From Jean A. Evans
Sir, - The proof of the pudding is in
the eating. Despite what Dr Dinnen writes (
Letters, 20 July), I have met a number of Ecumenical
Accompaniers, and also people who have visited the Holy Land under
the auspices of Christian Aid and Sabeel.
From these people I have never once
heard anything positive said about Israel. Too frequently, they
come back making vitriolic and unchristian comments. At the very
least, if Israel is seen as an enemy, then we are told to love our
enemies and pray for them. I see none of that. This disqualifies
them from being peacemakers, because if a peacemaker takes sides,
then he or she cannot do that work.
Of course, their views are a good
reflection of those who trained them, too, revealing an unpleasant
I have taken people to explore the
issues in this area, and they have been able to meet pro- and
anti-Israel citizens and Palestinians. They have come back
accepting that the issues are very complicated, and they have not
come back judgemental of either side.
JEAN A. EVANS
95 Glenwood, Llanedeyrn
Cardiff CF23 6UT
From Mr Yisrael Medad
Sir, - While many of the letters have
addressed secondary aspects of the General Synod's decisions
regarding the situation in the Holy Land (
Letters, 20 July), as resident in the territory under
discussion, at the location where the Tabernacle stood in Shiloh, I
would like to relate to another issue.
Jews are admonished to treat the
stranger, the foreigner, with considered justice. As recorded in
Leviticus 19.34: "The alien who resides with you shall be to you as
the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself." This
is reflected in Hebrews 13.2: "Don't forget to show hospitality to
What seems to have been forgotten is
that the New Testament recognised no "Palestine", nor were there
any Arabs in the country.
Jesus was born in Judea. The Jewish
followers of Jesus walk through Judea and Samaria. No Palestine and
no Arabs. As Matthew 19.1 notes: Jesus "went into the region of
Judea to the other side of the Jordan", which was also part of the
land of Israel at that time.
Arabs, as a people, arrived in the
land of Israel in the seventh century as conquerors and occupiers.
Moreover, when asked by the disciples if Israel would be restored,
Jesus indicated that it could very well happen, saying, as recorded
in Acts 1.6-8: "It is not for you to know times or seasons which
the Father has put in his own authority . . . and you shall be
witnesses to me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to
the end of the earth." Again, note the geographic terms.
The Arab, as a stranger, must be
provided with all human rights and civil liberties and social
freedoms. And he must respond as citizens all over the world do. If
they have never accepted Israel's establishment in 1948, however,
have gone to war, continued a fedayeen terror campaign,
and escalated that into the PLO/ Fatah terrror to be joined by
Hamas, it is Israel's responsibility to assure its security, while
it is the Arab task to negotiate faithfully a peace based on mutual
recognition and coexistence.
Without that spirit, no religion can
overcome the differences between Jew and Arab in the land west of
the Jordan River.
Shiloh, Mobile Post Efraim 44830 Israel
From Sue Beardon
Sir, - Your report about Dr John
Dinnen's motion to Synod refers to the dismay of the Jewish Board
of Deputies, especially about support for EAPPI (the Ecumenical
Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel).
I was part of this programme two years
ago, and am also Jewish. I feel sad that some British Jews find
such programmes a threat, although many do not. I also find it
highly offensive that the activities of EAPPI and support for it is
labelled in any way anti-Semitic. Criticism of Israel is based not
on the fact that it is a Jewish state, but that it is deemed by
pretty well all the world's international organisations to be in
contravention of international agreements and humanitarian law.
I will stand up and be counted among
those who oppose such behaviour wherever it occurs, perpetrated by
whatever religious or ethnic grouping. But that does not make me
anti-Israel, and certainly not anti-Semitic.
We have also been accused of ignoring
the sufferings of ordinary Israelis. I certainly do not. But I aso
recognise that, whereas Israel is a country with a strong army, and
huge international support and aid for buying weapons, Palestinians
have no state, no army, and no power, and are subjected to daily
humiliation and curtailment of their freedoms. This is not a
two-sided affair in which the sides are equal.
52 Steade Road
Sheffield S7 1DU