Category Archives: Human Rights

The Church of England’s Complicity in the Gaza Genocide

“Gaza today has become the moral compass of the world”, insisted the Reverend Dr. Munther Isaac in his 2023 Christmas sermon, entitled, “Christ in the Rubble.” After his sermon went viral, his words were subsequently quoted by UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed.

A short video introduction to the article – viewed 18k times in the first week.

Lamentably, many Christian leaders in the USA and Europe have stood by, silent and complicit, unwilling to criticise Israel for what is increasingly recognised as a genocidal campaign against the Palestinian people. 

This article will analyse the Church of England official statements about Gaza since 7th October 2023, together with criticisms, and provide an assessment of the Church’s moral integrity in its stance on Gaza.

Download the complete article – or continue to read the summary conclusions:

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Southampton PSC: Peace Protest for Palestine

Imagine we are living in a parallel universe. 75 years ago, Britain was defeated in the 2nd World War.  The RAF lost the Battle of Britain. D Day was a disaster. Britain was invaded and then colonised. The majority fled the country and cannot return. Those who survived have moved to the Southampton-Portsmouth Strip. Nearly 3 million people live as refugees in what is the world’s largest open prison, 25 miles long, 5 miles wide. The M27 is a militarised separation barrier. The coastline is patrolled. The ports are derelict. No one can leave. There is no escape. Imports and exports are heavily restricted. We depend on UN aid to survive.  

Our democratically elected civil government has been designated a terrorist organisation. Three months ago, it got much worse. Armed resistance fighters broke out of our enclave. In retaliation, for the last 100 days, Southampton, Fareham, Gosport and Portsmouth have been sieged, invaded and bombed. Day and night. As a result, there are tens of thousands of dead and wounded. 80% of homes have been destroyed or are uninhabitable. The Civic Hall has been demolished. Portsmouth, Solent and Southampton Universities have all been flattened.  The University Hospital, Royal South Hampshire and Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth have been severely damaged and are out of operation. Southampton airport is unusable. Most churches and mosques, shops, schools and community centres have been demolished or are unusable. Mass burials are taking place daily on Southampton Common.

And then, just when we thought it could not get any worse, two million people have been forced to move to a so-called ‘safe zone’ along the Weston Shore, Netley and in Royal Victoria Park. We are living in the open air, in makeshift tents. There is little or no food, no water or electricity. There is a communication blackout. The UN are only allowed to bring in a fraction of the supplies we need to survive. Medical staff are performing operations without anaesthetics. With no sanitation, communicable diseases are rampant. diarrhoea cases surged 66 percent among children. Meningitis, chickenpox, jaundice also reported. Half a million people are literally starving.

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ICAHD Calls for an End to Israeli Genocide Against the Palestinian People

As a member of the ICAHD-UK Executive I am pleased to promote this important statement by ICAHD calling for an end to Israeli genocide against the Palestinian people.

“The term “genocide” was formulated by the Jewish-Polish lawyer Raphael Lemkin against the backdrop of the Holocaust. It was codified as a crime under international law in the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the Genocide Convention). The definition of genocide, as set out in Article 2 of the Convention, is simple and straightforward, its first three elements clearly reflecting Israeli policies and actions towards the Palestinian people since initiating its process of systematic genocide in 1947:

Genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction
in whole or in part.

By itself the ongoing destruction of Gaza and its people is a war crime, far too disproportionate to qualify as mere retaliation for the Hamas attack on Israeli civilians, far too costly in civilian life and property to justify the scale of Israel’s militarily action against Hamas.

Genocide is often not a single event, but rather a series of deliberate events and processes over time whose ultimate intent is to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group. The Indian Wars in America lasted three centuries. If we step back from the war crime that is Israel’s current assault on Gaza to the concerted effort since Israel’s establishment to erase the country of Palestine and its Arab heritage, the picture that emerges is one of genocide, cultural as well as physical. Zionism’s and later Israel’s necessarily violent project to displace the country’s Palestinian population, take its land and replace it with a Jewish one constitutes deliberate destruction of the Palestinian people in part or in whole.

Three events have prompted ICAHD’s call for urgent international action to end Israeli genocide against the Palestinian people: the indiscriminate bombing of the Jabalia refugee camp in Gaza on October 31, 2023, in which hundreds of innocent people – refugees from Israel’s campaign of expulsion in 1948 – were slaughtered in order to assassinate a single Hamas commander; the brutal attacks happening now against Palestinians in the West Bank in which Israeli settlers and soldiers are terrorizing families and emptying whole towns and villages – forced displacement, a crime under the Fourth Geneva Convention; and the statements of genocidal intent emanating from the highest Israeli government and military officials, whether towards the people of Gaza or directed at Palestinians (“the Arabs”) in general, statements that lead us to fear heightened colonization and further genocide if the international community allows Israel free reign to erase the Palestinian people politically, culturally and if need be physically.

The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) calls on the international community – the UN, governments and peoples – to hold Israel accountable for its decades of genocidal colonization. Most urgently we call for isolating and sanctioning Israel until its destruction of Gaza and its people ends, and the violent displacement of Palestinians from their lands and communities by Israeli settlers and soldiers cease.

