Jewish campaign targets Synod motion on Israel

29 June 2012

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 month.

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 (EAPPI).

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 says.

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."

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