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In 2004, the Presbyterian Church (USA) touted solidarity with Palestinians by endorsing a “phased, selective divestment” from firms doing business with Israel. Church elites had underestimated the negative public response, both from American Jews and from more temperate Presbyterians. After a campaign to revoke divestment, including a feisty luncheon appearance by former CIA Director James Woolsey, the denomination’s 2006 General Assembly revoked divestment.
But the church’s anti-Israel boll weevils won’t accept “no” for an answer. A PCUSA so-called Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI) committee is now recommending a new, more selective anti-Israel divestment targeting Hewlett-Packard, Caterpillar, and Motorola. Next year’s General Assembly will vote up or down on behalf of the about 2 million member denomination, which has already lost over a million members thanks to clueless church elites.
Naturally, PCUSA elites are not advocating any special sanctions aimed at Iran, North Korea, Sudan or any truly loathsome regimes whose crimes include persecution of Christians. Israel remains the only serious target of their chronic ire.
“It has been seven years since the General Assembly named [Caterpillar] as a company for possible divestment,” rejoiced the Israel Palestine Mission Network, an anti-Israel caucus group within the PCUSA seeking a “just peace in Palestine.” The Network’s spokesperson declared: “I think it is tremendous, and high time that this action be taken. I am proud and happy that MRTI has finally taken this important step.” This Network thinks Presbyterian divestment from Caterpillar and 2 other firms will help remedy “injustices being routinely inflicted upon Palestinians as collective punishment in the West Bank and Gaza” by Israel. A beaten down Israel supposedly will fulfill prophesy promising that “swords will be beaten into plowshares in Israel and Palestine so that all God’s people may dwell together as brothers and sisters in peace.”
More likely, enhanced international pressure on Israel, if effective, would only embolden further Palestinian radicalism and accelerate demands for even greater concessions. The ultimate end-game for anti-Israel diehards is the deconstruction of Israel as a meaningful Jewish democracy. Whether all anti-Israel, PCUSA “peace” activists fully understand this ultimate goal is an open question. Radical church activists who undermine pro-Western regimes have a decades-long tradition of facilitating even greater conflict and the enthronement of tyranny. In these sad scenarios, such “swords,” rather than becoming “plowshares,” often weaponize into even wide instruments of mass destruction.
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