As one of the “ecumenical greeters” at the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly this morning, Rabbi Gil Rosenthal of the National Council of Synagogues took the opportunity to warn the Presbys that they were endangering ecumenical relationships if they plunged ahead on divestment. The Layman Online reports:
“It will embattle Israel and embolden those who would like to delegitimize it and destroy it,” Rosenthal said, adding, “Make no mistake that is the goal of many in that region,” referring to a passage from the Hamas Charter that states, “We want to destroy the Zionist entity.”
He could also have been speaking of the PCUSA’s Israel Palestine Mission Network, which has the same goal.
Rosenthal said that, like Presbyterians, there are many things that both unite and divide Jews. However, he added, that the vast majority share a “devotion to and love for the state of Israel and concern for its safety” in a dangerous time. He also added that most Jews favor a two-state option for Israel and Palestine.
Most Jews do. Not the ones that the GA’s Middle East Committee has been listening to, and that the denominational leadership support, but most. The latter have an almost pathological hatred of the Jewish state, and have been doing everything in their power to get the General Assembly to validate their hate, as Viola Larson documents in her blog post “The 220th GA’s Middle East and Peacemaking Issues committee and too many controls” this morning.
Rather than being the only mainline church to support divestment, Rosenthal instead encouraged the PCUSA to “encourage both parties to come to the table and work hard.”
“People who don’t speak to one another, do unspeakable things to one another,” he said.
Rosenthal urged commissioners to follow Isaiah 1:18 as the divestment overture comes to the floor: “Come now and let us reason together.”
“I fear sincerely that divestment would cast a pall and fracture relationships — perhaps irreparably [between Jews and the PCUSA],” Rosenthal warned.
“Do not undo all we have accomplished so beautifully together,” he added.
One tweeter, in response to Rabbi Rosenthal, wrote, “Can scarcely believe the disrespectful use of an interfaith greeting to lobby on an issue pending in today’s business.” Yeah, that really was rude of him. How dare he address the single biggest issue threatening to fracture Jewish-PCUSA relations! He should have done in the committee meeting, like all the anti-Israel activists, and on the #ga220 Twitter feed, which has nearly as many anti-Israel tweets on it as it does stuff about the Assembly. How dare he speak truth to power in a setting where the power actually has to listen to him!