Scottish Jews and Christians to heal 'damaged' relationship


Scottish Jews and the Church have announced reconciliation talks, three years after Christian congregants were told they should not support Jewish claims to Israel.

The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (ScoJeC) and Church of Scotland plan discussions leading to a joint resource “with agreed theological terms and references,” ScoJeC has revealed.

The proposed group of around 10 members will meet regularly to discuss issues including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and antisemitism for a year from autumn 2016, before agreeing joint actions.

In 2013, the Church released “The inheritance of Abraham? A report on the ‘promised land’”, telling its members: “Promises about the land of Israel were never intended to be taken literally”.

The report added: “Christians should not be supporting any claims by Jewish or any other people, to an exclusive or even privileged divine right to possess particular territory.

“As long as Zionists think that Jewish people are serving God’s special purpose and that abuses by the state of Israel, however wrong and regrettable, don’t invalidate the Zionist project, they will believe themselves more entitled to the land than the Palestinian people.”

The paper was condemned by ScoJeC and the Board of Deputies as “an outrage to everything that interfaith dialogue stands for. It reads like an Inquisition-era polemic against Jews and Judaism.”

Ephraim Borowski, director of ScoJeC, said: “We very much welcome this initiative to re-establish the close relationship between the Church of Scotland and the Jewish Community and repair the damage caused in recent years.

“We look forward to constructive and productive discussions that will have the lasting legacy of resources that will continue to support better understanding for generations to come.”

Rev Richard Frazer, a senior figure in the Church, said: “Alongside others from within the Church of Scotland, I am looking forward to embarking on this important piece of work together with our colleagues from within the Jewish community.”

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