Jewish–Methodist Relations – Concerns Re-surface


By jarkush
June 27, 2012
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In 2010 the Jewish community reacted with hurt and anger as the Methodist Church accepted many of the provisions of the Justice for Palestine and Israel report. This document presented a highly selective account of the history of the conflict, misrepresented Zionism and sought to reintroduce the discredited theology of supersessionism, abandoned by mainstream churches because of its ugly legacy of millennia of anti-Semitism. It was hardly helped by the fact that the motion that started this process in 2009 explicitly and deliberately excluded the addition to the document of any views, either from internal voices or external sources, that would have given it some accuracy and balance

The report, as well as the shameful manner in which it was produced shattered the good relations between the Jewish community and the Methodist Church. The Board made it clear that normal relations would not be resumed until we saw specific signs that the church was prepared to listen to other views and take them seriously. When the church signalled that it was willing to do so, an important new dialogue began between the Board, on behalf of the Jewish community, and the Methodist Church, primarily with the Secretary for External Relations and the Inter Faith Officer. One and a half years on, we can say that the dialogue has not always been easy, and some very frank views have been expressed on both sides, but a new and honest mutual understanding is emerging from which we are drawing many positive signs.

And now all this is threatened, without any warning given to us, by proposals laid before the Methodist Annual Conference starting on 28 June to abolish the posts of Secretary for External Relations and Inter Faith Officer and make their incumbents redundant.

If the proposals are accepted by conference, the Methodist civil servants with whom we have been in dialogue will no longer have jobs. They are individuals whose skills won our respect, which was never diminished by them putting forward the Methodist perspective robustly. They have succeeded in returning our relationship to a surer footing. But while personal relationships are the bedrock of good interfaith relations, the proposals are a matter of concern for wider reasons beyond individuals. To remove both the positions that have helped our communities to make progress might effectively derail us from this positive course. It is imperative that this is avoided.

At the same time, to my astonishment, we are hearing reports ( http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/69074/quakers-and-christian-aid-parlia... ) that some in the Church claim that the resolutions of 2010 have actually helped to improve Methodist-Jewish relations ! The wider Methodist family should be under no illusions about this claim, which is disingenuous and mischievous. The resolutions that received and sought to implement the report caused serious damage to the relationship that breeds mistrust even to this day. The hurt in our community was echoed by anger and surprise among other Christian denominations.

What put our relations back on track was an honest, frank, dedicated, sensitive project of dialogue and joint action, the success of which depended almost entirely on the skills of the Secretary for External Relations and the Inter Faith Officer. If the situation were to repeat itself with the Jewish, or indeed any other faith community, I am worried that the Church would have no route to repair relations. Had there been no such occurrence in recent history, perhaps this could have been seen as a luxury that could be foregone. But in the present circumstances, where healing wounds are still fresh, and progress is observable but fragile, I am very concerned indeed if the view is taken by the Methodist Church conference that it can afford to forego this vital resource.

We are keen to continue to develop our dialogue and action with the Methodist Church, finding common ground and overcoming suspicion. I pray that, over the coming week, the Methodist Conference will send a signal to the Jewish community – and to those of other faiths – that it too remains willing to reach out, to seek understanding, and to work together for the good of all in our diverse society.

This is a cross post from the Board of Deputies website at http://www.bod.org.uk/live/content.php?Item_ID=130&Blog_ID=410

COMMENTS

Chris Tucker (not verified)

Thu, 06/28/2012 - 12:37

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-2 points

Well, that's all well and good but what are you going to do about Jonathan Hoffman?


CJ

Fri, 06/29/2012 - 15:13

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2 points

What a shame - How history is forgotten .
The Peel commision of 1937 saw a segregated plan for the state of Isreal .
The Morrison Grady plans of 1946 , again segregated the Jews from the Palastinians .
The Jewish Agency plans of 1947 being the only plans drawn up that had a united Isreal with everyone living side by side .
The turning point being the U.N.S.C.O.P. decision of segregation in 1947 , leading to the eventual withdrawal of the British from the Palestine and the formation of the Gaza strip , which has since been the excuse of many to have a go at Isreal .
I never hear anyone moaning about the fact that only 100 years ago the British commissioner drew a red line down the map of Arabia and created the country of Iraq to stop the nomadic tribes from following their millenia old migration routes ?
And all the troubles that have resulted from it's creation ?
And what a shame that no one reminds the rest of the world of the 26 or so religions that live side by side in Isreal today !
Thank G-D for the understanding of King Henry VIII & Oliver Cromwel , or our interactive Britain would have been a different place to live in today .The C of E may never have been created and the Methodist church would never have existed under RC rule .
So the next time a minister wants to stir it up a bit , they want to read the history books first and a better understanding will lead to a better Britain for all .


