The Methodist Church in Britain overwhelmingly agreed at its last annual conference to call for a boycott of goods from "illegal" Israeli West Bank settlements, blaming Israeli occupation as the key hindrance to Middle East peace.
On her blog, Daphne Anson has published a letter sent to the Methodist Church leadership as a consequence by a Dr Gerald Oberman, who I believe lives in Brighton:
In your annual conference you have passed a policy calling for a boycott of goods from "illegal" Israeli West Bank settlements. You claim this is not anti-Semitic. But how else do you explain this strange obsession with Israel? What about the Chinese occupation of Tibet, or the Sudanese slaughter in Darfur, persecution in Zimbabwe and elsewhere? Politically, one could probably compile a case for a boycott against just about every country on the planet, but the only country in the world being subjected to a call for a boycott is Israel.
The so-called West Bank has been Jewish for more than 3000 years. A large part was known as Judea. Jesus, a Jew, was born there. Who do you imagine lived in Judea, if not the Jews? Who lived in Hebron but the Hebrews? The name Bethlehem is Hebrew. Only the Jews, of all the people in the world, living in their own land, are besmirched by being called illegal settlers.
Israel is monstrously depicted as Apartheid, notwithstanding the fact that one fifth of her population is Israeli Arab with full rights. The Palestinians claim the West Bank as theirs and require the land to be Juden Frei.
And just who are the "Palestinians"? Palestine has never existed as an autonomous entity. There is no language known as Palestinian. There is no distinct Palestinian culture. There has never been a land known as Palestine governed by Palestinians. There has never been a King of Palestine. Palestinians are Arabs, indistinguishable from Jordanians, Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, etc. The "Palestinian" leader Yasser Arafat was an Egyptian. They have no claim on the West Bank. Israel is not wrongfully "occupying" or "settling" anything.
Israel is currently the subject of a demonisation and misinformation campaign put out by Arab sources and propelled with a strong anti-Semitic undercurrent. The Arab world is spewing out anti-Semitism unequalled since the Hitler era. It is so pervasive, many Jews are being infected. Israel is portrayed as the most evil state on the planet. . .
Your boycott of Israeli "settlements" is, of course, the prelude to a boycott of all Israel. I trust you are preparing a complete boycott of everything coming out of Israel. . .
An Israeli company has developed a simple blood test that distinguishes between mild and severe cases of Multiple Sclerosis. . .
An Israeli-made device helps restore the use of paralysed hands. . . Your children with breathing problems will soon be sleeping more soundly, thanks to a new Israeli device called the Child Hood. This innovation replaces the inhalation mask with an improved drug delivery system that provides relief for child and parent. . .
A new research centre in Israel hopes to throw light on brain disorders such as depression and Alzheimer's disease. The Joseph Sangol Neuroscience Center in the Sheba Medical Center at Tel HaShomer Hospital aims to bring thousands of scientists and doctors to focus on brain research. A researcher at Israel's Ben Gurion University has succeeded in creating human monoclonal antibodies which can neutralize the highly contagious smallpox virus without inducing the dangerous side effects of the existing vaccine. . .
Doctors Ciechanover and Hershko's research and discovery of one of the human cell's most important cyclical processes will lead the way to DNA repair, control of newly produced proteins and immune defence systems.
The Movement Disorder Surgery program at Israel's Hadassah Medical Centre has successfully eliminated the physical manifestations of Parkinson's disease in a select group of patients with a deep brain stimulation technique.
For women who undergo hysterectomies each year for the treatment of uterine fibroids, the development in Israel of the Ex Ablate 2000 System is a welcome breakthrough, offering a non-invasive alternative to surgery.
Israel is developing a nose drop that will provide a five year flu vaccine. . .
Most of Windows operating systems were developed by Microsoft-Israel. . . The Pentium NMX Chip technology was designed at Intel in Israel. Both the Pentium 4 microprocessor and the Centrum processor were entirely designed, developed and produced in Israel. Voice mail technology was developed in Israel. . . Most of the latest technology in your mobile phone was developed by Israeli scientists. . .
Israel has the highest concentration of high-tech companies outside of Silicon Valley. Israel has more museums per capita. Israel has the second highest publication of new books per capita. . . Israel is making a massive contribution to the world, including the Palestinians - and to you - in science, medicine, communications and security. Pro rata for population, Israel is making a greater contribution than any other nation on earth.
And what is the Arab world doing? Buying rockets and missiles and threatening to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. The call by your church to boycott Israel, which is the intention, reeks of the stench of anti-Semitism. You should all hang your heads in shame.