The Israeli Embassy in Britain responded to the Church of England motion by citing the obvious: “Christians face rising persecution across the region and yet, by supporting this group, the Church of England has chosen to amplify one-sided voices and to single out Israel—the only country [in the Middle East and North Africa] where Christian rights are enshrined and the Christian population is growing.”
The WCC does not have any “accompaniment” programs for solidarity with Christians in Egypt, Syria or Iraq, whose plight does not typically distress the WCC. Archbishop Williams himself has at least occasionally mentioned persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Volunteers in the anti-Israel “accompaniment” program escort aggrieved Palestinians through Israeli checkpoints, help monitor purported Israeli human rights abuses, and then return to the West to speak and agitate as pro-Palestinian activists operating under the cover of churches. They are similar to what many Western church leftist groups like the WCC did to help the Sandinista dictatorship in Nicaragua during the 1980s.
A prominent Anglican clergy serving in Baghdad, Iraq preemptively opposed his church’s support for the WCC program. “It neglects the wars against Israel’s very right to exist,” Canon Andrew White told the Jerusalem Post. “It overlooks the persecution of Jews in the Middle East that preceded the establishment of the modern State of Israel.” He also cited the silence about Christians in the region persecuted by Islamists, which he of course has witnessed firsthand.
The British Jewish community’s Board of Deputies is weighing whether to sever interfaith ties with the Church of England. And they complained about the synod’s rhetoric: “To hear the debate at the 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 those behind this motion.”
Indeed. The Church of England has previously endorsed anti-Israel divestment and then retracted after enormous controversy. Hopefully it will similarly backtrack after its latest misstep. But why the irrational preoccupation with the real and imagined sins of one small nation while silent about so much else globally? Spiritually discerning minds would like to know.
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