Australian Jews blast Christian leaders

Australian Jewish officials have blasted local Christian leaders for a “serious lack of balance” on Israel and the Palestinians.

Executive Council of Australian Jewry president Robert Goot chided 50-plus ecumenical leaders on Wednesday for being “conspicuously silent” on the explicit policies of Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran to eliminate the Jewish state, in a statement they issued as part of an international week of action on Israel and Palestine.

Goot also said the church leaders “lose moral authority” by failing to condemn attacks on Israeli civilians by Palestinian terrorists.

The statement, issued in Canberra by the Australian Heads of Churches at the start of a week of action supported in 17 countries, refers to the “dispossession” of the Palestinians, but ignores the 1947 U.N. resolution to partition Palestine, Goot added.

“It is surprising that a statement by Christian leaders fails to acknowledge that Jews and Christians elsewhere in the Middle East are often persecuted, and their holy sites desecrated, whereas Israel has a proud record of protecting all faiths and their respective holy sites, ” he said. “Most tellingly, the statement entertains the possibility of a so-called one-state solution, which all realistic observers of the Middle East recognize would mean the destruction of Israel.”

The statement, backed by the leaders of the Uniting, Anglican and Catholic churches, as well as other Christian groups, implored the Australian government to “become much more active in the cause of
peace in the Holy Land.” The signatories also appealed to the government to quadruple its aid to the development of Palestine.

The statement was prepared by Archbishop Phillip Aspinall, Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, who incurred the wrath of the Jewish community last year when he slammed Israel’s separation barrier, saying it had “inhumane effects” on Palestinians.

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