I have just spent a weekend at Lichfield cathedral for a conference “on the Israel/Palestine Conflict and the prospect of peace”. And what a weekend it was! A naïve Dean, antisemitism, conspiracy theories, global control, blood sucking Jews, child kidnappers, Arabs in 100ad. and of course, Jesus the Palestinian.

Lichfield CathedralThe Cathedral

Lichfield Cathedral is breath-taking. A Gothic structure that dominates the local horizon, the unique fixture of the three spires can be seen long before signposts welcome you to the city. The current masterpiece was started in 1195. The work was to take over a hundred years to complete.

Just 5 years before this work began there had been brutal massacres of Jewish people in London and York in 1190. As Lichfield Cathedral grew and began to dominate its surroundings, persecution of Jews grew as a fever and swept through England.  The Nave was started in 1260, just as the Jewries in places such as London, Canterbury and Winchester were looted.

Long before the last bricks were placed on the ‘Lady of the Chapel’ in 1330, the entire Jewish community had been dispossessed and expelled from England.

History is a major passion of mine. The placing of events into perspective and context. So I wonder what a cathedral such as Lichfield would have looked like to Jews in the 13th century? As they saw the cathedral grow, as they felt the persecution begin to strangle their livelihoods and freedoms, did one come to symbolise the other? How terrifying to the Jews then, a display of power such as Lichfield Cathedral must have been.

I personally grew up in a different England. We had jumped almost 700 years since the expulsion, 300 years since the return of Jews to these islands. As a young adult I visited cathedrals as places of beauty. Stunning buildings of history that were to be cherished and adored.  National treasures.

The church speaks

lichI had not been to Lichfield before. There had recently been an unsavoury anti-Israel exhibit at Hinde St Methodist church that had drawn much anger. I understand that the Church desires to help when it sees suffering.  When this suffering is being registered in the birthplace of Christianity, that urge becomes an irresistible compulsion. With this I have no quarrel. However there remains a gulf between charity and pointing a finger of blame.  One requires compassion, the other reminds us of darker days in Christian history.

Following the Hinde Street incident, many voices were heard from within the church community that denounced the exhibition. Former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord George Carey criticised the stunt as ‘demonising and singling out Israel’ in its defensive fight against terrorism.

In light of rising Jew hatred in the UK, the current Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby recently called antisemitism ‘an insidious evil’. He remarked that it “latches onto a variety of different issues” including discourse about Israel. Given what was about to occur to me personally in Lichfield, his reference to the conspiracy, “the perverted and absurd argument that a small group runs or plots against our society and manipulates international affairs” is particularly poignant.

The Lichfield Cathedral event

Encouragingly, with one eye on the event in the cathedral, the Bishop of Lichfield Michael Ipgrave also delivered a statement on antisemitism.   This an extract:

“To me there seems no question that denying the right of Israel to exist, failing to take seriously the claim of its citizens to security and recognition, viewing the complex situation in the Holy Land as an unparalleled example of injustice when it is fact surrounded by egregious instances of oppression and unsettlement, adopting a one-sided view which fails to recognise the legitimate interests and real anxieties of all sides – all these can be manifestations of, or excuses for, real antisemitism.”

If this is what he truly lichfield speakersbelieves, he will be absolutely horrified to hear what was relayed inside the walls of his cathedral.

I had little doubt I was walking into a hate-festival. One of the ‘secrets’ of such an event is that the range of speakers is always skewed.  People such as Ilan Pappe see sharing a stage with Zionists as ‘normalisation’.  Jewish self determination, the right of a ‘Jewish home’, these are positions too ‘dirty’ for anti-Israel activists to accommodate. Therefore if Pappe is present, you know their views have been ideologically protected by the structure of the event itself. The building has been cleansed of all support for the Jewish national movement.

If Jewish Israelis are present, they must be those that come bearing 1000 apologies for ‘Israeli crimes’. Thus reinforcing the imagery of Israel the oppressor.  (See Daphne Anson for a breakdown and analysis of the speakers).

So an event such as this has little choice. The Dean of Lichfield, Adrian Dorber, an anti-Israel activist, was only ever going to set up this event one way.  Charity, assisting in education or health or infrastructure, these can be titled as ‘pro-Palestinian’ actions. Instead we are faced with a carefully constructed PR campaign designed to delegitimise Israel. When you seek to PUNISH Israel then you are an anti-Israel activist and nothing more. You are wasting your resources, not on benefiting a people that need help, but in trying to tear down a wall that protects another nations children.

Arrival

I got to the cathedral at 09:30am. About 30 minutes before the first talk was due to begin.  This gave me time to walk around and view the exhibits. I made my way to the café and had to walk passed another exhibition. On display was pro boycott material. I saw more leaflets on display. I picked up a magazine from the group ‘Friends of Al Aqsa’. This is a group that has recently had its bank account closed because of possible funding of “illegal or other proscribed activities”.

