By Mark Tooley
Prominent, radically anti-Israel Episcopalians are urging their denomination to adopt a more aggressive stance towards Israel, including divestment. The Episcopal Church largely has stood back from some of the more stridently negative policies towards Israel adopted by other old-line Protestant denominations. It has avoided serious consideration of anti-Israel divestment. And its officials did not endorse an ecumenical plea with other denominations last October asking the U.S. Congress to reconsider U.S. military aid to Israel, a plea prompting major Jewish groups to cancel scheduled interfaith dialogue with those denominations.
As reported by Episcopal News Service, the anti-Israel “Episcopal Voices of Conscience” drafted a letter dated on Martin Luther King’s birthday as a self-proclaimed “Prophetic Challenge” to their denomination’s executive council. “Just as this church stood with South Africa and Namibia during the dark days of Apartheid, so we recognize that we need to be standing with our sister and brother Palestinians who have endured an Apartheid that Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has described as worse than it was in South Africa,” their plea began. They lavishly quoted from Martin Luther King to justify their “call for justice on the land where Jesus lived his earthly ministry,” ignoring that King himself strongly supported Israel. Interestingly, the “Voices of Conscience” themselves evidently had not yet publicized their letter. So seemingly the Episcopal Church leadership chose to preempt it with their own response.
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