Yvetta

Fri, 07/13/2012 - 12:15

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0 points

See this for how seriously some Methodist parsons take the issue you, Mr Arkush, and other Jews have raised

http://theconnexion.net/wp/?p=12634#comments#ixzz20TbLA1dp


Real Real Zionist

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 11:02

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0 points

Jonathan, now that Jonathan H. is on your Defense and Group Relations Division, I hope you aren't going to unleash him on the Methodists. Best to save him for the Church of England.


Chris Tucker (not verified)

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 11:58

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-1 points

I wonder if the Jewish Inquisition will be revamped?

http://hoffmanchronicled.wordpress.com/the-jewish-inquisition-2/


Mary in Brighton

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 13:05

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-1 points

Chris, I'm sure that Jonathan (Hoff) can handle both. For a man clearly willing to take responsibility for blowing up the whole world, the Methodists and the Church of England before breakfast is hardly a challenge.


Chris Tucker (not verified)

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 17:44

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-1 points

My house, my newly acquired fortune, my wife, my children, to be a fly on the wall at the division meetings.....


zaheerayin

Tue, 07/17/2012 - 17:47

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-1 points

A bit drastic, Chris. Maybe you could just disguise yourself as Jerry Lewis and turn up there.


StevenKalka

Mon, 04/28/2014 - 16:38

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0 points

International law covers more conventional conflicts where the defeated party expresses a desire for peace, and is willing to sign a peace treaty in exchange for the occupying forces of the victor to leave.

That's not applicable here. International law awards greater title to the nation fighting a defensive war rather than an offensive war when there are land disputes.


Rich Armbach

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 11:47

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0 points

"The Methodist conference is being asked to support demands..."

Absolute nonsense the Methodist conference at this point in time, is being asked to do nothing other than discuss the report. The report being nothing more than a compilation and analysis of responses to the survey, arguments for and against.

" International law awards greater title to the nation fighting a defensive war rather than an offensive war when there are land disputes."

Steven where did you get that from?


happygoldfish

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 13:36

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0 points

Rich Armbach: " International law awards greater title to the nation fighting a defensive war rather than an offensive war when there are land disputes."
Steven where did you get that from?

yes, i'm confused too

Rich Armbach: The report being nothing more than a compilation and analysis of responses to the survey, arguments for and against.

no, the report does not present the arguments against

the report is totally one-sided

it treats the israelis as guilty, with only the sentence as being up for discussion

it repeatedly presents BDS arguments without presenting the israeli reply (see above)

it repeatedly presents alleged faults of the israelis without mentioning faults of the palestinians

it does not present the "arguments against"

Rich Armbach: "The Methodist conference is being asked to support demands..."
Absolute nonsense the Methodist conference at this point in time, is being asked to do nothing other than discuss the report.

no, this is a totally one-sided report

so which side is it on?

it clearly is intended to persuade the methodist conference to vote on BDS without considering the case against

what is the difference between supporting BDS and persuading conference to vote on BDS without considering the case against??


Rich Armbach

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 13:55

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0 points

The conference papers have been signed off by the April council and there is no resolution on BDS before conference. So nothing to vote on. Though expect Bruce Thompson to pull some kind of stunt, a notice of motion or something. Do try to keep up dear.

Anyway since you asked you can find the full ongoing story here.

http://hurryupharrietsmethodistroom.wordpress.com/


Rich Armbach

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 16:59

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0 points

That is a " have you quit beating your wife" type question.

Any answer to a stupid question will inevitably be a stupid answer. So I will content myself by saying....

If you are of a mind that the report does not consider the case against you merely confirm...

either

a) you have reading disabilities

or

b) you have comprehension disabilities

or

c) you are profoundly dishonest both to yourself and others and are wholly lacking in any kind of moral compass.

