Beyond Belief: Political Propaganda in the Anglican Church.


A while ago, Elder of Ziyon published an article well worth a re-read in which he explained why these commonly found maps are both inaccurate and deliberately misleading. 

(By the way, here is the much more relevant map, which Elder created and posted, illustrating how much land Israel has given away, since ’67, for the sake of peace:)

Commonly found they indeed are, but I for one did not realise just how broad their spread has been on the internet until I decided to try to find their origins. These maps, usually entitled “Palestinian loss of land 1946 – 2000″ get 2,800,000 search results on Google. They appear on neo-Nazi forums (to which I will not link), on the English language website of Hamas’ Izz a Din al Qassam brigades, on the sites of various ‘peace campaigners’ such as ‘Vermonters for a Just Peace in Palestine/Israel‘ and on some new-age hippy sites. They can be found on Greek, Swedish, Irish and Malaysian sites among others and are  promoted by Canadian 9/11 ‘truthers’ and the Evangelical Lutherian Church in America. They are advertised for sale on the internet in post-card form by both ‘Friends of Sabeel North America’ and the Ann Arbour Quakers.

They also appear on this Palestinian website where they are accredited to the University of Bethlehem with a 2006 copyright date.  So, is the University of Bethlehem their point of origin? That seems unlikely because on the ‘Friends of Sabeel UK’ website, where the maps are also used, they are accredited to one Tim Biles and said to be taken from his book “A Puppy Dies: And Other Stories from the Holy Land”. The book was published in 2003 and that was the earliest reference I was able to find to these maps.

So who is Tim Biles? Well, actually his full title is the Reverend Canon Timothy Biles and he’s a retired Anglican vicar from Dorset.  He still does a bit of preaching, such as this recent sermon in which he manages to display some of his prejudices by inserting his own politically hued interpretations into the New Testament story of the Good Samaritan.  

“The Samaritans of the story lived – then, and now – in a wild and rugged patch of mountainous land sandwiched between Galilee in the north and Jerusalem in the south. The Jews wanted that land so that they could make the journey from Galilee to Jerusalem for the Festivals without let or hindrance. The Samaritans barred the way.”  

Of course nowhere in Luke chapter 10, verses 25 to 37 is any reference whatsoever made to Jews trying to gain control of Samaritan land, but Tim Biles exploits his position as a trusted member of the clergy in order to introduce to his listeners the idea that the Samaritans in the story are the equivalent of today’s Palestinians and that the self-interested Jews were intent on ‘land-grabbing’ even back then.

This very subtly imparted promotional message is indicative of something that goes on a lot in various churches these days; a type of subliminal advertising which establishes concepts in the minds of an audience convinced that their source is beyond reproach by virtue of the clerical robes worn by the promoter. The somewhat unspiritual intent behind it is actually the promotion of a specific narrative surrounding the political situation in the Middle East.

Tim Biles also acts as editor and consultant for an Anglican Church newsletter produced by the UK charity the Jerusalem and the Middle East Church Association.  There, among the news items, he promotes various writers on the subject of the Arab-Israeli conflict such as  the far- Left activist and founder of ‘Gush Shalom’ Uri Avneri and Rabbis Howard Cooper and Marc H Ellis – both known for their anti-Zionism.  In this issue, a book by Sabeel’s supercessionist leader Naim Ateek is reviewed by the veteran anti-Israel campaigner and Anglican vicar Stephen Sizer. In this edition, former British diplomat and member of The Council for Arab British Understanding (CAABU) Sir Howard Walker promotes the notion that “Washington seems to be in perpetual thrall to the Zionist lobby” and there is a feature on Garth Hewitt and the Amos Trust which promotes both the Kairos Palestine Document (which provides pseudo-religious justification for boycotts of Israel) and the ‘Just Peace’ campaign which is co-ordinated by anti-Israel activist Ben White.

British readers may recall that in December 2009 The Amos Trust, together with CAABU, ‘Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods’, the ‘International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network’ and ‘War on Want’  organised an ‘alternative’ Christmas carol service at a church in Covent Garden, London,  which featured re-written versions of traditional songs.

The chorus to “The Holly and the Ivy” for example, became:

O the rampaging of settlers

And the rolling of the tanks;

The grinding of the bulldozers

As olives fall in ranks.

