United Methodists Reject Divestment

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Despite fierce targeting by the international anti-Israel lobby, the 12 million member global United Methodist Church soundly defeated anti-Israel divestment at its governing General Conference last week in Tampa.

The margin was over 2-1.  African delegates, who comprised 30 percent of the total, were key, as were U.S. evangelical delegates, joined by numerous moderate and liberal U.S. delegates.  United Methodist rejection almost ensures that the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly will reject anti-Israel divestment next month, leaving the divestment movement with almost nowhere to go among U.S. religious groups.

But sadly, the divestment debate among United Methodists frequently demonized Israel, with one intemperate delegate from Montana comparing the Jewish nation and the firms who do business with it to companies who facilitated the Nazi Holocaust.    She was preceded by a delegate from Oklahoma who cautiously tried to point at the threats against Israel, only to be chastised by the presiding bishop, who apparently disapproved of criticism aimed at Hamas.

“Of course we care about the Palestinians and what they have gone through—the loss of land, the loss of homes, the wall,” the Rev. Earl Long opined.  “But we also care for the people of Israel and what they too have gone through.”  He cited a “small, radical, fringe, terrorist Palestinian group who is set on their destruction and resorts to suicide bombing.”

Rev. Long was not even able to name Hamas before he was interrupted by presiding Bishop Warren Brown of Sacramento, who chided him: “Just [to] remind the speaker that the body has adopted a rule to avoid personal attacks of persons.” So even to imply criticism of Hamas is apparently an unacceptable “personal attack,” at least according to Methodist standards of hyper political correctness.

There was no such interruption or chiding for the delegate who levied her Nazi comparison against Israel.  Margaret Mary Novak of Montana, while urging anti-Israel divestment, suggested: “I would just ask us all to imagine that we were United Methodists in the 1930s and ’40s, that our Board of Pensions held stock in the very successful manufacturing firms in Germany that bid and received the bids to manufacture the ovens for the concentration camps. At what point would we decide it was time to divest? How much evidence would we ask for before it was time to stop the wholesale destruction of people?”

Bishop Brown merely reacted by asking Novak whether her Nazi comparison was a “speech for or against” the divestment proposal.  It was, she clarified, decidedly for. Evidently likening Israel to the Third Reich is so unexceptionally routine that the bishop was unclear about Novak’s intent.  Novak is vice president of the Foundation for United Methodist Communications.

More temperately, a Texas delegate pointed out that Israel has legitimate security concerns.   “The small state of Israel, which we support politically, is surrounded by enemies who wish it to be destroyed and will not have peace until it is destroyed,” said Henry Lessner.  “We are only adding fuel to the fire and giving more people more reasons to think they have more support to get rid of Israel.”  But getting rid of Israel as a Jewish democracy, while comparing it to Nazi Germany, seems to be the objective of pro-divestment activists.  Massachusetts minister We Hyung Chang, leading the charge for an Israel stance, displayed a map ostensibly showing ever expanding Jewish territorial expansion against the Palestinians.  The first map showed the region before Israel’s1948 founding, by implication disputing Israel’s basic existence.

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  • H&R_ Barack

    Mr. Tooley, Thank you for the update.
    The World Council of Churches (WCC) and the National Council of Churches (NCC) have always tilted toward the LEFT socially and politically because they deviate from sound Biblical doctrine.

    Whenever we, as biblical Christians, think that things couldn’t possibly become more preposterous,

    Chrislam? Christian Palestinianism?? http://www.thebereancall.org/content/chrislam-chr

    • Looking4Sanity

      Hang onto your hat. It's going to get far more insane than even this. Fortunately, we won't be here for a lot of the worst of it. Hallelujah.

      • H&R_ Barack

        Pray for Pre-, plan for Mid, ….if it's Post…..then the heretics really ARE running the plantation!

        • Looking4Sanity

          Actually, I don't have to pray for Pre-trib. That's the only way it can go down…and I don't think we have too much longer to wait. I'd love to know how the governments of the world are going to try to explain that one away!

  • rachaelamb

    Thank God the UMC came to it's God given senses, and did the right thing here. It's shameful and an obscence blood libel to compare Israelis with Nazis,especially considering the fact that many of the elderly in Israel are Holocaust survivors, and have children,grandchildren,and greatgrandchildren.

    There have been Holocaust survivors who have been murdered by the very terrorists people like Ms.Novak supports. Ten years ago,when a nursing home was bombed by a suicide killer half the victims were elderly Holocaust survivors.The Jewish people have a faith that values life and human rights,in fact,the terrorists have said Jews love life like we love death.

    • rachaelamb

      The Palestinian Arabs have engaged in an 80 year struggle for control of the Holy Land with Israeli Jews. In that time,they have rejected no less than 6 major efforts for peace,including those brokered by the British,the United States and the UN.

      In wars,which were fought over the land,20 thousand Israelis and 50 thousand Arabs have died. But there has never been a national policy on the part of the Jewish people to destroy the Palestinians.