This set the theme of the weekend. Every single stall, every part of the exhibit, was designed or delivered by activists supporting the boycott. There was a book stall. Every single book was one that castigates Israel and Zionism. Not a single opposition voice was on display. These are some of the images of the leaflets, the displays, the books.

anti-Israel images at Lichfield

Then the speakers began and what followed was appalling, disgraceful and in some places truly sickening.  It is difficult to know even where to begin.

Rewriting Jewish history

The first event was to give voice to Hosam Naoum, Dean of Jerusalem.  As Hosam is a Christian in Jerusalem, an Israeli Arab, I entirely accept the complex identity that directs his vision.  Yet the political application of the religion as a tool with which to perpetuate and intensify the conflict needs to be spurned and rejected by the church. In the simple comment that ‘Jesus was a Palestinian’, is an absolute denial of Jewish history.

Hosam began to stretch history back to conform with the false Palestinian narrative. No this does not help peace. The Exodus astonishingly became a story representing alien Jews massacring indigenous Palestinians. There were even attempts to rewrite attendees at very early Christian events as being ‘Arab’ rather than Jewish.

Let me quote from Matthew 2:

[1] Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
[2] Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

Not much ambiguity there.

From bad to worse

The first short break gave me time to read some of the material I had picked up from the stand. The first was the booklet on the Kairos Palestine document.  The Simon Wiesenthal Center calls Kairos “a revisionist document of hatred for Israel and contempt of Jews”. Like most statements of the type, they mention the need to bring the ‘occupation to an end’ without clearly stating just what land they consider occupied.

We then heard from a dutiful liberal Zionist. And what a talk it was. Professor Yossi Meckleberg presented to the audience a very accommodating position.  A man anyone could make peace with. Like most liberal Zionists he is talking to himself. *if only* such voices could be heard from the other side. Another break. More pamphlets to read.  All about a fictional place called Israel/Palestine. Or Palestine/Israel for those who KameL Hawwashwant to belittle Israel’s legitimacy more thoroughly.  A group called ‘Lichfield Concern for Palestine’. All talk was about Israeli brutality. No mention of Arab violence anywhere. Another talk was about to start. Then came the storm.

Next up was Professor Kamel Hawwash, Vice-Chair of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. For every hand that Meckleberg had extended in friendship, Hawwash pushed one away. I am always thankful for people like Hawwash because they expose why there is no current chance for peace.  There is no room in Kamel’s world for the Israelis, a group of people he describes as randomly deciding to invade the region.  These two speakers presented the entire conflict in a microcosm. The Israeli Jew, ‘let’s make peace, let’s find a way, let’s accommodate’, the Palestinian Arab, NO, NO, NO. I have no doubt that people failed to see what had just occurred. But in truth, it was 70 years of Israeli peace attempts wrapped up into two short hours.

Hawwash is crystal clear in his vision. There will be no starting point for peace until Israelis get down on their knees and beg for forgiveness. Total submission. He presented an entire distortion of historical events. He touched on an issue of a negotiated settlement. There will not be one. Hawwash speaks a truth that I am sure the naive ears in the church do not even hear. If peace were made between Israel and Palestine that saw sacrifices by both sides, the external ‘eternal’ Palestinian would reject it. Whichever Palestinian group had signed on the deal would be overthrown, and another more radical group would take its place. This is the vision of ‘peace’ that the church invited to talk.

When a Jew cannot speak

Talk over, question time again. Several hands go up. One of the first questions is to ask how Israel gets away with it, what ‘unseen’ power is there? This same question was asked in a different way on four separate occasions during the day. One mentions a conspiracy directly, another the conspiratorial secrets of a Le Carre novel, another talks of unseen power. But all carry the same underlying message.  The Archbishop had only just referred to “the perverted and absurd’ conspiracy argument and here we are in Lichfield Cathedral just weeks later and not one, but four, people point the classic antisemitic finger.

At this point sitting next to me with her hand raised is Mandy Blumenthal. Zionist to the core, Mandy had asked a question of Yossi Meckleberg earlier in the day.  She had wanted to know why Yossi had seemed to imply settlements, rather than Arab rejectionism and violence was a (the?) major stumbling block. This time, with the knowledge that Mandy was a Zionist, the Chair was visibly ignoring Mandy’s raised hand. shhhh-1The Chair was desperately seeking questions from elsewhere in the audience. The questions had dried up. It was a stand-off. Mandy became vocal:

‘why won’t you let me speak?’

‘Because you spoke earlier’ came the reply.

As an answer it did not suffice. Several people had asked more than one question. The situation was absurd. There were no more questions. Only Mandy’s hand remained aloft. There were still 10 minutes left till the end of this session.

Several people became visibly agitated. A member of the audience asked why the chair was ignoring Mandy’s question. Mandy spoke up again:

“Isn’t this a conference, why is only one side allowed to be heard?”

Open confrontation. This was not what the Dean had wanted, he stepped in to soothe the situation and offered Mandy Blumenthal the microphone. Yet as he did this and as Mandy stepped up, the Chair led Kamel Hawwash off the stage. The ‘Jew’ question need not be answered. An awful, vile slur. In the end, Hawwash did return but only to claim that Blumenthal had lied.

