There has been some discussion below the line about the role of Jane Clements and her soon to be role at the CCJ. While we do not wish to impugn Jane’s integrity and sincere wish to effect the long overdue reform of the CCJ, our man on the street, Burkhardt, brought this to our attention:
Jane Clements was a participant in the Kairos Britain steering group weekend at Hawkstone Hall, that resulted in the Kairos Britain statement, and happily posed with other participants in the group photo. She is therefore, a contributor, but not a signatory of the Kairos Britain statement, which endorses BDS.
She requested that the photograph not be published as, she said, it would “cause her problems” .
As you can see below, it was published.
Make of that what you will.
Thanks for that, Burkhardt. It’s all very interesting, particularly, because in 2012, Jane, along with Joy Barrow (who was, at that time, employed by the Methodist church!) the BoD’s gopher on the Connexial team, collaborated with and encouraged Amy-Jill Levine in her shallow, ill informed, and disingenuous assault on the Methodist church, in particular on the 2010 boycott resolution (Jewish-Christian Relations 02/05/2012) This is all very strange, indeed. We understand that Jane was one of three, who didn’t sign the Kairos Britain document.
The sell out is total and complete. The sell out of Palestinian Christians; the sell out of the people of Palestine generally; the sell out of those Israeli Jews busting a gut to move their country in the direction of justice; the sell out of the many Jews in the UK and world wide supporting them; the sell out of the world wide Methodist family; the sell out of other churches that will badly need positive precedents when the attack dogs of the Board of Deputies come after them; and finally, the sell out of the integrity and independence of the Methodist Church in Britain, and its constitution. All to appease and avoid conflict with the Zealots of that extension of the Israeli Embassy in London and unrepresentative organisation of Zionist extremists, called The Board of Deputies of British Jews.
We have seen how the Board of Deputies secured a veto on theological debate within the Methodist Church. We have seen how they limply allowed their 2013 conference to be hijacked by the Board’s proxy, Bruce Thompson. We have seen how the Board wrecked the Methodist BDS survey with not a murmur of protest or any hint of indignation from the leadership. We have seen how President Gee disappeared the Methodist Liaison Office.
We have seen how President Gee and Doug Swanney hopelessly compromised themselves by accepting a trip to Israel/Palestine, under the supervision of a Board selected agency, to learn how “complicated” it all is. This, when they had in hand, a perfectly good in-house resource (The Methodist Liaison Office), who were only contacted at the last minute) that would have enabled them to fact-find at first hand, without becoming indebted to the thoroughly unscrupulous Board. This may go some way to explain the questionable events that are unfolding as we type.
With heavy hearts we predicted that the 2014 conference would be the location and time of the full and final capitulation. We nervously pointed out that the behaviour of the Methodist leadership was entirely consistent with their being engaged in an exercise with the Board to make sure the proceedings at the 2014 Conference are “BoD friendly”. We hoped and prayed we would be proved spectacularly wrong in this prediction and assertion. Sadly, as it turns out, we are not.
At the 2013 conference, the leadership irresponsibly arranged for the long awaited report on Christian Zionism to be dumped, on “interfaith relations“ grounds, thereby confirming the Board of Deputies’ veto on theological debate in the Church. Instead, a survey was commissioned on the arguments for and against BDS. Naturally, the Board hated this too, and did their very best to discredit the idea and to skew the outcome.
The eventual report on the survey was pretty unremarkable, and is largely a fairly detached summary of arguments contained in responses received. It did not set out to present a judgment on the issues , but to provide a briefing for the Methodist people. The report is to be discussed at 2014 Conference, and Conference will be asked to accept it.
The implication throughout, was that the report would be presented to Conference without judgment on the arguments contained within it.
Naturally, this state of affairs was/is highly unsatisfactory to the Board and the Hasbarafia in general, and there were deafening accusatory squeals and the inevitable references to their “pain“ which , on the face of it, is greater than the pain of Palestinian children, two of whom, on average, are kidnapped every day, usually in the dead of night, transported to a foriegn country in gross contravention of the Geneva Conventions, and treated in ways that should be anathema to all right thinking civilised people.
The Hasbarafia, led by the Board, have persistently sought to bully the Methodist leadership into producing something dismissive of BDS. They just haven’t been able to accept the idea of a simple laying out of the arguments.
It is interesting to note and compare the responses of the Israeli Embassy, the Board, and the execrable Council of
Christians and Jews. We have noted how the Board functions as merely an extension of the Israeli Embassy, ruefully acknowledged by treasurer, Laurence Brass, and how the CCJ is, in turn, an extension of the Board, and how its primary reason for being, is to act as the Board’s gopher in its bullying of the churches.
The responses are well in line with this state of affairs.
