Jews in Canada Ask Bishop’s Stand on Anti-jewish Article in Church Organ

The Canadian Jewish Congress today expressed “deep regret and concern” over an anti-Semitic article that appeared in the official publication of the Anglican Church in western Ontario. The CJC called upon the Bishop of the diocese to “clarify” his views on the offensive article, and to state the official viewpoint of the diocese on the issue.

The bishop of the Huron diocese, with headquarters at London, Ontario, is the Right Reverend George Luxton, who is also editor-in-chief of the Huron Church News, the publication in which the article appeared. The article had been written by an Anglican priest in the diocese, the Rev. H.R. Rokeby-Thomas. So far, Bishop Luxton has stated only that the article “does not necessarily represent the views of the diocese.”

The article had questioned the loyalty of all Jews living outside Israel to the countries of their residence; attacked Israel for its “injustice” to Adolf Eichmann; and excused the Nazi leadership of Hitler Germany for its program of anti-Semitism. The Canadian Jewish News, of Toronto, called the article “a sad document of bigotry plus perfidy.”

Today the Canadian Jewish Congress issued its statement under the signatures of Sydney M. Harris, chairman of the National Joint Community Relations Council, and M.W. Gasner, chairman of the CJC central region. The statement read:

“As the central representative body of the Jewish community in the province, the Canadian Jewish Congress feels constrained to comment on an article that appeared in the last issue of the Huron Church News, published in London, Ont., and written by the Rev. H. R. Rokeby-Thomas. The Canadian Jewish Congress expresses its deep regret and concern that such views should appear in an official diocesan organ, thereby seemingly carrying with them the tacit consent and approval of the sponsoring church organization. The views expressed by the writer seem to be dredged out of a medieval arsenal of calumny and abuse, a reservoir of venomous polemic which we thought had been left far behind in this age and in this country.

CANADIAN JEWISH CONGRESS RESENTS SLANDERING JEWS AS ‘ALIENS’

“In this article,” the Canadian Jewish Congress statement pointed out, “Mr. Rokeby-Thomas dares to slander the Jews as ‘aliens’ in our society. The Jewish community of Canada, feels that it has been able to contribute in not insignificant ways to Canadian society, culturally and spiritually, a contribution which has been accorded recognition by leaders in all walks of life and all sectors of Canadian life–including many spiritual and lay leaders of the Anglican Church. Our Jewish community feels that all Canadians of goodwill will join in rejecting forthrightly the ancient and discarded anti-Semitic slanders now revived by Mr. Rokeby-Thomas.

“We have had experience in the past which convinces us that the writer’s episcopal superior–who is also editor of the diocesan monthly–does not feel obliged to give space to any reply or comment on some of the more offensive material that has appeared in the publication. We do know–and it is indeed comforting to us–that the great majority of lay and church colleagues of the writer cannot possibly accept the obscurantist views of Mr. Rokeby-Thomas, Our evidence is the growing mass of opinion in the writings of many communions within the Christian church towards the realignment of the Christian position vis-a-vis the Jews and Judaism.

“We note that the Bishop of Huron has now stated that the article ‘does not necessarily represent the views of the diocese.’ The mere expression of this in these rather inadequate terms does not really clarify the situation nor absolve the bishop of his responsibility to make clear that he personally and as an editor abhors the views expressed. Once having said this, since the article has appeared in its publication and taken a definite position, the question naturally arises: what is the official view of the diocese? The bishop owes at least this clarification to his readers.

“Incidentally the Jewish newspaper referred to did not in our view, exaggerate or go beyond the text of the article. Mr. Rokeby-Thomas’ article was couched in such arrogant terms that so far no comment or reaction has approximated the extremeness of his language.”

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