B'nai B'rith World Center co-sponsors consultation on Mainline Protestant Churches and the State of Israel
On Nov. 5-8 the B'nai B'rith World Center in Jerusalem co-sponsored a consultation with twenty Christian pastors, laymen, activists and intellectuals from the Anglican, Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Dutch Reform, United Church of Canada and other Christian denominations to discuss anti-Israel attitudes that have infused Mainline Protestant Churches over the past 20 years or more.
The consultation was co-sponsored by the Ecumenical Theological Research Fraternity as part of the activities of the joint World Center-Ecumenical Fraternity "Liaison Committee" forum.
The purpose of the consultation, which has been in the planning for three years, is to create a bridge of understanding between the State of Israel and these denominations and affect the biased positions they have adopted regarding the Israel-Palestinian conflict, in consultation with individuals who have shown their support for Israel in the past.
The participants are currently formulating a joint concluding declaration as a point of departure for future activities. The consultation took place at a significant juncture in the storied relationship between the Jewish community and the Mainline Protestant Churches, just three weeks after seven U.S. leading Jewish organizations – including B’nai B’rith International – canceled a long-planned meeting of a joint dialogue with representatives of these churches in the United States after leaders of their denominations sent a letter to Congress accusing Israel of war crimes and calling for an end to U.S. military aid to Israel. B’nai B’rith International is co-chair of that dialogue.
Participants in the consultation represent churches, movements and institutions in the U.S., Canada, Finland, Norway, the U.K., Uganda, Germany and Holland.
The opening session of the consultation included a keynote address by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Chancellor and Founder of the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation on “The State of Israel as the Fundamental Component in Jewish-Christian Relations Today”. In a brilliant speech, Rabbi Riskin said that Jews and Christians should focus on many things that are common to their religions, particularly teachings about the god of love, morality and peace. “What unites us is far more important than what divides us, especially against fundamentalist Islam whose god is a god of power, not love, and who preaches jihad and war. Islam does not have to be like that, and in the far past it was not. Wahabi Islam that has taken over the Middle East is not monotheism but mono-Satanism. We have to have a united voice that talks about a god of love; then perhaps, with Jews and Christians united in this mission, we can teach it to the world and give strength to the moderate Moslems to join us.” Rabbi Riskin noted that Bethlehem has become a ghost-town for Christians today after most of them were killed or banished.
In his response, Rev. Paul Wilkinson, Ph.D., Associate Minister, Hazel Grove Full Gospel Church, England - a small pro-Israel church - said: “Today there is a propaganda campaign being waged by the Palestinian Authority, the Islamic world and by the Protestant church, including the evangelical church, not only propagating replacement theology and its new manifestations, but the Islamic world is now claiming Jesus for itself – a Jesus of Islam who is coming to destroy every Jew on earth. That is the eschatological end-times teachings of Islam. But there are Christians who know a different Jesus, read a different bible, and understand Israel in a completely different way. The big lie is Christian Palestiniaism, the anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian crusade going on in the church today that will say from one corner of its mouth “we love the Jewish people” and from the other corner of its mouth “we hate Israel.” That is not possible. You cannot love the Jewish people and hate Israel. I am completely pessimistic about our ability to overturn 2000 years of erroneous theology that has manifested itself in all kinds of diatribes and anti-Semitic actions. A Goliath of replacement theology and Christian Palestinianism, taunts, goads, accuses and condemns Israel and those Christians who stand with Israel. That Goliath cannot be felled with a stone and a sling as in the times of King David, because the problem is a spiritual one.”
The consultation included additional sessions on "The Case for Israel", "The Conspiracy Against Israel" and the plight of Christians in the Middle East. Presenters included Israeli academics, legal experts, diplomats and activists. The group also enjoyed an audience with the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem and a presentation by the Custos of the Holy Land, toured the Old City of Jerusalem and Christian sites around the Sea of Galilee, and visited the Neighborhood League Jerusalem youth co-existence project.
News of the event was carried in The Jerusalem Post, The Times of Israel, Arutz 7 , Makor Rishon and The Algemeiner.
November 8, 2012, 6:30 - 8:00 PM
B'nai B'rith International Headquarters
2020 K St NW
Washington, DC 20006
Support those affected in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast from Hurricane Sandy. Join B’nai B’rith at our international headquarters for an evening reception benefiting the B'nai B'rith Center for Community Action (CCA). B’nai B’rith has been supporting victims of disasters since 1868, when it responded to the devastating flood that crippled Baltimore.
The program will include a special exhibit and viewing featuring the works of local artists Lisa K. Rosenstein and Lauren Kotkin, who will be here to meet you and discuss their works. “Life is chaotic, complex, noisy, and at times painfully full” says Rosenstein. Her work uses nothing but white paint and found objects to create a Zen-like space for contemplation. Kotkin is an artist and exhibits and volunteers for Artomatic, an annual month-long art festival in DC.
Also on view will be highlights from B'nai B'rith's collection of Judaica.
Cost: YPN Members: $15
> Register Online
Washington artists Lisa K. Rosenstein and Lauren Kotkin have exhibited locally and throughout the United States. Rosenstein’s serene multi-media works are intended to induce a quiet, Zen-like state in the viewer. Lauren Kotkin’s photographs of Prague’s mosaic sidewalks inspired her new series of collages, which reveals what is “underfoot... yet unnoticed.”
Artwork will be available for purchase, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting CCA. Your registration fee will also support the B’nai B’rith International Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Fund.
The B’nai B’rith Center for Community Action produces and supports national programs such as B’nai B’rith Cares for Kids and the B’nai B’rith Disaster Relief Program, as well as community programs such as local volunteer activities at shelters, hospitals, and more.
POSTPONED DUE TO HURRICANE SANDY AND THE NOR'EASTER SNOW STORM
Join young professionals in the area for happy hour and free appetizers. Meet new friends and learn about the new Jewish singles group Novat (for ages 23-33).
Thursday, November 8, 2012, 5:00 - 7:00 PM
The Stage House Tavern
366 Park Avenue
Scotch Plains, N.J. 07076
> Contact Danielle Ross to RSVP or if you have any questions or join the Novat Facebook Group.
> Download the event flyer.
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