In the Jewish Chronicle, Geoffrey Alderman welcomes the decision of the Board of Deputies to break off dialogue with the Methodist Church.
The breach with the Methodists is to be welcomed not simply because they have enthusiastically embraced a report on the Middle East that is a catalogue of lies and half-truths.
If that alone had been the case, I might have been inclined to have counselled continuing dialogue in the hope of correcting errors of fact and interpretation. The breach with the Methodists is to be welcomed not simply because they have enthusiastically embraced a report on the Middle East that is a catalogue of lies and half-truths.
If that alone had been the case, I might have been inclined to have counselled continuing dialogue in the hope of correcting errors of fact and interpretation.
The breach is to be welcomed because, behind that report, informing its contents and laying the groundwork for its adoption, is a philosophy of utter contempt for both Jews and Judaism. At last, this malignant mind-set has been laid bare for all of us to observe.
For some years a number of Christian sub-denominations, in this country and around the world, have vied with each other in their projection of Judaism as a contaminated creed, and of Jews as an accursed species.
This attitude is not merely medieval. It is pre-medieval, resurrecting and echoing as it does the view of the early church fathers that, in rejecting Jesus as the messiah, the Jews had forfeited their special relationship with the Almighty, whose favours had - as it were - been transferred to the Christians. This mind-set is fully reflected in the Methodist report. Although innocently entitled, “Justice for Palestine and Israel”, the report’s starting point is, as one of its authors, Nichola Jones, candidly admitted, the rejection of the Jewish view of God - “a racist God,” she claims, “who has favourites.”
Strong stuff, though clearly I don’t accept it. (I’m grateful to David Hallam for drawing this to our attention, though it is disappointing that he seems to agree with the assessment of the Methodist Church.)
An alternative view was set out by Leslie Griffiths in a letter to a Jewish friend in today’s Methodist Recorder. Sadly, it’s not available on line, but here’s a flavour.
“It is truly ironic that cuddly Methodists, among whom are to be found many committed supporters of the State of Israel, should be accused of rejecting a ‘two state solution’ at a time when nothing seems more likely to threaten such an eventuality more than the policies of the present Israeli Government. …
Dear Samuel, …
I’m not alone in detecting an erosion of support for Israel, even among those who have been its long term friends. …The invasion of Gaza, so disproportionate, conducted in the full glare of modern publicity, which left 1300 Palestinians (the huge majority of them innocent civilians) against the 13 Israeli dead, all of them soldiers, was shocking. The storming of the flotilla showed similar disregard for the opinions of wider public … And then there are the forged (British) passports to provide cover for an act of murder, the building of that fence/wall/barrier which many people find abominable … making it more and more difficult for the friends of the State of Israel to justify its right to self-defence. …
It may be true that the Methodist Report is flawed … But for all its inadequacies, it should cause profound anxiety that a body as benign as the Methodist Church should find itself so out of sympathy with the State of Israel and its policies
No doubt this will also be dismissed as anti-semitic ravings.
But shouting the charge doesn’t make it true.