“Once in Royal David’s city” was re-written as follows:

Once in royal David’s city

Stood a big apartheid wall;

People entering and leaving

Had to pass a checkpoint hall.

Bethlehem was strangulated,

And her children segregated.

Though this city is a symbol

To the world of peace and love,

Concrete walls have closed around her,

Settlements expand above.

And apartheid Israel stands

All around on stolen lands

Predictably, a message of support for the event was sent by the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem which helps bring us to the unpleasant conclusion that quite a few members of the Anglican Church are involved in the spread of the assault on Israel’s legitimacy. 

 Tim Biles may or may not have drawn up those fake maps himself, or he may have acquired them elsewhere. Whatever the case, according to Friends of Sabeel UK they apparently appear in his now out of print book. I have found no evidence of Biles having corrected FOSUK’s accreditation or of any objection on his part to being associated with what is blatant anti-Israel propaganda. Had he wished to do so, the task would not have been difficult; FOSUK’s officials include more than one prominent member of the Anglican Church. Neither is any evidence to be found of the Church disassociating itself from Biles as a result of the use of fake maps; in fact it continues to allow him to engage in partisan editing of newsletters and preach in its establishments. The Salisbury Diocese’s own Sarum College held a book launch for Biles’ latest literary work only last year.   

Obviously, the Anglican Church of the United Kingdom, with Her Majesty the Queen at its head, is not immune to the influences of the kind of political extremists who have also led the British Methodists and Quakers down the slippery slope of singling out the Jewish state as a unique  target for unprecedented hostility and campaigns of exclusion. It is sad to see yet another once respected religious institution harbouring at the very heart of its establishment extremists who make cynical use of lies and dishonest propaganda such as the above maps, among other things, in order to propagate and spread a very ancient form of hatred. 

The Church, of all institutions, and in particular given its own past history of which we have had a sombre reminder in recent days, should know better. 

27 comments on “Beyond Belief: Political Propaganda in the Anglican Church.

  1. Tim Biles – a Chrislamic crusader?

    Put another C in it and he might be a candidate for a CCC organisation lookalike contest.

  2. It is interesting to me that some christian clerics put no small amount of time, effort and energy into supporting an anti-Israel narrative yet seem to have little or no interest in the plight of their own, targeted, and abused brothers around the world.

    If they spent half the time they appear to take in anti-Israel activism, and instead turned their attention to the persecution of the Coptic christians in Egypt, those in Iraq, Sudan, Africa and everywhere that their brothers are suffering simply because they are christian, then maybe there might be some pressure bought to bear on those persecuting them.

  3. Hampshire County Council library has a copy of, “A Puppy Dies: And Other Stories from the Holy Land.”
    I’m curious now, perhaps one of the English could check if it contains any further info on the origin of the maps?

    The book doesn’t seem to have been very popular. The only other library copy I’ve found so far is in California and there are a few used copies on abebooks.

  4. Pingback: The Lie of the Land «ScrollPost.com

  5. I think many in the Christian establishment have realised that their religion is on the way out. Islam will soon become the largest practiced form of faith in the west.

    And these people also know that once Islam takes over, their faith, along with all others, will be wiped out soon after. To stop this from happening, these dimwits are keen to show people of islamic faith that Christians are on their side and are therefore hoping that they’ll be the last one that gets eaten.

    I see no difference bewteen christianity and islam in their treatment of people of other faiths. They actually deserve each other.

      • Thanks for at least trying to answer the question the original blog left unanswered – what is wrong with the maps? I was genuinely interested in this article until I got to the bottom and found it was pure rant.

        Thanks to your alternative maps I now sort-of understand the debate.

        However, I’m still stuck not understanding the objective reality.

        The ‘Biles’ map purports to show the transfer of control from Palestinians to Israel. Is it factually incorrect ? (I don’t know, I’m asking the question)

        Your maps show (and they look right to me) the changing of control of the Palestine Mandate and Sinai between the British, Eqypt, Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians. Your main assertion that “Israel” has shrunk seems to be based on a contentious point that includes transjordan in the scope of the proposed Jewish homeland, and the occupation of part of Egypt (Sinai) by Israel.

