Naming His Grace has pointed out something I didn’t know (yeah, what are the odds, right?). It seems that the comments on Presbyterian News Service articles are moderated. That means that no comments get on their site unless someone at PNS approves them for publication, meaning not that they approve of the content, but consider them fair contributions to discussion.

She then points to the article published January 21, in which the Israel Palestine Mission Network trumpeted their completely unofficial, wholly unconnected to PCUSA congregational study entitled Zionism Unsettled, a pernicious collection of half-truths, significant omissions, and outright lying slanders against Israel, Jews, and Judaism.

Now, for a sample of the fair-minded, unhateful, and reasonable contributions to the debate over the book:

Finally, a major Christian denomination that has the courage to stand up and address the major problem facing our generation and our world. I was raised Lutheran, but you now have a new convert! I’ll be looking for a local church to join in my area that supports your open discussion on the topic. (Peter Jalajas)

Russians invading Ukraine? Iranians developing nuclear weapons? Civil war in Syria? North Korean mass murder? Economic instability? Overwhelming debt around the world? Inconsequential next to the evil that is the existence of a Jewish state.

I applaud The Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church for addressing this issue. Zionism is not just bad for the Palestinians, but also, for the rest of the world as well. The Christian Zionist on here who blindly supports the Jews and Israel, does so out of emotion through their religious devotion, not the truth. The Jews can do no wrong in their eyes, and anytime someone points out the fact that the Jews are mere humans, who are capable of having flaws, they call them anti-Semitic. The Talmud is Judaism’s holiest book (actually a collection of books). Its authority takes precedence over the Old Testament in Judaism, and it’s hatred against Gentiles, Christ, and Christians, knows no bounds. Wake up, all of you Christian Zionist! Learn the truth, and stop blindly supporting the evil known as Zionism! (Robert Bowling)

Kudos to PCUSA for standing up to the political correctness that so often stymies open discussion of Jewish supremacism. For too long Christian Zionists have gotten away with enforcing a taboo against any examination of Jewish wrongdoing, claiming instead a bogus requirement that Christians must always bless Jews and their actions, however awful those actions are. (Harry H)

This is good news. Finally a traditional Christian org in America stands up to the uber hypocritical “Jewish” Zionist power structure. Its about time. Fact is, Jewish Zionism is based in Judaism/Talmudism as an all encompassing outward expression of other Jewish controlled movements such as Marxism-Communism. Its end goal is a world Gov seated by the main Anti Christ. Zionism is Judaism and it is the so called “Jews” common law where as true Israelites (European/white/Christians) common law is Christian/Natural law. Both of these common laws show the difference between the DNA/spirit of Esau “Jews” and European/whites-Christians (Jacob-Israel/Judah). The so called Jews, “Israelis” bid for World Gov will happen but it is destined to be replaced by God’s people (Authentic Christians) when the true lord returns, exposing the false and planting HIS kingdom on their apostasy. (By the way- don’t even try and calling me “anti semitic”. I will post “Jewish” admissions to all I have said above, all day long”. 95% of the so called “Jews” don’t have natural links to the tribes of Israel. They are impostors (Rev 2 and 3) coming from Maternal links to Esau and Ashkenaz who are from Japeth, not Shem (Genesis 10:3). (Tyrone Parsons)

Bravo PCUSA: I can not wait to get my copy of Zionism Unsettled. Based on all reviews, including desperately distorted ones from some who share in the guilt. This is a vital need fulfilled. And PCUSA will not be the last. For too long Christian Zionist in American evangelical churches, including, Richard L. Land of the Southern Baptist convention, have blame the victim for every act of brutality against them, and getting away with it. But the movement to discover and expose what Occupation is, is rooted and growing in the traditional churches like the PCUSA, who know abut missions. Scripture is on their side. “Blessed are the Peacemakers.” Restated: Who would Jesus Bomb, or imprison for sixty years? (Charles Carlson, a peddler of Holocaust denial books.)

Zionism is anti-Christ. Ask the Jewish-Zionists. They aren’t interested in God’s and Jesus’s message of loving their neighbors. They stomp on their neighbors trying to get them to submit under Jewish supremacy. They steal their land by force of arms. Have you heard the racism and ethnic bigotry coming out of Jewish-Zionist leaders? It’s wicked. How can the Church not stand opposed to twisted, worldly Zionism? (Tom Usher)

Thank God PCUSA is restoring the church and seriously addressing the Jewish supremacism that drives hatred of others and a corrupt American foreign policy. They have no love for us or Christ. (A.H. Lindbergh)

The Jewish supremacists should take this report seriously. It shows that the church will not shill for their lies any more. (George Duke)

So in the land of Presbyterian journalism, this is the kind of stuff that is admissible as part of the debate over Middle East issues. Is it any wonder that people are fleeing the PCUSA in droves?

UPDATE: My friend Viola Larson, the writer of Naming His Grace, has updated her post on this subject, and it’s pertinent to the question of who’s responsible for this slop:

A friend sent me this information: “For several years now, all kinds of entities of the PCUSA have published stuff on the same web address that PNS uses. However, PNS has no responsibility for anything that is not clearly published by PNS itself. The article about Zionism Unsettled says it was published by The Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). They are free to do what they want, including opening up the possibility for responses, without PNS doing the same thing for their articles, and they don’t need PNS permission for it.”

So it’s actually the IPMN, using the free space they get whenever they want it from PNS, that is actually responsible.

Apparently stung by all the criticism of its new Israel bash-fest Zionism Unsettled, the Israel Palestine Mission Network of the PCUSA has struck by with a self-congratulatory response to the critics:

“I am proud that the PC(USA) does not shy from controversial issues,” says Rev. Katherine Cunningham, moderator of IPMN and member of Presbytery of the Palisades in New Jersey. “The church confronts all the divisive issues of our wider society – including, for instance, attitudes toward homosexuality and same-sex marriage.”

Yes, and hasn’t that gone well?

“Zionism Unsettled takes a new approach to one of the most hotly-debated and intractable issues of our day – the historical and contemporary relationship between Israel and the Palestinians – by examining the ideology and theology that have shaped the conflict.”

The approach is isn’t new, of course–IPMN has been putting out bilge like this for years. It’s all the same stuff, over and over: Zionism is uniquely evil, Israel is uniquely evil, there’s no instance worth mentioning of Arab nations or terrorist group ever being beastly to Israel, all the blame resides on one side, and, oh, if you think others, RACIST!

In its new publication exploring the effects of Zionism on Israelis and Palestinians, IPMN draws inspiration from the PC(USA)’s stated commitment to justice issues. In 2012, the 220th General Assembly in Pittsburgh overwhelmingly passed a resolution to “recognize with joy and thanks to God the historic stance of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in pursuit of justice as a central mandate of our church, a mandate that calls us to uphold the need to be faithfully partisan in situations of injustice and to speak truth to power, wherever necessary as we pursue justice, without fear of retribution or the delay of deflection.”

To paraphrase the immortal words of Inigo Montoya, they keep using that word “justice.” I don’t think it means what they think it means.

Pauline Coffman, resident of Chicago Presbytery and one of several content editors of the book, explains the framework of the study guide. “On the one hand, Zionism Unsettled lifts up the tragic history of Jewish persecution that led many Jews to embrace Zionism as a necessity for Jewish self-preservation. At the same time, the book relates the less-well-known and also traumatic history of Palestinian displacement and loss that has occurred as a consequence of the establishment of a Jewish state in their midst.” Coffman continues, “An understanding of both people’s narratives is absolutely essential to understanding the contemporary struggle for rights and land.”

The book does indeed mention the history of Jewish persecution–not by Muslims, but whatever. That history is only mentioned in order to be denigrated as inadequate reason for Jews to have the temerity to seek a national homeland. The rest of Coffman’s statement is boilerplate that bears no resemblance to the actual tract, which offers no understanding of the Israeli or Jewish “narrative” at all, instead preferring to criticize the founding of Israel and the Zionist ideology on which it is based as “tribal,” “primitive,” and “dangerous,” even as it contends that Palestinians, unlike Jews, have a right to self-determination.

