Scottish Church votes to ignore Israel in campaigns

The Scottish Church will no longer consider the Israeli perspective when campaigning on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, its General Assembly has voted.

Delegates in Edinburgh at the annual conference of Scotland’s largest church, which has over 450,000 members, overwhelmingly voted against a motion to “ensure a proper balance between the Israeli and Palestinian perspectives” at a session on Gaza.

It followed the adoption of a special report and vote instructing the church to lobby the British government to “end the inhumane blockade of Gaza and related violence”. The report suggested the church may stop support for a two-state solution, but also condemned rocket attacks on Israel.

When urged by a delegate to reverse the one-sided approach at last Monday’s assembly meeting of the Church and Society Council, convenor Rev Ian Galloway said: “There could never be a truly balanced view between Israel and Palestine”.

The vote means future reports and resource material produced by the church for its members would not present an Israeli narrative.

A Church of Scotland spokesperson said: “After debate the Assembly agreed overwhelmingly that the [Gaza] report was balanced as it stood. The thrust of the report was not to inform commissioners or congregations about the political explanations of either side but to report on the experiences shared by people living and working in Gaza.”

Last updated: 11:07am, May 31 2012