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Karen Harradine: Church leaders are a front for Islamists persecuting Christians


The Christian activist organisation, Open Doors, keeps a list of the fifty worldwide places where Christians are persecuted the most. Interestingly, the Palestinian Territories, run by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, are on this list. Christians living there face a severe risk of persecution by Islamists. Unsurprisingly, Israel is not on this list. Islamic extremism is cited as the root cause of the persecution of Christians, especially in the Middle East. Yet Christians are safe and thrive in Israel. So I am curious as to why the Hinde Street Methodist Church decided to build an anti-Israel exhibition on its premises.

The exhibition, called ‘You Cannot Pass – Life Through a Dividing Wall’, is part of the World Council of Churches (WCC) so-called ‘World Week for Peace in Palestine/Israel’. It contains a life-size replica of one of the checkpoints along Israel’s security fence, together with the familiar, but fictitious, narrative of evil Israelis and poor Palestinians.

The exhibition denounces the only country in the Middle East where Christians can live without fear of persecution. The imagined dastardly deeds of we Zionists are displayed to anyone who might stroll past and are tempted to view this anti-Semitic virtue-signalling. Do these Methodists not realise that if Israel were to be destroyed it would then be replaced by yet another Islamist terrorist state in which more Christians would be persecuted?

There is very little counterargument in the exhibition as to why the security fence and its checkpoints are so necessary and how they protect Israeli lives, including Israeli Christians, from Islamic extremists. Anyone with an iota of knowledge can easily dismantle the Islamist propaganda and false arguments displayed in this London church. The security fence was set up in 2000 during the bloody Second Intifada and has radically cut down the number of terrorist attacks on Israel. So why are these Methodists criticising something which saves Christian lives? The exhibition also makes no mention of the  border crossing at Rafah between Gaza and Egypt. As a means to deter Hamas terrorist excursions into the Sinai, Egypt keeps the Rafah checkpoint closed for most of the year – to the detriment of Palestinians.

At a time when anti-Semitism is virulently high in the UK, the organisers of this exhibition have been grossly irresponsible. Displays of malice like this feed Jew-hate and further cement the uneasy feeling that we Jews are increasingly unwelcome in the UK.

This is not the only church carrying out Islamist dirty work in our country. One quick glance at the website of the International Catholic Movement for Peace shows that this anti-Israel propaganda, promoted by the WCC, shows no sign of abating. The WCC has a multi-denominational membership and claims to represent over 500 million Christians worldwide. Their website reads like a propaganda worksheet on the ‘evils of Zionism’. I am always suspicious whenever I see the word ‘peace’ being used by those who shill for the Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.  Experience has taught me that, in this context, peace is a euphemism for the destruction of Israel.  The same logic applies to the bleating about ‘ending the occupation’ – a catchphrase which really means the annihilation of Israel.  The website makes no mention of the true threat to Christians in the Middle East – Islamic extremism – yet devotes pages and pages to bashing the world’s only Jewish state.

Israel is at the forefront of the fight against Islamist terrorism. Given that last year saw unprecedented levels of persecution against Christians, particularity by Islamists, I would have thought that the WCC would prefer to support an ally of Christians rather than excoriate it with lies and half-truths. I find it bizarre that some Christians choose, instead, to align themselves with those who would kill them without a moment’s thought.

WCC groupies, like the Methodist Church, seemingly prefer to satiate themselves in Jew hate. I suspect that one of the reasons is that the WCC adheres to the infamous Kairos Palestine document. This startling proclamation was set up by Palestinian clergy in 2009 and advocates for replacement theology, BDS and the destruction of Israel. Replacement theology is centred around the mistaken belief that Jews no longer have a covenant with God as this has now been bequeathed, instead, to Christians and Muslims. The Kairos Palestine document, through the use of this dishonest theology, is another insidious way to deny Jews their connection to the land of Israel.

Given the increase of anti-Semitism in the UK, the global threat of Islamist terrorism to us all and the horrific fact that 2015 saw contemporary unprecedented levels of persecution of Christians, it is grotesque that the WCC joins in with Islamic fundamentalists in their favourite game of Israel bashing.

The most dangerous part of this game is that the real persecution of Christians is being ignored as clergy indulge themselves in increasingly fashionable Jew hatred. Perhaps attendance in the pews would increase if church leaders stopped acting as a front for Islamists and just grew up. Christians need to speak out against this idiocy and demand that their churches should focus on stopping the appalling persecution of Christians, before it is too late. My people have an old saying – it always starts with the Jews but it never ends with the Jews.

(Image: Day Donaldson)

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Karen Harradine
Karen Harradine
Karen is an anthropologist and freelance journalist. She writes on anti-Semitism, Israel and spirituality. She is @KarenH777on Twitter.

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