“We understand there are those who hold strong opinions that diverge from the multiplicity of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim perspectives presented in Zionism Unsettled,” says IPMN member Don Maclay, a resident of Philadelphia Presbytery. “We respect their right to disagree. We are also heartened by thoughtful, supportive reviews by Rabbi Brant Rosen and Mark Braverman.”

Yes, well, no far left Gentile critique of Israel would be complete without its Jewish fig leaves. Somehow, though, I think a review has a little less validity when its of a book in which your story is extensively, affirmatively quoted (Brant) or your writings are used extensively as source material (Braverman).

As for the “multiplicity of…perspectives” supposedly embodied in the tract, this is the kind of “diversity” that college campuses are increasingly fond of. There is only one perspective in this tract, which is why it is not a “study” but propaganda. It just happens to be that that perspective is shared by all of the Christians, Jews, and Muslims used as sources or quoted.

“Talking about emotionally-charged issues is difficult, but necessary,” observes Rev. Craig Hunter, a member of Grace Presbytery in Texas. “We hope that even as our interfaith relations with some Jews are challenged by disagreements over Israeli policy, all parties will be able to maintain a civil and respectful approach to those disagreements.”

Translation: Screw the Jews. We’ve got a political, ideological, and theological axe to grind, and they better not try to stand in the way!

Rev. Katherine Cunningham says, “In publishing Zionism Unsettled, we are upholding deeply-felt convictions and principles rooted in our faith. Our vision for interfaith relations is not based on self-censorship or avoidance of controversy, but a mutual capacity to recognize and transcend disagreement based on shared values. We invite civil and respectful dialogue among Christians, Jews, and Muslims.”

That may be what they invite, but it is not what they engage in.

Can’t end this without indulging a bit of that guilt-by-association stuff that we conservatives are so fond of. Check out the endorsements page, and who do we find in amongst the usual suspects? Why it’s James Wall, who is listed as a Contributing Editor for Christian Century, rather than identified by his latest gig, as Associate Editor and Featured Columnist for the anti-Semitic cesspool Veterans News Now, a sister publication of Veterans Today. Among the fifty “most read articles” this week on a web site that uses the good name of American veterans to hide its hate:

James Wall is the associate editor of a web site that puts out anti-Semitic stuff like this, and IPMN is proud to have his endorsement for Zionism Unsettled? Tells me all I need to know.

The Presbyterian Church (USA) has a lot of problems, from declining membership and attendance to fleeing congregations to heresy run rampant in its seminaries and pulpits and the internal warfare on its own members that has resulted from the spread of false teaching and the need to protect it. By and large, those are internal concerns. What the rest of the Christian world should be concerned about is its growing embrace of anti-Semitism, a phenomenon recently highlighted by the publication of a so-called “congregational study resource” called Zionism Unsettled by the Israel Palestine Mission Network (IPMN).

The IPMN–“mandated,” according to a recent press release, by the PCUSA General Assembly in 2004–has had its share of controversy. It has a disturbing habit of relying on the scribblings of known anti-Semitic writers and web sites, even having to shut down its Facebook page so as to try to scrub away its dirty laundry (it keeps popping up, over and over again, on their Twitter feed, however). Now, however, they decided to do a “greatest hits” collection of sorts, combining all of their various tropes into one handy package.

Let’s just say that reading Zionism Unsettled was right up there with plunging steak knives into my eyeballs as a fun way to spend an afternoon. Here are a few examples of why.

•One of the chief techniques used by IPMN is to simply ignore anything that might inconvenience the narrative. For instance, when dealing with the events of the so-called Nakba (“catastrophe”) that was the founding of Israel, they tell us that things got ugly in May of 1948:

As expected, war broke out between Jewish and Arab forces when Israel declared independence in May 1948. (p. 13)

Actually, what happened was that on May 15, the armies of Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and a token force from Saudi Arabia attacked Israel without provocation in an attempt to destroy the Jewish state in its cradle. The attack was accompanied by calls for the extermination, not just of the state, but of all Jews living in the Holy Land.

Another example is on the matter of refugees, where Zionism Unsettled says:

From December 1947 until the armistice between Israel and its Arab neighbors in 1949, this strategy of ethnic cleansing would force all the inhabitants from more than 500 Palestinian villages, totally and deliberately destroy the structures in 400 Palestinian villages, create 750,000 Palestinia refugees, kill most who resisted the dispossession of their lands, and homes, and prevent the return of Palestinian refugees to their homes after the cessation of hostilities. (p. 14)

How is this dishonest? Let us count the ways:

1) It fails to mention the Arab broadcasts that explicitly told Palestinians to leave or be treated as enemies. The Economist reported on October 2, “Of the 62,000 Arabs who formerly lived in Haifa not more than 5,000 or 6,000 remained. Various factors influenced their decision to seek safety in flight. There is but little doubt that the most potent of the factors were the announcements made over the air by the Higher Arab Executive, urging the Arabs to quit.. . . It was clearly intimated that those Arabs who remained in Haifa and accepted Jewish protection would be regarded as renegades.”

2) At least some of the destruction that the IPMN attributes solely to Israel was the result of fighting in and around Arab villages, making the invading Arab armies as responsible for it as the Israeli Defense Force.

3) The number of refugees is exaggerated–the real figure is much closer to half a million than three quarters, and in any event it is impossible to know what percentage of those who left the country did so out of fear of the Jews, out of fear of their Arab brethren, or out of obedience to the repeated broadcasts that called on them to do so.

4) Even before the declaration of independence, Arabs were leaving the country. The Lebanese daily Al-Telegraph, on September 6, 1948, quoted the secretary of the Arab High Council, Emil Ghory, saying “The flight of Arabs from the territory allotted by the UN for the Jewish state began immediately after the General Assembly decision [on partition] at the end of November 1947. This wave of emigration, which lasted several weeks, comprised some thirty thousand people, chiefly well-to-do-families.”

Yet another piece of dishonesty by omission is found in p. 14, where Zionism Unsettled says:

In the first decade of the life of the new state, the Jewish population almost doubled….Hundreds of thousands of Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries flooded Israel to escape the actual violent blowback or fear of blowback as the region became inflamed at the perceived injustice of the enforced partition of Palestine, the creation of a Jewish state, the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1947-48, and the Sinai War of 1956.

In fact, violence against Jews in the countries mentioned started before Israel’s independence, and even the partition, much less the creation of the refugee problem or the Sinai war. For example, in Libya, “The 2,000 year-old Jewish community of Libya, which numbered almost 60,000 by the 1940s, was the target of mass anti-Jewish violence in November 1945. In Tripoli alone, 120 Jews were massacred, over 500 wounded, 2,000 were made homeless, and synagogues were torched. There were more pogroms in January 1946, with 75 Jews massacred in Zanzur, and more than 100 murdered in other towns.” In all, over 875,000 Jews were expelled from various Arab countries, and over $13 billion in property and possessions expropriated. While the Palestinian population of both Israel and the West Bank has grown tremendously in the years since the establishment of the Jewish state, here’s one estimate of the size of the Jewish populations of the Arab nations that denounce the “racism” and “exclusivity” of Israel:

Algeria: less than 100
Egypt: less than 100
Iraq: 60
Libya: less than 100
Morocco: 7,000
Syria: 100

None of this is mentioned in Zionism Unsettled, and those are significant omissions from just two pages of this propaganda.

Perhaps the most ludicrous form of the technique of omission is in the vignette page entitled “Extremism and Intolerance In Israel” (p. 36). There’s a picture of a sticker in a house window in Hebron that says “Kahane Was Right!” (referring to Meir Kahane, the infamous racist rabbi who advocated the expulsion of all Arabs from Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza). There’s another picture from Hebron, this one of graffiti that says “Gas the Arabs.” These are presented as if they are typical of Israeli attitudes:

Racism and intolerance are in no way confined to Israel’s religious extremists and settlers. Many observers who care deeply about Israel [who are neither named nor cited–DF] express grave concern that a rising tide of racial prejudice and extremism is becoming normalized not only among religious Jews but also among political figures and private citizens within Israel proper.

That there is racism, prejudice, and hate for Arabs in Israel is hardly a surprise. Jews are no more immune to the failings of human beings, including their worst impulses, than any other people. That such people are sometimes loud, obnoxious, and listened to by a segment of the population is also no surprise. Such instances, no matter who spews them, are deserving of nothing but contempt and condemnation. What is surprising is that, in a “study guide” that presumes to speak of the problems of Israel and Palestine, there is no mention whatsoever of the daily demonization, dehumanization, and hate that is directed at Israel and Jews by Arab media, education, and political and religious leadership. The New York Times, not noted as a friend of Israel, recently offered a few examples:

Adolf Hitler is quoted on the Facebook pages of Palestinian Authority schools. A young girl appears on Palestinian television, describing Jews as “barbaric monkeys, wretched pigs” and the “murderers of Muhammad,” the Islamic prophet. Maps on the Facebook page of the Palestinian presidential guards do not show Israel. President Mahmoud Abbas himself embraced as “heroes” released Palestinian prisoners who killed Israelis.

•One of the primary goals of the tract is to delegitimize the idea of Israel as a Jewish state. Supposedly this is a “new idea” introduced into the diplomatic lexicon by Colin Powell in a 2001 speech. Zionism Unsettled claims:

Since the Powell speech, this insistence on explicit Palestinian recognition of a “Jewish state” has become almost routine, but it is relatively new language for negotiations and for the international community….This demand presents a major obstacle to peace because, just as Jews want a “right of return” to the land, so too do the millions of Palestinians who have languished in refugee camps for three generations. Non-Zionists point out that a “Jewish state” is anethnocracy, not a democracy. [Emphasis in original.]

What’s wrong with this? To begin with, it ignores that the original intention of the U.N. partition was to create an “Arab state” and a “Jewish state.” The idea was that Arabs would live in Israel, and Jews in Palestine, with guaranteed rights of full citizenship for minorities in both countries. The Arabs rejected that, of course, and sought to create yet another Arab state while destroying the Jewish one. The demand for Palestinian recognition of Israel as a “Jewish state” is nothing more than a demand for Palestinians to reject the exterminationist goals of terror groups like Hamas. For another thing, the reference to the Jewish state as an “ethnocracy” is laughable coming from people who have no apparent problem with the tribalism and political repression of the almost two dozen Arab states. The writers of this garbage should ask themselves, how many mosques are there in Israel, as opposed to synagogues in Saudi Arabia? How many Arabs sit in the Israel Knesset, as opposed to Jews in Iraq’s Parliament? How many Arab-language publications are there in Israel, as opposed to Hebrew-language publications in Libya? How many Arab voters are there in Israel as opposed to Jewish voters in Egypt? Oh, wait, I forgot–essentially all the Jews have been expelled from Syria, Iraq, and Egypt, and were never allowed in Saudi Arabia, while 20% of Israel’s population is Arab.

The persistent drumbeat for the Palestinian “right of return” (a prominent feature of the advocacy in Zionism Unsettled) is nothing more than a bid to change the demographic reality in Israel. Regardless of the motives of the advocates (which I’m sure are pure as the driven snow), the effect of deconstructing the Jewish “ethnocracy” would be to create yet another Arab-dominated state in which Jews would be allowed to live until such time as the Arab majority decided they were tired of having them around. Oddly enough, Zionism Unsettled does recognize that one of the primary reasons for Israel’s founding was to provide a haven to Jews in the midst of a world that has marginalized, mistreated, ghettoized, and killed them with brutal regularity for centuries, and yet still calls for the dismantling of that haven. What was that about motives, again?

•Through the use of emotionally charged language and hysterical charges, the IPMN seeks to demonize Israel in a way that bears little if any relationship to reality. Foremost among the examples of this is the use of the term “apartheid” (comparison is also made with Jim Crow segregation in the American South on p. 18). It’s a word that conjures up images of oppression, violence, and racism, and has nothing whatsoever to do with what Israel is doing. Let’s look at one example of its use in Zionism Unsettled:

[T]here is a growing consensus–except, notably, in the US and Israel–that the existing de facto one-state situation/solution is irreversible and that the Israeli form of apartheid (segregation and separate development) is becoming increasingly entrenched. (p. 23)

This is nonsensical on several levels, but it’s the use of the word “apartheid” that is especially objectionable. As I wrote once on The Reformed Pastor:

[T]here is virtually no comparison between the two situations. In South Africa, blacks objected to being banished to “independent” Bantustans; the Palestinians are desperate for a state of their own (if anything, it’s Hamas and their desire for a single, Judenrein Palestinian state that most resemble the Afrikaaners). In South Africa, it was the state that beat up on its own people; in the Holy Land, the Palestinians aren’t citizens of Israel, but would-be invaders from outside. In South Africa, blacks had no rights to speak of; in Israel, Palestinian Arabs who are citizens–about one-sixth of the population–have all the rights of Jewish citizens, including the right to vote, to be elected to the Knesset, to sit in the government, even to speak out in support of their non-Israeli brethren. In South Africa, the courts facilitated the brutal treatment of blacks; in Israel, the courts protect the rights of Palestinians, even to the point of ordering the government to change many of its policies over the years (it is the Israeli Supreme Court, for instance, not the powerless International Court of Justice, that got the government to make changes in the route the security fence takes, ordering it to avoid as much as possible infringing on Palestinian-owned lands, orchards, and farms).

Using the word “apartheid” in reference to Israel is nothing more than name-calling designed to provoke an emotional response, rather than a serious attempt to understand the situation. Worse, it deliberately poisons the well, and stirs animosity toward the Jewish state that has little if anything to do with what the word actually means.

•Most egregiously, Zionism Unsettled is meant to delegitimize Judaism in the eyes of Christians as the IPMN arrogates to itself the right to separate “real” Judaism from its Zionist-infected counterfeit.

In the section entitled “A Jewish Theology of Liberation,” we read this:

In his important book Justice and Only Justice, Canon Ateek, a Palestinian Israeli and 1948 refugee from his ancestral home in Beisan, Palestine (now northern Israel), identifies three ideological streams within the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament). First, the tribalist-nationalist-separatist tradition of the conquest of Canaan and and the establishment of Israelite kingship so that Israel could become a military power like surrounding nations; second, the Torah-oriented tradition of the Pharisees which evolved into Rabbinic Judaism after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 C.E.; and third, the prophetic tradition that rejected the idea of a tribal god in favor of Yahweh who not only ruled over the world but would eventually redeem all humanity. Ateek writes:

What is quite clear from a Palestinian Christian point of view…is that the emergence of the Zionist movement in the twentieth century is a retrogression of the Jewish community into the history of its very distant past, with its most elementary and primitive forms of the concept of God. Zionism has succeeded in re-animating the nationalist tradition within Judaism. Its inspiration has been drawn not from the profound thoughts of the Hebrew Scriptures, but from those portions that betray a narrow and exclusive concept of a tribal god.

Leave aside Ateek’s approach to the Old Testament, which is essentially Marcionite (he tosses the parts that morally offend him, and deride them as a “lower” form of revelation from a Demiurge or “tribal god”). What Ateek does here is dress up in theological language the old idea that the Jews, alone among the world’s multitude of peoples, have no legitimate claim to the safety, security, and dignity that goes along with sovereignty. Keep in mind, of course, that Ateek and his fanboys at the IPMN are positively passionate about what they see as the Palestinian claim to a sovereign state (preferably one that would include all of Israel as well). Such things just aren’t for Jews, apparently.

Oh, and let’s not miss this little head-fake: “Zionism has succeeded in re-animating the nationalist tradition within Judaism.” Really? Here I thought that the reason for the re-emergence of the desire for a national home for the Jewish people came about because Gentiles–Christians and Muslims, Europeans and Turks and Arabs–kicked them from pillar to post, expelled them, turned them into dhimmis, periodically persecuted and robbed them when they needed a political diversion, or systematically exterminated them. Turns out it was all just a political/ideological/racist ploy on the part of those evil Zionists to displace the Palestinians. Who’d a thunk it?

