The PCUSA General Assembly Twitter feed has reported that the Assembly has passed the amended Middle East Study Committee report, “Breaking Down the Walls,” by a vote of 558-119. The amendments, which were all to the recommendations rather than the report itself, made it somewhat more palatable. Upon overnight reflection, I would still have voted against the report, since recommending such a one-sided document for study without countervailing resources is wrong and wrong-headed.
While I was writing this, the assembly passed two more Middle East-related overtures. One of them, from the Presbytery of Chicago, reads thus:
1. Express its enduring and heartfelt commitment to security, justice and lasting peace for the Israeli and Palestinian peoples.
2. Express its support for the U.S. government policy of carefully vetting the funds distributed to foreign countries in ways that ensure peaceful development and are consistent with international law, human rights protections, and U.S. foreign policy, namely:
a. the US Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 which prohibits giving assistance to the government of any country which engages in a consistent pattern of human rights violations;
b. the U.S. Arms Export Control Act of 1976 which prohibits using U.S. weapons against civilians and civilian infrastructure, and
c. the U.S. foreign policy insofar as it pertains to recommendations for steps toward peace, in this instance, between Israelis and Palestinians.
3. Call for the allocation of U.S. military aid funds to be contingent on compliance with the above-mentioned statutes and/or to the peace process.
4. Express its extreme disappointment with the U.S. government that while the State of Israel has been found not to comply with the above statutes, it continues to be the recipient of U.S. military aid.
5. Direct the Stated Clerk of the PC(USA) to communicate these recommendations to all members of the U.S. Congress, in particular the chairs of the Foreign Relations Committees for the House and Senate and to all appropriate members of the U.S. administration, including the president, vice-president, secretary of wtate and secretary of defense.
This is yet another instance of the one-sidedness of the PCUSA on Middle East matters, and sounds like it comes straight from the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, an organization whose talking points this echoes and one which has never uttered a discouraging word regarding any form of Palestinian terrorism.
Do the Israeli armed forces do stuff that we would rather they not? Sometimes. Some of those things may even rise to the level of human rights violations, though when they do, they are the result of individual actions or individual unit actions. As a force, the IDF takes greater care to protect civilians amidst military operations than just about any such force anywhere in the world. Yet despite the protestations that it supports Israel’s right to exist, the PCUSA continues to consistently oppose pretty much anything that would enable Israel to defend itself.
This particular item, yet another spasm of anti-Israel expression, passed the Assembly without debate and on a voice vote. Pathetic.