St James Piccadily “Wall” not anti-Semitic, Parliament told: The Church of England Newspaper, January 31, 2014 February 17, 2014Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper.
Tags: anti-Semitism, Israel, Robert Halfon, Sir Tony Baldry, St James Piccadily
The construction of a mock “Wall” outside St James, Piccadilly, was not an anti-Semitic act, the Second Church Estates Commissioner told Parliament, but a condemnation of Israeli government policies.
Discussion of the London replica of the separation barrier constructed by the Israeli government to keep terrorist attacks at bay arose during Oral Answers to Questions asked of Sir Tony Baldry on 9 January.
The member for Harlow, Robert Halfon (Cons.) asked Sir Tony about the Church Commissioners’ discussion with government on the “promotion of religious tolerance.”
Sir Tony responded that in “this country, we have learned through the Reformation and the counter-Reformation and beyond the essential need for religious tolerance in our nation,” which prompted Mr Halfon to ask if the Church Commissioners would discuss “religious intolerance” with “St James’ church, which has held a shockingly anti-Israel exhibition over the past couple of weeks? Far from promoting religious tolerance, it did much to undermine it.”
Sir Tony responded that this question “raises a conundrum: to what extent should the tolerant tolerate the intolerant? The demonstration at St James, Piccadilly, was not against Judaism or Jews but against the illegal occupation under international law in the west bank and some of the settlements. In this House, we must be careful about what is seen as religious tolerance and about not tolerating intolerance or breaches of international law.”
The Speaker, John Bercow encouraged Sir Tony to “prepare a detailed paper on the matter and to lodge it in the Library of the House where I feel confident it will be a well-thumbed tome.”