SWC Reaction to Bishop’s Apology for Repeating Phony Blood Libel Against Israelis

August 20, 2018

The Simon Wiesenthal Center welcomes, as a first step, the apology of Bishop Gayle Harris for the fictitious and scandalous reports about Israel that she presented as having personally witnessed at the recent General Convention of the Episcopal Church. “Bishop Harris’ apology is full-throated, sincere, but incomplete," reported Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Center.

Bishop Harris spoke just before a vote on a resolution critical of Israel for alleged harm to children. She told of “being there” when Israeli soldiers attempting to handcuff a three-year-old(!) Palestinian boy when his ball rolled over from atop the Temple Mount to the Kotel plaza below. She then related that she was there when a Palestinian teen addressed a question to some soldiers who then shot him six times, and four more while he was down.

The Wiesenthal Center was the first to challenge Bishop Harris and the Episcopal Church for this calumny. “Bishop Harris now admits that she was not there, but uncritically repeated what she had heard from others,” continued Rabbi Cooper. “Unfortunately, she has not yet brought herself to state that the two stories were in fact ludicrous fabrications presented to her by Palestinians that defamed the Jewish State. Will she and her Church denounce such a blood libel?”

“We hope that such a statement will soon be forthcoming,” added Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, the Center’s Director of Interfaith Affairs. “That should lead to the next step – addressing the unanswered questions. Why was she so easily duped by the purveyors of false news on the Palestinian side? How many other fabrications – about 'apartheid' Israel, about targeting of civilians, about occupation as the chief obstacle of peace, about "peaceful" protest at the Gaza border – has she and others come to believe? Why did the General Convention pass a punitive anti-Israel resolution calling for a stoppage of funds from US to Israel and demanding that - 'the Secretary of State of the United States... certify annually that no funds obligated or expended in the previous year by the United States for assistance to Israel have been used to support the military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of Palestinian children in violation of international humanitarian law.'

How should the Jewish community understand the hostility of mainline Protestant churches to Israel? How much of it should be attributed to naivete, an environment poisoned against Israel, and how much to old-fashioned, unresolved hatred of Jews?”

For more information, please contact the Center's Communications Department, 310-553-9036, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter feed.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

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