And it is on the premises of that cathedral that a conference (plus related book sale) is to be held over the weekend of 7-9 October (hat tip: Ian G).
As seen at left, the title of the conference is "Holding Palestine in the Light,"which reflects the despicably one-sided nature of the enterprise, for the overwhelming majority of the speakers are notable, to a greater or lesser degree, for their antipathy towards Israel.
That sad fact reflects the prejudices of the apparent driving force behind the conference, the Dean of Lichfield.
Explains the conference's website:
Dorber has held the post of Dean since 2005. Before that, we learn here,"The weekend is hosted by the Very Revd. Adrian Dorber: Dean of Lichfield and Diocesan Co-ordinator for the Friends of the Holy Land, with longstanding connections to Palestine & Israel where he led both Pilgrimages and study tours."
"he was Director of Ministries and Training in the Durham Diocese, Senior Chaplain and Lecturer at Portsmouth University and served in parishes in Reading and Bracknell. He is a Trustee of the Foundation for Church Leadership, a Governor of Staffordshire University, Chairman of Governors of Lichfield Cathedral School and a member of the Lichfield Festival Board. He serves on the West Midlands Training Partnership and chairs the Diocesan Local Ministry Governing Body. He is deeply interested in the impact cathedrals have on Church and nation and how cathedrals can use their unique opportunities for mission and regeneration. Adrian was co-opted onto the AEC Executive in March 2011 and elected in June 2011. He was appointed as Chairman in July 2015. In addition to chairing the AEC, Adrian leads on cathedrals-related research".Here, we read:
We also read, elsewhere, notice of a meeting:
Friends Meeting House, Bull Street, Birmingham City Centre
Friends of Sabeel West Midlands
A morning of information on pilgrimages to the Holy Land which enable an encounter with the reality of Israel/Palestine.
Speakers: Ann Farr (Pax Christi), Karen Chalk (ICAHD), Adrian Dorber (Dean of Lichfield)"(Pictured above, at left, Ann Farr with our old mate Jeremy Moodey, CEO of Embrace the Middle East; I wonder whether he and his friend Stephen Sizer will be attending the Lichfield conference)
The conference program:
Below, in bold type, is the list of speakers as given on the conference website, in the order in which they are scheduled to speak.
Comments below each bold typed profile, and not in bold type,are my observations.
Ahmed Masoud: is a Palestinian writer, director and academic based in the UK; he has written plays and a debut novel set in Palestine and Gaza.
At the "literary dinner" on Friday, 7 October entitled ‘Gaza in Literary Fiction" that opens the conference, Ahmed Masoud and Hannah Khalil will mention their published works. The session will include a film, "Britain in Palestine 1917-1948".
Hannah Khalil: born of Palestinian/Irish parents, she has written a number of plays promoting the cause of Palestinians and other Arabs.
It was there that this play was staged earlier this year:
That Friday dinner will be followed on Saturday, 8 October with one of only two free sessions on the conference programme. Here's how it's billed:
Sumud Exhibition, with sale of goods from the Holy Land including hourly screenings of: ‘Britain in Palestine 1917-1948’ and ‘The Suffering Church’Read about 'Sumud' here: it is clear that this session will consist entirely of anti-Israel pro-Arab propaganda.
Dr Jane Clements: Director of the Council of Christians and Jews and founder of a charity to promote Israeli/Palestinian dialogue.
Dr Clements is taking part in the session with the Very Revd Hosam Naoum (see directly below). It is billed as ‘The effects of the conflict on Jewish-Christian Relations’:The Very Rev'd Hosam Naoum, Dean of Jerusalem in conversation with Dr Jane Clements.
To quote a report the Jewish Chronicle on 15 May 2014:
'The founder of an Israel-Palestine dialogue charity is to become the new director of the Council of Christian and Jews.
Dr Jane Clements, who is the director of the Forum for Discussion of Israel and Palestine, will succeed the The Reverend David Gifford as head of the interfaith charity in July.
Elizabeth Harris-Sawczenko, the former public affairs director of the Board of Deputies, is to join her as CCJ deputy director.