”…harmful and divisive and will help neither Israelis or Palestinians move towards peace.”
The Board of Deputies:
“(BDS) doesn’t promote peace it only deepens divisions……….the last thing we need are more ways to prise apart the two national communities , not widen them.We need to find ways to bridge the gaps not widen them”
Did someone forget to tell them about the land grab wall and the apartheid like infrastructure in the territories?
“With the current damage to the peace process we see a return to the pattern of mutual recrimination, which serves neither Palestinians nor Israelis. CCJ believes economic, academic or cultural BDS will serve only to encourage a ‘siege mentality’ amongst Israeli politicians and people. This will hinder rather than build up the mutual trust which is sorely needed to help both parties move towards a just peace.”
“…But its biggest failing ultimately comes down to a false dichotomy: Boycott Israel – or don’t do anything. This is not the real choice facing people who care about the situation facing Israelis and Palestinians today. There is a myriad of excellent projects that bring Israelis and Palestinians together; that model a better future; that challenge leaders to look beyond short-term hurdles and look towards long-term benefits. Those projects need our combined support, not our undignified squabbling. Neither Palestinians nor Israelis need us to import conflict to Britain, they need us to export peace to the Middle East.”
“Unfortunately, the whole process is framed around the implication that there are only binary options available – some kind of sanctions or none. There is no reason to think this is the case. On the contrary, there are many groups on the ground which are actively looking to achieve honest and compassionate reconciliation, without the use of sanctions. These are options we can support here in the UK.”
The two responses are merely regurgitations, from shared crib sheets, of their input to the survey. The Board then go on to play the old broken record about how the two peoples will have to share the land and how “people of good will know there is no future in a Greater Israel or a Greater Palestine,” and how all polls tell us that the consistent preference is for two states.
Once again, they neglect to tell us that this preference is not shared by them, that on January 16th 2011, they declared themselves to be against the idea of two states, at the same time rejecting the idea of concern for ”the welfare of all the people of the region.”
There was a massive back-lash from informed and constructive members of the community, particularly the younger ones. Hannah Weisfeld, the progressive and solution oriented director of Yachad, was prominent in the reaction.
Breathtaking hypocrisy you might think. Hypocrisy and chutzpah is what the Board do best. With scarcely believable gall, they throw out a manipulative and dishonest challenge to the Methodists, designed to stave off BDS discussion and action….
“The challenge is this: If you want peace, go out and make it happen. Build bridges, not boycotts. Don’t divest and divide. Invest in peace and dialogue.”
Needless to say this peace that The State of Israel, its extension, the Board, and its gopher, The Council of
Christians and Jews have in mind, is not what you and we have in mind when we talk about peace.
We envisage peoples living peacefully among each other ,or alongside each other with justice and equality.
What they have in mind is a Roman type peace, a kind of Israeli Pax Romana.
So, the Board’s nauseating broken records such as “export peace don’t import conflict”, is simply part of the Israeli strategy of endless jaw-jaw to fill in and buy the time for the process of the establishment of Pax Israeliana to be completed.
Once the process of the grand larceny of Palestinian land and property is completed to Israel’s satisfaction, once the bulk of the Palestinian population are safely corralled up in urban ghettos, (Jericho, Nablus and Bethlehem are templates), see link below, once Israeli Jews have swarmed over the rest of the land to a satisfactory degree, there will be a Roman style peace guaranteed by Israeli/American military might. A kind of peace, but no justice.
Meanwhile the Israeli Foreign Ministry/Board of Deputies/Council of
Christians and Jews seek to con us into thinking a few joint Jewish/Palestinian sing-alongs by the camp fire is going to stop this process. When did the Methodist leadership become so gullible? If they’re exhausted from dealing with the BoD pre-Conference, think about how exhausted they and their resources will be dealing with the BoD post-Conference? The BoD specialises in the “wearing down” tactic found in the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s hasbara manual. They also specialise in time wasting inter-faith relations based exercises that bring no real bearing on pressuring Israel to change her ways because unlike the other parties in any inter-faith relationship, the BoD bring to the table the Zionist political agenda that has nothing to do with inter-faith relations, what so ever.
During the course of the recent “peace“ negotiations, Netanyahu made the following statements:
“Jerusalem will never be divided or shared but will remain united under Israeli sovereignty.”
“No Israeli will be obliged to give up their home.”
“No Israeli will be left without the protection of The State of Israel.”
That is, there will be no Palestinian capital in Jerusalem; there will be no reduction in the number of illegal settlers, but rather more and more of them; the Israeli Occupation Force will not leave the territories but will stay forever. In other words, Israel has absolutely no intention whatsoever of ending the occupation.
