Church of England Targets Israel

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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Earlier this month the Church of England’s General Synod endorsed the World Council of Churches’ “Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI).” Essentially this program enlists anti-Israel church activists from the West to “accompany” Palestinian activists so as to “experience life under occupation.” The church ignored pleas from British Jews, including Britain’s chief rabbi.

Why would anyone want to endorse a program of the marginalized and far-left Swiss-based World Council of Churches (WCC), still best and infamously known for largely siding with the Soviet Bloc during the Cold War’s final decades?  During the 1970s and 1980s, the WCC strenuously denounced right-wing dictatorships while ignoring the crimes of leftist tyrannies, often even embracing them, including the tormentors of churches.  Even the Soviet Union itself was largely immune to criticism from the WCC, which merrily cooperated with Soviet front groups like the Helsinki-based Christian Peace Conference.

Nearly all the world’s rightist dictatorships are long since gone, so for years the WCC has imagined that Israel is the moral equivalent of Apartheid South Africa circa 1970.  Israel is virtually the only nation meriting the WCC’s extensive human rights critique, which includes the ongoing EAPPI that the Church of England has now endorsed.  Why the specific endorsement was necessary must be asked, since the church, by virtue of its membership and fees, already amply supports the WCC.  So evidently the endorsement was for amplification of its moral solidarity with the WCC and Palestinian liberation.

Apparently the anti-Israel vote was not even that controversial within the church’s General Synod.  The total vote was 201 votes to 54, with 93 abstentions. Clergy voted 4 to 1 in favor, while the laity voted 3 to 1.  Twenty-one bishops supported it while just 3 voted against.  The many abstentions maybe indicate many Anglicans were just too befuddled or morally confused to decide or go on record.

Even Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, now cruising towards early retirement, could not help but pile on verbally though himself characteristically abstaining in the vote after supporting an effort to dilute the statement. He shared his “respect and gratitude for the immense courage and dedication of the volunteers” in the WCC anti-Israel program. And he sardonically observed:  “There are some people, in their uncritical assumption that the government of Israel can do no wrong, who are clearly going to be very irritated by information being disseminated of the kind that EAPPI does.”

Remarkably, Archbishop Williams even seemed to discern moral equivalence between the Holocaust and the Palestinians’ situation.  “Half an hour at Yad Vashem will persuade you, if you need persuading, why the state of Israel needs to exist securely,” he noted of Israel’s memorial to Holocaust victims. “Half an hour at a check-point will persuade you, if you need persuading, that there are forms of security that are indefensible and unsustainable.”

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  • David Galant

    Golly gee! Thirty minutes at a checkpoint. I've spent more time in line at the security checkpoint at airports in the US for domestic flights, and been patted down, and had my hand luggage swabbed for explosives. I've also been patted down by (a rather unpleasant) Swiss security guard at Zurich airport. I'm obese, European looking, travel on a US passport, and am more than 70 years old so I am hardly a prime suspect as a terrorist.

    Mr Williams clearly is a good deal more privileged than I if he is unaware that standing in a security line is normal these days. I suspect that his motives are a good deal darker.

  • mlcblog

    This makes me sick. Shades of the National Council of Churches and whatever those other anti-God organizations were that took over many of our mainline Christian churches back in the 1950's and 1960's, only these were left-wing whereas the infiltration in the English church seems to be of a slightly different ilk. Not commies so much as pro-Muslim.

  • Lady_Dr

    Is it any wonder that the memberships are shrinking in these mainline churches while the bible-loving, pro-Israel churchs are thriving? None of the mainline churches seem to understand Genesis 12: 3 "I will bless those that bless you, and curse those who curse you" words spoke by God to Abraham. Well, the Jews and Israel are being blessed and so are the pro-Israel churches. Too bad the idiots in the mainstream churches don't turn to the bible but instead believe that being 'relevant' and modern, and being all about 'social justice' is the ticket. They are getting what they deserve.

