Community welcomes Church in Wales’ adoption of IHRA

Community welcomes Church in Wales’ adoption of IHRA

Board of Deputies thanks Christian leaders for backing the international definition of antisemitism, as bishops say they regard Jew-hate as 'abhorrent'

A Board of Deputies plenary, with President Marie van der Zyl (second left)
A Board of Deputies plenary, with President Marie van der Zyl (second left)

Jewish leaders have applauded the Church in Wales for adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism, after the Church of England did so in September.

In a statement, the Bishops of the Church in Wales said: “We regard antisemitism as abhorrent and recognise that the Christian Church has need of repentance for the ways in which it has contributed in the past to anti-Jewish sentiment.

“We note that the IHRA definition itself does not preclude criticism of the State of Israel, and that legitimately holding the Israeli government to account is not anti-Semitic. In making the decision we recognise the excellent relationships between faith communities in Wales.”

Board of Deputies president Marie van der Zyl said: “We are pleased to see that the definition is gathering pace in the faith communities. Following the Church of England’s adoption of the IHRA last September, we have been pleased to see the Church of Scotland and now the Church in Wales follow suit.

“We would commend the definition and all its examples to all who want identify, confront and eradicate this poisonous and enduring form of hatred from our society and we thank the Church in Wales for their solidarity.”

Last month the Church of Scotland said it needed “internal conversations” about antisemitism within its ranks, as it revealed that dialogue with the Jewish community was now being “professionally facilitated”.

The Church’s Blue Book stated that “it is important that we deal with this issue [antisemitism] within the Church”.

The facilitated dialogue came about as a result of a commitment made by the Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and Very Rev Dr John Chalmers, promising “internal facing conversations about the meaning of antisemitism within the Christian tradition”.

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