Dr Clements, who has an MA in Hebrew and Jewish Studies and a PhD in Holocaust education, was previously programmes director at the CCJ before she left to start FODIP.
CCJ chairman the Right Reverend Nigel McCulloch said that Dr Clements was “already widely respected and trusted for her commitment to Christian-Jewish relations. A former trustee of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, she is currently a member of the Anglican-Jewish Commission.”
He said that “together Jane and Elizabeth will bring strong and joint Christian-Jewish leadership to an organisation whose purpose includes patterning and facilitating bilateral relations between the two faiths.”'The Very Revd. Hosam Naoum: the Anglican Dean of Jerusalem, whose diocese covers Israel and the Palestinian Territories.
Professor Yossi Meckleberg [sic; i.e. Meckelberg]: a distinguished academic and commentator on international affairs, who sits on the Human Rights Watch London Committee.
Professor Meckelberg's topic is "‘Justice and Peace in the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict".
We read here:
"Yossi Mekelberg has taught International Relations at Regent's University London since 1996 and is currently the International Relations and Social Sciences Programme Director at the Faculty of Humanities , Arts & Social Sciences at Regent's University London. His fields of interest are International Relations Theory, Middle East Affairs, US Foreign Policy and International Relations and Revolutions. Yossi Mekelberg is also an Associate Fellow of the Middle East Programme at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House. In addition he is a member of the London Committee and Council of Human Rights Watch and a consultant to the Dutch simulation and education foundation Pax Ludens. He is also a founding member of the Middle East Economic Forum. Yossi is a regular contributor to the international media on these issues including BBC, CNN, Al-Jazeera, CBC, Guardian, Independent among many others. He is frequently invited to give talks, run workshops and provide advice to the British government, NATO and the EU."And we read here:
"Yossi Mekelberg is an Associate Fellow at the Middle East and North Africa Program at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, where he is involved with projects and advisory work on conflict resolution, including Track II negotiations. He is also the Director of the International Relations and Social Sciences Program at Regent’s University in London, where he has taught since 1996. Previously, he was teaching at King’s College London and Tel Aviv University. Mekelberg’s fields of interest are international relations theory, international politics of the Middle East, human rights, and international relations and revolutions. He is a member of the London Committee of Human Rights Watch, serving on the Advocacy and Outreach committee. Mekelberg is a regular contributor to the international media on a wide range of international issues and you can find him on Twitter @YMekelberg."For the disturbing thrust of Human Rights Watch see NGO Monitor here
Dervla Murphy: as a travel writer, relies on the hospitality of Palestinians and Israelis whom she meets on the way.
Ms Murphy's session is ‘Living with Conflict," in conversation with Tetty Bayley.
Now 84, Ms Murphy has led an interesting life, as outlined here
There we read:
'In 1978, Murphy wrote A Place Apart, about her travels in Northern Ireland and encounters with members of the Protestant and Catholic religious communities. It won the 1979 Christopher Ewart-Biggs Memorial Prize. She credits her 1982 book Race to the Finish? The Nuclear Stakes as a turning point which led her to write more about political issues. In 1985 she lived for several months in Bradford and Birmingham, talking to members of the Asian, Afro-Caribbean and White communities and witnessing first-hand one of the Handsworth riots (described in Tales From Two Cities). In 1992 she cycled from Kenya to Zimbabwe, where she witnessed the impact of AIDS; when describing this journey in The Ukimwi Road, she criticised the role of non-governmental organisations in sub-Saharan Africa. Her other writings include discussions about the aftermath of apartheid (South from the Limpopo) and the Rwandan genocide (Visiting Rwanda), the displacement of tribal peoples (One Foot in Laos), and post-war reconstruction of the Balkans (Through the Embers of Chaos).
She is anti-globalization and critical of NATO, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation.She has spoken out against nuclear power and climate change.
Murphy stated that some readers disapproved of the "political stuff", but another group "tells me they haven't thought about these things in this way before and are glad that I've written and thought more about the political side. My view is that I have these things I want to say and I don't really care if it spoils a pure travel book."
