Defending the Jewish State

Mark Tooley is President of the Institute on Religion and Democracy (www.theird.org) and author of Methodism and Politics in the Twentieth Century. Follow him on Twitter: @markdtooley.


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The Church of England has declined to pursue anti-Israel divestment.  But the smaller and less prudent British Methodist Church has just voted full speed ahead at its recent governing Conference to boycott Israeli products that profit from the “occupation,” drawing the condemnation of Britain’s chief rabbi, Baron Jonathan Sacks.

Lord Sacks decried the Methodist anti-Israel initiative as “unbalanced, factually and historically flawed” with “no genuine understanding of one of the most complex conflicts in the world today.  Many in both communities [Jewish and Christian] will be deeply disturbed.”  He also warned that the boycott would “reverberate across the hitherto harmonious relationship between the faith communities in the UK.”

Methodism in Britain was of course once a formidable religious movement famous for fostering piety, thrift, industry, charity, and public service.   Its spiritual and demographic collapse in the 20th century has turned much of the shrinking denomination over to ever more brazen forms of political correctness as it struggles for relevance.   Its dwindling congregations are largely populated by grey heads, and some venerable old Methodist church buildings have become restaurants or, at least in one case, a mosque. No longer interested in spreading Christianity per se, British Methodist elites often fill their time with left-wing political crusades, the jeremiad against Israel’s “existing injustice” being just one recent example.

Typically Methodist political posturings in Britain arouse little notice.  But Britain’s Jews have definitely noticed British Methodism’s attack on Israel.   A special joint statement from Britain’s Jewish Leadership Council and the Board of Deputies of British Jews noted that the recent Methodist Conference had “swallowed hook, line and sinker a report full of basic historical inaccuracies, deliberate misrepresentations and distortions of Jewish theology and Israeli policy.”  They pronounced the Methodist action to be “extremely serious and damaging,” as “Israel is at the root of the identity of Jews and of Judaism, and as an expression of Jewish spiritual, national and emotional aspirations, Zionism cannot simply be ruled as illegitimate in the way that the Methodist Conference has purported to do.”

The Jewish groups also suggested the Methodist Conference should “hang its head in shame, just as surely as it will cause the enemies of peace and reconciliation to cheer from the sidelines.”  Although not receiving prominent media play in Britain, the anti-Israel Methodist action likely will be broadcast throughout the anti-Israel international blogosphere, and perhaps some Arab state media, for its supposed pro-Palestinian solidarity.  Of course, key proponents for British Methodist anti-Israel boycott  included diehards like Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions as well as Anglican priest and anti-Israel crusader Stephen Sizer, plus a Methodist minister with Friends of Sabeel UK.

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  • Jean

    There are none so blind as those who will not see.

  • tomatorose

    The Methodist church needs to do its homework. Do musim gays and Darfurians escaping the hell of their own ummah's judgement matter to them? Is the world too complicated for them to see the full spectrum of the ummah's sheer awfulness?

    Israel gives Palestinian gays and Darfurians safety, work and, until recently in the case of the latter, citizenship.

    'According to some estimates, there are now 300 gay Palestinian men secretly living and working in Israel' http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/3211772.stm http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/2826http://www.gaymiddleeast.com/news/article9.htm

    'Israel to accept Darfur refugees' http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/6979http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2007/09/05/Israel-Dar

    Israel has had to reconsider its continued acceptance of huge numbers from Darfur as the crisis cannot be absorbed by a small country with its own security pressures.

    Israel doesn't shoot people trekking to its border, unlike the Egyptian soldiers who think nothing of firing at refugee families caught on their side.

  • http://www.resonoelusono.com/NaturalBornCitizen.htm Alexander Gofen

    Some Christians, who essentially ought to be as Zionist as Jews, show utmost ignorance:

    …. anti-Israel boycott is not about “revenge but rather to put an end to the existing injustice, ‘liberating both the perpetrators and the victims of injustice…

    The truth is that…

    2. The restoration of Israel on her ancient land is an act of an immense significance in terms of both social and spiritual justice. Since ancient times Israel was a victim of colonialism and oppression. So as a social act Zionism is the most justified case of a national liberation movement, which delivered Jewish people – the victims of the extreme oppression and genocide for centuries – to their national liberation. As a spiritual act Zionism is a realization of the God's plan, an act of the highest spiritual value for Jews and true Christians. Yet Israel is the only nation refused the basic justice by the rest of the world, ready to sacrifice Israel for whichever minute reason. Any expectations of justice from this world are futile.
    http://www.resonoelusono.com/DeclarationForIsrael

  • http://www.yuksel.org Edip Yuksel

    This is just a start. You will see more groups and nations boycotting Israel, as they have done in the past against South Africa. Those who have not sold their souls, those who see the whole picture, hear the whole story, cannot ignore the bloody militaristic aggression and colonialism perpetrated by Israel against a defenseless population that is suffocated and destroyed in concentration camps.

    I am not sure whether you are so delusional to believe in Zionist propaganda or you care less about truth and justice, but the Zionist propaganda machine is going to fail before its military and political power collapse. Nazis could not maintain their atrocities for long and Zionists will not be different.

