The National Executive Council of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship has just issued a fatwa against Israel that exposes the religious left at its most ridiculous. In the statement, the NEC said this:
In response to the ongoing cycle of violence – including Palestinian terrorist bombings and the well documented military and economic violence of the government of Israel against Palestinians – that undermines negotiations and hope for an enduring peace- The NEC of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, in support of the principles of the Kairos Palestinian Document 4.2.6. endorses the application of divestment and an economic and commercial boycott of products linked to oppression of Palestinian people and occupation of their land. As peacemakers committed to nonviolent resolution of deep-seated conflicts, the National Executive Council joins a growing number of international and religious partners, including Jewish, Muslim, and Christian voices, who believe that economic sanctions can inspire a more useful dialog and negotiation towards a just and lasting peace in the Middle East. Respect for the dignity of every human being, alongside a vision to put aside the violence of terrorism, oppression and military force is key to moving negotiations forward for a lasting peace for all involved.
So, their response to the “ongoing cycle of violence–including Palestinian terrorist bombings” is to seek sanctions and divestment from Israel! That will show those horrible Hamas and Islamic Jihad bombers that we mean business!
This is the same Episcopal organization that, in February, called “upon Obama and Congress to press Israel to end the blockade of the Gaza Strip” (ignoring the Egyptian blockade on same), which just happens to be the staging ground for the bombings (and shelling) to which they supposedly object. The primary reason for the blockade is to stanch the flow of weapons to Hamas, particularly from Iran and Syria, both of which have tried to run the blockade to give Hamas the tools to kill more Israeli civilians. Yet there is virtually no mention of specific terrorist groups on the EPF web site, no calls to those groups to stop killing civilians, no call for them to recognize Israel’s right to exist.
Even the liberal Bishop John Chane of Washington thinks the EPF is barking up the wrong tree, telling the Episcopal News Service that their proposals for boycott and divestment is “flawed and dangerously unhelpful at this particular time in history.”
To all evidence, the EPF–at least in its leadership–isn’t actually interested in a fair and just solution to the conflict in the Holy Land. Its leaders are anti-Zionists who want to see Israel punished (and perhaps destroyed), who couldn’t actually care less about Palestinian terrorism, and who should forfeit whatever influence they have over the Episcopal Church’s Middle East policy.
Not that anyone in the real world cares, of course.
UPDATE: I forgot to mention that the chair of the NEC, Linda Gaither, put out a separate set of comments on the statement. Her comments amounted to a call for Jews to drop dead:
The NEC considered the concerns of Jewish leaders, such as the Council of Rabbis (Reformed), that the Kairos Document’s theology and call for divestment, boycott and economic sanctions are anti-Jewish, extending the arc of the long tradition of Christian anti-Semitism. In light of that history, this concern is something that must be taken very seriously….
The NEC considered the effect that support for divestment, boycott and economic sanctions may have on relationships that the Episcopal Church has built up through interreligious dialogue….
This is the context for the NEC’s May 5 Statement and our belief that economic sanctions, applied at just this critical and fragile moment, can inspire a more useful dialogue and negotiation towards a just and lasting peace.
UPDATE: In the comments, Jeff Walton of the Institute on Religion and Democracy points out an interesting connection: one of the members of the NEC is Tim Yeager, who is identified this way by the blog New Zeal:
Tim Yeager is a member of Grace Church in Oak Park, Illinois, where he serves as assistant organist. Tim is the Chair of the Peace & Justice Committee of the Diocese of Chicago and has served in the national leadership of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship.
Tim is a long time Communist Party USA member and works as Financial Secretary/Treasurer of the National Organization of Legal Services Workers, United Auto Workers, Local Union 2320, which represents nearly 4,000 lawyers, support staff, social workers and other employees working in legal and human services agencies across the country.
Tim serves as the Communist Party USA Religion Commission Chairperson.
Big surprise, huh?