UK Chief Rabbi Invokes Mother Teresa at Rally for Israel

MSN reports on Sunday’s pro-Israel rally in London, and includes a curious quote that has British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks supposedly citing none other than Mother Teresa in the context of the bombardment of Gaza:

“Israel is fighting today in Gaza because one year ago it withdrew from Gaza. And Israel discovered the terrible truth spoken by the late Mother Theresa – that no good deed goes unpunished.”

Of course, the famous aphorism did not originate with Mother Teresa; a quick internet search attributes it to Claire Booth Luce. But mentioning Luce, one suspects, would not give the speaker the same sense of vicarious virtue that an invocation of the late nun can impart. Whether Sacks went on to name-check Gandhi and Martin Luther King is not recorded.

Some pictures of the rally can be seen here. It looks like it was well organised – the tone appears to have been upbeat, with all the banners bearing the same glib message of “Peace Yes, Terror No”. A more attractive scene than that provided by Azzam Tamini, the ranting Palestinian advocate I had cause to criticise a few days ago, whether or not the political purpose of the event is persuasive. However, a member of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, which organised a counter-protest, reports some unpleasantness.

Sacks’ comments, meanwhile, can be seen as a criticism of Ariel Sharon’s 2005 withdrawal from Gaza, a decision that has been condemned by the Israeli right ever since. This is a new angle for the chief rabbi, who a few years ago tried criticising Israel from the left, when he suggested to the Guardian that events were “forcing Israel into postures that are incompatible in the long run with our deepest ideals.” This created a bit of a stir, and Sacks went on to deny that he had ever said it.

(Hat tip: Jews Sans Frontieres)