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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.”
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.