'Church backs off denial of Jewish right to Israel'

After Church of Scotland paper rejecting Jewish claims to Israel stirs uproar, church agrees to reword it, 'Guardian' reports.

Church of Scotland 370 (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/Green Lane)
Church of Scotland 370
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/Green Lane)
After meeting with senior Jewish leaders in Britain on Thursday, the Church of Scotland has agreed to change the wording of a controversial paper which denies Jews any special claim to the land of Israel, the Guardian reported.
The paper, entitled “The Inheritance of Abraham,” rejects "claims that scripture offers any peoples a privileged claim for possession of a particular territory.” The paper further states that “reconciliation can only be possible if the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and the blockade of Gaza are ended.”
According to the Guardian, the church has agreed to change the reports introduction to reflect that it has never doubted Israel's right to exist. The original report has been removed from the Church of Scotland's website until the change has been implemented.
Scottish Jews said they were “outraged” by the controversial report.
The report was published online this week by the Church and Society Council of the Church of Scotland ahead of the church's general assembly on May 18. The report's introduction describes it as the council's "latest reflection on the ‘questions that need to be faced,' as the political and humanitarian situation in the Holy Land continues to be a source of pain and concern for us all."
While the 10-page report does not mention the upcoming meeting, its final chapter, entitled "Proposed Deliverance," calls on the church to "urge the UK Government and the European Union to use pressure to stop further expansion of Israeli settlements in the Occupied West Bank."
The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities said Friday that the paper is “an outrage to everything that interfaith dialogue stands for” and “reads like an Inquisition-era polemic against Jews and Judaism.”
"The arrogance of telling the Jewish people how to interpret Jewish texts and Jewish theology is breathtaking,” the Jewish council said.
The council further declared that the paper “closes the door on meaningful dialogue” and called on the church to withdraw it ahead of its forthcoming General Assembly.
JTA contributed to this report.