Sunday, May 26, 2024

Archbishop of Dublin warns against hate speech amid differences over Israel and Palestine

One of the country’s senior church leaders has called for “a climate of respect” and warned against “hate speech” in light of people’s differences over Israel and Palestine.

In a statement, Archbishop Michael Jackson of Dublin said everyone is free to hold personal views and convictions on local and global matters. However, he said war brings an accentuation of difference.

“It takes difference to the point of untold and irreversible tragedy and destruction of lives and the sustenance of life,” Dr Jackson stressed.

Appealing to everyone to respect those who are different from us, he said this is a neighbourhood principle, and a global and human principle.

Urging people to “dig deep” within themselves in order to develop a climate of respect and reciprocal dignity across all social and community groupings and faiths, he said this was particularly important “when matters are so tense and torn between Israel and Palestine”.

“Hate speech, anti- and pro- language perpetuate and embed negativities. They enable caricature to morph into definition and definition to settle into identity.

"They create the filters of default through which we see others and understand ourselves. This is why they are so dangerous for everyone involved, whether we discern it or not,” the Anglican leader said.

He added that the value in which we hold one another is expressed in the language we use which not only shapes discourse but also the psyche.

Dr Jackson’s Church of Ireland diocese is linked to the Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem which comprises Gaza, the West Bank as well as other parts of the Middle East.

He highlighted that since the October 7th attacks he has sought to be even handed in expressing sorrow, compassion and care for the victims of war and hostilities in the Holy Land.

In recent days he attended a gathering of the Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem in Jordan and also attended the inauguration of Rabbi Yoni Wieder as Chief Rabbi of Ireland.

Next week he will welcome Archbishop Hosam Naoum of Jerusalem and a number of clergy from the Middle East to hear about how life has changed for them. He will also be updated on Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City which the Irish diocese is linked to.

An appeal for the hospital in Gaza by Dr Jackson has raised over €216,000 so far.