As the representative body of the Jewish Community in Scotland, the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities deeply regrets the Church of Scotland’s approval of a report that provides a veneer of theological respectability for what is effectively a call for the destruction of the State of Israel. It is an unacceptable attack on Judaism, and appears to have been written without any thought as to its impact on Jewish people living throughout Scotland, many of whom have reported to us that the undisputed increase of anti-zionist activity in Scotland adversely affects their lives as Jews in Scotland.
The revisions made to the report before the Assembly did remove some of the polemic, but the revised version is still tendentious, and sadly contributes to a climate in which Jewish people in Scotland tell us they feel uncomfortable, alienated, and unsafe.
The Assembly was given two opportunities to add an explicit endorsement of dialogue to its Deliverance. The first was withdrawn; the second would have instructed the Church and Society Council "to engage in further dialogue with the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities with a view to bringing a new report to the General Assembly of 2014." There was never any suggestion that that amendment would have resulted in this report being rejected or withdrawn, and on the contrary, it was pointed out that the report could still be circulated and discussed within the Church.
By rejecting that proposal, the Church of Scotland has deliberately and knowingly burnt the bridges with the Jewish Community in Scotland: the General Assembly was made aware of our concerns, yet voted explicitly to reject a call for continuing dialogue. It will not be easy to rebuild these bridges now that the Church has openly rejected working towards an understanding that will bring our communities together, rather than, as the this report has done, driving us further apart.
Ephraim Borowski, Director of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities said, “The General Assembly has overwhelmingly rejected a call for dialogue with the Jewish Community. In those circumstances, we regret that we have no alternative but to regard that door as closed. The Kirk has a lot of self-examination to undertake before we can begin to regard that door as open again.”