We call on the International Criminal Court to bring to trial for war crimes the responsible Israeli political and military leaders.

We call on the United Nations to enforce Article 3(e) of the Geneva Convention punishing for “complicity in genocide” the United States, Canada, Europe and other countries contributing to Israeli genocide.”

Read the ICAHD Statement on the ICAHD website here

Greenbelt Festival 2023

It was a delight to attend the 50th anniversary Greenbelt Festival held at Boughton House, near Kettering in August. I was part of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) team sharing a marquee with the Action around Bethlehem Children with Disability (ABCD). During the Bank Holiday weekend, I interviewed several speakers and participants.

Daniel Munayer is the Executive Director of Musalaha, a faith-based organization that teaches, trains and facilitates reconciliation mainly between Israelis and Palestinians from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds, and also international groups, based on biblical principles of reconciliation. Daniel spoke at Greenbelt sponsored by Embrace the Middle East. In this short interview he shares his vision for the future in Palestine. 

Linda Ramsden is the founder and director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions(ICAHD UK) which is dedicated to resisting apartheid and building a shared democracy from the River Joran to the Mediterranean Sea. 

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When a Miscarriage of Justice Happens to a Friend

“When a miscarriage of justice happens to a friend. Sitting talking with a long time friend of mine this week, the Red Dr Stephen Sizer, brought home to me the pain that both Stephen and his wife Joanna have received at the hands of an Ecclesiastical Tribunal by the Church of England, in which they investigated an accusation of antisemitism brought against Stephen by the Jewish Board of Deputies. So this newsletter is going to be a little different to my usual, because I just want to look at this in some depth.I have known Stephen for over forty years, since he was a student. I have followed his growing passion for justice and peace in the Holy Land since those days. I am glad to say based on these many years of experience of him that Stephen is committed to International Law, the Fourth Geneva Convention, and human rights. In my experience Stephen is a gentle but firm peacemaker who lives out the Biblical mandate that all are made in the image of God. I’ve not ever during all our years of friendship and work together witnessed anything in his words or actions that reflects antisemitism. He has worked with Jewish peace activists and Rabbis and won their respect, and also the respect of the Muslim community. He has been a significant witness to the Christian value of peacemaking, and is admired by Middle Eastern Bishops and clergy…

In the Tribunal I was called as a witness. I had never been in a situation like this before and didn’t know what to expect. I had been asked to write an article in advance, but then when they questioned me in the Tribunal they never referred to what I had written at all, but simply referred to something Stephen had done some years back… After Antony Lerman (the expert witness) had spoken there seemed to be no case for Stephen to answer. And yet the Tribunal took 6 months to decide the outcome, keeping Stephen on edge, and then came up with their extraordinary conclusion banning him from ministry for twelve years. The words of criticism against Stephen that came from the Tribunal at that point sounded like it was a totally different Tribunal and completely discounted Antony Lerman’s contribution… I have to ask what the Ecclesiastical Tribunal thought they were doing in bringing this. This Anglican Priest who has served so faithfully for years both in this country and around the world, working with Christians, Jews and Muslims on situations of justice – why was he hung out to dry?…

The central message arising from the tribunal is that the Church has punished Stephen with a twelve year ban – despite Antony Lerman’s dismissal of the new charges and the fact that no evidence was provided to substantiate the charges in the first place. Which makes one wonder why Stephen and Joanna were put through all of this, when the Church are treating him as guilty despite their own “due process” proving otherwise.” Revd Canon Garth Hewitt, Founder Amos Trust.

Read Garth Hewitt’s complete article

Four Throne Rights of God’s Children (Romans 8:1-11)

After losing a disastrous war with France, impoverishing the country and alienating the church, King John finally succeeded… in inciting his Barons to rebel and take control of London.  Holed up in Windsor Castle, he had little choice but to agree to their demands, And so, on 15th June 1215, by the river Thames at Runnymede, King John signed the Great Charter, acknowledging that even the king would in future be subject to the rule of law. For 800 years, Magna Carta has inspired generations of reformers and radicals, statesmen and lawyers not just in Britain but the world over.  In the 17th Century, it was used to thwart attempts by Charles I to raise taxes without Parliament. 

In the 18th Century the American Founding Fathers found inspiration in drafting their Declaration of Independence and Constitution. In the 19th Century reformers invoked Magna Carta against Parliament in defence of the freedom of expression and independence of the press.

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United Against Apartheid: Jerusalem Day

John Wesley preached outdoors because the Church of England denied him a pulpit over his evangelical theology. He could have left the Anglican Church but didn’t. They didn’t want him. His theology was too evangelical. His love was too extravagant. His methods too unorthodox. So they shut him out of churches and pulpits. They could not silence Wesley. Instead he preached in the open air – in fields, markets, and cemeteries and the crowds loved him.

Today it was my privilege to read and expound the scriptures in the open air in Whitehall outside Downing Street before an estimated 15,000+ Jews, Muslims, Christians and those of no faith, all with police protection. It was truly one of the highlights of my ministry. (click on the photo above to watch my presentation). The text of my presentation together with photos and more short videos may be found below.

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