Presbyterian Anti-Israel Crusade: Is That All You Can Say, Gradye?

October 18, 2012 2:35 pm 18 comments

Gradye Parsons, stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Gradye Parsons, stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (USA), could be regarded as a master of public relations – if you would call someone who routinely stomps on landmines a master of defusing bombs.

Parsons stepped on a landmine on Oct. 5, 2012, when he signed onto a letter to Congress asking lawmakers to investigate Israel for violating federal law regarding foreign aid. The letter does not ask Congress to conduct the same investigation on countries like Egypt, where government officials have murdered Christians both before and after the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak in early 2011 and where Coptic Christians have been murdered in the streets of Cairo by military personnel.

That letter, which will have little if any impact on Congress, did stir up a hornet’s nest of anger from mainstream Jewish leaders who have pulled the plug on an interfaith dialogue meeting between Jewish groups and mainline Protestant churches that was scheduled to take place on Oct. 22.

The repercussions could continue as Ethan Felson, vice president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs told the Jewish week that the “JCPA is considering as a response asking Congress to investigate delegitimizers of Israel and to issue a resolution against their efforts.”

Almost two weeks later, Parsons issued another letter of his own calling on the leaders from Hamas which controls the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Authority which controls the West Bank to reconcile with each other. The PA and Hamas have been at odds since June 2007 when Hamas perpetrated a violent take over of the Gaza Strip. Hamas threw its opponents off of rooftops handcuffed. In some instances, Hamas forced family members watch men fall to their deaths.

The human rights violations that took place during this fighting didn’t elicit much complaint from mainline churches when it took place, but now, five years later, Parsons is encouraging the rival factions to make peace in a letter in which he writes:

It is obvious that as long as this struggle for power and authority persists, the Israeli’s accusation that they have no “partner” with whom to negotiate a peace agreement remains true.

After reading Parsons’ letter, casual observers of the Arab-Israeli conflict would have an obvious question: What about the rockets, Gradye? What about the rockets? Could not the PC(USA)’s stated clerk not tell Hamas to bring an end to the ongoing rocket attacks that have been plaguing Israel – for years – and which have escalated in recent weeks?

For goodness sake, Gradye, the subject has its own page on Wikipedia! Not a month goes by in which Israelis are not subject to attacks. According to the Israeli government, Palestinians launched 13 rockets and five mortar shells into Israel from Gaza during the month of September. The previous month yielded 12 rocket attacks and 3 mortar shell attacks from the Gaza Strip. The day before the PC(USA) released Parsons’ letter, AFP reported:

According to the Israeli military, Gaza militants have fired more than 505 rockets or mortar rounds at southern Israel since the beginning of the year, including upwards of 45 this month alone.

Clearly, there has been an increase in rocket attacks against Israel from the Gaza Strip, which helps explain why Israel has started fighting back with air strikes, which we can be sure mainline Protestants will condemn in the weeks ahead. And in their condemnation, they will make a pro-forma reference to the ongoing rocket attacks, which they will lament.

Parsons’ letter is emblematic of the moral and intellectual stupidity that has afflicted mainline Protestant leaders for close to a decade. Even as he calls for Hamas and the PA to reconcile with one another so they can be a “peace partner” with Israel, Parsons can’t even bring himself to point out deadly rocket attacks that Hamas has been launching for years.

If Parsons’ thought he was going to somehow make good on his blunder of signing the letter to Congress that singled Israel out for scrutiny with this letter, he is wrong.

Instead, the letter to Hamas and the PA demonstrates the man just does not “get it.”

He simply does not get it.

Dexter Van Zile is Christian Media Analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA).

18 Comments

  • Todays Chumash with Rashi.

    “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you” G-d does not lie!

  • Asher Eliezer

    The Presbyterian church is even more reprehensible than the other mainline Protestant churches. For in addition to its decade long BDS struggle, it runs a messianic Jewish congregation in Philadelphia. For more information, check out http://www.messianicjewishtruth.com/avodat.html

    • I am not sure that the PC(USA) continues to support the congregation you mention.

      I think they may have stopped this policy. At one time they did, but I do not believe they do anymore.

      I could be wrong. If I can find the relevant link, I will post it.

