(August 3, 2018 / JNS)
An Episcopal bishop spread a “blood libel” against the Jewish state at the Episcopal Church’s General Convention in July, according to CAMERA analyst Dexter Van Zile.
Bishop Suffragan Gayle Harris was filmed urging the passage of a resolution condemning Israel during a July 13 meeting of the denomination’s House of Bishops.
In her testimony in support of a resolution condemning Israel, Harris made two accusations of Israeli heartlessness and criminality.
First, she accused Israeli officers of trying to handcuff a 3-year-old boy on the Temple Mount after the child’s rubber ball allegedly rolled off the Temple Mount and fell onto the Western Wall below.
“The problem is, her story must be fake,” Van Zile told JNS. “Besides Bishop Harris’s obvious attempt to demonize the Jewish state, there is the physical fact that a number of buildings and structures between the Temple Mount and the Western Wall make it impossible for a ball to simply roll off the Temple Mount and onto the plaza below. Her story is bogus.”
Second, video footage of Harris shows her accusing Israeli soldiers of gunning down a defenseless Palestinian teenager, shooting him 10 times in the back. She doesn’t say where or when the attack took place. The Simon Wiesenthal Center has called her charges “fabrications” that border on “blood libel.” The Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts has remained silent in the face of the center’s criticism.
“Bishop Harris doesn’t provide any evidence whatsoever for these defamatory and incendiary charges,” said Van Zile. “She makes it sound as if she were an eyewitness to these alleged atrocities, but why hasn’t anyone else told the world about these events?”
If the events Harris described happened, there “would be wall-to-wall coverage,” said Van Zile. “But the first we’ve heard of these atrocities is from Bishop Harris at the Episcopal Church’s General Convention a few years after they happened. That doesn’t make sense. Unless Harris can provide extraordinary proof of the events she described, it’s reasonable to conclude she is promoting a blood libel worthy of the Middle Ages.
“People are talking about the modern state of Israel the way people spoke about Jews in Medieval Europe,” said Van Zile. “No calumny is off-limits.”
On behalf of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), Van Zile wrote a formal letter to the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts requesting that Bishop Harris substantiate her stories or retract them and apologize.
“If she cannot substantiate the stories she told her fellow bishops,” said Van Zile, “she should publicly retract the stories and apologize publicly for issuing such ugly propaganda in a church setting.”