Anti-Israel Zealots Chastise Episcopal Church

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.


Prominent, radically anti-Israel Episcopalians are urging their denomination to adopt a more aggressive stance towards Israel, including divestment. The Episcopal Church largely has stood back from some of the more stridently negative policies towards Israel adopted by other old-line Protestant denominations.  It has avoided serious consideration of anti-Israel divestment.  And its officials did not endorse an ecumenical plea with other denominations last October asking the U.S. Congress to reconsider U.S. military aid to Israel, a plea prompting major Jewish groups to cancel scheduled interfaith dialogue with those denominations.

As reported by Episcopal News Service, the anti-Israel “Episcopal Voices of Conscience” drafted a letter dated on Martin Luther King’s birthday as a self-proclaimed “Prophetic Challenge” to their denomination’s executive council.  “Just as this church stood with South Africa and Namibia during the dark days of Apartheid, so we recognize that we need to be standing with our sister and brother Palestinians who have endured an Apartheid that Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has described as worse than it was in South Africa,” their plea began.  They lavishly quoted from Martin Luther King to justify their “call for justice on the land where Jesus lived his earthly ministry,” ignoring that King himself strongly supported Israel.   Interestingly, the “Voices of Conscience” themselves evidently had not yet publicized their letter.  So seemingly the Episcopal Church leadership chose to preempt it with their own response.

The letter urges that the Episcopal Church “immediately move forward with our church’s corporate engagement policy so that our financial resources are not being used to support the infrastructure of this suffocating occupation.”  Signers include former Presiding Bishop Edmond Browning, Washington, D.C. National Cathedral Dean Gary Hall, and Bishop Gene Robinson, the Episcopal Church’s first openly homosexual bishop who in retirement is now a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington, DC.  Although not Episcopalian, retired South Africa Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a renowned critic of Israel, is also a signer.

Besides “corporate engagement,” these anti-Israel Episcopal prophets want their denomination, after having been “woefully missing,” to join the Evangelical Lutheran, Presbyterian Church (USA), United Methodist and United Church of Christ officials who asked Congress in October to reconsider U.S. military aid to Israel.  “The truth that is so readily seen worldwide, except among our nation’s leaders, is that Israel imposes a matrix of control over the occupied Palestinian territories, locating Jewish settlements on prime Palestinian land, building segregated roads forbidden to Palestinians to connect the settlers to Israel proper, erecting a wall that causes havoc in the daily lives of Palestinians and serves as another pretext to occupy yet more land,” the distressed Episcopalians, plus Tutu, explained.  “We see check points that are used to control the movements of people on their own land where tactics of bullying, intimidation, and detention are practiced; and where the demolition of homes and the uprooting of olive tree orchards are commonplace causing further humiliation and insult, along with the destruction of livelihoods.”  They also complained that “once Palestinian East Jerusalem [is] being subsumed through Israel’s settlement policy,” while the “teeming population of Gaza [is] held under confinement on land, in the air, and at sea.” Nowhere do they admit that Israel is surrounded by adversaries, many of whom openly call for its destruction.  Nor do they fault any Palestinians for inflexibility towards Israel.

For this crowd of dissident Episcopalians, it is all quite simple, as “Israel is the oppressor, and the Palestinians the oppressed.”  They fault the U.S. for “irrational bias” towards Israel in “its blind support of an immense injustice perpetrated every day on the Palestinian people.”  Oh, they do reject violence from “either side.”  And they affirm Israel’s right to live in peace, but only through the “prism of justice as we believe Dr. King would insist.”  They also affirm Palestinian “non-violent resistance to the occupation just as African Americans resisted the inhumanity of Jim Crow and segregation.”  After all, just like Martin Luther King, Palestinians “have a dream” too, they surmise.  Except that unlike King, who dreamed that black and white children would someday hold hands, many Palestinians and their supporters throughout the Middle East and beyond dream that Israeli children will either be incinerated or driven into the sea.

In response to the anti-Israel plea, Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori told Episcopal News Service:   “We cannot build a lasting peace by directing or imposing strategies on others.”  Evidently this comment was her polite Episcopal way of dismissing the anti-Israel plea.  She publicly opposed divestment last year before the church’s governing General Convention, which, as the Episcopal News Service cited, “rejected boycott, divestment, and sanctions by an overwhelming margin.”  Another Episcopal Church official is quoted noting that the church’s House of Bishops rejected a “trajectory toward supporting boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.”  Also cited is a 2005 Episcopal Church report that rejected comparing Israel to Apartheid South Africa.

So good for the Episcopal Church leadership that is resisting the harsh demands of radical anti-Israel activists. Those activists claimed that pro-Israel America is living in a “bubble of unreality.”  But they are themselves inside a surreal bubble, where amid all the turmoil and repression of the Middle East, only democratic Israel is the villain.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    "And they affirm Israel’s right to live in peace, but only through the “prism of justice as we believe Dr. King would insist.”"

    These people are sick liars. What kind of weapons systems did MLK deploy? So MLK would support Islamic jihad. Anyone with any respect for MLK or his legacy ought to be offended by these deluded liars.

