SCoJeC and Board of Deputies respond to Church of Scotland revised report

May 17, 2013

SCoJeC and the Board of Deputies have issued a statement in response to the Church of Scotland's revised report on "The Inheritance of Abraham?".



Mon, 05/20/2013 - 09:01

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the revised report:

this revised report is here

it will be debated on thursday 23rd may (at item 6 of the draft timetable here), in paragraphs 19 and 20 of the "deliverance" at page 2 here, live webcast here

(the original report can still be viewed at

their deliberate re-invention of a well-known racist misquotation is still there

It may well have been a Kirk minister, the Rev Alexander Keith, who coined the phrase "a land without people, for a people without land."

… see for comment

their unsupported accusation that israel deliberately violates human rights in the name of a god-given right is still there

their unsupported accusation that "liberal-democratic values have been violated in immigration, citizenship, education, economic, and most of all in land policies" is still there

a new quotation from mark ellis supports the suggestion that some christians are afraid to cricitise israel for fear of being accused of antisemitism

their allegation of apartheid, unsupported by any evidence or argument other than that "similarities" were "observed" by visiting christians from south africa is still there, qualified only by the added remark that many jews would disagree, balanced by the added remark that those christians "remember the reality of apartheid first hand" …
(the words added in the revised report are in red)
(btw, the cos 2003 report "Theology of Land and Covenant" makes no mention of apartheid or south africa at all)

Church leaders from South Africa, following a visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory in the autumn of 2012,** observed similarities to the concluding years of the apartheid regime in South Africa [13]**. There are many members of the Jewish community in Israel and abroad concerned with injustice in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory who would fundamentally disagree with that description, but it is challenging that those who remember the reality of apartheid first hand and the consequences of international campaigns on their own nation concur with proposals to consider economic and political measures involving boycotts, disinvestment and sanctions against the state of Israel focused on illegal settlements, as the best way of convincing Israeli politicians and voters that what is happening is wrong. They argue that Christians around the world should not contribute in any way to the viability of illegal settlements. This raises particular questions for the Church of Scotland as we seek to respond to the question: “What does the Lord require of you…?”

and, of course, that paragraph's conclusion that the church of scotland should support bds, unsupported by any argument other than that certain south african church leaders think so, is still there

** this is not true … the visit was not in autumn 2012, but in december 2012, and the reference [13] which cleverly gives the impression of supporting the "observed similarities" was written before the visit (2/12/2012)


Tue, 05/21/2013 - 18:00

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the revised deliverance:

the original deliverance (resolutions), at sections 17-23 of the revised report is to be amended by the convenor, see page 30, here (or here)

section 17 ("Refute claims that scripture offers any peoples a privileged claim for possession of a particular territory.") will be omitted

section 18 (about inequality of power, and calling for the end of occupation, and renewal of peace negotiations) will be omitted

sections 19 to 23 will be the same (but renumbered 24 to 28)

the completely new sections of the deliverance are as follows …

19. Condemn acts of terrorism, violence and intimidation whether committed by individuals, organisations or governments.
20. Reaffirm the historic position of the Church of Scotland that Israel is a country which is recognised within the international community of States, with all the rights and responsibilities attendant on that status.
21. Reaffirm the historic commitment of the Church of Scotland to a State of Palestine with the same rights and responsibilities recognised within the international community of States, with all the rights and responsibilities attendant on that status.
22. Reject racism and religious hatred and condemn anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.
23. Support ongoing commitment to dialogue and conversation, with particular concern to make sure that those who are on the margins and whose voices are rarely heard get the opportunity to be listened to, especially Christians who live in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

the objectionable sections, 19-20 (renumbered 24-25) remain:

section 25 calls for the revised report to be considered by each presbytery …

25. Encourage the appropriate committees in Presbyteries to consider the report The Inheritance of Abraham and bring it to the notice of their Presbytery.

and section 24 appears to give the csc (which produced the report) carte blanche to produce further material, and to circulate it without the need for further approval

