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October 25, 2016 / 23 Tishri, 5777
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An Open Letter to Presbyterian Church Spokeswoman Ms. Kathy Francis (and to Presbyterians Everywhere)

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Presbyterian Catechising

Presbyterian Catechising
Photo Credit: John Phillip

Dear Ms. Francis,

I read your comments on CNN regarding the recent unfortunate divestment vote by the Presbyterian Church. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I read that the divestment vote was, in your words, “about morality and not politics”.

Morality? Really? HP computer technology helps prevent Gaza’s Hamas army from getting more missiles and explosives via sea and air routes; Motorola Solutions surveillance equipment prevents Palestinian terrorists from infiltrating Jewish communities to brutally murder Jewish families; and Caterpillar D9 bulldozers clear land mines as well as abandoned buildings used to snipe from at Jewish drivers.

If the decision were about morality, the vote would have been to double down, not to divest.

And as for the claim that no politics were involved, this is merely self-delusion. When you take the position that Jews do not have the right to live in all their ancestral land, and that military occupation is not justified despite all the wars and terrorist operations launched from the disputed territories, then at least have the intellectual honesty to admit that you’ve taken a particular political position – however justified you may feel it is. These kinds of decisions are all about politics, make no mistake about it.

And lest any reader consider unwarranted my accusation that politics dominated the recent Presbyterian Church’s vote, permit me to draw everyone’s attention to a webpage currently on the Church’s official website, PCUSA.org. This is a boycott page that accuses Israel of “ethnic cleansing” (put this term in the website’s search engine to find the page). This alone makes the point just how much the pro-Palestinian lobby within the Church has hijacked its policy-making.

The same page also spits out pro-Palestinian political positions, such as the supposed illegality of Israeli settlements (despite the split opinion of international law experts), the labeling of settlements as “impediments to peace” (as pure a political stance as there is), and the call to work towards a two-state solution, which may sound semi-apolitical until one realizes that this means empowering two organizations whose official charters both call for the elimination of Israel: Fatah and Hamas.

But the Presbyterian Church Israel Boycott page goes even beyond the above accusations, claiming that “those [Palestinians] living inside Israel are second-class citizens.” Not even the ardently pro-Palestinian Jimmy Carter agrees to such a description.

Perhaps most odious and poignant of the canards included on this page is the claim that Israel abducts Palestinian children! To have that particular blood libel on one if its webpages at this particular point in time when Israel is desperately searching for three Jewish children who were kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists who enjoy widespread support for their actions, and even from Palestinian members of Israel’s Knesset, is simply horrific. I have no doubt that there are many Presbyterians only learning of this now who are equally horrified.

And yet, there’s more. The kicker comes at the bottom of this page, where it unequivocally states:

There is now a global effort to boycott and divest from Israel in order to pressure the Israeli government to end its illegal occupation and apartheid and to respect international law. Like the effort which helped end apartheid in South Africa, this movement is working. (See www.bdsmovement.net)

Need I even comment? This statement belies everything that the current leadership has said in denying any connection to the international BDS movement. Period.

More examples of the politicization of the Presbyterian Church by certain pro-Palestinian members can be found by searching for the term “Palestine” and following the links. But I believe what I have presented above suffices to make the point.

I urge all sincere Presbyterians who understand the immorality of what is happening to their church to make a stand and effect the appropriate changes. Or, if in fact the majority of Presbyterians wish to adopt a pro-Palestinian political stand, let the Church state so clearly, and then those with a pro-Israeli political view will respond in kind. For now, I am withholding judgment of what the Presbyterian Church stands for, and await the actions of its constituents.


Robert Klein
Be’er Sheva, Israel

Robert Klein

About the Author: Robert Klein lives in Be'ersheva, Israel.

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  1. Do the Presbyterians actually believe the nonsense they voted for? Can they possibly be so ignorant of Middle Eastern realities, of the history of the conflict between Israel and the Arabs?
    For anyone who knows anything of Middle Eastern realities, they have made themselves a laughing stock.

  2. Jose Torres says:

    Proof that "Organized Religion" has corrupted the Word of God through deliberately misinterpreting its content and context. That is why I do not belong to any.

  3. Nick DiMauro says:

    Robert, this deeply saddens me. I'm a part time minister at a Southern Baptist church in north Florida. As a Christian my heritage begins with Israel when Yahweh spoke to a man named Abram. Israel is still His chosen nation because his election and calling are irrevocable.

