Mainliners Behaving Stupidly as Rockets Strike Israel

November 20, 2012 3:11 am 5 comments

Rev. Dr. Peter Makari, executive for the Middle East and Europe for the Global Ministries of the United Church (UCC) and Disciples of Christ.

As rockets rain down on southern Israel forcing parents and children to run into bomb shelters, mainline Protestant leaders in the United States are responding with the moral stupidity that we’ve come to expect from these church leaders.

First in the docket is Gradye Parsons, the stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Parsons should be familiar to the readers of The Algemeiner. A while back, Parsons wrote a letter to both the Palestinian Authority and to Hamas asking that they reconcile with each other so that they can negotiate with Israel. In his letter, Parsons made no reference to the ongoing rockets that have been fired into Israel.

Parsons has aroused himself from his silence with a statement that condemns both Hamas and Israel for the escalation of violence. The statement reads in part, “The combination of attacks on Israeli patrols, the launching of rockets against Israeli communities, and the violent response of the Israeli Defense Force have all contributed to a dangerous escalation of violence which is counterproductive for all parties.”

In his statement Parsons added that “every [rocket attack] has produced counter violence on the part of Israel, often resulting in greater loss of life.” With this statement, Parsons ignores an important fact: Israeli officials allowed hundreds of rockets to go unanswered before finally firing back.

This is what Parsons did: He remained silent about rocket attacks that had been going on for months – without a response from Israel. Then after Israel responded with air strikes Parsons then lept into action with an “evenhanded” statement condemning both sides for their violent acts and for escalation. By waiting until Israel fired back before responding to the rocket attacks, Parsons was able to posit a false moral equivalence between Hamas’s and Israel’s actions.

It’s an ugly and deceptive way of attacking Israel under the guise of peacemaking, but it’s exactly the type of response we should expect from PC(USA) leaders and peace activists given their history of demonizing Israel.

Peter Makari, Ph.D.

Parsons is not the only mainline Protestant leader to behave so irresponsibly.

Rev. Dr. Peter Makari, executive for the Middle East and Europe for the Global Ministries of the United Church (UCC) and Disciples of Christ is another.

Earlier this month, Makari gave an interview to the American Free Press, a white nationalist publication founded by Willis Carto, a well-known Holocaust denier. In the interview, Makari spoke about the Oct. 5, 2012 letter to Congress that called on lawmakers to investigate Israel for alleged violations of federal law regarding foreign aid. During the interview, he said that speaking to the American Free Press provided a “good opportunity” to get the message out.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, which uncovered the story, is demanding Makari’s ouster. The SWC provides some background:

American Free Press (AFP) is regarded as the successor to the now defunct Liberty Lobby’s Spotlight.  Willis Carto, one of America’s most notorious racists, is a founder of both. Carto is also the founder of the Holocaust-denying Institute For Historical Review. Some of the books that have been offered for sale by the AFP include The Judas Goats:  The Enemy Within (details governmental infiltration of the American nationalist movement at the behest of “the alien force of international political Zionism”), The Conspiracy of the Six-Pointed Star, El Sicario: The Autobiography of a Mexican Assassin, and March of the Titans: A History of the White Race.  The AFP site includes this quote in one of their essays: “Israel…is contributing to the unification and activation of the colored world for war against the colonial and other outsiders.”

Makari has a Ph.D. in political science. If he didn’t know about the background of the publication he was being interviewed by, he should have.

The United Church of Christ has stated that it will not issue an official response to the Wiesenthal Center’s call for the UCC and the Disciples to remove Makari from his post because he wasn’t speaking on behalf of the UCC.

Emily Mullins, communications specialist for the UCC said Makari was on behalf of the 15 religious leaders who signed the Oct. 5, 2012 letter to Congress – not the UCC.

“He was serving as a spokesperson in that role,” she said.

This is a shocking and evasive response.

It’s shocking because it indicates that the 15 religious leaders who signed the letter wanted to have their story told in a publication that traffics in ugly anti-Jewish conspiracy theories.

It’s evasive because the signatories of the letter included Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins and Rev. Geoffrey Black, leaders of the two denominations that pay Makari’s salary.

There it is folks.

One mainline Protestant leader stays silent about Palestinian violence until Israel fires back.

Another leader gives an interview to a publication that traffics in Holocaust denial. And apparently, no one is going to hold him accountable.

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

5 Comments

  • It must gall the anti-Semites of the world that the Jews are not only still here, but have a homeland of their own as well. Catholics pretty much own Rome, but the Jewish community of Rome is treated with the fairness and equality that is the pride of Catholicism. Mistreatment and disrespect of Jews there is virtually non-existent.

  • The PCUSA has been in steep decline for 45 years, and Parsons and his ilk have never once provided a vision for anything different. Let that ship go down – they’ve asked for it.

  • charles stuart

    Gradye Parssons hasn’t made sense in 20 yrs so why does anyone pay attention to him?…I am one of tens of thousands of Presbyterians that have left the denomination over such nonsense, in the last few years.
    May God bless and protect Israel as she stands against the forces of evil in the world.

  • Jill Schaeffer

    Ok, my friends, it’s book time again. The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture, by Yoram Hazony – Cambridge University Press, 2012. Have just begun reading it so can’t say very much. Heard Hazony speak at JTS several months ago. But in his introduction, he speaks volumes on a subject about which I do know something: anti-semitism and supersessionism in 19th Century German Universities.

    I mention that tradition of discounting or holding Jews in contempt in the German version of the Enlightenment here because Dr. Makari and his Dad are heirs to that tradition. There is no way in hell that they are ever going to give Jews, Israelis, Jewish scholarship or Jewish anything credit in the area of “Reason” only “Revelation” which is superseded by the revelation of Christ in their take on things. We are not going to find any fairness in Gradye Parsons or the Makaris, Father and Son. No matter what Jews do, say or practice, the value of what is done, even the actions performed, are not to be honored. That discounting or contempt is picked up in Hannah Arendt’s concept of “inhuman innocence,” a term meaning that no matter what you do it doesn’t matter, and no matter what you do not do, it doesn’t matter either.

    Look for nothing in the Makaris, and my heart breaks when I say, look for nothing in the OGA of the PC(USA). Fairness does not exist for such folks.

  • MOST CHRISTIANS IN THE WEST HAVE AN AUTOMATIC GENETIC
    REACTION WHEN IT COMES TO THE JEWS AND ISRAEL, THEY CAN’T HELP IT ,IT’S THIS DEFECTIVE GENE.
    THEIR IDENTIY IS TO BE ”NON-JEWISH”

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