To quote publicity material issued by the church and posted on the NGO's website:
"We are thrilled to announce that His Beatitude Gregory III Laham, the Syrian-born Patriarch of the Church of Antioch, will be the speaker at the Embrace Annual Lecture this year. Patriarch Gregory will be speaking on the role of Christians in Syria and in the Arab world and the challenges they face. The lecture will be chaired by His Eminence Metropolitan Mor Eustathius Matta Roham, Syrian Orthodox Archbishop of Jazirah and Euphrates...."Now, it seems fair to say that in the West the 80-year-old Gregory is not exactly an household name, and information about him, in particular his attitude towards Israel, is seemingly sparse online. Naturally, he, like Archbishop Roham, is centrally concerned with the welfare of Christians in the Near and Middle East, as this article indicates.
However, we might be forgiven for inferring, from some of the snippets of information that appear online, that he is, towards Israel, not the warmest of friends.
Wikipedia (providing footnoted sources for its statements) tells us that
'In December 2010, [he] was quoted by the Lebanon Daily Star as claiming that attacks against Levantine Christians, were part of a “Zionist conspiracy against Islam.” [He] reportedly stated that "All this behavior has nothing to do with Islam... But it is actually a conspiracy planned by Zionism and some Christians with Zionist orientations and it aims at undermining and giving a bad image of Islam.” He further added that media portryal of the attack the Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad was "a conspiracy against Arabs and the pre-dominantly Muslim Arab world that aims at depicting Arabs and Muslims in Arab countries as terrorist and fundamentalist murderers in order to deny them their rights and especially those of the Palestinians.”....'So, will the event in May prove to be an anti-Israel bash? It's futile to jump to conclusions, and we may be in for a pleasant surprise, but if I was a betting person, given that Gregory seems to have form on the issue and given who will or will in all likelihood be present, I'd wager that Israel will come in for its unfair share of attention.
As for the vicar of Virginia Water, who I understand is expected to attend the event, he clearly does not support Israel's right to exist as the sovereign country it is; anyone who still believes that he does, take note of this:
By the way, there's a nice simply-expressed clerical Kiwi rejoinder to Sizer's anti-Israel nonsense here