Archbishop of Canterbury Affirms Israel’s ‘Right to Exist in Security and Peace’

June 27, 2013 4:09 pm 5 comments

Justin Welby (sitting in center), the Archbishop of Canterbury, at a press conference at the Israeli Chief Rabbinate in Jerusalem during his visit to Israel on Thursday. Photo: Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

JNS.org – JERUSALEM—The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, affirmed Israel’s “right to exist in security and peace” during his visit to the Jewish state on Thursday.

Welby, on a five-day tour of Egypt, Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories this week, met with members of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem, visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum, and prayed at the Western Wall.

“The clear policy of the Church of England, [and] my own very clear and very fluent feeling, is that the State of Israel is a legitimate state like every other state in the world and has a right to exist in security and peace within internationally agreed boundaries,” he told a press conference at the Israeli Chief Rabbinate.

British Jewish groups criticized Welby last year for abstaining from a vote in the General Synod that endorsed the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI), an organization of Christians who monitor human rights abuses in the Palestinian territories.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews said the program lacks an understanding of the conflict. EAPPI’s “ecumenical accompaniers” have “almost no grasp of the suffering of normal Israelis,” it said.

In May, Welby said he regretted not voting against the motion, saying it did not accurately reflect the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In Jerusalem on Thursday, Welby called on all people in the region to live in peace.

“All the people of the region without exception from whatever background they come, whether it’s Israeli or Palestinian or any other, also have the right to exist in peace and security within properly agreed frontiers,” he said. “And those who support the legitimate right of people to exist in peace, justice and security are wonderful people and it’s a very important thing that they are there and that they keep us on task.”

With U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arriving on Thursday for his fifth visit to Israel since he began his term, Welby said he hopes Kerry will succeed in reaching a peace deal.

“Obviously anyone who is seeking to put together a settlement in this area, we must all wish them God speed and every blessing in what they’re doing,” Welby said. “He is clearly personally deeply committed and I don’t think anyone in this area has any illusions about the complexity about the task he’s undertaking.”

But Welby said the rich religious heritage of the region inspired his trip, not the conflict.

“This is the cradle of three great world faiths. It’s the cradle of our own faith, of the Christian faith. It’s where Jesus lived and walked and died and rose again, and it is in so many ways the center of the world, in so many extraordinary ways. What possible reason could there be to delay?” he said.

Soon after becoming archbishop in November 2012, Welby discovered that his father was Jewish. He also recently learned that he had lost relatives in the Holocaust.

In light of his family’s history, he called his visit to Yad Vashem “an extraordinarily personal and emotional moment,” but declined to go into greater detail.

The archbishop offered comfort to Christians in the region who are experiencing persecution by Islamist groups and others, but urged them to turn the other cheek in the face of attacks.

“I’ve had a lot of experience of working in areas where there’s been mass killing of Christians,” he said. “I’ve stood by the mass graves of Christians who have been killed within days while their killers were still watching. I have no illusions about this.”

“It’s the hardest thing we can ever say to people, but Jesus tells us to love our enemies,” he added. “It’s the hardest thing when you’re being violently attacked. It’s an indescribable challenge. But God gives grace so often for that, to love our enemies.”

With former South African leader Nelson Mandela still in critical condition, Welby offered his prayers for him, his family and the country.

“We are praying constantly for President Mandela,” he said. “Especially for his family, for the people of South Africa and for peace in their hearts and minds at what must be a very traumatic time for them.”

The archbishop met with Pope Tawadros II, the head of Egypt’s Coptic Church, the Grand Imam Sheik Mohamed Ahmed el-Tayeb, and HMA Ambassador James Watt in separate meetings in Cairo on Monday. On Wednesday, Welby met with the Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh in Amman to discuss instability in the Middle East, including the dire situation for Syrian refugees, and opportunities for building peace between religions.

“It was a privilege to be so warmly received with such hospitality by the foreign minister,” Welby said in statement. “We had a very productive discussion about the political situation in the region, and especially about how we might cooperate to help foster peace, and secure the traditional fabric of the whole society in the region.”

King Abdullah II visited Lambeth Palace last November.

5 Comments

  • A note to Archbishop Welby: If indeed Israel is a legitimate nation with legitimate borders, as you say; then I would respectfully submit the outrageous idea that, oh my goodness, perhaps they have the moral right and obligation to defend themselves! Most nations under attack, as Israel most decidedly is, do not turn the other cheek – they flat out defend themselves. What a novel idea. But, I do believe it IS Biblical!!!!! It is only in the millenial reign of Jesus that nations turn their swords into plowshares, AND NOT BEFORE!!!!!

  • I don’t know how to feel about Israel anymore. It is pretty clear from the Bible that the people of Israel was supposed to be a tribal people scattered around the world. The kingdom was only given due to Israel’s childlike behavior of wanting a kingdom like other nations.

    • Wolff Bachner

      so in your opinion its childlike for Jews to want a nation of their own where they are safe after 1900 years of being butchered. do i need to tell you what i think of you?

    • this is sell short of the mark. A long time before the kingdoms of Saul, David etc., the land of Canaan was given to the Jewish people under the Abrahamic covenant – see
      Genesis 17:8 And I will give unto thee, [Abraham], and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
      This covenant continued to include Isaac and his descendants (Genesis 17:19; 35:12). Various scatterings occurred due to sin, but the land still belongs eternally to the Jews.

  • Jews have a right to live. He’s such a nice man for saying that. I will send him a box of cookies. Entenmann’s’

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Relationships US & Canada Time Out Features Single Lady Who Likes ‘Big Schlubby Jewish Comedians’

    Time Out Features Single Lady Who Likes ‘Big Schlubby Jewish Comedians’

    A profile published Wednesday in Time Out New York highlighted a 25-year-old Brooklyn woman who claimed she is attracted to chubby Jewish comedians, Maxim Deputy Editor Jason Feifer pointed out via Twitter. Talking about a date she went on, Steph, a sunglasses designer living in Borough Park, told the magazine, ”He was very attractive, just not my type. I like big schlubby Jewish comedians and he was clean-cut.” Feifer posted a picture of the magazine page and commented that Steph’s preferences amounted [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Sports Gold on the Galilee: Israeli Kayaker Comes of Age, Eyes Olympics (VIDEO)

    Gold on the Galilee: Israeli Kayaker Comes of Age, Eyes Olympics (VIDEO)

    JNS.org – Three years ago, kayaking coach Roei Lev found aspiring Olympian Ilya Podpolnyy crying on the steps of the Jordan Valley Sprint Kayak Club overlooking the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). Podpolnyy, then 17 years old, had just been disqualified from the Israeli kayaking championship. He couldn’t survive the heats. He didn’t make the start line. He was devastated—and he had no one with whom to share his hopes, his dreams, and his disappointment. His divorced parents still live in [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Lena Dunham Responds to Charges of Antisemitism: It was Just a Jew Joke

    Lena Dunham Responds to Charges of Antisemitism: It was Just a Jew Joke

    “Girls” creator Lena Dunham responded on Tuesday to charges of antisemitism over an article she had penned for the New Yorker, saying it was all in good humor. Speaking to Variety, Dunham reflected on her “tight-knit Jewish family, where Jew jokes were part of the essential fiber of our communication.” The article Dunham referred to was called “Dog or Jewish Boyfriend? A Quiz,” with options such as “He doesn’t Tip” and “He’s Crazy for Cream Cheese.” Among Dunham’s critics, Anti-Defamation [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Former NBA Star Tweets Article About Jewish Conspiracy to Control Global Media

    Former NBA Star Tweets Article About Jewish Conspiracy to Control Global Media

    Retired NBA player Keyon Dooling tweeted a link on Wednesday to a wildly antisemitic article that accuses Jews of seizing control of the world’s media and using it to promote their own interests. The article, published by an obscure blog in April 2013, highlights six companies it claims are owned by Jews — such as Time Warner, Inc. and the Walt Disney Company – that allegedly “control 96 percent of the world’s media.”  The post includes allegations of “Jewish control” and says [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Rosh Hashanah Won’t Keep the Giants’ Geoff Schwartz From Season Opener

    Rosh Hashanah Won’t Keep the Giants’ Geoff Schwartz From Season Opener

    New York Giants offensive guard Geoff Schwartz responded to an outcry from Jewish fans on Tuesday, saying he will go ahead and play in the season opener despite the fact that it falls on the first night of Rosh Hashanah. “Keep getting tweets about that being the first night of Rosh Hashanah… Don’t know what I’m supposed to tell you. It’s a tough break,” the Jewish athlete wrote, referring to the Giants’ on-the-road game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Sept. [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Jewish Coach David Blatt Has NBA’s Cavaliers Surging at Playoff Time

    Jewish Coach David Blatt Has NBA’s Cavaliers Surging at Playoff Time

    JNS.org – When David Blatt was hired as head coach of the National Basketball Association’s Cleveland Cavaliers last June, he was not often recognized when he walked the streets of downtown Cleveland. What a difference a year makes. Now, Blatt can go few places without being recognized. For good reason. The Jewish coach has the Cavaliers in the mix to win the city of Cleveland’s first championship in a major sport since the Browns won the National Football League title in [...]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports Croatian Soccer Star’s Hebrew Tattoo Causes a Stir Online

    Croatian Soccer Star’s Hebrew Tattoo Causes a Stir Online

    A Hebrew tattoo sported by Croatian soccer star Mario Mandzukic became an internet sensation in Israel after it was exposed on Tuesday during a Champions League match between Ateltico Madrid and Real Madrid A first glance, the tattoo, on the athlete’s back, might leave one with the impression that it was an unfortunate artistic mistake, since the Hebrew letters do not make sense as they are written. However, a closer look at the tattoo shows that it was actually written [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Theater Why an Algemeiner Editor Wrote a Play About a Mass Shooter

    Why an Algemeiner Editor Wrote a Play About a Mass Shooter

    For the past two years, I have served as Opinion Editor at The Algemeiner. I’m perhaps most proud of the paper’s commitment to publishing diverse and opposing viewpoints on the controversial issues of the day. We pride ourselves on voicing different opinions because we know that most issues are not black and white, and because our community is better served by a public debate. In my life outside of the paper, I am a professional actor and playwright. And similarly, [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.