Archbishop of Canterbury gives grant to group accused of being a Zionist organization

An interfaith group that has been accused of being a pro-Israeli and Zionist organization has received grants from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, which will be used for its third study tour around the holy land that is scheduled for May.

(REUTERS / Tony Gentile)File Photo - Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby leads vespers prayers with Pope Francis (not pictured) at the monastery church of San Gregorio al Celio in Rome, Italy, October 5, 2016.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the Council of Christians and Jews announced that it had received funds from Archbishop Welby's Discretionary Fund which will allow it to conduct a study tour "to hear the perspective of the other." The group said the grants from the head of the Anglican Church were an important contribution to their efforts to maintain ties between Christian and Jewish communities, the Middle East Monitor relayed.

"We are delighted to have received a grant from Justin Welby's discretionary fund to support our vital interfaith work between Christians and Jews," the CCJ said in its announcement on Twitter.

A senior Anglican Church member and former vicar has told the publication that CCJ is a Zionist group which advances the cause of Jews only. The official, who spoke under condition of anonymity, accused Welby of "siding with the oppressor" when he gave the grant to CCJ.

CCJ's work has been targeted by critics in light of Israel's treatment of Palestinian Christians. The country has also been slammed by church leaders for allegedly undermining Christianity in the Holy Land, as they said the Christian exodus from the region was mainly due to Israel's efforts to Judaise Jerusalem.

In November, Welby pushed for a Palestinian state to be established. He also said the U.K. had not yet fulfilled its promise to protect the welfare of the Palestinian people, the Middle East Monitor said in a separate report.

In an article commemorating the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, Archbishop Welby said the aspiration for an independent Palestine was the root cause of the strife between Israelis and Palestinians. In light of the situation, the head of the Anglican Church called for prayers that the unfinished commitment of the U.K. will finally be fulfilled.

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