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October 19, 2012 7:06 am

Protestant Church’s Hypocrisy Exposed

avatar by Roz Rothstein / JNS.org

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An IDF Caterpillar D9—a machine that often comes under fire when the Presbyterian Church considers divesting from companies doing business with Israel. Photo: MathKnight.

It is appalling that Protestant leaders sent a letter to Congress asking it to investigate whether Israel’s use of American military aid has violated U.S. or international law. This letter marks a disturbing escalation in the efforts of Protestant anti-Israel activists.

For several years, factions within some denominations have tried, unsuccessfully, to get their churches to divest from companies that do business with Israel. Now they are going outside their churches but using their church affiliations to ask for Congressional support of their anti-Israel agenda.

These 15 Protestant leaders who signed the letter use the same irresponsible accusations and distortions of reality heard from extremists on campuses and from groups like Sabeel, the Palestinian Christian organization known for its anti-Semitic views. Despite its lip service to Israel’s very real security needs, the letter condemns all of Israel’s self-defense policies, even its use of tear gas to control violent crowds.

The letter blames Israel alone for the lack of peace and paints Palestinians as blameless. It never even refers to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas that governs Gaza, whose founding documents call for the murder of Jews and the “obliteration” of Israel, and who has fired over 10,000 rockets and mortars at Israel’s civilian communities since 2005.

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The letter never condemns Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for refusing to return to negotiations despite Israel’s repeated entreaties, and it never mentions Israel’s repeated efforts to make peace. It certainly never questions whether the U.S. should continue to give Palestinians hundreds of millions of dollars a year despite their refusal to promote peace.  This is blatantly hypocritical.

The letter attempts to undermine Congressional support for Israel by spreading false information. Yet, U.S. aid to Israel has been one of America’s best investments. Israel is a steadfast friend and ally, and a democracy that shares America’s values. The two countries have benefited from joint research and development in science and technology, and U.S.-Israeli cooperation has created up to 200,000 jobs in the US while Israeli companies invested more than $57 billion in the U.S. between 2000 and 2010. The letter’s recommendation would harm both the U.S. and Israel.

These Protestant leaders are effectively trying to undermine peace efforts, not foster them. If they really wanted to promote peace, they would call for President Abbas to return to the negotiating table. They would work with pro-Israel Jewish groups in America instead of ignoring them and making a travesty of interfaith relations. If they really wanted to promote peace in the region, they would focus on Syria where over 30,000 people have been slaughtered and on the escalating prejudice and persecution of Christians in the wake of the Arab spring.

Unfortunately, their obsessive prejudice against Israel has revealed that they are not honest brokers for peace, and raises worrisome concerns about their moral compass. They seem to be flirting with the “new anti-Semitism” in which Israel replaces “Jew” in traditional anti-Semitic accusations. We hope that the people in the pews will hold these misguided leaders accountable and restore the Protestant churches’ ability to assert moral leadership.

Roz Rothstein is CEO of StandWithUs, an 11-year-old Israel education organization.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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  • I would like to know who the leaders are, which denominations they purport to be from, and to see the content of the letter.

  • Wendy

    I wish he had said which Protestant churches sent this letter. I don’t like my church being painted with the same brush as we are huge supporters of Israel’s right to exist and of the Jewish people.

    Angelo should get his facts straight. It is not the Jewish population that is to blame for the atrocities he speaks of. The Palestinian authority is in charge in Bethlehem and the Jews do not vandalize churches. They wish for the Christians who are their friends to stay. I know, I have been to these places and spoken with the people there.

  • rodney allsworth

    these are not Christian protestants, they are activists who have infiltrated the protestant movement and are using the name-protestant-as an anchor for their humanist and totally secular anti Israeli agenda, that they have moved out of the main sector proves this point, that they are still trying to con people out and into their -divestment-program is proof, we in Australia have seen this in action with the greens senator -lee rihannion- doing the same thing as soon as she thought they were in strong enough position to influence society, WE JUMPED HARD ON HER, and we put a stop to blatant anti-Semitic and anti Israeli busnessess. that they have to hide and deceive others is disgusting deception at its worst, crying wolf will always bring them unstuck.

    rod qld aust

  • Robby

    Well said! I agree with Roz Rothstein 100%.

