The Church of Israel Divestment

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The campaign to divest from Israel has never been widely successful but neither will it accept defeat.  Even as the Religious Left continues its relative silence about Muammar Kaddafi’s accelerating warfare against his own Libyan people, it is again promoting anti-Israel divestment.

Last month, the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) resolved once again to lobby its 12 million member denomination (7.7 million members in the U.S.) for anti-Israel boycott and divestment.  This lobby agency, located on Capitol Hill in the historic Methodist Building, initially tried and failed to persuade the denomination to back anti-Israel divestment at the governing General Conference in 2008.  Now it is aiming at the next convention in 2012.  The lobby also voted to affiliate with the “U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.”

As my associate Jeff Walton noted in his onsite report, GBCS’s anti-Israel resolutions were among the most controversial issues at the Methodist lobby’s directors’ meeting.  Responding to a resolution for boycotting Israeli-produced West Bank products, one director wondered if it might undermine Palestinians employed by Israeli firms. GBCS General Secretary Jim Winkler reassuringly likened the boycott to similar campaigns against Apartheid South Africa, which local black groups supported even though black South Africans might lose jobs.  A second resolution called for the massive United Methodist pension agency to divest from Caterpillar, Motorola, and Hewlett-Packard because of their business with Israel.

During the vote on joining the “U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation,” several directors asked whether any of the coalition members “sent up red flags” that would alarm some United Methodists. “Like the Communist Party?” laughingly asked one director, recalling GBCS’s controversial initial endorsement for last year’s “One Nation Working Together” rally in Washington, D.C. to counter Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” gathering.   The Communist Party USA was a co-sponsor, forcing GBCS to withdraw endorsement and sheepishly admit it was “disturbed by some of the overtly political and partisan statements issued by organizers of the march.”

Meanwhile, activists in the 3 million member Presbyterian Church (USA) are pushing similar anti-Israel initiatives.  The officially endorsed denominational “Israel/Palestine Mission Network” (IPMN) will lobby its church’s governing 2012 General Assembly for a more ardent anti-Israel stance. As my colleague Alan Wisdom reported, IPMN has recently joined the international “BDS movement” (boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel).  IPMN moderator Carol Hylkema promised, “In addition to calling for boycott, as a mission network of the PCUSA, the IPMN will sponsor an initiative that will seek to make its position that of the entire denomination when their General Assembly meets in 2012.”

The denomination’s 2004 General Assembly created IPMN to encourage “currents of wider and deeper Presbyterian involvement with Palestinian partners.” The purpose is “demonstrating solidarity [with the Palestinian partners] and changing the conditions that erode the humanity of Palestinians living in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.”  Essentially, IPMN mostly exists to proclaim more strident anti-Israel stances than more directly official church agencies have the gumption publicly to endorse.

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  • Ghostwriter

    What?!? That monster Qaddafi is bombing his own people to pieces and all these people can think about is attacking Israel?! These people have their priorities mixed up.

  • Ariely

    2 Ideologies-representing values difference

    Hamas charter stands for Islam over all-kill Jews
    Palestinian authority teaching curriculum and TV programs preach for hate and killing.Funded by EU and USA.

    *The Arabs values are perfectly describe in Hamas charter:
    Hamas is a branch of the Muslim brotherhood
    Under Islam, Christianity, Judaism may coexist
    2:Sharia goes for any land Moslems have conquered by force till the day of judgment
    Explanation: Applicable to:
    3:The day of judgment will not come until Moslems fight killing the Jews The stones and trees will say

  • Ariely

    2 Ideologies-representing values difference
    *The speech of the Muslim brotherhood leader in Cairo delivered in Arabic, before 1 million people saying:
    !!!!! Hitler didn’t finish the job against the Jews.
    !!!!!! Now the Muslims brotherhood will finish the job.
    Watch BBC program Third eye Egypt.

    Arabs are practicing the kill all ideology whenever possible
    They just slaughtered a family of 5–father,mother and 3 children–the youngest 4 month old while slipping in their house.

  • Ariely

    2 Ideologies-representing values difference

    Israel values and practice are based on the independence declaration stating:
    *will promote the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants;
    *will be based on the precepts of liberty, justice and peace taught by the Hebrew Prophets;
    *will uphold the full social and political equality of all its citizens, without distinction of race, creed or sex;
    * will guarantee full freedom of conscience, worship, education and culture;
    * will safeguard the sanctity and inviolability of the shrines and Holy Places of all religions

    How should be called the human rights organizations claiming to :
    * Protect 21 century democracy and human right values
    *That are totally ignoring the decades long people operation in Arab/ Iran counties
    *Joining forces with the ones that stand against everything they pretend to demand?
    ———– Hypocrats ———–
    Hippocrates of all world!
    Wake up!
    Act helping oppressed people to get the rights you claim to stand for!
    Stop being marionettes manipulated by lying propaganda

  • Hank Rearden

    The long term solution is to fire the idiots who are making policy for these church organizations. They are outside their circle of conmpetence.

  • HikerJohn316

    Its been said many times but bears saying again. If the Arabs laid down their arms there would be peace. If Israel laid down its arms there would be slaughter. Israel is the apple of God's eye. God says I will bless those who bless Israel. We don't want to be on the wrong side of this! The Western mind has a hard time understanding the Arab mindset. I worked in Saudi Arabia for 2 and a half years and never came close to understanding them. What Christian or even "Westerner" can understand Palistinians celebrating the killing of a family including a small infant? Who can understand the mindset where a woman who is raped is killed by family members (often by burning) yet almost always the rapist is not proscuted?
    The "can't we all just get along" philosophy won't work!

    • jamal

      "God says I will bless those who bless Israel." Where did God say that ?! read your Bible. God is God of justice, not oppression, you, the "civilized" westerner !

