Your View

Anti-Israel petition among Methodists fails

This is a cross post by David from Methodist Preacher

The anti-Israel campaign  within British Methodism is clearly faltering.

An  online petition in support of the Church’s recently adopted official position on Israel has closed after only ten days with just 279 signatories.

This combines with evidence from the south west to show how little enthusiasm among Methodists there is for a full scale vilification of Israel.

Methodist people are not anti-Semitic and many are horrified that the 2010 conference passed a deliberately biased report and resolution attacking Israel.

Despite a campaign on facebook, an email campaign, and the support of an external pressure group, the  number of Methodists signing the petition remained statistically insignificant, no more than 200 out of the British Methodist Church’s 400,000 strong community.

Originator of the petition, Richard Hall, a Methodist Minister in Wales, a widely read and influential semi official blogger claimed “It has served it’s purpose. 279 signatures in less than two weeks. Some will have been dodgy, but that’s the way of petitions.”

Closer inspection of the petition and the signatories show just how ill conceived it was.

Hall’s petition claimed that the plaintiff in a forthcoming court action had described the Methodist Church as racist and anti-Semitic. In fact the plaintiff has been very careful to say that this was not the case, but believes that the conference report, resolution and behaviour  were discriminatory under current legislation and case law.

At least two of the signatories of the ill-fated petition subsequently removed their name, several were anonymous, many were from overseas and some were from members of a tiny British based Jewish organisation critical of Israel. One signatory was actually supportive of the plaintiff. Among those signing was Ben White, author of a scrurilous book on Israel.

Several of the signatories left abusive remarks about the plaintiff.

The failure of this petition is a welcome straw in the wind that British Methodism has not got the appetite for the ill conceived anti-Israel campaign. We should look forward to restoring a healthy and friendly relationship with our Jewish neighbours. Time for a cup of tea and a celebratory Jaffa cake