The Mainline Protestant Churches and Israel

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During the upcoming General Conference of the United Methodist Church (UMC) scheduled for April 25-May 4, 2012 in Tampa, FL, and the 220th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA), June 30-July 7, 2012 in Pittsburgh, PA, anti-Israel actions in the form of petitions and overtures calling for some form of boycott, divestment or sanctions against the Jewish State and those who do business with the state are expected to be brought to the floor for a vote.

Influential elements within the mainline Protestant churches in the U.S. and specifically the UMC and PCUSA, have, within the past few years, initiated divestment campaigns against the Jewish State, with some condemning Israel as an “apartheid state.”  These churches seek to emulate the campaigns against the “apartheid” regime of South Africa. The punitive measures against Israel, they explain, are in response to Israel’s policies in the West Bank and Gaza. Some go as far as accusing Israel of racism against the Palestinian Arabs.

These “protectors” of human rights have ignored the endemic efforts by the Arabs/Palestinians to destroy the Jewish State through war, terrorism, and their anticipated success at demographic warfare based on their claims of right of return of Palestinian refugees to Israel.  And, they have ignored the pervasive teaching of hatred of Jews in Palestinian schools, mosques, and through the Palestinian media.

Sabeel, the Jerusalem based Ecumenical liberation Theology is an Arab Palestinian Christian institution, which has become a major source of the anti-Israel narrative employed by elements of the mainline Protestant churches.  This dhimmified Arab-Christian group habitually condemns, as human rights violations, Israel’s efforts to defend its people from Arab-Palestinian terrorist attacks (road blocks and the construction of the protection fence have eliminated attacks by more than 95%).  Sabeel also encourages anti-Semitism by employing deicide imagery; depicting the Palestinians as the crucified Jesus and the Israelis as the crucifers or, in simple terms, as the modern Christ killers.

Mainline Protestant churches have not sought to divest from Arab Muslim states such as Egypt and Iraq who routinely engage in the “ethnic cleansing” of Christians.  Nor do they organize boycott campaigns against Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey for the brutal persecution of their Kurdish minorities.  And, they have not considered labeling Saudi Arabia and Iran as “apartheid states” for discriminating against religious and ethnic minorities.  Additionally, in Saudi Arabia religious worship by Christians or Jews is outlawed and punishable.  The righteous indignation of these Mainline Christians churches finds expression only against Israel.

When Israel is irrationally singled out for boycotts, divestments, and sanctions for alleged human rights violations against the Palestinians, the only explanation seems to be a deep rooted bias against the Jewish state – which, as the collective, is more acceptable than being anti-Semitic/against individual Jews.

In the recent issue of the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Forum (PIEF) – a bulletin published by the World Council of Churches (which represents the U.S. mainline Protestant and Orthodox churches), an article entitled “It’s Time for Palestine,” was featured along with an advertisement for “World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel, May 28-June 3, 2012.  The article calls for member churches faith based communities and civil society organizations to join together in 2012 for a week of advocacy and action in support of an end to the illegal occupation of Palestine.

What is offensive about the term “illegal occupation of Palestine” is that it ignores historical facts.  Israel won the West Bank and Gaza in the 1967 defensive war in which the forces of Jordan, Egypt and Syria joined in order to “drive the Jews into the sea.” Prior to 1967, the West Bank and Gaza were illegally occupied by Jordan and Egypt respectively. The UN Resolution 242 of 1967 called for “territory for peace.”  This meant that Israel, in exchange for peace, would give up territories – the resolution was specific in its wording and did not say all the territories. At Khartoum in September of 1967 the Arab response to this was No Peace, No Recognition, and No Negotiations with Israel.  This then was in keeping with actions previously taken by the Palestinian-Arabs when, in 1947, they rejected the UN Partition Plan that would have given them a state in the West Bank and Gaza.  This action was preceded by their rejection of the terms of the 1937 Peel Commission in which recommendation was made for a state that would have given the Palestinian Arabs 68% of Mandatory Palestine.

