Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) – Motion at General Synod 2012
A motion has been tabled at the Church Of England’s General Synod in York (10 July 2012) which seeks to formally adopt and deepen the Church’s links with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). The General Synod is the highest legislative body in the C of E. The motion affirms General Synod’s support for EAPPI, encourages parishioners to take part in the programme and urges Churches to make use of the experiences of returning participants. If the motion is passed it will significantly raise EAPPI’s profile and legitimacy.
What is EAPPI and why is it problematic?
EAPPI was founded in 2002. It takes around 20 Ecumenical Accompaniers (EAs) to Israel every year, for between three and four and a half months. They receive two weeks of residential training beforehand, of which just two hours is dedicated to the Israeli perspective. They volunteer in Hebron, Jayyous or Yanoun accompanying Palestinians through checkpoints and monitoring any perceived abuses. Of the three months in the region, they spend one day inside the Green Line, normally in Sderot. All of the Israeli groups they come into contact with are of the fringe left or right. They have virtually no contact with mainstream Israelis.
The result is the creation of a cohort of very partisan but very motivated anti-Israel advocates who have almost no grasp of the suffering of normal Israelis.
Participants are expected to fulfil a minimum of ten speaking engagements on their return, but most do many more in churches across the country and of all denominations. They are considered experts on the overall situation, despite having a very narrow experience which takes almost no account of the suffering of Israelis. This helps generate a climate of hostility to Israel in the churches.
What can you do?
The Church of England should be aware of the strength of feeling regarding this issue within the Jewish community. You can:
· Like the Archbishopof Canterbury’s Facebook page and comment on it, expressing your concerns regarding this motion.
· Write to the Bishop of Manchester as the chair of CCJ, expressing your concern – Bishopscourt, Bury New Road, Manchester, M7 4LE.
· Write to the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace, London, SE1 7JU and to William Fittall, General Secretary, The General Synod, Church House, Great Smith St, London SW1P 3AZ.
· Write to the Church Times. This is the most influential Church of England newspaper – its address is Church Times, 3rd Floor, Invicta House, 108-114 Golden Lane, London EC1Y 0TG.
When you write your letters, you may want to:
· Highlight the partisan nature of EAPPI, explaining how little time participants spend in Israel with mainstream Israelis.
· Remind the Church of England and members of its General Synod of their duty to examine all perspectives regarding Israel/Palestine.
· Highlight how inappropriate it would be for the General Synod to be endorsing a programme which creates entirely partisan spokespeople on the issue.
· Encourage the Synod to lend support to organisations which encourage dialogue and reconciliation, not division, such as One Voice or the Forum for Discussion of Israel/Palestine.
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Thank you for this which is very helpful. I think we need to get smarter with our campaigning though, and here are a couple of suggestions: On the Board's website we could host copies of draft letters which anyone could sign, print and send, or better still, sign and email directly. [For example, the email for the Archbishop of Canterbury is email@example.com] Yes, personalised letters might carry more weight than hundreds of carbon copies but hundreds of carbon copies are much better than just a few personalised letters which I worry might be the case here. We need to make it as easy as possible for busy people to campaign. Through online resources we can also measure how many people engage with our campaign too. True, an e-petition is not necessarily full engagement with an issue, but it helps bring people in and begins the conversation. Best wishes, Richard
There is considerable concern among Christians and in our community. People will write because they care about balance and fairness, and will do so from their own convictions. We don't need or want to manufacture responses.
surely the best form of defence is attack ! by this i mean we see all to readily the problems that israel as well as jews throughout the world have to endure - so additional to complaining and petition campaigning we should be forwarding a planned educational programme to rectify these massive educational shortfalls and inviting these organisations to participate in them to broaden their educational experience so nipping these very problems in the bud ! QED the way to attract these participants is to offer them a free experience [money very well spent in achieving better political conversion - but we have seen how israel fails in the pr initiative] and an economic way of not only showing the other side of the coin but spreading the truth internationally and most effectively providing the advantage of calling the shots instead of retrospectively reacting to them - its time we reclaimed this initiative ! ak