Eretz Israel is our unforgettable historic homeland...The Jews who will it shall achieve their State...And whatever we attempt there for our own benefit will redound mightily and beneficially to the good of all mankind. (Theodor Herzl, DerJudenstaat, 1896)

We offer peace and amity to all the neighbouring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all. The State of Israel is ready to contribute its full share to the peaceful progress and development of the Middle East.
(From Proclamation of the State of Israel, 5 Iyar 5708; 14 May 1948)

With a liberal democratic political system operating under the rule of law, a flourishing market economy producing technological innovation to the benefit of the wider world, and a population as educated and cultured as anywhere in Europe or North America, Israel is a normal Western country with a right to be treated as such in the community of nations.... For the global jihad, Israel may be the first objective. But it will not be the last. (Friends of Israel Initiative)

Sunday, 29 June 2014

"BDS Activism Has Shifted Back To The Churches"

 

It might not be raw and ferociously in-yer-face like this recent blatant example of "Christian" antisemitism on Facebook , but it reeks of antisemitism nonetheless: the attitude of elements within the Presbyterian Church (USA) which has narrowly adopted a resolution instructing the Presbyterian Foundation and Board of Pensions of the PCUSA to “divest from Caterpillar, Inc, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola Solutions.”

We learn of this antisemitism within the PCUSA from NGO Monitor, which has prepared a comprehensive report on the subject that can be accessed here and which includes examples of Facebook activity; summary here.
1. The Israel Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) of the Presbyterian Church (USA) (PCUSA) is a main advocate within the church on behalf of the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign (BDS), whose goal is to delegitimize the State of Israel leading to that country’s dissolution. The Presbyterian Peace Fellowship is also an advocate for BDS. 
2. This report produces clear evidence of a strong undercurrent of overt anti-Jewish bigotry within the IPMN as expressed on the group’s Facebook page. 
3. Numerous postings uploaded to this site by IPMN members over a period of two years demonstrate an ongoing pattern of expressions of antisemitism, including:
a. a “Zionist controlled America [has a] desperate lust” for war with Iran
b. “Jewish interests” are “corrupting” the US government, and the media is “owned” and “operated” by these same “Jewish interests.”
c. the “Christian Holy Land” is “occupied” by the “zionist (sic) instigator”
d. Racial theories of Jewish origins claiming Ashkenazi Jews are not racially “Semitic,” are actually “Khazars,” and therefore should not be in the Middle East.
e. Israeli Jews should be ethnically cleansed: “Helen Thomas was right, ‘Go back to Russia, Germany…’ Just leave.”
f. “IRAN! Thank God for them! The only Zionist-free land left on earth.”
4. The site is administered by five IPMN leaders. Members include senior staff of the PCUSA, theologians, clergy, laity, and non-Presbyterian anti-Israel non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
5. At no point did any of these site administrators or any of the PCUSA staff take any overt action such as speaking out against the blatant antisemitism, rebuking members for their intolerant statements, or removing them from the site’s membership.
6. At no point did any of the members from non-Presbyterian NGOs speak out against this antisemitism, including members of the fringe group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP).
7. This overt antisemitism is the backdrop to the IPMN’s advocacy campaign within the PCUSA for divestment and boycotts against Israel, culminating in votes at the June 2014 PCUSA’s General Assembly in support of divestment and other anti-Israel resolutions.
8. In 2013 both IPMN and JVP were recipients of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship’s “top award” the “Peaceseeker Award.”
9. The bigotry expressed by IPMN members and tolerated by IPMN leaders and PCUSA staff is a moral failing of the church. Serious steps must be taken by the church to remedy this situation, including an apology to the Jewish community, for the church to be able to claim any moral standing on the Middle East.
 Observes the Board of Directors of the organisation Scholars for Peace in the Middles East (SPME). 

