I haven’t spent much time in the blogosphere recently and while there have been lots of things I’d like to have blogged about, the time and energy have been somewhat lacking. I had a feeling that this week would be a bit fallow blog-wise and I’d intended to write something cheery when I put fingers to keyboard this afternoon.
It would have been nice if the blogosphere had given me the option, but I find that I have to return to a subject that is in danger of bringing the Methodist Church into disrepute.
I don’t understand why, but there is a certain segment of the blogosphere that seems determined to prove that British Methodism is a hotbed of radical and thinly disguised anti-Semitism. What bothers me most is that the standard-bearer for these unfounded and malignant attacks is himself a Methodist with a position of leadership in the church.
The latest in what has been a long-running series of smears and innuendo comes in two articles this week about a meeting that was held at a London church but organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, which he implies provides evidence of this.
The PSC itself has said - and here I’m quoting an email -
In terms of the meeting in Rivercourt Methodist Church and the incident outside:-
a) This was a public meeting; how are the organisers supposed to vet attendees for their views or their opinions?
b) The platform of speakers included speakers of different faiths- Jewish, Muslim and Christian- who spoke about the systematic discrimination and pressures that Palestinians living in Jerusalem face.
c) The ‘interview’ recorded by Millett took place outside the meeting and the views expressed by the interviewee are utterly contemptuous [sic: the writer means 'contemptible']. The meeting organisers can hardly be responsible for the comments of an individual on the pavement outside the meeting.
These are reasonable points. I’m glad that the PSC distances itself from anti-Semitism, but not surprised. As I understand it, it is an organisation which opposes all form of racism and discrimination and I see no reason why the Methodist Churches should not be glad to act as a host for its public meetings.
But for a moment, let’s suppose that the PSC is a ‘front’ of the kind that David alleges. In those circumstances, I have to ask why his ire is directed at so powerless a taget as the Methodist Church? PSC is supported by a large segment of the British Labour movement, in which David also has a measure of seniority. If it is a cover for anti-Semitism, he would be better served directing his energies at the Trade Unions and leading socialist figures who provide it’s patronage. Would he dare to make the same charges against, say, Tony Benn as he has made against a former President of our Conference?
The simple fact is that the Palestinian people are suffering very considerable injustice.
The Methodist Church must stand with them.