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PCUSA Tempted to Divest from Israel

The church's leadership takes a pro-Palestinian stance.

12:00 AM, Mar 4, 2010 • By ALAN F.H. WISDOM
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“The injustice against the Palestinian people which is the Israeli occupation, is an evil that must be resisted,” according to this document proposed for PCUSA approval. “Kairos Palestine” argues for non-violent measures such as an international “system of economic sanctions and boycott to be applied against Israel.” At the same time, it seems to justify violence: “Yes, there is Palestinian resistance to the occupation. However, if there were no occupation, there would be no resistance, no fear and no insecurity.” The manifesto refers to Palestinian “terrorism” in sneer quotes, as if to doubt the existence of the phenomenon.

Even before its release, this PCUSA report is stirring up a storm. The Simon Wiesenthal Center sent out an e-blast predicting that both Jews and many Presbyterians would be outraged. “PCUSA has some of the staunchest supporters of Israel in its ranks,” declared Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein of the Wiesenthal Center. “They are as frustrated as we are that their church leadership team spends so much energy on the Arab/Israeli conflict where there are relatively few Presbyterians who live in either Israel or the disputed territories, and spends too little energy on major human rights issues impacting Christians and Presbyterians who live in Muslim countries, China, and North Korea.”

Alan F.H. Wisdom is vice president of the Institute on Religion & Democracy and director of Presbyterian Action.

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