In addition to anti-Israel resolutions, this year’s main gathering featured a verbal attack on a Palestinian human-rights activist who condemned the one-sided resolutions being considered against the Jewish state.
Members of the Presbyterian Church USA’s Israel/Palestine Mission Network showing solidarity with the Palestinians outside of the General Assembly in St. Louis. Credit: Facebook.
At its biennial General Assembly last week in St. Louis, the Presbyterian Church USA, one of the largest mainline churches in American Protestantism, continued to express support for the anti-Israel BDS movement by passing a number of resolutions condemning Israel.
This comes as the Presbyterians, like other mainline protestants churches, have faced rapidly declining memberships and an identity crisis that has allowed the more radical elements within the church to hijack the movement, observers say.
Subscribe to The JNS Daily Syndicate by email and never miss our top stories
Bottom of Form
In addition to the anti-Israel resolutions, this year’s General Assembly featured a verbal attack on Bassem Eid, a Palestinian human-rights activist who came out to condemn the one-sided resolutions being considered against the Jewish state.
In response to Eid’s speech during the Middle East Committee’s deliberations, Bassem Masri, who was also invited to the GA by the Israel/Palestine Mission Network followed Eid, verbally attack him.
Dexter Van Zile, a Christian media analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in American (CAMERA), told JNS, “Masri harassed Palestinian reformer Bassem Eid in the convention center and on the street outside the General Assembly, calling him a ‘spy’ and a ‘collaborator.’ And the denomination’s leaders couldn’t be bothered to bar Masri from the proceedings, even after Masri himself posted video of him calling Eid these things.”
Roz Rothstein, CEO of StandWithUs, whose group was on the ground in St. Louis to act against the anti-Israel resolutions, also condemned the attack on Eid.
“Unfortunately, institutional bias continues to undermine PCUSA’s credibility as an agent of peacemaking and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians,” she said. “Most disturbingly, the PCUSA leadership did almost nothing in response to a reported death threat made by an anti-Israel activist at the GA.”
Battling against anti-Israel overtures
At the 2018 General Assembly, the Presbyterians considered several anti-Israel resolutions. Among those that passed included resolutionsopposing the federal and state anti-BDS laws, one calling for more debate on Israel “illegal” military occupation of the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem, and another expressing “profound grief and sorrow” for Palestinians killed during the clashes along the Gaza border.
Additionally, the GA also urged the real estate company RE/MAXX, LLC to end the sale or rental of Jewish properties in Israeli settlements.
The passage of a number of anti-Israel resolutions continues a long trend for the Presbyterian Church in the last decade.
In 2014, the Presbyterian Church narrowly approved an Israel divestment measure. The anti-Israel measures continued at the 2016 General Assembly, where the leadership passed several resolutions aimed to pressure Israel to leave the disputed territories.
Much of the anti-Israel effort within the Presbyterian Church has been driven by the Israel/Palestine Mission Network.
Founded in 2004, the IPMN describes itself as committed to “advocate for Palestinian human rights and to deepen the involvement of Presbyterians with their struggle … and change the conditions that erode the humanity of both Israelis and Palestinians … .”
Van Zile said that the IPMN “has a long, sordid history of promoting hostility towards Israeli and American Jews who support Israel, but now they’ve graduated to facilitating the harassment of people who seek to reform Palestinian society.”
However, other groups within the Presbyterian Church—namely, the Presbyterians for Peace in the Middle East—did succeed in amending some of the strongest anti-Israel overtures. These include removing a call to end all economic and military aid to Israel, the rejection of an overture to respond positively to an anti-Israel letter and removing a call for the Presbyterians to cut off dialogue with Jews who are insufficiently critical of Israel.
“The folks from Presbyterians for Peace in the Middle East who tried to stop this train wreck had an impossible task: arouse the conscience of a dying church that has been hijacked by people who are simply obsessed with Israel,” said Van Zile.
The anti-Israel behavior within the Presbyterian Church has even driven away some American Jewish organizations that normally try to build relations with Christian denominations.
Rabbi Noam Marans, the American Jewish Committee’s director of interreligious affairs and intergroup relations who previously announced this week that he would not be attending the biennial due to the Presbyterians “obsessive and relentless anti-Israel demonization,” expressed dismay at the latest round of support for BDS.
“The church remains obsessively critical of Israel in its national utterances,” he said. “For many years and in myriad ways, the PCUSA has gone beyond legitimate criticism of Israel and embraced demonization of the Jewish state.”
However, Marans did express hope that there could be a change in behavior from the Presbyterians through the actions of the Presbyterians for Peace in the Middle East. As he stated, “there was a glimmer of hope for future Presbyterian-Jewish relations at this GA that could represent a tentative first step toward the church heading in a better direction.”
