Statement from the President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews
"The UK Jewish community is dismayed by the decision of the Church of England's General Synod to pass a motion endorsing the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI).
The Church of England has a duty to examine the situation in the Middle East in a balanced way. Instead, by passing this motion, it has chosen to promote an inflammatory and partisan programme at the expense of its interfaith relations.
Justifying its decision by using the views of marginal groups in Israel and the UK, the Synod has ridden rough shod over the very real and legitimate concerns of the UK Jewish community, showing a complete disregard for the importance of Anglican-Jewish relations.
As has been repeatedly stated, whilst EAPPI's aims may appear admirable, its programme lacks any kind of balance and shows nothing of the context of a hugely complex situation. Unsurprisingly its graduates return with simplistic and radical perspectives, giving talks against Israel which do nothing to promote an understanding of the situation in the Middle East, much less promote a peaceful and viable solution to its problems. Members of Jewish communities across the country have suffered harassment and abuse at EAPPI meetings and yet Synod has completely dismissed their experiences. It is noteworthy that even yesterday, as the motion was being debated, it came to light that EAPPI had issued a publication, entitled 'Chain Reaction', which calls on supporters to stage sit-ins at Israeli Embassies, to hack government websites in order to promote its message and declares EAPPI's support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel.
The Jewish community does not need lessons from the Anglican Church in justice and peace, themes which originated in our tradition. Moreover, to hear the debate at Synod littered with references to 'powerful lobbies', the money expended by the Jewish community, 'Jewish sounding names' and the actions of the community ‘bringing shame on the memory of victims of the Holocaust’, is deeply offensive and raises serious questions about the motivation of some of those behind this motion."
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A well-rounded and vigorous response but I think the time has come to go further and withdraw from all co-operation and dialogue until this iniquitous motion is repealed. It seems to me that the C of E only wants dialogue with 'tame' Jews, those who 'are proud to be ashamed of being Jewish' as Howard Jacobson so memorably put it. The C of E is no longer the Tory party at prayer but the Ecumenical English branch of the PLO!
I agree with Brian Fink's comment but think the Board of Deputies should go further. The Board suffers, in my view, from the British vice of always being polite when in fact aggression is the required response. In my view the Board should make formal complaints to the police and the Equality and Human Rights Commission asking for them to formally investigate whether the C of E and the proposer of the EAPPI motion should be charged with inciting both religious and racial hatred.
Please may I add my voice to those in the Church who stand with the Jewish people and stand against the decision of the Anglican Church to throw its weight behind the EAPPI. There remains in the wider Church a minority of believers who are conscious of the debt they owe to the Jewish people and who, like me, might see this pernicious partnership as a manifestation of Amalek in a bishop's mitre.