One is so used to Western clergymen, from the antisemitic retired Vicar from Virginia Water, the infamous Stephen Sizer, all the way up to the addled Pope Francis, who means well, in his soppy interfaith way, that prevents him from grasping the nature of Islam, coming out with anti-Israel statements that it was both surprising and welcome to find that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, commenting on the explosion at the parking lot of the hospital in Gaza, and insisting that Israel had nothing to do with it. What’s more, he said that those who continue to blame Israel, long after the irrefutable evidence of its blamelessness has been made public, are guilty of a “blood libel” against the Jewish people. More on Archbishop Welby’s remarks can be found here: “Archbishop of Canterbury: False accusations of Israel involvement in Gaza hospital blast are ‘blood libel,’” by Lazar Berman, Times of Israel, October 22, 2023:
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby says in Jerusalem that there is no reason to assume Israel was behind the October 17 blast at an Anglican Hospital in Gaza City, and that spreading false accusations about Israeli complicity is a “blood libel.”
“Don’t assume it’s Israel,” Welby says to The Times of Israel. “You have no proof.”
“Do not start propagating another blood libel,” he says to those blaming Israel….
However, the local Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem issued a statement blaming “the loss of hundreds of innocent civilians” on Israeli airstrikes.
Of course they felt they had to blame Israel. Those Arab Anglicans in Jerusalem, after all, have to live among vindictive and potentially violent Muslims. As dhimmis, they are long inured to their permanently precarious situation: they mustn’t contradict the Muslims but, instead, must parrot whatever those Muslims say to the world. They wouldn’t dare to speak the truth about who was to blame for the explosion at the hospital parking lot.
Welby would not back that figure, saying only “I have no idea how many civilians there were, I’ve heard so many different numbers.”
Hamas was quick off the mark, within an hour of the explosion managing to put out a figure of “about 500 killed” — it would, of course, have been impossible to count that number in such a short time. It turns out, according to European intelligence experts, that the real number of Gazans killed in the strike was between 10 and 50. Welby was right to refuse to accept the Hamas figure, saying that he had “heard so many different numbers.” He might, of course, have done even better, by saying that “I have learned that European forensics experts believe the true number of those killed was between 10 and 50. I’m not sure what to believe about those figures. But I do know beyond any doubt that Israel was not responsible for the explosion. The evidence — both audio and visual — is overwhelming that the explosion was not caused by an Israeli airstrike but by an errant rocket launched from within Gaza. And a recording of Hamas operatives discussing the explosion makes clear that the rocket was launched by Palestinian Islamic Jihad.”
Welby made the comments after meeting with the family of slain 22-year-old IDF soldier of British descent, Sgt. First Class Yosef Malachi Guedalia, and with members of the Haran family from Kibbutz Be’eri, eight of whom are missing or taken captive, and two of whom were killed on October 7.
Welby has never in the past been so clearly on Israel’s side. But two things led to his current more sympathetic view of Israel. First, he traveled to Israel in a sign of solidarity with the victims of Hamas, and was no doubt moved by his meetings with the families of a murdered Israeli soldier, and with members of the Haran family, two of whom had been murdered, and six others kidnapped, by Hamas. Second, he was confronted with the Big Lie propagated by Hamas, and repeated by others fueled by anti-Israel animus, that claimed Israel was responsible “for killing 500 people at the Al-Ahli Hospital.” Welby understood this was a “blood libel” directed not just at the Jewish state, but at Jews everywhere. He knew that first, the explosion took place not at the hospital, which was barely damaged, but at the parking lot; second, that it was not an Israeli airstrike, but a PIJ misfired rocket that caused the explosion; third, that the number of dead were considerably less than the figure of 500 Hamas disseminated at once, but European experts have concluded that real figure was much lower — between 10 and 50 people killed.
Alas, after having made his welcome remarks about the “blood libel” of falsely accusing Israel of the parking lot bombing, Justin Welby reverted the very next day to type, demanding that there be an “immediate ceasefire” and an end to “bombing of civilians.”
Here is what he said on Sunday: “Israel-Palestine war: Archbishop of Canterbury calls for Gaza ceasefire in break from UK policy,” by Peter Oborne, Middle East Eye, October 22, 2023:
In a break from official British policy, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby on Sunday issued an urgent call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and an end to Israel’s bombing of civilians.
The archbishop joined forces with other Christian leaders in Jerusalem to demand an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire so that food, water, and vital medical supplies can safely be delivered to the relief agencies ministering to the hundreds of thousands of displaced civilians in Gaza.”
The statement from the leader of England’s state church directly contradicts the policy of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who last week ordered Britain to abstain on a United Nations ceasefire resolution.
A “ceasefire” at this point would have one disastrous effect: it would rescue Hamas from the impending Israeli onslaught, allowing the terror group to remain standing, while preventing the IDF from destroying the terror group as a military force. Does Welby not understand this? Or does he not think that Israel has a right to defend itself by demolishing the terror group whose members beheaded Jewish babies, burned children alive, gang-raped and murdered young girls, tortured, mutilated, and decapitated soldiers, and killed grandmothers in their wheelchairs? Does Welby really want to rescue Hamas? That is what a “ceasefire” at this point would do.
After his remarks about the “blood libel” and his acceptance of Israel’s version of what happened at the parking lot, I had hopes that Archbishop Justin Welby would continue to demonstrate his new understanding of the malignant media coverage of Israel, and his newfound sympathy for the Jewish state, as it yet again finds itself having to fight for its very survival. In Jerusalem, he met with families of the victims of Hamas murderers, and could compare the lies of Hamas and the truth-telling of Israel about the explosion at the parking lot. But now that he is back to calling for a “ceasefire” and warning Israel about “civilian casualties,” I see that I was wrong.