It was break time again. There were several cries of “shame on you”, but I am not sure to who it was directed.  Someone came straight up to Mandy to apologise. ‘This is my town and I am Christian but that was unacceptable’. ‘I do not know why it happened’. Others started to get involved, some suggested they had not expected this conference to be so one sided. This time as I mingled I was approached by a young activist. He identified himself quite quickly as a ‘BDS supporter’, he did not understand why anyone was upset. I wanted to tell him.

Sending the Jews home

The guy I spoke to is tragically typical of the BDS crowd. He fully believes in the ethical position of his argument. He is someone who I believe would be genuinely appalled at the idea that antisemitism was alive in the room. Indeed, so visibly disturbed was he by the confrontation, he later sought reassurance from Pappe by asking a direct question on antisemitism (and was told it didn’t exist). We were joined by another, someone who identified as Palestinian.

I explained as I always do, about the obscure language that BDS employs. That its founders simply do not believe in Israel’s right to exist. My favourite analogy is that of a lynch mob, which once empowered is driven by those with the most sinister goals. He was taken aback, “you cannot really claim we are a lynch mob”? I responded quite simply, ‘what else’, I said ‘would you call a crowd that seeks to inflict a punishment without having a fair trial’. As talk turned to the aims of the movement, the Palestinian spoke up in support of the return of the refugees. Not to the new Palestine of course, but to Israel. What about all the Arab Jewish refugees who went to Israel I asked. They ‘need to leave’, ‘they all have to go home’ was his reply.  Sinister goals. Point made I thought.

Another approached me, and asked me why some people were upset. After listening to Israel being demonised? After not letting the Israeli voice be heard? After talk of conspiracy theories? After denying Jewish history? After talk of Jews stealing babies? (Yes, the Israelis were accused of stealing babies). After telling me the Jews had to leave Israel? I think there is an issue here with antisemitism. “I haven’t seen it” she responded. “That’s the problem” was my reply.

We still hadn’t reached a peak. Ilan Pappe was about to take to the floor.

Jew hatred becomes legitimised

If you really want to have a party that drowns in antisemitism, there is no better guest to invite than Ilan Pappe. Pappe thinks Israel is an abomination. Pappe is Israeli, he is Jewish, he is an academic. People suggest that Pappe receives so many invites because what he says is legitimate. In truth Pappe receives so many invites because he legitimises what the antisemites believe.

I have seen Ilan Pappe now more times than I can count. He is charismatic antisemitism personified. Pappe wastes no time. ‘There is no such thing as modern antisemitism’. The Archbishop warned about rising antisemitism. A former Archbishop did the same. So did the Bishop of the cathedral in which he speaks, but Pappe simply discards it.  He claims it doesn’t exist. It is no more than a tactic.

He then moves on to Israel, to its ‘racist history’, its ‘colonial nature’, the fact it expelled a million (yes he said a million) Arabs in 1948. Once he frees people of the shackles of antisemitism, Pappe can say what he likes, get his followers to think what they like, because no condemnation of Israel, no lie, no level of demonisation, can possibly be driven by antisemitic poison. A truly absurd and vile position.

Pappe has on several occasions admitted he tells his tales for a cause rather than to relay the truth. He does so again. and again. and again. Pappe simply does not stop with distortion.  His first attack is to smokescreen opposition to Zionism in 2016 by describing Jewish opposition to Zionism 100 years ago.

I do not understand why it is difficult for people to grasp this basic principle. Zionism since 1948 isn’t a theoretical construct. You cannot draw on someone’s thoughts on Zionism in the 1920’s and use it to argue against Israel.  It is like suggesting opposition to pre-marital sex or an early stage abortion is the same as killing a child. The entire anti-Israel narrative is a mix and match of these sentiments.

This another comment from Pappe:

‘You cannot talk to the rest of the Middle East about ethnic cleansing and genocide when there is one state that does not come up for any criticism when it has committed *the same crimes* as have been committed by regimes and opposition alike’…’Israel does not need to do what the Assad regime in Syria is doing, because they already did it in 1948’

There are no words to describe that comment above. No excuse for the church to have given this man a microphone.

He then spent some time suggesting Zionist control of the media (movies) created the pro-Zionist narrative in the US psyche. Before moving onto the issue of West Germany.  In explaining how Zionists gained support in Europe for Israel he said:

“It is not surprising that one of the first states to have full diplomatic relations with West Germany was Israel”

The truth is that the two only established full diplomatic relations on May 12, 1965. I am not sure what Pappe gains from such a comment. What is the implication here? That Zionism is so corrupt it would do a deal with the devil for money?  That to legitimise Israel, Zionists would do a deal with those that committed a genocide against the Jews? The entire position is morally bankrupt, historically fraudulent and physically sickening.

Pappe also mentioned the proverbial ‘death’ of the Israeli left wing in 2000. He talks of its passing as if it were an unexplained event. Peaceful Jews irrationally just stop believing in peace perhaps. How anyone can bring up the collapse of the peace camp without mentioning the outbreak of the intifada in 2000 that Israel’s peace camp took as a betrayal of their trust is once again morally bankrupt.