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  • M.Archer

    One can only hope that the members of these churches are having second thoughts about this most unfortunate of "out of body" experience by their leadership. The comparisons and conclusions that the leaders draw does not reflect the teaching of the Mosaic or the Apostolic writings in the least. The members of these churches should vote first with their pens in writing to their leadership and then with their wallets and then with their bodies by not showing up on Sunday! Ignorance IS NOT an excuse!!

    • Jerry B.

      I just want to say,,,Gos Almighty says He will Bless them who Bless Israel,,CURSE them,,,who curae Israel. These,,”quote” churches,,,do NOT serve the same God.
      Jesus knows who are His.

  • Jim

    Israel is like a kid who kicks hornets nests. Then when the hornets come out they point to them as the problem. When they get stung they ask "Why do you hate us?".
    Some will point out that the people in the occupied territories shoot rockets at them. But if you look at what happens just before the rockets, like Israel sending in drones to kill leaders. You will see the kid who kicks hornets nests.
    Israel is not the perfect God lead people they were in ancient times. They are more like Germany in the 1930's and S.Africa of the 1980's. Can any true Christian stand by as they disobey
    Thou shalt not kill
    Thou shall not covet they neighbors house

    • Grantmann

      Apparently you still can't tell the difference between the arsonist and the firefighter, eh? Pretty basic. No attacks on Israel, no retaliation. Drones don't come first. Sheesh!

      Comparing Israel to Nazi Germany or Apartheid South Africa shows an ignorance of the highest order.

      Thou shalt not kill is the incorrect translation of the original text. It is Thou shalt not murder. There's a world of difference between the two. And as far as coveting goes, what does "from the river to the sea" mean to you?

      The simple formulation encapsulates it best: If the Arabs would put down their guns, there would be peace. If the Israelis would put down their guns, there would be no Israel.

      Simple? Yes. Simplistic? No.

      • stern

        Thank you Grantman, for saving me the trouble of replying to this simple mind capable of nothing but simple-minded drivel.

        Sometimes, though, I do wonder why we bother. Reality has no meaning for those suffering from the sickness that afflicts Jim.

    • Snorbak

      Heres a commandment just for you Jim; "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor". This commandment can be broadened to include the political left & the Catholic Church & sadly many mainstream prodestant churches too.

      Based on your argument you would seem to view as justified, the deliberate & indiscriminate murder of children in response to the targeted assasination of a terrorist leader during a state of war? (Remembering a state of war still exists between Israel & Egypt & Syria since 1948 & also Hamas, Hezbollah, TMB et al).

      Where has Israel coveted they neighbors house? In fact it is Israel that is being coveted by its arab & muslim neighbours.

      I am a true evangelical/ born again christian & am very comfortable with Israel & her actions, in fact I will go so far as to say that Israel is too soft on her muslim enemies. Your comment says that you are not a christian therefor you are in no position to claim what a "true" christian can or cannot stand for.

      • stern

        Snorbak, just wanted to say thank you. Christians like you are, I'm sure, what Christianity is supposed to be about.

        • Snorbak

          No problemo

    • capelady

      Jim, you are clearly unaware of historical fact. Read this, and then check each fact against the historical record. Perhaps then you can come to an educated conclusion.
      http://frontpagemag.com/2012/03/23/the-war-agains

  • Rick

    I will bless those who bless you and I will curse those who curse you. I would not want to be in one of those "churches" for anything in this world.

    • joy52

      The so-called mainline churches have been hemorraging members for decades. They don't see a connection between when they decided to go PC starting around when Clinton got elected and people going elsewhere in droves. It is no surprise that they would talk about divesting from Isreal while having nothing to say about Christians being persecuted. It's very PC of them.

  • maturin20

    Run, run, the Methodists are coming!

  • Nakba1948

    Try as you might, you pathetic Zionists can't stop the march of justice. Basic morality dictates an alignment with the Palestinian cause, and more Jews and Christians of good character are waking up to this fact every day; those who fail to see this are either ignorant of the facts on the ground or obstinately bound to the racism and supremacism on which the Zionist lie is based (e.g., the Islamophobes on this site). Israel no longer has any leverage in the moral arena (I dare say it never did). The restoration of Palestine is inevitable, regardless of whether it coexists with or supplants the Zionist entity. Get used to it.