  4. Donna Hambright Glatt says:

    The Presbyterians have gone deeply astray…

  5. Still, handily for these antisemites, they are divesting after presumably making quite a profit on those stocks….

  6. The Jewish People,s right to the land of Israel by CILR co-founder Solomon Benzimra.May the Lord bless you and keep you Israel under his everlasting arms Shalom

  7. An anti-Semite is an anti-Semite no matter what religion he or she belongs, it is simply a mental disease, it should be treated as such, period.
    Holocaust survivor

  8. Chaiya Eitan says:

    The fact that this passed by a slim margin is very telling. Hopefully, they'll wind up losing members.

  9. Cody Flecker says:

    Could over 72% of the Jewish electorate vote for Obama and the Democrats plus donate hundreds of millions of dollars to a known anti semite like Obama. Why blames the Presbyterians for acting stupid…just look to the Jewish voters.

  10. Cody Flecker says:

    Just like the Jews…so what?

  11. Stuart Kaufman says:

    The Jews are a gift to mankind from G-d. Do you think it is a coincidence or an accident that so many medical and technological advances are attributable directly to Jews? To fail to recognize this miraculous gift is to refuse to acknowledge G-d's presence. These so-called religious groups, such as the Presbyterians, are not only spitting in the face of the Jewish people. They are spitting directly into the face of G-d!

  12. Olive Tree says:

    The insanity of this vote by Presbyterian Church USA is just another indicator of how a wrong thinking theology get treanslated into anti-Semitism on the ground. May we call on god to invoke Genesis 12:3. MAY THOSE WHO CURSE ISRAEL THEMSELVES BE CURSED.

  13. Dick Fincher says:

    I can only hope that my fellow Presbyterians will continue to pressure our leadership, as they have in the past, to have these recent sanctions overturned. Having viewed video tapes of the Assembly meeting, I was shocked at the frivolous demeanor and party-like atmosphere. This, from one of the more conservative protestant churches? I stand with Israel, God's chosen.

  14. The whole damn world has gone nuts. God's gift I don't but God's chosen yes.

  15. Carlton L Langford says:

    For those of us who remember Angela Davis, it should come as no surprise. That's why we have the PCA today. Those who disagree with the boycott are more than welcome to join the PCA. God will fight for Israel.

  16. Jesher Spelling says:

    Presbyterians are facing real problems and this is basically it for the orgnaization- with last weeks vote that “Homosexual marriage is Christian” and this – our very conservative church (along with three others) will be voting for Schism on July 16th – have at it fellow Presbyterians – you're going to GO IT ALONE with your homosexual marriage which has DESTROYED PCUSA.

  17. Jesher Spelling says:

    Richard Guerard Thanks for voting for HOMOSEXUAL MARRIAGE fellow Presbyterians – how disgusting – we're OUT OF THERE as of July 16th 2014 – we'll vote to leave for good.

  18. Jesher Spelling says:

    Presbyterians are now supporters of SODOMY and that's far worse…..

  19. Bill Bilek says:

    Cody Flecker While the Jewish People may have "strayed" from the ideals that God commanded, those errors hurt no one but themselves. The PC (USA) hurts others, intentionally.

  20. This divestment vote, which was so narrowly won shows that the Presbyterians are at an almost 50%-50% position meaning that a large percentage of the Presbytarians are for `Israel which is extremely encouraging considering that 25% of the world's population, according to a recent survey,are anti Semitic which shows that the percentage in favour of the BDS are either devout anti Semites or totally ignorant of thr real live situation on the ground .There can be no other reason for their majority vote in favour of BDS.

  21. Donna Hambright Glatt says:

    The Catholic church bishops rold catholics not to vote for.. Obama..the nuns on the bus are in big fime time at the momsnt with the vatican and that organization tjey belong too.. I voted for Obama for one feason, as they..for healthcare for the poor. But I didnt fealize that republican governors were so bent on ..nothing obama..that they didnt care ablut ghe poor in their state. So they refused it in. Now the
    oor have no govERnment funding Or medicaid or this insurance..both parties need to do what they aere voted to do..take care

  22. Donna Hambright Glatt says:

    Take care of their citizens, not let little tea party people tell them what to do..im just saying that maybe a lot of jews voted for healthcare for the poor too..

  23. Cody Flecker I would like to know in what way the Jews have strayed.

  24. Donna Hambright Glatt says:

    As president,, President Obama stated that he was not brought up in a very religious home of any kind. Unlike Nixion who hesitated on helping the Jews for a while as they fought to reclaim their land, Nixon said he wokeup one night and remembered something his mother had taught him as a child. To always stand behind Israel and the Jewish people, on everything …because its God teachings. So he said he said he got right out of bed and called the Israeli s and said the United States would give them anything they wanted,,, I think thats the difference

  25. As a retired citizen on a limited income, my health care access has been reduced tremendously and my co-payment has skyrocketed. Give me back my healthcare!!! What's more is that the IRS has targeted my close friend's pro-Israel group ,. Stop the attack on our own citizens Oh, your highness Obama.