What’s all this got to do with anti-Semitism? Let me suggest these connections:

1) The source of this tract is the IPMN. As mentioned above, this hate group doesn’t hesitate to traffic with anti-Semites and use material off of their web sites. They are also fond of using materials from people and sites that are so far left, and so uniquely and disproportionately hostile to Israel that they might as well fall into the same category. Among those who feature in the text and endnotes are Ilan Pappe, Paul Findley, Rashid Khalidi, Max Blumenthal, I.F. Stone, Naim Ateek, Neve Gordon, Edward Said, Jonathan Cook, Jewish Voice for Peace,Mondoweiss.netElectronic IntifadaTruthout.orgAl Jazeera, and Occupied Palestine.

2) By failing to present anything that even remotely resembles a balanced picture, the IPMN has offered a Manichean view of the conflict that casts Israel as devil and Palestinians as saints. One would never know from this propaganda that Arabs had ever treated Jews as anything other than full and equal residents of the region, living side-by-side in harmony, until the evil Jews decided to get all nationalistic and start treating the Arabs as sub-human, at which point the latter naturally took offense and defended themselves. The history of dhimmitude under Muslim rule, the periodic outbreaks of official or mob violence, the invasion of Israel in 1948, the planned invasion of 1967, the surprise attack of 1973, the use of terrorism against Israel’s civilian population by terror organizations such as Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and Fatah–most of these are entirely absent, and the rest make nothing more than cameo appearances in Zionism Unsettled.

3) Granted that the IPMN is a special interest group, there is never even the slightest hint that things in the rest of the Arab world are anything but peachy, while Israel is regularly compared with apartheid South Africa and even Nazi Germany (see the section entitled “A Palestinian Muslim Experience with Zionism,” which alludes to the analogy, and has an extended discussion of “ethnic cleansing,” something the Israel must be really bad at, given that there are so many Palestinian citizens of Israel, much less the West Bank or Gaza). One would think that in a catalog of Palestinian suffering, there might be some mention of the failures of their Arab brethren–for instance, their refusal to take in and naturalize any of the refugees from 1948 or their descendants, or their repeated military failures that have hardened Israel’s resolve to protect itself, or their treatment of Palestinians as second-class citizens (Kuwait, Jordan, and others have done this for years). But no. Once again, it is the Jewish state that is uniquely evil, uniquely violent, uniquely prejudiced, and that is practically the very definition of anti-Semitism.

Zionism Unsettled has been getting a lot of attention from both Jewish critics and Christian supporters of Israel. So far the PCUSA, however, has essentially turned a blind eye to the cancer in its midst. A search of the PCUSA web site got only two hits–one for press release from IPMN blowing its own horn, and another from PCUSA News Service in which the head of the denomination’s mission agency, in which the IPMN is housed, said this:

“Our church has a long history of engaging many points of view when it comes to dialogue on critical issues facing the world around us — it’s who we are, part of our DNA,” said Linda Valentine, executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. “There are likely as many differing opinions as there are Presbyterians — and, like many denominations, we don’t always agree.”

“There are myriad voices within congregations, and some would like to see the church go beyond that stance,” added Valentine. “But we remain guided by the policies of the General Assembly, seeking peace for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”

The news item also propounds the fiction that the IPMN–a creation of the church’s General Assembly–is “independent,” and “speaks to the church and not for the church,” a meaningless distinction in terms of the message that it sends to the world. That message is this: the PCUSA is perfectly comfortable with one of its constituent groups making repeated forays into the swamps of falsehood, bigotry, and hate. It is a scandal for the denomination, and one that this summer’s General Assembly would be wise to address.

It is no surprise that the PCUSA’s Israel Palestine Mission Network would take issue with the Jewish Council on Public Affairs press release that accused it of anti-Semitism. What’s surprising is how lame the response is.

On their web site today, IPMN uses a host of leftist tropes, irrelevant claims, and propaganda cliches to essentially say, “so’s your mother!”:

This week has brought broad-side attacks on the Israel Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) from the organized Jewish community in the U.S. In order to understand the latest vitriol coming from the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) towards the IPMN, and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), one has to imagine the feeling of sheer desperation that results when a fantasy world comes crashing down. The world where Israeli government policy cannot be criticized is a thing of the past. There is vigorous debate within the Jewish community around Israel’s military occupation, and groups like the JCPA and others are losing control of the narrative.

As far as I know, the JCPA has never said that Israel can’t be criticized. In fact, in a 2008 statement responding to PCUSA action on a document on anti-Jewish bias, JCPA explicitly said, “There is legitimate criticism of Israeli policies that comes from both Christians and Jews.” What JCPA objects to is 1) criticism of Israeli conduct that singles out the Jewish state and ignores similar or worse conduct on the part of other nations; 2) criticism of Israel that distorts or even lies about the facts as well as the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict; and 3) groups that want to be considered mainstream that ally themselves with open anti-Semites and given the latter a platform from which to spew hate. All three of those would apply to the IPMN.

For the record, the Israel Palestine Mission Network is not an anti-Semitic organization.

That’s “for the record.” The record, however, shows IPMN repeatedly engaging in all three of the behaviors mentioned above. IPMN may not want to be seen as anti-Semitic, but if it climbs down into the sewer with bigots, it’s got to expect to get dirty.

It does oppose Israeli government policy that sustains illegal occupation and violates Palestinian human rights every day. The IPMN is also a proponent of open dialogue and debate about the issues that prevent a just peace. The truth is that the JCPA, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and other “pro-Israel” organizations do not desire open and free discussion about these issues in America, and when they don’t want to talk about the facts on the ground, they resort to slanderous smear campaigns.

Translation: they actually have the temerity to disagree with us, to call us out on our associations, and demand that we stick to the facts! How dare they!

“Open and free discussion” sounds great, and is normally what one should aim for. In the case of the extreme anti-Israel left, however, what that means is that every voice–no matter how vicious, bigoted, false, or mendacious–deserves an equal hearing. Hence you get IPMN links to the toxic swill of people like Gilad Atzmon, whose idea of “open and free discussion” is claiming that Israel is worse than Nazi Germany and that there’s no such thing as a “Jewish people.” By all means, let’s have that “open and free discussion,” but without the haters, please. Until such time as IPMN is willing to disassociate itself from such slime, no such discussion is possible.

The recent attack by the JCPA on IPMN, as well as the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) mirrors exactly the criticism leveled at these same faith groups at roughly the same time of year back in 2010. What is the correlation? This is the run-up to the national summer gathering of the Presbyterian General Assembly that deliberates on church policy every two years. In 2010 the bogeyman was the Middle East Study Committee Report that came before that body for approval. For all the critical hype from the JCPA, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and others at that time, and all the credit these organizations shamelessly took for supposedly changing the document to their liking, the reality is that the report was never substantially changed. All the original recommendations were approved, but JCPA leadership somehow called that a win. That final report is on record and can be compared to what had been originally proposed. The comparison shows no substantive difference between what was recommended and what was ultimately approved. But in today’s climate, if you say you won loud enough, you actually start to believe it yourself.

In fact, as I documented at the time, the original recommendations were changed–not enough, but in several instances in ways that improved the report form the standpoint of supporters of Israel. This is playground stuff that has nothing to do with what the IPMN has been doing–in other words, it’s a red herring.

This year the JCPA concern comes in trying to stem the unstoppable tide of a growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

And this is nothing more than the kind of false bravado of which they just got through accusing the JCPA. The BDS movement is only “unstoppable” to the kind of people who count every college student protest as a decisive blow against the Establishment.

Presbyterians and Methodists are leading the way in the faith community, along with many other Christian, Jewish and secular grassroots organizations across the United States, to stop profiting from the Israeli Occupation.

