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Head of Anglican Church gives grant to ‘Zionist organisation’

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby [file photo]
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby [file photo]

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has given grants to an interfaith group accused by critics of being a pro-Israeli, Zionist organisation.

The head of the Anglican Church gave funds to the Council of Christian and Jews (CCJ) for the purpose of organising trips to Israel and the occupied territories.

CCJ said the money from the head of the Anglican Church’s Discretionary Fund “will make a huge difference” and allow the interfaith group to conduct its third study tour across the holy land in May “to hear the perspective of the other”.

Announcing the grant from Welby, the Council expressed joy on Twitter “We are delighted to have received a grant from Justin Welby’s discretionary fund to support our vital interfaith work between Christians and Jews” said the CCJ.

In its 2017 “leadership study tour”, the CCJ said it had “met with religious and political leaders, community activists and organisations” and that the “experiences that the group shared will have a genuine and lasting impact on how Christians and Jews discuss Israel/Palestine issues here in the UK”.

Critics accused Welby of “siding with the oppressor” after alleging that the CCJ is a pro-Israeli, Zionist organisation.

A senior member of the Anglican Church and a former vicar told MEMO that the CCJ is another Zionist organisation. Speaking on condition of anonymity, he explained that the organisation was in fact a “Council of Christians FOR Jews in reality”.

Read: Archbishop of Canterbury reminds UK of its broken promise to Palestinians

Denouncing the CCJ over its claim that it works towards Christian-Jewish harmony, he said that “they never criticise Israel or defend Palestinian Christians”, before accusing his former boss of “siding with the oppressor” and supressing criticism of Zionism.

The nature of CCJ’s work has come under suspicion in light of the persecution of Palestinian Christians by Israel. Last month Connecticut church’s interfaith group was detained by Israel for holding Palestine flag.

Church leaders have also condemned Israel for “systematically” undermining Christianity in the Holy Land. Israel’s attempt to Judaise Jerusalem and erode the city’s Christian and Muslim Palestinian heritage is cited as one of the main reasons for the flight of Christians prompting warnings by the Catholic Patriarchate in Jerusalem that “the flight of Arab Christians from the holy land will turn churches into museums.”

The CCJ does not appear to share the concerns of Christians that are living under the brutality of Israeli occupation. Critics say that the organisation works to soften the image of Israel’s occupation in eyes of the British people.

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