Presbyterians, BDS and Israel — here we go again

bdsBy Noam E. Marans

NEW YORK (JTA) — In the charming movie “Groundhog Day,” Bill Murray’s character repeatedly relives the same day until learning from the repetition transforms him from lout to worthy wooer of his colleague, played by Andie MacDowell.

The “Groundhog Day” of Presbyterian-Jewish relations is coming soon to a theater near you, but if we do not fully engage the issue, a Hollywood ending is unlikely.

The biennial General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has regularly included an unhealthy confrontation between pro- and anti-Israel voices. This struggle is out of sync with the norms of American interreligious comity.

For the sixth time since 2004 — this time in Detroit on June 14-21 — a minority within the denomination will attempt to convince fellow Presbyterians that Israeli-Palestinian peace can be encouraged by anti-Israel resolutions, divestment from companies doing business with Israel, boycott of Israeli products produced in the territories, labeling Israel an apartheid state and replacing church support for a two-state solution with a one-state vision signifying the end of Israel as a Jewish state.

In 2012, at the last biennial, a divestment proposal was narrowly defeated by only two votes out of 664 cast. Despite multiple defeats, divestment supporters have not given up. They are back with new tactics.


Comments 3

  • Peter,
    I think you’ve got it backwards. No one’s pushing Israel into the sea. In fact just the opposite. 2 Samuel 5:11: “And Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, and carpenters, and masons: and they built David an house.” The people by the sea, those in Tyre – the last thing they wanted was a Jewish presence. So they sent rafts with wood and carpenters to build David a house in Jerusalem. Jonah 2:10: “And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.” If the Palestinians had any food in their bellies, they’d also express their disillusionment with the chosen people by vomiting.

  • Let’s call the PCUSA for what it is at its core, an anti-Semitic organization with tax exempt status. And that is not a wild statement. The machinery, resources, works, money, process, orientation, history of the organization is designed for one purpose, the demonization of Israel as a nation-state, and by extension Jews, for the simple fact they are Jews who happen to live in a nation-state called Israel. Also the tarring of any body, or group that stands opposed to its BDS dogma and doctrine. Take the hypothetical, null-hypothis. If Islamists or Palestinians
    were by process pushing the Jews once again into the sea, or putting them in refuge camps, what would the PCUSA do or say?’ I can hear the crickets now.

    Case closed.

  • From the New York Times, June 6, 2014, page A7 “Israel Expands Settlements to Rebuke Palestinians”:
    “Israel said it is going ahead with the planning and construction of hundreds of settlements… By presenting the new building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem as a punishment … of the Palestinians … Israel set itself further apart from international consensus… Israel’s housing minister, Uri Ariel … call(ed) them ‘an appropriate Zionist response to the establishment of the Palestinian terror government.”

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