Countering the Presbyterian Church’s World Without Zion
The tactics deployed by anti-Israel zealots at the recent Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly would have made Soviet dictator Joe Stalin proud. The leadership of PCUSA and a few committees long hostile to Israel hijacked the committee process. They removed a chairman they couldn’t control, and made sure that the microphone stayed in the hand of anti-Israel speakers, along with self-loathing Jewish Quislings who piled lies upon accusations upon demonization of Israel. Pro-Israel voices were given only one-90 second shot to respond. Pro-Israel resolutions were turned into pro-Palestinian, so that delegates who had bothered to read originals before the conclave unwittingly voted against their actual wishes.
By the time the dust settled, Committee 4 had sent a number of resolutions to the floor that openly contradicted each other – but all were hostile to the Jewish State. The divestment resolution – the one everyone was watching – passed by a narrow margin. A sleeper resolution – not even debated during the plenary – which was far, far worse, passed by a huge margin.
Delegates still don’t realize that they voted to repudiate the two-state solution, central to U.S. foreign policy and the negotiating positions of both Israel and the Palestinian Authority. PCUSA’s vision is in lock step with those seeking to replace two-states with – not Eretz Yisrael Ha-shelemah – but a single Arab majority, Judenrein state. That “democracy” will quickly degrade into another failed Middle East state, or someone’s Caliphate, depending on whether Sunnis or Shi’ites succeed in exterminating the other.
So now what? First we wake up and understand that the long-range goal of the anti-Israel forces is no longer to merely marginalize Israel, or hurt it economically. It is to correct the “sin” that is Israel, to have the historic “mistake” of 1948 undone as a political entity. We must immediately raise the alarm and awaken Christians with a conscience to act. First stop – the many wonderful Presbyterians and many local churches appalled by the PCUSA anti-Israel juggernaut – clergy and laypeople – who have struggled mightily for many years to stand up to the rot at the church’s top leadership. They, not their Church, deserve our attention and support.
In fact, PCUSA is a dying church. Membership is down to 1.8 million from a high of 4.25 million members in 1965. The denomination is expected, by its own forecast, to lose another 25% of its membership in the next 3-4 years. The median age is 63.
The age factor holds true of members of the committees hostile to Israel (ACSWP, MRTI, ACREC); the median age of the often overtly anti-Semitic Israel-Palestine Mission Network is even more advanced.
So what should Jewish groups do?
First, treat the governing body of PCUSA as pariahs. For us, they no longer exist.
Second, reach out to local Presbyterians as concerned neighbors. Meet with the pastors. Ask them if they understand the implications of 04-04, and of 04-01 and how it all fits into the global plan to end the Jewish State.
If they support the anti-Israel measures, thank them, close the door, and don’t turn back. File them away with other small groups like Quakers and Mennonites whose hostility to the Jewish state will never be interrupted by the facts.
If they distance themselves from the implications of the resolutions, ask them if they will be willing to publicly join other Presbyterians who openly opposed the biased anti-Israel initiatives. Urge them to reassert their commitment to peace in the Middle East through a negotiated settlement that guarantees the security of the Jewish State of Israel. By speaking out, they will be taking back a major part of the symbolic victory scored by the Israel-haters. And finally ask them to reinsert fairness and balance in their own church programming, i.e. that in studying the conflict in depth – a good idea for Christians who have a stake in the Holy Land – they should always listen to mainstream voices on all sides of a complex issue.
The shock within PCUSA ranks to the GA vote creates a window of opportunity for us to establish new relationships with local churches and leaders. Failure to do so will hand the PCUSA elites the ultimate victory in their war against Israel.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper is associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein is the Wiesenthal Center’s Director of Interfaith Affairs