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September 12, 2011

Anti-Zionist Muck Rising from the Presbyterian Swamp

It was all hugs and kisses at the end of the Presbyterian Church (USA)'s General Assembly that took place last year in Minneapolis. After years of debate and controversy over the Arab-Israeli conflict, pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel activists within the denomination came to a mutual understanding about how to address the conflict as Presbyterians in the future. People on both sides of the debate within the church hailed the understanding as "a new way of being a church" and said that they were providing a model on how to end the conflict.

Sadly, it was not to be.

Apparently, for the pro-Palestinian folks (who are really more anti-Israel than they are pro-Palestinian), what happened at least year's General Assembly was not the beginning of peace, but a hudna, a brief respite before another round of fighting.

In particular, the Israel-Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA), has for the past few months been engaged in a pretty ugly campaign of defamation.

Evidence of this campaign can be seen on the organization's Facebook page where its supporters have posted ugly anti-Israel invective that undermines the entire denomination's credibility as a peacemaking organization. For example, in one Facebook comment published in June (screenshot below), Noushin Framke, a prominent member of IPMN, declared that Israeli soldiers in the West Bank "are not human beings."

IPMN Noushin Framke.jpg

One can condemn the actions of Israeli soldiers, but to deny their humanity, which is what Framke did in her comment, is another thing altogether. What is even more troubling is that Framke was at, at one time, involved withthe PC(USA) committee that deals with the denomination's investments that called for the church to divest from Catterpillar.

Sadly enough, the denomination's staffers in Louisville, Kentucky, seem reluctant to publically admonish the IPMN -- which was created by a vote at the PC(USA)'s 2004 General Assembly -- about its ugly anti-Zionism.

This is a matter of some consquence. The IPMN is not merely a rogue element within the PC(USA), but as Framke's involvment with the PC(USA)'s investment deliberations indicates, a nexus of influence that will play a significant role in framing debate about the Arab-Israeli conflict at the denomination's 2012 General Assembly.

To make matters worse, the Middle East Monitoring Group that was created by the denomination's 2010 General Assembly to offer up responsible witness about the Arab-Israeli conflict has not been all that effective in its work.

For example, the Middle East Monitoring Group produced an analysis of the Kairos Palestine Document that fails to address some of the more dishonest aspects of this document that was issued in December 2009. The monitoring group's failure to speak the truth about the Kairos Document indicates that for one reason or another it is handicapped when it comes time to address the failings of Palestinian leaders.

So while the Middle East Monitoring Group -- which CAMERA had placed great hopes on in the aftermath of last year's General Assembly -- has been spinning its wheels, the IPMN has been promoting a decidedly one-sided narrative about the Arab-Israeli conflict. Nearly all the articles it has posted on its Facebook page are hostile and critical of Israel. And these articles attract some very ugly comments. For example, the article below about the recent failed flotilla, one commenter states Israelis are "lower than a dog's tapeworm, those Zionazis."

Cropped Zionazis IPMN.jpg

This is on a page controlled by a PC(USA)-chartered organization.

Another look at the IPMN's Facebook page provides some insight into how bad things have gotten. In another Facebook post published in July 2011, IPMN allowed a comment that referred to Israeli soldiers as "Gestapo Jews" for more than 12 hours.

Gestapo Jews IPMN Cropped.jpg

The failure of the PC(USA)'s Middle East Monitoring Group to address obvious problems with the Kairos Document, coupled with the ugly comments on the IPMN's Facebook page are taken together, a cause of embarrassment for Snapshots, which in the aftermath of the PC(USA)'s 2010 General Assembly, expressed hope that after years of controversy, that the PC(USA) was finally on the right track to offer a comprehensive and factual understanding of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

In light of the events of the past few months, it seems that these hopes were misplaced. If the PC(USA) had truly decided it was going to provide a model for ending the Arab-Israeli conflict, what has happened at the IPMN's Facebook page would have prompted a scandal within the denomination and elicited an apology from the church for its behavior.

Posted by dvz at September 12, 2011 10:30 AM


Yesher Koach, Dexter!

Thanks for exposing this!

Posted by: Marty Johnston at February 16, 2012 11:39 PM

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