    Prism of justice my eye. If there was any justice in Israel, the "Palestinians" would all be settled in Islamic sharia nations with no fantasies about all the lies they tell that pay them so well today.

  • Frank D.

    For once, the Episcopal Church stands tall. May they continue to do so.

    • beez

      There are only a handful left that will do so. They'll soon be gone. The Episcopal Church is no longer a Christian Church, and has not been so for quite some time now. I'm more shocked to learn that the Methodists have gone anti-Israel.

  • κατεργάζομαι

    GOD says: "Those Who Bless Her (Israel) Will Be Blessed, And Those Who Curse Her Will Be Cursed " (Genesis 12:2-3)

    amen.

    • dammad

      Hermeneutics?

    • gregbacon

      What Bible did you get that quote from? The MOSSAD version?

      That biblical quote has been taken out of context. The blessing was to Abraham, not Israel, but let's not let truth stand in the way of Israeli Apartheid.

      • Tom W>

        Ok…for the biblically illiterate, read Genesis chapter 28 verses 10-22; this relates to 'Jacob's ladder dream'. If you didn't know, Jacob was renamed Israel, read Genesis chapter 32 verses 23-33. Getting back to Jacob's ladder; Genesis 28:13-14 says: And, behold the Lord stood beside him, and said: "I am the Lord, the God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Issac. The land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed. And thy seed shall be as dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south. And in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

        Cough…Cough–Um…you were saying what again you anti-Semite? I forgot!!

      • YosoY de YosoY

        As you do understand, Abram became Abraham because the The Lord of Hosts changed his name and placed the Heth in it. By faith, Sarah, previously Sarai because this same Lord placed His name in her, begat Isaac in old age. Isaac had 2 sons, Esau who renounced the birth right, and Jacob. Jacob wrestled with the Lord of Host, and the Lord of Hosts blessed him. This same Lord of Hosts changed his name from Jacob to Israel. http://bible.cc/genesis/32-28.htm Hope your heart is softeed with this word for this Lord of Hosts can change any man and the name of gregbacon for His pleasure. Chilqiyyah, for my portion is Yah. Let the EL be placed with in you for it is of the Holy One, The God of Israel.

  • κατεργάζομαι

    FACT: There has never been a civilization or a nation referred to as "Palestine"!

    The very notion of a "Palestinian Arab nation" having ancient attachments to the Holy Land going back to time immemorial is one of the biggest hoaxes ever perpetrated upon the world!

    There is not, nor has there ever been, a distinct "Palestinian" culture or language.

    Further, there has never been a Palestinian state governed BY Arab Palestinians in history, nor was there ever a serious Arab-Palestinian national movement until 1964… three years BEFORE the Arabs of "Palestine" lost the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] and Gaza as a result of the 1967 Six-Day War (which the Arabs started). Even the so-called leader of the "Palestinian" people,

    Yasser Arafat, was EGYPTIAN! In short, the so-called Arab "Palestinians" are a manufactured people…a people with no history and no authenticity… whose sole purpose for existence is to destroy the Jewish State!
    ~ yarmulke tip masada2000

    • maria

      True. And there is O NLY Judea and Samaria and no westbank. It was arafat who manufactured palestinians.And yes, their aim is to destroy Israel and the whole world. They want kalifat like all the muslims all over the world.
      Left wingers like Mr. Eric Holder wish to destroy Israel. Hopefully the majority of Episcopalians will not listen to these antisemites

  • marios

    Episcopalian, Methodist united, Presbyterian etc.. Churches are Christians but not Islamic one. It is fact that Muslims killing each year 100,000 Christians and if some denominations is still on their brethren murderers side it is treason. invented people "Palestinians" killed and persecuted Christians in sacred for Christians cities Bethlehem, Hebron, Nazareth, etc and as result after Arabs of Palestine were granted their complete Palestinian autonomy Christians majority in those city transformed to oppressed tiny minority. It is notorious historical fact that there is only "convert or die" Islamists offer to any infidels. All non-Muslims who support Islamists ("Palestinians" including) and against Israel are betraying Jesus in face of nowadays Christians.

    • Walt

      I lost all respect for the Episcopalian Church many years ago when they first ordained Robinson in direct opposition to the teachings of the Bible. The hierarchy of the Church of England (parent organization of a collection of major churches) has become so enamored of the pro gay/lesbian lifestyle, I can't accept them as being Christian in their beliefs! Now to top it off with them interjecting themselves into international affairs by supporting the Palestinians (read Jordanians) who will accept any support, until they decide to kill the supporter, is pure insanity.

      The weirdo Arch Bishop of Canterbury, the Church of England, and all subordinate churches should get back to the actual business of 'religion', re The Bible, and leave international politics to those qualified to conduct it at an intelligent level.

    • gregbacon

      The fact that common sense is beginning to come to churches is scary to Apartheid Israel. The Likud Nuts are creating a future that will spell doom for Apartheid Israel. There's still time to come to your senses and become human, Israel.

      • Tom W.

