30 June, 2014 Redress
At its conference four years ago the Methodist Church in the UK set a brave example. It voted to boycott products from Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine, regarded as illegal under international law, and to encourage Methodists across Britain to do the same.
“The goal of the boycott is to put an end to the existing injustice,“ said a press release. “It reflects the challenge that settlements present to a lasting peace in the region.”
The Board of Deputies of British Jews, which calls itself “the chief voice of British Jewry”, and the Jewish Leadership Council in a joint statement said the Methodists should “hang their heads in shame”.
The chief rabbi warned that the implications would “reverberate across the hitherto harmonious relationship between the faith communities in the UK”. He denounced a report Justice for Palestine and Israel submitted to conference as “unbalanced, factually and historically flawed”, but didn’t explain in what way it was inaccurate. The Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council claimed the authors had “abused the goodwill of the Jewish community, which tried to engage on this issue, only to find our efforts were treated as an unwelcome distraction”.
Which of course they were.
The Jewish corner let fly with a barrage of hostile comment, even insults.
The Methodist Conference has swallowed hook, line and sinker a report full of basic historical inaccuracies, deliberate misrepresentations and distortions of Jewish theology and Israeli policy… The deeply flawed report is symptomatic of a biased process… The report’s authors have abused the trust of ordinary members of the Methodist Church [as if they were incapable of speaking for themselves if they felt that way]… Israel is at the root of the identity of Jews and of Judaism… This smacks of breathtaking insensitivity, as crass as it is misinformed…
I love the bit about insensitivity. They sure as hell know everything there is to know on that subject. And if Israel is so central to Jewish identity and so forth, isn’t it time they cleaned their house?
So the question is, how will the Methodist conference get on this year given that hostile Jewish groups are permitted to lecture Methodists like a school prefect slagging off a wayward fourth-former?
Watchdog says Methodist chiefs “transfixed by fear”
Fortunately, Harriet’s Methodist Room has been keeping an eye on things and noting how the Methodist leadership has been ground down by the usual suspects. “We tell of how the Methodist leadership became so transfixed by abject fear of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, that they conceded to them the right to act as ultimate arbiters of Methodist business and granted them a veto on theological debate within the church.”
It says the sell out is total and complete:
the sell out of Palestinian Christians; the sell out of the people of Palestine generally; the sell out of those Israeli Jews busting a gut to move their country in the direction of justice; the sell out of the many Jews in the UK and worldwide supporting them; the sell out of the world wide Methodist family; the sell out of other churches that will badly need positive precedents when the attack dogs of the Board of Deputies come after them; and finally, the sell out of the integrity and independence of the Methodist Church in Britain, and its constitution.
To add to their woes, long-suffering Methodists have to endure Methodist Friends of Israel in their midst. On its website this fan club aligns itself with the Gatestone Institute, a pro-Israel outfit chaired by raving warmonger John R. Bolton.
MFI’s Statement of Faith includes these bizarre gems:
- We believe that God’s word for, promises to, and covenants with Israel, people and land, through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel) are everlasting…
- We believe that scripture prophesies the restoration of the Jews to the land of Israel and what we are seeing today is a fulfilment of prophecy.
- We believe that Israel is central in the enactment of God’s purposes as we move in these last days.
So the stage is set. At this week’s conference a least one brave delegate intends submitting a Memorial (that’s church-speak for a suggestion to conference) urging delegates to strengthen the church’s commitment to BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) by applying the boycott to Israel itself not just its illegal settlements “until such time as Israel ends the occupation and abides by International law”.
That should blow the Board of Deputies’ entire fusebox.