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Dear Anglicans: Please Check Your Own Shtreimels First

The Anglicans are urging their faithful to “educate the church about the impact of illegal settlements” on the West Bank.
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First the good news: The just concluded General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) did not call for a boycott of companies doing business with Israel, as did the United Church of Canada a few weeks before.

Now the bad news: Instead, the ACC urged members to “explore,” “educate,” and “enable awareness” about all the terrible ways in which Israel behaves.

We guess Jews should be grateful. And we’re all for exploration and education. So in the spirit of cooperation, we would like to aid this church to achieve its goals.

● The Anglicans are urging their faithful to “educate the church about the impact of illegal settlements” on the West Bank. We politely urge their faithful to “educate the church” on the illegal occupation of territory now called Canada. Today, the Indigenous people – the original inhabitants of the land – reside on a mere 0.2 percent of Canadian territory. As ACC members become “educated,” they will learn that very few of the Indigenous spoke French or English. They should heed the call of Bishop David Parsons, during the floor debate: “Are we prepared now to call upon all of Canada and all of the provinces to move off of aboriginal land which they have legal entitlement to?” We will applaud the ACC as it deeds back the land on which its churches stand and its members cede their houses to some “refugee” Indigenous. To be practical, they should aim to do it all in a single day. Soon.

● ACC resolution A172 calls for “deeper church-wide awareness of and response to the call of the Kairos Palestine document” which casts the creation of a Jewish state as a theological sin. May we urge “deeper church-wide awareness” that Kairos refuses to condemn Palestinian terror? It strips the Jewish people of any connection to the Holy Land. It rewrites history to place all blame for the Middle East quagmire on Israel. Speaking of awareness, if the ACC is really serious it will question where Kairos Palestine inexorably leads. It will learn that the American Kairos Palestine group’s last “response to the call” explicitly denied the right of existence of a Jewish state of Israel, and embraced the right of the use of terror.

● The resolution calls on ACC members to “explore and challenge theologies and beliefs, such as Christian Zionism, that support the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories,” as well as “theories and beliefs that deny the right of Israel to exist.” We should all explore complex issues, but we wonder why the pro-Israel arguments are called “theologies” while the anti-Israel ones are called “theories.” Will there be ACC members who will have the courage to challenge those who have taken up once again Replacement Theology; who in the zeal to deny Jews any stake at all in the Holy Land – and to counteract the Christian Zionism they hate – are once more preaching that the Jews of the Hebrew Bible have been tossed out and rejected, replaced by the New Jews?

And who among the ACC will educate Rev. Naim Ateek of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center (a Kairos Palestine partner) who calls the Palestinians the new Jesus on the Cross, with Jews once again crucifying the innocent – reviving the theological doctrine of deicide which motivated the murder of untold numbers Jews though the centuries?

Memo to the explorers: Why do Palestinians serially deny the 3,500-year connection of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel? Did Jeremiah preach in Gibraltar? Did Isaiah prophesy in Ireland? Did not Jesus, himself a Jew, walk the length and breadth of the Holy Land?

● Anglicans, according to the resolution, are supposed to unravel “the complexities of economic advocacy measures.” We respectfully urge the ACC to explore and challenge the punitive anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns that help not a single Palestinian; they hurt them and their Jewish neighbors economically. Churches, do you want to help? Reflect on positive investment in the Palestinian economy and in joint Israeli-Palestinian ventures that will not only improve living conditions for Palestinians but also create momentum toward genuine reconciliation and peace

As rabbis, we would be out of character in trying to help our Anglican friends if we did not tell a story. A couple of chassidic newlyweds spent their first Passover with the bride’s family, which was not as well to do as that of the groom. The husband was horrified when he saw, in the soup bowl placed before him, pieces of grain swimming in the hot liquid, apparently turning into forbidden chametz. He screamed about what kind of terrible family this must be and threatened to dissolve the marriage. His wife could not calm him; in time, he agreed to take his grievance to the town rabbi.

After the rabbi heard his tale of woe, the sage asked the newlywed to remove his shtreimel, the round fur hat worn on important occasions by chassidim. The rabbi took it and shook it vigorously. This dislodged many more pieces of grain, left from those the congregation had showered upon him as a blessing for a bountiful future when he had been called up to the Torah before his wedding a week before.

The great Maggid of Jerusalem, Rabbi Shalom Schwadron, wonderfully distilled the moral of the story. Before you criticize others, check your own shtreimel first.

Even if you are Anglican.

About the Author: Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein is director of interfaith affairs for the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Rabbi Abraham Cooper is the associate dean of the Center.


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13 Responses to “Dear Anglicans: Please Check Your Own Shtreimels First”

  1. Ch Hoffman says:

    Anglicans do not wear Streimels. They wear scruffy black fedoras, in the manner of the late MM Schneerson.

  2. So it's not a shtreimel. It's an Englishman criticising shechita when he goes hunting. Something similar.

  3. Geoff McLarney says:

    You would have to follow synod pretty selectively to miss the extensive time given to indigenous justice and reconciliation issues at home. As for the beam in one's own eye, why not urge Israeli political leaders to behave justly, instead of trying to shield them from the consequences of their choices? I haven't met an Anglican who would deny the millenia-old connexion between Jews and the Land of Israel, but I have met zionists of a certain stripe who would deny the existence of a Palestinian people, much less their connection to anything.

    The Revd Ateek's observation is apt: you would think one people that has experienced dispossession, wandering, and the world's spite would have rather more compassion for another in those same shoes.

  4. so you feel justified. Now you can go back ot being anti-semitic. I was concerned you might have to have a conscience.

  5. A Jew-hater rotten irish skunk. Why am I not surprised???

  6. As anglicans leaders have no sins they throw us stones

  7. Benjamin Schonbrun says:

    Well said my friend. Good Shabbos.

  8. Alain Barchichat says:

    You should maybe consider changing your name to another famous Irish name, like McBaloney.

  9. Amy Catherine says:

    Can we please get away from crying "antisemitic" whenever someone disagrees with the policies of the Israeli government?! Hating a people and disagreeing with a government are two extremely different things. Come on people.

  10. Amy Catherine says:

    Yes, as a country and as churches, we horribly wronged our first nations people. But I don't think it's a fair comparison. We acknowledge that what we did was WRONG. Churches and the government have made formal appologies. We're working on reconciliation and land claims. We're not perfect by any stretch. Our first nations communities deal with poverty, addictions, and poor living standards, and that's unacceptable. But again, not the same situation happening present day in Canada and Israel. As a country we are still reeling from the consequences of our actions. It did more than hurt a people, it effect and hurt (and continues to hurt) our entire country. If anything, shouldn't this history lesson rededicate us to fight harder to ensure our mistakes are not repeated by our friends in Israel?

  11. Nour Fadol says:

    I think the situations certainly have similarities here and there historically but of course the bias of this article is allowing for the emphasizing of similarities without looking at all the ways in which the situations differ. I personally find it refreshing that these Churches are encouraging education and awareness of the illegality of the settlements instead of ignoring the many injustices taking place against the Palestinians because it involves the holy land… PS let's catch up soon, I wanna hear about your trip!

  12. Reb Yid says:

    It might be a lot easier for Israel to help the Palis if they weren't intent on committing genocide against the Jewish people.

  13. Mary Carrick says:

    Picture shows how the chosenites want to muzzle all the "goyim".

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