Feb 10, 2019 0
At the same time, the Trump administration is readying further possible sanctions on Venezuela, the official said.
Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro attends a military exercise in Maracaibo. (photo credit: MIRAFLORES PALACE/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
WASHINGTON, Feb 8 – The United States is holding direct communications with members of Venezuela’s military urging them to abandon leader Nicolas Maduro and is also preparing new sanctions aimed at increasing pressure on him, a senior White House official said.
The Shalva Band following their final performance on “Rising Star.” Photo: Screenshot.
The Shalva Band has removed itself from the race to represent Israel in this year’s Eurovision competition because some of its members observed Shabbat and would not be able to partake in mandatory rehearsals, The Jerusalem Post reported on Tuesday.
The group, made up of eight musicians who have special needs, was one of four finalists in the “Rising Star” singing contest — the winner of which will represent Israel in Eurovision, set to be held in Tel Aviv in May.
Please note that the posts on The Blogs are contributed by third parties. The opinions, facts and any media content in them are presented solely by the authors, and neither The Times of Israel nor its partners assume any responsibility for them. Please contact us in case of abuse. In case of abuse,
As Birthright Israel reaches its 700,000th participant, certain voices in America have done their best to slander the organization and force it to make drastic changes. Having staffed multiple Birthright trips as a madrich (youth leader), I have had the amazing opportunity to pass on some of the love for Israel that helped change my life.
Local police in Manchester’s Whitefield neighborhood declared the vandalism a criminal act rather than antisemitic.
Protesters hold placards and flags during a demonstration, organised by the British Board of Jewish Deputies for those who oppose anti-Semitism, in Parliament Square in London, Britain, March 26, 2018.. (photo credit: HENRY NICHOLLS/REUTERS)
The Philips Park Jewish cemetery in Manchester, England, was vandalized on Saturday, during which the tomb of Rabbi Yehuda Zev Segal, who died last year, was desecrated.
Protestors call for the severing of diplomatic ties with Israel during a march in Cape Town. (photo credit: MIKE HUTCHINGS / REUTERS)
A proposed multi-million dollar deal between Israel’s Central Bottling Company (CBC) and South Africa’s biggest dairy producer Clover could be in serious trouble due to heavy pressure from the anti-Israel lobby.
Newly-formed consortium Milco, in which Israel’s Central Bottling Company (CBC) holds a majority, is offering to buy 59.5% of the South African dairy producer.
We need to give the Likud Party some credit for not destroying itself in Tuesday’s internal elections. Given that primaries are the very embodiment of deal-making, political machines and big worker unions voting in lockstep, the results could have been far worse.
When it came to casting a secret ballot, the Likud Party’s registered voters did display some maturity. They weren’t the obedient foot soldiers of Benjamin Netanyahu, who has failed again and again in his machinations.
With elections barely two months away, the greatest challenge facing Israel’s Right emanates neither from the Center nor the Left, but, rather, from within.
Indeed, if recent polls are accurate, several small parties on the Right, most of which may not individually pass the minimum threshold to make it into the next Knesset, could nonetheless win a combined total of 10 to 12 seats, all of which would end up in the dustbin if they fail to run together.
August 2017, white supremacists marched in Charlottesville shouting, “Jews will not replace us”. October 2018, one white supremacist posted on social media that “Jews are taking over the white house”, and that Trump is a puppet of the Jews. Shabbat, the same month, a man enters a synagogue during a Bris celebration and butchers Jewish people who are praying. December 2018, Women’s March leader and Louis Farrakhan (“I’m not an antisemite, I’m an anti-termite”) fan, Tamika Mallory says: “White Jews, as white people, uphold white supremacy…”
Henry Ford devoted his life to two passions: making cars and demonizing Jews. When Hitler said, “I regard Henry Ford as my inspiration,” he wasn’t referring to his car manufacturing. He was referring to Ford’s anti-Semitic ideology that eventuated in the genocide of six million Jews.
Henry Ford does not deserve to be honored. The question the good people of Dearborn should ask themselves is: What would you do if the performing arts center were named after Jefferson Davis? If the answer is that you would remove Davis’s name, then you should remove Ford’s.
It was reported recently that the USA and the Taliban have reached a peace agreement on Afghanistan that will allow US forces to leave that country 17 years after they invaded it on October, 2001, less than a month after 9/11.
Al Qaeda had used that dysfunctional state as a safe haven and, while there, was able to plan and execute the attacks that took the lives of over 3000 people in. After the West invaded, the Taliban