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Israeli embassy attacks Methodist report

    The Israeli embassy has attacked a briefing paper produced by the Methodist Church on the case for and against boycotting Israel.

    The document, which makes no recommendations either way, is set to go to the church’s policy-making conference in Birmingham next month.

    But an embassy spokesman said it was “harmful and divisive and will help neither Palestinians’ nor Israelis’ moves towards peace”.

    The report warned that the notion of boycotts contained echoes for Jews of the Nazis in Germany and that implementing it would damage Christian-Jewish relations.

    It also stated that there was “little doubt that BDS [boycott, divestments and sanction] is likely to entrench division.”

    But it noted that for West Bank Palestinians, “every aspect of everyday life is overshadowed by the experience of military occupation”.

    There was “little expectation within the Palestinian community that a continued stress on dialogue to the exclusion of more coercive actions could reverse the trend of the past 20 years.”

    The Board of Deputies criticised the report as flawed for suggesting no alternatives for action other than boycott.

    Board vice-president Jonathan Arkush said: “It is unthinkable that a reputable church would wish to support a policy which, in its own words, ‘entrenches divisions’ in the Middle East.”

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