What Motivates the Methodist Church’s Attacks on Israel?

Sept. 22 2016

An exhibition currently at the Hinde Street Methodist Church in London is meant to replicate Israeli military checkpoints in the West Bank. Tom Wilson, who was raised a Methodist, wonders why the church chooses to focus its attention on the Jewish state:

There is something deeply disturbing about people who are more troubled by the security put in place to prevent terrorism than they are by the terrorism itself.

It’s all the more disturbing that Hinde Street Methodists appear to have singled out Israeli Jews as being uniquely undeserving of being protected from terrorism. The church’s website may feature a declaration about opposing discrimination, but where the welfare of Israelis is concerned, it seems the church does discriminate. There is no shortage of conflict zones around the world where barriers and checkpoints have been set up. . . . Might [any of these] not be a subject of interest if the Methodists of Hinde Street have genuine humanitarian concerns?

But what if this has nothing to do with humanitarian concerns at all? What if this is about something far uglier within the Methodist movement? . . .

In 2010 the Methodists singled out Israel for boycott action. . . . Reverend Nicola Jones, who proposed the motion, supported her call for boycotts by dabbling in a discussion about Jewish chosenness (never a good sign) before going on to promote the supersessionist idea of a “new covenant.” She then completed her speech by remarking that “God is not a racist God, with favorites.” The implication was clear. The Jews and their religion are racist, with belief in a racist God, and as such they should be punished with boycotts. It was the age-old basis for the worst form of Christian anti-Semitism being revisited.

There is no getting away from the fact that John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, was an outspoken anti-Semite. . . . During the German occupation of the Channel Islands, a local Methodist minister called John Leale collaborated enthusiastically with the Nazis by disclosing the names of the Islands’ Jewish residents. Given that history, you might have thought the Methodists would show a little more humility on the subject. Instead, one of the members of clergy speaking at the 2010 conference accused Jews of using the Holocaust as a “Zionist tool.”

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More about: Anti-Semitism, Christianity, Israel & Zionism, West Bank, World War II

Palestinian Leaders Fight Economic Growth

Jan. 15 2019

This month, a new shopping mall opened in northeastern Jerusalem, easily accessible to most of the city’s Arab residents. Rami Levy, the supermarket magnate who owns the mall, already employs some 2,000 Israeli Arabs and Palestinians at his other stores, and the mall will no doubt bring more jobs to Arab Jerusalemites. But the leaders of the Palestinian Authority (PA) are railing against it, and one newspaper calls its opening “an economic catastrophe [nakba].” Bassam Tawil writes:

For [the PA president] Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah officials . . . the image of Palestinians and Jews working in harmony is loathsome. . . . Instead of welcoming the inauguration of the shopping mall for providing job opportunities to dozens of Palestinians and lower prices [to consumers], Fatah officials are taking about an Israeli plan to “undermine” the Palestinian economy. . . . The hundreds of Palestinians who flooded the new mall on its first day, however, seem to disagree with the grim picture painted by [these officials]. . . .

The campaign of incitement against Levy’s shopping mall began several months ago, as it was being built, and has continued until today. Now that the campaign has failed to prevent the opening of the mall, Fatah and its followers have turned to outright threats and violence. The threats are being directed toward Palestinian shoppers and Palestinian merchants who rented space in the new mall. On the day the mall was opened, Palestinians threw a number of firebombs at the compound, [which] could have injured or killed Palestinians. The [bomb-throwers], who are believed to be affiliated with Fatah, would rather see their own people dead than having fun or buying attractively-priced products at an Israeli mall.

By spearheading this campaign of incitement and intimidation, Abbas’s Fatah is again showing its true colors. How is it possible to imagine that Abbas or any of his Fatah lieutenants would ever make peace with Israel when they cannot even tolerate the idea of Palestinians and Jews working together for a simple common good? If a Palestinian who buys Israeli milk is a traitor in the eyes of Fatah, it is not difficult to imagine the fate of any Palestinian who would dare to discuss compromise with Israel.

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More about: East Jerusalem, Israeli Arabs, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian economy