(August 16, 2018 / JNS)
Episcopal Bishop Gayle Harris’s defamatory comments about Israel has prompted an official response from the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.
At the denomination’s General Convention in July, Harris alleged that she was on the scene when Israeli soldiers shot a Palestinian teenager 10 times in the back.
JNS reported that CAMERA and the Simon Wiesenthal Center challenged her for broadcasting unsubstantiated atrocity stories.
In response, the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts admitted in an email to CAMERA that Harris was not a witness to the alleged atrocities.
The email said the events that Harris described “were as reported to her by others over the course of several trips to Israel and were not witnessed by her at firsthand,” and that “her personal narrative was not intended as a policy statement.”
CAMERA researcher Dexter Van Zile said video footage shows that Harris “was quite explicit in her testimony, speaking as if she were a direct witness.”
“She told her fellow bishops, ‘I have been there when,’ ” said Van Zile. “Now it turns out she wasn’t there. By claiming to be an eyewitness, she was giving unwarranted credence to an atrocity story. She needs to retract and apologize.”
Harris also said she was on the Temple Mount when Israeli soldiers tried to put handcuffs on a 3-year-old boy who allowed a rubber ball to “roll over” the edge onto the Western Wall.
“But it turns out she wasn’t there either,” affirmed Van Zile. “She made it sound like she was an eyewitness to two terrible acts of villainy by Israeli soldiers that never happened.”
Harris apparently made the comments to win congregational approval for an anti-Israel resolution.
Van Zile said the church “seems to be doubling down in a vain attempt to protect Harris’s false testimony.”
He emphasized that “Diocesan Bishop Alan Gates from the Diocese of Massachusetts Diocese needs to do the ethical thing, and insist that Bishop Harris apologize for bearing false witness and misleading the Episcopal community.”