Report: Israeli envoy to U.K. accuses church service of being anti-Semitic
U.K. Times: Prominent church in central London hosted 'alternative' carol service using anti-Israel lyrics.
Ron Prosor, Israel's Ambassador in Britain lashed out against the Church of England on Wednesday for having approved an anti-Israel carol that was sung as part of a service, according to the Times of London.
The carol was part of an "alternative" event called 'Bethlehem Now: Nine Alternative Lessons and Carols' that took place at the end of November in the Wren church of St James's in Central London, and was organized by anti-Israel campaigners, including one liberal Jewish group.
The carol Twelve Days of Christmas was sung as: "Twelve assassinations/Eleven homes demolished/Ten wells obstructed/Nine sniper towers/Eight gunships firing/Seven checkpoints blocking/Six tanks a-rolling/Five settlement rings. Four falling bombs/Three trench guns/Two trampled doves/And an uprooted olive tree."
"It was appalling to see a church allow one of its most endearing seasonal traditions to be hijacked by hatred," Prosor told the Times, accusing the Church of having failed to condemn such a carol which provokes anti-Semitism and disregards years of efforts to bridge gaps between the two religions.
"Unfortunately, the criticism from within the Church of England, that should have echoed with bold moral clarity, has instead sounded like a silent night, but far from holy," he said.
Referring to the carol service, Prosor said: "Such actions strengthen an anti-Israeli agenda, trivialize the political issues and nourish an anti-Semitic culture. This is not because it is wrong to criticize Israeli policy but because such campaigns single out Israel alone for particular opprobrium and censure it above regimes elsewhere in the world which are genocidal in intent and oppressive to the extreme."
The repercussions of the event are already affecting interfaith relations and is threatening to spur disputes within the diplomatic row.
One of the few Christian leaders to denounce the event was former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey of Clifton, who said that anti-Semitism and hostility to Jews still lurks beneath the surface in Christian circles in Britain.
"For 2000 years, the Jewish people suffered persecution because of the accusation of responsibility for the death of Jesus Christ. The carol service deliberately attempted to make a linkage between this notion of deicide and Israel's relations with the Palestinians. It thus perpetuated an anti-Semitic canard that has no place in modern Britain," Prosor added