Actually, some Presbyterians and Methodists are doing so. Neither denomination has yet signed on to BDS, and I’d be willing to bet that neither will during their denomination-wide assemblies later this year. As for the others, they are uniformly organization of the political left, and usually far left at that. Enough said.

The BDS movement is saying the government of Benjamin Netanyahu is wearing no clothes; you can’t say you want a just peace and at the same time build settlements on Palestinian land at break-neck pace. With Archbishop Desmond Tutu publicly stating that the present state of affairs in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is akin to what he vividly remembers as South African Apartheid, the pro-Israeli groups are desperately losing ground.

Yep, that settles it. If Desmond Tutu (who has never met a situation that he couldn’t relate in some way to apartheid) says that the situation in the Holy Land is “akin” to that of South Africa, no further discussion is necessary. No wonder supporters of Israel are desperate–if you’ve lost Desmond Tutu, you’ve lost any hope of redemption. Let the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth begin.

Part of their tactics, as outlined by the Tel Aviv-based Reut Institute, is to delegitimize any opposition to Israeli government policy by accusing those who disagree with it of engaging in anti-Israel, anti-Zionist and even anti-Semitic behavior. It is a campaign known as “delegitimizing the delegitimizers” and it has millions of dollars behind it.

Um, saying that IPMN is engaged in “anti-Israel” or “anti-Zionist” behavior is not an accusation, it’s simply a statement of fact. In the very next paragraph, IPMN says that it is “disingenuous” to say that “ethnic cleansing” has not been part of the “Zionist agenda” since long before the establishment of Israel. I’d say that pretty much ends any debate over whether IPMN is “anti-Israel” or “anti-Zionist.”

As for the charge of anti-Semitism, to at least some extent that is in the eye of the beholder. As I have pointed out repeatedly, however, IPMN feels no compunction about giving people who cannot be considered anything but anti-Semitic a platform or a shout out. They’ve pointed their members repeatedly in the direction of people who claim that the U.S. is controlled by Jews, that Israel was behind 9/11, that “Jewish money” controls American elections, and so on. They link to Internet publications and sites that sell and trumpet the “truth” of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, deny the Holocaust, and call for the destruction of Israel if not the Jewish people. You can deny you’re anti-Semitic all you want, but when you are willing to grant that Gilad Atzmon, Stuart Littlewood, Gordon Duff, Stephen Lendman, Ilan Pappe, James Wall, Veterans Today, Salem News, Occupied Palestine and their ilk are legitimate “news sources,” you’ve lost the argument.

For too long pro-Israel groups in the United States have promoted a two-state solution even while Israeli policy insures that such a thing cannot possibly exist (all one needs to do is travel there to witness the facts on the ground). They have perpetuated the lie that those city-sized, Jewish-only settlements being built nonstop deep into Palestinian territory are not really illegal colonies; and have disingenuously insisted that the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Palestine has not been on the Zionist agenda since the days of Theodore Herzl, the father of modern Zionism, long before 1948.

As I was saying.

Answering every false charge leveled against IPMN by these groups accomplishes nothing more than plunging a peace-dedicated volunteer mission network, whose projects are funded by small pledges by its members, into a mud pit where paid “pro-Israel” lobbyists desperately fight to take back control of a debate they can no longer win through their bullying behavior. The JCPA, AJC and others should spend their time and energy on the issues that are barriers to peace, not on name-calling and attacks in an attempt to change the subject.

I’ll conclude by noting that at no point in this propaganda piece did IPMN ever respond to a single substantive charge made by JCPA. The entire piece is an attempt to change the subject from IPMN’s anti-Semitic language and associations. Unfortunately for them, neither I, nor JCPA, nor Viola Larson, nor any of the others who have sought to hold IPMN accountable are going away, nor will we be misdirected by pathetic stuff like this.

UPDATE: Welcome to those of you who have come from the The Layman Online as well as Church and World. A couple of other articles you might want to check out. First, Dexter Van Zile has a lengthy piece at CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America. Second, Commentary has an article by Jonathan Tobin. I would especially commend to your reading the comments on the latter article. They are eye-opening.

My friend Viola Larson at Naming His Grace has unearthed the likely real reason behind the disappearance today of the Facebook page of the PCUSA’s Israel Palestine Mission Network. That page has frequently featured links to extreme left-wing and even anti-Semitic sources, as I have documented here, here, here, herehere, here, herehere, here, AND here. Today, the IPMN put the following statement on its site:

IPMN has been a presence on social media sites Facebook and Twitter over the last eighteen months, providing links to stories on Israel and Palestine that are not easily found in the mainstream U.S. media. We have had this clarification posted on our Facebook page:

“The opinions expressed in articles and/or videos posted here are those of the authors/producers, and not necessarily those of the IPMN. This Facebook page demonstrates the diversity of perspectives that exist on Israel/Palestine, and serves to encourage dialogue between differing positions.”

As our “fan base” has grown on Facebook to over 2100, so have the comments, both positive and negative. At present, Facebook does not provide a setting where fans can “like” and “share” links without posting comments that need to be monitored. Since IPMN has no paid staff, we will not be able to keep our Facebook page going, until such a time as new posting settings are made available. Until then, IPMN will post links to articles, commentary, videos, etc. on Twitter:!/IPMN

What Viola found, however, is that the PCUSA has apparently been getting pressure from the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, which put a press release on their web site blog today that notes some of the more egregious examples of IPMN anti-Semitism and offers this reaction:

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs called on the Presbyterian Church (USA) to take concrete actions to address the anti-Israel, anti-Zionist, and at times anti-Semitic content that has been all too common in the church’s Israel Palestine Mission Network (IPMN-PCUSA).  The Israel Palestine Mission Network of the PCUSA (IPMN-PCUSA) is a group chartered by the PCUSA General Assembly and advised by members of the denomination’s national staff.   IPMN-PCUSA’s policies, programs, social media and other communications are a wellspring of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel invective, according to extensive research conducted by the JCPA and the Israel Action Network, an initiative of The Jewish Federations of North America in partnership with JCPA.

“Our experience across America confirms that most Presbyterians reject the approach of the IPMN-PCUSA , and that our communities remain close partners on many issues including social justice and Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking” said JCPA president Rabbi Steve Gutow.  “We ask the church to do more to confront the extreme and destructive rhetoric of a few.  Passionate disagreement on policy is one thing -  good decision-making requires it – but when it devolves into incivility and demonization, the fabric of our society is torn apart.  Our relationships are too precious to jeopardize by a climate that tolerates demagoguery and bigotry. “

The IPMN-PCUSA recently announced greater controls on its Facebook page.  “That is a good first step.  The issues must be addressed at their roots, though,” added Gutow.  “We wonder who are these people who have created and sustained an environment where the most outrageous and uncivil invective flows so freely. The words and actions of these few seem to be aimed more at fueling conflict and distrust than in creating peace for Israelis and Palestinians.  That this horrific rhetoric comes under a banner of peacemaking strains credulity.   For as long as it makes sense to do so we will continue to work with our friends in the PCUSA to call for responsible policy that promotes peace and positive relations and rejects partisanship and division.”

“We have been concerned by the transformation of the IPMN-PCUSA into a gathering place for anti-Jewish tirades,” said JCPA Chair Dr. Conrad Giles. “We cannot remain silent while a group chartered by a mainstream church tolerates language that reflects the darkest times in the Christian-Jewish encounter.  These attitudes cannot find a home in the Presbyterian Church (USA). We urge our friends in the church to champion a path for peace that does not depend on such dangerous tropes.  The connection to Palestinian Christians and the passion that IPMN-PCUSA leaders feel about their condition are not excuses for the invective that is being used.  Nor does it excuse the silence of the PCUSA leadership to it. We must all do better to root out bigotry and bias.  I would hope that the church would make clear that it will not condone these gutter tactics against the Jewish people or the state of Israel. How can we deal with any entity that does not condemn such horrific comments?  How can we foster peace between Israelis and Palestinians – and create an America that is safe for Christians, Muslims, Jews and others, if we stand idly by when groups are demeaned so viciously?”