      In fact,just the opposite has been the case. Arab terrorists have deliberately targeted and brutally murdered Israeli civilians for no other reason than they were Jews.

      In one such incident several years ago,when a young Arab man was shot and killed by the terrorists,The terrorist gang responsible called the media and apoligized for killing him saying they thought he was a Jew.

    • Looking4Sanity

      Did you know that the name "Iran" is a Farsi perversion of the German "Aryan"? Or that the "good Muslims" of the Middle East were Nazi collaborators? Hitler may be dead, but the hatred that animated him lives on undiminished.

  • Jessica

    Great news to hear that the UMC came to its senses. It’s about time a Christian church did not let those sympathetic to terrorists prevail, and instead listened to Gods truth. Now it’s time for the United Church of Christ to do the same. This leftist, anti God position of theirs is why my entire family and many of my friends left. The UCC has veered so far from God’s truth, and toward progressive socialism they shouldn’t even be considered a CHRISTIAN church anymore. Maybe that’s why they are losing churches & members along with $$$ at a quick rate.

  • Chris Gleason

    Churches should not be in the business of taking a political stand. Condemning evil acts, supporting positive acts, but not taking political sides. There should be no "left" or "right" in any church, anywhere.

    • Looking4Sanity

      Oh, grow up. Have you not learned yet that you can't compartmentalize life? What is wrong with you? What you are saying is tantamount to the statement that people of faith have no business holding public office! Did it ever occur to you that that might be the problem in the first place?!?

    • WilliamJamesWard

      Lower your nets on the right side of the Boat………………….William

      • Amused

        "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto G_D what is G_D's "

    • Amused

      LOL>…dont try to sell that here Chris , you are in the halls of the sanctimonious and self -righteous . If churches , instead of spiritual or religious sermons ,start hawking politicians left or right , they should then lose their 501-c status . THAT'S THE LAW . True Christians would not have to be told that …….

  • truckwork

    Palistinian arabs are free to live in peace with Israel. Israel has extended it's hand to it's neighbors and the "displaced Palistinians" many times and it has been rejected each and every time. Israel has sat at a peace table with many world leaders in an attempt to bring peace to the region with it's neighbors and each and every time the arabs take the time to re-arm and re-trench in preparation of an attack on Israel. Israel has given up land, removed their own people from that land in an attempt to bring peace and each and every time, arabs have slapped the olive branch away from the Israeli hand that has extended it to them.

    To have any Methodist member, let alone any leader of the Methodist Church siding with any arab or Palistinian organization that has asked for the destruction of any other nation as a prerequisite to peace negotiations, is an abomination. The suffering of the "palestinians" is of their own doing and that of the arab nations which wish to see the destruction of Isreal.

    That's not the Methodist Church I grew up in and I'm glad that reason won the day.

    • Looking4Sanity

      Indeed. There are many "palestinians" who have sought, and been granted, Israeli citizenship. They are living peaceful and productive lives along side their Jewish neighbors and enjoying all the same benefits of civilized society.

      Can the same be said of Jews living in Muslim occupied countries?

      As to the Methodist issue…you're going to find rotten apples in every barrel. We do not practice religion because we are perfect. We practice it because we are not.

  • Tiberius

    I am glad it took people from a country that has been directly attacked by Muslims to counteract the silliness from the Religious Left. I am glad the Nigerians showed how it’s Muslims not news that are committing terrorist attacks on them. The Palestinians “Christians” if they still exist are used as pawns to get Christians to go against Israel by saying what the Jews are doing to them. However ask the Copts in Egypt, or Assyrians in Iraq who is killing them and they will tell you that’s it’s Muslims not news doing it. I am not a Methodist but I am proud that they gave those lefties a wakeup call.

  • Max

    There was no land called palestine. It was called Judea. Newut Gingrich righly defined the palestinians as "INVENTED PEOPLE"!

    They're the most insane bunch of people I have ever seen. Starting from Abas down to the least of them. I was wondering why not one of them would just ask themselves the question; "Why is Israel still in existing TODAY?" It's over 4,000 years since israel has been in existence. Almost every country in the world has been trying to "WIPED THEM OFF THE MAP"! And nobody has been able to do it. but, where are they now? The Romans, Babylonians, the Medes and Persia,, the Greeks, Nazis, etc… they're all gone the way of the DODO. If there's a smart palestinian readind this, do yourself a favor and don't listen to those big mouth demon possessed imams, mulahs etc… Remember, insanity is doing the same over and over and over expecting a different results. AMEN!

  • Schlomotion

    Now don't you feel silly for attacking the Methodists for so many months?

  • Ronald Johnston

    islam is an ideology, not a religion!!!!

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Where will the disinvestment clowns show up next ……….a George Clooney fundraiser, Islamic JIhad?
    It is all just so disgusting and lamebrained, when will these people get off of what ever drug it is
    they are on……………………………………….William

  • Looking4Sanity

    "…and with a Strong Hand will I deliver My People out of bondage."

    So let it be written. So let it be done.

  • H&R_ Barack


    Tetelestai, back at cha.

  • Looking4Sanity

    Good to know!