Should anyone doubt the continued hostility of the Presbyterian Church (USA) to Israel, one need look no farther than its so-called “Middle East Monitoring Group.” The majority of its members are hostile to Israel, making no pretense of balance or objectivity, preferring advocacy on behalf of the Palestinians.

One of the members of that group, the Rev. Ronald Shive of Burlington, N.C., was chair of the committee that brought forth the report “Bringing Down the Walls” that was only accepted by last summer’s General Assembly after significant amending to tone down what the Anti-Defamation League termed “offensive attacks on Judaism and Israel.” It appears that Shive is again flying his anti-Israel colors.

The Layman Online reports that Shive’s church this week hosted the odious Rev. Naim Ateek of the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem. According to Parker Williamson:

Ateek’s tale, similar to accounts recited by former PCUSA Moderator Fahed Abu Akel, was heart rending, and it evoked a sympathetic response from members of his North Carolina audience. Building on that sympathy, Ateek quickly called forth the Palestinian’s public policy agenda: force Israel to abandon its settlements, tear down the wall that Israel built to protect itself from suicide bombers and retreat from “occupied territory” to its 1947 borders.

I do hope that Williamson heard that wrong, and that Ateek actually said “1948.” A reference to 1947 could only mean that original UN partition plan, which would have left Israel in three pieces and guaranteed that it would not survive. But knowing Ateek, even that would have been a concession, as I show below.

Speaking of his childhood eviction [from Beth Shean], Ateek said, “We Palestinians were there before the British mandate [that carved out a homeland for the Jews]. Ateek’s unqualified statement gave the impression Jews were outsiders, imported to the region in 1947. But in response to a question from the audience, he admitted that “Jews were there before, but not during my childhood.”

Since he was born in 1937, I can’t imagine what this means, except that an active imagination is at work.

Williamson has more on Ateek’s presentation in Burlington. But I’d also like to draw your attention to an interview he did with a Norwegian publication, Norway Today, back in late October. Among the highlights:

Theological Ateek believes it is an important challenge for preachers to “de-sionisere” [de-Zionize-DF] Bible.

Since Israel was created, many people worldwide used the Bible as a Zionist document to support the creation of the state, and Israel’s policy and requirements. “I do not think is the right interpretation of the texts, “said Ateek. He argues that the Bible’s true message is different from what is written literally, and that Christians must not be “caught in texts from the Old Testament.” …

Ateek live in Jerusalem, and Israeli citizen. From there he uses his democratic right to argue that the country of his nationality, should never have been created.

“Israel began its existence on Palestinian ash. The world should not have allowed Israel to exist,” he said.

Ateek do not mean that Israel should be erased now, but he justifies Israel’s right to existence only that it would not be possible to achieve peace. He did not mean Israel has no right to remain a Jewish state, because he perceives this as by definition racist.

Google’s translation from Norwegian appears problematic in several places, and I think that last should actually read, “He meant that Israel has no right to remain a Jewish state, because he perceives this as by definition racist.”

So what we have in Naim Ateek is an Episcopal priest who says that Israel should never have existed, and that if it is to continue to exist it should only be as a multi-cultural state that ceases to be Jewish in character. He says this after making clear that Palestinians should have their own state, and that Jews (namely, those living in the settlements) have no business remaining in the West Bank.

I don’t know whether he said any of what he said to Norway Today in Burlington, but it doesn’t matter, because his views are well known and on display at the Sabeel web site. Ateek is a hero to the Israel haters in the mainline American churches, including, obviously, one of the members of the PCUSA’s “Middle East Monitoring Group.” Any questions?

(Norway Today article via CAMERA.)