        Please tell me where you get your information–I mean it! There is no Apartheid in Israel, there are no laws on the books that ban Arabs from specific beaches, roads, hospitals, drinking fountains etc. Ironically in Israel, the Temple Mount is administered by the Islamic Waqf, which restricts non-Muslims access (there are several gates in the old city, Jews are restricted to just one to get to the Mount) to the Temple Mount by limiting them to only so many hours on specific days. Jews are prohibited from bringing up bibles, prayer books, etc. Jews are also prohibiting from not only praying but they cannot move their lips in silent prayer!

        Once again, your knowledge is limited to spewing back Islamic hate propaganda! What about Saudi Arabia? There is a multi-level Apartheid system based on: sex, race (white Arabs are better than dark coloured Arabs), tribe, religious sect and of course on non-Muslims!

  • marios

    "Apartheid" is biased accusation of only democracy in ME Israel where Arabs lives much better economically and have much more right than their Muslim brothers in any Muslim countries. Who are "Palestinians" at all by their own leaders? As one of Hamas minister said recently applying to Egypt for financial aid " You know that half of us are Egyptians, and another half are Saudis. We are all Muslims and your brothers". Desmond Tutu is famous anti-Semite and black racist. I am sure that behind of their Islamo-Nazis support is oil-money.

  • Gabrielle

    When one hears the word "apartheid" what immediately comes to mind? For me it would be South Africa. Do gooders under the banner of Christianity declared SA an unjust place and one which had to be destroyed. Bit by bit the religious joined academia and businesses railing against a very prosperous and orderly country and finally overthrew the government. These same people now ignore the genocide which is taking place there and the misery which is shared by all.

    Not learning anything by their "victory" in SA they seek to do the same in Israel and they call themselves Christians? They are activists for a cause which has nothing to do with religion. Damn them.

    • RedWhiteAndJew

      Yeah. If apartheid in SA was anything like the media-created pseudo-"apartheid" anti-Semites promote, wrt Israel, it would never have been an issue. Every Israeli citizen is equal before the secular law. Refusing to allow into the country the descendants of Egyptians, Jordanians, and the like, whose have been abandoned by their real homes, does not qualify as apartheid, but merely sovereignty.

  • Mary Sue

    pardon me while i buy up a metric ton of Israeli Halva….

    • RedWhiteAndJew

      Oh great, now I want Halva…

      • Mary Sue

        It's good stuff! You can never have enough, and it's tastier with the "Made In Israel" sticker on it :)

        • ajnn

          My father loved halvah but I am a choc chip cookie-dough addict. My taste buds and my morals/politics are in constant conflict and it is wrecking havoc on my bowels.

          It's a problem. Maybe i should just stick to hummus and israeli salad for good digestion.

          • thetruthwillout2012

            That's weird I thought juwes only ate gefilte fish and Goyim babies blood.

  • Ghostwriter

    Well Gabrielle,South Africa did treat it's black citizens terribly. Even the Jim Crow South wasn't as bad as apartheid era South Africa. On the news throughout the 1980's,you saw a violent South Africa which treated blacks like dirt. I don't see the same thing in Israel. The situations are completely different. The Palestinians strapped bombs to themselves and deliberately targeted movie theaters,restaurants and discos. They scream for the death of Israelis,Americans,and anyone else who isn't like them.
    What the world saw in South Africa was a country that was immensely cruel to black people and excluded them from public life due to the color of their skin. What I see of Israel is a country trying to defend itself against a people that want to destroy them and everything we hold dear. Those who compare Israel to South Africa don't know what they're talking about. Israel is a democratic country fighting for it's very existence against people who want to destroy it. South Africa was a place in which black people were treated like garbage and were excluded from public life and anyone who spoke out against it was silenced,sometimes rather brutally.

    • Gabrielle

      Excuse me, but I think you have misunderstood my post. I am not comparing Israel to South Africa as I am well aware of the differences. My post was an attempt to compare the actions of the so-called religious, academia and big business activists who are at work against Israel today with those activists who caused the collapse of South Africa "yesterday."

      Past activists may have had altruistic motives in South Africa, but today's activists are not our grandpa's activists with the same motive to right a wrong. I am saying that the left joined with the palestinians are using the same model to affect the same outcome in Israel as was gained in South Africa but for totally different reasons.

      The word "apartheid" stirs the senses and conjures long lectures about cruelty and injustice, doesn't it? Imagine the effect it will have on the uninformed?

  • Scott

    Actually, Tutu probably would be considered an "Episcopalian." The Episcopal Church is the Anglican church in this part of the world. I believe Tutu's daughter is a priest in one of the U.S. dioceses of the Episcopal Church.

  • Demdolls1

    Wow these Christians must not read about the forced conversions to Islam that happen in the Palestinian territories!! Nor about the priests not being allowed to ring their church bells!! Nor about the priests who are told what services to conduct to their parishoners!!
    Palesitne IS militant Islam!!

  • YankInSlough

    As an Anglican/Episcopalian I am saddened and angered by the pro-terrorist elements in my church. They are slick political activists, and they have fooled many of our leaders, but they represent only a minority within the parishioners of the Episcopal Church. A BDS resolution is coming up at the Diocesan Convention in SF. It was rejected last year, but I’m worried.