In the end there were several incidents at Lichfield I had to leave out simply to keep the word count down, there are also still several hours of recordings to analyse. There are just three more exchanges I wish to revisit:

Zionist Jews are like Dracula

Pappe was approached with a question about why security outside Jewish schools is required. “Because of support for Israel” was the response.  It’s the Jews fault they need security. But it was during his speech, that perhaps the most brutally explicit demonisation of Israel occurred.  When talking about the Israeli relationship with Europe, he touched on Europe asking for Israeli expertise in internal security, in identifying home grown terrorists.  This is how Ilan Pappe described seeking Israel’s help on this matter:

“It is like inviting Dracula to help manage its blood bank”

And finally, to sum up the event at Lichfield, I will use another example from a question directed to Pappe. Rabbi David Goldberg, (yet another Jew who coincidentally hates Israel AND who had been invited to talk at the event), stepped up to the microphone and said this:

“When it comes to the Middle East, we Jews have enough to feel guilty about”

It is true, this was part of a comment to suggest Pappe was wrong to discard antisemitism completely, but it is difficult to overstate the implication of that statement. Pappe used it of course, along with Goldberg’s comment that the holocaust is trivialised by Israel for its own ends, to reaffirm that somehow, someway, the Jews are responsible for what befalls them. When schools identify with Israel, when synagogues identify with Israel, well….it’s the fault of the Jews what then happens. The standard argument of the ages. Heard inside church halls for 2000 years. It seems nothing has changed.

Something did happen on day two at Lichfield. The Bishop of Lichfield was there for the Choral Eucharist. A pro-Zionist was called into the evening panel, a Zionist poster was placed alongside one of the exhibits. They switched one of the chairs for an afternoon event. It was all far more balanced. Even David Goldberg, for whatever reason, changed the central theme of his talk away from the context of the conflict. Whether something was said, whether it became clear they had overstepped the mark, I cannot be sure. But something visibly changed.

A final note on the Dean of Lichfield, Adrian Dorber. This is not a personal attack. I truly feel , as I did with Katherine Fox from Hinde St, that we are dealing with naivety and good intentions that are overridden by the hatred that enters the discussion. The problem with the conflict is that those who wish to assist the Palestinians are *always* utilised by those that seek to perpetuate the conflict.  If amidst the Palestinians, there was a Yossi Meckleberg to reciprocate the peaceful offerings, we would achieve peace in 30 minutes. Unfortunately, there isn’t. Yes, there is hardship, yes, there is oppression, but the existence of such a situation does not automatically make Israel a guilty party that needs to be punished. That is the central error in their judgement.

If all they can bring to a conference at Lichfield seeking peace are people who want the Jews to kneel, those that throw antisemitic slurs, those that demonise, those that wish Jews to disappear, then Israel needs to make the wall larger and stronger, not to bring it down. Whoever arranged the conference should really ask themselves why we cannot find Arabs who are willing to make a serious compromise for peace and what is the deeper meaning of this problem?

I left Lichfield Cathedral battered and bruised, there are many exchanges not listed here and even for someone as experienced as I have become, this was an emotionally disturbing weekend. I must also add, that as I left and looked at the cathedral one last time, it had lost some of its shine. It wasn’t a beautiful building any more, there were shadows everywhere, and there was something else, something rather sinister about how that Cathedral towered over me.

 

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43 thoughts on “Antisemitic hate festival in Lichfield Cathedral

  1. Hi David – this is truly one of your most stunning blogs – it brought tears to my eyes. Don’t ever tire!

  2. Hi David, I am disturbed that someone as ‘battle hardened as yourself should be expressing such a feeling of received hate and revulsion against Israel ,(Zionists and Israel supporting Jews, which clearly strayed into unhidden, hatred of Jews, their cultural and historical heritage. Your written pieces on Hinde Street and now Lichfield Cathedral lead me to wonder how often and how far Christian Churches in Great Britain are now becoming almost ‘accomplices’ to this hatefest against Israel and Jews , by whatever denomination . Further whether this represents a new trend or strategy by the BDS et al to utilise the establishment of the Church of England and other established Churches in the UK to develop a groundswell of support against Israel and Jews outside of their normal left wing activist circle. Is the campaign now one of seeking to influence people who have little or no knowledge of the complexities and historical background to the modern middle east, and batter them with a catalogue of lies in order to turn innocent well meaning people into Israel haters and by extension subconsciously antisemites. I would be interested to know the extent of such church meetings and conferences up and down the country. It seems to represent (as far as I can tell ) a developing trend of unconstrained hate against Israel/Jews. I wonder whether this issue needs to be taken up by Jewish religious leaders, ( including Rabbi David Goldberg, The Board of Deputies and the Offices of the Israeli Embassy , with their counterparts in the British sstablished churces. I would suppose the aim would be to ensure that holding these types of conferences in Church premises should be more properly controlled in so far that they dont engender racist and ethnic hate attitudes against Israelis, Israel and Jews supporting Israel, ie Zionists, as was so clearly espoused within Litchfield Cathedral conference?

