Close your eyes, breathe in deeply, now exhale slowly… That was easy, wasn’t it? Not for everyone…
Something special happened in Birmingham, Alabama last week. Very few Jews realize how important it was.
Two years ago, the Presbyterian Church-USA (PCUSA) became the first mainline Protestant denomination to vote for a process of divestment from companies doing business in Israel. Last week, 94 percent of the delegates to its General Assembly approved a resolution that replaced the language of divestment from Israel with a call for investment in peaceful pursuits. It affirmed Israel’s right to defend itself. A preamble to the document offered apologies to the Jewish people for the hurt they suffered from a resolution they called “flawed.” They followed up with a resolution asking that suicide terror be considered a crime against humanity, further distancing themselves from the wishes of their church’s leaders.
Why is this important, even momentous? Divestment has been the cornerstone of a worldwide campaign to punish the Jewish state for the “sins” of “occupation.” It is not the economic impact that is crucial to those behind the campaign so much as popularizing a potent falsehood. Divestment caught on in a big way with regard to one major human rights abuser – white-ruled South Africa. The proponents of divestment want the American public to equate Jerusalem with an apartheid, illegal colonialist oppressor state.
Unfortunately, many people believe this. It’s a view that’s quite prevalent in Europe and on many American campuses. But until 2004, such corrosive and dangerous rhetoric had not penetrated America’s heartland.
The PCUSA resolution of two years ago changed that, and directly led to every other major Protestant denomination either following suit or considering following suit. This is exactly what the anti-Israel lobby wanted. Anti-Israel activists even have an acronym for their strategy – BDS, which stands for boycott, divestment, and sanctions.
Arab websites have cited the divestment resolution as proof that even the Americans are beginning to come around to their perspective. Divestment talk – even without actually withholding a single dollar from companies in Israel – has therefore been used to support the most extreme elements of the Arab world. As former CIA director (and Presbyterian) Jim Woolsey testified before a committee in Birmingham, “A vote for divestment is a vote for Hamas.”
How did things get so bad? To answer this question, we have to examine the many roads that led to Birmingham.
One of them starts in Geneva, home of the World Council of Churches, an international umbrella group that includes all the mainline American Protestant denominations. This group has long been virulently anti-Israel. One of us was told by a candidate for the office of PCUSA moderator that, recently, the WCC fielded twenty-six resolutions regarding human rights violations around the globe. Of those 26 resolutions, 23 were critical of Israel, leaving very few for the entire expanse of a globe awash in bloodshed and oppression, including Arab repression of Christianity, genocide in Sudan, concentration camps in North Korea, and a host of other horrors. The WCC’s monomaniacal animus toward Israel makes it one of the world’s most important and respectable exporters of hatred of the Jewish state and its supporters.
An even darker road starts in Durban, South Africa, where the UN World conference Against Racism was convened just before 9/11. It was there that a consortium of Human Rights groups and other NGOs (non-governmental Organizations) launched a campaign to have Israel declared the “apartheid” regime of the 21st century. While the U.S. and Israel boycotted the hatefest, Jewish delegates were confronted with open hostility by groups supposedly there to promote “civil society.” Jews were subjected to threats and physical intimidation, culminating with a protest by 17,000 Muslims rallying at a banner that read “Hitler should have finished the job.” On that day, police cautioned Jewish delegates that their safety couldn’t be guaranteed if they attempted to walk to the local Jewish community center.
About the Author: Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein is director of interfaith affairs for the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Rabbi Abraham Cooper is the associate dean of the Center.
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
Corbyn leading the Britain’s Labour Party polls, describes Hamas & Hizbullah as England’s “friends.”
The convicted murderer was released from Israeli prison with more than two dozen other sociopaths
JCF is a donor/supporter of The New Israel Fund which supports BDS & wants IDF soldiers prosecuted
The conundrum for US Labor Zionists: Lobbying for Iran deal while Israel’s Left lobby’s against it.
What does the Torah want from our small nation described as “they who struggle with God & with men”?
Mr. Nadler’s support for the deal is a naked political gift to a president who has defied logic in his quest to reinvent international affairs according to his ideological inclinations.
In practical terms, the proclamation surely makes a compelling argument:
BDS activists are not shy about discriminating against Israelis simply because they are Israelis –
A Federal Ct Judge ordered the PA to post JUST $10 million due to interfering letter from State Dept
Osakwe, like many other students at the CAMERA conference, described an extremely hostile campus environment when it comes to the issue of Israel.
Many people view a letter or manuscript by a chassidic rebbe or the Chofetz Chaim as intrinsically holy.
Key Iran Lobby figures had been major donors to both Biden and Kerry when they were in the Senate,
Not one world leader holds Abbas accountable for his part in the breakdown of negotiations.
The Anglicans are urging their faithful to “educate the church about the impact of illegal settlements” on the West Bank.
A popular aphorism had it that “wie es sich Christelt, so Juedelt es sich” – as things go for Christians, so they go for Jews. In 2013, however, the conditions for some 200 million Christians can be read from the pages of Jewish history.
No Jewish voices were invited as the World Council of Churches (WCC) convened in Bern, Switzerland this month “an international ecumenical debate” to consider the theological issues related to the Holy Land and help it formulate positions regarding “the Promised Land, the Church and Israel, justice and peace.”
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/why-birmingham-matters/2006/06/28/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: