THE Board of Deputies of British
Jews is attempting to mobilise opposition to a private member's
motion on Palestine and Israel at the General Synod next
The Board's main problem with the
motion, which has been put down by Dr John Dinnen (Hereford), is
that it calls for the Synod to "affirm its support for" the
Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel
The EAPPI sends "ecumenical
accompaniers" (EAs) who "provide protective presence to vulnerable
communities, monitor and report human-rights abuses, and support
Palestinians and Israelis working together for peace", its website
Dr Dinnen's motion encourages
parishioners to volunteer for the EAPPI, and churches "to make use
of the experience of returning participants".
A statement from the Board of Deputies
said that "all of the Israeli groups" with whom EAs came into
contact "are on the fringe left or right. They have virtually no
contact with mainstream Israelis. The result is the creation of a
cohort of very partisan but very motivated anti-Israel advocates
who have almost no grasp of the suffering of normal Israelis."
The Board of Deputies encouraged
members of the Jewish community to write to the Archbishop of
Canterbury, the Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Revd Nigel McCulloch,
who chairs the Council of Christians and Jews, and to the
Church Times, to "highlight how inappropriate it would be
for the General Synod" to endorse the EAPPI.
Jews for Justice for Palestinians
(JfJfP) said in a statement on Tuesday that the Board of Deputies'
statement was "misleading and biased". The EAPPI "seeks a just
solution to the Israel/Palestine issue that will benefit both
Palestinians and Israelis", and operates according to a code of
"principled impartiality", JfJfP said.
"We cannot help but feel that the
Board's objection is to the core of the EAPPI mission itself, which
is 'to provide up-to-date, reliable information on the occupation'
. . .
"The Board of Deputies claims to
represent the British Jewish community, but fails to take into
account the growing concern among British Jews . . . about the
Israeli government's treatment of Palestinians."