The Iona Community, about which I have written here before, is an ecumenical Christian fellowship in Scotland. Its headquarters are in Glasgow, but its main activities take place on the island of Iona in the Inner Hebrides, which is seen as a place for spiritual retreats. It has an international reputation for preaching love, a spiritual vocation, and fellowship among Christians. To me however it is also deeply anti-Semitic through its extreme hatred for the state of Israel and its one-sided support of the Palestinian narrative – according to the definitions of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and the US State Department.
Earlier this year, Sammy Stein, chairman of Glasgow Friends of Israel, complained to the group about remarks made at a meeting addressed by Iona’s Leader-Elect, Dr. Michael Marten. Marten had argued more than once that Israeli soldiers routinely and deliberately shoot Palestinian children, while knowing that they are children. In a reply to Mr. Stein, Marten and the Reverend Peter Macdonald, the community leader, asserted that Marten’s statement had been true, and tried to back up their vilification by referencing a number of media and UN reports, including anti-Israel NGOs such as B’Tselem and Electric Intifada. I was asked to respond to their diatribe; the result is the letter below. Will Macdonald and Marten, take in what it says and find a more honest way to express Christian concern, not just for the children of Gaza and the West Bank, but for Jewish children murdered in their beds and at school by Palestinian terrorists?
Dear Rev. Macdonald and Dr. Marten,
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