This is a post by Jeremy Newmark, CEO of the Jewish Leadership Council
The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) claims that “We want to serve all parties in this conflict in a fair and unbiased manner in word and action” a noble and just cause that no reasonable person could object to. With only two hours out of the two weeks training given prior to the trip putting forward the Israeli perspective, and just one day spent over the Green Line during a four month trip, it’s clear (unless you’re a certain Ben White) that there is an underlying agenda.
What about when the Ecumenical Accompaniers (EAs) return? Do they “serve all parties in this conflict”? There are far too many voices that suggest otherwise. Reports of talks given and organised by EAs have shown just how partisan they are, with the EAs sometimes articulating incorrect and extreme positions on the conflict. One example was a meeting held in The Friends’ Meeting House in Chelmsford. In other arenas EAs adopt elements of the Boycott Israel (BDS) agenda. Concerns about EAPPI extend far beyond the Jewish community, as shown by the recent statement by Rev Canon Andrew White, a senior CoE cleric based in the Middle East.
EAPPI clearly has some questions to answer on the content of its programmes, and the activities of some of its alumni.
Equally worrying, are the positions and people that EAPPI appears happy to associate with. A quick visit to the EA facebook page further proves what the programme is really about – demonising Israel under the guise of pushing for peace with clear support for Boycott, Divestments, Sanctions and the notoriously anti-Israel PSC.
An arm’s length facebook group created by supporters of EAPPI to express their personal views counts among its members Rev Sizer, the Surrey Pastor with a penchant for citing hate websites on an increasingly regular basis.
So, is EAPPI really an unbiased organisation acting with ‘principled impartiality’? The evidence clearly throws up some questions. That is why we have called for an independent investigation into its activities before the General Synod of the Church of England discusses a motion to extend its relationship with EAPPI. If it really has nothing to hide why are EAPPI supporters such as veteran Anti-Zionist Ben White working so hard to fight this?