The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, the preeminent voice of Conservative Jews in America, has put out a scathing reply to the PCUSA’s Middle East Study Committee‘s one-sided and distorted report. The report is reflective of the fact that the committee was made up almost entirely of people known to be virulently hostile to Israel, and whose “research” involved talking to people who were anti-Israel in a ratio of at least 10 to 1. That being the case, the United Synagogue’s list of criticisms probably shouldn’t surprise anyone:
- The MESC speaks down to the Jewish community, admonishing mainstream Jewish groups to “catch up” to fringe groups, including one, Jewish Voices for Peace, that doesn’t endorse a two-state solution and that welcomes anti-Zionist Jews. This is a profound insult.
- The MESC embraces a disturbing theology that negates the use of any biblical claim to justify the modern state of Israel, but conflates biblical and modern Israel to demand that the modern state meet biblical standards.
- The MESC is an apologia for terror, blaming Israel for the violence it endures. There is a complete failure to address pre-occupation Arab and Palestinian violence, rejectionism, and aggression. The report says: “If there were no occupation, there would be no Palestinian resistance. If there was no Palestinian resistance, Israelis could live in peace and security.”
- The MESC describes Israel’s and Iran’s nuclear capabilities as equally threatening to world peace. After discussing Iran’s nuclear program, the report continues: “…an equal concern is the number of nuclear warheads that Israel currently stockpiles and thus the growing sense of Iranian vulnerability and insecurity. While Israel will not confirm its possession of nuclear weapons or the number held, it is generally agreed that Israel has stockpiled close to 100 nuclear weapons.”
- The MESC misrepresents Jewish history: “to state that present day Israelis are returning after two or three millennia to their ancestral home in Palestine and that they uniquely are the descendants of the Jews of Palestine is not supported by scientific evidence.”
- The MESC praises the virulently anti-Israel Kairos Palestinian document, ignoring its considerable anti-Israel content. The Kairos document employs retrograde theology that has been rejected by most Christians as supercessionist. It refers to Palestinian terror as “legal resistance,” and calls for boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.
- The MESC risks harming America’s ally Israel by calling on the United States government to consider withholding aid. It calls on the U.S. to exercise influence and possibly withhold aid to “bring Israel to compliance with international law and peacemaking efforts.” No similar condition is placed on Palestinian aid.
- The MESC describes Israel as the major impediment to peace while justifying the opposition of the Palestinians to the existence of the State of Israel that preceded the post 1967 settlements. “…the major issue for a just peace is the continued occupation that has been ongoing for the past forty-three years”.
- The MESC furthers the toxic BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement by criticizing and singling out the Caterpillar Company for selling to its dealers in Israel. The document presses Caterpillar to review carefully its position as an obstacle to a just and lasting peace in Israel-Palestine and to take affirmative steps to end its complicity in the violation of human rights. The Presbyterian Church is attempting to punish a company for refusing to participate in a boycott that the company has been advised would be illegal.
One can disagree with any or all of the particular criticisms in this list (I happen to think they are right on target), but the salient point for the PCUSA to consider is this: the denomination has already taken actions several times in the last decade that have threatened to unravel all the gains made in Jewish-Presbyterian relations. Does the General Assembly really want to destroy that progress, based on its acceptance of a report–perceived by many American Jewish leaders as anti-Zionist if not tainted by anti-Semitism–that will make no difference in the real world anyway?
(Via Layman Online.)