  • Grayde Parsons and the “useful idiots” at groups like Presbyterians Peacemaking and Christian Peacemaker Teams, will never “get it” because they are left wing ideologues who have forsaken the eternal Truth of the Gospel for the transitory glibness of popular opinion and human wisdom. Excuse me. The term “useful idiots” is wrong and I apologize. There’s nothing “useful” about them.

    Earl Tilford
    First Presbyterian Church
    Tuscaloosa, AL

  • Even the UN commission found that the stopping of the Flotilla was legitimate. Th describe Israel’s action of self defense as “a massacre” shows, together with his other distortions, that Mr. Isackowitz is a Presbyterian in spirit and ignorance if not by membership

  • Joseph Isackowitz

    I would like to be able to condemn such measures the various Churches have taken, but I would also like to see Israel living up to its aspiration to be a “light into all nations”. When I see news of more settlement activity, Gaza Freedom Flotilla massacres, Operation Cast Leads, midnight raids on Palestinian homes, beatings and imprisonment of children, bulldozing of Palestinian homes, and many other atrocities, I do not feel proud of my people. Israel wants no part of a “peace process” but simply wants All of Palestine because “god gave us the land” an arguable proposition to say the least.
    To survive, Israel must lift its heavy boot off the necks of the Palestinian people and hiding behind legalisms to justify its immoral behavior. Let the Torah guide our behavior.

    • Israel is every bit a light unto the nations. All it has been doing in its short existence has been to survive in peace. The Palestinians were offered a state too, you know, but they turned it down…and they and their brethren have spent all their energy instead on destroying Israel.

  • Fredric M. London

    There is nothing liberal about anti-Semitism, which is obviously what this ‘man’ is about. As I have said before, politically-coerced censorship worshipers give themselves permission to raise their ugly Jew hating faces again. This man has probably waited for years to be able to bring his bigotry to the forefront, and now he can. This is NOT liberalism, it is a fascistic, calcified, intolerant movement: politically-coerced censorship.

  • US Christian denominations are complex. Though the Presbyterian Church(USA) is the largest Presbyterian denomination there are a number on others-all of which are far more conservative.
    A good simple starting point are the denominational family trees
    http://www.thearda.com/Denoms/Families/trees.asp

  • The other issue one might ask Congress to consider regarding the investigation of Israel’s activities is the tax exemption enjoyed by the various churches and whether or not their anti-Israel activism is crossing the line right out of that exemption.

  • The ‘Palestinians’ do not control the ‘West Bank’, Israel does. Talk about delegitimizing Israel, you are doing it.

  • Like the Episcopal Church the Presbyterian Church USA has rejected the Bible as God’s Word.As denominations become more and more liberal they loose more and more members.
    How many members have these denominations lost in the last 5 years?

    • The Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Episcopal Church each lose about 60,000 members per year. Over five years, roughly 300,000 members has been lost from each of these two apostate denominations.

      Just this week, the Episcopal Church instantly lost about 22,000 members when the Diocese of South Carolina severed its relationship with The Episcopal Church.

  • JEWS MUST LEARN TO TALK TO HASHEM…
    TALKING TO ANYONE IS INCIDENTAL MEANINGLESS NONSENSE

    • All during the Shoah the Jews talked and in fact, prayed to Hashem. When the Jews in one Polish town I was told about by a survivor asked their rabbi about the news they were hearing about the Germans the rabbi told them not to worry but just keep studying Talmud and they would have nothing to fear.
      According to your advice Israel doesn’t need an army or an air force or a navy or defensive weapons. Israel doesn’t need the Jews of the diaspora or contacts with other government like the US.
      In other words, Israel is doomed. I don’t like your advise.

    • Virginia Gentleman

      I think it is a valid question for any member of PCUSA or any other mainline denomination to protest the denomination’s line-crossing into the area of political discussion. All you have to do is visit the IRS website for the proper form.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity ‘Tears of Color’ Art Exhibit Shows Struggles of Israelis With Eating Disorders

    ‘Tears of Color’ Art Exhibit Shows Struggles of Israelis With Eating Disorders

    JNS.org – “This is how I want to be—without fear. Independent. I want to be like a bird. I want to spread my wings.” So reads part of the description beneath one of the 30 paintings on display until the end of May at the ZOA House in Tel Aviv. The collection represents the first-ever art exhibit of its kind: an exhibit created entirely by Israelis in treatment for eating disorders. Dubbed “Tears of Color,” based on one of the [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Book Reviews Overprotective or Loving? Daughters Reflect on Jewish Mothers in New Anthology

