EAPPI has stained the Church of England

The General Synod of the Church of England has passed a motion to support the work of the “Ecumenical Accompaniement” programme of EAPPI.

In a recent Sabeel conference entitled “God, Faithfulness and Resistance”, EAPPI volunteers led groups from the Sabeel contingent around Bethlehem.

Sabeel’s leader Naim Ateek infuses antisemitic conspiracy theory with unpleasant theology about Israel, conjuring images of Christ-killers who have “turned Palestine into one huge Golgotha”, and who run their government in a similar way to Herod’s massacre of innocents. The UK Friends of Sabeel group boasts antisemites and terror supporters as patrons.

An EAPPI volunteer beams at how an EAPPI team was warmly greeted by Bethlehem’s mayor Victor Batarseh, who is a supporter and key ally of the terrorist group PFLP.

On a website run by the biographer of the PFLP terrorist hijacker Leila Khaled, Sarah Irving, we see an image of Khaled holding a gun, which an EAPPI volunteer admired enough to send to Irving.

EAPPI has teamed with Mayor Batarseh alongside the antisemitic Atallah Hanna, for a joint Christian event in Bethlehem. Another speaker at this event was Sheikh Taysir Tamimi.

Tamimi still features on the EAPPI website, alongside Hanna, as someone who supports hunger strikes in protest against Israel.

Tamimi thinks Israel spreads AIDS and drugs. In 2009, the Pope walked out of a conference with Tamimi, after the latter accused Israel of slaughtering women, children and the elderly.

EAPPI has not a word of criticism of Tamimi or Hanna, with whom they have previous allied. Rather, EAPPI references Archbishop Hanna positively on the EAPPI website in 2009, and in a 2012 document entitled “Faith Under Occupation” published by EAPPI.

According to reports in popular evangelical magazine Christianity Today, Atallah Hanna supports suicide bombings – a position that drew outrage from the paper. Hanna apparently said this:

As you know, political parties in Palestine agree to the continuation of the intifada, which includes different approaches of struggle. Some freedom fighters adopt martyrdom or suicide bombing, while others opt for other measures. But all these struggles serve the continued intifada for freedom. Therefore, we support all these causes.


We are part of the intifada, so you don’t expect us to keep distance and watch. We are in the struggle, whether it’s martyrdom or any other means, we are part of it.

Hanna has since denied saying these things, although Islam Online claims that he did say these things. Here you can see Hanna ranting about “Satanic” and diabolical Zionism, and promising that Palestine will be free “from the river to the sea”. 

[Ben Cohen adds: Atallah Hanna’s spokesman is — or at least was — Borat lookalike Israel Shamir. At the bottom of this press release, Shamir is described as his press liaison.]

Hanna is an author of the Kairos Palestine document that EAPPI is still supporting.

EAPPI volunteer Richard Goodman held a cartoon competition, encouraging Palestinian children to portray Israel as a dragon, which he adds “needs slaying”, and Palestinians as St. George fighting the dragon.

EAPPI has stained the Church of England, and the bishops voted for it, ignoring the Bishop of Manchester.

Alan A adds:

Here, EAPPI ‘does’ Jewish theology:

To understand the debate among Jews concerning their scriptures, Christians need to consider what it would be like to read the Old Testament books in the order that Jews read them: Torah-Prophets-Writings. The Torah presents the direct words of God to Moses, the Prophets the indirect word of God through inspired men, and the Writings the reflections of Jewish leaders on the Torah and the Prophets. In this narrative, the Torah is clearly preeminent. It not only comes first, but also is said to contain the commandments given by God to Moses for his people.

This is why religious Jews, who are willing to trade land for peace, cannot expect to win this argument by simply quoting the Prophets to the religious Jews, who oppose such a trade. Supporters of giving up land for peace must also find justification for their understanding in the Torah. Moreover, they must combat interpretations in the Talmud that privilege the chosen people, because the Talmud historically is the guiding interpretation of the Torah.

Orthodox and Ultra Orthodox Jews study only the Talmud, because it immerses them in the ancient debates among rabbis as to how Jews are to read and interpret the Torah. These Jews argue there is no need to read the Torah on its own, because it is all in the Talmud. Moreover, how could one properly understand the Torah without the benefit of the commentaries of the rabbis? In Orthodox and Ultra Orthodox yeshivas (seminaries) the Prophets are largely ignored.

It is hardly surprising, therefore, that texts emphasizing “the chosen people” are at the heart of the Orthodox and Ultra Orthodox understanding of God’s commandments. This is why, for these Jews, the idea of giving up land for peace contradicts their basic Jewish identity.

So, that’s the position of EAPPI. The cause of the Middle East conflict is that Jewish theology has gone astray because of Jewish reliance on the Talmud – and the mistaken conclusions that EAPPI claims Jews draw from it – and concomitant failure to adopt the “correct” theology that EAPPI favours in its place. Nothing to do with Palestinian rejectionism or annihilationism.

This is what the Church of England is supporting.

This politics is widespread in the Church of England:

At today’s debate – brought forward because of an adjournment on the Church’s discussions about women bishops – there were three separate votes. Twenty-one bishops backed the motion, three voted against, with 14 abstentions; clergy voted 89 in favour, 21 against, with 44 abstentions; while the lay members of Synod voted 91 in favour, 30 against, with 35 abstentions. An amendment from the Bishop of Manchester, Nigel McCulloch, did not pass.

Note that, just like a corrupt Middle Eastern state seeking to distract from internal issues by kicking out at Israel, the Synod held the vote instead of grappling with its own problems with women bishops.

As Ruth Gledhill put it:

Anti-gay, anti-women and now anti-Israel? Could being a member of CofE get much worse? What the hell to do?

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