The Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ) was founded in 1942 out of the crisis of civilisation that was the Second World War. Our predecessors came together to build an interfaith community that challenges hatred and nurtures relationships for the common good and that can serve as a model to other communities. Over the past 75 years Christian/Jewish relations have grown strong and flourished in the UK. We celebrate today all that we have achieved together. However, global society is living through a period of increased hatred, extremism, and polarisation. Minorities are scapegoated; public debate is often characterised by conflict; people are fearful and place their trust in the promise of easy solutions.
In the UK, antisemitism and antisemitic discourse is more noticeable in public life and within social media. As leaders of the Jewish and Christian communities in the UK, we are concerned where this situation may lead. Antisemitism has no place in our society and those in positions of power and influence must listen to these concerns.
Similarly we continue to shed light and speak out on anti-Christian sentiment and persecution of Christians in many parts of the world today. It is our shared responsibility as leaders to speak out when genocide, displacement and injustice take place elsewhere, in our time.
We will also continue to share our different perspectives on complex and difficult issues between our communities and we will demonstrate the model of ‘listening and learning’ from one another even where this challenges us. This is the only way forward towards understanding and empathy.
We affirm our belief that all humankind is made in God’s image. In our respective faiths we pursue the Biblical commandment to uphold a community which is fair to its people and generous to the stranger. Our faiths compel us to speak to defend truth, to celebrate our diversity and common humanity; to be a voice for those in need and to seek transformation for the common good.
To mark CCJ’s 75th Anniversary we recommit ourselves to respond to the challenges of today. We call on people of faith to act together with us: To promote religious and cultural understanding and advance the elimination of religious and racial prejudice, with particular reference to antisemitism, through Education, Dialogue and Social action.
The Most Revd and Rt Hon Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster
Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Senior Rabbi to Reform Judaism
The Rt Revd Dr Susan Brown, Moderator of General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
Rabbi Joseph Dweck, Senior Rabbi of the S&P Sephardi Community
His Eminence Archbishop Gregorious, Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain
Rabbi Danny Rich, Senior Rabbi and The Chief Executive, Liberal Judaism
The Revd Dr Hugh Osgood, Moderator of the Free Churches
Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, Senior Rabbi of Masorti Judaism