  26. I don't know why anyone is giving this small group so much attention. They have no real influence and certainly will have even less after this stunt.

  27. John Hanson says:

    and a lot of people voted for the Tea Party as a way to keep OUR RIGHTS intact !

  28. Donna Hambright Glatt says:

    Who knows who is anti semic in a presidental, election? Those things arent even talked about,, its allabout abortion, gay rights etc, in this country. I think next election it should definately be brought up, or at least the person should be critiqued on his religiious thinking. But one cant be for this or that in a public forum. Its very hard because we have this and that everywhere in this country..always someone will react as you are a bigot topwards their beliefs..always..

  29. If the Presbyterian church is anti-Israel than it is also anti-biblical. It is written in the Old Covenant specifically the Tanach which lands G-d commanded his people to take possession of!

  30. Edward Lobel says:

    Since the Presbyterian church does not boycott or divest itself from any other conflict in the world, nor boycott or divest itself from arms suppliers or third party countries that trans ship arms then the boycott and divesting from Israel is MOST CERTAINLY politically motivated and all their comments to the contrary cannot be proved!

  31. Anonymous says:

    These Presbyterians are nothing but racist antiSemitic hypocrites. What gives the lie to their "human rights" concerns is their total silence on the REAL human rights abuses in pretty much every other Mideast country EXCEPT Israel.
    Where is their outcry against Syria? Against Iran and its hanging of 300 civilians in last few months on trumped up charges? On all the intolerance of gays, women, and othe religions in Islamic countries?

    Give me a break, you bigoted phonies. The Presbyterians should be ashamed of themselves.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Seeing Obama lie, deny, obfuscate and otherwise try to hoodwink the "willing idiots" among the American public with 1 horrible scandal after another–THAT shows me how Hitler could also have succeeded!

  33. Anonymous says:

    Do you mean of "global Leftists" like Geo. (the Rat) Soros, who funds every way Left cause known to man worldwide?

    FAR MORE than the Koch brothers, demonized by Leftie morons.

  34. Anonymous says:

    John Ford Coley

    It's because a complicit liberal media, always eager to publcize anything which embarrasses Israel, ran so hard with this story about little stupid insignificant people doing insignificant, small things.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Ha-ha. Well known by now by anyone who even half a brain that Obama has nothing but contempt for Israel and loves their Islamist antagonizers.
    Which fits well with his upside-down, incredibly incompetent foreign policy under which he has succeeded in alienating most of our friends, and sucked up to our enemies–with no perceptible improvement from them.

    So to sum up Obama's Nobel Prize winning foreign policy and its effect on the U.S. across the world: Lose-lose.

  36. Deborah Ashenfarb says:

    Cody Flecker unfortunately, that is true. Though understand that 99% of the Jewish vote is not only secular but Democrat. As an Orthodox Jew, I vote Conservative, never Democrat. Unfortunately, the church was used to fill the need of the Arab lies.

  37. Great letter ! Agree with all my heart

  38. Sientje Seinen says:

    didnt you know that the presbyterian church has departed from all morals as they now ordain homosexual pastors who they consider morally right to lead the flock it is pathetic They hate Israel because of the Lord G-d giving His law, "man shall not lie with mankind as with woman kind it is an abomination, do away with Israel and the Lord G-d of Israel loses His might. they are condemned by the Lord G-d already as they walk in what is right within their own eyes and mock Christ's suffering for these sins of the flesh therefore brining condemnation upon themselves. G-d bless Israel and its people

  39. A Christian church is against the survival of the Jewish national home.What a surprise!!?. They have not said a da–n thing about any of the real travesties of mankind that are happening now.because they are not involving Jews. Israel is the Jew of the world and the antisemits have broadened the field to include "programs" on an international scale.. Nothing changes,It is the same hatred on a different scale.

  40. Hear! Hear! I had always thought that churches (including Presbyterian ones) through their faith and doctrines would hold themselves to a higher standard (read moral compass)!!! I think they need a new compass because they've lost their way along with all sense of moral direction!!!

  41. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for your sincere support, Nick. Hopefully like-minded Presbyterians will get that vote repealed and rid their movement of this whole ugly BDS subculture.

  42. Nanushka Nanush says:

    The Presbyterian Church was based on the theology of John Calvin:
    "Their [the Jews] rotten and unbending stiffneckedness deserves that they be oppressed unendingly and without measure or end and that they die in their misery without the pity of anyone."
    from "Ad Quaelstiones et Objecta Juaei Cuiusdam Responsio"
    Any responses on your theology?

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