Skip to comments.ACC Secretary Defends Peace and Justice Report
Posted on 08/04/2005 7:58:13 AM PDT by sionnsar
In an official communiqué issued July 28 on behalf of the Anglican Communion Office 28, secretary general Kenneth Kearon defended the Anglican Peace and Justice Networks (AJPN) report from Jerusalem against charges that it offered a biased and dishonest account of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. He also criticized Jewish leaders in the United Kingdom as ill informed and aggressive in their criticism of the work done by the AJPN.
I have been saddened by much of the response to the debate and resolution on the Palestinian/Israeli conflict at ACC-13 in Nottingham, he wrote, especially among Jewish representatives in Britain. The tone of these responses does little to acknowledge the responsible nature of the debate.
Canon Kearon noted that Anglicans had long been in the vanguard of Christian-Jewish relations, and that he hoped these could be continued in a shared future where recrimination and mutual vilification are things of the past.
Responding to charges that the AJPN report prepared during its visit to Israel was flawed and one-sided, Canon Kearon said the AJPN was a responsible network of the Anglican Communion.
The group met in Israel as guests of local Christians primarily to hear at first hand the experiences of the Holy Land, he said. As well as listening to the Christian community at length, the group met and heard from both Israeli and Palestinian voices for a just resolution to the current conflict, though most voices were Palestinian. The Rev. Canon Brian Grieves, director of Peace and Justice Ministries at the Episcopal Church Center and a member of the AJPN, said the organization relied on local contacts in the Middle East to plan its schedule for the fact-finding trip last fall.
In comments to The Living Church, Professor Irene Lancaster of the Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Manchester disagreed with Canon Kearon. The APJN cant possibly have met representative Jews, she said as the delegation visited Israel during the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. The only Jew named who they interviewed was Mordechai Vanunu.
Mr. Vanunu converted from Judaism to Anglicanism while serving a prison sentence in Israel for revealing that nations atomic weapons secrets. He has lent his support to critics of Israeli government policy.
The AJPN report was a political diatribe based on false history, Prof. Lancaster stated. It compared Israel to Buchenwald concentration camp and stated that the fact that there are Jews living in The Holy Land defiles the land of Jesus.
A number of Episcopal Church leaders have questioned the fairness and conclusions of the report and have asked the Church to step back from a course of action that might harm the Middle East peace process and fuel anti-Semitism.
The Bishop of New York, the Rt. Rev. Mark Sisk, at a press conference at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine on July 21, stated, I strongly oppose the recent resolution passed by the Anglican Consultative Council on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, noting it would harm Christian-Jewish relations and exacerbate the crisis in the Middle East.
Israeli Anglicans have also objected to the report. The rector of Christ Church, Jerusalem, the Rev. Tony Higton, said the APJN report could not be taken seriously when the fact-finding team spent only eight days in the region and did not consult with Israelis about their experience of living with Palestinian-supported terrorism.
The APJN statement loses credibility because it contains very inadequate references to terrorism and its effects, and no reference to the need of the Israelis to defend themselves, Fr. Higton said. He added the Anglican Communion should recognize that the Palestinians experience economic disaster and lack of infrastructure, partly through corruption, injustice and oppression on the part of some of their own leaders.
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