Op-Ed: Mainline American Christians Against Israel


Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld – Arutz Sheva
Published: Monday, July 08, 2013 8:07 AM

Manfred Gerstenfeld interviews Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein of the Wiesenthal Center:
“They claim to support the underdog against ‘powerful and evil Israel.’”

“The leadership of most American ‘mainline’ Protestant churches is top-heavy with anti-Israel agitation, especially among those on mission committees. By now, a substantial number of their members have been influenced by anti-Israel rhetoric. Furthermore, younger members, due to anti-Israel attitudes on campus, are increasingly hostile to Israel. If the Palestinians make further progress here, it will be a great blow to the self-understanding of America as ‘firmly in Israel’s camp.’

“These very liberal churches include Presbyterians, Methodists, Episcopalians, Lutherans, and the United Church of Christ. They presently number about 16 million. Their membership and influence in the United States continue to decline. These churches’ rhetoric is usually outdone by an even harsher one of a small group of so-called ‘peace churches,’ including the Mennonites and Quakers.”

Rabbi Yitchok Adlerstein is the Director of Interfaith Affairs at the Simon Wiesenthal Center. He is the Adjunct Chair, Jewish Law and Ethics at Loyola Law School. He is the Founding Editor of the Jewish Orthodox blog Cross-Currents.

“Mainline churches claim many members from Congress. They represent America’s heartland and have adopted a range of resolutions hostile to Israel. They include calls for boycotts plus divestment and sanctions (BDS). Some are aimed at Israel, others focus on the ‘settlements.’ Several churches supported the hateful Kairos Palestine Document published in 2009 by some Palestinian Christians. There is also tourism to Israel under Palestinian auspices.

“BDS started with the passage of a resolution in 2004 at the Presbyterian Church (USA) calling for selective divestment of shares of American companies doing business in Israel. Long before that, the World Council of Churches (WCC) founded in 1948, aligned itself with ‘third world’ countries and thinking. This is an international umbrella group of mainline churches which claims denominational membership of 590 million people. It has frequently condemned Israel, yet never protested attempts by Israel’s neighbors and by terrorists to erase it from the map.

“The churches’ salaried officials often harm Israel, without a specific mandate from a convention floor. For example, in fall 2012 just before the U.S. presidential elections, a consortium of church officials sent a letter to members of Congress questioning how U.S. military aid was being used by Israel, and calling for cutbacks in that aid.

“Several of these churches also publish extremely anti-Israel educational materials. These are often the only ones members will view. The Methodists produced a study guide a few years ago authored by an apostate Jewish pastor. He admitted to hating Judaism. It featured illustrations of Israeli soldiers reminiscent of Nazi guards at a concentration camp.


Easter message 2001: ‘It seems to many of us that Jesus is on the cross again with thousands of crucified Palestinians around him.

“The motives of these churches differ. Some aim to delegitimize the State of Israel as ‘a colonialist enterprise conceived in sin.’ Others desire to give Christian witness to the lack of peace in the Holy Land. These churches have discarded much of their grandparents’ beliefs and practices, retaining sympathy only for the powerless. In defending the Palestinians, they claim to support the underdog against ‘powerful and evil Israel.’

“Theology is playing an increasing role in mainline churches’ anti-Israel activity. It began with the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center and its head, Dr. Naim Ateek. Many liberal churches have partnered with Sabeel. Ateek used crucifixion imagery in his Easter message of 2001: ‘It seems to many of us that Jesus is on the cross again with thousands of crucified Palestinians around him.’

” This reintroduces the ancient murderous Christian charge of deicide against the Jews. Ateek and others deny that the Bible speaks of any covenant of land with the Jews. This is a renewal of the replacement theology and supersessionism, and is extremely dangerous for Jews around the world, especially at a time of rising anti-Semitism.

“Palestinian influences in anti-Israel hate mongering is huge. They have sent teams of Palestinian Christians around the U.S for a decade, tugging at Christian heartstrings with emotional tales of woe. They are more effective than Palestinian Muslims, who don’t come as ‘brothers.’

“Still, there are surprises. In 2012, several denominations substituted positive investment resolutions in place of divestment. In some cases, votes that looked like they were heading in the anti-Israel direction were saved by impassioned speeches by pastors who spoke about the impact such a resolution would have on Jewish-Christian friendships and partnerships in their churches.

“I frequently converse with friends in churches, pondering the sundry causes of anti-Israel sentiment. When I attribute much to the misdirection of Christian love, I am often interrupted by someone saying: ‘Rabbi, I wish it were true. There is far more old-fashioned anti-Semitism in this church than any of us would like to admit.’”

“The actions of these mainline churches have poisoned the well of Christian-Jewish dialogue. Jews entered the dialogue, which has been fruitful at times, on the basis of assurances that Christian partners left contempt for Jews and Judaism behind, and had made serious attempts to understand what was important to Jews. The way in which these churches treat Israel shows that neither is true.”

About author: The writer has been a long-term adviser on strategy issues to the boards of several major multinational corporations in Europe and North America.He is board member and former chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and recipient of the LIfetime Achievement Award (2012) of the Journal for the Study of Anti-Semitism
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/13524#.Ud33_6x-r4v

Boycott Divestment Summer Camp

Students will learn anti-Israel tactics at Quaker-subsidized camp

[*sign up before the registration rush]

By: Alana Goodman  – Washington Free Beacon

June 14, 2013 10:30 am

Anti-Israel college students will trek to a scenic campsite in upstate New York this summer to learn how to launch campus boycotts against the Jewish state at a program subsidized and run by one of America’s largest Quaker faith groups.

The American Friends Service Committee “We Divest Campaign Student Leadership Team Summer Training Institute” describes itself as a “five (5) day intensive program for campus [Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions] organizers—those with campaigns already running and those hoping to get one launched in the 2013-2014 school year.

The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign was officially launched by a network of pro-Palestinian groups in 2005 and seeks to use economic and cultural boycotts to isolate Israel, force the government’s hand on Palestinian negotiations, and evoke comparisons between the Jewish state and South Africa’s Apartheid regime.

Students attending the AFSC’s Summer Training Institute, which is also sponsored by the anti-Israel Jewish Voice for Peace, will participate in “anti-oppression analysis workshops,” “non-violent direct action planning,” and “strategy sessions with BDS movement leaders,” according to the AFSC website.

The program runs from July 28 to Aug. 1 and promises “fun in a summer camp-like environment!” The cost of room and board is subsidized by the AFSC and the JVP, according to the website.

/….

The Simon Wiesenthal Center report said the BDS program meets Natan Sharansky’s “three D’s” test for anti-Semitism: It follows “double-standards” by criticizing Israel while overlooking human rights abuses across the Arab world; “demonizes” Israel by comparing its actions to those of Apartheid regimes; and attempts to “delegitimize” the Jewish state by targeting its existence.

Read more: http://freebeacon.com/boycott-divestment-summer-camp/

Let me understand, promises fun for everyone. What’s next, an anti-Israel theme park. I bet they’re already working on that one.

Try that with Muslims and see how far it gets. These days, with all the attention on so-called “hate”, this comes off as pretty hypocritical, to put it mildly.

And they’re turning it into an educational program. Kids learn the fine art of name calling, protesting, and good old-fashioned anti-Semitism. You’ll be the hit of any event after you learn these simple techniques. Something the whole family can do together.