Anger over ‘flawed’ Church Israel report
JEWISH COMMUNAL leaders have expressed concern over a Church of Scotland report marking the centenary of the Balfour Declaration.
The document, entitled Embracing Peace and Working for Justice, includes a resolution condemning “the increased expansion” of settlements on the West Bank, which, it argued, made a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict “increasingly unrealistic”.
The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities (SCoJeC) accused the Church of bias, pointing out that it had failed to condemn “Palestinian terrorism or Hamas’ institutionalised antisemitism”.
SCoJeC said: “We are also concerned that the report explicitly casts doubt on the Church of Scotland’s support for a two-state solution, despite this remaining the agreed policy of the international community, and without any suggestion of what might be a viable alternative.”
SCoJeC also claimed the report, which will be presented to the Church’s general assembly next month, was overreliant on “selective voices” which did not reflect the reality of life in Israel.”
But Ephraim Borowski, the director of SCoJeC, praised the Church for consulting SCoJeC before the report was published.
He said: “Despite our serious reservations, we have to welcome the fact that they sought to consult with the Jewish community and made significant changes to the draft as a result.”
Jonathan Arkush, the president of the Board of Deputies, said the “deeply-flawed” document “betrays the Church’s lack of balance and unconcealed hostility towards Israel”. But the Church said the report explored the implications of the Balfour Declaration and sought “to understand the complex situation in Israel/Palestine” today.
It insisted the document did not indicate a move away from support for a two-state solution.
While the Church had not backed a boycott of Israel, it had heard “compelling arguments both for and against this strategy”.
A spokesman said: “The recommendations clearly state that we are asking all church members to challenge antisemitism wherever it is found and commends all those committed to nonviolence.”
Lord Balfour, the author of the Declaration, was a member of the Church of Scotland.
The general assembly of the Church of Scotland where the controversial document will be presented