Hamas and Hizbullah have both expressed a desire to destroy Israel and murder Jews, yet Halper accuses Israeli leaders of contemplating genocide.
Halper wasn’t the only Jew condemning Israel at the Presbyterian General Assembly. Stefanie Fox from Jewish Voice for Peace also spoke to the committee that dealt with Middle East peace issues, calling on the PC(USA) to divest from Caterpillar.
Divesting from Caterpillar because it sells goods to Israel is not “inherently anti-Semitic and it does not de-legitimize Israel,” she said. “In fact, it de-legitimizes the occupation and the use of these weapons, which of course is illegal in the first place. Be a friend to Jews and divest.”
Yet another Jewish critic of Israel who was in attendance at the PC(USA)’s General Assembly in Minneapolis was Mark Braverman who, like Halper, is a regular speaker at Sabeel events where he holds Israel and Jews up to a biblical standard of conduct while ignoring the sins of their adversaries.
For the anti-Israel activists in mainline liberal churches, one-sided testimony from these activists is manna from heaven. Not only does it legitimize the received wisdom that Israel is (or should be) a pariah state, it also protects Christian anti-Israel activists from charges of anti-Jewish bias on the grounds that Jews would not say such terrible things about Israel if they were not true. The message they offer is that it’s the Jews – and not the people who hate them – who are the problem; Iran, Hizbullah, Hamas aren’t really so bad, it’s the Jews and their state we need to worry about.
Despite the inherent hostility and unfairness of this story, so-called peace activists in mainline liberal Protestant churches have lionized Jewish activists who tell it, portraying them as the authentic Jewish voice that Christians (and other Jews) should listen to.
Dexter Van Zile is a media analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA). His articles have appeared in numerous American Jewish newspapers as well as the Jerusalem Post, Ecumenical Trends, and the Boston Globe. A longer version of this essay can be found at www.camera.org.