ISLAMOCHRISTIAN MOVEMENT GAINS MAJOR MOMENTUM
LEADING PROTESTANT DENOMINATION DEMONIZES JEWISH STATE
American Jewish leaders are condemning a report by the Presbyterian Church USA that blames Israel for the “Palestinian resistance” and denounces companies that conduct business with Israel.
The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) say the Presbyterian report reduces the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to a caricature, demonizes Israel, and demands the creation of a Palestinian state.
“It’s a highly-selective use of text, history and circumstances to form an anti-Israel narrative,” says JCPA vice president Ethan Felson.
The 172-page report, written by the Presbyterian Church’s Middle East Study Committee, charges the US government with “complicity in the Israeli occupation” and suggests that the government consider withholding aid to Israel until it agrees to stop building settlements. It singles out the U.S. firm Caterpillar, which manufactures construction equipment, for its “continued profit-making from non-peaceful use of its products.”
The report also endorses the Kairos Palestine document, a manifesto by Christian Palestinians that calls for an end to Israel as a Jewish state and uses words like “evil” and “sin” to describe Israeli actions.
Rabbi Steve Gutow, president of JCPA, says that Jewish leaders are dismayed at the attempt to “delegitimize and demonize” Israel.
Last week, however, the Rev. Susan Andrews of the Presbyterian Church USA told The Jewish Week that “the recommendations we will be making are in keeping with our former statements and policies.”
“Our report is not about divestment,” she said. “Its main focus is on our Christian brothers and sisters in Lebanon, Syria and on what we hear from Iran and Iraq.”
The Presbyterian Church USA raised the ire of the Jewish community in 2004, when the General Assembly approved faith-selective divestment from Israel. In 2006 and 2008, it retreated from its position.