The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) will debate some resolutions about Israeli policies. One resolution calls Israel “apartheid.” Others ask “…the church to rebuke Caterpillar for continuing to sell products to Israel.”
What factual material will be put before delegates? Ones known for anti-Zionism to begin with. “For example, the Israel/Palestine Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA), has hosted a blog which linked to an obviously anti-Semitic video titled ‘I AM ISRAEL’ that accused Israel of controlling American foreign policy.”
Meanwhile, the Presbyterians’ Middle East Study Committee published a report “…which includes a historical analysis that demonizes Zionism, omits important information about Arab violence against Jews in the first half of the 20th century , and also includes a letter to American Jews that seeks to undermine the legitimacy of mainstream Jewish leaders in the U.S.”
Jewish leaders in the U.S. have responded with anger, as have some members of the denomination. Below is a roundup of useful links relating to the PC(USA)’s deliberations.
Breaking Down the Walls: Report of the Middle East Study Committee to the 219th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA). March 5, 2010. This is the full report. Smaller sections of the report can be found here.
“Jewish Groups Upset With Presbyterians,” Jewish Telegraph Agency, March 11, 2010.
“Presbyterian Church USA Report “Offensive Attack On Judaism And Israel,” Anti-Defamation League, March 11, 2010.
“Presbydrearians,” Spengler (a First Things Blog), March 11, 2010 (Dexter Van Zile, Camera, 3/11
. Those are only the most recent citations.)
Those who allege Jewish power over America and its foreign policy, an allegation not based on evidence just assertion, i.e., bigotry, fail to observe that the State Dept. keeps chastising Israel and making one-sided demands of it, and the allegers are free to do likewise. What a contradiction, accusing Israel of power over them, while they and the government exert power over Israel. Not total, of course, but powerful.
What is going on within the Presbyterian Church? Some of the liberal churches in the U.S. have influential activists who confuse liberalism with a distorted notion of third worldism. Accordingly, they stereotype Israeli oppression of Arabs, but the Arabs with whom they sympathize are oppressors of their own people and of others, including Jews. Christians are among the particularly oppressed in Arab areas. Those who consider themselves liberal in this way champion the most illiberal of people. You see, facts are not the issue. Those can be fabricated. Ideology is the issue with the activists. They tend to screen out non-defamatory news about Israel.
In these churches, many members and officials oppose this liberal take-over and its diversion from religion. Perhaps they ought to come up with relevant counter-proposals, such as condemnation of the Palestinian Authority, including Hamas, for allowing harassment of Christians.