        So you are talking about Jews and Arabs whereas Bile is talking about Israelis and Palestinians.

        I’m not impressed.

        • Your main assertion that “Israel” has shrunk seems to be based on a contentious point that includes transjordan in the scope of the proposed Jewish homeland, and the occupation of part of Egypt (Sinai) by Israel.

          Absolutely right re. Edgar Davidson (and many others here).

          • “Your main assertion that “Israel” has shrunk seems to be based on a contentious point that includes transjordan in the scope of the proposed Jewish homeland, and the occupation of part of Egypt (Sinai) by Israel.” – actually this is not contentious at all and transjordan was part of the original mandate as was the Golan. Golan was given to the French mandate of Syria in 1922 – i think – and Jordan was created and given to some Saudis who grew up in Turkey in 1923.

          • “So you are talking about Jews and Arabs whereas Bile is talking about Israelis and Palestinians.”

            Yes, Edgar is rightly using terminology as was recognized everywhere, even in the Arab world, until the 1960s or so. But then the Arabs realized an honest exposition of their ambition to rob one nation (the Jews) of their tiny state to give to another nation (the Arabs) that already had a score of states wouldn’t wash with the world, and after they’d finished scratching their heads at the strangeness of that reality, they decided to go with it and recast the conflict as one nation-state against a stateless nation.

            For that purpose, they cooked up an all-new “non-Jewish Palestinian nation that had been on the land from time immemorial” from scratch. No one had ever heard of such a nation before, but that was no obstacle: With an already largely anti-Zionist world media on the side, the truth was easily supplanted by the lie using the tried-and-true method of repetition.

            And the rest we know.

        • Well firstly there was never ever “Palestinian” land because there was never a Palestinian. Secondly the vast majority of the land in the mandate was publicly held land and didn’t belong to anyone – technically it used to belong to the Sultan and then to the government du jour. Thirdly, the second map shows a partition plan that was never ever implemented. Fourthly, the map of post 1948 is wrong because the West Bank was annexed to Jordan – hence West Bank – and Gaza to Egypt.

          Also there seems to be a wierd mix of whether the land was owned by Arabs or Jews and whether there was sovereignty. If it is the latter then the first map is completely wrong as the Arabs didn’t have sovereignty in that area since 15th century at the latest and if it is the former then as noted above the map is a fraud.

        • If we are talking Palestinians then none of any of the maps should be dark green because they never had a country. It is Bile who mixes things up

  6. Duvid’s version of that well-known carol:

    Once in royal Duvid’s city,
    Stood a lowly cattle shed.
    In it Timmy shitting pretty,
    Sees what’s from that arsehole bled.
    Israel’s blueprint Tim defiles,
    While Timmy Biles finds he’s got piles.

    DS Al Coda

  7. Verse 2:

    Timmy thinks an operation,
    Might well help relieve the pain.
    Taking up his trusty crozier,
    Rams it up his arse again.
    Biles is not that overjoyed,
    Feeling for each hemorrhoid.

    DS Al Coda

  8. Last Verse:

    Timmy asks a useful choirboy,
    “Could an enema be used?”
    The choirboy hoists a nearby chainsaw,
    As a scalpel; Tim’s abused.
    Israel’s profile now intact;
    Canon Tim’s profile ransacked.

    DS Al Coda

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  10. The coming clash between Christians and Muslims should make an entertaining spectacle for all those who have been oppressed by either faith. Jews are just one of many groups who will be hoping that both sides lose.

  11. The first map i.e. “Jewish and Palestinian land in 1945″ is clearly dishonest.

    But on the other hand the land in practice occupied by Israel today is simply too much. An extra chunk directly east of the ’67 lines would be understandable in strategic terms – but why on earth set up those settlements so deep into the WB?

    • “But on the other hand the land in practice occupied by Israel today is simply too much.”

      Too much? Then what are we going to say about the landmass of which Britain, Germany, France, Egypt, Iran, the U.S.A.—heck, most countries in the world!—is comprised?

      This is rank chutzpah. It is not for you to tell the Jewish nation how much land is too much.

      “…but why on earth set up those settlements so deep into the WB?”

