A Christian group has hit back at the London church which erected a controversial replica of the Israeli security wall in its grounds.
Organisers of the “Bethlehem Unwrapped” festival at St James’s Church in Piccadilly said the wall had been built to highlight Israeli treatment of Palestinian Christians.
But the Israeli embassy criticised it as an attempt to “incite against Israel”.
This week, the pro-Israel Christians for Zion group held a meeting at the church to promote “correct teaching regarding Israel and the right to defend her own citizens”.
Pastor Mike Fryer said by erecting the wall, St James’s “chose to vilify Israel. “What we’re trying to do is not only bring about more balance, but actual factual information regarding the security fence.
"And what better place to do it than at St James?” Pastor Fryer said he had been concerned the church’s hierarchy would cancel the event if they had been aware of its purpose but the booking agent did not inquire.
“If the leadership knew, we probably wouldn’t have been able to get the booking,” Pastor Fryer said.
The keynote speaker at the event was Colonel Eran Lerman, an Israeli deputy national security adviser and a high-ranking officer in the IDF’s military intelligence unit.
Colonel Lerman told the audience of about 70 or 80 that: “Good fences make good neighbours. Those who speak of [Israeli] ‘colonialism’ and ‘apartheid’ do a big disservice to the Palestinian people.
No representative from St James’s Church was available for comment.