      • HikerJohn316

        Its in Genesis 12:3. I'm a Christian American and have visited Israel. Oppression? Like we see in Egypt? Like Jordan dealing with Black September? On one level, and I don't mean to sound trite, Hey… its a dinky little country about one fifth the size of my state of Georgia. Arabs have 100 times more land to show how good they can make it. So I say show the world your example of freedom, justice, and prosperity. And seriously … good luck! <DIV>Take Care God Bless, John”You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” Jack London</DIV> From: notifications@intensedebatemail.comTo: johnbstephens@hotmail.comSubject: jamal replied to your comment on The Church of Israel Divestment

      • David Wavey

        If the Arabs laid down their arms (what arms would that be? The Gazan Air Force, perhaps?) then they would be pushed out of the West Bank and all of mandate Palestine would be in the hands of about 5 million Jews. Maybe next they will come and push you out of your home, your town, your life, your culture. Religious left or right, you are all bananas.

  • Jamal

    it seems that the one who wrote this article is so ignorant that he never read the Kairos document. he says that the Kairos "rejects a Jewish Israel and supports a single state that inevitably would become majority Muslim". this NEVER existed in the Kairos document. read the text.

  • Beth

    (my comment, will be in several posts (for lack of space)…

    What is the "religious left" ???-???

    There are those who can call themselves Christians until 'blue in the face and the cows come home' … but in the end…they're NOT Christians – and not because I say so, but because the Lord that they claim to be represenatives of says-so ….and on a level that even a child can understand…thereby, having the power to shut the mouths of the 'kings' of this world.

    The only thing needed – is an audience – and a loud microphone


  • Beth

    First…..there is NO SUCH THING as the "religious left" not in the name of Christianity…for see:

    Mat 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels

    But here's 'the kicker' {as some would say)…

    There is NO support – none whatsoever – for the name Palestine – especialy in the Bible. If anything, the Bible condenms Palestine for end times… Moses, Isaiah and Joel. (That's 3) (Let us kick against the pricks – Act 26:14)


  • Beth

    Woe unto those who take the Name, Christian, – in vain. Know this: The very first Christians appeared in Antioch – Not Jerusalem: Act 11:26.[Stay with me here] There were no Christians in Jerusalem at the time of Christ. There couldn't be. And here is why:

    Hbr 9:16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the Testator.

    Hbr 9:17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the Testator liveth.

    Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh – BY THE BLOOD OF CHRIST (and not one second before).


  • Beth

    Jerusalem belongs to Israel…not because I or you say so – But because God says so. The name Israel was given by God – not men: Gen 35:10

    The name Palestine does not appear ANYWHERE in their Koran. Even their own Koran mentions the name Israel through-out…their own Koran even devoted a WHOLE chapter to the children of Israel (while never explaining Who Israel is)…but not once does their Koran mention the name Palestine – Ever.


  • Beth

    If you are following the leaders of such an organization, Know this:

    If your leader is headed for the pit – then so are you: Mat 15:14 – Luk 6:39 {that's 2 witnesses. Therefore, the matter is established….in the name of Christianity)

    Wide is the path that leads to eternal destruction of the soul.

    If that is your lot – why would you even bother? Surely, it is a burden to walk through this world with the name Christian. No?


  • Beth

    So why would you even bother? defending the name Palestine? a name that Moses, Isaiah and Joel, (thats' 3), condemned for end time? Lest you not be a Christain – and you know full well you're not? but a liar?

    Yes…a liar. Not because I say so – but because of the Words of the Lord that you claim to be a representative of say so: …and here's the proof:


  • Beth

    Isa 14:31 Howl, O gate; cry, O city; thou, whole Palestina, art dissolved: for there shall come from the north a smoke, and none shall be alone – in his appointed times.

    So much for the (so-called) self-professing 'Christians' who defend the name Palestine.

    Why build that which He ALREADY said He is going to destroy?

    If you support Palestine AND you call yourself a Christian? – You're a liar! and not because any human says-so – but because the very God that you claim to be worshipping Says So.


  • Beth

    If you call yourself a Christian – and – you support Palestine? you're a hypocrite – on a level that even a child can understand.
    Eternal life was never real to those who do such things.

    There are Biblical Scriptures that will defend those who use self-defense [Exd 22:2]. But not murderers. No murderer has eternal life abiding within [Num 35:31 – 1Jo 3:15].

    The Koran teaches its followers to do the following:

    047.004 Beheadings –
    033.052 Gang Rape of female 'infidels' –
    005.041 Racism –
    005.033 Crucifixions –
    008.067 Treason –
    033.061 Genocide "without mercy"

    If you support murderers – you are one – no matter what the name is that you have chosen to go by.


  • TBranin

    Amen Beth!

    Her response is why we need a woman president. One conservative woman today has more T and IQ than the whole progressive movement, male and female alike.

    Go Sarah/Michelle!

  • BS77

    Religious left is an oxymoron…these are plain old Marxists and radical leftists dressed up
    in costumes.

  • preacherbilly

    As a United Methodist pastor here in eastern NC I would like to say that the "left-wing" of our denomination does not represent the majority opinion of the membership of the UMC.

    The strength of the UMC is in the southeastern part of the US, but many of the left-leaning representation of the church comes from the Pacific coast and northeast. It is frustrating how and why our denomination has allowed the DC-based GBCS to look and sound more like the DNC than the church. KEEP YOU EYES ON AFRICA, because it is the theologically conservative Methodists in Africa are experiencing explosive growth – which will tip the scales of church representation back to the rhelm of reason. Israel is the sole bastion of freedom in the middle east, and our denomination will not abandon Israel financially or otherwise.

    • PhantompinkLADY

      God bless you preacher Billy!