Home > ENI news stories > ENI News for June 23: New antisemitism, S. Korea speaks up for N. Korean Children, Denomination drops magazine

ENI News for June 23: New antisemitism, S. Korea speaks up for N. Korean Children, Denomination drops magazine

June 23rd, 2009
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Ecumenical News International
News Highlights
23 June 2009

For full story, click on the “read more” link below this summary.

New strain of anti-Semitism spreading, chief rabbi in Britain warns

London (ENI). The world is in the grip of a “virulent” new strain of anti-Semitism, says the Chief Rabbi of Orthodox Jews in Britain.  Britain itself is facing an increasing number of anti-Semitic attacks, he added. Sir Jonathan Henry Sacks made these stark statements in a recently published book “Future Tense”, a work that warns of the possibility of new waves of attacks on Jews because of their often perceived support for Zionism and the military activities of Israel. [520 words, ENI-0501]

S. Korean churches urge unconditional support of children in North

Tokyo (ENI). A South Korean grouping of churches is urging its member churches and organizations to join a campaign to give North Korean children milk and bread “without any precondition”. In a 16 June statement, the National Council of Churches in Korea  said it would start “to advocate the necessity of urgent support to people in North Korea in the situation of the present critical antagonistic political arrangement on the Korean peninsula, and to mobilise its member churches”. [395 words, ENI-09-0500]

US church drops magazines adopts apartheid-era confession

Holland, Michigan (ENI/RNS). Just as major mainstream print publications struggle to forge their way into the digital age, so will the magazines of the 166 000-member Reformed Church in America. Two years after scrapping a denominational subsidy for The Church Herald, the RCA general synod that met in Holland, Michigan in early June voted 171-56 to cease publishing the monthly magazine that has suffered a sharp decline in subscriptions. [278 words, ENI-09-0502]

New strain of anti-Semitism spreading, chief rabbi in Britain warns
ENI-09-0501

By Trevor Grundy
London, 23 June (ENI)–The world is in the grip of a “virulent” new strain of anti-Semitism, says the Chief Rabbi of Orthodox Jews in Britain.

Britain itself is facing an increasing number of anti-Semitic attacks, he added.

Sir Jonathan Henry Sacks made these stark statements in a recently published book “Future Tense”, a work that warns of the possibility of new waves of attacks on Jews because of their often perceived support for Zionism and the military activities of Israel.

Jewish leaders say the number of attacks on their 280 000-strong community in Britain, including arson attacks on synagogues and assault on Jews in the street, have reached the highest level since records started in the 1890s.

In an interview with Ecumenical News International, Mark Gardiner of the Community Security Trust, a group that looks after the safety of Britain’s Jewish community, said the 250 attacks in January were double the highest previous monthly total. “We have,” he said, “repeatedly seen a surge of anti-Semitic attacks every time there is turmoil in the Middle East.”

It is, says the 61-year-old Sacks, no coincidence that there were 250 attacks on British Jews in January for that was the month that Israel mounted a strong offensive against the Palestinian group Hamas in Gaza.

“If you ask somebody in Britain at random, they don’t connect Israel and Jews. Judaism is a religion; Israel is a country in the Middle East,” the chief rabbi says. “However, among anti-Semites and Jews, Israel is a code word for Jews, so the perpetrators and the victims understand it very well indeed.”

In his book, which has garnered strong coverage in British newspapers, Sacks has avoided verbal attacks or criticism of the Muslim community in Britain or on Islam in general.

But he links the rise of this new form of anti-Semitism to the events of the September 11 attacks in the United States.

“Within 24 hours of 9/11 people said it was ‘Mossad wot done it’. Then the anti-Semitism went viral and it became very worrying. There started to be synagogue desecrations, cemetery desecrations and Jews attacked on the street. We had a rabbinical student who was on the top floor of a bus in Stamford Hill [in London] sitting quietly studying the Talmud. Somebody stabbed him many times. He was very lucky to live. The guy who was eventually convicted said, ‘Israel is persecuting us so I decided I had to persecute him’.”

In an interview in Britain’s The Times newspaper in April Sacks called on his fellow Jews not to retreat inwards.