In 2002, aged 71, Murphy planned to cycle in the Ussuriland region of eastern Russia. She broke her knee while on the Baikal Amur Mainline railway, then tore a calf muscle while recuperating at Lake Baikal, and her plans changed to a journey around Siberia by train, boat and bus, documented in Through Siberia by Accident. She revisited Siberia and wrote a companion book, Silverland.
In 2005, she visited Cuba with her daughter and three granddaughters, and made two return trips in 2006 and 2007 (described in The Island that Dared). Her Havana experiences are also featured in a collection of travellers tales.
Over the summer of 2011, Murphy spent a month in the Palestinian Gaza Strip, where she met liberals and Islamists, Hamas and Fatah supporters, rich and poor. She described her stay in a book published in 2013: A Month by the Sea. She wrote about further encounters with Israelis and Palestinians in her 2015 book, Between River and Sea.'Tetty Bayley seems more elusive. (A Quaker, perhaps? See here) [Update. This Murphy-Bayley session has been cancelled.]
His talk is entitled "Can a just peace be reached in the Holy Land? Reflections of a diaspora Palestinian".
Professor Ilan Pappé: Israeli born leading historian at Exeter University. He has written many books on the conflict.
If there is one participant in the conference who surely doesn't require an introduction it is the reprehensible Pappe. His topic is "‘Palestine is Still an Issue’ - why Palestine is a central issue affecting global events".
The outrageous One State Declaration that he co-authored in 2007 is indicative of his vile attitude.
And for those who missed it, here is his recent barefaced and jocular admission that BDS did not in fact originate with a call from Palestinian Civil Society, as claimed by BDS proponents.
Pappe childishly and opaquely dismisses Ruth (Baroness) Deech's concerns:
Patricia Cockrell: an extensively travelled Quaker based in Tulkarem, whose travels include 3 months in Palestine as an ecumenical accompanier.
From a list of radio broadcasts on the ABC, Australia's equivalent to the BBC:
"Patricia Cockerell [sic]
Traveller to Israel and Palestine as part of the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme"The World Council of Churches has long been known for its anti-Israel stance.
From the West Briton (2 May 2011), an indication of typical Quaker one-sidedness:
'Former Exeter teacher Patricia Cockrell who has just returned from three months living and working with local people in the Holy Land, will be reliving her experiences in Exeter tomorrow.
Ms Cockrell will be giving a talk in the Music Room in Exeter's Central Library at 7.30pm.
She liaised with Israeli and Palestinian peace activists, monitored violations of human rights and offered non-violent protection to vulnerable people, including children going to school and farmers to their fields, as part of an international team through the World Council of Churches.
A Quaker for 25 years, Ms Cockrell was inspired by the notion of faith in action to take early retirement from teaching Russian at the Maynard School and Exeter School, in order to take up Quaker work in Russia.
This included projects for refugees and disadvantaged children, peace-building in Chechnya and hospice development, for which she was awarded the MBE in 2005.
She said: "Before going to the Middle East, I did a great deal of background reading and learnt some Hebrew – although I discovered that almost all the Israeli soldiers on duty at checkpoints speak Russian, English or Arabic."
The meeting is free and open to all.'Sir Vincent Fean: British Consul General in Jerusalem from 2010 to 2014 who has lectured on the Israel/Palestine situation since his retirement.
His talk is entitled "Israel and Palestine: two states or one? The prospects for a just peace".
Fean is a retired career diplomat, though not public school and Oxbridge. We read here:
"Vincent Fean spent 38 years in the British Diplomatic Service, latterly as Ambassador to Libya (2006-10) and Consul-General, Jerusalem (2010-14).Now retired from the Diplomatic Service, he focuses on the Middle East and North Africa region, particularly the Israel/Palestine conflict and Libya's future. He is a trustee of Medical Aid for Palestinians and patron of the Britain Palestine Friendship and Twinning Network."He is also, as his article in the New York Times here shows, an advocate of the recognition of a Palestinian state. I wouldn't be surprised if his talk closely resembles that article.
