Church's shame

So now we know where we stand.

As far as the Church of England is concerned, the opinions of the Jewish community - its fears, its concerns and even its hopes - count for nothing. As Vivian Wineman rightly put it after Monday's vote, the Church has simply ridden roughshod over us. Synod's vote to endorse the grotesquely partisan EAPPI shows that it holds decades of interfaith work in contempt.

It has metaphorically stuck two fingers up to the Chief Rabbi and to the Board of Deputies - indeed to the entire community. Quite how those who voted for the motion expect to be able to carry on relations with Jews as if nothing was amiss is a mystery. In that context, the president of the Board of Deputies deserves credit for responding with a statement which makes no attempt to smooth over the damage that the Synod's actions have done to relations between Jews and the Church of England. He has told it exactly as it is - antisemitic overtones and all.

Because no one should be in any doubt about what is going on here. A debate about Israel in which speakers refer to "powerful lobbies", the money supposedly spent by Jews on lobbying, "Jewish sounding names" and the actions of Jews "bringing shame on the memory of victims of the Holocaust" is not a debate about Israel. It is a debate about Jews.

This is, in any case, clear from the Church's focus on Israel and its myopic refusal to spend even a second looking elsewhere in the region at Islamist persecution of Christians - let alone at human rights abuses in North Korea, China or any of the other areas on the planet where Jews cannot be held responsible. But on a day of shame for the Church, perhaps the most extraordinary comment came from the retiring Archbishop of Canterbury in his explicit comparison between the Holocaust and the deprivations of Palestinians crossing at checkpoints.

He appears to have swallowed in its entirety the agenda of the man behind the motion, Rev John Dinnen, who has a record of almost obsessional hatred for Israel. For a supposed intellectual, his approach to this most sensitive of issues has been devoid of real thought.

Last updated: 4:45pm, July 12 2012