My friend Viola Larson has written to Carol Hylkema, the moderator of the PCUSA’s Israel Palestine Mission Network, to raise questions regarding the links IPMN has given to Veterans Today and James Wall. Her answer amounts to “ain’t nobody here but us pure-as-the-driven-snow activists”:
Thank you for your letter expressing your concern regarding our network’s endorsement of James Wall and his writings. From where we stand, James Wall is a beacon of light in a place where debate has produced more heat than light.
Mr. Wall’s reference to other writers are his choice, not ours to make. As far as your concern on articles not referenced by James Wall that appear on a website that he has referenced, we feel uncomfortable practicing guilt by association. The Israel Palestine Mission Network never condones anti-Semitism and does not believe that James Wall is anti-Semitic. His record of speaking out against racism and human rights violations in the world speaks for itself and we support his work in this regard.
Hylkema, like Wall himself, tries to play the “guilt by association” card, thinking that that ends the discussion. The problem is that she doesn’t understand what the term means. The issue with Wall isn’t that two odious web sites happen to take blog posts of his and use them for their own purposes. The problem is that he is tightly connected to the sites in question. He’s a contributing writer for My Catbird Seat, and has publicly embraced Veterans Today in his last post, despite the fact that VT’s articles on the Middle East are full of Jewish conspiracy theories, anti-Israel propaganda, and outright anti-Semitism.
If the IPMN actually refused to condone anti-Semitism, it wouldn’t be linking to Veterans Today articles or to the articles by those who embrace it. But I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for anyone from IPMN to recognize that.