    Peace,

  • Ghostwriter

    I hope Rabbi Sacks is successful.

  • Donald L.

    Here this map will explain everything:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kingdoms_of_Isr

    There is no West Bank, Judea and Samaria refer to the older Kingdoms of the Israelites. Now please take a look at the bottom left hand corner of the map, you'll see an area of the Arabu Tribes; called ‘al-‘Arabu-’l-‘āriba, genuine or pure Arabs (or in other words–the Ishmaelites)!

    Any Christians boycotting Jews for living on their land are biblically illiterate! If anything, they should boycott the Arabs, the pretenders and history revisionists who claim to be the original owners to this land. Why aren't these Christians boycotting Arab products who live in Gaza and the West Bank because after all, it's these Arabs who are illegally occupying Judea and Samaria! And no, the Arabs have no relationship to the Philistines, who were Greek.

    It was Roman Emperor Hadrian who after defeating the last Jewish rebellion, lead by Bar Kokhba (132-5 A.D.) renamed the land Syria-Palaestina and renamed Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina (in honor of himself, his first name was Aelius). Palestine was a Roman invention to wipe out the history of the Jewish people–this disgusting chapter of the history of the world is better known as Hadrian's curse!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/imnokuffar imnokuffar

    I am not a Jew, but I am getting increasingly sick/alarmed at the anti-semitic attacks of the media on the Jewish state. I just watched Sky News about the so-called starvation of the Gaza Strip any objective reporting was ditched and it was a full scale attack on the Jewish state. The Church of England is a sick institution controlled by increasingly crazy Liberals and Marxists. They make me sick !

    • trisha

      Yes, same here in Canada. So many people are ill informed due to the complexity of the situation. Anti-Semites have arisen from their shot-lived slumber and feel they are justified to spew their hatred once again. It just never ends. They should all keep in mind that those that come after the Jew first, inevitably come after the gentile next.

  • Gerr

    The Methodist church shouldn't be allowed to be called Christian. They have been hijacked by liberals and their decline in enrollment is a reflection of their political stances. Israel is surrounded by a sea of enemies who want nothing but their extinction. We must pray for Israel and the Jewish people all over the world.

  • Dixon Harris

    Two notes on the decline of the Christian church in the West

    Grand mufti of Cyprus said a few years ago

    "The future Charles III has made several strong public statements endorsing Islam as the solution to the spiritual and cultural ills of Britain and the West. His public advocacy of Islam appears to go back to 1989, when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued an edict (fatwa) against Salman Rushdie, a British citizen, for blaspheming the Prophet Muhammad in his novel The Satanic Verses. Rather than defend Rushdie's freedom of speech, Charles reacted to the death decree by reflecting on the positive features that Islam has to offer the spiritually empty lives of his countrymen."

    This same Charles famously stated at should he succeed to the throne he would rather than be known as the traditional "Defender of the Faith"he'd rather be referred to as the Defender of Faiths".

    Turn Back Oh Man, foresware thy foolish ways!

  • Al Best

    The Methodists' Muslim-like hatred for Jews apparently prevents them from recalling that their refusal to see truth where Israel is involved is similar to the religious world's blindness of the 1930s & 1940s. May God treat them as they treat His People.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/WilliamJWard WilliamJamesWard

    Leftists in England will bring down the entire Nation into Sharia law and denounce
    not only Israel but the Christian Church, the Mehtodists are suspisciously pro
    Islam and anti-Jew and for that matter anti-Christian, clearly and apostate Church.
    Communists long ago subverted this once grand body of believers and now I
    wonder just how much money is being poured into their coffers by the Jihadist
    Muslim plague…………………………..William

  • http://www.ezracanada.org roy

    Romans 1 v 22 states "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools".
    A 5th grader can research the facts and find out that there is not and never was a nation or people known as "Palestinians". There is no "Palestinian" money and there is no "Palestinian" language, and never was. "Palestine" was an area designated for the Jews by the Romans as an insult to them because it was named from "Philistia" which came from the Philistines, an arch enemy of Israel.
    A large part of the world today believes this myth about the "poor Palestinians" and the nasty Jews. Yes, the Palestinians have it bad, but at the hand of their own people. "Palestinians" as they are known today are all Arabs from Syria, Jordan,Libya etc, etc. Tiny Israel, with 6 million Jews and 1 million Arabs (with dual citizenship and voting privileges who don't want change) is surrounded by some 400 million Arabs on some 500 million square miles and most of the world's oil who refuse to take in their own people but choose to leave them at the mercy of Hamas, Hezbulah et al, as a thorn in Israel's side.
    How can these supposedly "religious" leaders not see the truth that is as obvious as the nose on their face? How can they not see that this "Middle East problem" is religious and dates back to Abraham and Sarah and Isaac and Ishmael?? How can they not see that there will be no peace in the middle east until the Prince of Peace returns?
    They are part of the "fools" in Romans 1 v 22.
    Maranatha, the Lord is coming!!!!
    Rev. Roy….<><