Madness in some Methodists

Polonius:
What is the matter, my lord?
Hamlet:
Between who?
Polonius:
I mean, the matter that you read, my lord.
Hamlet:
Slanders, sir; for the satirical rogue says here that old men
have grey beards, that their faces are wrinkled, their eyes purging
thick amber and plum-tree gum, and that they have a plentiful
lack of wit, together with most weak hams; all which, sir, though
I most powerfully and potently believe, yet I hold it not honesty
to have it thus set down, for yourself, sir, shall grow old as I am, if
like a crab you could go backward.
Polonius:
[Aside] Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.

The Methodist Church of Britain voted to boycott Israeli-produced goods and services from the West Bank.

Stephen Leah – a leader of the proposed Methodist UK boycott stated “I am a Methodist preacher I’m also the chair of the York PSC. I personally would like to have divestment going a little bit further into the full boycott of Israel, but I know how much I can get away with in the churches sometimes. […] Churches are paranoid about being critical of Israel sometimes, they want to be balanced all the time, we must put pressure on church leaders.”

So Leah’s document calls for a boycott of Israeli goods which affect Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, but this is merely a pit-stop for Leah in his quest for a full-scale boycott of Israel proper.”

Comments here from Martin who states “it seems modern Methodists are as prone as other Christians to a dangerous gullibility when it comes to Middle East politics. Their sympathy for the plight of Palestinians may arise from spontaneous Christian compassion, but that same religious outlook tends to divide the world simplistically into villains and victims. Somehow, they are unable to grasp that Israelis under constant threat from neighbours who don’t recognise their right to exist might also be victims. And they fail to see that among the apparently passive ‘victims’ of Gaza, and manipulating their plight and the sympathies of westerners, might be forces whose ideology is deeply hostile to the tolerance and compassion in which Methodists claim to believe. ”

Other insights are here. at the Harry’s Place blog, which includes a link to the statements from Stephen Leah and others.

The Jerusalem Post notes that “Anti-Zionist and anti-Israel activists who support a blanket boycott of Israel were the main sources of the document. They included Israeli-born academics Ilan Pappe and Avi Shlaim; Jeff Halper from the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions; Anglican vicar Stephen Sizer; and Beirut-based journalist Robert Fisk.”

The Jewish Board of Deputies of Britain has an excellent response here to the imbalance, omissions and inaccuracies of the Methodist resolution.

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5 thoughts on “Madness in some Methodists

  1. Melanie Phillips has a very good analysis of the stance of the Anglican Church in England in’Londonistan’. It is probably not much different from that of the Methodists. She writes:

    (p230) “The real motor behind the Church’s engine of Israeli delegitimisation is … replacement theology ..[ie] that all G-d’s promises to the Jews –including the land of Israel — were forfeit because the Jews had denied the diviinity of Christ… When Arab Christians reinterpreted Scripture in order to delegitimise the Jews’ claim to the land of Israel, this kick-started replacement theology, which roared back into the … thinking of the Anglican Church…. The Anglican bishop of Jerusalem … claimed of Palestinian Christians: ‘We are the true Israel’.. Palestinian Christian cleric, Father Naim Ateek…[and his book ‘Justice and Only Justice’ is] a source of systematic vilification of the Jewish state.’ p233: ‘Anglican thinker Colin Chapman [in his book ‘Whose Promised Land’] explicitly delegitimises Israel on theological grounds… and directly attacks Jewish religion, history and identity.’
    p236: ‘In a lecture in 2001 Canon Andrew White observed that Palestinian politics and Christian theology had become inextricably intertwined. The Palestinians were viewed as oppressed and the Church had to fight their oppressor. ‘Who is their oppressor? The State of Israel. Who is Israel? The Jews.”
    And on page 217: [The Church in England has absorbed] much of the Islamist and Arab narrative … thus positioning itself as an unwitting ally of those who would destroy Christianity itself. The result is an astounding silence by the Church about the persecution by Muslims of millions of Christians around the world… in Sudan, Congo, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Lebanon, Somalia, the Phillipines.”

  2. Thanks for your comment, Ruth. I agree that this is an important phenomenon to appreciate. In the blog item, your comments are also reinforced in the Harry’s Place link, which points to the Sabeel Centre in Jerusalem and its offshoot in the UK as a major proponent. Rev Nichola Jones promoted the deligitimisation of Israel using this theological approach in the Methodist meeting. The Harry’s Place link points to a video that shows her in vicious action.

  3. Melanie P and Harry’s Place are daily must-reads!
    Incidentally, Ozi Zion, many thanks for the link to me – it’s much appreciated.
    I have a new post on there, “A Tale of Two Malcolms” (I’m from The Lucky Country myself, though in the UK at present).