    • oldtimer

      And so we have been warned in the Word, in many places. Matt. 24:12 Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. Deut. 32:31 For their rock is not our Rock……and many other places. Christians need to place their trust is God, as our countries founders did "In God we trust". In His word and not man's.

    • David R

      Love your relevant and candid comments :o)

  • montlasky

    Why doesn't the Church of England save ityself a lot of bother by converting to Islam. Then they have a full backing for their ideas. If you are going to be an anti Semite, do it properly. Give up the Bible for the Koran and be done with it'

  • WilliamJamesWard

    World Council of Churches, what a farce it is World Communist Central and has nothing to do
    with Christianity. They adopt a form of pious religiosity but are empty vessels, a white seplechur
    and rotten on the inside, hypocrites of the first order. Socialist England abides these false
    people to their discredit and shame, hopefully this will be a lesson to Israelis that still think
    socialists are good people, far from it they are evil and self deluded………………….William

  • David R

    The Anglican Church is just a frustrated re-vamp of the Roman Catholic Church, minus the Pope…the fruit of a divorce case gone wrong involving the Catholic Pope of the time and the whims of King Henry VIII, who flipped a tantrum when the said Pope refused him his divorce from his spouse, priming him to start his own competing religious denomination adorned with the usual costumed leader and his underling clowns._While over the centuries these two feuders strived hard not to be copy-cats, one thing they always shared never changed…their mutual hatred of Jews.

  • David R

    While always showing clean paws to the world, the Catholic Popes and their Jesuit cronnies have always persecuted the Jewish people and craved their possessions._One slip-up that hit the media and has been totally forgotten since, is when it was revealed that Pope Pius XII had collaborated with Hitler to destroy the Jews completely, calling him a man sent of God. He almost lost his post-mortem sainthood for that screw-up! This whorish religion and her Anglican mate hasn't changed and is still hell-bent (literally) on "whiping the Jews off the map" (a phrase that sounds eerily familiar when used by Middle-Eastern tinpot dictators supported by the Vatican)._But God almighty will have the last word soon, when He comes to deliver His blessed people the Jews, through the person of Christ, their long-awaited Messiah! ("For those who touch them, touch the apple of God's eye") Zachariah 2:8)

    • poetcomic1

      Sounds like the Catholic Church is 'open season' for you. The One World Progressive Left has two and exactly two enemies in their cross-hairs. 1) The State of Israel and 2) The Catholic Church. The attack is 24/7 year in and year out. They would LOVE to see antisemitic Catholics and Catholic-hating Jews. It is their dream come true!

      • David R

        I was a Catholic for many years and tasted from childhood their hocus-pocus superstitious hypocrisy. Jesuits are renowned for covering up with contradiction to the facts…you are just an example of one who gets sucked up by them (remember, they are sworn to protect the Vatican and its interests at whatever cost)
        I would invite you and the readers of this article to read articles and documentaries on why the Jews objected to Pope Pius XII's nomination to sainthood.
        Here's a link to an objective one written by open-minded victimes of Rome's political involvement regarding their Nazi relations: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/anti-

        • pennswoods

          What is your view on the expulsion of over 700,000 Palestinian Muslims and minority Arab Christians in 1948 to make way for the modern Jewish State of Israel to be settled by Jewish European survivors of the European Holocaust and an ethnic Jewish playground for the children of wealthy American, British, and Canadian Jews? I loath everything liberal and leftist and I hate the Koran but facts are facts. Israel was founded on the ethnic cleansing of over 700,000 Palestinians who in almost all cases were brutally thrown out of their ancient homes with no compensation. Israel hands are not clean when it comes to how the modern jewsih State was founded and how it discriminates and non Jews in Israel. The fact Israel still forbids the marriage of a Jew and a Gentile in Israel is just one example of Israel's own bigotry it has to face and try to justify to the world while claiming it is a "democracy".

