Charles Edgbaston and the Ecclesiastical Court of Penticton

(updated 20 August 2008)

Over the past couple of years, various pro-Palestinian activists (some more reputable than others) have received strange menacing emails from a person who styles himself as “Dr Charles Edgbaston”, or “His Eminence The Very Rev. Charles J. Edgbaston, D.D., Ph.D”. The rambling emails – which contrast “Holy Israel” with the “Satanic Palestinians” – typically warn the recipients that they have been judged to be supportive of Palestinian terrorists, and that:

…it is my solemn duty to inform you that our Ecclesiastical Court has issued an edict inscribing you as a SLANDERER OF ZION and a TERRORIST COLLABORATOR. This means that, ipso facto, you are deemed to be an ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE.Our disciples are hereby empowered to facilitate your removal from your residence and from your place of employment. They are also to initiate a 24/7 monitoring program of your activities.In addition, an application will be made in London to have the administrative law courts revoke your passport for consorting with certain groups that are fronts for proscribed Middle East terrorists. Your inscription on the watch lists of the United Kingdom, the United States and the EU will be sought. Cause will also be given to diminish your pensionable earnings under the Terror Act. As well, a notification of this indictment will be printed in the American, British and Israeli print media and your associates and family will be so notified.

…May our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Son of Mary, have mercy upon you.You may wish to exercise your right to have this decree set aside. In such case, you are invited to submit a notarized affidavit renouncing your calumnies against the holy Jewish state, circulating a statement of support for the victory of the holy Jewish people in the Holy Land against their terrorist enemies to all your affiliated organizations and publishing it in the media, both online or offline, and paying our court costs of US$7500.

So, who is Charles Edgbaston? According to the emails, he is

Chair, Christians for Moses Ministries Inc. and Rector, Zion College of Canada, Penticton.

Neither of these organisations has any web presence, and Edgbaston himself is obscure. The earliest web presence that I could find dates to 2003, in an ombudsman’s report on Middle East coverage by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation:

Rev. Edgbaston wrote to complain about [a] CBC Radio program’s interview Jan. 21, 2002, with the controversial Israeli historian, Prof. Ilan Pappe, who has largely adopted the Palestinian critique of Israeli policies. The complainant described the interview as “sickening,” saying “Prof. Pappe had nothing but venom to spew out against Israel…Rev.Edgbaston asked for a review, saying “the rot at CBO is entrenched and must be uprooted.” 

Edgbaston’s most detailed self-description is here:

I am the chairman of the Christian Zionist movement “Christians for Moses” based in Penticton, British Columbia Canada. I also am Rector of Zion College of Canada. I hold a Ph.d. in Arabic history, my thesis being “Muhammad’s Moral Exhortations to Mankind on the Jewish Ownership of the Holy Land.” A Doctor of Divinity degree is also among my awards for my Christian scholarship on the indebtedness of Christianity to the Jewish Torah.

Under the aegis of Rev. Elias Abboud, B.D., we operate an ecclesiastical court for our 50,000 plus world-wide membership. In the past year, with the epidemic of anti-Semitic poison flooding the Internet and the world’s universities in the context of the ignoble assault of the Arabs of Palestine against the holy Jewish people living in Israel, we have acceded to popular demand to fight this grievous scourge. As a consequence, scores of notorious academics, journalists and anti-Zionist propagandists in the Socialist world and in the neo-Nazi demi-monde have been subject to judicial sentences by our court. The result? With our Lord Jesus Christ’s benevolence, these reprobates have been removed from their places of employment and their links with the Palestinian Arab jihadis have been exposed to the national authorities in America, Europe and Asia. Their citizenship rights and travel freedoms are now being curtailed.

Our current main struggle is to fortify the international boycott, economic sanctions and divestment against the brutal terrorist Hamas regime occupying the Palestinian territories and to put out of business their principal running dogs comprising the apostate Hebrew schizophrenic intellectuals Ilan Pappe, Norman Finkelstein and the apostate Hebrew politician in South Africa Ronald Kasrils. May Mary, holy mother of God give us Godspeed!

Last Updated: 27 February 2007

Meanwhile, a comment left on a blog by “Ahinder Fonseca, Ph.D” tells us that

Dr. Charles Edgbaston is a leading Christian Zionist who has exposed Prof. Norman Finkelstein as a self-hating schizophrenic Hebrew. He was also the teacher of Prof. Harold Williams who demolished the fictional book “Beyond Chutzpah’ authored by Finkelstein. Dr. Edgbaston, 77, has a Ph.D. in Arabic and earned his Doctor of Divinity (D.D.) with his thesis on Muhammad’s Exhortations on Jewish Ownership of the Holy Land.

