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Israel criticises Christians for peaceful opposition to terror and violence



The Foreign Ministry on Saturday condemned an Anglican resolution urging its member churches to put pressure on companies linked to Israel's activity in the territories, including possibly divesting their money from such businesses.

The Anglican Consultative Council in Nottingham, England voted unanimously Friday for a resolution that suggested the 38 national churches examine their investments to make sure companies in which they have holdings don't support either the occupation or Palestinian violence against innocent Israelis.

Foreign Ministry spokesmen Mark Regev said Israel was troubled by the resolution.

"It is an unfortunate resolution. It is a one-sided resolution. It ignores the realities on the ground," said Regev, adding, "It will not in any way help Palestinians or Israelis or help support reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians."

The resolution praised the American Episcopal Church for vowing to "take appropriate action where it finds that its corporate investments support the occupation of Palestinian lands or violence against innocent Israelis." It said it "commends such a process to other [church] provinces having such investments, to be considered in line with their adopted ethical investment strategies.

The council "encourages investment strategies that support the infrastructure of a future Palestinian state," the resolution said.

Church spokesman James Rosenthal said the vote reflected the council's deep concern about the situation of Palestinian Christians living in the territories. Rosenthal said the council had no specific companies in mind.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spiritual leader of the 77-million member Anglican communion, was present at the meeting and voted for the resolution.

Jewish groups were outraged by the measure.

"Moves towards divestment represent a flawed and disastrous course," said Rabbi Barry Marcus, the spokesman on Israeli issues for Britain's Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks. "They will do nothing to advance the twin causes of security for Israel and statehood for the Palestinians."

Regev also said, though, "On the whole there's been a lot of talk about about divestment, but those who are supporting it haven't had a lot of success."

The council also welcomed a report on the conflict that criticized Israel's conduct and expressed sympathy for "the draconian conditions of the continuing occupation" in which many Palestinians live.

"Israel, with the complicity of the United States, seems determined to flaunt international law," the report said. "It is the occupation in its many facets that foments the violence and fuels the conflict."

Marcus said the report "took a one-sided and subjective view of the situation, and did not reflect the present reality."

The report also urged the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq.


SOURCE

Jerusalem Post, "Israel slams Anglican vote on divestment", 25 June 2005.
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1119666014529

"The Insider" mailing list article, 29 June 2005.

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