JEWISH NEWS: “CCJ not backing Israel-basher” by Joshua Levi 17Jun12 June 17, 2012

The Australian Jewish News:  “CCJ not backing Israel-basher by Joshua Levi, 16 June 2012

COUNCIL of Christian and Jews NSW (CCJ) president Reverend John Queripel has stated he never meant to express backing for Beyond Tribal Loyalties: Personal Stories of Jewish Peace Activists, a book compiled by anti-Israel activist Avigail Abarbanel, who supports a one-state solution and the global boycott campaign.

A flyer for one of Abarbanel’s book-tour functions lists Rev John Queripel as the host of the event, but he told The AJN on Wednesday that the details were misleading.

“There was obviously a mistake because I was never going to host the event and I am certainly not speaking,” Queripel said unequivocally after the CCJ held a meeting on Tuesday night to address the issue.

“Anyone can use your name at any time on the internet and I’m not sure how my name ended up there.”

Queripel said he may still attend the event to make sure that there was nothing said that would be considered offensive. “Anti-Semitism is out of bounds. It is wrong to say that you should get rid of the Jewish people in Israel, just as it is wrong to say you should get rid of the Palestinian people. If I attend it will be to make sure that there is no comparison between Israel and Nazi Germany because, although Israel has its faults like all countries, it is ridiculous and not acceptable.”

Beyond Tribal Loyalties is a collection of 25 stories collated by Abarbanel, who has previously written that Jewish psychology is the problem, not Israel. “I do not believe that the Palestinians can afford to wait until Jewish psychology changed by itself, and Jews felt sufficiently safe in the world to let go of the idea of an exclusively Jewish safe haven,” she wrote in 2008.

Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence, who sits on the CCJ executive, welcomed the news that Queripel would not be participating in the event. “The meeting on Tuesday night highlighted a warm commitment to interfaith dialogue, an appreciation that the agendas of some people who speak out against Israel are not always fully understood, and a recognition that there needs to be more education regarding the Jewish people’s right to have a homeland of their own,” he said.

“Everyone present at the meeting, including Rev Queripel was supportive of the idea that Israel had a right to exist in peace and security.”

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