‘Wrong to Ebay book link up with ar­rives with Methodists’ hate graf­fiti

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY MAR­CUS DYSCH BY JESSICA ELGOT

AN EX­PERT on Chris­tian-Jewish re­la­tions be­lieves Bri­tish Jews should have cut off all con­tact with the Methodist Church fol­low­ing its adop­tion of an anti-Is­rael pol­icy.

Mal­colm Lowe, a Bi­ble scholar who has lec­tured at the He­brew Univer­sity, crit­i­cised at­tempts by the Jewish com­mu­nity to re­pair re­la­tions fol­low­ing last year’s Methodist con­fer­ence.

At the June 2010 con­fer­ence, del­e­gates voted for a boy­cott of goods from “il­le­gal” Is­raeli West Bank set­tle­ments and pointed to Is­raeli oc­cu­pa­tion as the “key hin­drance” to Mid­dle East peace.

Mr Lowe said ef­forts made to thaw re­la­tions — in­clud­ing a mock Seder or­gan­ised by the Board of Deputies and the Coun­cil for Chris­tians and Jews for del­e­gates at this year’s Methodist con­fer­ence — should not have gone ahead un­til the church re­pealed the pol­icy.

The Board ar­gued that grass­roots work in the past 12 months with “sym­pa­thetic” lo­cal Methodists had iso­lated anti-Zion­ist el­e­ments in the church.

Mr Lowe said the pol­icy “dis­graces the church… If the church does not with­draw the re­port then it con­tin­ues to in­sult the Jewish com­mu­nity.”

Board chief ex­ec­u­tive Jon Ben­jamin said: “We did step back from nor­mal en­gage­ment last year. But we did en­gage with them to deal head on with this pre­cise is­sue.”

PO­LICE ARE in­ves­ti­gat­ing af­ter an­tisemitic graf­fiti and swastikas were dis­cov­ered on an in­voice for books sent from Bri­tain to Is­rael via eBay.

Is­raeli Faith Ro­mano said she was shocked to dis­cover the words “Hitler”, “SS” and “Jude” on an in­voice sent to her son Michael, 24, who lives in Roash Hay’ayin.

The in­voice, which ac­com­pa­nied the book Sumo: From Rite to Sport, was sent from eBay sales com­pany Brit Books, based in Buck­ing­ham.

Ms Ro­mano said: “We are not used to see­ing things like this, liv­ing in Is­rael. It made me feel sick. It was from a sealed en­ve­lope and could not have been tam­pered with. My son couldn’t even touch the book; it was like it was tainted.”

She has com­plained to Brit Books, eBay and the Anti-Defama­tion League in Is­rael.

James Ac­quaroli, op­er­a­tions man­ager for Brit Books, said: “This in­ci­dent is of grave concern to ev­ery­one here and a thor­ough and de­tailed in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion has been on­go­ing since Faith Ro­mano brought the mat­ter to our at­ten­tion. We have now also re­ported the mat­ter to the po­lice.”

An eBay spokesper­son said: “This in­ci­dent is ex­tremely re­gret­table and we are look­ing in to it.”

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