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February 20, 2014 4:15 pm

Presbyterian Org Says Agenda of Group Within Church is ‘End of the Jewish State of Israel’

avatar by Joshua Levitt

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Presbyterian Church (USA).

Presbyterian Church (USA).

The battle over Israel within the Presbyterian church turned a corner on Thursday, when a pro-Israel faction, called Presbyterians for Middle East Peace, said it would fight the church agenda, as described in its ‘Zionism Unsettled‘ monograph. The document on Zionism, praised this week by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and Iranian media, was described by PFMEP as seeking the “end of the Jewish State of Israel.”

In a statement to supporters, entitled, “The True Agenda: the End of the Jewish State of Israel,” PFMEP described itself “as a grassroots group of Presbyterian lay and clergy volunteers who want the Presbyterian Church USA to be an effective peacemaker in the Middle East.” It said the group came together after the church’s 2004 General Assembly and was established prior to the 2008 Presbyterian General Assembly.

The church made headlines in 2012 for proposals, ultimately voted down by its members at its 220th General Assembly, to divest from Caterpillar Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Motorola because of their activities in Israel. But the motions were only narrowly defeated, with a tally of 333-331, with two abstentions, emboldening their supporters to re-table the motions in 2014.

The group said: “Since 2004, a small but determined advocacy group within the PCUSA, representing the Israel-targeted international Boycott, Divest, and Sanction (BDS) Movement, has lobbied the denomination to divest from several companies that supposedly support Israel’s occupation of the West Bank,” while those “same companies support the Palestinian Authority (PA) as the PA attempts to build the West Bank’s economy.”

“For the past decade, the BDS advocates have strenuously denied that they want to do the Jewish state of Israel any harm. They have said in numerous forums, ‘We are friends of Israel and we are doing what good friends do. We are trying to convince our friends to do the right thing and end the occupation.’ Events this winter reveal that these advocates are anything but Israel’s friends.”

“The Israel Palestinian Mission Network (IPMN) and Presbyterian Peace Fellowship (PPF) have broadened their attacks on Israel with explicit challenges to Israel’s existence as the Jewish (Zionist) state it was created to be in 1947.”

“These challenges are unambiguously rampant in the so-called ‘congregational study guide’ created by IPMN called ‘Zionism Unsettled.’ The materials in ‘Zionism Unsettled’ argue that Zionism (a Jewish state) is inherently discriminatory, and that the very idea of a homeland for the Jewish people is illegitimate. The guide states that ‘The fundamental assumption of this study is that no exceptionalist claims can be justified in our interconnected, pluralistic world.'”

“In other words, no nation can build its identity around religion, ethnicity or other category. The Irish, Armenians, Japanese or Czech’s may have a problem with the IPMN-PPF vision of a world with no nations rooted in religious or ethnic identity. The BDS advocates go so far as to criticize Jewish prayer books around the world for including a prayer for the state of Israel.”

“Of course, the same activists also want to eliminate from the new PCUSA hymnal the traditional category of hymns entitled ‘The Covenant with Israel.’ They say the language embraces the oppression they claim Israel inflicts on others. Will the next step be to challenge ‘covenant with Israel’ language in the Bible?”

In the statement, PFMEP said the church’s 2014 General Assembly, in Detroit, in June, will discuss “an onslaught of anti-Israel initiatives,” including boycotts against Israeli products, divestment from three companies doing business with Israel and with the Palestinian Authority, and labeling of Israel as an apartheid nation.

“In addition, there will be criticism of the new hymnal for using the phrase ‘God’s Covenant with Israel’ to describe a few hymns, and attempts to deflect criticism of the outrageous study guide the IPMN is distributing through our denominational publishing house,” it said.

“Add all of these strategies together and it is 100% clear that the true agenda of IPMN, PPF, and the secular BDS movement is to undo what the world did in 1947 when the international community came together to recognize the newly created Israel as a Jewish homeland.”

“Can it possibly be true that the lay people and clergy of the PCUSA believe that Israel should stop being a Jewish state, that it is an apartheid state, that we should penalize companies who do business on both sides of the West Bank border, that we should drop traditional understandings of hymns to advance a radical political agenda, that we want our mission dollars being spent to distribute a ‘study guide’ that is being condemned by anybody with a more inclusive approach to the issues? We think not. We don’t think the General Assembly will agree either.”

The group included a link to An Open Letter to the Presbyterian Church, by Presbyterian teaching elder Rev. Chris Leighton, which it described as “a Christian response to ‘Zionism Unsettled,'” and urged church members to read it.

The group noted the recent critical press received by the church this week for publishing ‘Zionism Unsettled,’ as having its “worst fears” confirmed.

“We at PFMEP believe it is absolutely essential that the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board act immediately, and direct the PMA to cease distribution of this deeply troubling document,” the group concluded.

Presbyterians for Middle East Peace is led by a steering committee consisting of Presbyterians Rev. Dr. Bill Harter, Rev. Dr. John Wimberly, Elder Gary J. Green, James Roberts, and Elder George Douglas. Rev. Dr. Bill Harter and Rev. Dr. John Wimberly serve as co-conveners of PFMEP, the group says on its website.

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  • denis

    They are going the wa of the United Church in Canada. Act unChristian, forget all the Biblical tenents of behaviour and beliefs and loose 95% of your followers.

  • Yale

    PC(USA) should BDS the IPMN and PPF.

  • David Dalton

    Keep it simple, pray for the deceived. Help them find their bibles. That they may know and understand the breathed word of God. Israel is mine sayeth the Lord. Those who bless Israel I will bless, those who curse Israel I will curse. Where is the fear of the Lord?? Not to worry. Its coming swiftly.. Even so come Lord Jesus.

    • Jerry McFadden

      Amen brother.

  • judorebbe

    Being pro Israel is not synonymous with being a friend of the Jewish People. Whether pro Israel or anti Israel, both camps seek to eradicate the Jewish People. The pro Israel camp wants to do so by missionizing. The anti Israel camp is just more overt. (And although they are my enemy, at least I respect them.)

    • Greetings! I imagine you distrust the Messianic Jews more than anyone, but in their “missionizing” they want Jews to become more fully Jewish than ever before, as they feel they have become through their faith in Messiah.

      • judorebbe

        A complete lie. I infiltrated a “messianic synagogue” (Christian missionary outreach), which was led by a “messianic rabbi” (ordained Baptist minister), for the purpose of helping Jews become “fulfilled” (embrace Christianity). I have seen the deception, first-hand.
        The bad news, for you, is that I have helped train others to infiltrate, and I have helped in bringing others out of such Evangelical outreaches.
        P.S. – he “Messianic Jewish” movement began in the early 1970s, when the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America (MJAA) broke away from “Jews for Jesus” because they felt that J4J was turning off more Jews than it was attracting. So please, cut the crap!

      • esther noodelman

        What a waste of positive energy..You can’t be more Jewish by acting less Jewish

  • Lone Star

    Now, you know why the Presbyterian Church which once numbered 7 million has fallen to 2 million. Let them expunge references to the Covenant and Israel from the Bible and their churches reduced to storefronts.

    • esther noodelman

      Right on…2014 years later,the hate continues to extend its tentacles wherever it can… How can they get rid of us..We’re the basis of their belief and it kills them

  • CHONG PAUL

    The word of God mention few times He that scatter Israel will gather them back again God love them with an everlasting love. presbyterains church could be fighting against the will of God by their so call replacement theology. repent and have Godly fear or face the wrath of God.

  • Marjorie Stamm Rosenfeld

    Re the so-called Israeli “occupation” and a two-state “solution,” two questions should be asked.

    (1) In military parlance, in order for there to be an occupation one sovereign state needs to be occupying territory belonging to another sovereign state. What sovereign state is Israel occupying?