“When you are subjected to trauma, you can find yourself undergoing a regression to an earlier trauma. Until 2001 the British Jewish community was really doing wonders at integration. We thought for 60 years the Holocaust could never happen again, but when the anti-Semites really began to hit homes, there was a regression.”

The British government, he said, however, should be tougher about throwing Islamic extremists out of the country. Britain has the fifth largest Jewish population in the world.

:: Sir Jonathan Henry Sacks: “Future Tense”. Hodder & Stoughon £16.99.  [520 words]

Ecumenical News International
Daily News Service
23 June 2009

S. Korea churches urge unconditional support of children in North
ENI-09-0500

By Hisashi Yukimoto
Tokyo, 23 June (ENI)–A South Korean grouping of churches is urging its member churches and organizations to join a campaign to give North Korean children milk and bread “without any precondition”.

In a 16 June statement, the National Council of Churches in Korea said it would start “to advocate the necessity of urgent support to people in North Korea in the situation of the present critical antagonistic political arrangement on the Korean peninsula, and to mobilise its member churches”.

The council explained the decision for the campaign came as the result of discussions with its North Korean counterpart, the Korean Christian Federation held at Beijing in March. The decision to launch a campaign follows a resolution of the council’s executive committee meeting on 23 April.

The campaign includes a Week of National Reconciliation in June that encourages churches to have special worship services with prayers for the people  of North Korea. The campaign will send to North Korea packs of flour weighing 20 kilograms and worth US$10 a pack, and 8000 cans of powdered milk worth $8 a can.

Tensions around the Korean Peninsula and neighbouring Japan in North Asia have heightened in recent months. North Korea on 5 April launched a long-range rocket and on 25 May engaged in a second nuclear test, an action that has led to tougher United Nations’ sanctions on the isolated state.

The South Korean church council noted, “Any humanitarian assistance from South Korea has completely ceased because of the stringent relationship between the North and the South and 330 000 tons of expected assistance from the U.S.A. was stopped” due to matters related to the nuclear situation.

The statement said that, due to the lack of food, children, pregnant women, and the elderly, who are the most vulnerable in the society, have been the hardest hit. It noted that the undernourishment of  North Korean children “will cause a problem of vicious circle, downgrading their physical growth as well as their ability to study and learning quality”.

The South Korean church council groups the Presbyterian Church of Korea, the Korean Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea, the Salvation Army in Korea, the Anglican Church of Korea, the Evangelical Church of Korea, the Korean Orthodox Church and the Korean Assemblies of God.

:: English statement of council:

http://kncc.or.kr/eng/news/BoardView.asp?idx=84&bbsKind=bbs_news&pg=1&sch=&keyword=

US church drops magazines, adopts apartheid-era confession
ENI-09-0502

By Matt VandeBunte
Holland, Michigan, 23 June (ENI/RNS)–Just as major mainstream print publications struggle to forge their way into the digital age, so will the magazines of the 166 000-member Reformed Church in America.

Two years after scrapping a denominational subsidy for The Church Herald, the RCA general synod that met in Holland, Michigan in early June voted 171-56 to cease publishing the monthly magazine that has suffered a sharp decline in subscriptions.

Church and Herald leaders now will work within an existing US$240 000 budget to create a new publication that could be primarily online. An open blog and increased online social networking figure to be prominent aspects, Religion News Service reports.

The Herald, prized by supporters for its editorial independence, in 1992 was given a subsidy to fund distribution to every RCA member household. But that was stopped in 2008 to cut costs and use some of the money to start RCA Today, a new magazine published three times per year to promote the church’s growth goals.

Since losing the subsidy, Herald subscriptions have fallen below 20 000 and the magazine was forecast to go broke by the end of the year.

“The subscriptions tell a very powerful story that it’s time to move forward,” said the Rev. Joel Plantinga, a pastor from California.

Also at the synod, the RCA voted to adopt the Belhar Confession as a “standard of unity,” after 24 years of considering it. Written in 1982, during apartheid, by the Dutch Reformed Mission Church, a black denomination in South Africa, the confession “affirms the truth of the gospel in the face of terrible oppression”.  [278 words]

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