The following is a press release from Anglican Friends of Israel on the Methodist Church’s boycott decision
July 4, 2010 –
Anglican Friends of Israel was disappointed at the decision by the Methodist Church to boycott goods produced by Jews living in Judea and Samaria.
In convening the Working Group which produced the Report ‘‘Justice for Palestine and Israel’ the Methodist Church deliberately decided not to include the views of any who might have disagreed with a boycott, hardly a just approach.
The historical section of the Report was, by the admission of the Working Group’s own Chairman Graham Carter, incomplete. Many would add that it was also inaccurate, including Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks who described the Report as “unbalanced, factually and historically flawed” giving “no genuine understanding of one of the most complex conflicts in the world today. Many in both communities will be deeply disturbed”.
Theologically the Report’s findings are justified by the Rev Nichola Jones using the arguments of the Replacement Theology that underpinned Christian anti-semitism for 1500 years, and which has been widely rejected by other Churches.
Methodist Church Media Officer Karen Burke, writes, ‘The Methodist Church has a long history of interfaith relationships; it greatly values the relationship it shares with its Jewish brothers and sisters and hopes that that relationship will continue to flourish.’
However, the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council have accused the Report’s authors of “(abusing) the goodwill of the Jewish community, which tried to engage on this issue, only to find our efforts were treated as an unwelcome distraction” .
Burke goes on to insist that ‘Israel should not be singled out above all other countries for opprobrium and international sanction.’ Yet despite many other far more pressing human rights issues, including those in which Christians’ human rights are violated, only Israeli Jews apparently merit Methodist punishment.
The decision to boycott the produce of Israeli Jews in the disputed territories will benefit no one, least of all Palestinians whose livelihoods depend upon the work provided by those Jewish communities.
Christians should be praying and working towards bringing a peaceful solution. It is sad that the Methodist Church has adopted a course of action that is more likely to add the conflict rather than to the solution.