Latest posts on Christian Aid

Why 'Christian Hate?'? An introduction to the blog

Places Christians shouldn't go A quick tour of Christian Hate?'s case against Christian Aid

Christians and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict Read all my posts on this topic

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Ocean of light, ocean of darkness: Quakers and Islamist anti-Semitism

“I saw also that there was an ocean of darkness and death, but an infinite ocean of light and love, which flowed over the ocean of darkness.”

- George Fox

I heard the words above quoted last week at a Quaker funeral - my first, though I've been to ordinary Meetings for Worship. Beautiful words at a beautiful occasion - just the right send-off for a dear friend.

Because of that experience I'm less inclined than I might at other times be to dismiss this with a shrug and a weary "same old same old". Asked to describe the Quakers I spoke to or listened to, I might suggest "gentle, compassionate, principled, sincere, intelligent". Not one of them could I picture in a brown shirt trashing a synagogue.

So how has it come about that a respected Quaker charity has given six-figure funding to an organisation which harbours promoters not only of violent extremism but also of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories? What is it about Quakers and Islamism? What is it about Quakers and Israel?

These are not rhetorical questions but express genuine perplexity. Here, though, is amore rhetorical one. When Quakers meet Jews in the course of the interfaith work to which they are strongly committed, do they say something like "Oh, just so you're aware, we've given a load of cash to some people who think you lot were behind 9/11. We're sure you'll understand."?

I have three hypotheses, not mutually exclusive:-

1. There is a campaign being waged by an activist minority not representative of Quakers at large.

2. The steady drift away from Quakerism's Christian roots creates a creedal vacuum into which secular ideology rushes. I've noted before that the convictions of anti-Israel campaigners seem to resemble an ersatz religion in their own right.

3. Perhaps there is some kind of attraction of opposites going on, giving herbivorous Quakers a perverse fascination with religion in its most violent and intolerant manifestation.

But it still doesn't really make sense. And would not George Fox want to ask those who follow in his footsteps why they choose darkness over light?


mike said...

Many Christians forget that Jesus was a Jew, and that He is the same yesterday, today and forever. Which means that when he returns He will still be a Jew.

If you look at John 7 v 23:

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Ask yourself who these doers of iniquity are who profess to be followers? It might help to understand what the Greek word translated as iniquity is: anomia
i.e. those 'without the Law'.

The Psalms tell us that the Law is eternal, did YHWH change His mind?
(Psalm 119)

Thus the man who builds his house upon rock is the man who builds his house upon the Law of YHWH. (v 24)

It is folly for Christians to persecute Jews and the Law of YHWH, the penalty is ultimate rejection!

Anonymous said...

Quakers have a very strong identitification with diaspora
Jews.Confident Israelis disrupt this identification and hurt their sense of identitiy.

Also early Quakerism borrowed a lot of ideas from Lurianic Kabbalah but had to cover it up because it wasn't OK to be seen to be doing this.

Some of George Fox writing mentioning Jews is horrific.

But most Quakers don't know this stuff because they are woefully ignorant about the history of their faith and far more interested in saving the world today