Back in 2013, as reported by the BBC,
'Demonstrators banged and kicked a car carrying Consul General Sir Vincent Fean as he hurriedly left the campus amid fears for his safety.
Sir Vincent had gone to the university near Ramallah to meet students and give a lecture.
Protesters denounced Britain's support for Israel and shouted at him to leave.
Video footage showed the consul general being ushered back to his car by security officials, surrounded by a crowd of students chanting "Get out of Bir Zeit!"
Some held up posters of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and placards condemning the Balfour Declaration of 1917 - a British pledge of support for the establishment of a Jewish "national home" in Palestine.
Protesters banged the windows and roof and kicked the side of the car as it drove off. A wing-mirror was broken and a picture of a Palestinian prisoner was stuck onto the vehicle....'But as an anti-Israel writer pointed out, he was the "wrong target" of their wrath, given his views on Israel and the Palestinian Arabs.
Be sure to see Richard Millett's frank post about Fean here
Dr. Clare Amos: is on the staff of the World Council of Churches, with a Doctorate of Divinity for her contribution to ecumenical engagement and inter-religious relations.
"Morning Eucharist, including a dialogue with Dr Clare Amos and Dr Yazid Said" (for Dr Said see directly below).
As I commented above, the WCC is no friend to Israel.
Dr Amos, while apparently well-meaning, seems naively unappreciative of the difficulties Israel faces.
And it is clear that there is no speaker at the conference who will set out, cogently and unequivocally, the case for Israel.
To quote from a report from Kingston, Jamaica dated 9 May 2009:
'The 14th Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) averted what some delegates feared could seriously damage Anglican-Jewish dialogue by passing a toned and pared down alternative to a resolution on the ongoing crisis in the Middle East.
Bishop Michael Hill, of the diocese of Bristol and representing the Church of England, said that while he did not disagree with the intent of the resolution – originally drafted by the Anglican Peace and Justice Network (APJN) – to draw attention to the plight of people suffering amid the conflict, he was concerned that its “tone and volume seems to be on the verge of pretty angry.”
He expressed concern that “intelligent and compassionate voices of Judaism with whom we are in dialogue with will immediately construe it to be anti-Semitic and label it as such.”....
Claire [sic] Amos, co-ordinator of the Anglican Communion Office’s Network for Inter-faith Concerns, who prepared the alternative resolution, explained the texts in the resolution that were deemed problematic. It included one that states that the ACC “recognizes that the city of Jerusalem is equally holy to the three monotheistic faiths and must not be the monopoly of one religion.” She said that there are more than three monotheistic faiths and said it was more appropriate, in the context of the resolution, to name Christianity, Islam and Judaism. She also said there was “difficulty” around the use of the term “equally” holy. “There’s no competition of holiness,” she said, noting that some people don’t believe in the idea of holy places.
Ms. Amos also took issue with the original resolution’s declaration that the ACC “rejects the teachings of Christian Zionism that purport to give divine legitimacy to Israel’s claim over the land of Palestine and that encourage Israeli violence against Palestinians, contradicting our faith in the God who loves all people equally and unconditionally and calls us to do justice for the oppressed and blesses us when we are engaged in peacemaking.”
She said the definition of Christian Zionism here was “vague and can range from Christian support for Jewish Zionism or the apocalyptic view of Scripture.” She added: “There needs to be more work on this and it would be interesting for the Communion body to write a report on Christian Zionism.” ....
The ACC, in the words of its chair, Bishop John Paterson, voted by “an overwhelming majority” to use the alternative resolution that had been prepared by Ms. Amos. The final version of the resolution, called on Israel to:
• end its occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip;
• free immediately all settlement building with the intention to abandon its settlement policy in preparation for a Palestinian state; and
• remove the separation barrier (wall) where it violates Palestinian land
• end home demolitions.
The ACC approved the alternative resolution, which “deplores violence wherever it is used in conflict in the land of Israel/Palestine and affirms its desire that a robust peace process in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict leading to a two-state solution should be pursued by all parties without delay.”
