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06/11/2014 9:30am
Annual Study Day organised by Menorah Synagogue in conjunction with CCJ Manchester.
06/11/2014 8:00pm
Revd Richard Leslie Minister of St. Michael’s Borehamwood will be speaking on Hertsmere Foodbank and other social issues.
10/11/2014 7:30pm
What does it mean to help another? Texts available in advance at the website www.scripturalreasoning.org.
11/11/2014 7:15pm
Philip Rosenberg, Director of Public Affairs for the Board of Deputies of British Jews will give this year’s Roger Hooker Memorial Lecture, which we host together with friends from the Birmingham Council of Faiths.
 

CCJ responds to the Statement on Israel/Palestine programming by Greenbelt

The Council of Christians and Jews welcomes the Statement on Israel/Palestine programming by Greenbelt as a helpful public clarification of its position. It is a matter of public record that CCJ approached Greenbelt in March 2013, raising particular concerns about its invitation to speaker Dr Mark Braverman, to the exclusion of voices which might in turn challenge him and prompt a wider more inclusive response. It is similarly a matter of public record that this offer was turned down, on ideological rather than on pragmatic grounds.

CCJ’s issue was not with Dr Braverman’s politics, or his views on any number of actions by any Israeli regime. Our issue was that, as is clear from his book, Fatal Embrace, he locates his politics in a context where he sees Zionism as a mistake at best and immoral at worst. For Braverman, the roots of Zionism lie in the traditional understanding of the uniqueness of the Jewish people because of their Covenant with God. Now, Jews have been debating what the Covenant means, and what follows from it, for millennia (one might say: since Abraham). But such a sweeping rejection of traditional Jewish teaching – without challenge from other Jewish voices – is unlikely to bring insight.

Sadly, our concerns were only too justified. In his two talks at Greenbelt, Braverman was insistent that, for him, Zionism must logically lead to ethnic cleansing or apartheid. What is more, he made judgements about the soul or disposition of the Jewish people as a whole, saying: ‘my people behind that wall – and I include Jews outside of Israel as well, because the wall is psychological and it is spiritual – have learned to hate’. CCJ suggests, in sorrow not in anger, that the notion of the collective guilt of the whole Jewish people for the actions of some is not a radical position, but the oldest form of Christian anti-Judaism that there is.

In this context, it is unsurprising that he can see no good in mainstream Jewish-Christian dialogue. Thus, while Braverman welcomed moves ‘to purge Christianity of the toxic, sinful anti-Jewishness that had infested the faith’, his judgement was that the interfaith ‘industry’ which seeks to do this ‘has morphed into support for the longest-standing systematic human-rights violation in the world today. ‘ CCJ suggests that the fact that Braverman is led to such untrue hyperbole in his condemnation of Jewish-Christian dialogue as we know it is telling.

We regard these matters as serious, and thus feel compelled to comment. We hope hereby to draw a line. We look forward to a better quality of discussion with a view to offering a broader and deeper range of challenges to all settled positions next year.

We note that Greenbelt is a wide-ranging ‘arts, faith and justice’ festival, with many emphases. Most participants will not have heard Mark Braverman at all. We join with those who celebrated Greenbelt’s 40th anniversary and add our word of congratulations.

 
branches
Chairman's report to 2014 AGM of North London branch.
On 17 September 2014 Staines Branch members enjoyed a presentation by Cherna Crome presented the life of Benno - her father - a Jewish immigrant who, beginning with little, gave outstanding service to the community including the Church
On Sunday 19th October a Rally Against Anti-Semitism that took place in Cathedral Gardens, Manchester in response to the recent surge in Anti-Semitism in the UK, and called for the Jewish community to declare its pride it its faith.
John Campbell, Dean’s Verger at Lincoln Cathedral, based his talk on the many lessons he had learned (often the hard way) in his ministry as a verger.