Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold has responded 'with great sadness' to Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's comments at an October 26 conference titled "The World Without Zionism," during which he called Israel a "disgraceful blot" that should be "wiped off the map" and warned leaders of Muslim nations who might recognize the state of Israel that they faced "the wrath of their own people."
The full text of Griswold's statement follows:
While traveling in Asia, I read with great sadness the statements of the president of Iran, Mahmud Ahmadinejad, that Israel "should be wiped off the map" and "anybody who recognizes Israel will burn in the fire of the Islam nation's fury." The purpose of such rhetoric is to bring pain and suffering to Jews and to undermine efforts for peace in the Middle East. The Episcopal Church has long supported the State of Israel as well as the establishment of a Palestinian State. Much pain and suffering, and many lives have been lost, in the effort to make that vision a reality. There should be no place in our world for words that incite violence. They are particularly painful when they come at a time of hope ever so fragile. This language from the President of Iran is especially abhorrent to those who seek a world reconciled, not divided. I pray that it will not be repeated.