Leftist Christians vs. the Jewish State

Mark Tooley is President of the Institute on Religion and Democracy (www.theird.org) and author of Methodism and Politics in the Twentieth Century. Follow him on Twitter: @markdtooley.


As much of the Middle East tilts towards or implodes into Islamist rule, the ever feckless Religious Left in America has organized an ecumenical appeal asking the U.S. Congress to reduce U.S. aid for Israel.  After all, it is pro-America, democratic Israel that is the primary threat to peace and stability in the Middle East.

Of course, the church potentates opened their recent letter to Congress with the usual claim to evenhanded neutrality.   “We recognize that each party—Israeli and Palestinian—bears responsibilities for its actions and we therefore continue to stand against all violence regardless of its source,” they supinely insisted.  How nice.   But of course their only policy recommendation is to punish Israel.

The signers are the usual suspects representing the United Methodist Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA), the United Church of Christ, the American Baptist Church, the Quakers, Mennonites, and the Maryknoll Order of the Catholic Left.  The Episcopal Church is notably and commendably absent.

Citing “grave concern about the deteriorating conditions in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories,” the ecclesiastics blamed “unconditional U.S. military assistance to Israel” as the key source for the Middle East’s “deterioration.”  Apparently U.S. military aid to Israelis is responsible for “sustaining the conflict and undermining the long-term security interests of both Israelis and Palestinians.”  They name tear gas from America as a special threat to regional peace. Who knew that Israel’s use of tear gas against rioters was so key to Middle East upheaval?

Specifically, the church officials want an “immediate investigation into possible violations by Israel of the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act and the U.S. Arms Export Control Act which respectively prohibit assistance to any country which engages in a consistent pattern of human rights violations and limit the use of U.S. weapons to ‘internal security’ or ‘legitimate self-defense.’”

No doubt Israel, like all even lawful governments, especially when surrounded by enemies who desire their destruction, at times exceeds all the requisite niceties that ideally should be observed in its police and military reactions to provocations.  All democracies should be self-critical and on guard against violating their own lofty principles.  Unlike most of Israel’s neighbors, the Israeli government contends routinely with its own political opposition and critical media, who themselves often spotlight police and military misdeeds.

Yet the Religious Left prelates do not acknowledge Israel’s unique position as a functioning democracy trying to remain lawful while also struggling for survival against a sea of mortal enemies. The prelates cavalierly add, almost as an afterthought, that U.S. laws against human rights violations with U.S. weapons should be “enforced in all instances regardless of location.”  This brief phrase is as close as they come to any admission that governments other than Israel’s might violate human rights.  Much of the corrupt Palestinian Authority’s police force is subsidized by the U.S.  And of course the Egyptian military, now governed by the Muslim Brotherhood, depends on billions of dollars of U.S. largesse.  But neither evidently concerns the Religious Left, which aims its probing microscope exclusively at Israel.

Comically, the Religious Leftists complain about Israeli settlements that infringe on a potential future Palestinian state as outlined in the 1993 Oslo peace process.  Of course they do not mention how Israel ceded over 95 percent of the West Bank as a Palestinian state but instead were greeted by Yasir Arafat’s Intifada, not to mention chronic Palestinian rhetoric that disputes Israel’s right to exist.  According to the Religious Left, Israel should reward demands for its destruction by banning additional Jewish residents from East Jerusalem, the historic Jewish capital.  The prelates complain, with perhaps some basis of fact, of “separate and unequal legal systems for Palestinians and settlers, confiscation of Palestinian land and natural resources for the benefit of settlers, and violence by settlers against Palestinians.”  But they do not offer Israel any plausible alternative other than complete surrender to all Palestinian and Arab demands in exchange for likely only redoubled exertions against Israel.

The concerned Religious Left prelates insist they “recognize that Israel faces real security threats and that it has both a right and a duty to protect both the state and its citizens.”  But they and their likeminded ecclesial cohorts have not for decades shown any meaningful interest in Israel’s ongoing struggle for survival against neighbors and much of the world who dispute its existence.  They want Israel to “conform to international humanitarian and human rights law” but do not substantively levy this standard against any other government in the world.

“As Christian leaders in the United States, it is our moral responsibility to question the continuation of unconditional U.S. financial assistance to the government of Israel,” they concluded in their missive to Congress.  “Realizing a just and lasting peace will require this accountability, as continued U.S. military assistance to Israel — offered without conditions or accountability — will only serve to sustain the status quo and Israel’s military occupation of the Palestinian territories.”

