When a Methodist church in central London decided to hold a small exhibition about life for Palestinians under Israeli occupation, its members probably did not expect to be smeared as antisemites in the pages of The Times.
Yet that is precisely what happened to the members of Hinde Street Methodist church in Marylebone, in response to its “You cannot pass today” event, held as part of an annual “World Week for Peace in Palestine/Israel”. Read more
In 2012, then-Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren penned an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal in which he claimed that “Christians in [Gaza and the West Bank] suffer the same plight as their co-religionists throughout the region.”
While the diplomat was looking to capitalise on more recent developments in the Middle East – like Netanyahu did at the UN, with his “Hamas is ISIS” mantra – Oren’s claim that Christian Palestinians are being driven out by Muslims is a familiar one. Read more
The Bishop of Manchester recently warned of an increase in anti-Semitism as a result of a “backlash from Gaza”, in remarks reported in this paper. The week before, Paul Richardson had also written (Jan 23) of how Israel’s attack on Gaza led to attacks on synagogues in Britain and Europe”.
Unfortunately, these and other articles that have appeared in CEN since Israel launched its operation at the end of December have not helped to either clarify the link between Gaza and anti-Semitism at home, nor to foster a serious understanding about events in Israel/Palestine and the Western church’s role. Read more
EVENTS in the Gaza Strip are so fast-moving that, when you read this, the statistics will be outdated. As a surgeon in Gaza City commented, there is simply “too much happening for the media to cover”. But, though it is difficult to convey the impact, it is possible to give an idea.
At the time of writing, about 900 Palestinians have been killed and more than 3500 injured: more than half of the casualties are civilians, and as many as one in four of the victims is a child. Despite its statements that it is aiming at only “terrorist” targets, the Israeli military has hit blocks of flats, refugee camps, passing cars, a market place, mosques, a university, clinics and ambulances, schools, harbours, and even a bird farm. The infrastructure of normal life has been obliterated in a territory the size of a decent-sized European city and already reeling from a siege and Israeli policies of isolation that go back about 20 years. Government ministries have been destroyed, and access to water, electricity, and basic foods has been severely affected. This week, Israel is being accused of war crimes in the Gaza Strip by agencies such as the United Nations, the Red Cross, and international and local human-rights groups. Read more
As the 60th anniversary of the creation of the state of Israel approaches, Western church leaders are putting their names to a historic joint declaration calling for a just peace in Palestine/Israel. Recognising that for many Israelis and Jews around the world, this landmark is a cause for joyful celebration, the declaration goes on to recognise that Palestinians will mark the same occasion by remembering 60 years since the Nakba (Catastrophe). Furthermore, for the Palestinians: Read more
Despite the continued strength and vitality of the Christian Zionist lobby in America, in the last few months there have been signs that it is also amongst the church that significant steps are being taken to pressurise Israel into compliance with international standards, including symbolically-loaded methods such as divestment, boycotts and sanctions. Read more