IPMN doesn’t mention this, and I can’t find any response to this on the PCUSA site. But the fact that the IPMN Facebook page (which was recently removed, restored, and then removed again just today, the same day as the JCPA release came out) suggests that Louisville may finally be tiring of the embarrassment of being associated with the bigots and kooks who seem to dominate the IPMN, and is finally, just maybe, taking some responsibility for their creature.

P.S.: By closing its Facebook page and moving to Twitter, the only thing IPMN has changed (besides prohibiting people like Viola and I from commenting) is the location of its dirty deeds:


Littlewood: Urgently Palestinians need leaders of high
The “Littlewood” mentioned there is Stuart Littlewood, a Veterans Today writer who made a previous appearance in this blog here. The more things change…
UPDATE: Viola let me know in the comments that this was found by Dexter Van Zile of CAMERA and passed along to her. Hat tip to Dexter.

How does Robert Reich, former Bill Clinton cabinet member, and noted public policy analyst, respond to this pairing of Gingrich and [contributor Sheldon] Adelson? He claims not to know what lies behind the Adelson support for Gingrich.

I believe Reich feigns ignorance in his blog posting, rather than admit the obvious, the linkage of Jewish money to American politics, which we all know, is a taboo topic for establishment media types. [Emphasis added.]

James Wall, who is either 1) asserting that the Treasury prints two kinds of money, Jewish and Gentile; 2) contending that Adelson makes campaign contributions in shekels rather than dollars; or 3) using an old anti-Semitic trope to make a perfectly legal campaign contribution sound sinister–you be the judge.

Anti-Semitic loon James Wall of the Christian Century and Veterans Today (whose column is frequently linked by the PCUSA’s Israel Palestine Mission Network) has divined the political tea leaves stirred by the South Carolina Republican presidential primary and announced who the results help: the Jooooooos:

Newt Gingrich is the current holder of the Republican crown. Saturday night, NBC projected Gingrich as the winner in the South Carolina Republican primary over his closet rival, Mitt Romney.

The race for an opponent to run against incumbent President Barack Obama is down to two candidates, a former House Speaker, and a former Governor.

That will come as a surprise to Rick Santorum and Ron Paul. Anyway, after some boilerplate political analysis, Wall gets to the subject that really animates him:

The early South Carolina primary was pivotal for Gingrich and a major setback for Romney. After losing in Iowa and New Hampshire, Gingrich appeared on his way out of politics. He was a distant second  in polls the week before the South Carolina voting. Republican big money was lining up behind Romney.

Money dried up for Gingrich. It certainly did not help that he is a candidate who carries some of the heaviest political baggage this country has seen in these quadrennial shifts in American political power,  three wives, admitted infidelities, two divorces, and an ethics charge that led to disciplinary action during his time as House speaker.

Gingrich was not giving up. He turned for help from one of the richest men in America, Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire casino owner and Mr. Gingrich’s longtime friend and patron. The two men share a politically conservative ideology and a deep loyalty to Israel.

And for the Israel-fixated Wall, who thinks that the “Israel lobby” (read: Jooooooos) run America, that’s all that really matters.

He then goes on to extensively quote a New York Times article on the Gingrich-Adelson connection (this from a newspaper that has virtually no interest in, for instance, the connection between Barack Obama and any of the big money men who will be raising close to a billion dollars for his 2012 campaign, and who have been involved in scandals from Solyndra to LightSquared to BrightSource). First, there’s this:

Mr. Adelson was building his newest resort casino, the Venetian, and became embroiled in a battle with a local culinary union trying to organize his employees. The conflict soured further when Adelson helped finance a campaign in Nevada to pass legislation curtailing the ability of labor unions to automatically deduct money from members to finance political activities.

Gingrich helped Adelson’s team develop an anti-union pitch in support of the Nevada legislation. Gingrich supported the legislation and was honored with a Nevada fund raiser. Gingrich and Adelson became fortuitous pals out of this initial anti-union campaign.

Most Americans would probably consider the idea that unions can take money from members without their consent to fund political activities of which those members disapprove to be more than a little unAmerican. But that’s only a lead-in to the real story:

Their friendship extended to their common support for Israel:

“Both men have long been staunch American allies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. Mr. Adelson owns a free daily newspaper in Israel [Israel Hayom] that is credited with helping Mr. Netanyahu return to power in 2009.

“In May 2010, the cover of a special section of the paper featured a full-page photograph of Mr. Gingrich in front of an American flag, with Mr. Gingrich criticizing the Obama administration for not moving more aggressively against Iran’s nuclear ambitions.”

After Obama’s election, the bond that centered on Israel grew deeper. In an interview he gave in December, 2011, Gingrich declared “that Palestinians are an “invented” people — meaning they had no historical claim to have their own state and that they remain committed to destroying Israel.

Mr. Adelson endorsed Gingrich’s comments a few days later in an interview withHaaretz, an Israeli newspaper in which he declared: “Read the history of those who call themselves Palestinians, and you will hear why Gingrich said recently that the Palestinians are an invented people.”

Adelson is the money man; Gingrich the political leader.  Together, once they get past Mitt Romney, they plan to confront Barack Obama in November about his failure  to provide Israel 100% support.

Calling the Palestinians an “invented people” may have been a less than artful way of expressing the truth, but there’s little doubt that Gingrich is correct on the substance, which is why people like Wall have not bothered trying to refute him and instead engaged in character assassination. But of course the real point is that Wall’s weaving a classic anti-Semitic conspiracy theory: Adelson is the Jewish money man, controlling the politician who will do his bidding, and who apparently all by himself buy the politician a presidential nomination for the purpose of giving blind and total support to the Jewish state. And in Wall’s reading, it’s a good thing all that Jewish money turned up in South Carolina:

The South Carolina primary was his last chance. Fortunately for him, Adelson’s PAC money, and a majority of South Carolina Republican voters combined to hand the former Speaker a significant victory.

Leave aside the fact that virtually all observers have credited Gingrich’s debate performances over the last week before the voting for his victory. Instead, note that Mitt Romney and his supporting super PAC outspent Gingrich and his by more than 2-1. That Jewish money is magic, my friends.

Gingrich has once again proven that he is a politician who is smart, tough and attuned to the conservative political pulse, especially in a state like South Carolina, where loyalty to Israel has become a conservative Protestant White Christian biblical belief.

Voters, who once could not find Israel on a world map, have found Israel in their Bibles. This is not a group that will embrace Barack Obama’s reelection. They will go with whatever candidate the Republican Party hands them. Gingrich is, at the moment, that candidate.

Of course, no screed about the power of the Joooooos would be complete without some snide cracks about their willing stooges, the Christian Right. The fact that exit poll information indicated that voters primary concerns were about jobs, the economy, the federal debt, government spending, and defeating Barack Obama in November. If white evangelicals are involved, they must have voted the way they did because of Israel.

Israel supporters form narrow, but strategically located voter blocs, dependable, to be sure, though not yet a national majority. But Gingrich is adaptable and shifty in a political fight. His next primary comes in Florida, January 31, where two dependable voter blocs should help him repeat the South Carolina pattern, once again overlooking his past sins and embracing his devotion to Israel and political conservatism.

The two voting groups in Florida are ethnic Jewish voters who live in the southern part of the state, and conservative biblical literalist Protestant White Christians in the middle and northern sections of the state.

And here’s where it’s clear that what’s operating in Wall’s paranoid fantasy is not merely anti-Israelism, but anti-Semitism. See, those “ethnic Jewish voters” who live in South Florida, who can be counted upon to “embrace his devotion to Israel,” are overwhelmingly Democrats, and Florida has a closed primary. Even in the general election, most Jews (my guess would be 75% or more) would no more vote for Newt Gingrich than they would try to make latkes out of pig’s feet. But in Wall’s world, Jews are not overwhelmingly reliable Democratic voters, they are Mossad robots who will automatically vote for whoever the Jewish money men tell them to vote for.

This is what happens when an anti-Semite tries his hand at political analysis: it becomes all about the Jooooooos. And yes, the IMPN has already linked to it.


