The Presbyterian Church (USA), which has lost approximately 1 million members over the past 25 years, is preparing to debate a number of resolutions regarding Israeli policies at the church’s upcoming General Assembly. One resolution calls for the church to convict Israel of the crime of “apartheid” while others call on the church to rebuke Caterpillar for continuing to sell products to Israel.
The information delegates will use to inform their decision comes from a number of sources which ominously enough, have exhibited a troubling hostility toward Israel. For example, the Israel/Palestine Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA), has hosted a blog which linked to an obviously anti-Semitic video titled “I AM ISRAEL” that accused Israel of controlling American foreign policy.
While IPMN’s website attracted some negative attention to the PC(USA), it will soon become a sideshow to another controversy after the publication of a lengthy report by the denomination’s Middle East Study Committee, created by a vote of the General Assembly in 2008.
This report, which includes a historical analysis that demonizes Zionism, omits important information about Arab violence against Jews in the first half of the 20th century also includes a letter to American Jews that seeks to undermine the legitimacy of mainstream Jewish leaders in the U.S.
Jewish leaders in the U.S. have responded with anger, as have some members of the denomination. Below is a roundup of useful links relating to the PC(USA)’s deliberations.
Breaking Down the Walls: Report of the Middle East Study Committee to the 219th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA). March 5, 2010. This is the full report. Smaller sections of the report can be found here.
“Presbyterian report affirms Israel’s right to exist, criticizes occupation of Palestinian lands,” Courier-Journal.com (Louisville), March 5, 2010.
“Jewish Group: PC(USA)’s Israel Proposals Will Damage Relations,” Christian Post, Feb. 23, 2010.
“An unholy campaign: Presbyterian Church elders are poised to defame Israel,” New York Daily News, March 7, 2010.
“Gearing Up for Another Season of Anti-Zionism in the PC(USA),” Snapshots, (CAMERA’s blog), Feb. 20 2010.
“Middle East study team nears release of its final report,” Presbyterian News Service, Feb. 2, 2009. This article, published before the report was released, provides interesting detail about the committee’s deliberations regarding Israel’s right to exist.
Readers should also visit Viola Larson’s blog, “Naming His Grace.” Larson has numerous posts related to the PC(USA)’s stance on Israel. She has addressed the issue here, here and here. (There are numerous posts on this issue at this blog.)
For historical background about the PC(USA)’s animus toward Israel, read “Pride and Prejudice: The Presbyterian Divestment Story,” by Will Spotts, a former member of the PC(USA). Spotts left the denomination in part because of the church’s animus toward Israel.
Numerous CAMERA articles about the PC(USA) can be found here.