Thursday, 9 March 2017
We were directed to stand and sing Hatikvah, rallying cry of the Zionist movement sung at the first World Congress in 1897 and recently adopted as the National Anthem of Israel. We were also treated to an oratorical adulation of Israel delivered by a Member of the Welsh Assembly (AM) who had just returned from a free holiday in the Promised Land. Half-way through his political paean to Israel I walked out, shouting, “What about the Palestinians?!”
Determined to discover how this cynical perversion of an humanitarian event had been orchestrated I did a bit of digging and soon discovered;
1) The organiser was a Mr Roy Thurley, North Wales representative and past UK Director of an International Zionist organisation known as Christian Friends of Israel (CFI) with its HQ in Jerusalem.
2) This event was advertised by CFI as an “Official Civic” event attended by the local MP, two local AM’s, the Mayor, Chair of the County Council and various other bigwigs.
3) The MP, Guto Bebb is a member of Friends of Israel who has enjoyed thousands of pounds worth of free Israeli hospitality whilst Darren Millar AM recently hosted the launch of Wales Friends of Israel at the Senedd in Cardiff with the support of the Israeli Embassy.
4) Llandudno Town Council granted CFI £860 to organise this event.
So the upshot is that CFI misused Council Tax to elicit support for Israel, which Archbishop Desmond Tutu describes as “An Apartheid State” to be boycotted by Christians and all other right-thinking people. It seems fair to assume that Tutu knows a bit about both Apartheid and Christianity but Mr Thurley and CFI think not. Neither do they think much of fellow Christians for a couple of years ago CFI pulled out of Llandudno CYTUN (“Churches Together”) that includes all the other main Christian congregations (Methodist, Anglican, Baptist, Coptic etc) as Mr Thurley insists only his CFI sect correctly interprets the Bible.
Mr Thurley reveals the apartheid creed of Christian Friends of Israel in a booklet available online called “Chosen Race, Chosen Place” but the title is enough to get the drift. God chose the Jews and gave them Israel, not just in some mysterious way but in the ever-lasting here-and-now and anyone who criticises the expansionist State-building of Israel is an agent of the devil!
After discovering all this I thought I’d ask the Council whether it considered Mr Thurley’s HMD constituted a proper use of Council Tax. I also talked to local Christians, Conwy Peace Group and many others about their opinions and to cut a long story short, Rev Mike Harrison, Chair of CYTUN offered to organise a less divisive, more inclusive HMD next year. On 3rd March 2017 Llandudno Councillors accepted my analysis of CFI’s abuse of Llandudno HMD and endorsed CYTUN as organiser of our 2018 HMD. To top it off, with utter consistency Councillors decided that as CFI hadn’t fulfilled their side of the bargain the Council wouldn’t hand over the £860 grant!
No-one imagines Israel is now quaking in its boots but the political advance of Christian-Zionism across the UK has been slowed. Mr Thurley is something of a “Mr Big” and through CFI’s glossy magazines, books, DVD’s, Christian television and radio, conferences and trips to Israel his initiatives are widely anticipated and copied. This sort of Christian fundamentalist politicking is big in the States but still in its infancy here. In the light of my recent experience I would urge all fair-minded folk to get involved in your local HMD as I’ve identified several more already targeted by Christian Zionists.
Shalom, Christopher Draper