 'With the end of the academic year BDS activism has shifted back to the churches.
The language and tone of the [Presbyterian]resolution and the accompanying debate ... were strongly shaped by traditional Protestant supersessionism. The antisemitic basis of church-based BDS has become difficult to disguise and will shape coming debates over church-based divestment....
 ...In 2004 and 2005, as divestment resolutions in the guise of socially responsible investment were being debated within the PC-USA General Assembly, a controversy emerged when staff members organized a meeting of Presbyterian leaders with Hezbollah members in Lebanon.
 Engagement with the Muslim world, and especially with Palestinian Christians, has long been a PC-USA focus....The Kairos document is a Palestinian Christian implicit attack on the concepts of Jewish national identity and sovereignty in Israel and an explicit assault on Christian Zionism. It also describes “the occupation” as a sin, legitimizes violence as “resistance,” and calls for a South African style BDS campaign against Israel. It has gained enormous traction within left-leaning Protestant denominations including the Anglican and Methodist churches. The 2014 vote came after a protracted period of debate that was shaped by lobbying on both sides of the issue....  The pro-BDS/pro-one state group ‘Jewish Voices for Peace’ apparently also played an important role. Though tiny, the group gave PC-USA cover to claim Jewish support for the divestment resolution. The role of the PC-USA’s Middle East Issues Committee, Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy, National Middle Eastern Presbyterian Caucus, and Israel/Palestine Mission Network in pushing BDS cannot be understated....
 The 2014 debate was also shaped by the Israel/Palestine Mission Network’s Zionism Unsettled document. The “congregational study guide” is distributed widely by PC-USA. Among other things the document promotes the ideas that Jews were well treated in Arab countries and that hostility is the result of Zionism, and that Israel, supported by the US, oppresses and brutalizes Palestinians. It also relies on strongly anti-Zionist sources and contains numerous misrepresentations of history. Opposition to the document has come not only from Jewish but Presbyterian sources....'
The Board continues, in the course of a cogent analysis which also goes on to mention certain other current  BDS initiatives in America:
'PC-USA’s Advocacy Committee for Racial Ethnic Concerns [ACREC], however, took the matter further and noted: For many worshipers today, the word “Israel” has taken on political and military connotations and the original scriptural meanings are almost lost. Just as PC(USA) adopted inclusive and expansive language for racial and gender justice, ACREC believes it is important and timely to be intentional and well-informed with language that has taken on political meanings beyond the walls of church and worship....
 Largely unnoticed in the controversy surrounding the PC-USA’s divestment vote was another resolution that called for the organization to undertake research toward “a recommendation about whether the General Assembly should continue to call for a two-state solution in Israel Palestine, or take a neutral stance that seeks not to determine for Israelis and Palestinians what the right “solution” should be.” Such a recommendation, to be debated at the 2016 General Assembly, would likely result in the PC-USA following the lead of Palestinian Christians in calling for a one state solution. In addition, another resolution was adopted that condemned Israel for human rights violations and pervasive racism. After the vote church leaders again took pains to publicly stress that the resolution did not mean the church backed the BDS movement and that Jews should not be offended by the move....
 [U]nlike historic “peace churches” such as the Quakers, which have long been on the left politically and strongly anti-Israel, but which lack well-developed theology, PC-USA appears to be reemphasizing traditional Protestant supersessionist attitudes and rhetoric. The elevation of the Palestinian Christian narrative of its own suffering and Israeli’s evil, the pains taken to distinguish modern Israel from Old and New Testament Israel, and efforts to expunge the term ‘Israel’ from both, meld traditional and modern antisemitism. The support given the church by David Duke and others also show again that the far left and the far right in America are converging on the issue of opposing Israel....'
Read the entire article here
See also here

