Briefly noted

February 24, 2004

The resurgence of anti-Semitism in many parts of the world was denounced in a joint letter to the London Times by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams; Catholic Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, archbishop of Westminster; and Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. “Incitement to hatred and actual violence against Jewish people has increased,” said a letter published January 27 by the trio written in their capacity as joint presidents of the Council of Christians and Jews. Saying anti-Semitism is “abhorrent,” they termed it an attempt to dehumanize a part of humanity by making it a scapegoat for shared ills. “Criticism of government policy in Israel, as elsewhere, is a legitimate part of democratic debate,” they said. “However, such criticism should never be inspired by anti-Semitic attitudes, extend to a denial of Israel’s right to exist, or serve as justification for attacks against Jewish people around the world.”

Organizing a “Grocery Workers Justice Pilgrimage,” southern California religious leaders accompanied striking workers on a bus journey from Los Angeles to the San Francisco area January 28 to deliver 10,000 cards and letters urging a key supermarket executive to return to the negotiating table in the four-month-old labor dispute. The interfaith Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE), supported by regional Catholic and mainline leaders, took the cause to Alamo, California, near the home of Steve Burd, CEO of Safeway, which owns Von’s Markets, one of three major supermarket chains that have hired temporary employees in a strike-lockout now at an impasse, mostly over health benefits.