          • David R

            The Jews were there way before them, but then God sent them into exile (diaspora) as captives or fugitives from their enemy invaders. The very God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob punished the Jews for their idolatrous disobedience to Him. Even during Christ's time, the nation was under absolute Roman control and it was Roman soldiers who carried out the crucifixion. In AD70, the Emporor Titus and his son destroyed the Jewish Temple and flushed out the Jews.
            History shows that before 1948, the Palestinians (read that Phillistines) didn't even want Jerusalem. Now they want it out of possessive jealousy…while they could easily live in Jordan or many Arab nations around Israel.
            We read in the Bible that it was God Himself who ordered the newly-escaped from Egypt Hebrews to attack and destroy all inhabitants in the land that He gave them. Read the Book of Exodus on.
            The land of Israel (including all the parts given to the Palestinians through world pressure against the Jews) was God-given to the Hebrews. King David ruled there almost 3000 years ago and the City of David still stands today! Many of the prophets lived there almost 4000 years ago. This is Jewish homeland my friend!

          • David R

            To follow up on your comment, I live in Quebec, Canada, the only French-speaking province in the nation and territories. Like Israeli Jews, we are a very small minority in a vast nation and in order to protect our French language and culture, we have laws that oblige the English population and immigrants to learn and comply with our rules of law, whether linguistic or territorial.
            If you want to open a business in Quebec, your signs and publicity must be in the French language to comply with the law. It's a question of protecting our proud identity, not bigotry.
            The Jews have a much prouder culture and tradition to protect…our is 400 years old, theirs is 4000!
            We have no enemies…they are surrounded only by enemies. You would have to act as they do if you were Jewish and living in Israel, especially with rockets flying into your cities every day.

    • RonL

      Pope Puis XII saved over 100,000 Jews. Stop with the communist propaganda.

      • RonL

        Also, the Church of England is not Catholic. Thanks for reminding us of your ignorance of basic facts.

        • David R

          The Anglican Church is a branch of Roman Catholicism…did you not read my comment attentively?

      • David R

        History shows that he personally authorized 3000 passports to desperate Jews looking for safety…but soon after revoked them because of their behavior (they just practiced their faith and customs…a no no in a 100% Roman Catholic country). So they were all deported back to their country to face the enemy.

      • David R

        Read "Hitler's Pope" by John Cornwell (Published in Vanity Fair, October 1999). Cornwell was initially out to exhonorate Pius XII in every way, being a devote Catholic himself. He was admitted access to all secret Jesuit documents and hidden texts which totally blew him away…this Pope was the worst Jew-hater and betrayer ever known, and he turned a blind eye to their plight in order to please his friend and ally, Adolphe Hitler.
        I challenge you to read this and many other unbiased documents that prove Vatican conspiracy against the Jews in trying to control the world.

    • pennswoods

      The Vatican does not support Iran. What are you blathering? Shall we talk about the vicious persecution of ancient Middle Eastern Catholics and Orthodox Christian communities by radical Islam? How about Lebanon which was Christian (Catholic) since the time of the Apostle's, even after centuries of Islamic domination, in 1970 was still 54% Catholic and is today only 30% Catholic because of Islamic inspired Civil War and persecution… Catholics are persecuted today by Islamic majorities in Nigeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Pakistan, Indonesia, the Southerb Sudan, and other Muslim nations.

  • David R

    Sorry for the typo…should have been spelled "wiping" and not "whiping" :o)

  • Schlomotion

    Since we are hearkening back to what these supposedly leftist churches did in the 1980s, let's also hearken back that Christian right wingers and the CIA, Mr. Tooley's constituency, cheerleaded the rape and murder of three Christian missionaries by the National Guard of El Salvador and then billed their mothers for the return of the remains. On the soul of Jean Donovan, I just cannot lend Mr. Tooley's defamation of the church any credence.

