Is the Church of England about to adopt anti-Semitism?
AFI has produced a document outlining their concerns about the EAPPI, its parent organisation and the eagerness with which some Christians are embracing its distorted narrative. His Grace reproduces it in its entirety:
Will the Nakba narrative be too tempting for Synod to resist?UPDATE: (21 June 2012) Canon Andrew White has approved this statement for issue:
A Christian Church voting to support an organisation founded by the World Council of Churches whose existence is to protect innocents from brutal soldiers of an occupying force. What could possibly go wrong?
Well quite a lot actually. At July’s Synod Church of England Bishops, Clergy and Laity will be invited to ‘adopt’ the Ecumenical Accompaniers Programme in Palestine and Israel. EAPPI describes its vision as bringing “internationals to the West Bank to experience life under occupation. Ecumenical Accompaniers provide protective presence to vulnerable communities, monitor and report human rights abuses and support Palestinians and Israelis working together for peace.”
EAPPI describes its mission as “to accompany Palestinians and Israelis in their non-violent actions and to carry out concerted advocacy efforts to end the occupation. Participants in the programme monitor and report violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, support acts of non-violent resistance alongside local Christian and Muslim Palestinians and Israeli peace activists, offer protection through non-violent presence, engage in public policy advocacy and, in general, stand in solidarity with the churches and all those struggling against the occupation.”
In other words, EAPPI exists solely to criticise Israel, a country which has had to contend with continual attempts by its neighbours to destroy it even prior to 1947 when the United Nations voted for a place of Jewish national self-determination in its ancient homeland.
EAPPI was spawned by The World Council of Churches which has largely adopted the ‘Nakba narrative’ of Palestinian victimhood and Israeli aggression, doggedly ignoring Arab terror and anti-semitism. WCC debates and pronouncements on the Middle East all condemn Israel, particularly IDF soldiers who stand daily between Israel’s multi-ethic citizenry and determined Palestinian terrorists. Examples of their notes and motions include
• September 11th 2001 the WCC passed a motion calling for “an international boycott of goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied territories.”
• Of veteran terrorist Yassir Arafat, Peter Weiderud, Director of the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs wrote “President Arafat will be remembered for bringing the Palestinian people together and for his unique and tenacious contribution to the cause of establishing their national home.”
• The General Secretary of the WCC falsely called Israel’s boarding of the Mava Mari ‘illegal’, ignoring the violence of the jihadists who inflicted serious injuries on IDF personnel. Assumption of Israel’s guilt is second nature to the WCC.
• The WCC claims to support a 2-state solution to the conflict, yet in February 2001 it affirmed support for “ the right of return of Palestinian refugees” knowing that this would end the existence of Israel as a Jewish Homeland.
Notably absent from WCC statements on the Middle is explicit condemnation of Palestinian incitement to hatred of Israel and Jews, much of it directed at Palestinian children. Neither is any blame for Palestinian suffering laid at the door of Palestinian leaders who have squandered $billions of aid on bribes and terrorism over decades. Nor do human rights abuses by the Palestinian Authority, including the rights of Palestinian Christians, attract much WCC attention.
EAPPI embraces the WCC approach, blaming Palestinian misery on Israel alone and turning a blind eye to Palestinian corruption, rejectionism and incitement. EAPPI ignores the Arab aggression and anti-Semitism that lies at the root of the Middle East conflict and existed decades before 1967 – the year in which Israel offered to return all territory captured in the June war started by Egypt, in return for recognition and cessation of hostilities. (One wonders how many Ecumenical Accompaniers know about this offer, let alone the Arab response in the notorious Khartoum Declaration, “No recognition of Israel, No conciliation with Israel, and No negotiations with Israel.”)
EAPPI depicts the security barrier as an effort to steal land and resources from the Palestinians while downplaying one crucial fact: the number of terrorist attacks has decreased by 90 percent since the construction of the barrier. Even Palestinian terrorists admit the barrier has made it difficult to launch terror attacks. Instead, EAPPI uses the barrier to depict Israel as a racist nation despite its vibrantly multiracial, multi-faith society in which 1 in 5 Israeli citizens is Arab. Despite claiming to support a 2 state solution, EAPPI links to WCC declarations that enshrine the ‘Right of Return’ of Palestinian refugees, a move which would spell the end of Israel as a homeland where Jews can exercise the national self-determination that EAPPI is so keen to see for Palestinians.
To spread its message, EAPPI use volunteer ‘Accompaniers’, whose training includes only a couple of hours on Israel’s perspective on the conflict, to go with Palestinians through checkpoints and be on the look out for any ‘abusive’ IDF activity. Of the 3 months which these well-meaning but ill-informed Accompaniers spend in the Holy Land, only one day is dedicated to visiting Israel; so there is little opportunity for Accompaniers to meet Israelis apart from those who share EAPPI’s hostility towards Israel’s security measures. Thus they cannot learn about the desire for peace amongst ordinary Israelis or the physical economic and mental suffering which decades of Arab terrorism have inflicted upon them.
On their return, Accompaniers speak at venues, including churches of all denominations, about their experiences in the Holy Land. Their pronouncements are often regarded as authoritative by audiences unaware that Accompaniers know next to nothing of the ways in which Arab hostility and terror impacts mainstream Israelis. In this way an entirely skewed narrative fosters a climate of disdain and hostility towards Israel amongst UK Christians.
Islamist persecution, widespread throughout the Middle East, is the primary cause of the haemorrhage of Christians from the region. Yet once again, the Church’s spotlight is on Israel as Synod considers adopting EAPPI, an organisation that exists solely to criticise the one Middle Eastern democracy where Christianity flourishes and freedom of religion is a reality rather than an illusion.
It is alarming that, only 70 years after the Holocaust, some Christians are apparently so eager to embrace the Nakba narrative whose creators openly express their desire to see the end of Israel as a national homeland for the Jewish people. Can it be coincidence that Israel, the world’s only Jewish state, receives more opprobrium from Christian Churches than any other nation, including North Korea, Iran or the Sudan? It is time for the Church of England to ask this question very seriously indeed.
"As someone who has spent many years living in the Middle East-the Land of the Bible-, risking life and limb for peace and who is proud to be a friend of Israelis and Palestinians, Jews, Christians and Muslims, I do hope Synod will reject the motion calling for endorsement of EAPPI.
The motion is unjust and has caused deep pain in the Jewish Community. It neglects the wars against Israel's very right to exist. It overlooks the persecution of Jews in the Middle East that preceded the establishment of the modern State of Israel. Israel-like all countries-is not perfect, but she sincerely wishes to find peace.
It is not clear why Synod is being asked to adopt a one sided "NAKBA" narrative against Israel while our fellow Christians are dying in Iraq, Sudan, Egypt and Syria. There are many wonderful peace-loving people in the Palestinian territories who are entangled in a conflict they do not endorse, but the culture of incitement against Jews and Christians as well as the continuing rocket bombardments on Sderot are factors that Synod is being asked to ignore or at best discount."
Rev Canon Andrew White, St George's Baghdad. 21 June 2012