Edited Under Fr. Leonard Feeney M.I.C.M. — Saint Benedict CenterSeptember, 1957
AN UNHOLY PEOPLE IN THE HOLY LAND
I — Action of the JewsIt 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 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.
II — ReactionThe nearly ten years that have passed since Eddie Jacobson’s clothing-store partner [Truman] 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.
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.”
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.