Five Members of Interfaith Group, Including Former PCUSA Moderator, Barred from boarding plane for Israel


(By Rick Jones, Presbyterian News Service).  The moderator of the 216th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) was among five interfaith leaders denied access to a passenger jet headed for Israel this week. Rick Ufford-Chase was part of an interfaith delegation of 23 Muslims, Jews and Christians boarding a Lufthansa Airlines jet at Washington Dulles International Airport that was bound for Israel on Sunday.

Rick Ufford-Chase

“All five of us are well-known for our commitment to nonviolent direct action on behalf of Palestinians living under the grinding daily reality of military occupation in Gaza and the West Bank,” Ufford-Chase said. “We suspect that we were the first to feel the impact of the Knesset’s recent declaration that they will deny entry for anyone who has supported nonviolent strategies to force Israel to end the occupation.”

Earlier this year, the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, made changes to the Law of Entry preventing leaders from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement from being allowed in the country. Israeli officials have said the entry ban is strictly for those who are involved with significant, ongoing actions to promote and advance a boycott in Israel.

The five who were barred were from the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, Jewish Voice for Peace and American Muslims for Palestine. Their plan was to join the larger interfaith group and visit with human rights activists in Israel and the West Bank.

“This was a delegation of humanitarian-rights advocates who are committed to work together with partners in the Middle East to bring an end to the lunacy of this seemingly never-ending conflict,” Ufford-Chase said. “In a week when violence has broken out once again in Jerusalem, it seems the height of irony that peace activists would be denied the ability to travel there at this moment in time.”

Ufford-Chase said Israel delegated responsibility for denying their entry to Lufthansa Airlines with “no explanation, no documentation of the request from Israeli authorities.”

Read more …

Related article: Presbyterian Official Denied Israel Entry amidst Divestment Tension, by Jeffrey Walton, Juicy Ecumenism



  1. REPLY
    peter gregory says

    Apart from the politics or ideology of the individuals and group involved, this episode does point to the utter incompetency, irrelevance, and ineffectiveness of the PCUSA, on both a national or global scale. In the BDS/antisemitic cul-de-sac the PCUSA has painted itself into, thanks primarily to the “peace” groups lead by the Mr. Chase, the PCUSA is now best thought of another domestic NGO of the political Left, on par with the BLM movement or other “resistance” mobs. All with very limited half-lives before they simply spin out of orbits into their own demise. I will point any to the current and past of the management and administration of the PCUSA/PMA owned Stony Point center in NY, under the leadership of the one highlighted. Tells you all need to know about the trajectory of this group and its more than expected outcome.

  2. REPLY
    Wendell Jones says

    I’m glad this BDS group was denied entry to Israel. BoycottDivestSanction is just a more sophisticated form of aggression against Israel while the BDS perpetrators clothe themselves in deceptive human rights garb. The Palestinians in Israel have more rights and freedom than those in the West Bank and much more than the citizens in dozens of Muslim countries in the Middle East and Africa.

  3. REPLY
    John says

    I don’t know which is more disappointing: the fact that this interfaith peace delegation was denied entry, or the two previous comments showing happiness that a peace delegation was denied entry. I would think we would all want peace in the region. We know there are many, both Israeli and Palestinian, who do not want peace, and I know this small group would not make much difference, but any little interfaith effort is a positive gesture.

  4. REPLY
    Charles McRaven says

    Good for Israel: this too-liberal, manufactured guilt trip our denomination is on must be brought under control if it is to survive. This part of it is thinly-disguised Jew-hating, against our spiritual ancestors.
    No wonder so many of us are leaving the tainted PCUSA fold.

  5. REPLY
    Claude Lumpkin says

    Given the overt hostility that PCUSA has demonstrated toward Israel, there is little wonder that a representative of the denomination would not be welcomed.

  6. REPLY
    MikeS says

    Instead of agitating in the Middle East, now maybe they can spend time thinking of ways to stop the dying of their denomination. (Hint: focus on religion, not political agitation).

  7. REPLY
    Lee says

    Their mission was (and still should be) to proclaim the Gospel for that it (or should have been) their calling. Instead these clowns want to work with non-believers to gains support against our only real ally in the Middle East. Shame to these people.

  8. REPLY
    Richard Willis says

    I to am glad they were refused!

  9. REPLY
    Connie Veldkamp says

    These five are human-rights advocates of the Palestinians, but not the Israelis.
    The BDS movement is one reason I had to leave the PCUSA denomination .

  10. REPLY
    peter gregory says

    This should surprise no one. All had long and extensive histories, some decades in the general BDS movements, some the aforementioned Mr. Chase, has a long and documented record making anti-Israeli statements, which is well understood in the Left as code for antisemitism.

    In essence for Mr. Chase, his PCUSA, and sycophants, there are two types of Jews, “good” Jews for them are those that generally buy the BDS rhetoric. “Bad” Jews are anybody else who would push back. Hence in the group so barred from traveling are antisemitic by definition and by documented external comments and behaviors. . So of course Israel would bar such by a simple exercise of national security. They were not so much going on some supposed “peace” mission but to provide aid, comfort, and cover for terrorism, against Jews. If a person knocks on your door, accompanied by someone else holding a knife or an ax wanting to kill you, and their job is to tell you the person holding the ax is not such a bad guy or simply misunderstood, do you let them the door? Or do you defend yourself?

  11. REPLY
    Donna C says

    Of course they would be stopped before leaving – the computer system would have all that information already. And, by the way, computers do not recognize who is a “person of color.”

  12. REPLY
    James H says

    Good, I’m glad they were denied, that’s the best thing I’ve heard all day, and I hope this makes the louisville sluggers very mad and they get picket signs and prance the Israeli embassy!

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