24. Instruct the Church and Society Council to publicise resources to encourage wide discussion of the report The Inheritance of Abraham and its concluding principles.

can the csc be trusted to produce further "discussion" material when its (revised) report is still so one-sided, and still makes so many accusations unsupported by argument or evidence, including that of apartheid?

this is the start of the broad and winding road of racial hatred

it is on the other side of the road map to peace


Wed, 05/22/2013 - 12:50

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the concluding principles

the "concluding principles" referred to in section 24 are on page 11 of the revised report

· That the current situation is characterised by an inequality in power and therefore reconciliation can only be possible if the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and the blockade of Gaza, are ended.
· The Church of Scotland condemns violence, terrorism and intimidation no matter the perpetrator
· The Church of Scotland affirms the right of Israelis and Palestinians to live within secure and fixed boundaries in states of their own.
· The Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank are illegal under international law. The Church of Scotland, individuals and civil organisations should urge the UK Government and the European Union as a matter of urgency to put pressure on Israel to cease from the expansion of these settlements.
· The Church of Scotland must remain in dialogue and fellowship with ecumenical partners and the UK Jewish, Muslim and other faith communities to support concerns for justice and peace.
· The Church of Scotland should do nothing to promote the viability of the illegal settlements on Palestinian land.
· The Church of Scotland should support projects which prioritise peace-building, poverty alleviation and the Palestinian economy.
· The Church of Scotland rejects racism and religious hatred. We condemn anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. We support initiatives to make Scotland, and the Church of Scotland, a place of welcome and hospitality.
· That human rights of all peoples should be respected, and this should include the right of return and / or compensation for Palestinian refugees.
· That negotiations between the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority about peace with justice must resume at the earliest opportunity and the Church of Scotland should continue to put political pressure on all parties to commence such negotiations, and asking all parties to recognise the inequality in power which characterises this situation.
· That there are safe rights of access to the sacred sites for the main religions in the area.

two "principles" merit particular comment …

i] racism is not only treating people differently when they should be treated the same,

it is also treating people the same when they should be treated differently

racists will condemn one side for minor (or debatable) transgressions in the same words as major and undisputed transgressions on the other side, and then say "how can that be racist? we're being even-handed! "

palestinian terrorists are committing undisputed war crimes (rockets against purely civilian targets on a daily basis), and undisputed murders, but none of this is referred to in the report

instead, the "principle" treats both sides equally, and even treats "violence, terrorism and intimidation" equally (with terrorism listed second!)

this "principle" minimises and sanitises terrorism, and places self-defence against terrorism on an equal footing

ii] the church of scotland calls for compensation (or return) on a blatantly one-sided basis …

"for Palestinian refugees" only, not for the almost equal number of jewish refugees from arab countries

it is un-christian for section 24 to encourage "wide discussion" of such racist "principles"


Wed, 05/22/2013 - 13:25

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i thought that christianity had a prime directive?

or does it not apply to jews and israelis?


Thu, 05/23/2013 - 15:42

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the debate is today:

the report is being debated now as part of item 6 on today's agenda, see here, and broadcast on live webcam, here (4 options: ordinary, iphone/ipad, android, and audio)

no amendments have been tabled relevant to the report, except for the convenor's amendment (above)

there are of course no resolutions (for the complete list, see pages 1-2, here) or amendments tabled on any other area of conflict, or on the persecution of the 8 million egyptian christians or of christians in any other country


Thu, 05/23/2013 - 16:53

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rev sally foster-fulton, the convener of the church and society council (which produced the report), replying to a question, at 15:27, said …

"If you're unfortunate enough to be a Palestinian living in the West Bank, you live in a hellish limbo."

an amendment to delete sections 24 and 25 (about the report), and to "Instruct the Council to engage in further dialogue with the [SCoJeC] with a view to bringing a new report to the General Assembly of 2014" was overwhelmingly defeated


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