  • Jayson Rex

    WHO ARE THE 15 PROTESTAN LEADERS? I BELIEVE THAT ROZ ROTHSTEIN SHOULD INFORM US ALL. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT WE SHOULD KNOW. I WILL CHECK THIS SITE AND ALSO STANDWITHUS WHERE MAYBE I CAN FIND THIS INFO. THANKS.
    P.S. There is nothing I can comment about any type or shade of antisemitism, be it Catholic or Protestant or whatever. Strange enough, Hindus and Buddhists don’t seem to suffer from this terminal desease. It is actually limited to the believers in Jesus, the Jewish itinerant preacher and no one else. Muslims hate everyone, including Muslims, so they are currently “hors concours”.

  • David Most

    So what else is new?

    How many efforts have been made by some of the mainline Protestant churches to support the BDS movement against Israel? Too many.

    Fortunately leaders like the Rev. Hagee are active in opposing these nearly anti-Semitic outpourings from the misguided leadership. Some of my best friends are Presbyterians!

    What is so disheartening about the whole business is the total one-sidedness of their anti-Israel positions. If one chooses to ignore the truths screaming to be heard on the other side, it’s tough to properly debate such an issue.

    The Palestinian leadership, fractured as it is, does not want peace! It continues to seek the annihilation of Israel (not to mention the 6 million Jews therein).

    The Hamas controlled Gaza portion of the PA prefers to continue firing rockets and mortars at the school kids in Sderot.

    Where is the Protestant leadership’s anger and wrath at these totally immoral acts?

    • Pat Craft

      I am an American Protestant Christian. I totally stand with Israel. The Lord has said “those who bless Israel I will bless-those who curse Israel I will curse.” That is the bottom line. Israel was the 1st chosen-we as Christians have been grafted into the tree-the tree being Israel. Read the letter to the Roman’s-Chapt.11. In no way should a Christian turn their back on Israel. If the tree is chopped down what happens to the graft? Please remember that many people in America that call themselves Christian, are not. They are “churched”, but do not have true faith.

  • Ellen Lerner

    I agree with you. I was very upset to see this information in the local Jewish Ledger.
    What a disappointment that a christian organization like this would do something like this and ignore the fact that the Arab/Palestinian leaders fire at innocent Israelis without concern for innocent lives. What is wrong with all of them? Certain people do not seem to understand that the official Arab agencies do not want peace and try as we can we make little headway and we certainly don’t need the Christian organizations to side with them. What does that say about their overall religious message?

    • CuriousDave

      The reality is that the Christian churches are following the international trend of portraying Israel only as perpetrator and everyone else, specially Palestinians, only as victims. The reality is also that internationally there are barely 15 million people classified as Jewish, many of whom have little or no interest in Israel nor in Judaism, versus about 1.5 billion Islamists who are virtually united in their hatred of Jews. The reality is that most people of most Christian denominations have little or no time for Jews. These 15 church representatives know how to count and they have most of the world on their side. Israel is now almost completely isolated, not only geographically but also politically. It should not surprise anyone if a movement develops for expelling Israel from the UN for all its alleged transgressions. If Israel is expelled, what happens to its Jewish population? Where do they go this time?

      • TruthBearer

        You seem to have a skewed opinion on Muslims…
        Your comments simply do not help both the Israelis and Palestinians achieve a peaceful resolve!
        The term used for Israelis is Zionists. Not all Jews are Zionists just as not all Zionists are Jews. Maybe that will help paint a picture for you?
        As for Muslims, not all Muslims are Islamists just like, not all Islamists are Muslim…

        Want to know why? Because Muslims have laws to uphold given to them/the same ones as provided in the bible in fact, which are the very basis or building blocks of being religious. If you break these commandments and in the name of God you are using Gods name in vain and distort the worlds views on that faith. The very atrocious acts by any group which falls out of line with its teachings have walked away from God and simply have turned instead to Satan/Shatan.
        Peace to you!

