Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Oh those benighted Anglicans ...

Lord Carey: Ashamed to be an Anglican.
The former archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday he was "ashamed to be an Anglican" following Monday's vote by the Church of England to disinvest from companies whose products are used by the Israeli government in the territories.

The February 6 divestment vote, which was backed by current Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, was "a most regrettable and one-sided statement," Lord Carey said, and one that "ignores the trauma of ordinary Jewish people" in Israel subjected to terrorist attacks.

Lord Carey joined Jewish leaders protesting the vote by the General Synod, the church's legislature, to adopt a "morally responsible investment in the Palestinian occupied territories and, in particular, to disinvest from companies profiting from the illegal occupation, such as Caterpillar Inc., until they change their policies."

The church's call to pressure Caterpillar and other multi-nationals to withdraw from the territories was a "one-eyed" response that "only rebukes one side," Lord Carey said, and displayed the church's "propensity to reduce complex issues to black and white."

Or, he might have added, pink. But that's a whole another tale. This is not to say that the Israeli government is saintly. But this is just, well, knee-jerk. And stupid. Again, it seems to be driven by that propensity to appear righteous and guilt-free, rather than actually engage the issues at hand.


chez said... are right.How would it solve the problem?

assiniboine said...

What's complex about the it? Either one approves the annexation of the entirety of the Palestinian territories by Israel, bit by bit, and the squeezing out of the Palestinians into...well, where should they go? Doesn't matter, really, just so long as they get out of the Land of Israel. (And Benjamin Netanyahu considers that they don't even exist -- seriously -- so how could it be a problem?) Or, surely, the occupation of any of the territories across pre-1967 boundaries of the state of Israel is illegal. I will be the first to agree that the Anglicans can be mightily foolish at times, but the token gesture of divesting oneself of shares in companies whose equipment is used in furtherance of the occupation is not in my view foolish. Maybe quixotic, but that's not necessarily the same thing. Nor does it necessarily indicate antipathy to the state of Israel. Unless one considers that seizing yet more land across the 1967 border and throwing up a wall which keep Palestinian farmers off their land really is only intended to keep suicide bombers out of King George street in Jerusalem.

assiniboine said...


Gashwin said...

Assiniboine: I agree with you to a point. I'm generally very sympathetic to the situation of the Palestinians, and especially the Palestinian Christians. The Shas party is scary, and I wonder how they can even say the kinds of stuff they say and not think of the Shoah. I cringe at the unreflexive "Israel's right all the time" stuff one comes across a lot in the US, especially in Christian circles and especially in conservative Christian circles (and let's not even talk about those who've made the existence of the Ste of Israel into an article of Christian faith!).

However, for the CofE to focus only on one aspect of the situation is, well, simplistic. Without addressing Israel's right to exist? (Whatever one thinks of the fence -- I know John Paul opposed it. I'm ambivalent. It's at least working, it seems, in preventing more suicide bombings.) Or of terrorism and suicide bombings? What is the goal here? To simply make a statement and feel good about oneself? I'm afraid I tend to see a lot of these things in that cynical light. Besides, it's well known that Europe in general tends to be almost as unreflexively pro-Palestinian as the US tends to be the other way.

The issues are complex. Unless one simply wants to say that only one side or the other is in the right. And that will get the peace process nowhere (and it's pretty precarious right now with Sharon's state and Hamas' election).

And I'm afraid that's how I read the CofE statement.

What I wondered was, why did Lord Carey think this was the reason to be ashamed to be an Anglican? :) [That, my dear friend, is said tongue well in cheek ... :)]