The resolution also “laments the fact that current Israeli policies in relation to the West Bank, in contravention of UN Security Council resolutions, have created severe hardship for many Palestinians and have been experienced a physical form of apartheid.”
Recognizing that “the city of Jerusalem is holy to Christianity, Islam and Judaism and is not therefore the monopoly of any one religion,” the ACC said it “upholds the view that members of all three faith groups have free access to their holy sites.”
It also expressed its “deep concern about recent and continuing events in Gaza, and supports and draws attention to the Statement on the Situation in Gaza issued by the primates’ meeting last February.”....'
Dr. Yazid Said: an Israeli-Arab Anglican priest, lecturing on Islamic studies at Liverpool University.
We learn here:
"Dr Yazid Said studied English Literature and Classical Arabic at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Christian Theology at the University of Cambridge. After being ordained an Anglican priest, he completed his PhD at the University of Cambridge (2010) on the medieval Muslim Theologian Abu Hamid al-Ghazali. He subsequently held a post-doctoral fellowship (2010-2011) at McGill University in Canada and the Woods-Gumble fellowship at the Tantur Ecumenical Institute in Jerusalem (2011-2012). From February 2013-December2014, he was lecturer in Islamic Studies at Mater Dei Institute of Education in Dublin, and was the teach@Tübingen fellow at the Centre for Islamic Studies, the University of Tübingen, Germany. His research is focused on medieval Muslim political and legal thought and on Christian-Muslim theological encounters as well. He is the author of Ghazali’s Politics in Context (Routledge 2012)."Rabbi Dr. David Goldberg: is a liberal [sic; i.e. Liberal] Jew, active in promoting interfaith harmony and understanding.
Dr Goldberg is Emeritus Rabbi of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in St John's Wood, London.
His role will be guest speaker at a Literary lunch: "This is not the way; Jews, Judaism and Israel".
Those familiar with Dr Goldberg's contentious attitude to Israel could probably almost predict the script.
Examples of Dr Goldberg's attitude can be found here
Not for the conference a rabbi who is known for his robust support of Israel.
Yet another indication of the conference's egregious bias and lack of balance.
William Bell: has worked for 15 years for Christian Aid in Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories
Bell is due to speak on "Building Peace between Israelis and Palestinians".
Sounds fair enough But Bell has on a number of occasions displayed a slanted approach, to Israel's detriment.
See, for example here and here and here
As for Michael Ipgrave, the new Bishop of Lichfield, Chairman of the Council for Christians and Jews and editor of six volumes on Christian and Muslim relations, he was only recently ordained, and it's probably too early to attempt his measure.
Meanwhile, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has issued a strong condemnation of antisemitism. As reported here (hat tip Ian G again) he
'has said that antisemitism is "entrenched in our thought and culture" and that historically the Church has "compounded the spread of this virus" in an essay for the Holocaust Educational Trust [HET].
The Archbishop of Canterbury is among a number of high profile contributors to a new HET booklet called 'Lessons Learned? Reflections on Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust' including the Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, the London Mayor Sadiq Khan and the Cabinet minister Sajid Javid. In his article, Welby called antisemitism an "insidious evil", adding that the "habits of antisemitism have been burrowing into European and British culture for as long as we can remember."....
He went on: "It is a shameful truth that, through its theological teachings, the Church, which should have offered an antidote, compounded the spread of this virus. The fact that antisemitism has infected the body of the Church is something of which we as Christians must be deeply repentant. We live with the consequences of our history of denial and complicity."
The Archbishop highlighted contemporary anti-Jewish conspiracy theories. "Even today, in the 21st century, it is shocking that antisemitism still has traction; the virus continues to seek a host," he said. "It latches onto a variety of different issues: financial inequality, wars and depressions, education, politics and government, grave international issues, such as the rights of Israelis and Palestinians, and interfaith tensions. It twists them to its own ends, with the perverted and absurd argument that a small group runs or plots against our society and manipulates international affairs."....' [Emphasis added].