      There are no settlements in Judea and Samaria (Yes, Judea and Samaria! Not a revisionist term like “West Bank,” further made clinical in your abbreviation!) except those of the Arabs, such as Tulkarm, Ramallah, Jenin and all the Arab settlers’ villages.

      We Jews are the one and only true Palestinian nation, the indigenous of Palestine; no inhabitation of Jews in any part of Palestine is a settlement. The falsely-called “Palestinians” are Arab settler-colonial occupiers, part of the Arab nation, whose indigenous territory is the Arabian Peninsula; every habitat of theirs in Palestine is a settlement, and is illegal by definition.

      That is the truth. The anti-Zionist lies will not stand!

      • It is not for you to tell the Jewish nation how much land is too much.

        Of course not ! Only the few chosen people like Ziontruth are allowed to tell the “Jewish nation” that it imperative to spend $100 billion dollars to set up, maintain and defend a handful of settlements, at the expense of education, welfare, justice and infrastructure for the majority of Israelis. Anyone who expresses a different opinion is nothing less than a traitor to the Jewish people, a Nazi-lover and a scatological object.

        Pretzelberg – it is about time that you understood that a true member of the Jewish nation – and not a rabid anti-semite Nazi Jew-hater turd like you – actually dreams of the day when another conflict breaks out. Yes, the true Jew not only WANTS another Intifada, he also dreams of another war, because the price of tens of thousands of dead Jews is small compared to the realization of the true ideal of Judaism – the obsessive worship of land. It is about time that you too put land before people.

        • “…a handful of settlements,…”

          Jewish habitats in Palestine are not settlements, any more than Athens is a settlement.

          “…at the expense of education, welfare, justice and infrastructure for the majority of Israelis.”

          How much have you been paid for writing The Protocols of the Elders of Gush Etzyon?

          “Anyone who expresses a different opinion is nothing less than a traitor to the Jewish people,…”

          Either that (if of malicious intent) or simply someone’s who’s been wholly duped by the Arab imperialist propaganda.

          “…it is about time that you understood that a true member of the Jewish nation…”

          Believes that the Land of Israel belongs to the Jews by right, and no part of it could possibly be thought of as “stolen” by Jews.

          “Yes, the true Jew not only WANTS another Intifada, he also dreams of another war, because the price of tens of thousands of dead Jews…”

          If so then you must be the truest Jew of them all—your land-concessionism has for the past two decades caused more Jewish victims on the Land of Israel than anything else.

          “…the obsessive worship of land. It is about time that you too put land before people.”

          The Arab settlers have made it clear to us that they want everything we have. Therefore, there is nothing to lose, and everything to gain, in giving them absolute nada. In contrast, there is everything to lose, bit by bit according to the salami method, by conceding land to them.

          Malicious or not, you’re hopelessly ignorant. The whole Israeli Jewish experience of the 2000s decade has rolled off you like water off a duck’s back. While you castigate Netanyahu and Lieberman, you fail to realize that there is a majority of Israeli Jews—in the street, not in the mainstream media, which is as ignorant as you—who have repudiated concessionism, having ceased to trust the Arabs an inch.

          You’re outside the Israeli Jewish mainstream. The ignorant is not fit to preach.

        • And if it weren’t the settlements are you so sure it would be your own chosen sectors that would earn the money. You know as well as I do, or you should, that Israel works on a lobby system. It used to be the kibbutzim that got the money – the socialists’ goldene medina. Now it’s the settlements. If the religious Jews were in the majority it would be religious institutions and if the Arabs were in the majority it would be the Arab targets.

          It’s the system that is faulty, not the government.

  12. Quite a shame that Jewish people, and those in Israel in particular, do not appreciate that the interfaith, ecumenical, and emergent/emerging church movements are greater threats to Israel than Islam. While most of Christian endtimes prophecy details can be supported from both the “New Testament” and Tanakh, the interfaith role is really only made clear in the New Testament (esp. Revelation), so this threat is unappreciated.

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  14. Your understanding of the map seems to be some way off. Israel only gave away land, know as Sinai, for peace with Egypt after it stole the land from Egypt in the first place after the 6 day war. Before you start preaching about how reasonable the Jewish people have been in the quest for peace, you need to get your facts straight.

    Regards.

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