Among those who took the opportunity to respond was pro-Israel Nick Gray of the UK-based Christian Middle East Watch (see here).
Now, in an absolute corker of an "open letter" to the Methodist Church's Peter Tidey, American Christian scholar and pro-Israel advocate Dexter Van Zile characterises the survey's fourteen questions as the products of a "kangaroo court" since
'A quick perusal of the questions indicates that the church has already concluded that Israel is solely responsible for the continued existence of the Mideast conflict, and that the Palestinians (and their Arab supporters) bear no responsibility.'
Van Zile goes on:
"Despite my misgivings, I decided to respond to your survey.
.... I am responding as a Christian who has grown disgusted with the monomaniacal focus of so-called peace and human rights activists in the West, who have hijacked church bureaucracies in their campaign to demonize Israel.
Below are my responses to your church's interrogatories.
Question One: What do you understand to be the motivation/inspiration behind the call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions in relation to Israel?
The BDS campaign has, as intended by its organizers, proven to be a powerful vehicle in the effort to enlist people to the demonization and de-legitimization of the Jewish State, which represents the gold standard for human rights in the Middle East.
Israel treats its enemies, dissidents, minorities, and its own citizens with far greater humanity and respect than any other country, regime, or political movement in the region and yet it is the country that is being targeted by BDS activists both inside and outside the Methodist Church in England. Anti-semitism is clearly part of the equation in the BDS movement.
If you doubt that anti-semitism plays a role in this campaign, consider the following:
Saudia Arabia is responsible for broadcasting Wahhabism, a radical form of Islam, to other countries in the world. In addition to oppressing women and minorities, and supporting jihadis who have killed Christians in Syria, the Saudi regime has funded the construction of mosques in North America and Europe whose leaders have made it harder for Muslims to integrate into Western society. (Inhabitants of England may have some knowledge of this problem.)
Iran has oppressed religious and ethnic minorities and supports Hezbollah, an organization that has intentionally murdered civilians throughout the world. It is, by many accounts, pursuing a nuclear weapons program to provide an atomic umbrella to its proxies in Syria and Lebanon.
Syria has been the scene of a deadly civil war where more than 100,000 people have been killed in just over two years. The Assad regime has used poison gas against civilians.
Turkey brutally oppresses Kurds and has refused to accept responsibility for the Armenian Genocide, which resulted in the deaths of 1.5 million people between 1915 and 1922.
Many goods produced in China are manufactured by slave labor. The country oppresses religious and ethnic minorities and has occupied and brutally repressed Tibet.
Moreover, Christians are being ethnically cleansed in Iraq, with hardly a word of protest from their co-religionists in the West, although to be fair, people are coming around on this issue. (Just not the Methodist Church.)
Why is there no BDS campaign targeting these countries? Where is the Methodist outrage over these misdeeds?
Question Two: In your view, what would be the essential elements of any peace agreement in Israel/Palestine?
Personally, I used to think that the Clinton Parameters would bring an end to the conflict. Today I’m not so sure.
The problem we face is that the current crop of Palestinian leaders who have encouraged their people to fight against Israel for the past several decades cannot obtain anything that wasn’t already offered to them previously on a number of occasions.
If they were to accept a peace treaty now that was largely similar to what could have been achieved in 1947, 1948, 68, or at Camp David in 2000, Palestinians would ask: “What was the point of all the suffering we endured over the past several decades? Why did you send us off to war? What did we achieve with the death of our children?”
As a result of this reality, one essential aspect of peace is the departure of the current crop of aged leaders from the Palestinian scene.
Other essential elements of peace include an acknowledgement of Israel as a Jewish state by Palestinian leaders and a repudiation of the anti-Jewish hostility that has animated Palestinian public life for decades (and which has only gotten worse since the Oslo Accords).
A normalization and routinization of daily life for both Israelis and Palestinians would also be necessary. That would require the cessation of rocket and other terror attacks against Israel, which in turn, would allow the reduction of security measures that Palestinians complain about. This is not possible until Palestinian leaders of all stripes abandon their efforts to exercise a veto of Jewish national life in a sovereign state.
Peace will also likely require tolerance for the presence of Jews in the West Bank. The West Bank will not and should not be Judenrein, even if it is part of a Palestinian state. Israel has a 20 percent Arab population. Palestinians will have to tolerate the presence of the other in their state, just as Israel has.
Can the Methodist Church in England encourage Palestinians to accept the Jewish other?...."
This is impressive, highly relevant, stuff from Dexter Van Zile. Read his entire piece here