“The Quaker leadership has chosen to import a divisive conflict into our country, rather than export the peace that we all want to see,” Marie van der Zyl charged.
The British Jews Board of Deputies condemned the decision of the Quakers in Britain to divest from Israel, or “any companies profiting from the occupation of Palestine” as they termed it.
Quakers in Britain, also known as House of Friends, on Monday became the first church in the UK to announce it was boycotting Israel.
Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl stated Thursday that “the appalling decision of the Friends House hierarchy to divest from just one country in the world – the only Jewish state – despite everything else going on around the globe, shows the dangers of the obsessive and tunnel-visioned approach that a narrow clique of church officials have taken in recent years.”
“There was no particular trigger incident for this decision, just the ongoing insistence of certain Quaker bureaucrats of feeding a diet of one-sided propaganda to those unfortunate enough to rely on them for information,” she charged.
‘Quakers Import a Divisive Conflict’
“While other churches have reached out to the Jewish community at this time of rising anti-Semitism and polarisation to work together to tackle prejudice and promote peace in the region, the Quaker leadership has chosen to import a divisive conflict into our country, rather than export the peace that we all want to see,” she added.
While condemning the Quakers’ anti-Semitism, she averred, “Israel, the Middle East’s only true democracy and most thriving economy, will be untroubled by this biased and petulant act, but the Quakers, who have for so long been at the forefront of peace activism, have now marginalised themselves from being a credible voice on the issue.”
She called on the Quakers to reverse the decision, “to stop promoting division,” and “to join those of us looking to build bridges instead.”
Last Monday, during its Britain Yearly Meeting trustees, in consultation with Meeting for Sufferings, the national representative body of Quakers announced that the church will not invest any of its centrally-held funds in “companies profiting from the occupation of Palestine.”
In a statement, Quakers UK stated that the church’s trustees’ decision “fits into a long Quaker history of pursuing ethical investments. It follows decisions not to invest funds in . . . the fossil fuel industry, arms companies, Apartheid South Africa, and – going even further back – the transatlantic slave trade.”