    • stern

      This ridiculous rant has to win an award for most BS in the smallest space possible. "Basic morality dictates an alignment" with people who deliberately target children, shoot rockets into civilian areas, blow themselves up in the name of some spurious, bloodthirsty god, glorify cold-blooded murderers, create their own version of history in order to justify their acts of terrorism? Yeah, right.

      Sadly for you, Nakba is a well-chosen name, because as long as you continue in your hate-filled "beliefs", you are assuring yourself and your people of an ongoing, never-ending catastrophe.

    • Zionista

      try as you might you pathetic Jew haters will NEVER get rid of Israel or us Jews. You're probably dancing and handing out candies in celebration of the savage muslim coward who jumped to his death in France after murdering innocent children – you must be so proud of your filthy brethren. No jerk -the world is waking up to the bloodthirsty savagery that is islam.

    • Snorbak

      Just like you pathetic muslims cannot correct your Nakba1948, eh!

      The humiliation you must feel for being repeatedly beaten by the "pathetic Zionists" (your words) even with overwhelming military might in 1948, then in 1967 & yet again in 1973. All the while Israel gets stronger, smarter & tougher & you lot continue to complain & beat you chests about the "pathetic Zionists" (again your words).

      So my question is, If they are so pathetic, why are they so superior?

      "The restoration of Palestine is inevitable……….Get used to it" so you keep saying,

      You claim the moral high ground yet your prophet (so called) was a pedophile, do you see the irony?

      "ignorant of the facts" gee you give me a good laugh at times mate, keep it up.

      While I think of it what of the even greater Nakba of 1946?

    • Ghostwriter

      Ah,Nakba. Still on your anti-Jewish rants I see. You never speak up when innocent Israelis are killed with rockets from your beloved Palestinians. You and your ilk see Americans and Israelis as insects,worthy only of destruction,not as human beings. You've never cared about us so stop trying to pretend that you do care. Because deep down,you don't.

    • UCSPanther

      I wager you would love the "Crescent and Cross" hate group, seeing how it was co-founded by a Palestinian holocaust denier and a demented Pseudo-Christian Jew hater.

      • Nakba1948

        This, from someone who supports a "country" which has voted in numerous terrorists as prime ministers (e.g., Begin, Shamir, Sharon). Give me a break.

        • Snorbak

          What of Abu Mazen/ Mahmoud Abbas, is he not a terrorist & co founder of the PLO, a terror organization?

          I have not been able to find ANY comments referring to prior Israeli prime ministers as being terrorists except from the re inventers of history, the invented people called Palestinians.

          You have your country, its called Jordan.

    • Sashland

      your nabka is my nachas.

      May the nabka be with you…

    • capelady

      As I said to Jim above… you are clearly unaware of historical fact. If you care about TRUTH and have some courage… read this, and then fact check every item. And I recommend that you read the biographical information of the man who gave this speech.
      http://frontpagemag.com/2012/03/23/the-war-agains

      I don't know how you can mention "justice" and Islam in the same breath. Do you know how they treat women and gays, not to mention people of any other faith? 1,000 women were murdered in honor killings in Pakistan last year. People who leave Islam are executed. Christians are killed and churches burned… and you talk about Jews and Christians "of good character" waking up to this as the march of social justice? Are you even paying attention or being sold somebody else's agenda? Do the research. Think for yourself. This is not about Islamophobia – it is about the death cult of radical Islam.

  • Dispozadaburka

    What a disgrace.

  • Dispozadaburka

    Christians and Jewish people worship the same G-d.
    The Lord G-d of Israel.
    Islam worships Mohammed, Allah, which is the G-d, BA AL.
    That's why they want to kill us all.
    BA AL is demonic.