  • Vern Trotter

    These Protestant leaders are from the pointy headed liberal denominations who have since become a minority in US Protestants, losing members like rats leaving a ship. Israel’s friends among US Christians are now conservative denominations and the Roman Catholics.

  • Eric Swensson

    BTW, I would have posted this in social media but the headline is terrible. These liberals are not “hypocrites” they are activists who are seriously in error on account of their ideology.

  • Eric Swensson

    Know that there is a schism in the so-called “Protestant Church” (there really is no such thing, it is a generic term that means whatever people want it to mean, much like the word “evangelical”).

    Know that the liberal part has activists who take the side of the Palestinians. The conservatives take the side of Israel.

  • cityca

    In Bethlehem, the population of Christians has diminished, from 85% in 1987, to 9% in 2012. Christians in Bethlehem believe there will be none at all within 5-7 years. The same is true right across the Middle East, except Israel.

    Church leaders right across the world should be ashamed of the way they demonise the only country where Christians can live and practise their religion in complete security, while these same church leaders bend over backwards to befriend states that make clear their intention of removing Christians and churches.

    What cowardly and unbelievable behaviour.

    • angelo

      This comment of yours is uninformed. Who has driven out the christians in Bethlehem? Is it not Israeli policies that is sending them away? How can you build a wall around a people and subject them to daily humiliation at checkpoints and expect them to live happily? Have you enterded Bethlehem to see what goes on there? Christians have equal stake to Israel as Jews. Israel is the origin of Christianity.Their churches are vandalized daily by Jews in Jerusalem. How can you blame muslims for Christians leaving Bethlehem?

      • Roberta Seid

        Angelo falsely accuses Israel of “driving out” Christians when Israel is the only Middle Eastern country where the Christian population has grown instead of declined in the past 63 years, rising over 350% from 1948 (34,000) to 2011 (154,000) and where 15 different religions are officially recognized. The data also prove that the percentage of Bethlehem’s Christians did not decline under Israeli governance, but only when Jordan and the Palestinian Authority (PA) governed the city. During Jordan’s rule between 1948 and 1967, the percentage of Bethlehem’s Christians plummeted from 85% to 46%. In stark contrast, it remained around 40% when Israel administered the city (1967-1995), but during PA governance (1995-2011), the percentage plummeted again to 15%. Palestinian Christians who are not afraid to speak up report the reason is chronic discrimination, violence, and intimidation from their Muslim neighbors, the PA, and rising Islamist extremism. (See http://jcpa.org/article/christians-flee-growing-islamic-fundamentalism-in-the-holy-land/ ) Israel’s security barrier and checkpoints are an unpleasant inconvenience for Bethlehem residents, but they were instituted to save lives only after the PA launched its terrorist war against Israel in 2000, murdering over 1000 Israelis. Those restrictions have declined dramatically as terrorism has subsided. Bethlehem’s Christians were victims of the PA’s self-destructive policies, and of its prejudice against non-Muslims. Angelo’s prejudice against Israel blinds him to the facts and dooms the Christians in the PA.

      • G. Fränkl

        So the agit-propagandist Protestant antisemite’s reply has predictably arrived. Unable to defend its hypocrisy and what amounts to its racism, he lies. BS alert big time!

      • PIM MEIBOSCH

        ”Christians have equal stake to Israel as Jews.”

        WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN, MOST CHRISTIAN WERE READY TO FEED THE JEWS TO THE WOLVES NOT SO LONG AGO.
        AND NOW THE JEWS ARE IN CHARGE YOU SUDDENLY HAVE AN EQUAL STAKE TO ISRAEL.
        WHEN DID YOU FIGHT FOR THIS,A YES THE CRUSADES,I NEARLY FORGOT HOW STUPID OF ME.

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