Christian Century contributing editor James M. Wall, writing in the Palestinian propaganda outlet Electronic Intifada, lets his inner anti-Semite hang out:

Why does this wanton destruction of private Palestinian homes continue unabated? The answer is simple: Israel controls the narrative that justifies its conduct by reporting the demolition of a Palestinian home as a “necessary step” for the “security” and well-being of Israel. The Israeli narrative keeps the Western world locked into a permanent state of ignorance, following the pattern of previous Western colonial invaders and occupiers.

Despite being long retired, Wall sounds like he just stepped out of an undergraduate Middle East Studies course. Terminology aside, there more than a suggestion of the paranoid anti-Semite’s belief that Jews control the world, the media, the U.S., whatever. I’m not sure how one can say that “Israel controls the narrative” when it is the regular object of condemnation by the United Nations, the UN Human Rights Council, and various other international organizations for a multitude of actions that are SOP for dozens of nations that never hear a peep out of said organizations (or Wall and his religious left buddies), but that’s paranoia for you.

The Israeli narrative, carefully honed by Israel well before Israel’s 1947-48 war of conquest, has skillfully made the case that Israel is a state whose inhabitants deserve their own state as victims of oppression and genocide. They chose the ancient biblical lands of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) on the grounds that the land was “given to them” by Yahweh (the Hebrew word for God).

So let me get this straight: Israel has been “honing the narrative” since “well before” Israel came into existence? The superpowers of the Jooooos that people like Wall delusionally concoct never cease to amaze me.

Wall is apparently unaware of the Balfour Declaration (1917), in which the British government declared its support for a Jewish national homeland in Palestine, long before the Holocaust. And why did they “[choose] the ancient biblical lands of Judea and Samaria”? It couldn’t have anything to do with that being the ancestral home of the Jewish people could it? Or perhaps the fact that Jews had lived in that land for over 3000 years regardless of who the ruler was? Nah, they must have chosen it so they could kick around Arabs.

One other thing. Wall calls Israel’s War for Independence a “war of conquest.” This is revisionist history that only a Holocaust denier could love. Israel was established by UN action, which was ignored by five Arab nations that invaded Israel on the day it proclaimed its independence with the aim of destroying the new-born state and exterminating the Jews living in Palestine. Did Israel capture and annex territory that was not part of the original UN partition plan? Yes, not surprising given that the UN plan would have created a state that was totally indefensible (and despite that, Jewish leadership accepted said plan, while the Arab leadership unequivocally rejected it). The lands that people like Wall now refer to as the “Palestinian territories” (the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem) were not “conquered” by Israel, of course, but were taken over by Egypt and Jordan. If the Arabs had wanted to set up a Palestinian state, they could have at any time between 1948 and 1967. Wall must have been doing his Rip Van Winkle routine during those twenty years.

That narrative — mixing ancient biblical beliefs with modern political strategy — has so totally dominated the perspective of the Western world outside the Middle East, that it has emerged as the only view of reality known to the West. It is in this narrative that Israel is the “victim” and the Palestinian people are an enemy that seeks to drive Israelis “into the sea.”

Yeah, it’s a pity we never hear another perspective out of the mainstream media in the United States or anywhere else in the West (the UK’s Guardian newspaper, for instance, journalistic home of Robert Fisk, is actually a Mossad front operation, as is the New York Times, the Washington Post, heck, even the Christian Century, are nothing but shills for Likud). And I have no idea where anyone ever came up with the notion that any Palestinians want to destroy Israel and kill as many Jews as possible.

It has been Israel’s goal since it gained UN recognition as a state in 1949 to control this narrative and prevent any contrary narrative from obtaining a hearing. The occupation of the Palestinian people is sold to the West as a necessity. Palestinians in this narrative are perceived as a threat to the well being and security of all Israelis.

This is another one of those inexplicable things. I can’t imagine where anyone ever got the idea that the Palestinians were a “threat to the well being and security” of Israelis.

The large majority of Americans have accepted this narrative as the only available reality. They permit their government to function as a financial backer of Israel, and to politically support Israel in world forums. American politicians function within a bipartisan political operation which accepts and promotes the “Israel is a permanent victim” narrative. This narrative obscures the political reality that Israel serves as an important part of the American empire, which seeks to control the people of the Middle East through military power and political deceit.

And we know who controls America, right?

The Palestinian narrative traces its history through Arab history, from which Palestinians emerged as an important part of the Ottoman Empire. Following Arab support for the Western allies in their war in 1917-18 against Germany and Turkey, Palestinians were assured they would retain their homeland in their corner of the Ottoman Empire. The Palestinian narrative in the modern era emphasizes the Nakba(catastrophe), the ethnic cleansing that led to Israel’s establishment. That narrative has been denied a part in American discussions of the Middle East.

There’s a reason why the “Palestinian narrative traces its history through Arab history.” It’s because the Palestinians are Arabs. Under the Ottoman Empire, they were simply the Arabs who lived in Palestine. As for the “ethnic cleansing” that is now so much a part of the Nakba mythology, I suggest you take a look here for some information from contemporaneous sources about how the Palestinian refugee problem came about. Oh, and of course I’d also point out that if the Jews intended to engage in “ethnic cleansing,” they should fire their maid, since they left most of the cleansees within the borders of the new state. One also wonders why neither Wall nor any other Palestinian apologist ever–I mean, ever–mentions that there were over 17,000 Jewish refugees who were expelled from Jordanian controlled areas of the West Bank. They didn’t remain refugees long, of course, because Israel took them in, unlike the Arab nations and the Palestinian Authority, which to this day use the Palestinian refugees as political pawns in their fight against Israel.

It is the Israeli narrative that enables Israel to be an important American ally in the Middle East. That narrative saturates American society through the media, the economy, political structures, nongovernmental institutions involved in education and religious groups.

All that’s missing here is the assertion that this is because the Jooooos control all of these American institutions. Oh, wait.

Wall goes to talk about the Kairos Document, but I think I’m through with him for this outing.

James Wall, Christian Century contributing editor and friend of anti-Semites, again demonstrates the double standard that anti-Israel fanatics employ. It revolves around, of all things, swimming:

The New York Times‘ Ethan Bronner reports that West Bank Palestinian women and girls have again broken Israeli laws to go swimming in the Mediterranean Sea. This is Rosa Parks country, folks.

Did the women in question go from the West Bank to Gaza (in other words, from one Palestinian territory to another)? No. With the help of some seriously misguided Israelis, they went from the West Bank to Tel Aviv. That means it wasn’t “Rosa Parks country” at all. A better way to look at it is as “Sonora Desert country,” which is to say it more closely resembles the illegal traffic in Mexican nationals across the border with Arizona.

Bronner actually evoked Parks’ name in his report. Did his editors think we would not notice?

So an idiot New York Times reporter made a false comparison between Rosa Parks and those who have no consideration for the sovereign border of a neighboring country. Where’s the news in that?

Here is that connection: Rosa Parks deliberately violated an unjust Alabama segregation law. The Palestinian and Israeli women and girls who crossed the Israeli segregation border, broke Israeli laws.

So get this: Israeli control of its own borders, its exercise of its sovereign responsibility to regulate who does and does not enter its country, now constitutes “segregation.”

Palestinians living a few miles from the coast reach adulthood without ever seeing or entering the Mediterranean Sea because they live behind a barrier of an occupation of their land that is illegal under international law.

If there was no Israeli presence on the West Bank whatsoever, Palestinians would still have no right to cross Israel in order to get to the sea. That’s what happens when you don’t have a seacoast, which presumably Wall wants Israel to give to the Palestinians in the West Bank. The separation fence between Israel and the West Bank that has been so successful in stopping terrorist attacks plays no role at all in preventing West Bankers from getting to the Med.

Next up: The September United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York City, where the Palestinian Authority will formally request UN membership, and quite possibly, full statehood status.  The first step will be a request to the Security Council, which has a membership of 15. It is in this body that, even if the PA obtains the necessary majority of 8 votes, the US has announced that it will cast yet another pro-Israel veto.

