Friday, July 01, 2005

Evangelicals Rally to Israel's Side

from International Fellowship of Christians and Jews: Thursday, June 30, 2005, By: Rachel Pomerance

A clash between evangelicals and mainstream Protestants on divestment from Israel marks what appears to be the groups' first direct confrontation over the Jewish state.

Following the lead of several Protestant churches who are considering dropping their holdings in companies that do business with Israel, the United Church of Christ will debate divestment at its July 1-5 synod in Atlanta.

In response, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, which is primarily supported by evangelical Christians, launched a petition drive Monday urging the UCC to reject the anti-Israel resolutions: two considering divestment and one condemning Israel's West Bank security barrier.

...We need to let the UCC know that Israel-bashing won’t be tolerated. We need to let Israel know that real Christians stand for Israel.

The fellowship’s Stand for Israel project also launched a more general anti-divestment media campaign Monday, aiming to run full-page ads in newspapers around the country opposing calls within churches, universities and local governments to divest from Israel.

The evangelical push against divestment highlights a new level of pro-Israel activism, along with the growing rift between evangelical churches and mainstream Protestants.
It also exposes the complex relationships between Jews and Christians, and among Christians about Jews.

...To combat the challenge, the JCPA, American Jewish Committe, ADL, American Jewish Congress and American Jewish Committee have joined the Reform, Orthodox and Conservative movements to promote interfaith outreach on local levels, where Protestant communities have seemed more open than at the national leadership.

The approach has borne fruit.

  • In St. Louis, for example, the Jewish Community Relations Council worked closely with the Eden Theological Seminary, which is producing an anti-divestment video that it will send to all the Protestant conferences.
  • Regional UCC groups from Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maine came together to submit an alternative to the divestment resolution, calling for “selective investment in those initiatives that firmly reject violence as a means to resolving religious and political disputes.

The business of community relations is that of strategy and relationships, and in about 120 communities around the country those meetings have had significant impact where people from the Jewish community were well-trained and well-coordinated,” Felson said.

...Our hope is to educate the folks who are taking this foolish path and to motivate the evangelical Christian who is kind of a latent supporter of Israel and get him to be a blatant supporter of Israel,” and urge Christian groups to respond to divestment by investing in Israel, Mamo said.

...The group will run a full-page ad opposing the UCC resolutions in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution at the start and close of the group’s conference.
With 70 million evangelicals, “we think we can outweigh any damage that’s done,” Mamo said.
Whether they are effective or not, when the battle on divestment subsides it will leave deep marks on interfaith relations.
“There will be a memory here on this issue of divestment who was prepared to support divestment against the State of Israel, and who supported Israel in this debate,” said David Elcott, U.S. director of interreligious affairs for the AJCommittee, who will address the UCC synod. “There will be a memory, and it will have an impact.”

Bad English

from The New Republic Online: by Martin Peretz, 06.30.05 ....

About 40 years ago, when I was a young graduate student at Harvard, I drove the aging and very distinguished suffragan bishop of Massachusetts, W. Appleton Lawrence, from Cambridge to some 'peace meeting' in the western part of the state....Somewhere around Amherst, I asked Lawrence what Anglicans believed. His face took on a deep, pensive look. "We believe," he intoned, "in civil rights for Negroes, the admission of Red China to the United Nations, and friendship with Castro Cuba." I do not at all want to belittle the bishop. I liked him. He was not pompous. And probably he thought that this clever Jewish boy from New York would not really be asking him a theological question, which is exactly what I was doing.

....Still, I was immediately suffused with a sense of the impending decline of the Anglican Church, at least here in the United States.

... For all their purified language, the House of Bishops and the consultative councils of the Anglican Communion are settings either for ideological dogmatism, nearly always with unanimous decisions, or for lifestyle fratricide, as in the debates about gay clergy and gay marriage. In any case, the number of Episcopalians is in steep descent. The influence of the American church--such as it is--seems to be limited to the sway it exercises over the bureaucracies of the 35 other declining Protestant denominations assembled in that portentous rump called the National Council of Churches, always "joining hands and voices" for something goofy or worse.

The Episcopal Church in the United States has long been threatening to disinvest from U.S. companies that "support the occupation of Palestinian lands.....last week, in England, the Anglican Consultative Council, including the present Archbishop of Canterbury, voted unanimously to do the same. (The previous archbishop criticized the move.) The Anglicans have an analysis backing up their position: "It is the Israeli occupation in its many facets that foments the violence and fuels the conflict." This ignores so many facts that it boggles the mind.

....The Anglican luminaries are either ignorant or mendacious. A church spokesman, James Rosenthal, stated that the resolution expressed the Anglican concern for the situation of Palestinian Christians living in the territories. Now, it is true that Christians are in deep despair in emerging Palestine--but not because they are endangered by Israel. ....Christians have been deserting the territories out of fear that the Israelis will abandon them to the twin mercies of virulent Arab nationalism and Islamic fanaticism.

.....What kindles the fire in their hearts for Palestine? There is little or nothing in Palestinian society that would fill a progressive with enthusiasm. ....I come to an unavoidable conclusion. The obsession here is not positive, for one side, but rather negative, against the other side. The clerics and the lay leaders on this indefensible crusade are so fixated on Palestine because their obsession, which can be buttressed by various Christian sources and traditions, is really with the Jews. A close look at this morbid passion makes one realize that its roots include an ancient hostility for the House of Israel, an ugly survival of a hoary intolerance into some of the allegedly enlightened precincts of modern Christendom.
Martin Peretz is editor-in-chief of TNR.

The Anglicans lose their way

Pre-dating our recent posting from Melanie Phillips is a detailed and scathing report on the the Anglican Peace and Justice Network (APJN) report upon which the recent disinvestment resolution is based. Follow this link to download the full 35-page report (a 4MB pdf)

The following is a brief exerpt from Melanie Phillips's Diary: The Anglicans lose their way: June 27, 2005. This is a must-read. Follow the link to the the full article.

It is a defining moment. With last Friday’s vote by the Anglican Consultative Council to ‘commend’ divestment from companies supporting Israel’s polices, based on a travesty of a report on Israel by the Anglican Peace and Justice Network, the Anglican church has descended into the moral abyss.

The APJN report is full of the most inflammatory lies, libels and distortions about Israel — and provided the ammunition for a poisonous onslaught against Israel. The document uncritically reproduced the Arab propaganda version of Israel’s history and the present circumstances of the Middle East conflict, presenting the Arab perpetrators of genocidal mass murder as victims and their real victims as oppressors merely for trying to defend themselves.

Statement after statement is pathologically twisted. .....Israel has behaved with suicidal forbearance towards the Arabs of the territories....Yet the report does not present Israel's actions as a defence against mass murder but instead represents them as oppressive and dehumanising.

... It ...presents Israel’s military actions as a deliberate policy of oppression, whereas in fact the only reason that normal life is impossible is that the Arabs of the territories are intent on ending as many Israeli lives as possible.

It refers to the occupation of ‘Palestinian land’. But the West Bank and Gaza are not Palestinian land. They are strictly speaking no-man’s land — which was illegally occupied by Egypt and Jordan in 1948-50.

The report says the Arabs were removed from their ‘historic lands’ — by which it means Israel. But this is a rewriting of history.

...It describes the security barrier as an ‘apartheid/segregation’ wall and compares the territories to the ‘bantustans of South Africa’. But the only reason the barrier was erected was to defend Israelis from the systematic mass murder perpetrated by Arabs from the territories. The comparison with apartheid, where the majority was kept down by the minority on racial grounds, is false and libellous.

It egregiously misrepresents history, attacking Israel for ignoring UN resolutions without referring to the Arabs’ refusal to honour those bits of those resolutions which require them to end their aggression against Israel.

Outrageously, it asserts: ‘there is little will on behalf of the Israeli government to recognize the rights of the Palestinians to a sovereign state to be created in the West Bank—which includes East Jerusalem—and Gaza.’ But the Arabs were offered a state in the territories in 1938, 1947, 1967 and 2000 but refused it every time and tried instead to wipe out the Jews. Never have they rescinded their aim of ethnic cleansing and destruction of Israel.

The report not only makes no mention of this, nor of the incitement of hatred of Israel and the Jews worldwide with which the Arab world is brainwashed; instead, it directly associates itself with those aims by endorsing the right of settlement for ‘refugees’ which would destroy Israel as a Jewish state.

The venom of its anti-Jewish feeling bursts out all too plainly when it compares ‘the concrete walls of Palestine’ to ‘the barbed-wire fence of the Buchenwald camp’. Thus the Anglicans compare Jews to Nazis for a measure aimed to prevent themselves from being murdered.

This profound and vicious anti-Jewish animus is not surprising given the two men the report singles out for praise (the bad guys)....
  • Riah Abu El-Assal... Among many anti-Jewish statements Bishop Riah has claimed of Palestinian Christians: ‘We are the true Israel… no-one can deny me the right to inherit the promises, and after all the promises were first given to Abraham and Abraham is never spoken of in the Bible as a Jew…He is the father of the faithful.’
  • Canon Naim Ateek ...(so called) ‘peacemaker’....(who) defames the Jews and sanitises Arab violence. ....(In his writings) Zionism is portrayed an aggressive colonial adventure. ..... Ateek vilifies the Jews as oppressors and warmakers and tells them, in effect, that their salvation lies in abandoning their state and scattering to the four winds.

The report enthuses that Ateek founded Sabeel....Sabeel’s own call for divestment starts with a lie, which gives a taste of its own venom: ‘The State of Israel was established in 1948 on 78% of historic Palestine leading to the displacement of most of its Palestinian inhabitants, who became refugees.’

‘Historic Palestine’.... comprised what is now Jordan, Israel and the West Bank and Gaza. .... the Jews ware allocated a small portion. With the ceasefire lines drawn up in 1949 after the Arabs tried to destroy the fledgling Jewish state, Israel was left with only 17.5% of Mandate Palestine. The Arabs had the rest. It was still not enough for them; the Jews had to be driven out from their own homeland altogether, a project which continues to this day – and which the Anglicans now support.

....In short, this document represents nothing less than an incitement to hatred against Israel and the Jews.

At the meeting, two voices were raised against it (the good guys)....
  • The Very Rev John Moses, the Dean of St Paul's objected to the resolution, questioned the credentials of those who prepared the report and suggested that it was biased and would inflame Christian - Jewish tensions in the UK and would not help the peace process.....
  • (former) Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, who proposed two amendments that softened the tone-- and he explicitly stated that this was not a call for disinvestment. Other Anglicans would appear to disagree.
There are, however, many decent Christians who are horrified and aghast. One such writes:
‘Some six months ago, I read the undergraduate maunderings of the "Peace and Justice Network" ...It was immature, wholly unresearched and one-sided, the kind of thing...I thought that it would be kicked into the long grass when wiser heads prevailed ...Instead, the resolution was couched in careful committee-speak, putting the smallest of figleaves over its left wing posturing. Well, I don’t think the church can have it both ways. It is either a body for transcendence or for agitprop. The church, I fear, will continue to make itself more and more irrelevant. I am taking the only action of which you will take the slightest notice. I shall be stopping my £500 a year contribution to my parish church with immediate effect.’

The Anglican communion has lost its way. Its own flock must now try to rescue it from the moral pit into which it has fallen.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Hamas re-arms

from Jerusalem Post, Jun. 27, 2005 2:12 By MATTHEW GUTMAN

Hamas is using the lull in fighting to raise an "army" of several thousand fighters in the Gaza Strip to complement its developing arsenal of Kassam rockets and mortars, an IDF source told The Jerusalem Post Sunday.

....Hamas is believed to have stockpiled an arsenal of hundreds of Kassam rockets and many more primitive mortars. "The Kassam factoriescontinue to operate, and we are not doing anything to stop them," the source said.

...The current intelligence assessment considers Hamas's military build-up an insurance policy not only against Israel, but against the Palestinian Authority as well, "just in case Abu Mazen [PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas] moves to strip Hamas of its weapons," he said.

....Hamas spokesman Moshir al-Masri denied that his group is building an army though "we affirm our commitment to fight the occupation with the appropriate means."

...Hamas is currently listed in a category of its own in intelligence assessments. It is neither in the jihadist groups, whose sole raison d'etre is the destruction of Israel, nor in the friendly camp of Egypt, Jordan and the PA, but in a category called "undecided."

A decent churchman speaks

From Melanie Phillips's Diary, June 29, 2005:

Canon Andrew White, until recently Director of the Peace Centre at Coventry Cathedral, is the Church of England's principal peace-maker in the Middle East. He probably knows more about that troubled region than any other churchman alive....Here is his response to the Anglican Consultative Council debacle:

'It is not very often that I pay heed to newspaper editorials, but last Thursday's Daily Telegraph editorial summed up perfectly the Anglican Peace and Justice network's recommendation to the ACC to encourage that provinces disinvest from Israel. ....."Sanctimonious Claptrap" and that is exactly what it was.

Never has this group even paid attention to the fact that the former Archbishop of Canterbury was the very person who commenced the religious track of the peace process -- a process that is still functioning. A few weeks ago Lord Carey himself launched three new centres in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel. 'These centres are not slinging negative slogans at each other but are working hard at trying to find a lasting peace with justice. They are taking seriously the new opportunities that arise with Israel's disengagement from Gaza and part of the West Bank in a matter of days. It is these Israelis and Palestinians that we should support. Those who are taking real risks for peace.'

I spend much of my life in Israel and Palestine. Every month I sit with those committed to working for peace on both sides of the divide. I know the pain and hurt of both communities.

....why did they not even bother to go and see anybody from the Israeli Government? ....That such a group should function in the name of the Anglican Church is a tragedy and that the ACC should pass this resolution is an even greater tragedy. .... All that has been happening since the signing of the first Alexandria Declaration for Peace in the Holy Land is now at risk.

'Making peace is not quick or easy work. The Israeli Palestinian conflict has been going on for years..... why was this group not prepared to meet with the Government of Israel? All too often delegations come out for a few days and write definitive reports. I have spent years in the land and even now do not understand many of its complexities.

'This is not a prophetic action but the corporate action of a group of people who are too scared to take seriously the challenge to be true peace makers. This action will be seen as being not only anti Zionist but also anti-Semitic and I know for certain I will never be party to such action.'

At least here is one senior cleric with the moral courage and decency to confront the evil that has arisen within Anglicanism.

Melanie Phillips is a British journalist and author. She is best known for her column about political and social issues which currently appears in the Daily Mail.

Click here for the full text of the posting

Sharon must face the people now

There are calls to hold immediate national elections in Israel

from Jewish World Review June 29, 2005 / 22 Sivan, 5765, By Isi Leibler

In light of recent events Prime Minister Sharon must heed the calls to hold national elections. Failure to do so makes a mockery of Israel's parliamentary system.

...the Knesset recently carried three consecutive motions of no confidence against the Government.... Knesset Speaker, Ruby Rivlin, himself a Likud member, publicly urged (Sharon) to ...hold elections.

The nation is now poised at a critical turning point....

At issue are not the merits of ruling over Palestinians or retaining isolated settlements....the majority of Israelis now share a broad consensus that their ultimate objective must be to separate themselves from the Palestinians. Nor is the Gaza disengagement the central issue.

At the heart of the matter are the nation's strategic and national security goals....wide range of respected Israelis ...warn that Sharon's current policies will culminate in a disaster of historic proportions.

In addition to the recent frightening warning conveyed by former Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon, disaster scenarios are also predicted by ...former Mossad heads Ephraim Halevy and Shabtai Shevet, former Intelligence Chief Shlomo Gazit, former IDF Deputy Chief of Staff General Uzi Dayan, and former Air force Commander General Eitan Ben Eliyahu.

....The facts on the ground certainly reinforce the critics who predict that our policies are leading towards disaster. This is what is happening:

  • Terror attacks, attempted suicide bombings, and the launching of Kassam rockets continue unabated. Israelis are being killed and the IDF is once again being restrained in order not to undermine the "calm".
  • Mahmoud Abbas reiterates that he has no intention of curbing the terrorist infrastructure or curtailing their activities. In fact, he proudly announces that he had invited Hamas ghouls to join his Administration and brazenly enrolls terrorists in the PA police force which Israel is being urged to rearm!
  • Like Arafat, Abbas insists that the Arab right of return is non-negotiable. He refuses to take any meaningful steps to rein in the incitement which continues unabated in the schools, the mosques, and the media. When challenged by the Americans and ourselves, he whines that he is too weak to enforce drastic changes and demands further Israeli concessions before he can act.
  • There is a general consensus that Hamas is poised to take control of the Palestinian region in the near future.
  • PA Ministers have explicitly threatened to unleash Intifada Mark III unless Israel makes further unilateral concessions after disengagement.

The international scene is equally troublesome. Prior to the implementation of disengagement whilst the U.S and Europeans are supposedly "displaying restraint" in order not to create political difficulties for a domestically embattled Sharon:

  • The Europeans reinstated ties with the "political" wing of Hamas
  • Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the US Administration appear to have reverted to Clintonian even-handedness bordering on moral equivalency in relation to Israel and the Palestinians.
  • The US is also pressing Israel to free additional prisoners despite the fact that of the 900 already released, some of whom have already resumed terrorist activities.
  • Ms Rice repeatedly reiterates that contrary to what Sharon told Israelis, the purported commitment by President Bush to support Israel's retention of major settlement blocs, is merely a gesture, because it included a caveat that any deviation from the 1949 armistice lines would require Palestinian approval!
  • The American Administration continues showering paeans of praise on Abbas despite his explicit refusal to dismantle or hinder the terror infrastructure and whilst even his own Fatah units blatantly continue engaging in suicide bombings and other acts of terror.

Yet despite these ominous developments, Sharon defies his advisers and continues extending far reaching concessions to the Palestinians which will impact on our security and only be reversible at the cost of more Israeli blood.

The most frightening concession Sharon is contemplating is to sub-contract policing of the Gaza border to the Egyptians — a guaranteed prescription for a future confrontation. It is surely the ultimate delusion to imagine that any agreement with our Egyptian "friends" to prevent the smuggling of weapons to terrorists can possibly work.

... although elections will not provide a panacea to our problems, they would at least enable Israelis to review their options before rather than after withdrawal.

Every weekday publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Isi Leibler chairs the Diaspora-Israel relations committee of the Jerusalem Center for Public affairs and is a former chairman of the governing board of the World Jewish Congress. Let him know what you think by clicking

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Midwest Conservative Journal Disowns Anglicanism

exerpts from today's postings on the Midwest Conservative Journal, by Christopher S. Johnson:

....the ACC's anti-Israel resolution is perceived as an anti-Semitic act and interfaith relations with the Jews have been badly and perhaps irreparably strained. ...As far as the Anglican Communion is concerned, to paraphrase Stalin, the death of a Palestinian or a Muslim is a tragedy while the death of an Israeli or a Jew is a statistic.

Whether this new perception bothers the Anglican Communion at all remains to be seen... But the perception bothers me intensely and I want no part of any organization that supports anti-Israel resolutions like the one the ACC just passed. If it is interested in repairing the damage it has done, the Anglican Communion must quickly and totally repudiate the Anglican Consultative Council's resolution.

On the divestment resolution....

Rabbi Barry Marcus, the spokesman on Israel for Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, said: “Moves towards divestment represent a flawed and disastrous course.“They will do nothing to advance the twin causes of security for Israel and statehood for the Palestinians.“The report itself took a one-sided and subjective view of the situation, and did not reflect the present reality.”

Jon Benjamin, chief executive of the Board of British Deputies of British Jews, told The Guardian: “That Israel alone should be singled out for such treatment, particularly at a time when dialogue is beginning to prevail, shows an inequality in the treatment of the Jewish state which must raise concerns about the Church’s relationship with our community.“Once again, the outrageous falsehoods levelled against Israel are used by the enemies of peaceful co-existence to undermine the genuine goodwill of those who want to see an end to conflict in the region.”

I fervently hope that British Jews actually refuse to meet with Dr. Williams or withdraw from any meetings already planned if only for a limited time. They should not let my gracious lord of Canterbury talk them out of their anger or listen to the Anglican spin which will tell them that this resolution doesn't actually say what it obviously says. Let the Jews inform the Anglican Communion in no uncertain terms that since the Anglicans have taken sides in the Middle East, the Jewish community no longer trusts them and that if interfaith relations with the Jews interest the Anglicans at all, it is up to the Anglicans to repair the damage.

....Hitting for the idiocy cycle, the Anglican Consultative Council passed ...(a) resolution on Korea:

.... there's absolutely nothing there about North Korea's horrific human rights abuses, its concentration camps or anything else that might be even remotely critical of Pyongyang. The babbling dolts on the ACC suggest that both countries share blame for the Korean "crisis"... and believe that both countries need to take steps to prevent it ...thus equating the United States of America with the northern Korean entity, about as close to a Nazi state as you will ever see.

I used to think that official Anglicanism was something worth fighting for and worth preserving. But if the official Anglican world is going to pass resolutions as morally bankrupt as this one and the one on disinvestment from Israel, then official Anglicanism can't die fast enough.

Simon Wiesenthal Center letter to the Archbishop

from SWC News Items (my emphasis added - sandgroper)

Mr Rowan Williams
The Archbishop of Canterbury

....When a Church ...calls for a boycott of Jews..., the Jewish collective memory refocuses. The lights dim and a film reel in our heads begins to unwind:

... the charge of collective deicide, the Judas image of ultimate treachery...Christianity's ... delegitimization of the people of Israel.

... forced conversions, Passover/ Easter blood libels, accusations of well-poisoning, importing plague and pestilence, the theft of Christian innocents, race defilement, white slave traffic.

Pogroms, autos da fe, Inquisition burnings at the stake, burning synagogues and Yeshivas, burning of Holy scrolls and prayer books.

Cathedral statues of "the Church Triumphant" alongside "the Vanquished Synagogue", exclusion from land ownership, conspiracy theories, Protocols of the Elders of Zion, expulsions, boycotts, Kristallnacht, cemetery desecration, collaboration in deportation and extermination, SILENCE...

After two millennia, we thought that the film had ended...a sobered Christendom that would banish the shadows forever..... we were so wrong:

- only one people remains an endangered species

- only one State remains unambiguously threatened with extinction in the chambers of the United Nations system

- only one nation is still denied acknowledgement of its right to sovereign legitimacy.

Archbishop, your vote, last Friday, for ...disinvestment of companies that trade with the Jewish State is not only biased, not only in violation of freedom of commerce provisions of the European Union and the World Trade Organization, your vote is one more traumatic frame in that never-ending film.

From little Hugh of Lincoln, the pogrom of York, the expulsion by Edward the Confessor, you have telescoped Church history of Judeophobia in England, the liberal and tolerant land of my birth. You have widened the floodgates, for if it could happen there...!

Archbishop, when you say "divestment of Israel", we hear "Kaufen nicht bei Juden", and we are filled with an immense sadness at your damage to decades of inter-faith dialogue.
We can only hope to be comforted by those Anglican friends who will reject this new preaching of the Gospel of the Anti-Christ.

Dr. Shimon Samuels

Director for International Affairs (SWC)

American Jewish Congress condemns Anglican anti-Israel resolution

from israelinsider: Briefs: AJC condemns Anglican church's anti-Israel resolution
By: israelinsider staff and partners, Published: June 28, 2005

The American Jewish Congress (AJC) has condemned the Anglican Church Consultative Council's June 24 vote in favor of economic measures against Israel ...

Neil Goldstein, AJC Executive Director, stressed: '.....this resolution ...(is) an attempt to isolate and stigmatize the Jewish State....(and is) lacking in moral credibility.'

AJC President Paul Miller stated: 'At a time when Israelis are preparing to withdraw from Gaza, such unjust interference is a significant obstacle to peace in the Middle East.

'It is disheartening...that the Council did not heed the words of the former leader of the Church of England, Lord George Carey, who .... called the resolution 'another knife in the back'.'"

WA Anglicans move to boycott Israel

Regina Titelius wrties in this morning's West Australian (not available on line):

The path is clear for Australia's Anglican offload investments in companies that "support the occupation" of Palestinian lands.

Debate by the Church in Australia will begin in earnest after the Anglican international council's decision at the weekend....(to adopt the recommendations of a report on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict issued last September by the Anglican Peace and Justice Network (APJN). One of its main backers is Bishop Riah Hanna Abu El-Assal of Jerusalem, who hosted the network's delegation during a 10-day visit.)

.....Perth's Anglican Archbishop Roger Herft said peace in Palestine was crucial to world peace and the Church would do everything it could to influence that.....his diocese was "very interested" in the international council's support for a boycott.....he was adamant that the Church's role included involvement in political issues.

Uniting Church moderator Reverend Gemmel Sherwood said his Church was "not closing off" consideration of a boycott similar to what the Anglican Church was contemplating..........

See JIW postings for the last two days (below) for a wealth of material on this issue.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Anglican council hardens its stance

from the Times of London, June 25, 2005 By Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

...LEADERS of the Anglican Church set themselves on a collision course with the Jewish community yesterday when they backed a motion calling for provinces worldwide to reconsider their investments with Israel.

...the Anglican Consultative Council, the executive body of the Anglican Communion, commended the resolve of the US church to take appropriate action where it finds its corporate investments support the occupation of Palestinian lands or violence against innocent Israelis.
The council also asked other provinces to consider such action in line with their existing ethical investment strategies and to adopt investment strategies “that support the infrastructure of a future Palestinian state”.

....The authors of the report wanted the Anglican church to put pressure on companies supporting controversial policies in Israel, such as the security fence. The US Presbyterian Church has already adopted a disinvestment policy and at least one other US church is following a similar path.

...Jewish leaders have expressed bitter disappointment that disinvestment is still on the table, although they are relieved that the recommendations were toned down to reflect a more measured approach.

Rabbi Barry Marcus, who holds the Israel portfolio on the Chief Rabbi’s Cabinet, said: “Moves toward divestment represent a flawed and disastrous course. They will do nothing to advance the twin causes of security for Israel and statehood for the Palestinians. The report itself took a one-sided and subjective view of the situation, and did not reflect the present reality.

“Domestically, I am concerned about the unsettling effect the resolutions will have on Anglican-Jewish relations, particularly in the light of the recent aborted academic boycott of Israeli universities. We urge Anglicans, despite this development, to continue to support investment and negotiation rather than divestment and recrimination.”

The Board of Deputies of British Jews said that it was bitterly disappointed. A spokesman said: “Israel is a democracy and a pluralistic society in which Jews and Arabs, Christians and Muslims, have equal rights in the law. These rights are not extended to non-Muslims in many of Israel’s Arab neighbours. Sadly, Israel is also a country on a virtual war footing; not a conventional war, however, but a war of terror characterised by the suicide bomber. It is a war against an implacable enemy which considers all of Israel as occupied territory and where no Israelis, men, women or children, are regarded as innocent.”

He continued: “The report’s findings ... which predated the withdrawal plans for Gaza and now Bethlehem, were based on consultation with Palestinian groups hostile to Israel. No Israeli input was countenanced.”

Click here for the full article.

Anglican Moral Bunkruptcy

From the Midwest Conservative Journal ...

A few days ago, the Anglican Consultative Council ... took a giant leap back toward its usual moral bankruptcy, unanimously passing this (see posted yesterday)

....Melanie Phillips:
....... Virtually to a man (and woman) the Church of England’s hierarchy have completely swallowed the lies and libels of Palestinian propaganda. The visceral hatred of Israel felt by these churchmen is matched only by their stupendous ignorance of Israel’s history and present circumstances. The astounding moral inversion of right and wrong, truth and lies, murderer and victim in their thinking about Israel has been fed by three principal factors:

  • the systematic and malevolent distortion of Israel’s history pumped out by Christian aid agencies;
  • pilgrimages to the Christian holy places which are almost all in Arab areas, so that British pilgrims who know nothing about Israel or the Jews spend the whole trip in the company of Palestinian tour guides, hotel staff and so forth and scarcely speak to any Israelis and thus return to Britain full of hatred for Israel and the Jews; and
  • the very close friendship between many in the CofE hierarchy and radical Palestinian Christian clerics such as Bishop Riah of Jerusalem, who have spent years attempting to provide a theological justification for writing Jews out of Israel’s historical script altogether.
As a result, as I reported in the Spectator three years ago, the Cof E’s astonishing ignorance of the history of Jewish nationhood in Judea, Samaria and Galilee gives off a strong whiff of supercessionist replacement theology, the doctrine going back to the early church fathers which stated that all God’s promises to the Jews -- including the land of Israel -– were forfeit because the Jews had denied the divinity of Christ, a doctrine which lay behind centuries of Christian anti-Jewish hatred until the Holocaust drove it underground.

And Peter Glover:
Is there, I wonder, a better way for the modern Anglican Church to embarrass itself once more in terms of its international credibility and moral standing before the world? Off-hand I cannot think of one.

...The report calls for the Church to put pressure on firms deemed to be supporting controversial Israeli policies such as the building of the security fence or the clearing of Palestinian homes. It does not, however, at any stage take into account the reasons for building the fence, the prevalence of murderous Palestinian attacks upon ordinary Israeli citizens, nor the fact that Arab suicide bombings and other attacks have dropped significantly since it was built....

While Anglican stalwart Greg Griffith may just wash his hands of the Anglican tradition altogether:

This is, perhaps, "it" for me, the beginning of the end of my affiliation with Anglicanism. The Anglican Consultative Council’s vote on a resolution on divestment from Israel is not simply a show of disapproval of Israel and its policies, but a show of solidarity with Palestinian terrorists.
My shame of being associated with this church has sunk to a new low.

This resolution is not a surprise; ethical cowardice is one the marks of mainline Christianity. What does surprise and depress is the breadth of this resolution's support. It was adopted unanimously which means that even the "conservative" ACC representatives voted for it. If this vote is any indication of support for this idea in orthodox Anglican provinces, then I don't see how it is remotely possible for me to remain an Anglican.

....the Anglican Communion has willfully chosen to ignore 2,000 years of history, the 60-year history of the State of Israel, the four major wars launched by Muslim nations in an attempt to wipe Israel off the map, the refusal by Jordan to allow Jews to visit the Western Wall during the Jordanian occupation of East Jerusalem, the thousands of Israeli men, women and children murdered over the years, the refusal of the Palestinians to do anything substantive about genocidal murderers like Hamas, Islamic Jihad and others, the virulent anti-Semitism of Muslim societies..... Among other things.

But many Palestinians are Christians. So what? The sad fact is that many of the worst anti-Semites in the world go to church on Sundays. First up is the Catholic Hilarion Capucci who was once convicted of running guns for the Palestinians. Greek Orthodox Atallah Hanna publicly supported suicide bombing. The head of the Coptic Church, Pope Shenouda III, refuses to set foot in Jerusalem while Jews control it and refuses to allow other Copts to go there either. And last but not least, the Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem, Riah Abu El-Assal, once accused the Israeli army of deliberatly firing a missle at a Gaza church and hospital. ....(This Bishop is now one of the key proponents of the current divestment policy - sandgroper)

And these four men did not arise in a vacuum.

...If you're going to run guns to the murderers of Jews, if you're going to applaud the murderers of innocent men, women and children because you think their cause is just, if you refuse to visit a place simply because Jews control it and if you're comfortable writing the most vile lies about Jews to advance your politcal agenda, then you are no brother of mine and you shouldn't expect me to take your side simply because you and I share a religion......

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Anglicans target Israel

from 23/06/2005

The Christian West has a marked, and growing, prejudice against the state of Israel that the government of that country ignores at its peril. The latest instance ...(is) ...a recommendation that the 38 provinces of the worldwide Anglican Communion should consider divesting themselves of holdings in companies that support the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The recommendation stems from a report on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict issued last September by the Anglican Peace and Justice Network (APJN). One of its main backers is Bishop Riah Hanna Abu El-Assal of Jerusalem, who hosted the network's delegation during a 10-day visit.

The report is a piece of sanctimonious claptrap .... It takes scant account of the trauma to which the second intifada has subjected Israeli civilians and endorses policies, such as the right of return of Palestinian refugees since 1948, that would spell the death of the Jewish state. It has rightly been condemned by, among others, the International Council of Christians and Jews, Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, and Sir Jonathan Sachs, the Chief Rabbi.

If the APJN recommendation is accepted by the consultative council (Sandgroper: Note that this article was written prior to the consultative council meeting in Nottingham, which did adopt the recommentation - see Resolutions from the Anglican Peace and Justice Network, 24 June 2005) will be passed to the individual provinces for a decision on implementation. In most cases, they will do nothing. But the American Episcopal Church, which is a member of the Anglican Communion, is considering disinvestment, while the Presbyterian Church (USA) has already embarked on that course. Even where it is shelved, it will serve as a powerful symbol of hostility to Israel.

Mr Sharon is a "power and stockade Zionist" who believes in accomplishing "facts on the ground". His government is not doing nearly enough to advance the moral case for Israel to those Christians who believe that the present-day population has nothing to do with the Jewish aboriginals and therefore has no right to Palestinian land. The further the Holocaust recedes into history, the less Mr Sharon can count on natural sympathy for the Zionist cause. The fact that two Churches in the United States, a country whose support Israel tends to take for granted, are at the forefront of the moves to disinvest is a salutary warning: moral force is just as important as acquiring the latest military gismos from Washington.

All not well with road map

PT Singham, foreign editor of the West Australian reports on Condaleeza Rice's tour of the Middle East (25 June, page 32).

Dr Rice made the point that democracy is not just elections, but also the freedom to associate, freedom to worship and freedom from the fear of secret police.

Singham displays a grasp of the Palestinian demand for a "right of return" that has eluded most media commentators, when he also equates it to a thinly-veiled desire to eliminate Israel altogether. He quotes the Judea Pearl article (exerpts posted on JIW Blog Saturday, June 18, 2005 - dialogue of the deaf , from an article by JUDEA PEARL, THE JERUSALEM POST Jun. 16, 2005 )

Singham draws the conclusion that the demand for right of return, and associated views from Arab quarters that Israel is illegitimate, provide profound evidence that all is not well on the road map....

Anglican Church in WA considering "divestment" proposal

Regina Titelius writes in the West Australian on 24 June that the Anglican Church in WA is considering a proposal to sell any investments in companies that "support the occupation" of Palestinian lands. The move comes as the Anglican church in Britain prepares to adopt a report by its "Justice and Peace Network," which calls for pressure on Israeli companies....

The proposal drew immediate criticism from sections of Australia's Jewish community, raising concerns about anti-Semitism and fears that such a policy would provoke terrorism.

Perth's Anglican Archbishop Roger Herft said the Church recognised that peace in Palestine was"the key to world peace" and that it would study the report, which was of interest. If the British church decided to support the report, then the Australian church would need to make a decision....