In an ideal world, a world in which the Methodist Church was firmly and decisively led, with the interests of the Methodist people and the people of the world in mind, and the search for the will of God in their hearts, the leadership would have responded with a challenge of their own to the Board of Deputies, along the lines of….
Declare yourselves. What are you for?
Are you for
a) Two states, which would inevitably have borders corresponding to the green line or as near as makes no difference, and Jerusalem, East of the green line, as the capital of Palestine, or
b) The democratising of the de-facto one state that we have today, with all that that implies, universal franchise, universal freedom of movement and settlement etc., and full civil and political equality, or
c) Another several decades of fruitless jaw jaw, to buy time for the Israelis to complete their dispossession of the Palestinians, or
d) Whatever your minders at the Israeli Embassy in London tell you that you are for.
Tell us. The Methodist people and the world want to know.
But rather, the leadership responded with full, complete, and final capitulation.
Rather than simply present the briefing and recommend its acceptance, the Council have accompanied it with the most astonishing resolution. It starts off by inviting Conference to decree that there should be no Notice of Motion or Memorial relating to Israel/Palestine debated at the 2014 Conference. This makes a kind of sense, given the stated purpose of the briefing. However, the resolution goes on to extend this embargo to the 2015 and 2016 Conferences. That is, it asks Conference to place a three year embargo on Notice of Motions and Memorials relating to Israel/Palestine that require “further work or action” !!!!!!
All this is justified on the grounds that Israel/Palestine stuff has put an unbearable strain on finances and resources. This strain is, of course, almost entirely self inflicted. How many man hours have been devoted to listening to the Board hector Methodist officers and staff over four full years? How many hours waiting for phone calls, taking phone calls and returning phone calls? How many hours reading emails from the Board, responding to emails from the Board? How many hours spent in meetings listening to the same broken records? How many hours were spent in Israel being shown by Board selected agencies, how impossibly “complicated” it all is ?
Then, of course, there are the inevitable costs of “doing the wrong thing”, such as allowing Bruce Thompson to pull cheap stunts from the Conference floor including ludicrous threats of lawsuits and denouncements, which we would think he continues to keep alive in furtherance of his Zionist agenda. Then, there is allowing themselves to be terrorised by the Board of Deputies into dropping the Christian Zionist report after three years’ costly work, leading them into the BDS survey, and yet more costly work.
It should be bourne in mind that time and money are no object for the Board, backed as they are by the JLC. They can keep the nonsense up forever and a day. Imagine the time, money, and stress that would have been avoided, had the leadership dealt with the Board in a way that one would expect from such a l respected and independent Church. If they had simply said….
“We are well capable of discerning our Christian duty and conducting our own business, but thank you for your interest.”
It all gets much, much worse.
The resolution goes on to recommend to the Methodist people, how they should spend their time during the embargo period. These recommendations represent a wholesale adoption of the Board perspectives and their language. This, if anything, is the real sell out. One horrified Methodist told us that these parts of the resolution might have been written by the disreputable and discredited Jonathan Arkush. They quite likely were.
Primarily, the concept of BDS is pretty much sidelined.
“The conference while not denying that divestment might have a place……..” (but in line with the Board’s instructions, it doesn’t).
It goes on………….
”Recommends that the Methodist people take proactive action in the region by engaging in projects and programmes that improve livelihoods and encourage greater interaction between divided communities through promoting peace” (but not justice).
There is so much wrong here, it is difficult to know where to start. It is a meaningless piece of rhetoric. In effect, the Methodist people are being invited to collaborate in the establishment of Pax Israeliana.
“ ………that improve livelihoods”
Underlying this, is the racist assumption that while Jews are entitled to dignity and self determination, “inferior” peoples (Arabs), can live on bread alone, though maybe we can arrange for them to have a little more bread. After all, they are not starving to death en masse are they? So what is all the fuss about? The best fed blacks in Africa argument.
The timing of this is very unfortunate for the Methodist Council.
DOES THE METHODIST COUNCIL HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY TO THE NASSAR FAMILY?
During the FODIP led jolly to Israel/Palestine, Methodist leaders (Ruth Gee and Doug Swanney) visited the Tent of Nations, and one Methodist member of the party reported how inspiring it had been. The tent of Nations is the farm of the Palestinian Christian Nassar family. The theft of Palestinian land usually begins with it being declared “State land“ or a “closed military zone” or a “nature reserve”. The stolen land eventually finds its way into the hands of Jewish settlers. Sure enough, the Nassar’s farm has been declared State land. They refuse to leave and also refuses to hate. The farm has become symbolic of, and material to, non-violent resistance.
