The Left

Quakers Are True To Their Principles

On a number of occasions, I have publicly questioned how the Quakers – an organisation that is famous for its Peace Testimony – could host meetings with genocidal racist terrorist movements and their supporters.

My conclusion was that Quakers were not sincere in their beliefs, and were hypocrites whose commitment to peace was little more than a passive-aggressive stance. I found it hard to accept that the Quakers could repeatedly rent their rooms to speakers whose politics surpassed the vicious hatred of British fascist groups, without batting an eyelid.

I am now forced to eat my words.

It is very clear from the message below, in response to a query by Mitnaged, that the Quakers do indeed have a consistent principled position on non violence.

I’m sorry for having doubted you.

Dear ….

Thank you for your comments about an event provisionally booked for 9 July. This will not now take place in Friends House. The International Union of Parliamentarians for Palestine have cancelled their booking.

As Friends House Hospitality lettings policy makes clear, the freedom to gather and express diverse opinions is an important principle for Quakers. However, our terms and conditions set out the standards we expect from our lettings customers. Non-violence is central to the Quaker way and we cannot accept speakers whose aims are in serious conflict with Quaker beliefs.

Friends House staff met with representatives of the International Union of Parliamentarians for Palestine. IUPFP were invited to agree a number of points, in particular, that IUPFP does not embrace violence of any kind and that when IUPFP use the words resistance and retaliation, IUPFP are referring only to non violent means of opposing the Occupation.

IUPFP did not feel able to accept the conditions for the meeting and cancelled the booking.

Yours sincerely,

An official announcement is here.