the world … The State (of Israel) must endeavor,” he continues, “to train Jewish youth in Israel and the Diaspora for bold pioneering enterprise that will implement in practice all the values of the vision of Messianic redemption.”
II — Reaction
The nearly ten years that have passed since Eddie Jacobson’s clothing-store partner agreed to put the Jews on the map have bristled with items like the above. But such news is seldom printed, never emphasized in our Jewishly-intimidated daily newspapers. And Americans believe what they read in the newspapers. Consequently, the Jewish State stands in the popular imagination as an honest, hard-working, democratic nation; a bright little slice of U. S. A. transplanted to the dark shores of the Middle East.
So far, the main challenge to this national delusion has been the occasional unrosied reports on Jewry contained in the Catholic press. Beginning with the first stirrings of Zionist ambition, and paralleling its growth, these reports have seen three phases.
To Catholic observers living in the early part of this century, political Zionism seemed hardly worth noticing. Hadn’t Theodore Herzl, the author of the thing, visited Pope Pius X in 1904, and hadn’t the Pope emphatically vetoed any plan for a Jewish state in Palestine? The Jews — so it seemed — would not dare move into the Holy Land if the Church didn’t want them there.
Then, too, there were other persistent reasons why a Jewish state looked unlikely. As late as 1921 — even after the Zionists had wheedled the Balfour Declaration from the British government — Father Bede Jarrett, O. P., founder of Blackfriars magazine, wrote: “The Jew has always specialized in money. Industrial labor has no interest for him, and agricultural labor even less. Therefore he will never go back to Palestine, where the wealth is almost entirely in agriculture. Indeed, why should he worry over Palestine, when he has the whole world at his feet? Yes, the world is at his feet, for he controls the complete social scale, ruling at one end of it and revolting at the other.”
The big factor that Father Bede Jarrett overlooked, of course, was that agriculture would be made agreeable for Jews in Palestine by the generous subsidies of non-Palestinian Jews who “specialized in money.” So ample were these compensations, in fact, that in the mid-twenties there was hardly one Jewish “pioneer” in all the Holy Land who had not hired Arab laborers to work his farm.
But however they were managing it, the vital concern was that the Jews, contrary to Catholic expectations, were moving into the Holy Land. “It seems an intolerable lapse from pietas,” wrote the English Jesuit magazine, The Month (October, 1926), “that the Jews, of all people, should be encouraged to overrun the country which to Christians is holy beyond words.”
The most colorful Catholic reaction to Zionism’s progress was G. K. Chesterton’s announcement that he had become a Zionist. It was hardly the kind of support the Jews had been hoping for. Chesterton arguing for a Jewish State was like a mountain-dweller urging that all Jews be given vacations at the beach. His concern was simply to get the Jews out of the country where he lived, and where he was convinced they did not belong. “Jews are Jews,” he wrote, “and as a logical consequence … they are not Russians or Romanians or Italians or Frenchmen or Englishmen … If the advantage of the (Zionist) ideal to the Jews is to gain the promised land, the advantage to the Gentiles is to get rid of the Jewish problem.”
Today, with the Jewish State a rude reality, literary somersaults of the kind Chesterton performed are no longer appropriate. Typical of current comment is a recent editorial in Our Sunday Visitor (which has more readers than any other single Catholic paper). “Israel,” says the editorial flatly, “is a state that should not exist.” Pursuing this thought, the Passionist Fathers’ Sign magazine, largest of the Catholic monthlies, writes: “The Jewish people had no ‘natural and historic right’ in Palestine. They had lost their sovereignty in the year 70 B.C. … If the Jewish people of today have a right to Palestine, then the Indians have an infinitely greater right to Manhattan. Furthermore, the U. N. decision leaves us quite cold. The U. N. has no right to transfer the ownership of a country from its inhabitants to an alien people. If the U. N. can do such a thing for Palestine, why can’t it do it for New York or Texas?”
This sort of talk distresses the Jews. So much so, that lately they have tried to put a stop to it by complaining publicly. It is unnerving for them to see spokesmen of their traditional shackler, the Catholic Church, once again making menacing gestures. The one thing that tempers their fears is the timidity of this current Catholic assault. For it is directed exclusively against political Zionism; and every charge lands well within the borders of Palestine.
The main accusation is that the Zionists have built their government on fraud and injustice and are perpetuating it by terror. Which is of course true. But it is not the whole truth. The evils which the Catholic editors see in the Zionists are not peculiar to Jews in Palestine. They were not suddenly and mysteriously assumed by them when they stepped ashore at Tel Aviv. Those traits are the common property of all Jews — Jews in Jerusalem, in London, in Moscow, in Antwerp, in Johannesburg, in New York.
Realizing this, we have a suggestion for Our Sunday Visitor, the Sign, and any other Catholic papers that want to join in the chase. It is guaranteed to make their articles sky-rocket in effectiveness. Instead of attacking Zionists who are in the Holy Land only, why not open fire on the equally fervent and much more potent Zionists who are in the Dispersion — who whole-heartedly endorse every act of injustice, terror, and desecration that the Jewish State commits; who support it with their money, protect it with their propaganda, get favors for it with their pressuring of politicians; who were the midwives at its birth and have been its doting nursemaids ever since. In short, why not for a few months try attacking the Jews of America? We can promise some spectacular results.