The Israel Trust of the Anglican Church "strongly criticizes" the Anglican Peace and Justice statement on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
In its biased and unjust statement, the Anglican Peace and Justice Network does not speak for the Israel Trust of the Anglican Church (ITAC), the oldest Anglican organisation in Israel, based at Christ Church, Jaffa Gate, Jerusalem. Nor did they afford us the courtesy of including us in their hurried consultation. Yet ITAC began work in Jerusalem in 1823 and is officially recognised by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Church of England.
ITAC asks, very reasonably
How can the visitors on the APJN Commission, however well-meaning, hope to be taken seriously when they spend a mere eight days in the country, without proper consultation on the Israeli side, then produce a statement implying they understand the complexities of the conflict and making pronouncements about it?
The statement goes on:
But, by contrast with the APJN Statement, the church should also recognise that Israelis, after 2000 years of anti-Semitism and a current resurgence of anti-Semitism, now face a military threat from various nations, Palestinian terrorism and a threat to the stability of their safe homeland through demographic factors. The APJN Statement loses credibility because it contains very inadequate references to terrorism and its effects, and no reference to the need of the Israelis to defend themselves.
Furthermore, the church should recognise that the Palestinians experience economic disaster and lack of infrastructure, partly through corruption, injustice and oppression on the part of some of their own leaders.
If the APJN feels it right to make strong criticisms of Israel’s perceived failings why does it feel no obligation to make similar criticisms of the failings of the Palestinian leadership?
One sentence raises an interesting question, though.
The sad thing is, however, that much of the church is predisposed, on the basis of inadequate information, to accept anti-Israel statements such as this one (although many Anglicans throughout the world would reject them).
‘Many Anglicans’ reject the unquestioning prejudice of ‘much of the Church’. I wonder how many is ‘many’, and how much is ‘much’? Just how much of the Anglican communion is infected with anti-Semitism under the guise of prejudice against Israel, and how many Anglicans are not? How many sheep and how many goats? (Matthew 25:31-46)
Another dissident UCC voice is heard in this article by David Hornik The Church of Anti-Semitism
in a statement released on April 21 by the Judeo-Christian Alliance, an initiative of the Boston-based David Project, its director Dexter Zan Zile—also a member of the UCC—notes that, “Both resolutions are written as if occupation was the cause of Palestinian violence. Palestinian violence is the cause of the occupation. . . . The Palestinian violence against Israel takes place in the context of a worldwide Jihad intended to impose religious apartheid on non-Muslims. Hamas’s constitution makes that plain.”
Hornik himself fisks the UCC resolution and it is worth reading the whole article and his demolition of their points.
Not all members of the UCC support its recent call for divestment and earlier this month a statement of apology was issued by Rev. David Runnion-Bareford, Executive Director of Biblical Witness Fellowship, the largest renewal group within the United Church of Christ.
‘On behalf of the many thousands of United Church of Christ members who opposed any action by the United Church of Christ against Israel at the 25th General Synod in Atlanta, we apologize to our Jewish friends and neighbors both here and in Israel for the action of our Synod and leaders.
We recognize that the two resolutions passed by the Synod, one calling for divestment and the other for Israel to "Tear Down the Wall," create a deepened liability to the safety of our Jewish friends. The resolutions as they were proposed and debated openly equated the only democracy in the mid-east region with the apartheid regime in South Africa and the murderous, enslaving tyranny of Soviet communism. Such comparisons can only serve to encourage anti-semitism and give comfort to those terrrorists who have criminally murdered over 1000 Israeli citizens and maimed over 7000 using teenagers and women as homicide bombers.
We recognize with sorrow and deep concern that these misguided actions by the United Church of Christ in General Synod 25 violate our commitment to peace and justice. Indeed they seriously threaten the relationship between Christians and Jews that has evolved since the horror of the holocaust. We must never forget that some of our theological as well as historic roots are in the liberal church of Germany that abdicated responsibility when faced with history once before.
It's reassuring to know that there are decent individuals within these Churches and to hear their voices but the Church leadership has lost its way - or been led astray by certain persistent Palestinian propagandists among the Arab Christians.
Anti-semites always do reject such accusations though, don’ t they?
Some critics have described as anti-semitic the WCC's recent call to member churches with investment funds to consider not participating economically in activities related to the occupation. Dr Kobia firmly rejected that view, reaffirming the WCC's strong historical condemnation of anti-semitism, which goes back 57 years to its inception.
Verbal condemnations of anti-semitism are worthless if accompanied by actions which single out the world’s only Jewish state for divestment, while ignoring other countries which practise serious human rights abuses, without even the excuse of the need to defend themselves from the genocidal terrorist attacks to which Israel is subject.
"Our concern is peace and justice for both Israelis and Palestinians," he emphasized.
The full speech by the general secretary of the World Council of Churches at the recent International Council of Christians and Jews is here: