"All her friends have betrayed her; they have become her enemies." Lamentations 1:2

Where the denominations stand on Israel.

Rainy day in Jerusalem

A rainy day in Jerusalem - Bridge of strings junction

A brief overview

It seemed that it would be helpful to have some idea what the various denominations are saying and doing about Israel; who is involved in action against and who is praying for Israel.

This page is patchy at best. Some denominations are covered from experience but others are covered with clips from the Internet. Wildolive would welcome pointers to better sources of information.

The denominations are commented upon in alphabetical order, not ranked in order of merit or otherwise.

Anglicans

The Anglican denomination is divided on Israel as on many issues, but the majority position is anti-Israel, as indicated by these snippets.

Nine Tory MPs have written to the Times to protest against the Church of England General Synod's recent decision to encourage disinvestment from companies that make products used by Israel in the Palestinian territories. 

 

I (Melanie Philips in 2005) recently found myself in a conversation with a senior cleric in the Church of England. We had both just heard an account of Israel's history and society which to me was a travesty of the truth, omitting altogether the half-century of exterminatory Arab attacks on Israel, the vilification of Jews in Arab and Muslim discourse and the five year campaign of mass murder against Israeli citizens in the Oslo intifada. Instead, Israel's Jews were presented as motivated by an otherwise inexplicable racial prejudice against the Arabs and a desire to discriminate against them and generally do them down.

When I protested, the cleric declared that he wanted to understand my pain. I replied that my pain was caused by having heard an account of Israel that was not based on the truth and which would further deepen the already toxic prejudice against the Jews. To which this cleric replied that there was no one truth, and that we all had to respect each other's truths. To which I inquired whether this meant that we had to respect each other's lies -- which elicited the reply that these were merely 'competing narratives'.

So to this cleric, it seems, the Arab lie that, for example, Israel is committing genocide against the Palestinians -- a lie which has the direct result of inciting the mass murder of Israelis -- has to be respected. Not surprisingly, therefore, he told me that the person to whose narrative I had objected was, to him, 'a hero'.

By Keren David, May 14, 2009

Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, intervened to prevent a resolution highly critical of Israel being passed by an advisory committee of the Anglican Church. He succeeded in softening the language of the resolution passed, although it still links Israel to an “apartheid” policy in the West Bank and makes no mention of Hamas.

The resolution, passed at a conference of the Anglican Communion’s consultative committee in Kingston, Jamaica, “laments the fact that current Israeli policies in relation to the West Bank, in contravention of UN Security Council resolutions, have created severe hardship for many Palestinians and have been experienced as a physical form of apartheid”.

It criticises Israel’s action in Gaza, calls for the dismantling of the separation wall and says that Jerusalem should “not be the monopoly of any one religion”. It states: “A just peace must guarantee the security and territorial integrity of both Israel and the future state of Palestine.”

Anglican Friends of Israel

www.anglicanfriendsofisrael.com

Anglican Friends of Israel has been formed to...

Resist the call for a boycott of Israel, support the people of Israel and to secure defensible borders for the State of Israel, promote bonds of fellowship and interfaith understanding between Anglicans and the Jewish people, recall the Church to G-d's Covenant with the Jewish people and to call the Church to affirm the centrality of Israel to the Jewish faith, call Anglicans to repentance for the wrongs-of both word and deed- inflicted by Christians on the Jewish people and the nation of Israel, fight all libels against Israel and the Jewish people and their State, promote reconciliation and ties of friendship between the people of Israel and the righteous Arabs who oppose terrorism and wish to have peaceful relations with Israel, protect the Christian communities threatened by Islamic extremism in the Middle East and bring the Church back to an understanding of the Jewish roots of our faith.

Assemblies of God

The official web site is cautiously non-political

Israel = the Church's Response

According to Scripture, Israel has an important role to play in the end-times. For centuries Bible scholars pondered over the prophecy of a restored Israel. "'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land" (Ezekiel 37:21; cf. Zephaniah 3:19,20). When the modern nation of Israel was founded in 1948, and Jews began returning from all around the world, Bible scholars knew that God was at work and that we were very likely living in the last days.

But God's timetable moves at a different pace than some would like. Over half a century later, Israel is still there, but turmoil and struggle between Palestinians and Israelis, between Arabs and Jews, seem to be hindering the prophetic promise Christians saw beginning to happen in 1948. And many Christians outside Israel seem bent on assisting God in fulfilling His prophesied blessing on His chosen people.

But what part should Christians play in the current conflict? Do we allow our unqualified support for a non-Christian nation to be interpreted by Palestinians as setting aside our basic Christian principles of justice, love for enemies, respect for human life, honesty, and fairness? Do we have as much concern for the souls of Israelis as we have for hastening the fulfilment of God's prophecy concerning the Jews?

and

Extremists in the Christian community have been known to say that membership in and full support for a Christian Zionist organization is absolutely mandatory for a Christian. This is not true. Warm feelings toward Israel, because of its ancient religious heritage and its present adherence to our cherished principles of democracy, are understandable. But when we are reminded of our spiritual obligation to all the lost of the world, we cannot neglect a single nation or people. The crisis in the Middle East should be one of our top prayer priorities in these momentous days.

 

Baptists

The official British Baptist position on Israel is explained in its own publication, "The Occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel Information Pack". Even the title tells one clearly the stance that is being taken. The Baptist Union of Great Britain explains that it partners with Christian Aid and the World Council of Churches in formulating its position on Israel.

See also My denomination.

Articles in the Baptist Union of Great Britain publications demonstrate clearly a strongly anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian position that is derived from Christian Aid.

The good news is that Britain's Baptists are actually a collection of independent churches, not under the control of BUGB. While the BUGB may seek to influence belief it does not exert control.

The Jews for Jesus literature lists many Baptist churches that have taken the opportunity to learn about the Jewish Passover.

Perhaps we will be pleasantly surprised to find out how many Baptists make up their own minds by reading the Bible and are not against Israel. With this in mind, a web site has been launched to encourage Baptists who love Israel to make themselves known. Baptists for Israel is seeking to connect Baptists who are for Israel and support them. www.baptists4israel.co.uk

 

Catholics

The Catholic Church appeared to have moved forward from its history of anti-Semitism with Nostra Aetate; perhaps even too far.

Nostra Aetate itself contains four significant affirmations:

It rejects the false belief that Jews are to be held responsible for the death of
Jesus

- "what happened in His passion cannot be charged against all the Jews,
without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today. "

It affirms that the Covenant made by God with the Jewish people has never been
broken and that the ongoing vitality of the Jewish religion is part of God's
plan - "although the church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be
presented as repudiated or cursed by God, as if such views followed from the Holy
Scriptures."

It rejects prejudice, hatred, oppression, and persecution of Jews - "the church rejects every persecution against any person . . . and decries hatreds, persecutions, and
manifestations of anti-Semitism directed against Jews at any time and by anyone."

It promotes dialogue between Catholics and Jews in a spirit of brotherhood and
sisterhood. "Since the spiritual patrimony common to Christians and Jews is so great,
this sacred Synod wishes to foster and recommend that mutual understanding and
respect, which is the fruit above all of biblical and theological studies, and of
brotherly dialogues."

But Bishops from the Middle East who were summoned to Rome by the pope in
October 2010 demanded that Israel accept UN resolutions calling for an end to its
"occupation" of Arab lands.

In a final joint communique, the bishops also told Israel it shouldn't use the Bible to justify injustices against the Palestinians.

The bishops issued the statement at the close of their two-week meeting, called by Pope Benedict XVI to discuss the plight of Christians in the Middle East amid a major exodus of the faithful from the region. The Catholic Church has long been a minority in the largely Muslim region but its presence is shrinking further as a result of war, conflict, discrimination and economic problems.

“The Holy Scriptures cannot be used to justify the return of Jews to Israel and the displacement of the Palestinians, to justify the occupation by Israel of Palestinian lands,” Monsignor Cyril Salim Bustros, Greek Melkite archbishop of Our Lady of the Annunciation in Boston, Massachusetts, and president of the “Commission for the Message,” said at Saturday’s Vatican press conference.

“We Christians cannot speak of the ‘promised land’ as an exclusive right for a privileged Jewish people. This promise was nullified by Christ. There is no longer a chosen people – all men and women of all countries have become the chosen people.

“Even if the head of the Israeli state is Jewish, the future is based on democracy.

The Palestinian refugees will eventually come back and this problem will have to be solved,” the Lebanese-born Bustros said.

Mordechay Lewy, Israel’s ambassador to the Holy See, told The Jerusalem Post that Bustros, in saying that Jesus nullified God’s covenant with the Jewish people, was “returning to successionist theology, contradicting Second Vatican Council teaching and Pope Benedict himself – who has welcomed the return of Jews to their ancient homeland.”

“Also,” added the ambassador, “by inviting all Palestinian refugees to return and denying Israel’s right to define itself a Jewish state – the only such in the world – he is regressing to hard-line positions that deny Israel’s right to exist.”

During the meeting, several bishops blamed the Israeli- Palestinian conflict for spurring the flight of Christians from the Middle East – a position echoed in their final paper. While the bishops condemned terrorism and anti-Semitism, they laid much of the blame for the conflict squarely on Israel.

They listed the “occupation” of Palestinian lands, Israel’s West Bank security barrier, its military checkpoints, “political prisoners,” demolition of homes and disturbance of Palestinians’ social and economic activities for making life increasingly difficult for Palestinians.

They said they had “reflected” on the suffering and insecurity in which Israelis live and on the status of Jerusalem, a city holy to Christians, Jews and Muslims.

“We are anxious about the unilateral initiatives that threaten its composition and risk to change its demographic balance,” the bishops said in a joint statement.

They called on the international community to apply UN Security Council resolutions adopted in 1967, which called on Israel to withdraw from Arab land conquered in the Six Day War that year.

“The Palestinian people will thus have an independent and sovereign homeland where they can live with dignity and security, while Israel will be able to enjoy peace and security,” they said.

In their “Appeal to the International Community” the bishops expressed “hopes that the two-state solution becomes a reality and not only a dream.”

The document calls for “taking the necessary legal steps to put an end to the occupation of the different Arab territories” as well as “an end to the consequences of the deadly war in Iraq” and promotion of “basic public freedoms” and “sovereignty" in Lebanon.

Violence, terrorism, religious extremism, racism, anti-Semitism, anti-Christianism and Islamophobia are all condemned, while “the religions” are called upon “to assume their responsibility to promote dialogue between cultures and civilizations in our region and in the entire world.”

 

Catholic Friends of Israel

We are faithful Catholics who support the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel. We wish to draw more attention to the plight of long-suffering Catholics and other Christians in the Muslim world. We believe there are millions of Catholics who represent an untapped resource for support of the Jewish State and its right to defend itself from terrorism. We want to be a source of information for Catholics on the Arab-Israeli conflict. catholicfriendsofisrael

Episcopal

The Episcopal Church has approximately 2 million members and 7,200 churches in the U.S. and is part of the 77-million member Anglican Communion.

Sadly, the Episcopal Church is not a trustworthy observer of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The church's leaders and constitutive bodies routinely issue one-sided statements about the Arab-Israeli conflict, and its publications portray Israel as exclusively responsible for violence in the region. Moreover, the church has provided substantial support for anti-Israel activists in both the U.S. and the West Bank. Its so-called peace activism amounts to an ad hoc anti-Israel media campaign that serves to delegitimize Israel's rightful place amongst the nations of the world.

The Episcopal Church's antipathy toward Israel has not gone unnoticed within the denomination. Concern about the one-sided condemnations issued by church leaders, staffers and constituent bodies was raised at the denomination's General Convention held in Columbus, Ohio in June 2006, when three Bishops put forth a resolution calling on the church to apologize for its "consistently unbalanced approach to the conflict in the Middle East." An explanation accompanying the resolution asserted correctly that "virtually all General Convention resolutions concerning the Middle East = and all public policy statements by Episcopal agencies = have relentlessly criticized the state of Israel, portraying the Jewish state as an oppressor nation and the Palestinian people as victims of Israeli oppression."

http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=7&x_issue=45&x_article=1194

The Episcopal- Jewish Alliance for Israel is an ecumenical group dedicated to the defense of Israel and to clarity on the conflict in the Middle East.

http://epjafi.tripod.com/

 

Church of Scotland

In new report titled "The Inheritance of Abraham? The 'Promised Land,''' the Church of Scotland, once a staunch supporter of the Jews' right to their ancient homeland, says Israel does not belong to the Jewish people.

In a new report titled "The Inheritance of Abraham? A Report on the 'Promised Land,''' the Church of Scotland, once a staunch supporter of the Jews' right to their ancient homeland, casts serious doubt on the biblical Jewish claim to the land. The report is a culmination of more than a decade of increasingly strident anti-Zionism and pro-Palestinian activism by the church, especially by its local Palestinian Christian chapters.

"Promises about the land of Israel were never intended to be taken literally, or as applying to a defined geographical territory," it concludes. "The 'promised land' in the Bible is not a place, so much as a metaphor of how things ought to be among the people of God. This 'promised land' can be found, or built, anywhere."

http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=9031

 

Greek Orthodox

The Greek Orthodox Church is the largest private landowner in Israel, with extensive property holdings in both East and West Jerusalem that were acquired during the waning years of the Ottoman Empire in the late 1800s.

Pro-PLO Greek Orthodox Church Patriarch Irineos Theophilos, has been replaced, to the relief of large sectors of the Christian world. On July 17, 2001, Irineos wrote a personal letter to Arafat, saying,

You are aware of the sentiments of disgust and disrespect that all the Holy Sepulchre fathers are feeling for the descendants of the crucifiers of our Lord... actual crucifiers of your people, Sionists [sic] Jewish conquerors of the Holy Land of Palestine. In the letter, he asks Arafat for his support, promising that if he is elected head of the church, rest assured, Mr. President, that the rights of our most beloved Palestinian people on the Holy City of Jerusalem will find the most 'hot' supporter.

But there are other voices.

Though we Orthodox have followed the way of Old Israel, we have proved ourselves notoriously anti-Semitic down the centuries, both Greeks and Slavs. One result of this has been our failure to see the restoration of Israel in 1948 as a sign of the times. It is evidence generally of our lack of interest in the last things (eschata). We have become indifferent over prophetic and apocalyptic questions.

http://www.stsymeon.org/archive/the%20orthodox%20church%20and%20israel.htm

 

Lutheran

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA )

The ELCA is very anti-Israel.

They actively promote a boycott against Israeli made goods and against companies that sell to them.

They use coded language and try to make themselves sound like they seek peace for Palestinian and Israelis but they have a view of peace that goes along with the Palestinian demands.

More detailed information on www.exposingtheelca.com/on-israel.html

 

Methodists

In late June 2010, the Methodist Church of Britain, the fourth largest Christian denomination in the UK with 70 million members worldwide, voted to boycott Israeli-produced goods and services from the West Bank because of Israel's "illegal occupation of Palestinian lands."
The one-sided characterization of the Israel/Palestine conflict is based on the platform pub fished by the World Council of Churches, which formally espoused a boycott by all its affiliates in 2009 and took its bearings from the Kairos Palestine Document that emerged from the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem. The Kairos declaration brands the occupation as "a sin against God and humanity" and calls on companies, countries, religious institutions, NGOs and individuals "to engage in divestment and in an economic and commercial boycott of everything produced by the occupation."


The central theme of the Methodist document is that the Arab-Israeli conflict is the consequence of Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory and the end of the occupation is the key to solving all animosity in the Mideast.

Methodist Friends of Israel are Christians who are members or adherents of the Methodist Church, who love Israel and want to bless her and who fully accept God’s everlasting covenant with His chosen people. www.methodistfriendsofisrael.com

 

United Methodists USA

United Methodist Church - New England renews divestment efforts

Below you will find the report of the Divestment Taskforce (2010) of the New England Conference of the United Methodist Church.

http://bdsmovement.net/?q=node/4

http://www.unitedmethodistdivestment.com/

Does Israel practice apartheid?

The very definition of apartheid is controversial. In its simplest terms it means separation, or more precisely a separation of peoples. There is no doubt that Israel has operated on this principle in the occupied territories. Due to Israel's settlement policy, two peoples are spread throughout the Holy Land. One group has rights and privileges, plentiful water and segregated road ways. The other group has few rights, inadequate water and no ability to stop the first group from confiscating its land.

United Methodists' Holy Land Task Force is a member organization of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

Pentecostal

The report of a high level visit appears to convey the Pentecostal church position. A 128-person delegation comprised of leaders from the Pentecostal Church of God proclaimed their support for Israel recently.

At a time when replacement theology and apathy are pervasive in the American church, "understanding the theology of the situation is paramount," Charles Scott, general bishop of the Pentecostal Church of God . Scott estimates that the ripple effect of this visit will reach a quarter million of the church's constituents. The goal, Scott said, is education about Israel through literature and media, and ultimately, tourism to Israel.

This is apparently the first time a denomination itself has made a public stand with Israel. The Pentecostal Church of God is a 91-year old denomination founded in Chicago in 1919. Its membership consists of 620,000 people in 60 nations. Of 37 districts within the United States, more than half were represented on this trip to Israel and most of the trip participants were on their first trip to Israel.

 

Presbyterian

In 2004, the 2.4-million-member Presbyterian Church (USA), voted 431 to 62 to "initiate a process of phased selective divestment in multinational corporations operating in Israel." The Church manages a set of investment funds totalling approximately $7 billion USD.

In 2006, the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly by a vote of 483-28 adopted a balanced resolution that replaced language adopted in 2004 mandating a process of divestment focused on Israel and endorsed instead a corporate engagement process.

As expected, anti-Israel activists have used the church's decision to lobby other mainstream churches to follow suit, offering the Presbyterian Church's decision as "proof" of their characterization of Israel and the Middle East conflict.

Boycott Watch pointed out The Presbyterian Church vote to take part in an illegal boycott and wrote to the church to inform them of the violation and sent a copy of the letter to the US agency enforcing those laws.  

http://www.divestmentwatch.com/

 

Quakers

(If you include Quakers as Christian rather than Humanist these days)

During WWII, the Quakers were strong friends of the Jews, rescuing and caring for escapees from the Holocaust. What happened?

Quakers are generally very supportive of liberal, pro-Palestine and anti-Israel organisations.

WASHINGTON FREE BEACON
Boycott Divestment Summer Camp

Students will learn anti-Israel tactics at Quaker-subsidized camp

BY: Alana Goodman - June 14, 2013
Anti-Israel college students will trek to a scenic campsite in upstate New York this summer to learn how to launch campus boycotts against the Jewish state at a program subsidized and run by one of America's largest Quaker faith groups.
The American Friends Service Committee "We Divest Campaign Student Leadership Team Summer Training Institute" describes itself as a "five (5) day intensive program for campus [Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions] organizersations‚ÄĚthose with campaigns already running and those hoping to get one launched in the 2013-2014 school year."
The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign was officially launched by a network of pro-Palestinian groups in 2005 and seeks to use economic and cultural boycotts to isolate Israel, force the government's hand on Palestinian negotiations, and evoke comparisons between the
Jewish state and South Africa's Apartheid regime. Students attending the AFSC's Summer Training Institute, which is also sponsored by the anti-Israel Jewish Voice for Peace, will participate in "anti-
oppression analysis workshops," "non-violent direct action planning," and "strategy sessions with BDS movement leaders," according to the AFSC website.
"It doesn't help a single Palestinian. It doesn't improve the quality of life for Palestinians. It is simply anti-Israel," the Simon Wiesenthal Center's Abraham Cooper told the Washington Free Beacon. "Unfortunately, the community of the people associated with this particular church have
embraced [the BDS campaign] completely, so much so that they are using up whatever moral capital they have to do training for an immoral, hypocritical, and anti-Semitic undertaking."
The Simon Wiesenthal Center report said the BDS program meets Natan Sharansky's "three D's" test for anti-Semitism: It follows "double-standards" by criticizing Israel while overlooking human rights abuses across the Arab world; "demonizes" Israel by comparing its actions to those of Apartheid
regimes; and attempts to "delegitimize" the Jewish state by targeting its existence.
Cooper said students attend these events "thinking their actions are doing the equivalent of the folks that [participated in] the Montgomery Bus Boycott, or following the route of Martin Luther King Jr. believe complete and utter nonsense."

The BDS movement's failure to meet its objectives suggests that efforts to fund and support the campaign are aimed at opposing the Jewish state rather than achieving any legitimate policy goal, according to pro-Israel advocates.

Response to this article
Mike Merryman-Lotze - Israel-Palestine Program Director - American Friends Service Committee

Since 1948 AFSC has worked in the US, Israel, and the occupied Palestinian territory with Palestinians, Israelis, and other committed activists to support nonviolence, challenge oppression, and (since 1970) to end Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories. This work is guided our "Principles for a Just and Lasting Peace in Palestine and Israel"[i]. These principles support the implementation of international human rights and humanitarian law and call for an end to
Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories, implementation of refugees' right of return, and equality for Palestinians and Israelis. We do have a position that supports the use of boycotts, divestment and sanctions tactics to bring change in Palestine and Israel. However, our
support for BDS tactics calls for the targeting of specific corporations and institutions which are in some way complicit with violations of international law or in another way support the continuation of violence in Palestine and Israel. We do not support the boycott of individuals and we have not called for a complete boycott of Israel. We maintain offices in Israel and continue to work with both Israeli and Palestinian partners.
As I told the author of the article below, AFSC rejects the idea that BDS is anti-Semitic. BDS is a form of economic activism which is premised on the idea that violations of Palestinians' rights result not only from Israeli government policies and actions, but also from corporate and institutional
policies and actions that support and sustain the occupation and violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. BDS targets institutions and companies for their complicity in Israel's occupation and human rights abuses with the goal being to bring these actions to an end
and thereby helping realize a just and lasting peace that benefits and treats equally both Palestinians and Israelis
Ultimately we view BDS actions as appeals to conscience, actions that seek to raise awareness in those engaged or complicit in harmful practices of the impact of their actions. Economic activism keeps us accountable to our values and when rightly ordered serves to affirm our common humanity.

We also believe that boycott, divestment, and sanctions tactics when used strategically are effective nonviolent tools for realizing political and social change.
Together with Jewish Voice for Peace we will be running a summer training program in late July for college age Palestine-Israel peace advocates at which we teach them how to organize and run an
effective change campaign. However, this camp will reflect our commitments to human rights, to equality, and to justice, not the ideas outlined below.

United Church of Christ

The United Church of Christ endorsed a range of economic leverages that included divestment, but church leaders did not commit their pension or foundation assets to a divestment plan.

The United Church of Christ (UCC) is a mainline denomination primarily in the Reformed tradition but also historically influenced by Lutheranism. The Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Churches united in 1957 to form the UCC.

The UCC maintains full communion with several other mainline Protestant denominations and participates in worldwide ecumenical efforts. The national settings of the UCC have historically favored liberal views on social issues, such as civil rights, gay rights, women's rights, and abortion. However, United Church of Christ congregations have freedom in matters of doctrine and ministry and may or may not support the national body's theological or moral stances. It is self-described as "an extremely pluralistic and diverse denomination".

 

United Reformed Church

The United Reformed Church (URC) resulted from a union of the Presbyterian Church of England and the Congregational Church in England and Wales the Re-formed Association of Churches of Christ and the Congregational Union of Scotland The United Reformed Church has approximately 68,000 members in 1,500 congregations with some 700 ministers.

The position on Israel can be discerned from this blog linked from the official web site. There was no other statement on Israel so this appears to be the denominational stance.

Our second Sunday in the Holy Land started with worship at the Anglican Cathedral of St George the Martyr in East Jerusalem. We attended the Arabic speaking service at which the Bishop, Rt Rev’d Suheil Dawani presided over communion. The Road to Emmaus reading reminded me of the journey we have made over the last few days, sometimes not recognising Jesus in situations we have encountered.

Worshipping at the service were two Swedish Ecumenical Accompaniers from the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme for Palestine and Israel. We had met two other Ecumenical Accompaniers during our trip to Hebron and were greatly impressed with their work. To find out more about their monitoring work see www.quaker.org.uk . EAPPI received a grant from Commitment for Life in 2008.

Our meeting with the Bishop added another piece to the jigsaw as he spoke of the community work in which the church is involved in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon. One such institution is a hospital in Gaza that suffered much during the recent crisis. Lunch with other members of the community helped in further understanding of day to day restrictions caused by the occupation.

Following the theme of the role of the church in Israel today we met the Dean of St George’s College, Revd Stephen Need. He shared with us some of the work of the college. Two members of the group had attended courses in the past.

Another meeting beckoned so it was off to B’tselem, an Israeli human rights organisation. They record instances of human rights violations. These are collected by nine people living in the West Bank and two in Gaza. Their statistics and data are respected and used by many groups to take cases of violations forward. Recently they trained over hundred Palestinians to film their daily lives and in so doing have come across incidents of violations that have been passed to the media and diplomats. Commitment for Life Churches support the video work of B’tselem through Christian Aid.

The day concluded with another meeting, again with a URC connection. ‘Kids for Hope’ and ‘Youth for Hope’ are two projects supported by the URC. Indeed a group visited Windermere in recent years. This year, as in the previous two years. Youth Workers will help young Palestinian Christians develop leadership and confidence building skills. With a diminishing Christian presence and the pressure put on young people as a minority, these skills will help them be part of the future of Jerusalem. We must hope and pray for that future.

We have been reminded often on this trip to go home and tell the stories of those we have met. There are many pieces still missing from that jigsaw but we can share what we have seen and heard of those living under occupation.

Overall

One common factor with denominations that are against Israel is attachment to and reliance upon the opinions of the World Council of Churches.

Another common factor is that not all members of any of these denominations are against Israel. These rebels have to rely upon the availablality of an independent view from Christian Friends of Israel and International Christian Embassy Jerusalem, and others.

 

Evangelicals and others

It has been true that Evangelicals are generally more supportive of Israel than non-evangelicals. Certainly, evangelical Christians in Britain were largely responsible for the establishment of Zionism and Christian Zionism. Evangelical heroes such as Charles Haddon Spurgeon believed in and preached on the re-establishment of Israel in God's plans. ( documented in "The Destiny of Britain", released as "the Cyrus Call" in North America, see Hatikvah trailers)

The Christ at the Checkpoint bi-anniel conference in Bethlehem is targeting evangelical Christians with their anti-Israel, Replacement Theology, Liberation Theology message.

Evangelical support for Israel can no longer be taken for granted, as many evangelicals drift leftwards ( whither the church - Read more) This shift against Israel has been pronounced in Britain for some time, but the pressure is now mounting in the USA also. ( Mark Tooley, Frontpagemag writes)

Recently "Christianity Today," the prominent evangelical journal, spotlighted the "Top 5 Books on Israel & Palestine," as asserted by Gary Burge, a professor at Chicago-area evangelical Wheaton College, one of evangelical America's most prestigious schools.

Burge is a crusader for trying to shift evangelicals away from their typically pro-Israel stance. All five books naturally tout a pro-Palestinian perspective to varying degrees. Evidently a book offering the Jewish experience did not merit attention.

 

BDS

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions targets churches, as well as other groupings, with varying success.

Divestment Watch is leading the fight against the Divest-from-Israel campaign that was created by Yassir Arafat and the Palestinian Authority to destroy Israel via its economy. Divestment Watch gives you the tools and information you need to properly combat this assault on democracy and the free market economy. http://www.divestmentwatch.com/

According to Wikipedia

Disinvestment from Israel is a campaign conducted by religious and political entities which aims to use disinvestment to pressure the government of Israel to put "an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories captured during the 1967 military campaign." The disinvestment campaign is related to other economic and political boycotts of Israel.

A notable campaign was initiated in 2002 and endorsed by South Africa's Desmond Tutu. Tutu said that the campaign against Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories and its continued settlement expansion should be modelled on the successful historical, but controversial, disinvestment campaign against South Africa's apartheid system.

The Original Divestment Campaign  

November 9 and 10, 1938, Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, was when the Nazis broke the windows of Jewish stores and burned them to the ground along with Torah scrolls and other Jewish books. The day is also remembered as the beginning of the Holocaust, but the process actually started earlier. Prior to Kristallnacht, Jewish stores had to be clearly marked as such in order to facilitate the Nazi boycott against Jews, which started in April of 1933.

 

Updated 25/06/13

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