  • stern

    The author writes "…a deep rooted bias against the Jewish state – which, as the collective, is more acceptable than being anti-Semitic/against individual Jews."

    Actually, this IS anti-Semitism. and before some idiot comes along and claims that it can't be anti-Semitism because the Arabs are also Semites, I'll rephrase. This is Jew-hatred, plain and simple.

  • Abisja

    MAINLINE CHURCHES? What is the meaning of this title – NOTHING! And then the old buzzword(Donkey) – APARTHEID. Please – in spite of/or because of “apartheid” , South Africa is the most affluent country on the continent today. I’m not defending it – it was wrong! Now let’s take the Brits; most mainline churches spring from there – but at the turn of the 19th century, 448 725 troops of all categories mustered against some 21 000 Boers(mostly not trained for warfare). The motive Diamonds and Gold. The war cost the Brits 201 907 000 Pounds. 20 718 Brit soldiers were killed – 6 189 Boers. The greatest cost however, was
    26 000 women and children that perished in British Concentration Camps, mostly from disease; let alone the thousands of farm workers. What has the MAINLINE CHURCHES have to say about that!

  • Whatsinaname

    Sadly, Christian anti-Semitism has not abated in most of the Christian world. Yes, there are brave and wonderful Christians but they are unfortunately the minority. As for Arab Christians — anyone who says they are less anti-Jewish than the Muslims is simply deluding themselves.

    • kentatwater
    • rachaelamb

      I have to disagree with you. Most Christians in America especially evangelical Christians are very proIsrael. These churches clearly are not speaking for their congregations. As far as the Arab Christians are concerned,sadly there is truth in what you say,especially amongst the Palestinian Arab so called Christians,most of whom I doubt are Christian in the first place. But again there are always exceptions alot of Lebanese Christians are proIsrael,at least the ones I have spoken to,and Joseph Farah,and Gabrielle Brigette,both Arab Christians are some of the most outspoken proIsrael people around today.

  • DogsHateRomney

    .

    RE: MAIN LINING "Protestant-Ism" for the non-theological secular media:

    Those affiliated with The World Council of Churches (WCC) an inter-church organization founded in 1948.

    and, ….

    The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (usually identified as National Council of Churches or NCC).

    ALL Contribute to LEFTIST & Marxist groups, and their causes.

    Chrislam? Christian Palestinianism??

    For a good read: http://www.thebereancall.org/content/chrislam-chr

  • Choi

    If these Jew-Hating 'mainline' denominations HATE Israel so much,than everyone of these RELIGIOUS PHONIES,should tell their Doctors NEVER to prescribe an Israeli discovered Life-saving medicine or treatment for them.
    In fact they should write it into their living wills that if it means life DUE to an Israeli Medical Advance or Death,they WANT TO DIE.
    I DARE Presbyterians and United Methodists to DO IT.
    I DARE THEM!

  • Sashland

    why do some christians in the US identify with the killers of christians in the disputed territories rather than with the christians?

  • rachaelamb

    These churches must be very out of touch with their congregations. The overwhelming majority of Americans over the years have been proIsrael. I used to go to a rather large Methodist Church,in one of the 4 biggest cities in the United States,and every single person I spoke to in the church was totally sympathetic to the Israeli side,and had none whatsoever for the Palestinians mainly because of their terrorism,and murder of innocents.

  • Dave Livingston

    If the mainline Protestant churches are disinvesting from Israeli securities, that's fine witrh me; hopefully I may pick up some Israeli shares at bargain prices.

    As things presently stand, approximately 8% of my 593K portfolio of stocks & mutual funds is invested in Israeli common stocks. I? A practicing Catholic.

  • Schlomotion

    United Methodist Divestment has been very clear about what they witness to be Israeli apartheid. They describe it in concise detail here, and I find it very convincing:
    http://www.unitedmethodistdivestment.com/IsraelPr

  • Snorbak

    The idea that everyone could just get along is an unrealistic utopian dream that is undermined by just one character trait of humans……greed.
    There is only one "religion" that does not play well with others…..Islam.