Desecration of Israeli memorial contemptible
Priest's desecration of Israeli memorial contemptible
Kiwi Friends of Israel, a newly formed Israeli support group, has called on the Catholic Church distance itself from Fr Gerard Burns, over his desecration of the Wellington Memorial to former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Fr Burns, the Parish Priest of Te Parisi o te Ngakau Tapu, led over a thousand anti-Israel demonstrators on a march to the Yitzhak Rabin peace memorial in Wellington's CBD. After addressing the crowd, Fr Burns smeared the memorial to former Prime Minister Rabin with a mixture of blood and paint. An independent account of the march, and photos of Fr Burns throwing paint on the memorial can be found here, on Scoop.co.nz.
"The Catholic Church should distance itself from this tasteless vandalism and join Kiwi Friends of Israel in calling for a full and unqualified apology from the Priest in question.
"Kiwi Friends of Israel strongly supports the right of all New Zealanders to have a robust debate on the rights and wrongs of Israel's policies but attacking peace memorials isn't legimitate behaviour.
"Fr Burns is entitled to his views - however wrongheaded - but he crossed a line when he decided to daub blood and paint on a memorial to the murdered Prime Minister. The desecration is doubly contemptible given Mr Rabin's lifelong commitment to peace and stability in Israel and Palestine.
"Gerard Burns' actions are beyond what is acceptable from a community and faith leader. He should apologise for his behaviour and try to voice his political beliefs without vandalising memorials next time," says the group.