Again, note the prelates exclusively fault Israel as the obstacle to peace without even noting Palestinian and Arab rejection of Israel’s existence. They demand Congress make all future U.S. military aid to Israel “contingent on the Israeli government’s compliance with applicable U.S. laws and policies.”  But the prelates do not mention that many if not most of them oppose all U.S. military aid to Israel.

These Religious Left church officials are at least somewhat consistent.  The same utopian and self-destructive national security policies they urge upon Israel they have urged upon the United States for even more years.  Of course, America is a large and powerful nation that mercifully has sufficient strategic space to pursue momentarily suicidal policies and yet still persevere.  Tiny Israel has no such room for maneuver, and its every decision impinges directly on its future survival.

Religious Leftists who are preoccupied with Israel might gain a little traction if they occasionally raised even slight concerns, however insincerely, about other far more repressive regimes. But the Religious Left, consistently across over 40 years, is temperamentally and intellectually incapable of deep criticism aimed at anti-Western regimes.  They can at least be commended for predictability. And we can be thankful that they are almost universally ignored by both policymakers and their own church constituencies.

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  • Omar

    Why don't those Christian organizations protests against despotic regimes like Communist Cuba? Aren't they aware that Cuba currently has the only dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere. For over 53 years, the Castro regime has been oppressing the Cuban people and denying them any chance of democracy in that country, yet those same Christian organizations who campaign against democratic Israel support the Castro dictatorship, despite the fact that Israel recognizes religious freedom, while the Castro regime has tried to suppress Christians (Fidel Castro was excommunicated by the Roman Catholic Church in the early 1960s for his regime's persecution of priests and other religious figures) in Cuba. I don't understand the so-called "Pastors for Peace" group when that group says that we should lift the so-called "embargo" against the Castro dictatorship, despite the fact that there is no embargo on Cuba (the United States does business with the Castro regime. The U. S. is Cuba's largest food supplier). Bottom line, Israel has a great democracy (the only democracy in the Middle East), while Cuba has the only dictatorship in the Western Hemisphere. That's the reality.

  • Scotsirish

    To the Methodist and Presbyterians in the South: You should know better!!!! I do not know what your church taught about Israel in the past BUT I do know that at this point you are amid some type of unholy, unbelieving, disgusting, unscriptural, social club that does not and will not "get it". Ya need to get a Bible and go in your "closet" and do some real soul searching about the program you have alligned yourself with. This is a travesty. Christianity is NOT about "being nice". Get real.

    • Brerb

      You are Right, "Scotsirish" !! The first 2 words of that Title are antonyms NOT synonyms. IF they are that far "left", they are NOT "Christian", and in using the term "Christian", they bring derision to those who are true, Bible* believing Christians. (*And I don't mean new-age, man-made small "B" bibles.which have para-phrased the Pure Word into ear-tickling, comfortable wording).
      These so-called, self-called "Christians" will join Islam when the chips are down !! But they will be judged for putting a black cloud over Christianity, and their opposition to God's chosen people There are several texts in which God calls them, "My people Israel"-

  • Stern

    The problem is that "religious left" is an oxymoron. Leftists only believe in their version of "liberalism" (see Ann Coulter's article for what that really is), which leaves no room for any kind of real religion. Their "liberalism" will always come first.

  • The Infidel

    If their constituencies ignore them, yet continue to prop them up and pay their wages, they are complicit in their crimes. If the leadership refuses to remove said signers from their positions and send them to the unemployment line, they are complicit in their crimes. Nope, anyone choosing to stay in those so called "churches" are guilty of antisemitism and deserve no pity or letting off the hook.

  • oldtimer

    If they were "true" Christians, they would follow the Bible. They don't. Genesis 12:3 "I will bless them that bless you and curse them that curse you…." Joshua 24:15 "…..but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

    • objectivefactsmatter

      Precisely. They don't. It's purely social, but they can't even admit that to themselves in most cases.

  • EthanP

    There has always been a barely disguised anti-semitism on the far left. Even among the Jewish far left. The lefts (Christian or otherwise) anti-Zionism is mearly a logical extension of that.

  • Schlomotion

    One way of looking at this article is that a conspiracy of "Leftist Christians" are unfairly criticizing the Jewish State.

    The other way of looking at this article is that this is the best persecution of Methodists and Quakers that Scaife, Coors, Richardson, Olin, and Bradley's money can buy. $350,000 a year from private donors to persecute American Christians who hold an unfavorable view of Israeli expansion.

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      Shariamotion,

      Happy Eternal Nakba!

      • Kufar Dawg

        Ditto, and here's to many more Abdullah Al Schlocko!

