Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Sungenis and the Jews, again

Robert Sungenis has recently posted a piece to his Catholic Apologetics International (CAI) website entitled, "Christopher Blosser and the Catholic ADL: A Review of Mr. Blosser's Website." This piece was written in response to a brief notation posted by Christopher on Sungenis quoting Shamir quoting Schmitt (Jan. 8, 2007), responding to one of CAI's "news alerts" promoting Israel Shamir's essay "The Tyranny of Liberalism" to CAI readers. (Apparently this page has been removed from CAI's main "news alerts" page in light of this recent controversy). Shamir is a notorious anti-semite. Back in July of 2006, Christopher addressed another instance of his promotion by a self-styled "traditionalist" Catholic (E. Michael Jones) in a post entitled, "Culture Wars' Troubling Praise of Israel Shamir" (Fringewatch, July 3, 2006). Christopher says of Shamir, "Apparently once a darling of the Palestinian cause, his anti-semitism proved so toxic that he was deemed a public relations disaster and eventually disowned by his comrades (See Nigel Parry's The Israel Shamir Case and Roland Rance's Israel Shamir: Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing?, from the Socialist Viewpoint)."

Shamir's writings, according to Christopher, are similar to that of other anti-semites in that they perceive society's ills through the lens of a global Zionist conspiracy, setting "Talmudic" (or in some cases, secular) Judaism against Christian civilization. In his essay, "The Tyranny of Liberalism," Shamir relies upon the work of Carl Schmitt, a Nazi legal scholar whose writings laid the ideological groundwork for the Third Reich. As Christopher noted in his original post: " ... while I am not necessarily opposed to an academic study of Carl Schmitt, in light of Shamir's own reputation and polemical worldview it certainly made for a curious picture to find Sungenis quoting Shamir quoting Schmitt -- so soon after last year's controversy when Sungenis was once again outed for his reliance upon questionable ideological sources" (See Michael Forrest' Sungenis and the Jews).

This is where Sungenis' post, "Christopher Blosser and the Catholic ADL: A Review of Mr. Blosser's Website," surfaces in the picture. Christopher comments, "I am sorry to disappoint Sungenis, but his response to me reveals his knack for using dubious sources and a consistent failure to check his facts." Christopher details his own response to Sungenis in a long post entitled Carl Schmitt, Israel Shamir and Robert Sungenis (Against the Grain, January 19, 2007).

Third party observations include Kevin Tierney's article, "Thoughts on the latest Sungenis flareup" (KevinTierney.Org, January 23, 2007). If only tangentally related, the New Oxford Review website (NOR News Link Archive, Jan. 18, 2007) recently posted a link to an article in the Intelligence Report by Mark Potok, "The 'Synagogue of Satan'" (Southern Poverty Law Center), detailing instances of egregious antisemitism among fringe-traditionalist groups. Pieter Vree, Dale Vree's son and NOR Deputy Editor, independently confirmed that NOR neither endorses the view that "radical traditionalists are anti-semitic" nor has any intention of appearing to support the claims of this so-called "intelligence report," but posted this link for informational purposes only -- i.e., to show how "radical traditionalist" Catholics are viewed and portrayed by others.

Having said that, one can hardly avoid the conclusion that even a handfull of antisemitic traditionalists give Catholics a bad name and contaminate the Church's witness to the Gospel of Christ -- especially in light of the fact that Catholics historically have been among the most despised minorities in the United States, with hatred of "Romanists" and "papists" driving the Know Nothing party in the 1850s and swelling the ranks of the Ku Klux Klan (renown for its hatred of Catholics, African-Americans, and Jews) in the 1920s to almost 4 million members.

Update (1/24/07) -- the debate deepens:

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