It’s not really surprising, certainly, but it sounds like the World Council of Churches is taking, or at least seeking advice, on its course of action in the Middle East from the most radical elements of the anti-Israel American left. During “United Nations Advocacy Week” in Geneva recently, David Wildman, executive secretary for Human Rights and Racial Justice, general board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church, called for a boycott of Israel and divestment from companies that deal with Israel:

Ending Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories with boycott and divestment would be like “snails confronting a tsunami,” David Wildman, executive secretary for Human Rights and Racial Justice, general board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church in the United States, said last week during the United Nations Advocacy Week organized by the World Council of Churches in Geneva.

Wildman made the comment while speaking in an Advocacy Week session on Israel-Palestine dealing with “Strategies for ending Israeli occupation”.

“Justice work means praying with our feet and raising our voices in public confrontation with unjust authorities,” he said, citing how the Presbyterian Church (USA) took on Caterpillar, Citigroup, ITTI Industries, Motorola and United Technologies concerning investment in Israel in June 2004.

Yeah, that worked out real well for the PCUSA–as a result of widespread protests against a completely one-sided policy, charges of anti-Semitism, and a threat by Jewish leaders to terminate interfaith conversation, the 2006 PCUSA General Assembly had to repeal its previous actions. But Wildman, who sits (with Communist Party USA leader Judith LeBlanc) on the board of directors of the virtually anti-Semitic U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, wouldn’t care about what the peons in the pews think. As a bureaucrat at the GBGM, he is almost completely insulated from the unwashed masses who pay his salary.

But the statistics Wildman presented in his case for divestment were enormously challenging to the audience.

Ninety-nine percent of children killed in the Israel and Palestine conflict are Palestinians. They fell to US-supplied weapons, he said. “We, US tax payers, have invested in them.”

“So, indirectly, I am funding terrorist attacks on my siblings.”

“Challenging” is one word for it. “Deceptive” or “bloodthirtsty” would also be appropriate. Deceptive, because the figure he cites is almost certainly wrong, and dependent on accepting at face value and without evidence (in fact, frequently contrary to evidence) practically every single Palestinian claim ever made. Bloodthirsty, because it suggests that Wildman would be less inclined to complain about Palestinian deaths if there were an equal number of Israeli children killed. In any case, it ignores the biggest difference between Israelis and Palestinians: when Israelis kill children, it is either unintentional or the action of rogues such as those convicted of using a child as a human shield last week; when Palestinians do so, it is typically intentional.

Wildman also said Israel is using sophisticated machines made by Hewlett Packard (HP) for screening its gates, so “indirectly we are also supporting this systematic discrimination”.

“The United Methodist Church’s principles are simple. Figures tell us that 10 dollars per person in the US is spent on arms sales. In short, our 10 million church members alone are responsible for arms exports worth 100 million dollars. We have also invested in other companies. Hence, it is possible for us to use divestment as an economic tool to control Israel,” Wildman said.

“An economic tool to control Israel.” Translation: we can force Israel to commit suicide. The U.S. Campaign demands, among other things, that Israel give the “right of return” to every Palestinian who left in 1948, as well as all of their descendents. The result would be the end of Israel as a Jewish state, which would Wildman and his pals very happy. Alternately, it would make it impossible over time for Israel to defend itself, at which point not only would the state be destroyed, but millions of Jews would either be slaughtered or forced into another diaspora. Is it really any wonder that Jews and supporters of Israel think they are anti-Semitic?

This is the kind of person who helps direct the United Methodist Church in formulating its response to Middle East issues, and to whom the WCC is turning for direction as well. I don’t really expect this kind of ranting and raving to have much real world effect, but the WCC and UMC should give some thought to how this kind of stuff sounds to the people who pay their bills.