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June 04, 2013

Malcolm Lowe Highlights Church of Scotland's Anti-Zionism

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New Testament Scholar Malcolm Lowe, a resident of Jerusalem, has been keeping tabs on the anti-Zionist leanings of Palestinian Christians for quite some time.

In a recent piece published in the Gatestone Institute, Lowe turns his attention to the Church of Scotland. In a piece published on June 4, Lowe dismantles (or rather, demolishes) The Inheritance of Abraham?, an ugly, supersessionist diatribe issued by the denomination last month.

After engaging the text on theological and scriptural grounds, Lowe also addresses other problems with the text. He writes:

The Inheritance of Abraham? only makes a pretence of being a theological document; its real purpose is to mobilize Scots for a series of political aims. Apart from some window-dressing, such as rejection of anti-Semitism and terrorism and admitting "that Israel is a country which is recognised within the international community of States," all of the Kirk's demands could have been written in Ramallah by the Palestinian Authority. Many of them consist of urging "the UK Government and the European Union" to do something. Here the Kirk is deluding itself. Whether in the UK or in Europe, today governments pay no attention whatsoever to the opinion of churches.

The Kirk's aims also include demands that ignore reality. It claims, for instance, that "the current situation is characterised by an inequality in power and therefore reconciliation can only be possible if the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and the blockade of Gaza, are ended." Then it urges "the UK Government and the European Union to use pressure to stop further expansion of in Israeli settlements and remove existing illegal settlements in the Occupied West Bank" ("of in" as in the original).

There might seem to be an oddity here: "East Jerusalem" is missing in the second sentence. But actually it makes no difference. The large new Israeli housing estates that have been built in Jerusalem since 1967 are not in East Jerusalem but in the north and south of Jerusalem in what was previously the West Bank of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. This is because Jerusalem lies on a mountain ridge that runs from north to south, so there is room for expansion only in those directions. Like most people outside Israel, the Kirk has no idea of the geographic reality because of the misleading chatter in the media about "Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem."

Anyway, the upshot is that the Kirk demands the removal of 40% of the Jewish population of Jerusalem, namely, the Jews who now live north and south of the ceasefire lines of 1949-1967. In other words, the Jewish majority in Jerusalem, which has existed for about 150 years, should be changed instantaneously into an Arab majority.

Obviously, not just Israel, but also no European or US government, could take that demand seriously. For some two decades now, the tacit understanding of those governments has been that Israel and the Palestinians should agree on land swaps that give the Palestinians the same amount of territory, but place all but scattered smaller Jewish settlements within the final borders of Israel. In April 2013, the Arab League itself indicated its openness to the idea of land swaps. So the Kirk has aligned itself with those Palestinian hardliners who are furious with the Arab League's demonstration of flexibility.

Read the whole thing.

Posted by dvz at June 4, 2013 01:15 PM

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