A week or so ago, 800 (at least) of their fruit trees were destroyed by the Israeli Occupation Force in a gratuitous act of intimidation. This is not an unusual occurrence. Since 1967, close to a million Palestinian olive trees have been destroyed by settlers and the IOF, to provide land for Jewish-only settlements, settlement infrastructure, and as simple calculated harassment. That represents an awful lot of “livelihood”.
Does the Methodist Council really think that the kind of mumbo jumbo in their resolution will impact upon institutional theft and dispossession on this scale, conducted with this cold-eyed focus and determination by the kleptocratic State of Israel ?
What will it take for the Methodist Council to “get it”? Or do they “get it” but have decided that purporting not to, makes for a quieter life ?
Does the Methodist Council think this resolution amounts to standing alongside their fellow Christians in Palestine (their declared policy)? What do they think standing alongside the Nassar family would look like? Daoud Nassar is a guest at this year’s Greenbelt festival, so it is not very far for Ruth Gee and Doug Swanney to go to explain themselves but before they do, they should take a look at Mark Braverman’s blog here. Harriet’s Place would be happy to pay for their tickets and to put in a good word for them at the gate.
“………..between divided communities”
Hello? The communities in the territories are not divided by an evolutionary process or by the choice of people on BOTH sides of the divide. They are divided by decree of The State of Israel. The division is the freaking law, or what passes for law in the territories.
“…… the conference wishes to continue in dialogue with those in Britain who are closely affected by the ongoing conflict.”
Who, in Britain, is closely affected? Those with relatives in the region? Yes,certainly. They don’t however, mean this. They mean the Board of Deputies. How they are closely affected is not explained. Obviously, resources and finances are not so tight as we were led to believe. Just as governments, however strapped, will always find money for war, it seems the Methodists will always find the where-with-all to finance their ludicrous fatal embrace with the Board. What is there to say that couldn’t have been said over the last four years, is anyone’s guess. In reality, it hasn’t been a dialogue at all. Or if it ever was, it isn’t any longer. This resolution makes it clear that the Methodists leaders have been dragged all the way to where the Board of Deputies wanted them. It is game, set, and match for Pax Israeliana.
“…as well as continuing to work with a variety of relevant agencies (including Forum for Discussion on Israel/Palestine (FODIP), Council for Christians and Jews, the Christian Muslim Forum)
No comment, other than to point out the close relationship between FODIP and the CCJ and therefore between both these organisations and the Board. The CCJ is now a mere extension of the Board and the ” founder ” and director of FODIP is Jane Clements, a former CCJ project manager. Jane has now been appointed to replace the lamentable and vindictive David Gifford as CEO of the CCJ. The future for the Methodist Church seems to be to play the role of a football being kicked around by this cosy little triumvirate
Needless to say, the Board and the Hasbarafia generally, are ecstatic. Even the Israeli Embassy have not been able to contain their glee.
The Jewish Chronicle headlines:
METHODIST CHURCH DELAYS BOYCOTT DECISION and explains:
“members will be asked to approve a policy which says that, although divestment from Israel could happen in future, in the meantime they should support projects which promote peace and improve economic conditions in the region.”
The Embassy said:
“We welcome the recognition by the Methodist church that BDS [boycott, divestment, sanctions] activity has nothing to contribute to the region at this time.”
And then with only thinly veiled sarcasm and a big broad smirk:
“We would be pleased to work together to find ways in which the Church can make a positive contribution towards advancing peace.”
The Board gopher David Gifford, CEO of the Council of
Christians and Jews, who disgraced himself irreparably by his role in the CCJ/Board vendetta against Reverend Stephen Sizer, chips in:
“…will afford an opportunity for more listening to the concerns of the UK Jewish Community and engage with new and creative initiatives for mutual understanding and sensitivity.”
That is, “give us time to make sure there is no sitting up in the coffin”.
These responses merely emphasise that they have made the church leadership look naive and indecisive. Moreover, it has all had an extremely negative effect on the reputation of world wide Methodism in Palestine.
The time is long overdue for the Methodist leadership to became much more transparent over their dealings with the Board of Deputies. The Methodist people deserve better.
So what is, if any, the road back for the Methodists? The first step is to rid themselves of any illusions about what and whom they are dealing with. These people are shameless and their sense of entitlement and exceptionalism is total and unshakeable. Then understand that onslaughts from the BoD can only go so far before it reflects back upon them, and their single minded obsession with preventing Israel from bearing the natural consequences of its immorality (and that of anyone complicit with them), becomes apparent to everyone. While it may be painful in the short and medium term, the pain is as nothing, compared to the long term loss of the world’s respect, their own self respect, and Methodist independence. The storm simply has to be weathered.
For more on Israeli settlement expansion read here:
For more on Jonathan Arkush read here:
Comments are enabled.