Church of Scotland pulls anti-Israel report from its website: The Church of England Newspaper, May 19, 2013 p 7. May 22, 2013Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Israel, Presbyterian/Church of Scotland.
The Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council has withdrawn a report that claimed Scripture provided no warrant for Jewish claims to the land of Israel.
Prepared for the 18 May meeting of the church’s General Assembly the ten-page report entitled “The Inheritance of Abraham” urged the Church of Scotland to join the boycott and divestment movement against Israel. It also said “claims that scripture offers any peoples a privileged claim for possession of a particular territory” were unfounded.
Scripture based claims raised “an increasing number of difficulties and current Israeli policies regarding the Palestinians have sharpened this questioning,” the document said, adding that it believed Jews felt they had a right to take Palestinian land “as compensation for the suffering of the Holocaust”.
The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Anti-Defamation League and the Israeli ambassador denounced the report and urged it be withdrawn. “This report not only plays into extremist political positions, but negates and belittles the deeply held Jewish attachment to the land of Israel in a way which is truly hurtful,” Ambassador Daniel Taub said.
The report did draw support however from Palestinian activists. The Rev. Stephen Sizer, rector of Christ Church Virginia Water said “Church of Scotland is to be commended for their report.”
He defended the report from its detractors saying “in no sense does the report disenfranchise anyone from legitimate rights to citizenship in Israel and Palestine, merely the claim made by some Zionists that the Bible mandates an exclusive right to the land for the Jewish people alone.”
“On the contrary the Hebrew Scriptures repeatedly insist that the land belongs to God and that residence was always conditional,” Mr. Sizer said on 8 May.
However on 9 May 2013 the report was removed from the Church of Scotland’s website and a statement posted in its place saying the Church and Society Council had agreed to rewrite the report with a “new introduction to set the context for the report and give clarity about some of the language used.”