In his threatening emails Edgbaston has a tendency to associate himself with other organisations by beginning with the phrase, “Reliable sources at [Insert Org] have informed Christians for Moses Ministries that you are…” Organisations that he claims have “informed” him include the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem and the World Association of Survivors of Treblinka and Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camps; in fact, there is no indication that he has had any contact these organisations or with any others that he cites, and I doubt that they would want to be associated with either his methods or his overheated rhetoric. In 2006 The International Christian Embassy issued a statement confirming that

The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem wishes to clarify that we have never conveyed to Rev. Charles Edgbaston any views or opinions on Prof Ilan Pappe.
David Parsons
ICEJ Public Relations Officer

And Anglican Friends of Israel states that

In recent days some emails have been brought to our attention claiming to be from His Eminence the Very Rev Charles Edgbaston, D.D., Ph.D…These emails make claims about ‘reliable sources’ at Anglican Friends of Israel (AFI) and, in one case, ‘extensive consultations’ with AFI…We do not know at present if these emails are genuinely from Charles Edgbaston but, whatever their origin, we strongly reject any claim that Anglican Friends of Israel has been or ever would be involved in such activities. Our legal representatives are writing to Charles Edgbaston to establish whether the emails came from him and to demand that, if so, he desist from any such claims bout AFI’s involvement.

As for Edgbaston’s associates, Elias Aboud (var. “Elias Abboud”) is sometimes described as “Pastor Elias Aboud, Court Registrar for Christians for Moses Ministries Inc.” Edgbaston and Aboud appear with two other associates on a petition against a Palestinian academic:

Rev. Anthony Habib Zion College of Canada…
Pastor Robert Johnston Christians for Moses Ministries Inc.

Anthony Habib appears elsewhere as “Antoine Habib”; all are equally as obscure as Edgbaston himself. Harold Williams, however, entered a debate with the owner of this website; just as Edgbaston praises Williams, Williams in turn praises “the important expose by Rev. Edgbaston”. The two Arabic names, and Edgbaston’s fondness for Roman Catholic titles, suggest to me that he’s involved with some kind of Maronite traditionalist Catholic grouping, but that’s just a guess.

As well as hating Palestinians and their supporters, Edgbaston also dislikes the British:

Britain truly occupies Iraq. She truly occupies Afghanistan. In these countries, she has committed unspeakable tortures against innocent Muslim civilians. In Basra, this filthy colonialist occupier has destroyed children’s playgrounds, mutilated prisoners, forced young girls to perform oral sex on the male bodies of its troops and gone from neighbourhood to neighbourhood demolishing homes and community centres.

So why does Edgbaston keep such a low profile? Could it be because when it comes to threatening people he is one of those who can dish it out but not take it? It seems to me that a promise to have someone monitored and removed from their home and employment must count as either malicious communication, harrassment, or threatening behaviour, and that kind of thing tends to have consequences in the real world of court actions.

Incidentally, the name “Christians for Moses” is associated with Kahanist anti-missionary activity in Israel. Time reported in 1973:

Two weeks ago, eleven members of the Jewish Defense League were charged with arson against a missionary bookstore. At a protest fast at the Wailing Wall, the J.D.L.’s rabble-rousing Rabbi Meir Kahane announced, “If you lose a Jew in Auschwitz or through conversion, it’s still a soul lost.” He later proclaimed the formation of a 25-member countergroup called “Christians for Moses.”

The name re-emerged in Florida in the 1990s; a now-defunct website has some details:

Christians for Moses was co-founded by Ex-Baptist Minister The Late Delroy Brockett & Rabbi Yerachmiel Gersh of The Jewish Defense League in 1993 to bring G-d’s truth to both Jews & Gentiles.Why the name Christians For Moses if we rejected Christianity?

Actually this name is not original nor are the reasons & the concept as the concept was thought up way back in the 70’s by the late Rabbi Meir Kahane OF Saintly Memory as an answer & reaction to Jews For Jesus & similar type groups & brought to life by his student Rabbi Yerachmiel Gersh & The Late DelRoy Brockett an Ex-Bapist minister turned Noahide.

Today Christians for Moses is under the directorship of Mariano Otero a former Pentecostal Minister who today is a fully committed Orthodox Jew who teaches Bnai Noach & wayward Jews the truth as revealed in the Torah.

Mariano Otero is also known as Moshe Otero, and his “Christians for Moses” was part of an organisation called “The Ways of Israel“. I have blogged on Noahides in the past, see here. Edgbaston does not appear to have any links with this group, or to share its theology.