Anyway must dash, lots to do, so many fires to put out, so many hasbarafiosi, so little time.

tootle pip


happygoldfish

Fri, 05/02/2014 - 17:44

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0 points

Rich Armbach: If you are of a mind that the report does not consider the case against …

my first post (here) sets out at considerable length a long list of arguments against, which the report does not even hint at

like the methodists, you prefer not to acknowledge their existence (perhaps not even their right to exist?)

that's rich!

Rich Armbach: The conference papers have been signed off by the April council and there is no resolution on BDS before conference. So nothing to vote on.

i stand corrected

i wrongly assumed there would be a vote on BDS … it appears there will only be a discussion

on closer reading of the report, i now see the significance of …

(Foreword) "It is offered to the Methodist people for consideration and prayerful reflection."

… the report will be presented to conference, and the only vote will be whether to accept the report (ie not whether to endorse BDS)

if accepted, the report will be presented to "the Methodist people" for their individual consideration

i should have written

no, this is a totally one-sided report

so which side is it on?

it clearly is intended to persuade the methodist conference to discuss BDS without considering the case against

it clearly is intended to persuade individual methodists to adopt a boycott, and to pursue divestment, without considering the case against

what is the difference between supporting BDS and persuading individual methodists to discuss and decide on BDS without considering the case against??


happygoldfish

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 09:09

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0 points
jonathan arkush's opinion (1/5/2014) on the 2014 report can be read at http://jewishnews.co.uk/opinion-want-achieve-peace-must-make-happen/

Rich Armbach

Mon, 06/02/2014 - 14:03

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0 points

Jonathan Arkush's opinion ? Jonathan Arkush is extremely fortunate he is still allowed to make the tea.


Rich Armbach

Mon, 06/16/2014 - 17:23

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happygoldfish

Mon, 06/16/2014 - 17:59

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A response to the Methodists' BDS report (2014)

Though this be madness, yet there is Methodism in 't.

This report supports racism. People will always find excuses for racism. Let us examine those excuses.

1. Supporting the "right" of return of only Palestinian refugees:

(2.1) "The stated aims of the Movement are:
… 3. respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in the UN General Assembly Resolution 194."

No mention is made of any "right" of the approximately equal number of Jewish refugees who fled Arab countries (including the West Bank) at the same time.

No mention is made of any "right" of the far larger exchange of populations between India and Pakistan (1947), or Greece and Turkey (1922-3), or in many other conflicts.

Racists recognise this "right" only in one conflict (Arab/Jew), and on only one side!

As for Resolution 194, it is a General Assembly resolution. Only Security Council resolutions have force in international law.

The boycotters have no support in international law for this "right", yet they make it one of their three "stated aims".

2. Supporting the end of a Jewish majority in the only Jewish state:

(2.1) "The stated aims of the Movement are:
… 3. respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties …"

After most conflicts, the aim of the international community is to relocate all refugees as soon as possible.

The United Nations General Assembly has (with no force of law) done the exact opposite with the Palestinian refugees of 1948: for 66 years not only they have been kept in refugee "camps", but also their children and grandchildren.

In no other conflict does the General Assembly (or international law) recognise post-conflict children and grandchildren as refugees.

The Jewish population of Israel is about 5.7 million and the Arab population about 1.5 million (just over 20%).

The Arab refugee population in 1948 was about 0.75 million. It is now about 5 million. Do the maths!

Even the Arab League recognises the injustice of, and has abandoned, a "right" of return, and has declared (23/9/2002, see http://archive.today/V7Dl (formerly http://www.jordanembassyus.org/arab_initiative.htm)) …

"… the Arab world commits itself to an AGREED solution to the refugee problem, thus addressing Israel’s concern that the demographic character of the Jewish state not be threatened. …
The key point here is that Arabs understand well that the implementation has to be both fair and realistic, and certainly agreed upon. In other words, there is no possibility of a solution that will lead to the changing of the character of the Jewish state."

The boycott movement supports a racist "right" of return: it will cause the only Jewish state in the world to lose its Jewish majority, or at least to become ungovernable.

The Methodist conference is being asked to support demands that are not restrained and limited, but aim for the racist destruction (or absorption) of the Jewish state itself.

