Jewish leaders denounce anti-Semitic synod statements: The Church of England Newspaper, August 5, 2012 p 5. August 14, 2012Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: anti-Semitism, Board of Deputies of British Jews, Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel, General Synod
British Jewish leaders have denounced anti-Semitic comments made by members of the General Synod during its vote last month on the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI).
At last month’s meeting in York, a private member’s motion brought by John Dinnen of the Diocese of Hereford asked Synod to affirm the “vital work” of the EAPPI and encourage churches to support its work by inviting the group’s members to speak to the conflict in the region. After the 9 July vote, the chairman of the Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ) Bishop Nigel McCulloch stated that he had warned Jewish leaders against “overlobbying” as Jewish interference in the synod deliberations may have “led us to vote the other way”.
The Board of Deputies responded to Bishop McCulloch’s comments stating: “The Jewish community does not need lessons from the Anglican Church in justice and peace, themes which originated in our tradition. Moreover, to hear the debate at Synod littered with references to ‘powerful lobbies’, the money expended by the Jewish community, ‘Jewish sounding names’ and the actions of the community ‘bringing shame on the memory of victims of the Holocaust’, is deeply offensive and raises serious questions about the motivation of those behind this motion.”
Jewish leaders had urged synod to reject the EAPPI motion saying it would harm Christian – Jewish relations. EAPPI’s perspective of the conflict was “one-sided” and failed to provide its volunteers with a “full reflection” of issues, the Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, told The Times before the vote. “Minimizing Israel’s well-founded fears… will not advance the cause of peace,” he said.
The Vicar of Baghdad, Canon Andrew White, had also urged rejection of the EAPPI motion saying it would strengthened the “culture of incitement against Jews and Christians” in Palestine and also failed to take into account the rocket campaign waged from Gaza against Israel.
After the vote supporters of EAPPI hailed the decision as a step towards peace. The ACNS news service cited Helen Drewery, General Secretary of Quaker Peace and Social Witness as having applauded the vote. “Within hours of hearing the General Synod vote, we also heard of further attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinians living in the village of Yanoun, while tending their crops and flocks. We see Synod’s affirmation of EAPPI as strengthening its nonviolent efforts to bring peace to the region,” she said.
However, the Board of Deputies of British Jews – the umbrella organization representing the majority of Jewish organizations in the U.K. – released a stating saying “Justifying its decision using the views of marginal groups in Israel and the UK, the Synod has ridden rough shod over the very real and legitimate concerns of the UK Jewish community, showing a complete disregard for the importance of Anglican-Jewish relations.”
“Whilst EAPPI’s aims may appear admirable, its program lacks any kind of balance and shows nothing of the context of a hugely complex situation,” the Board of Deputies said.
“Unsurprisingly its graduates return with simplistic and radical perspectives, giving talks against Israel which do nothing to promote an understanding of the situation in the Middle East, much less promote a peaceful and viable solution to its problems. Members of Jewish communities across the country have suffered harassment and abuse at EAPPI meetings and yet Synod has completely dismissed their experiences,” the board said.
First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.