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May 21, 2014

More Misinformation from Presbyterian Peacemakers

Irving Wesley Hall.jpg

Earlier this year, the Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church USA, an organization with a well-documented history of demonizing Israel and American Jews, issued a text called Zionism Unsettled. True to form, the IPMN’s booklet includes a chapter that accuses American Jews of "living in a bubble.�?

Who is living in a bubble, really? American Jews who support Israel or IPMN leaders?

It's a reasonable question to ask after watching one of the videos on a DVD that accompanies Zionism Unsettled. In an on-camera interview, Irving Wesley Hall (pictured above in a screenshot from the video) reports that prior to the Six Day War, Israelis and Jews did not care too much about Jerusalem.

Up until the 1967 conquest of Jerusalem, it was not regarded by any element of Israeli society or any of the streams of Judaism as somehow central to God's plan for the Jews.

But that all changed in 1967.

The notion that the city was unimportant to Israel and to all of the "streams of Judaism" prior to the Six Day War is, to put it politely, an outrageous misstatement of fact.

In his book The Chosen (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), Avi Beker reports:

In Jewish tradition, Jerusalem is the great physical link between the Chosen People and God. From David's time until the city's destruction by Titus in 70 CE, it was the Jewish religious center and the seat of government. At its heart where the First and then the Second Temples with their Holy of Holies, the dwelling place of the Divine Presence. In Diaspora, the Jews never ceased longing for Zion, synonymous since biblical times with the city itself, and more particularly with the Temple Mount. Jerusalem was (and is) embodied in their prayers, their holidays, and their hopes for redemption. It is to them their once-and-forever spiritual home. (Page 158)

On page 159, Beker reports "Jews have referred to Jerusalem for three thousand years as the abode of the Shekhina (the divine presence of God) and as their only eternal capital."

And on page 160 he reports:

The centrality of Jerusalem in Jewish life can hardly be exaggerated. In addition to mentioning Jerusalem several times in their daily prayers as well as in the grace after every meal, prayers for Jerusalem are included in the Jewish marriage ceremony. The bridegroom crushes a glass underfoot to symbolize his grief over the destruction of the Temple. In a house of mourning, visitors recite the traditional consolation: “May the Almighty comfort you and all the mourners of Jerusalem and Zion."

Hall simply does not know what he is talking about. Jerusalem has been a touchstone for the Jewish people, and all streams of Judaism, for a long, long time.

Did the folks at IPMN not know this when they decided to include Hall’s testimony in their “educational�? video?

If they did not know this, they have no business publishing a book about the Arab-Israeli conflict.

If they did know this, then they have intentionally misled their readers.

Either way, the inclusion of Hall’s testimony in a DVD about the conflict is just another example of the IPMN violating its mandate to educate, not misinform, Presbyterians about the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Posted by dvz at May 21, 2014 03:06 PM


There is a strong delusion on some who call themselves Christians today. I as a Christian am deeply saddened by these false claims.

This is nothing short of calling God a liar. Have they even touched the B’rit Hadasha and Tanakh that they claim to follow?

Jersalem was given to the Jews by God and will always belong to them.

May God have mercy on their souls.

Posted by: Brian at May 21, 2014 06:30 PM

Judah Halevy (1075-1141)

Longing for Zion


Zion, beauty’s perfection, who have enwrapped yourself

in love and grace

The souls of your companions are bound to you.

They delight in your peace, mourn

Your desolation, bewail your destruction.

From the pit of captivity they aspire towards you,

Bow, each in his place, towards your gates.

They are the flocks of your people, exiled and scattered

Through hill and valley, and yet they remember

your folds.

They cling to your robes, and strive

To climb up and clasp your palms’ top branches.


The Jewish Poets of Spain. Translation David Goldstein, Penguin Books, 1982

Posted by: Sylvia at May 22, 2014 01:35 AM

Samuel HaNagid Ibn Nagrela (993-1056)

Israel, Arise

Terminate your reign, wicked queen

Sarah, the despised, rule over your enemies.

Gazelle of Senir, your slumber has been long

On your bed of pain. Awake, arise.

Raise yourself; there is reward for your righteousness.

Cure yourself; there is balm for your injuries.

(p. 73)

The Jewish Poets of Spain. Translation David Goldstein, Penguin Books, 1982

Posted by: Sylvia at May 22, 2014 01:55 AM

This sect in the Christian "mainstream" is marred with numerous examples of rogue humanist worship and they labor hard to put themselves above the teachings of Old and New Testament or believe their "new knowledge" is superior. They could not be more wrong. But that they would make such specious and ridiculous claims as this man is like watching a "pacifist" fill bottles with gas, tuck a rag in it and hand it and a lighter to terrorists.

Posted by: jeb stuart at May 22, 2014 08:53 PM

The capital of the State of Israel since 1948 is Jerusalem. To say that we did not care is false.

It is the Arabs that do not care.

Posted by: Gee at May 24, 2014 04:40 PM

Sure he ignores the fact that Jews, all around the world, in prayer always turn faces toward Jerusalem, at least 3 times a day. *The Arks (the sacred chests) that hold Torah scrolls in synagogues throughout the world face Jerusalem. *Jews end holidays and Shabbat ceremonies by saying: “Next year in Jerusalem�?. *A three-week moratorium on weddings in the summer recalls the breaching of the walls of Jerusalem by the Babylonian army in 586 BCE. *That period culminates in a special day of mourning – Tisha B’Av (the 9th day of the Hebrew month Av) – commemorating the destruction of both the First and Second Temples.* Jewish wedding ceremonies – joyous occasions, are marked by sorrow over the loss of Jerusalem. The groom recites a biblical verse from the Babylonian Exile: “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning,�? and breaks a glass in commemoration of the destruction of the Temples. *Jerusalem is mentioned more than 349 times in the Tanakh and none in the Quran. *Jerusשlקm has 70 named and nicknames in the Bible, the most known is: Zion (which mentioned 108 times). * When Jews pray they face Jerusalem; in Jerusalem Israelis pray facing the Temple Mount. * When Muslims pray, they face Mecca; in Jerusalem Muslims pray with their backs to the Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock.

Posted by: Abe Bird at May 27, 2014 09:46 AM

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