    Overprotective or Loving? Daughters Reflect on Jewish Mothers in New Anthology

    JNS.org – Rachel Ament noticed that she and her friends often shared humorous anecdotes that were typically variations on a theme: overprotective, worrying Jewish moms who smothered them with love. That included Ament’s own mother. “My mom is probably every Jewish stereotype scrunched into one,” the Washington, DC, resident tells JNS.org. “At the root of all these stereotypical, worrying, overprotective moms, is love.” A social media writer for Capital One, as well as a freelance writer, Ament decided about three years [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Commentary ‎Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer (REVIEW)

    ‎Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer (REVIEW)

    Kosher Lust, by Shmuley Boteach (Gefen Publishing House, 2014). You really do want to find something positive to say about Shmuley Boteach. He is a phenomenon; very bright, an articulate bundle of energy and self-promotion. Anyone who has the chutzpah to describe himself as “America’s Rabbi” deserves ten out of ten for effort. I believe that along with most Chabad alumni, official and unofficial, he does a lot of good and is a sort of national treasure. In this world [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Hollywood’s Revisiting of Passover’s Exodus Story a Part of Throwback ‘Year of the Bible’

    Hollywood’s Revisiting of Passover’s Exodus Story a Part of Throwback ‘Year of the Bible’

    JNS.org – In a throwback to the golden age of cinema, Hollywood has declared 2014 the “Year of the Bible.” From Ridley Scott’s Exodus starring Christian Bale as Moses, to Russell Crowe playing Noah, Hollywood is gambling on new innovations in technology and star power to revisit some of the most popular stories ever told. “It’s definitely a throwback to the 1950s and early ’60s,” Dr. Stephen J. Whitfield, an American Studies professor at Brandeis University, told JNS.org. Starting with The [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Jewish Giant’ Headlines New York Jewish Museum Exhibit

    ‘Jewish Giant’ Headlines New York Jewish Museum Exhibit

    Eddie Carmel, dubbed “The Jewish Giant” by American photographer Diane Arbus, is the centerpiece of a new exhibit opening April 11 at The Jewish Museum in New York. Arbus met Carmel, who was billed “The World’s Tallest Man,” at Hubert’s Dime Museum and Flea Circus in 1959 but waited until 1970 to photograph him at his parents’ home in the Bronx, according to the museum. The son of immigrants from Tel Aviv, Carmel posed for Arbus with his head bowed to [...]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Disney Hit ‘Frozen’ Gets Passover Themed Makeover With ‘Chozen’ (VIDEO)

    Disney Hit ‘Frozen’ Gets Passover Themed Makeover With ‘Chozen’ (VIDEO)

    A Passover themed cover of hit songs Let It Go and Do You Want to Build a Snowman? from Disney’s Frozen has attracted tons of media buzz and a cool 65,ooo views on YouTube within days of going online. The work of Jewish a capella group Six13, the track is aptly named Chozen. We are celebrating “our freedom, our favorite festival, our fabulous fans, and aspiring Disney princesses everywhere” the group said. The Chozen music video tells the story of [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Retreat Gives Young Artists New Platform to Engage With Jewish Ideas

    Retreat Gives Young Artists New Platform to Engage With Jewish Ideas

    JNS.org – Many young Jewish artists struggle to define who they are personally, artistically, and religiously. Against the backdrop of that struggle, the recent Asylum Arts International Jewish Artists Retreat provided a space for some 70 young Jewish artists to explore Jewish ideas, to build community and a culture of reciprocity, and to learn skills to assist their career development. “We are trying to encourage and excite people to engage in Jewish themes,” says Rebecca Guber, director of Asylum Arts. [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Literature Darren Aronofsky Adds Psychological Depth, Little Else to ‘Noah’

    Darren Aronofsky Adds Psychological Depth, Little Else to ‘Noah’

    JNS.org – Has the era of large-scale biblical epics returned? Not since “The Ten Commandments” has there been so much torrential water on the big screen (not counting weather-related disaster films such as “The Impossible”) than in “Noah,” the latest blockbuster from writer and director Darren Aronofsky. “Noah” takes the traditional tale and splices it in an eco-friendly and psychologically driven plot. After Adam and Eve got booted out of the Garden of Eden and after Cain killed Abel, mankind [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.