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May 3, 2013 5:03 pm

Church of Scotland Abandons Support for Biblical Jewish Claim to Israel

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The logo of the Church of Scotland.

The Church of Scotland, once a staunch supporter of the biblical Jewish claim to Israel, abandoned that approach in a new report titled “The Inheritance of Abraham? A Report on the ‘Promised Land.'”

“Promises about the land of Israel were never intended to be taken literally, or as applying to a defined geographical territory,” the report says. “The ‘promised land’ in the Bible is not a place, so much as a metaphor of how things ought to be among the people of God. This ‘promised land’ can be found, or built, anywhere.”

On God’s promise to Abraham to make the land of Israel a home for the Jewish people (“To your offspring I will give this land,” Genesis 12:7), the Church of Scotland says the exact geography of the land is unclear. The land was given to Jews “conditionally” with the understanding that it would “be cared for and lived in according to God’s instruction,” the report says before quoting a slew of anti-Zionist writers who argue that Israel is acting “unjustly” toward the Palestinians.

Scottish Council of Jewish Communities Director Ephraim Borowski said the church should withdraw the report.

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“On behalf of the Jewish community of Scotland, we call upon the church to withdraw it [the report] from the forthcoming general assembly. If the Church cannot build bridges, can it at least refrain from burning them?” Borowski told the London Jewish Chronicle.

Board of Deputies of British Jews Vice President Jonathan Arkush said the document “appears to have been produced with no consultation with the Scottish or national Jewish community” and is “littered with misrepresentations of Jewish history.”

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  • steven

    If its a biblical promise,it has nothing to do with the jews,their holy book is the talmud. i wouldnt expect the church to tell the muslims how to interpret the koran and the ‘jewish community’ have a cheek telling the church how to interpret christianity’s own holy book,let alone demanding the report be withdrawn if it doesnt suit them.

  • Trudy Segal

    And yet they own and run The Scots Hotel in Tiberias!, blatant hypocrisy in my opinion!, they should be more worried about the ever growing Moslem community in Scotland and remember what they did at Glasgow Airport.

    Seems to me that short and convenient memories seem to be the order of the day!

  • RCCA

    Since when does the Church of Scotland have the standing to voice an opinion on the covenant between God and the Jewish people? What’s their opinion on the claim of Muslims to the city of Jerusalem based on a dream that Mohammed allegedly had?

  • Isaac

    Why don’t we just ignore them?

    • Gordon McGinn

      Please don’t ignore this.
      I am a member of the Church of Scotland.
      It is obviously open to free debate.
      I have not had a chance to read the document in question, but if it does say that “Biblical promises about the land of Israel were never intended to be taken literally, or as applying to a defined geographical territory” then I would take issue with this and could not accept it.
      You only have to read the account in what we call the Old Testament to know that the Promised Land is most certainly a physical place, Moses most certainly did not get to step a physical foot in that land that existed and still exists but Joshua and the progeny of Children of Israel did.
      I do hope that this is simply a paper (that I have not yet had a chance to read but if proves to be as reported) submitted through the requirements for open debate but composed by no individuals with any authority in the church.
      The word of God is surely now more than ever before being dissected and reconstituted to suit the requirements of the current era. Some people are going to get a surprise when they find out that when God says something he means it.

  • Did you say the Church of Scotland or the Church of Hitler? Is there a difference?

    • Heather

      Not a lot.

  • jerry hersch

    The Church is Presbyterian..In the USA it is the REFORMED Presbyterian Churches that are extremely supportive of Israel (there are about half a dozen Presbyterian denominations in the US..besides the Presbyterian Chuuch USA)
    http://www.thearda.com/Denoms/Families/Trees/familytree_presbyterian.asp

  • I have started a petition against this which I would be obliged if your readers could sign at-

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/196/407/787/is-it-right-to-question-israels-right-to-exist/

    I think this report is a utter disgrace.

  • jerry hersch

    As I have said Scotland is the heartland of anti-Semitism in the UK.
    From the Church,to the Scottish National Party that controls Scotland’s Parliement..down to local school and library boards…to the Scottish newspapers,mags,e-zines,and blogs.
    Anti-Israel and very much anti-JEWISH

    • Gordon McGinn

      I am sorry, but I have to disagree with you 100%.

      The former President of the Scottish National Party, Winnie Ewing made it a focus of her speech at a party conference that she was proud that Scotland is one of the few nations in the world that has never as a national action spilt a drop of Jewish blood.

      I as a Scot am not and would not ever be antisemitic and have brought my children up to be the same. My family fought and died in WWII. I lost a lot through the sacrifice my forebears made. A long story.

      I know of no fellow Scots in my sphere that are anti Jewish.

      My own feeling about the Jewish people is that they are blessed by God with amazing abilities. Some of my greatest human heroes are Jewish.

      I assure you that any attempt to take from the Nation of Israel their birthright of the Promised Land given by God, through a concept that “Biblical promises about the land of Israel were never intended to be taken literally, or as applying to a defined geographical territory” will only result in God’s determination of a physical land becoming ever clearer.

  • E Pluribus Beagle

    There is no claim on Scotland by the illegal occupiers who live there now. Scotland for the Celts, forever.

  • BH in Iowa

    The jihadist tools at the Church of Scotland aren’t known for their scintillating Torah commentary.

    They can mind their own business.

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