Sunday, June 26, 2005

How Does A Mainline Church
Decide To Divest From Israel?

The Anglican Church is considering divesting from Israel. I always wonder how it is that a group of thinking people (as I would presume the leaders of a multinational mainline church to be) decide that Israel, the only Democracy in the Middle East, is one country to single out in the entire world for punishment. And of all the real atrocities that are currently going on in the world (Sudan, Congo, North Korea), why is it that they single out Israel for their behavior in a defensive war?

Read the following, from an article in the New York Times, to get an idea of the mechanics that go into such a decision:

LONDON, June 24 - The Anglican Church's international advisory body voted Friday to urge the church to consider withdrawing its investments in companies that support the occupation of Palestinian territories.

By voting to support the divestment measure, the Anglican Consultative Council, the church's most representative advisory group, recommended to its 38 provinces that they support a September 2004 report by the council's Peace and Justice Network.

Before the vote, the Anglican bishop of Jerusalem, Riah Hanna Abu El-Assal, who helped lead the effort, talked about the occupation's effect on Palestinian Christians. He urged council members to support the resolution, saying it would send a strong message of disapproval to Israel.

Canon James Rosenthal, the council's communications director, said the remarks, and those by others, resonated with group members...

Ah, ok, so Bishop Riah Hanna Abu El-Assal spoke to his fellow bishops and explained the occupations effect on the Palestinians. The New York Times doesn't tell us what he said, so let's look at what the Bishop has said about Israel on other occasions:

"Greetings of appreciation to all martyrs that were killed on the Land of Palestine". These were the words used by Riah Abu Asal, the Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem and the Middle East, in the opening of lecture in Ramallah two weeks ago. Bishop Abu Asal added that all martyrs receive eternal life and they "live in the Kingdom of Heaven".

He supported that statement by quoting the Koran verse: "Do not consider those that were killed for the sake of God as dead, but alive with their Lord".

I think what happens here is people think that because a guy calls himself an Anglican minister he is just like every other Anglican minister they've ever seen. But, when have you ever heard an Anglican minister quote the Koran to justify martyrdom in the context of the Middle East conflict?

By doing so, this Anglican minister is supporting people who strap on bomb belts and walk into restaurants and buses where innocent women and children are sitting and detonate themselves, killing and maiming mass amounts of people.

This isn't your grandfather's Anglican minister, is it?

Hat tip: Solomonia