    1. I have seen pamphlets and posters in several British churches which are very biased, displayed along with other information on projects for the poor in Africa etc. No distinction seems to be made and therefore promotes an equivalence that is so simplistic as to become a deliberate antisemitic action.
      This seems to sit comfortably with the historical “blame any Jew ” mentality.
      I have to say that even when the churches do not explicitly teach that the Jews killed Jesus, most Christians I have known believe this to be the case. It is conveyed somehow and is very hard to dislodge in people’s beliefs, particularly amongst evangelicals.
      I have participated in discussions starting in university 40+ years ago where after class I have been beset by well-meaning (?) students intent on showing me the way. Their way and only their way. Their indoctrination starts early. So it is no surprise that they are easily influenced by BDS and friends.

  3. Hi David

    What a privilege to meet you on Saturday- I didn’t see you on Sunday for the last two sessions. The Christian Aid speaker wasn’t as bad as I thought he’d be, although their display was the usual inciteful stuff. Two posters from the ZF had been put up where they were least likely to be seen. Hawwash tried to get us to understand why ‘an ordinary father of three’ would randomly shoot at Jews in Jerusalem. He didn’t mention their Hamas membership. http://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_entry/hamas-claims-responsibility-for-jerusalem-shooting-attack/

    Hawwash demonstrates why no peace has been forthcoming.. But Pappe’s contribution was truly horrible. The Quaker convenor’s attempt to stifle Mandy was shocking. And the assumption that Israel’s existence is the cause of the hatred that was seething at the conference was nauseating.

    1. Fran. It was great to meet you too. I hope we can meet again in better circumstances. A question. The final panel. They brought a Zionist (Irene Lancaster) to speak as well. Who else was on that final panel and was there any exchange between Irene and the anti-Israeli speakers? Also last thing… how many people roughly at the last event?

      1. David

        Dean Dorber opened the session by saying that he aimed for the conference to have ‘a variety of voices’. He apologised for the ‘oversight’ of not engaging with with Jewish opinion. (He claimed he didn’t know who to ask to get a speaker – which, if true, speaks volumes in an of itself.) He said Irene Lancaster had been invited, but in her absence Jane Clements stood in instead.

        Irene Lancaster didn’t arrive, so there was no clear Zionist voice. Both Michael Ipgrave (Chair of CCJ) and Jane Clements (CEO of CCJ) spoke, She said it had been a privilege to be part of the conference, and how good it was to listen to each other. She urged people to listen with ‘generous hearts’.

        From the Jewish perspective, she said, Jews were divided over Israel’Palestine, but it was not possible to disassociate Israel from Jewish identity. Israel is a safe haven, seen as precious by Jews, and it was no use pretending this is not part of the narrative. She said she accepted that there had been many Israeli wrongs.

        She insisted that anti-semitism is a reality for Jews, especially for students on campus. Israel is part of their identity but they can’t express it. She didn’t say that conferences like this one incite the sort of hatred and disdain that fuel the sort of antisemitism the students encounter.

        The Arab-Israeli Christian spoke – was OK. David Goldberg also spoke, telling Kamal Hawwash that building a Jewish state was unjust and apologising for it. He said Israel must acknowledge the ‘injustice’ and make restitution for it.

        I spoke alng with several other speakers, including the young man you spoke to, David. I think he had listened to what you said. I pointed out the reality of antisemitism that students, the community in the West Midlands and we at West Midlands Friends of Israel have experienced: trashing of shops and supermarkets by anti-Israel demonstrators especially the PSC in the name of destroying not just Israeli but also Jewish goods; our WMFI gazebo being graffiti-ed with hateful, foulmouthed lies, the PSC demonstrations where Hamas and Hezbollah flags were flown’ the racist and genodical Hamas charter’; the shouting down of Israeli speakers at disrupted JSoc meetings. Finally I challenged Hawwash on his playing down of incitement. It is real and his trying to deny it will not make it less real.

        My contribution was met with utter silence. The Quaker woman who tried to stop Mandy speaking after Hawwash’s session got up after me, saying she was sure everyone deplored the events I described, but why did Israel reject every peace overture made to it. To which I said ‘Nonsense’ very loudly.

        Honestly David, I don’t know how you and Rich Millett manage to sit through so much of this stuff.

  4. Your eloquence in describing what took place at this Israel-bashing/hating conference is amazing. As I read your comments, I feel as if I am experiencing what you experienced

    Thank you for managing to stomach what you heard and explaining it to all of us in detail and thank you for being a witness to such an event, that most of us would find hard to bear.

  5. I recall attending a talk on Mordechai Vanunnu at St Johns Wood Liberal Synagogue chairman Rabbi David Goldberg with guest speaker Susannah York . Most of the audience were BDS types with a smattering of Synagogue members . The question and answer quickly degenerated into Israel’s right to exist and the reason why I mention this is that I distinctly remember Rabbi Goldberg presiding over this sustained venomous attack without any attempt to control or moderate the hateful comments . In fact I remember him leaning back in his chair calmly smiling . He was enjoying the proceedings . I’m not surprised he took part in this wretched hate fest .

  6. Beautifully written. Compelling in its insights. Harrowing to read and obviously harrowing and draining for you, David, to write. All praise and appreciation for and to you for this magisterial post. I hope it is read by Archbishop Welby himself. This hate feast should be protested to the Church at its highest level by the Board of Deputies. I salute you, David. You have excelled yourself.

  7. An excellent commentary. Thanks for being there to record and document. Maybe one day the world will stop long enough to hear. The tragedy is that it takes so long to be heard. Pity you were not at UCL tonight to hear a event organized by UCL Friends of Israel.. Israeli Ambassador Regev gave an impressive display. Maybe we should try and engineer a debate /confrontation between him and Pappe.

    1. Or Douglas Murray . I saw him take Ken Livingstone apart at a one day conference titled ‘the clash of civilisation ‘ , a few years ago when he teamed up with Daniel Pipes . Livingstone was hopeless . Just the usual sound bites with no research or evidence to back his words . I doubt very much if Pappe , a revisionist ‘ historian and self hating ex Israeli would agree to such a debate .

      1. Pappe will do nothing that could possibly harm his cause. Especially not if it involves telling the truth or legitimising Israel by debating Zionists.

      2. Why is anyone who happens to be Jewish or Israeli always termed ‘self-hating’? It is of course a convenient way of avoiding having to defend the old ‘anti-Semitic’ tag on anyone who is critical of Israel. The writer here just stoops to ad hominem attacks on Pappe.

        1. Graham, if you cannot see a problem with suggesting Zionist Jews are like blood sucking vampires, then I cannot help you. You hide behind the same comfortable equation, because criticism of Israel does not equate to antisemitism, therefore all commentary on Israel regardless of how demonising, false or vitriolic cannot possibly be antisemitism either. How lame.

  8. I hope that you- or someone- will officially protest this to the Bishop of Lichfield and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

  9. Shalom, David,
    I just found my old post with details of treatment of German war refugees by Allies in post WW2. I.e.
    essentially almost in parallel to 1947-48 Jews-Arabs wars of that time. I am copying it below. With my physicist logic that seems to be the back ground of international standards at that time which surely served as natural guides to everyone in similar situations, i.e. Jews vs Arabs, Hindus vs Muslims (leading to creation of Pakistan). In relation to your description of Pappe’s slur.

    Palestinian refugees’ problem was a result of the 1948 war which ended with Israel defeating the invasion of armies of 5 Arab countries and two internal Palestinian military formations. Here is the reference to the international standards which existed then in such situations as regards to the refugees, e.g. in the civilized Europe after WW2.
    1.At the Potsdam Conference in July 1945, British, American and Russian leaders agreed to ‘… recognise that the transfer to Germany of German populations … remaining in Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary, will have to be undertaken.’ They also specified that ‘… any transfers that take place should be effected in an orderly and humane manner.’ The expulsions were, in fact, conducted in a ruthless and often brutal manner. More than 12 millons were expelled or fled. Most of those being expelled came of stock whose ancestors had been settled in the eastern lands for generations, and who knew no other place as home.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/hist…/worldwars/wwtwo/refugees_01.shtml
    2.City of Königsberg was simply annexed by the USSR and renamed Kaliningrad. Seven centuries of German civilization, in the city that had nurtured philosophers such as Immanuel Kant and Johann Gottfried von Herder, thus ended. By 1949 nearly all the surviving Germans in the region had been driven out.
    3.In Poland, German-owned farms and houses were handed over to Poles. Germans were rounded up by Polish militias and put in camps, before being removed from the country. In Czechoslovakia, more than 2.2 million Germans were expelled, and their property was expropriated. At the peak period, in July 1946, 14,400 people a day were being dumped over the frontier. About three quarters went to the American occupation zone of Germany, and most of the remainder to the Soviet zone.
    4.About 60,000 Germans had already fled from Hungary before the end of the war, some travelling by boat up the Danube. After the war the government ordered the German population to leave en bloc. As their trains left, some deportees tried to affirm their loyalty by waving Hungarian flags, singing Magyar folk songs, and chalking on the sides of the carriages slogans such as, ‘We don’t say goodbye, only au revoir!’
    Most were sent to Germany, but from some villages the entire adult population was deported to labour camps in the Donets Basin of the Soviet Union. By the end of the expulsions only about 200,000 Germans remained in Hungary.
    5.Germans in Yugoslavia fled, were expelled, or were sent to labour camps by the victorious Communist partisan forces. An estimated 27,000 were sent to camps in the Soviet Union. Violence against the Volksdeutsche here was probably more relentless than in any other country.
    6.According to official West German accounts at least 610,000 Germans were killed in the course of the expulsions. The total number of Germans who were expelled or who departed voluntarily from eastern Europe after the end of the war mounted to 11.5 million by 1950.

  10. Thank you for being a ray of light exposing the darkness which is infecting the established church. The naive and warm reception given to antisemitic narratives should worry all Jews who care about the future of our people here and in Israel. The poison is spreading and the Goldberg way is not an antidote but a dangerous feint . Pappe is a no future Jewish who is working to endanger the future of all Jews.