3. Selective condemnation of the only democratic state, with full access to justice, in the Middle East for its treatment of its own minority citizens:

(2.1) "The stated aims of the Movement are:
… 2. recognising the fundamental rights of the Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality"

This report states this aim without even attempting to justify it.

In fact, such rights are already granted: the Israeli declaration of independence (Israel has no written constitution) says …

THE STATE OF ISRAEL … will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture …

It is racist to pretend that Israeli law does not grant such minority rights (or that minority protection under the law is any worse than eg in Britain).

It would be racist for Methodists to boycott Israel on this spurious ground when they do not in any way assist, not appear to recognise, the "fundamental rights to full equality" of the Coptic Christians in Egypt (about 10% of the population), or of the Christian or Jewish or Baha'i or Ahmadi or homosexual minorities in other Arab or Moslem countries, or of their female majorities.

4. A one-sided view of justice (and mercy):

(3.1) "There are strong arguments to support the case that BDS is not in itself anti-Semitic. … those [Jews] who support some form of BDS say that their motivation for doing so stems from their commitment to justice. In this, they align themselves with Christian supporters of a boycott and those of others faiths or of none."
"Sensitive dialogue is required as together Methodist members seek guidance on how to interpret the call of Micah to “do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God” in this situation."

"Justice" is the only defence this report offers to the charge (which it raises itself) that BDS is racist (apart from the classic "a few Jews agree with us" defence, see below)

Yet the report takes for granted that justice is solely on the Palestinian side.

The report does not consider any injustices suffered by Jewish Israelis …
• the suicide bombings of civilians
• the thousands of rockets solely targeted at civilians
• the innumerable other attempts to kill as many civilians as possible
• the three wars of destruction against Israel started at the Palestinians' request (and the huge loss of life resulting from them)
• the destruction of Jewish holy places
• the attacks on worshippers at Jewish holy places
• the anti-semitism taught in Palestinian schools
• the refusal of the Gaza government [and now of part of the whole Palestinian government] to recognise the right of Israel to exist
• and of course the hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees persecuted and expelled from Arab countries

Nor does it consider injustice sought by the Palestinians …
• the "right" of return which would result in the destruction or absorption of the only Jewish state in the world

The issue of the balance of justice is not even discussed.

Justice for one side only is a contradiction in terms.

This report is blatantly one-sided.

5. Seriously raising the issue of whether BDS is racist, and responding only (apart from its totally unsupported claim of "justice") with the classic excuse "I have a Jewish friend …":

(3.1) "There are strong arguments to support the case that BDS is not in itself anti-Semitic. There are Jews and Jewish organisations that support some form of BDS as well as those that oppose BDS. In their responses to the consultation of the Methodist Church, those who support some form of BDS say that their motivation for doing so stems from their commitment to justice."

This report dishonestly tries to give the impression that pro-BDS Jews are a substantial proportion of the Jewish community. In reality, they are tiny.

In any event, the idea that people of Jewish ancestry cannot be anti-semitic is both ludicrous and contrary to experience.

6. Mentioning Israel's alleged minor breaches of international law while not mentioning the thousands of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Palestinians:

(2.1) "The [BDS] Movement seeks a boycott of Israel “until it meets its obligations under international law”. "

Establishing settlements may well be a breach of international law (last sentence of article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention), but it certainly is not a war crime, or a crime of any sort … the Fourth Geneva Convention lists the crimes it creates (in article 147), and this certainly isn't on the list.

By contrast, each deliberate targeting of civilians by Palestinians is clearly a war crime and a breach of international law.

In particular, the Palestinians have committed dozens of war crimes and breaches of international law by suicide bombings of civilians, and thousands by rockets targeted purely at civilians (and are still committing them, almost daily).

Justice and mercy require that the Palestinians stop trying to kill as many innocent civilians as possible.

This report racistly fails to seek to sanction the Palestinians “until they meet their obligations under international law” not to commit war crimes, but only to sanction the Israelis for their lesser breaches.

Throughout the ages, Christians have found excuses for singling out Jews for persecution.
But modern Christians have recently stopped doing so.
Do Methodists really believe that the Holy Spirit is calling them, to pick up the torch, and to be a light unto the whole of Christendom?

Rich Armbach

Mon, 06/30/2014 - 11:23

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0 points

Will shortly be telling you the real story about these " re emerging concerns"

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