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Church stand on Israel


Sir, We write to express our support for the position taken by the Chief Rabbi on the recent motion passed by the General Synod of the Church of England regarding divestment from products which are used by the Israeli Government in the territories (report, Feb 17; letters, Feb 20, 21 and 23).

We know from the lobbying and educational activities of the non-partisan, cross-party “Anglicans for Israel” group that this decision has caused enormous pain to ordinary Anglican worshippers and even more hurt to the Jewish community.

No matter how well meaning, politically motivated boycotts polarise opinion, particularly where there are a variety of causes to which attention could be similarly drawn. The recent AUT educational boycott, though quickly rescinded, had an immediate and destructive impact.

Synod might on reflection want to consider the plight of Palestinian Christians whose right to worship is explicit in Israel, yet becoming increasingly difficult within Palestinian territories, and who view with alarm the success of Hamas. They might be puzzled as to why there has been no similar overt manifestation of concern by the Church against such an explicitly anti-Jewish and anti-Christian movement.

We believe a better Christian witness is to encourage positive engagement with all parties in a difficult and protracted conflict which cries out for tolerance, justice, forgiveness and understanding. Another partial position just adds a further hurdle to peace rather than a bridge.

ALISTAIR BURT, MP
DAVID AMESS, MP
DAVID BURROWES, MP
STEPHEN CRABB, MP
DAVID DAVIES, MP
GREG HANDS, MP
GARY STREETER, MP
ED VAIZEY, MP
ANN WIDDECOMBE, MP
London SW1


 

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