In an eminently worthy editorial the National Review online points out, inter alia:
'The world’s organized hostility to Israel would be kind of funny if it didn’t have such serious consequences, or potential consequences. There are some 200 nations in the world. Many of them are very bad actors: dictatorships, terror states. And it is tiny, democratic Israel that is the focus of the world’s hostility.
The latest is that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) — not to be confused with the Presbyterian Church in America — has voted to divest from Israel. Thus does a major American church join the worldwide BDS movement. (“BDS” stands for “boycott, divestment, and sanctions” — against one country, Israel.)
If Israel did not exist, the United Nations might not have much to do. Last year the General Assembly adopted 25 resolutions against particular countries. Twenty-one of those resolutions were against Israel; the other four were against Syria, Iran, North Korea, and Burma. Not since the apartheid regime in South Africa has a country been so stigmatized by the world. And foes of Israel, of course, promote the lie that Israel is an “apartheid state.”
Consider a few steps in the effort to delegitimize Israel. Stephen Hawking, one of the most famous scientists in the world, joined the academic boycott of that country. He has been happy, however, to go to Iran and China....
One consequence of anti-Israel boycotts is that they harm Arabs. They do so by perpetuating two myths, related. The first is that the Arab–Israeli conflict is Israel’s fault, instead of the fault of people who refuse to coexist. The second is that the Arabs’ lamentable condition is Israel’s fault, instead of the fault of people who refuse to reform, liberalize, or democratize....
Mainly, the boycotts serve the delegitimization of Israel, and the dehumanization of Israelis. They call into question Israel’s right to exist. They make Israel a pariah state. They soften Israel up for . . .
Well, Iran and other enemies of Israel have pledged to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. It is true that Israel is backed by U.S. military might. It is further true that it has military might of its own: nuclear weapons. But its survival is no sure thing. These boycotts and other protests are not “freebies” — rebukes of a nation that is going to be fine no matter what. They are not mere acts of political correctness. They undermine a country whose very existence is threatened every day. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has now joined a nasty and growing mob.'
Read the rest here 
Rabbi John Rosove has an excellent indictment of the Presbyterians' action here

Meanwhile, our old mate the Vicar of Virginia Water has something noteworthy to add:

(For the article by David Fischler linked to there, see here)

1 comment:

  1. And on the same subject…

    Church of Scotland Website International Issues page

    Section on Syrian with 2 items from late 2012
    Section on Gaza with 3 items from 2012
    Section on Afganistan with 4 items all from 2011
    Section on Pakistan with one item from 2010
    Section on Iran with one item from 2008
    Section on Armenian & Turkey with paragraph about 2007 & item from 2008
    Section on Burma with paragraph re 2004
    Section on Darfur with paragraph re 2005
    Section on Sri Lanka with paragraph re 2009 & 2 items from 2009
    Section on Zimbabwe with paragraph on 2003 & link to Christina Aid website
    And sandwiched in the middle a section on the Middle East with 8 item all about Israel's activities in the Palestinians territories

    So why the Middle East when other sections refer to countries usually termed as Middle Eastern? Syria, Gaza & Iran are most definitely. Is this a subtle denial of Israel pointing to Supersessionism/Replacement theology? Christian Aid do something similar they have they reserve the knife edge technology of their website for a Middle East timeline but it is solely about the Arab Israel conflict & any country mentioned apart from Israel is in relation the plight of the Palestinians. The last 3 years have demonstrated more clearly than ever that the Arab Israel conflict is only a small factor in the regions troubled history but Christian Aid have no intention of removing any of their highly bias material or pointing a finger at anyone other than Israel.

    But back to the Church of Scotland's motivation. Their "Invest in Peace" Page is entirely about Israel – Palestinian conflict with no expression what so ever of sympathy for the multitude of Israeli victims of barbaric terror. The extent of the bias against Israel is more than Supersessionism it is a reversal to the theological argument of Augusta that the Jews by their lowly state in society and their affliction bear witness of rejection of Jesus and its consequences. By word & deed the Church of Scotland like other Western Liberal Churches are taking a road of reversal to a Medieval period of unpleasantness and everything that ensued.

    ReplyDelete