    1. Pappe is a no future Jewish who is working to endanger the future of all Jews

  11. Hi David. I have just read your blog for a second time as there was so much to digest. I am not surprised you felt exhausted as I felt disturbed just reading it. Those in positions of authority within the church need to speak out and be made to realize what their places of religion are being used for. Why are they allowing the house of God to be used to spread hate lies blood libels and antisemitism! Thanks again for all your tireless work which shines a bright light on a very dark and dangerous World. We may not have heard about but for your endeavours. What we all can do is spread this message on social Media and write to the Church authorities to try and stem this evil tide.

  12. A superb piece of investigative journalism. I hope your nausea has sufficiently lifted in time for the fast of Yom Kippur. Gamar chatimah tovah. Keep up the superb work. Your resilience is inspiring.

  13. For someone who is normally labeled a ‘chatterbox’, I was rendered speechless. I had to read your piece twice.
    I can’t describe how I feel, because I’m not sure: resigned, (these events are so common), afraid, anger, disillusioned at LJ because I didn’t know R”Goldberg was like this; p*$$ed off, fearful, vulnerable and very very sad.
    The only good thing is that you were there to record it.
    All best & צום קל

  14. Thank you as always David

    Update

    I spoke to someone close to the Bishop of Lichfield (also chair of CCJ). I report the conversation without comment.

    They said that the Bishop first became aware of the conference two months ago. They said it will never happen again at Lichfield. Guidance is being sent to all Bishops about what is and what is not antisemitic based on EUMC Definition.

    They said that the Bishop could not have stopped the Conference (I disagreed with the person) because it would have caused too much of a fuss.

    They said that the Dean (Adrian Dorber) is naïve not antisemitic. He has ben spoken to and it will not happen again. They said that the Bishop is a genuine friend.

    I said that the Bishop has to make a statement about why the Conference was allowed to happen.

    I have also had a response to my email to Justin Welby. “He has no direct authority over the Dean. I shall therefore send a copy of your message to the Bishop of Lichfield so that he knows about your concern about the conference at the Cathedral and that you have written to Archbishop Justin about it.”

    1. Let us be clear. The Bishop has no authority over the Cathdral. That is the case with all cathedrals. The Dean is responsible for the Cathedral.

      I believe Mr. Collier was alerted to this conference from Daphne Anson’s blog. Her excellently researched piece was, in turn, prompted by an alert sent by a Christian in the C of E and in the Lichfield Diocese.

    2. David Collier’s article is very impressive.

      The Church of England is often regarded as naive, blundering, ineffectual – but some naive, blundering, ineffectual people in the Church can cause real damage. Adrian Dorber, the Dean of Lichfield Cathedral, is one of these.

      Your comments are impressive too, Jonathan, and you’ve provided some very valuable information. The Bishop of Lichfield says that he couldn’t have stopped the Conference, but it was naive of him – more than that, a serious blunder – not to have realized that a Conference on this topic would be controversial. He ought to have intervened and made sure that the Conference would be fair-minded and balanced but failed to do that. Justin Welby says that ‘He has no direct authority over the Dean,’ but he’s admitting, in effect, that he, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is sometimes unable or unwilling to do anything about the anti-Israel propaganda which is allowed to go unchallenged far too often in the Church of England.

      Here in Sheffield, a sermon preached at St Marks Church in 2014 included this:

      ‘The Revd Dr Stephen Sizer, who has researched and published broadly in this area, concludes ‘that Christian Zionism is the largest, most controversial and most destructive lobby within Christianity. It bears primary responsibility for perpetuating tensions in the Middle East, justifying Israel’s apartheid colonialist agenda and for undermining the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.’ ‘ What? The intractable problems of the Middle East, the atrocities in the Middle East, largely caused by Christian Zionists? The Revd Stephen Sizer is yet another naive and blundering Anglican, but a particularly dangerous one. He gave a link to an article which claimed that Israel was responsible for the 9 / 11 attack on the World Trade Center!

      Let’s keep up the pressure on the Church of England and other organizations which distort and falsify, accusing Israel and failing to examine fair-mindedly the multiple failings of Palestinian society. (The organization ‘Labour friends of Palestine and the Middle East’ is one of these. I’ve recently contacted Sheffield MP’s who are members of the organization.)

      The findings of the Pew Research Center in 2013 revealed disturbing data about the Palestinian territories:

      66 % support for execution for those who leave Islam, 84 % support for stoning to death for adultery, 89 % support for the view that a woman must always obey her husband, 76 % support for cruel punishments such as amputation of the han,. 89 % support forthe view that homosexulity is morally wrong (homosexuality is illegal in Gaza ), 62 % support for the view that suicide bombings are often justified or sometimes justified to protect Islam – this is the highest level of support in the Islamic world.

