The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has condemned a report produced within the Church of Scotland that denies the Jewish right to the Biblical land of Israel and which urges British and European pressure upon Israel over Jewish residence in Judea and Samaria. The ZOA has called upon the Church of Scotland to reject the report when its General Assembly convenes to consider it next week.
The Church of Scotland 10-page report, entitled, ‘The Inheritance of Abraham,’ calls essentially for economic sanctions and pressure on Israel. The report “urge[s] the UK Government and the European Union to use pressure to stop further expansion of Israeli settlements in the Occupied West Bank.” The Church report also rejects the Jewish claim to its biblical, religious, historic and legal homeland, saying that it does not accept “claims that scripture offers any peoples a privileged claim for possession of a particular territory.”
Quotations from the report:
- [Regarding Biblical promises of the land of Israel to the Jewish people] “They are a way of speaking about how to live under God so that justice and peace reign, the weak and poor are protected, the stranger is included, and all have a share in the community and a contribution to make to it.”
- “The ‘promised land’ in the Bible is not a place, so much as a metaphor of how things ought to be among the people of God. This ‘promised land’ can be found — or built — anywhere.
- “The desire of many in the state of Israel to acquire the land of Palestine for the Jewish people is wrong. The fact that the land is currently being taken by settlement expansion, the separation barrier, house clearance, theft and force makes it doubly wrong to seek biblical sanction for this.
- “There is guilt among Western Christianity about centuries of anti-Semitism that led to discrimination against the Jews, culminating in the total evil of the Holocaust.”
- “Possession of any land is clearly conditional. The question that arises is this: Would the Jewish people today have a fairer claim to the land if they dealt justly with the Palestinians?”
- “… it can be concluded that Christians should not be supporting any claims by Jewish or any other people to an exclusive or even privileged divine right to possess particular territory.”
After a storm of protest from British Jewish organizations and Israel, the Church of Scotland removed the report from its website and made some alterations, including a new explanatory introduction. A statement by the Church also explained that the Church has not changed its “long held position of the rights of Israel to exist … The Church condemns all violence and acts of terrorism where they happen around the world. The Church condemns all things that create a culture of anti-Semitism.” However, the report still retains the passage urging the UK government and the EU to use boycotts and pressure on Israel.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “We condemn utterly this despicable report currently under consideration by the Church of Scotland. It is truly astonishing to see a Christian denomination wish away whole passages of the Bible it says it revers that clearly and unambiguously speak of G-d’s promise of the land of Israel to the Jewish people as an eternal inheritance.
“The call for boycott and pressure upon Israel to stop Jews living in parts of the land of Israel is a disgrace. Jewish residence in Judea and Samaria poses no obstacle to a genuine peace with the Palestinians, should Palestinians be ever ready to conclude one. No peace can require a judenrein Palestinian state. A call for boycott is particularly lacking in justification when Palestinians raise their children to aspire to be suicide bombers and to wage a jihad to obliterate the state of Israel.
“At its General Assembly, the Church of Scotland should repudiate this report, not adopt it. The idea that the Jewish people lack a claim to Israel, that Jews should be actively opposed with boycotts from acquiring and settling the land, and that Jews – unlike any other people, anywhere – hold rights to their own country only conditional on what the Church regards as good behavior, is anti-Semitic and discriminatory.
“The Church has said in recent days that it opposes a culture of anti-Semitism and supports Israel’s right to exist. If that is true, it must reject this report. It will stand condemned of the sins it says it opposes if it does not.”