      • Kufar Dawg

        Ditto, and here's to many more Abdullah Al Schlocko!

    • Ghostwriter

      Well,Schlockmotion. I've never heard the Israelis scream for the deaths of Americans. They're pro-American,unlike the Palestinians who hate us and want to kill us.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "The other way of looking at this article is that this is the best persecution of Methodists and Quakers that Scaife, Coors, Richardson, Olin, and Bradley's money can buy. $350,000 a year from private donors to persecute American Christians who hold an unfavorable view of Israeli expansion."

      Define persecution, and define "Israeli expansion."

      Israel is the legitimate sovereign of its territory. It gains its legitimacy in many ways, not the least of which is in it being the only sovereign to ever even try to form a legitimate sovereign rule over the territory in question. In addition, it's increase in terrain is a result of defense against continuing oppression, threats and terrorist violence.

      There is no other legitimate sovereign. The only question is whether individuals can obtain justice from this sovereign. Yes they can.

      Therefore, the objections are all unreasonable, to say the least.

  • SCREW SOCIALISM

    To all leftist, progressive, atheist FAKE "Christians", stop your LIES.

    • dbrittain

      right on!

  • Irwin Ruff

    'The prelates complain, with perhaps some basis of fact, of “separate and unequal legal systems for Palestinians and settlers, confiscation of Palestinian land and natural resources for the benefit of settlers, and violence by settlers against Palestinians.”'

    There is a discrepancy between the treatment of Arabs and Jews, but it is strongly biased in favor of the Arabs. All an Arab has to do is claim (truthfulness not required) that he owns the land on which a "settlement" is built. The police response will be to violently expel the Jews, especially if they are observant. Arabs, on the other hand, are allowed to build thousands of houses with no requirement to adhere to the minimum building codes. The churches should simple admit that they are strongly prejudiced against Jews.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "There is a discrepancy between the treatment of Arabs and Jews"

      Don't forget that they treat their citizens "better" than they treat their terrorist enemies. This is unforgivable to liberals. Just look at Code Pink, and you merely have a more flamboyant example of the same thinking you find in these churches.

  • david gorodn

    Please know that not all United Methodist are included in the pronouncements that come from certain UM's speaking from within certain agencies of the UMC. There are as many who speak against this as for it, if not more. I for one, stand with Israel and support the continued alliance that America has always shared with it.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      Of course. We know. We're talking about them collectively for analysis purposes only.

  • g_jochnowitz

    The churches that are working together with the BDS Movement are fighting to destroy Israel and its people. They are no different from Hezbollah. http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/hez

  • Bob Avakian

    Leftist Christins? Sounds like an oxyomoron to me. Althoughthey might qualify as tsrgets for a drive by from your average Islamic radical, most I have met doubt at least one tenet of traditional Christianity as listed the Apostles Creed To coin a term they are CINO's.

  • 77patriot

    The good news is that these churches are shrinking in attendance while their Evangelical conservative counterparts are holding steady. That is what happens when leftists take over anything.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      Really? It seems like they are flocking to "mega churches" in larger numbers rather than to authentic evangelical churches. I'd like to know if there is evidence I'm wrong.

  • IQ al Rassooli

    These so called Christians self destruct by the fact that not once in the last two years of 'Arab Spring' have any of them addressed the issues of terrorising, slaughtering, forcefully converting and burning Churches and Christians in the Arab and Muslim states.
    They had to pick on Israel, a democracy that PROTECTS its Christian & Muslim citizens.
    They are an insult to Christianity and an outrage to Jesus
    Shame on their total lack of decency, morality, justice, facts and reality
    IQ al Rassooli

  • zionit

    Notice the absence of Coptic Christianity, having lived with Satan’s minions up close and personal for centuries now they’re not confused like the above. It must be a lark for PAs who loathe infidels and watching their next pray go ga-ga over them. Then there are those like PA mother who risked all by allowing a Israeli doctor to save her child’s life.

    http://www.shilohisraelchildren.org/

  • Bill

    all i can say is…. omg…. really? total stupidity wins out once again… seems some need to get a real bible and read it a few hundred more times

    • objectivefactsmatter

      Or at least once straight through. Few have at all.