      1. I am a Christian who sympathises with your viewpoint, but there some errors of fact. The Bishop of Lichfield and the Archbishop of Canturbury REALLY REALLY do not have executive authority over the Cathedral. This is true for all Cathedrals and their respective Bishops. The Dean is the person with the authority. What the Bishop has is influence. However, the current Bishop has only recently – a matter of weeks – been in post. The previous Bishop resigned a year ago and during the interregnum the conference was organised. The acting Bishop kept the largest Diocese in the UK going whilst also holding down his own job. The conference was organised at a time when everybody else was very busy doing other things. Its publicity only came out very recently in the Lichfield Diocese.

        Incompetent? naive ? or very clever?

        Both the the Archbishop and the current Bishop are on record as challenging antisemitism and Stephen Sizer was disciplined. He has had to resign in order to continue his nefarious work.

        1. Thanks so much for your comment, Ian G. I do take issue with some of your claims. Stephen Sizer wasn’t made to resign. It was made clear that he would have to go if he continued to engage in anti-Israel campaigning, as the Bishop of Guildford made clear to me in an email. Stephen Sizer is still at Christ Church, Virginia Water, Surrey. It’s not true that he resigned, and it’s not true that the current Bishop of Lichfield has only been in post for ‘a matter of weeks.’ According to the information I have, he became Bishop on 10 June, 2016. He’s been Bishop for about four months, then. He had ample time to examine very carefully the list of speakers at the Conference and to make representations. At that time, the case of Stephen Sizer was very well known . He should have realized that this conference could cause enormous difficulties for the Church, as it has done. I don’t accept that his power to influence events was so limited or that the Dean had almost unlimited power to do as he wished. Do you claim that if, next month, an event was planned in some diocese which included Stephen Sizer or even a holocaust denier, that the Bishop would be powerless to act? I accept that the Bishop of Lichfield and the Archbishop of Canterbury have spoken out against anti-semitism, but they haven’t so far been nearly as decisive in action as they could have been, given the importance of the issue. You write, ‘The conference was organised at a time when everybody else was very busy doing other things.’ I doubt very much that many of the things that preoccupied them were nearly as important as this. The neglect has had very damaging effects on the reputation of the Church. They should have given up some of their time – a great deal of time – to this very, very important matter. If they were aware of the case of Stephen Sizer, and it would be a grotesque oversight if they weren’t, then they should have regarded this conference as one of their priorities.

          1. Bishops, like so many other people, have their specialities. Michael Ipgrave, the Bishop of Lichfield, has a great interest in the relations between Christians and other religious groups. You’d think, then, that he’d take a very close interest in this conference, where the relations between Christians, Jews and Moslems was such an important matter. He was appointed Diocesan Chaplain for relations with people of other faiths in 1992. Later, he became Inter-faith Relations Advisor to the Archbishops’ Council and Secretary of the Anglican Church’s Commission on Inter-faith Relations. In the 2011 New Year Honours List, he was appointed an OBE ‘for services to inter-faith relations in London.’ And, he’s the author of a book on inter-faith dialogue and has contributed to other publications on inter-faith matters. He was Bishop of Woolwich before he became Bishop of Lichfield.

            Despite all this experience, he failed comprehensively. He failed to do what was within his power, he failed to ensure that there was some degree of fairness in this disastrous conference.

            President Harry S. Truman had a sign ‘The buck stops here’ on his desk. Recommended: that the Bishop of Lichfield has the same sign printed to put on his desk to remind himself of his responsibility for his diocese.

            Sorry to add a few more details. I feel like being pedantic at the moment. I’ve not the least interest in these details but for the sake of completeness, Michael Ipgrave’s election as Bishop of Lichfield was confirmed on 10 June 2016. ‘It is the confirmation of the election which actually makes the candidate bishop of the diocese’ (The Church of England review group, ‘Working with the Spirit … ‘ Page 81, section 5.24) The enthronement ceremony which took place in September was a largely symbolic affair.

            And with this, I think I’ve written enough, more than enough.

          2. The Bishop was appointed on the 10th of June. He wasn’t “installed” until a few weeks ago. He has NOT had the time you claim. The Bishop does NOT run the Cathedral, he runs the diocese. You might not accept that but it is a fact.

            I did not say that Sizer was made to resign. I said that he was disciplined. I understand that he has resigned and will be launching a charity in December but I will check with my source. C of E resignations have a three months notice period. He could well be still in post.

            Bishops and ArchBishops are not Cardinals and Popes. It is surprising what little power they have. Nor are they CEOs. If a vicar has what is called “tenure” it is very difficult to get rid of them, immorality, illegality (criminal offence) and heresy are usual grounds. Failure to meet a certain very low minimum of services etc. is the other one. I can promise you, it’s not easy.

            As Holocaust denial is not a criminal offence in the UK, I would imagine that discipline would be very difficult.

            I repeat. It’s not the job of the Bishop to supervise the Cathedral.

          3. The enthronement is not symbolic. There is raft of legal stuff that takes place on the same day. Until then the Bishop may be in post but he is NOT in power. A bit like whoever gets elected US President in November doesn’t take power till January.

  15. David
    The comment goes beyond free speech . Its incitement to commit a criminal act . It sullies your thread and you have every right to take it down .

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