Simon Wiesenthal Center protests Episcopal Church bishop’s anti-Israel stance
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Simon Wiesenthal Center protests Episcopal Church bishop’s anti-Israel stance

Bishop Gayle Harris of Massachusetts calls for punitive measures against Israel, is condemned for spreading fabrications ‘bordering on blood libel’

Illustrative: Episcopal Bishops lead a march to urge people of faith to seek common ground to curtail gun violence, during the Episcopal General Convention Sunday, June 28, 2015, in Salt Lake City.  (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Illustrative: Episcopal Bishops lead a march to urge people of faith to seek common ground to curtail gun violence, during the Episcopal General Convention Sunday, June 28, 2015, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

The Simon Wiesenthal Center has condemned a bishop of the Episcopal Church, saying that some of her anti-Israel rhetoric borders on a “blood libel.”

According to the Center, Bishop Gayle Harris of Massachusetts called for punitive measures against Israel at the recent General Convention of The Episcopal Church and recounted a tale of Israeli police allegedly storming the Temple Mount compound to try and arrest a 3-year-old Palestinian child.

She reportedly told another story of Israeli soldiers shooting a Palestinian youth in the back several times after he refused to answer a question.

According to a Thursday statement from the anti-Semitism watchdog, both stories are “outrageous fabrications.” The Center said that Harris did not respond to inquiries about her sources.

Bishop Gayle Harris (Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts)

“Christian Churches and their leaders have a historic obligation to fight anti-Semitism, not spread blood libels, invented to stir up animosity against Jews,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Wiesenthal Center. “If Harris speaks for her denomination, then The Episcopal Church belongs on the short list of enemies of the Jewish state and her supporters.”

Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Rabbi Abraham Cooper speaks from a podium featuring the new poster for the exhibit, with the reference to the Land of Israel replaced by the Holy Land, June 11. (photo credit: Courtesy Simon Wiesenthal Center)

Cooper noted some had spoken up in favor of Israel, but said they were too few.

In 2015 The Episcopal Church of the United States rejected several resolutions calling for the two-million-member Protestant church to divest from companies engaging in business with Israel and to boycott the Jewish state over its treatment of Palestinians.

Its House of Bishops defeated the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) resolution brought to the vote at the church’s 78th General Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“We also recognize that – contrary to the claims of BDS activists – TEC voted against divestment, and in favor of continuing its previous policy of select investment. But the new direction of the church was unmistakable,” said Cooper.

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