Wall, of course, supports this. He also supports the removal of all Jewish residents of the West Bank, which would make the latter as Judenrein as Gaza. So to summarize: Palestinians should be able to move freely in and out of the sovereign state of Israel whenever they wish. For Israel to deny Palestinians the freedom to do so constitutes “apartheid.” Palestinians should be given their own sovereign state, in which no Jews should be allowed to live. To do so is right and just.

In the mind of an anti-Semite, perhaps.

UPDATE: Ricki Hollander and Gilead Ini, writing for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), take apart the article on which Wall hangs his hat:

The article alternates between the group’s shrill criticism of Israel’s security policy and its members’ ludicrous moral preening, interspersed with mawkish descriptions of the Palestinian women’s innocent joy after a life of alleged privations….

It is not only the extreme words of the group that is disturbing; it is that they put out false information, and that the reporter does not bother to challenge it. An Israeli newspaper advertisement by the group is quoted extensively. (In Israel, the group has to pay for such advertising. The New York Times gives it to them here for free.) The ad alleges that Israel’s Law of Entry “allows every Israeli and every Jew to move freely in all regions between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River while depriving Palestinians of this same right.”

In fact, the law says no such thing. Current restrictions on freedom of movement apply both to Palestinians and Israeli Jews and are a direct result of the security threat presented to Israel and Israeli citizens. Both Palestinians and Israelis had complete freedom of movement “between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River” until after the first intifada, when Palestinian violence against Israelis began to rise. Today, Israeli Jews are barred from entering Palestinian Authority-controlled areas of the West Bank, while Palestinians are issued permits to cross Israel’s pre-67 boundaries. So the advertisement is simply false.

Read it all.


At his blog “Wallwritings,” Christian Century contributing editor James Wall continues his descent into anti-Semitic paranoia in his latest screed entitled “Why Was This Man Standing At A Podium Before the US Congress?” In it, he rants about the supposed control of the United States government by Israel, and offers some whoppers along the way:

This picture of Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu laying down the law to the US Congress is not just a portent of things to come. It is, in fact, a portrait of who really runs US foreign policy.

While many Americans were watching Oprah or worrying about steroids ruining baseball, Israel assumed control of our government. The picture (above) of Bibi lecturing Congress was orchestrated by Republican House Speaker John Boehner with the help of all those other Zionist politicians we elected to office in campaigns financed by the Israel Lobby.

It’s certainly true that Boehner would have had to agree to have Netanyahu address a joint session, just as he does when any foreign leader addresses such a session. Back in March, Prime Minister Julia Gillard of Australia did so. Does that mean that Australia runs U.S. foreign policy in the South Pacific? Of course not. But that’s why Wall uses sinister-sounding words and expressions like “orchestrated,” “Zionist politicians,” and “campaigns financed by the Israel Lobby” (that last being especially laughable, considering that the biggest givers to last year’s congressional candidates were labor unions).

In case you were watching American Idol during the speech, you should know that this intruder to the podium of our Congress was actually cheered when he asserted that:

There is no occupation of Palestinian land because “in Judea and Samaria [better known except to biblical literalists, as the West Bank], Israelis are not foreign occupiers”. They are, Bibi obviously wants us to believe, the native inhabitants.

Wall sneers at Netanyahu’s statement at the same time that he misquotes it. This is what the Israeli Prime Minister actually said:

Now, this is not easy for me. It’s not easy, because I recognize that in a genuine peace, we’ll be required to give up parts of the ancestral Jewish homeland. And you have to understand this: In Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers.

We’re not the British in India. We’re not the Belgians in the Congo. This is the land of our forefathers, the land of Israel, to which Abraham brought the idea of one god, where David set out to confront Goliath, and where Isaiah saw his vision of eternal peace. No distortion of history — and boy am I reading a lot of distortions of history lately, old and new — no distortion of history could deny the 4,000-year-old bond between the Jewish people and the Jewish land.

Unless Wall buys into the anti-Semitic trope that most modern Jews aren’t really descendants of ancient Israel (they’re supposed to instead be the descendants of a Turkic people called the Khazars), or believes that the Old Testament history is a fabrication to create an ancient Jewish connection to the West Bank, then his rejection of Netanyahu’s argument is simply incomprehensible. And the stupidest thing is that the PM offers this defense of Jewish connection to the West Bank in the context of a recognition that the Palestinians “should enjoy a national life of dignity as a free, viable and independent people living in their own state.” But when the anti-Semite is convinced of some Jewish evil, nothing–not truth, not reality, not even correct quotations–will stand in their way. Wall goes on:

Would that explain Israel’s building of that Great Wall to separate Israel Proper from the land of Judea and Samaria? That wall looks biblical. Bibi cited Abraham in his speech to the Congress as a rationale for Israel’s claim on occupied land. Could that Wall come tumbling down with a few well placed toots on a horn?

I have no idea what he’s talking about, but to answer his question: it is terrorism, plain and simple, that explains the building of a separation barrier. It’s prevented terrorist infiltration into Israel, and reduced Israeli casualties from terrorism by 95%. I’m sure he’s terribly disappointed by that.

The sight of a right-wing Zionist leader standing at the podium normally reserved for American presidents, and harshly repudiating the current president, was sad in the extreme.

Of course, we all know that conservative Israelis have no place “standing at the podium normally reserved for American presidents.” It is true that over the last ten years Congress has been addressed from the “podium normally reserved for American presidents” by the presidents of Mexico, France, Latvia, Liberia, Ukraine, Afghanistan, and Spain, the prime ministers of Australia, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Iraq, Italy, and India, as well as the King of Jordan. The “right-wing Zionist leader” of one of America’s strongest allies, however, has no place there.

Wall then rambles on about a book of revisionist Israeli history he’s read, and then comes back to the theme of Israeli control of America:

Of course, since Bibi is not a native-born American citizen, he cannot be elected president of the United States. But there are a few notable candidates from both American political parties ready to swear their dual allegiance to the US and Israel and run for the office of the Leader of the Free World.

There is Sarah Palin, who is easily manipulated by advisors. She loves Israel. And there is a more serious Democratic candidate, the newly-elected Mayor of Chicago, a fellow named Rahm Emanuel, whose parents are native-born Israelis. Emanuel, himself, has a American birth certificate, so he is good to go in 2016.

Rahm Emanuel, the most unlikable man in American politics, is going to run for president? In what alternate reality?

I ran across Emanuel one day in Washington while he was still President Obama’s chief of staff. I was walking on the north side of the White House, going to meet my brother, when I spotted Emanuel coming the other way. Being the good citizen that I am, I looked at him, smiled, and nodded. He glared at me with an expression that said, “who gave you permission to walk past my place of business?” At that moment, I realized that there is one place, and one place only, where a guy like Rahm Emanuel could run for public office and win, and that’s Chicago. There is less likelihood of Rahm Emanuel running for president, and far less likelihood of him winning, than Oprah Winfrey.

James Wall, however,  has convinced himself that, since the Israelis would love to see one of their own in the big chair, it just might come to pass because of the almighty influence of the Israel Lobby:

[A recent Emanuel column in the Washington Post] will serve as a reminder to those generous donors who share his love for Israel. Those names are, no doubt, nestled safely in Emanuel’s Blackberry. It was in 1983 that I first saw an early version of those names. Rahm kept them in an ancient device we called the Rolodex.

At the time, I was Paul Simon’s campaign manager in his first US Senate primary race.  Rahm was our campaign’s resident AIPAC representative, paid, not by AIPAC (which, as a non-profit organization, does not make direct financial political contributions) nor by the Simon campaign, since I had refused to authorize payment, but by some of those generous donors whose names were in that Rolodex.

And now, just think, the journey that started in the Simon 1983-84 campaign office, could finally end with Rahm Emanuel standing where Bibi Netanyahu stood during the 2011 surrender ceremonies.  Ain’t history grand?

Ain’t bigotry and paranoia ugly?


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