    At the end of World War I, in which the Ottoman Turks were on the losing side, the tiny area of Western Palestine formerly belonging to the Ottoman Turkish (not Arab) Empire was designated for the Jews in which to reconstitute their ancient homeland. Israel’s foundational documents by which this was done are: the 1920 San Remo Resolution, which codified the 1917 Balfour Declaration and set up a Mandate system for dividing up the Ottoman Empire, with Arabs getting the lion’s share; the 1922 Mandate for Palestine ratified by all 52 nations of the League of Nations; the Anglo-American Convention by which the United States ratified the Mandate for Palestine, and Article 80 of the U.N. Charter, preserving the rights of all peoples given them by previous legal instruments. Article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine states: “The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.”

    All vacant land not individually owned by Arabs in Western Palestine is Jewish land. So whose land is Israel occupying? Answer: Israel is occupying Israel.

    The Arabs will not have enough land in Western Palestine for a state of their own unless Israel gives them land. Here is Question 2:

    (2) Would you want to give land to people who have been trying, for generations, to kill you and your loved ones?

    • Jill Skriver

      I’m amazed that no one brings up the fact that in 1917, Lord Balfour declared that ALL of Palestine was for the creation of a Jewish Country. In 1922, 78% of the land was removed to create Jordan; for the Palestinians! Israel was attacked in 1948, and only regained the land after being attacked again in 1967! The International community recognized the need for the Jewish people to have thier ancestral land back, and it was they, who gave Jews; Israel. But yes, it is Gods chosen people going back to the land God gave them; so what is this “church” doing teaming up with the 1.2 billion who seek the total destruction of every Jew?

  • Bernard Ross

    Supercessionist churches like this have a vested interest in the failure of jews in israel. If the Jews don’t fail their whole replacement theology is proven to be a fraud: that is bad for business.

  • LeonP

    What “oppression Israel inflicts on others”?
    Well, let’s start with the following:
    1. giving minorities the right to vote and stand for parliament.
    2. giving minorities rights such as the one that enabled an Arab judge to sentence a former Israeli president to a jail term.
    3. giving minorities among the best health services in the world.
    4. awarding a PhD degree to an Arab who is the founder and leader of the universal movement to boycott Israel.

    Why are the above “oppression?” Because they are totally antithetical to the ethos of the entire Middle East EXCEPT for Israel.

  • Wallace Edward Brand, JD Harvard, 1957

    What oppression Israel inflicts on others?

    See: Karsh, What Occupation?”
    See: Karsh, Israeli Arabs: Deprived or Radicalized
    See Gilder, The Israel Test
    See Gilder, The Economics of Settlement

  • Straightshooter

    It´s about time that a little sanity prevailed!

    Thankfully, it appears that there is still an influential group within the Presbyterian Church that is willing to deal openly and unequivocably with the radical anti-semitic, leftist and pseudo-“progressive” agenda of the Israel Palestinian Mission Network (IPMN) and Presbyterian Peace Fellowship (PPF), and label it for what it is: fascism wearing a religious disguise.

  • True friends of the Jewish people.

    • judorebbe

      Absolutely NOT !!! – Whether pro Israel or anti Israel, both camps seek to eradicate the Jewish People. The pro Israel camp wants to do so by missionizing. The anti Israel camp is just more overt. (And although they are my enemy, at least I respect them.)

      • Andrew

        Unfortunately my brother you have forgotten the very intent of the Akida, when HaShem tested Avraham but also revealed the prophetic plan of the most high, to use his Nation to fulfill their calling, as a nation of priests to bring light to the Goyim! Through the Lamb of God who takes away the our personal Sin! Through his shed Blood. You are correct in that we have departed from the Mashiach by elevating Yeshua above the Father, as well as westernising the God of Israel and His commands, you have wandered away from HaShem’s intent by forgetting that Moshe sanctified ALL the Mishcan and Shlomo the Temple with The Blood!. There is a cost to purity and Kodosh before HaShem that man cannot attain, without Hashems provision, His only son of promise to the Jew first and then the gentile.

  • Ed Halperin

    interesting that the Presbyterians represent the Church of Scotland, if I am not mistaken.

    • nineoclock

      You are not mistaken, Ed.

      • S. Kennedy

        Let’s be clear here. Not all Presbyterians would agree that they “represent the Church of Scotland”. The movement traces it roots there however the Presbyterian church split over various issues into PCUSA and PCA. I will argue that the PCA would certainly not agree with you.

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