The Presbyterian Church USA's Terrorist Ties

Why the Hezbollah-allied church could soon lose its tax-exempt status.

pcusaOn April 18, 1983, an explosive laden truck driven by a Hezbollah terrorist slammed into the U.S. embassy in Beirut killing 63 people, including 17 Americans, some of whom were CIA operatives. According to the CIA, it was the most lethal attack ever against the Agency. Just six months later, Hezbollah terrorists struck again, this time hitting the U.S. Marine compound in Beirut.  In a repeat of the embassy bombing, a Hezbollah homicide bomber crashed his explosive laden truck into the barracks killing 220 marines and another 21 U.S. service personnel. It was the largest single-day loss of life sustained by the marines since Iwo Jima.

Hezbollah’s atrocities against the United States and its allies did not cease with the embassy and marine compound outrages and have in fact, continued unabated in intensity and scope since that time. Hezbollah has recently carried out a global campaign of terror spanning five continents including an attack and bombing of a civilian tourist bus in Bulgaria that resulted in the deaths of six civilians.

Despite Hezbollah’s involvement in international terrorism and its designation as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) by the United States, the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) has had extensive contacts with the organization according to a federal complaint filed by the legal advocacy group, Shurat HaDin, Israel Law center.

The 38-page complaint filed with the Internal Revenue Service alleges that PCUSA has engaged in “a range of activities prohibited under U.S. tax law” which are wholly inconsistent with PCUSA’s stated aims when it filed for tax exempt status in 1964.

In its 1964 filing with the IRS, PCUSA posed as a religious body whose purpose was to engage in “peaceful relationships with individuals of all faiths and wholly unengaged in political activities.” But the federal complaint filed by Shurat HaDin paints a completely different picture and alleges that PCUSA has repeatedly met and established dialogue with Hezbollah terrorist officials.

The complaint also alleges that PCUSA violated its tax-exempt status by “publishing anti-Semitic materials, enacting a racist policy to divest from American companies doing business with Israel, lobbying the U.S. Congress, and distributing political advocacy materials...”

Indeed, as far back as 2004 PCUSA officials met with Hezbollah operatives in Lebanon with one PCUSA official, perhaps in an attempt to endear himself to his Hezbollah hosts, making crude anti-Jewish remarks. Though PCUSA subsequently disavowed itself from the remarks as well as the meeting, PCUSA sanctioned meetings with Hezbollah continued.

In October 2005, a PCUSA delegation headed by Robert Morley and Father Nihad Tomeh met with Nabil Qaouk, a senior Hezbollah commander in Lebanon. During the exchange, Qaouk complained that U.S. policies in the region were dictated by Israel. It is the same banal complaint often regurgitated by an assortment anti-Semitic groups and conspiracy types. Nevertheless, the delegation, rather than challenging Qaouk, concurred with him stating that PCUSA was blameless because its members had voted for the Democratic Party and the organization was under pressure from U.S. Jewish groups due to its divestment efforts against Israel.

The Israel-Palestine Mission Network of the PCUSA has been engaged in a relentless effort to delegitimize Israel. As detailed by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), the IPMN has been linked to a number of anti-Israel initiatives the most notorious of which is a malevolent publication called “Zionism Unsettled.”

“Zionism Unsettled” adopts a viscerally anti-Israel narrative, in line with the views of Hamas and has won praise from the who’s who of Judeophobes including former KKK “Grand Wizard” David Duke.  Among its many pernicious lies is that Jews had “harmonious relations” with Muslims prior to the ascendancy of Zionism and that Zionism is the sole cause for Palestinian suffering. The screed was peddled and offered for sale on PCUSA’s website and was taken down only after encountering extremely negative feedback and intense public pressure.

PCUSA took its anti-Israel political advocacy to new levels when in June 2014, its General Assembly voted by a narrow margin to attack Israel’s legitimacy by divesting itself from three companies doing business with Israel. A similar resolution in 2012 failed but remains testament to the relentless effort PCUSA places on political advocacy when it comes to harming relations with the Jewish State.

PCUSA, by both word and deed, has made itself out to be a leading purveyor of anti-Semitism. Its divestment initiatives hold Israel to a standard expected of no other nation. By peddling an anti-Semitic screed on its website, it becomes an integral party to anti-Semitism. By meeting and maintaining dialogue with Hezbollah, a Foreign Terrorist Organization that next to al-Qaida was responsible for more American deaths than any other terrorist group, it provides aid and comfort to the enemy.

In 1964, PCUSA presented itself to the IRS as a benign religious organization with an apolitical agenda. The facts however, prove otherwise. As Shurat HaDin’s founder, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner accurately summed it up in an email to me; “The Presbyterian church long ago abounded any claim that they are not a political organization with ties to terror groups and an Israel-bashing agenda.  The IRS is obligated to investigate PCUSA and strip it from its tax free status. The PCUSA would need to decide ultimately whether they are a church or a political group.”

Given the PCUSA’s aggressive political agenda and its anti-Israel machinations, it is patently clear that they’ve already made that decision.

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