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The God Report: Israel's "Religious War"

By The Reverend Published: March 23, 2009

Last week I blogged about the Pope's astonishly out-of-touch statement about AIDS. Pope Benedict said that "condoms increase the problem" of AIDS in Africa.

Here are a few international responses to what the Vicar said...

A New York Times editorial said the pope 'deserves no credence when he distorts scientific findings' about condoms.

A French foreign minister expressed 'very strong concern'.
He said: 'While it is not up to us to pass a judgement on the doctrines of the Church, we consider that such remarks put in danger public health policy and imperative needs regarding the protection of human life,' a foreign ministry spokesman said.

Belgian Health Minister Laurette Onkelinx said the pope's comments '...reflect a dangerous doctrinaire vision. His declarations could demolish years of prevention and education and endanger many human lives.'

In last weeks' posting I mentioned how the Pope's comment was an example of what Christopher Hitchens said in his book, "God is Not Great". "Religion poisons everything."

Here is another example of the very same truth.....this time concerning the religious doctrines of conservative Jewish leaders....
Reuters, March 20, 2009...

Rabbis in the Israeli army told battlefield troops in January's Gaza offensive they were fighting a "religious war" against gentiles, according to one army commander's account published Friday.

"Their message was very clear: we are the Jewish people, we came to this land by a miracle, God brought us back to this land and now we need to fight to expel the gentiles who are interfering with our conquest of this holy land," he said.

....leaked from a Feb 13 meeting of armed forces members to share their Gaza experiences.

Some veterans, alumni of an Israel Defense Force (IDF) military academy, told of the killing of civilians and their impression that deep contempt for Palestinians pervaded the ranks of the Israeli forces.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) has put the Palestinian death toll during the war at 1,417 -- 926 civilians, 236 fighters and 255 police officers. Israeli officials have disputed those figures. Thirteen Israelis were killed.

One week after the Gaza offensive ended on January18 Israeli human rights group Yesh Din called on Defense Minister Ehud Barak to dismiss the chief chaplain, Rabbi Avichai Rontzki, who holds the rank of brigadier general.

It said he had distributed a booklet to soldiers fighting in the Gaza conflict quoting an ultra-nationalist Israeli rabbi as saying that showing mercy toward a "cruel enemy" was "terribly immoral" and advising soldiers they were fighting "murderers."

Yes, Israel has a perfect right to defend itself. My point here doesn't have anything to do with that right. Instead, the point here is the "poison" that the Jewish religion, at least ultra-nationalist Jewish religion, poured into the Israeli attack of Gazan Palestinians.

Religious poison that resulted in barbaric behaviour, like this....

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) accused Israel on Thursday, January 8, of blocking medical assistance to wounded Palestinians, amid shocking scenes of starving children and dead bodies in the bombed-out Gaza Strip.

"The Israeli military must have been aware of the situation but did not assist the wounded," Pierre Wettach, ICRC chief for Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, said in a statement on the group's website.

"Neither did they make it possible for us or the Palestinian Red Crescent to assist the wounded."

And this....

A United Nations human rights investigator has accused Israel of committing war crimes of the greatest magnitude in Gaza during a deadly offensive in the strip.

"On the basis of the preliminary evidence available, there is reason to reach this conclusion," Richard Falk, UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, wrote in an annual report to the UN Human Rights Council cited by Reuters on Thursday, March 19.

In this case, religion was used to justify, or even encourage, barbaric treatment of Palestinians. To what end? To "poison" the Israeli-Palestinian conflict even more.

Potent poison....

"Rules of Engagement: Open fire also upon rescue," was handwritten in Hebrew on a sheet of paper found in one of the Palestinian homes the Israel Defense Forces took over during Operation Cast Lead.



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