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February 02, 2010

Gearing Up for Another Season of Anti-Zionism in the PC(USA)

By now it’s axiomatic that most of the people in the Presbyterian Church (USA) object to the obsession the denomination’s peace activists have for the alleged sins of Israel, the Jewish state.

Most Presbyterians sense there is something unseemly about the manner in which church staffers and activists regularly condemn Israel without acknowledging the manifest sins of its adversaries or the ideology that animates hostility toward Israel in the Middle East.

Nevertheless, a small and persistent group of church staffers and activists continue in their ongoing effort to portray Israel as uniquely worthy of the PC(USA)’s condemnation. Their activities quicken in the months before the denomination’s General Assembly which takes place every two years.

When it comes to evangelization, these anti-Israel activists are indefatigable.

This year will be no different. Late last year, the denomination’s Committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI) set the stage for the upcoming debate over Israel in November when it issued a report on its "Israel-Palestine" activities from 2004 to 2009.

In the report, the committee described the efforts of shareholder activists from a number of church-related organizations to draw attention to the alleged misdeeds of Citigroup, Motorola, Caterpillar and other companies.

Predictably, the report states that Caterpillar “does not measure up to the General Assembly’s stated position that the church’s investments in companies doing business in Israel, Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank be in companies involved in only peaceful pursuits.”

The MRTI closed its report with a proposed resolution for the PC(USA)’s upcoming General Assembly, which calls for the body to denounce “Caterpillar’s continued profit-making from non-peaceful uses of a number of its products.”

The proposed resolution continues:

We call upon Caterpillar to carefully review its involvement in obstacles to a just and lasting peace in Israel-Palestine, and to take affirmative steps to end its complicity in the violation of human rights. We hope that, by God’s grace, Caterpillar will come to exercise its considerable power and influence in the service of a just and lasting peace in Israel/Palestine.

The proposed MRTI resolution describes the process as “corporate engagement” but sets the stage for divestment from Caterpillar sometime in the future if the company does not abide by the PC(USA)’s demands.

In short, the people intent on using the denomination’s polity as a font to attack Israel are still at it and are preparing the ground for yet another fight about the Arab-Israeli conflict at the upcoming General Assembly. The apparent repudiation of their actions at the 2006 General Assembly has had little if any impact on their actions.

To buttress these efforts (and to make it perfectly clear that Israel is the main culprit), the Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA), an organization created by a vote of the General Assembly in 2004 has been broadcasting an unmistakeable anti-Israel message.

The organization’s blog, includes laudatory references to Jeff Halper, Norman Finkelstein, and for a while included a link to an explicitly anti-Semitic youtube video titled “I am Israel.”

Eventually, the "I am Israel" link was taken down by the IPMN because “its message was not one of reconciliation.”

No kidding.

The IPMN blog still, however, includes a link lambasting the ADL over a controversy wholly unrelated to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

What's that about? How is that related to IPMN's mission?

This links demonstrate that while the IPMN was created to educate members of the PC(USA) about the realities of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the people involved with the organization have used their authority (and the resources given to them by the denomination) to demonize Israel.

The upshot is this: The Bias Remains the Same. So does the animus. PC(USA) staffers and peace activists are still motivated by the same anti-Israel agenda that manifested itself at the denomination's 2004 General Assembly.

Posted by dvz at February 2, 2010 01:18 PM

Comments

This internal workings of the PCUSA seems to be from a vocal minority. No PCs around the country talk about this from the pulpit. The activism of this minority has, understandably, riled up our Jewish friends. It most certainly is not a Christ-like response to either the Palestinian or the Jewish people.

I know evangelical Palestinians. They would not support this minority PCUSA position.

Posted by: Brookfield, CT at February 22, 2010 07:18 PM

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