I’ve been reprimanded for being too critical of the
An email arrived this morning urging me to "show some love to Presbyterians coming under attack for divesting". Of course I warmly congratulate the 310 delegates who voted for divestment, but the 303 who apparently still think it’s OK for the Church to invest its money in companies that profit from Israel’s illegal occupation of the Holy Land get no hugs and kisses from me. I expect better from a major Christian church with nearly 2 million members. I expect it to be able to tell right from wrong and not drag their feet while defenseless Christian communities suffer horribly in the land where Christianity was born.
Winning the vote relied too much on the efforts of outside groups such as Jewish Voice for Peace, who provided strong moral support against massive Zionist pressure to reject divestment. The vote simply wasn’t convincing enough to put the matter beyond doubt and could be reversed next time.
The divestment decision coincided with the election of a new Moderator, Dr
How could Rada have been surprised by the line CNN took? His performance against the ‘professionals’ will have undone a lot of hard work by the foot-soldiers. And he seems to know diddly-squat about the true situation in the Holy Land.
A post-conference letter from the Presbyterian leadership summarized the business done at the
"The Assembly approved a measure to divest from three corporations –
So what’s the problem? That’s right, there isn’t one.
‘Choose your friends wisely, they will make or break you.’ –
A much sillier issue for Dr Rada and US Presbyterians is the mishandling of the study booklet ‘Zionism Unsettled’, which came out earlier this year. One Jewish leader complained that it was "worthy of a hate group, not a prominent American church". Others said it attacked the very legitimacy of the Zionist enterprise. According to Dr Rada, in the CNN interview, the
If a Congregational Study Guide is published under the Presbyterian Church’s banner, one supposes that it has been checked and double-checked to make sure it is "legal, decent, honest and truthful" – the universal standard by which advertisements and other promotional material are judged. So what can possibly be so objectionable that senior churchmen are dropping it like a hot potato?
It was produced by the
On the question of Zionism the Church previously voted to "challenge and encourage discussion of theological interpretations that confuse biblical prophesies and affirmations of covenant, promise, and land, which are predicated on justice, righteousness, and mercy, with political statehood that asserts itself through military might, repressive discrimination, abuse of human rights, and other actions that do not reveal a will to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God". This comes from the Church’s 2003 paper ‘End the Occupation now’.
The IPMN "speaks to the church not for the Church". Nevertheless, the Church cannot pretend the ‘Zionism Unsettled’ booklet isn’t theirs. No-one is going to believe that the Church chiefs didn’t approve it before making it available to the public, especially as it claims to provide "helpful guidance on how you and your congregation can contribute to the cause of just peace for the people who share the Holy Land and promote more truthful relationships among followers of the three Abrahamic religions".
Exactly what is needed, one might have thought since Zionism is to many minds the central problem in the Holy Land and beyond. If the 76-page work is as honest as it should be, the following announcement is all the more astonishing: "The 221st
At best it looks like a betrayal of the truth (assuming the publication is accurate) and a stab in the back for one of the Church’s most important missions.
The publication was still for sale on the PC(
Frequently Asked Questions on the Church’s website makes its position on various issues clear. Here are just a few examples..
- Regarding ‘Zionism Unsettled’, the Assembly declared that the publication does not represent the views of the
- The following companies were found to be out of compliance with the Church’s investment criteria, as well as resistant to change and further dialogue:
Hewlett-Packard has extensive involvement with the Israeli army and provides electronic systems at checkpoints, logistics and communications systems to support the naval blockade of the
Motorola Solutions provides military communications and surveillance systems in illegal Israeli settlements.
- In 2012, the
There’s no need to explain further to the media or inquisitive Jewish groups.
The Playground Bully
The reaction of Jewish ‘friends’ to the Presbyterians’ perfectly reasonable divestment decision has been anything but friendly. An important challenge for the Church, therefore, must be how to keep its strange friendship with interfering Jewish groups from getting in the way of its Christian duty. It fears offending the Jewish community but must be aware of the vicious crimes Israelis commit daily against its Christian brothers and sisters in the Holy Land. Given the endless suffering inflicted on Palestinians – Christian and Muslim alike — in the
On the PC(
A false dichotomy of course, followed by a ludicrous bribe. Meeting Netanyahu would change nothing (except that you’d come home processed, brainwashed and re-programmed) just as "working co-operatively" with most Jewish groups has achieved nothing and never will.
Is this the language of Jewish-Christian friendship? No. It’s the voice of playground bullies in a concerted attempt to stifle legitimate debate and obstruct responsible action. Those of us who don’t hang around religious playgrounds have no time for it. In the real world outside of religion and corrupt politics anyone who speaks in such a disrespectful manner is sent packing. Say Goodbye
Naturally, the Church must continue to engage across the faiths with genuine peace-seekers, but why get embroiled with those who are indifferent to the crimes of the Zionist regime and respond to the slightest criticism with hateful smears and accusations?
Hopefully the divestment rumpus has injected a dose of realism. The time has surely come for Presbyterians (and other denominations) to take J Willard Marriott’s advice and review their friendships and say goodbye to those whose purpose, through intimidation, is to blunt Christian decency and undermine freedom of action.
Unfortunately an Open Letter reaching out from the PC(
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