Board of Deputies hosts launch of book about the tragic history of church’s relationship with Jews

The Board of Deputies has hosted the London launch of a new book by the Revd Bruce D. Thompson – chair of Methodist Friends of Judaism – an engaging and vivid account of the tragic history of the church’s relationship with Jewish communities over two millennia.

Beginning with the Jerusalem house church, the book, entitled Echoes of Contempt, traces that history through medieval pogroms and the Parisian salons of the Enlightenment, right up to the present-day focus on the Israel/Palestine conflict.

In conversation with Rabbi Alexandra Wright, Senior Rabbi of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, Bruce D. Thompson gave the audience of Christians and Jews an insight into his inspiration for the book, and the very real implications for the Jewish-Christian relationship today.

Revd Thompson said: “Far from being something new, Judeophobia is a recycling of misinformation, prejudice, and hatred. The old lies are echoed in the present at political rallies, church conferences, and in classrooms.”

Speaking about his experiences of fighting antisemitism, Revd Thompson added: “Several years ago, when I first challenged the single narrative of the Israel Palestine debate at a Methodist Conference, I was pretty much a lone voice.  Thankfully, the Methodist Church has come a long way since, with many members seeking a more sophisticated understanding of the conflict, but there is still much work to do.”

Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl said: “Sadly, we live in a time where antisemitism is at record levels. Therefore I was delighted to see so many Christian friends join us for this event, to listen, to learn and to engage on the issue of antisemitism. When Christians show their solidarity with us, it is a very special thing.”

Rabbi Alexandra Wright reflected: “It was a pleasure to lead this conversation with Revd Thompson. This is not a comfortable book for many people to read, but the issues it raises can only be successfully addressed by Jews and Christians working together in a spirit of interfaith unity.”

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