Canadian Anglicans make moderate progress on Israel/Palestine

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“Like a mighty tortoise moves the church of God!” So the hymn goes (or at least a popular parody of the old hymn).

The ‘Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions’ movement (BDS) seems to be gaining real global traction.

Meanwhile the Anglican Church in Canada has resolved to “educate themselves more deeply” about the Israel/Palestine crisis!

Against the backdrop of history the actions of the European church almost always seem incredibly insipid! Our sisters and brother in South Africa and in Latin America have often been at the forefront of social change, as were our African-American brethren in the US less than a generation ago. But when was the last time a European synod took a courageous stand for justice and peace?

I guess I should be thankful that this very moderate resolution put before the Canadian Anglican synod was actually passed. Certainly if one judges by the comments on The Anglican Journal website there are no shortage of church members who continue to equate opposition to state-sponsored violence in Israel with Antisemitism.

Perhaps that is what keeps us all so timid? Indeed the church does have a dreadful history of Antisemitism. Even so, God help us if our guilt about past sins intimidates us to the point where we remain silent in the face of institutionalised racism and abuse.

Father Dave

Badge of the Anglican Church of Canada

Badge of the Anglican Church of Canada

source: www.anglicanjournal.com…

Anglicans pass hotly debated Palestine – Israel resolution

By Leigh Anne Williams

After a long and passionate debate, the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada meeting in Ottawa has passed a resolution on the issue of peace and justice in Palestine and Israel.

The resolution reiterates the established positions of the church, which “recognize the legitimate aspirations, rights and needs of both Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace with dignity within sovereign and secure borders; condemns the use of all kinds of violence, especially against civilians; calls for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian Territories (West Bank and Gaza); and calls upon Israel, as an occupying power, to recognize the Fourth Geneva Convention, which forbids the transfer and settlement of its citizen in occupied territories. ”

However, it also calls on Canadian Anglicans to take some new steps, including educating themselves more deeply.

The resolution commits the church to act with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and other ecumenical partners to:

  • educate the church about the impact of illegal settlements on the lives of both Palestinians and Israelis; about imported products identified as produced in or related to the illegal settlements and misleadingly labelled as produced in Israel; about the complexities of economic advocacy measures
  • explore and challenge theologies and beliefs, such as Christian Zionism, that support the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories
  • explore and challenge theories and beliefs that deny the right of Israel to exist
  • and strengthen relationships with Canadian Jews and Muslims, to resolutely oppose anti-Semitism, anti-Arab sentiments and Islamophobia.

Debate ranged among members, from some who said the resolution went too far and demonstrated left-wing or anti-Israel bias, to those who said it did not go far enough in addressing the oppression of Palestinians suffering under an apartheid system.

There was also a concern that this resolution followed in the footsteps of a United Church of Canada resolution that called for a boycott of goods produced in the occupied territories that are labelled as Israeli products.  Bishop Michael Ingham of the diocese of New Westminster responded, saying this resolution “calls for nothing approaching that. It calls us to learn more about these products.”

The motion passed with the support of 73 per cent of the almost 300 members.

Another resolution was also passed that invites Anglicans to observe Jerusalem Sunday on the seventh Sunday after Easter. The day will be used to give special attention to the work of the Anglican church in the Holy Land and to take up a special offering as a gift to the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.

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