  • PAthena

    The so-called "Paelstinians" are not Palestinians, but Arabs with the invented identity from Gamal Nasser and the Soviet Union who, in Cairo in 1964, both haters of Jews, invented the "Palestine Liberation Organization" (P.L.O.) with all the phony history that followed. The name "Palestinian" always was synonymous with "Jew," from the time that the Roman Emperor Hadrian, in 135 A.D., defeated the last Jewish rebellion under Bar Kochba, and changed the name of Judea to "Palestina" to forever eradicate all memory of Judea. (He also outlawed Judaism and renamed Jerusalem "Aelia Capitolin," Aelius being his gens name.) From that time on, "Palestine" was synonymous with "land of the Jews," which is why Great Britain, after World War I, was given the "Palestine Mandate" to be the "homeland of the Jews."
    The churches mentioned by Mark Tooley weep crocodile tears over the Arabs called "Palestinian" whose only reason for existence is to destroy Israel. The leaders of these churches give not a fig about human rights, not even for the fate of Christians in Mohammedan countries, like the Copts in Egypt, but show only their hatred of Jews.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      You've got too many facts here. You're contradicting the sincerely emotionally derived positions of these wonderful bigots. You might even be hurting their religious feelings. The UN will be contacting you soon.

  • Kisid

    They wrote ''as Christians'', and I say you should not use the name of the LORD in vain. This is a typical way of using the name of the LORD wrongly.

  • Mr. Polly

    If the Jews hadn't rejected their messiah Jesus, they wouldn't have any of these problems today.

    • Pagael

      Some Jews have accepted the Messiah, the early church was Jewish, the books of the bible where on the whole written by Jews, it's thanks to the Jews that the gentiles where grafted into G_d's plan. The Jews have frequently been disobedient to G-d's ways, but gentiles (Pagan) have always been worse. Anti-Semitism stems from the fact that the Jews have and always will be the apple of G_d's eye and the rest of men who are not right with G_d are envious of the Jews and their spiritual father is the destroyer.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "If the Jews hadn't rejected their messiah Jesus, they wouldn't have any of these problems today."

      Collectively, all peoples and nations have rejected Jesus as messiah. The Jews were cited as people who were preached to by God's prophets at the time of the writings. We can now say that about everyone. Singling out the Jews collectively today as people lower than others is just pure bigotry, but also a "fine" tradition of certain cultures. Don't imply that it's somehow Godly to do so, because it makes you quite ignorant.

  • fanlad

    And don't forget Jim Wallis, one of the presidents current spiritual advisers. Jim Wallis calls himself a socialist, and was the president of the radical SDS ( Students for a Democratic Society ), while attending Michigan State University. A matter of fact, Wallis has also made the claim that Jesus was a socialist. Also, let's not forget Jeremiah Wright. The president sat in his church for 20 years listening to a radical form of Christianity that taught black liberation theology. The left continue their attack at all levels. Beware of wolf's in sheep's clothing.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      "A matter of fact, Wallis has also made the claim that Jesus was a socialist."

      Exactly the point I try to make all the time. They have tried to make Christianity in to socialism to allow themselves to remain "Christian" in culture only, not Christian in belief as in before the days of Darwinistic atheism. Their "Christian culture" has evolved just like Darwin suggested species did.

      It's all BS, changing the meanings of any words they want to use in order to deceive themselves and others.

      Jim Wallis as I recall was an early and loud supporter of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement and derivative movements. What a clown. What a fool. What a deceiver. Christian? No.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    "The problem is that "religious left" is an oxymoron."

    Exactly. Liberalism depends on virtual or outright atheism. "Religious left" means those who attend fallen churches purely for social reasons. They turn Jesus Christ in to a "socialist radical" and all kinds of other insanity. It's all lies based superficially on the Bible, "re-imagined."

  • http://www.facebook.com/beverley.markgraaff Beverley Markgraaff

    They are just sheep in wolves clothing. These guys are not true Chrstians that is why they get it all wrong._They are not in a position to know true discerment, they do not know the difference between right and wrong … biblically speaking. Anyhow most of the left 'churches' and the 'christians' are out of wack … says so in the book of Revelation.

  • Tanner

    By the Left doing this to Israel, they are bringing The End even sooner. Oh well, at least history will blame them for that. Our job is to keep fighting the Left and the fake Christians through the media and awareness. Time for the Leftist churches to get renamed: the United Methamphetamine Church, the Evangelical Lying Church, the Oppressbyterian Church, the United Church of Hate, the un-American Bashful Church, the not-so Wakers (wake up Quakers), the Islamnonites, and the Mary-go-round-Disorder-of-the-Catholic-Left Syndrome. These people are not Christian!!!!!!

  • Gerald

    all I have to say is those leftist christian need to go back an re read there BIble again see What God has to say about is choses People an land Israel. remenber this God blessthose who Bless Israel . Those who dont guess what.