    • Ghostwriter

      So sayeth the Jew hater who protests way too much.

  • Guy Wilkinson

    How easy and how simplistic it is to attribute motives to people one has never met and whose discussions and actions one has never investigated. How can we encourage more Jesus-like commentary than David R's 'whorish religion', William James Ward's 'Socialist England' and 'World Communist Central' and David Galant's aspersion that Archbishop Rowan's "motives are a good deal darker"? I am a priest in the Church of England and amongst much else have worked for closer understanding between Jews and Christians. I was Archbishop Rowan's Adviser in his signing of the first formal dialogue agreement with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel which has led to formal annual meetings in Jerusalem and Lambeth. He is also the lead patron of the Council of Christians and Jews. There is much more but I would hope that these two facts alone would lead commentators to believe that just possibly there is a bit more to these issues than Mr Tooley would have us believe

    • David R

      I pity you very much… I cannot say more because you would not understand. I just pray that God gives you true faith and access to His priceless Grace, so your eyes will be opened from the blindness you now exhibit while trying to protect a Godless religious world organization just as bad although much less powerful than the pagan Roman Catholic Church.

  • Linda Rivera

    In countries around the world, we all have to go through checkpoints: screening at airports and some other places. Will Volunteers in the “accompaniment” program escort airline passengers through the checkpoint screening at airports? The checkpoint screening at airports is necessary because of Muslim terrorist attacks, just as it is needed for the same reason at Israeli checkpoint screening.

  • Linda Rivera

    All Church of England who voted for this garbage and Volunteers in the anti-Israel “accompaniment” program, go live in Sderot and experience your beloved Islam from there: Barrages of Islam's rockets fired on hated Jewish infidels.

  • Ronald Johnston

    The politics of GB today are a far cry from Churchill and Thatcher!!!! They will rue the day they ever opened their borders to the rabid muslims!!! islam is not a religion, it is an evil ideology!!!!

  • Joe

    Please don't wipe the Anglican church entirely. The 39 Articles of Anglicanism reveals they were started on a Bible believing evangelical doctrinal basis and there are many of them all over the Western world who still hold firmly to the Bible being the Word of God. These evangelicals therefore accept Genesis 12 : 3 ( "I will bless those who bless you (Israel) and curse those who curse you." ) I am one such and I defend the right of Israel to exist and exist in Israel. The WCC has long been in the hands of subjectivists who pick and choose what they personally want to accept as God's Word. Many of them do not accept the divinity or resurrection of Jesus Christ and therefore have no right at all to call themselves Christians. There is constant friction between subjectivists (liberals) and evangelicals (who take both the Old and New Testaments as God's Word ). Christianity is based on the life and sacrifice of a Jew whose Word we try to obey. He was fully God and fully a Jewish man.
    It disgusts evangelical Christians when Jesus' race (the Jews) are denigrated and betrayed.

    • David R

      Amen!

  • pennswoods

    I loath hamas and all radical Palestinian terrorist groups. The Koran is a book that inspires hatred of Jews and Christians and other "infidels" and atheists. The WCC and their liberal brethren in the USA mainline Protestant Churches have no spine when it comes to left wing causes and their hatred of the USA. Having said this let's look at history: in about 60 AD the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the Jews fled and spread throughout the Roman Empire and beyond. In 1492 the King and Queen of Spain expelled all Jews from Spain, from 1939 –1945 Nazi Germany persecutes and kills over 6 million Jews in Europe. In 1948 the UN and others force over 700, 000 Muslim and Christian Palestinians to leave their ancient homes, villages, and farms to make way for European survivors of the Holocaust and later as an ethnic playground for wealthy American, British, and Canadian Jews. Is it a surprise that Israel, a country from it's conception in 1948, and created on the same brutality of discrimination and expulsions Jews suffered for over 2,000 years yet did the same to the Palestinians and now Israeli's wonder why they are hated by these people? There are two sides to every story.