The PCUSA’s Presbyterian Peace Fellowship has put out a short paper entitled “The Conflict between Israel and Palestine,” about which it says:
This document is intended both to ground our own work in this area, and also to offer guidance for others, including commissioners and advisory delegates to the 219th General Assembly. It was approved by the National Committee of the PPF on May 24th, 2010.
It represents many years of combined experience of our members who have worked and lived in the Middle East, and a decade of intentional, thoughtful and prayerful engagement by the organization as a whole.
It’s actually three pages of standard issue boilerplate that essentially translates to, “we’re for anything that’s anti-Israel.” They endorse the the “Kairos Document,” they endorse boycott and divestment, etc. To their credit, PPF does use the word “terrorism” to characterize Palestinian targeting of civilians, though they partially vitiate that by drawing moral equivalence between that and so-called “state terrorism” on the part of the nation whose military has done more to avoid civilian casualties than any other in modern times. But for me the best part is where they explain about Israeli “apartheid”:
On Sensitive Language: Though we understand the strong feelings elicited by the word “apartheid,” and have sought to avoid such language, we find it increasingly difficult to describe the reality for millions of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza without using that word.
In the Israeli-Palestinian context, the word “apartheid” is totally without application. (I sliced and diced the comparison here.) It’s false, irrelevant, and pernicious. But the PPF finds it “increasingly difficult” to speak of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict without using it. Why?
The PPF uses a loaded term that is neither accurate nor fair, that is completely unhelpful to any efforts to actually make progress toward peace, and that exposes its user as a propagandist uninterested in making a positive contribution, but implies that it is somehow being forced to use the term. Who could be compelling them to do something like that? I think it must be these guys: