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February 19, 2017 / 23 Shevat, 5777
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Study Guide for Hatred

Church’s New Study Guide is Textbook Example of Israel Hatred

According to the Wiesenthal Center's director of interfaith affairs, the Presbyterian Church (USA)'s new "study guide" describes Judaism's core beliefs as 'rooted' in 'intolerable human rights abuses.'

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The Presbyterian Church (USA) has released what it calls a "study guide." The Simon Wiesenthal Center calls it the theological twin to the UN's 'Zionism is Racism' resolution.

It is a standard, if stale, practice for Israel critics to portray themselves as bravely daring to “break the silence” with their public criticism of Israel. It is a passive form of aggressive manipulation, and it continues, because it seems to work.

One of the practitioners of this pretend courage is the Presbyterian Church (USA). A current manifestation of that role playing by the PCUSA is an ugly attack on Israel, masquerading as a “study guide,” called Zionism Unsettled.

The Presbyterian Church (USA) has long been regarded as a church hostile to Israel as a Jewish State. It typically dresses up that hostility as loving concern for the Arab population within Israel and in the disputed territories.


In 2004, the church voted to approach corporations that “aiding Israel’s occupation of the West Bank,” and asking them to reconsider business with the Jewish state. This position was repeatedly reaffirmed in subsequent votes.

In July of 2012, the PCUSA brought to a vote another resolution targeting Israel. That divestment resolution was directed at companies which “sell military equipment to the Israeli military in the West Bank” was defeated by only two votes 331 – 333 – with two abstentions.


The PCUSA has exhibited its hostility to Judaism in other ways in recent years as well. For a time it directly funded efforts by “Jews for Jesus” to hoodwink, proselytize and convert Jews to Christianity.

For example, in 2004, the Philadelphia area Presbytery poured more than $250,000 into launching a church masquerading as a synagogue. The church was set up in a church at the Plymouth Meeting Mall, and the congregation was named Avodat Yisrael.

An exposé in the Wall Street Journal that fall revealed the congregation leader, Rev. Andrew Sparks, publicly and falsely claimed he was a rabbi. By 2005 the Presbytery chose to discontinue funding what they had called its “new church development.” Nevertheless, the congregation continued as a messianic church, under the name “Messiah Now Ministries,” with Rev. Sparks as its leader.


The PCUSA’s latest attack, its “teaching guide,” made available through its online store, is a doozy.

This new guide, Zionism Unsettled, has accomplished one neat feat thus far, however. It has united Jewish and Christian supporters of Israel in their immediate and unequivocal denunciations.

Zionism Unsettled is a 74 page booklet and comes with accompanying DVD which PCUSA says is a “how-to guide for class leaders with focused discussion prompts.” It is being marketed as an “ideal resource for multi-week exploratory educational programs in churches, synagogues, mosques and all classroom settings, faith-based or secular.”

Ah yes. Surely they are trying to use this booklet to explain, as they claim, “what steps can be taken to bring peace, reconciliation and justice to the homeland that Palestinians and Israelis share?”

But one of the quotes from a church leader makes clear exactly what the PCUSA is trying to do by promoting this booklet.

Walter Brueggemann, professor emeritus at Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta, remarks “The urgency of the Palestinian plight in the face of Israeli intransigence indicates that intentional, concrete and sustained public action is necessary to respond credibly to the crisis. Zionism Unsettled is a welcome study guide. It will prove an effective vehicle for helping to mobilize public opinion so that both attitudes and policies can be transformed in the face of an imperious and exploitative ideology.”

The Simon Wiesenthal Center knows exactly what the PCUSA is up to with its latest anti-Israel effort.

“This outrageous screed is the theological twin of the infamous 1975 UN ‘Zionism is Racism’ resolution,” charged Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the SWC.

“This publication isn’t an attack on particular Israeli policies, but on the very idea of a Jewish return to Zion,” Cooper explained. He said that in publishing Zionism Unsettled, the PCUSA “has deployed the nuclear option against the vast majority of Jews, calling us inherently racist and abusive.”

The SWC’s public statement denouncing the booklet called on Christian churches and individuals to denounce the “disgusting attack aimed at delegitimizing and demonizing the world’s largest Jewish community and all lovers of Zion.”

The SWC’s director of interfaith affairs, Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein chastised the PCUSA for sending interfaith dialogue back to the highly antagonistic literature of the early Church.

“Such attacks describing our core beliefs as ‘rooted’ in ‘intolerable human rights abuses’ reveals there is nothing left to talk about with such religious bigots. Jews will now regard PCUSA as a hostile church,” concluded Adlerstein.

Without even waiting to hear the challenge issued by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Mark Tooley, the president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, went public with his criticism of what he called the “elites” within the PCUSA towards Israel. The IRD is an American Christian think tank.

Tooley derided what he called “the special human rights concern” of PCUSA and its allies.

“Why the focused animosity against the Jewish homeland? Sadly, their professed concern for Palestinian suffering will have the opposite effect, encouraging Palestinian victimhood, discouraging Palestinian and wider Arab acceptance of Israel, and delaying peaceful coexistence,” Tooley write in an email to The Jewish Press. “Presbyterians can do better.”

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the JewishPress.com. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com

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  1. Presbyterian Church (USA) I call them the fornicating devil’s church. Jesus spits this organization out of His mouth.

  2. Hogwash-most distance themselves from such idiotic papers

  3. Nathan Katz says:

    Despicable. I don’t get it: many Jews just love these liberal Protestants who hate us, but they hate the conservative Protestants who love us. Pretty perverse,IMO.

  4. It is so easy to apply the word “racist” to people. Ask any church if they would like to take over the holy sites in the Old City. Not one would refuse. Would they then apply the word racist to themselves? The answer-NO.

  5. Eduardo Mazo says:

    means where Nazi had means to account the caused.

  6. Have they Ever Read or Heard of THE BIBLE, GENESIS!!

  7. Karen Bryant says:

    If any church sets itself against Israel they set themselves against God. They aren’t His church they are satans . True followers of Christ love the Jewish people and Israel .

  8. Janet Sisler says:

    I am once again repulsed.

  9. What a shame they violate their own Bible in doing this. Jesus said His would be known by their love, and that as they do it to the least of his brethren, they do it to Him. How can they love a Jewish Messiah, yet hate his own? “How odd of God to choose the Jews, but not so odd as those who choose the Jewish God yet hate the Jews.” Anti semitismhas no place among those who claim to follow Jesus.

  10. Joella Bella says:

    I am not a member of the presbyterian church, but I am a devout Christian and this is deeply disturbing to me and really shameful. Whoever wrote that booklet obviously has a warped understanding of Israel's history. What else that's deeply disturbing is how politically correct its becoming to be anti-semitic in academia, the media and in religious and government institutions. Israel is constantly scrutinized and held to double standards that no other country is held to. Jewish people have a right to a safe, peaceable and defensible homeland. I would urge anyone who accuses Israel of racism/imperialism to visit Israel themselves before making ignorant, biased, judgmental statements.

  11. Listen, I know what kind of nonsense I might hear, but Christianity is based on this very notion. Do a little honest reading. I’m speaking as a former Christian who studied it seriously before becoming a Jew by choice. The idea philojudaism from Christians is pretty recent, and this church is just taking the more classic form of Christianity towards Jews and thus Israel. Christians and Palestinians are gentiles. And most Christians like Jews in the same way salesmen like customers.”True followers of Christ” spent centuries murdering Jews.

  12. Janet Warne says:

    Not the Church I worship at.

  13. Ash Kachui says:

    That church does not represent Christianity.

  14. They are illiterate in GOD’s words. “I will bless those that bless you and CURSE those that curse you”. and they indeed will be cursed. satan is their father not the GOD i know.

  15. Loving God’s chosen people, through whom He revealed Himself historically and guided lovingly by covenant can be a complicated thing for those who were graciously grafted into the tree as Gentiles. I have prayed and will always pray fervently for God to reconcile us all to Himself through Christ and to each other.

  16. I am proud that First Presbyterian Church in San Antonio is a member of the Fellowship of Presbyterians. Fellowship churches are pro-Israel.

  17. The only reason the “conservative” Protestants like us, is because we’re the key to Jesus’ return. They didn’t exactly love us in Germany in the 30s and 40s.

  18. First, I have to add a correction. Your section about Messianic congregations is thoroughly off-base. I've done first-hand reporting on the matter, which you can find here: http://www.geoffrobinson.net/avodatyisrael.html That congregation did not support evangelism. I wish it did.

    The PC(USA) is a liberal denomination. And by "liberal" we are using a euphemism for rampant unbelief. There influence is small. No one cares what they think.

    And to Joyce below, I encourage her to look up the like of Corrie Ten Boom.

  19. Wally Right says:

    femi-journo-shmourno alert – messianic judaism has zippo to do with these faux christians who rejected the bible way back in the 1920s already…

  20. There are much more conservative church goers than liberal ones but people are lazy. When an authority makes a claim, if they respect that authority, they won’t do the research…I am surprised that anyone would listen to a church like that…They are already liberals and already are against Israel and very easy to persuade to hate Israel. The Nazis used people’s mistrust and the dislike for Jews to turn them against them. The Nazis used the old lie “Christ killer” to get the people to turn against them but the ones who bought into it were fake Christians or what we call a state church Christianity, which isn’t a faith at all but just attending a church, which in the war, became a Nazi meeting house, gradually replacing church members with Nazis and eliminating any true belief in G-d. Hitler was no friend of Christians either as they were killed, either turned into Nazis, if not sent to concentration camps.

  21. If only more people knew

  22. Cody Flecker says:

    The best solution to this knotty problem is for The State of Israel to shut down the churches that demonize Israel. Likewise admit no Christian of whatever congregation that hates the Jews, Judaism, or The State of Israel.

  23. Cody Flecker says:

    The best solution to this knotty problem is for The State of Israel to shut down the churches that demonize Israel. Likewise admit no Christian of whatever congregation that hates the Jews, Judaism, or The State of Israel.

  24. Aryeh Sax says:

    There sure was a vast majority of Christians, in Nazi Germany, Hungary, Poland, and most of Eastern Europe, and a little less so in western Europe, who found themselves willing to turn Jews into the Nazis. Some hated the Nazis but maybe the Jews a little bit more.

  25. Aryeh Sax says:

    There sure was a vast majority of Christians, in Nazi Germany, Hungary, Poland, and most of Eastern Europe, and a little less so in western Europe, who found themselves willing to turn Jews into the Nazis. Some hated the Nazis but maybe the Jews a little bit more.

  26. Joyce Myers says:

    Which church..shame shame shame

  27. What's happening I think owes less to the specifics of the Israeli-Palestinian debate than it might first appear.

    What I think is really going on is that mainline Presbyterians are more and more anemic in their regular church attendance, substituting politics for religious practice.

    Now if you asked most activist Presbyterians on this issue to parse out the intricate details of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the last 50 years, they would be completely incapable of doing so.

    What this is issue is, instead, is a Totem for the Other, whereby people who don't have to think too hard about specifics make a knee-jerk identification with who the international media has told them is The Victim, and extend that emotional penumbra without careful moral analysis.

    People who have no business opining on the conflict, knowing nothing, join a groundswell movement to let them sate their thirst for social justice — and trade in abstractions in the same way that many anti-GM-food marchers do.

  28. Gil Gilman says:

    Aren't christian churches supposed to proclaim good news, not display their own xenophobic intolerance. Don't they realize that pointing a finger at Israel, that they have three fingers pointing at themselves, and their thumb askew? They should no longer have tax exemption since they have transgressed political boundaries as established by article 501c.

  29. In answer to Joyce Singer that isnt true what she is saying the Only time the Lord will return is when all nations gather against Israel, and He Himself will fight for Israel, but we neither know the time nor the day.

  30. in answer to shemayah shilioh. you are way of base, true christians put their lives on the line for the Jewish people during world war 2, my family was one of them, Israel did thank my family by giving them a trip to Israel having a plaque with the family name put up. It is Christ who made the Lord G-d of Israel known to us gentiles and who has put a love for Israel and its people into our hearts, anyone who hates Israel and its people have not listened to the Word which Christ spoke.

  31. I always want to know if anyone who calls him/herself Christian, and hates Jews, realise that they are anti Christ.
    They seem to forget that Jesus was boe=rn a Jew, was a Rabbi, preached from the Torah, and was never a Christian.

    The lie that the Jews crucified Jesus, was a lie by the Romans.
    The Romans crucified people, The Jews never crucified anyone. Those days, Rome was so powerful, that the Jews "kept out of their way"
    Rome tried to destroy the Jews, who went to Mt Msada, to escape the Romans. But Rome found the Jews, and murdered every Jew on Mt Massada.

    Time for the church to wake up and start to support the Jews.

    If the church does not wake up, it wont be long, before Islam will convert them and convert their churches to mosques.

  32. Charlie Hall says:

    'And by "liberal" we are using a euphemism for rampant unbelief.'

    A Jewish site is not the place for an argument over what constitutes proper Christian belief!

  33. Charlie Hall Well, it is very much pertinent to the question of why are these Presbyterians anti-Israel? If you saw a political divergence between secular/Reformed Jews and Orthodox Jews you may want to mention to people the differences in belief which help drive opinions and orientation on other issues.

  34. Cody Flecker says:

    Markus Brajtman The Jews on Masada were not kilkled by the Romans, they committed suicide with the exception of a few people who actually survived.

  35. Cody Flecker says:

    The Christians in Europe loved the Jews, they didn't hate them. The Christians loved to kill the Jews whenever and where ever they could find them. 6 Million Jews just didn't vanish into thin air, they were surrounded, placed in ghettos, and sytematicaly killed.

  36. Cody Flecker To a believer in Jesus the term "Christian" doesn't mean much on the lips of most people. Yeah, you had a bunch of nominal Christians. Sitting in a garage doesn't make you a car. Neither does going to church or being culturally Christian.

  37. Aryeh Sax says:

    Geoff Robinson Are you saying only about 80-90% of the Christians in Europe were nominal, easy to turn into murders or helpers. Most , not all of the people who rescued Jews in Eastern Europe Were Red Communist Partisans, not Christians they did not like Jews either, but they hated Nazis more.. After the war Jews looking to return to their homes were often beaten sometimes to death when showing up at their homes. Ahhh the spoils of war. How could the freest country in the world for Jews turn their friends against them, in such a few short years. Members of country clubs, judges, police, teachers, professors, Doctors, Lawyers, merchants, scientist. they were allowed in all clubs, universities, medical or legal to get their degrees. Much of all this closed to Jews in America, you just restricted. What a small population is Christians? The truth these are their people just own it. They were even having a good run in the good old USA during the same time period until the war started, read history and learn,

  38. Aryeh Sax I'm saying by their fruit you will know them. The Dutch which had a rich and thriving Reformed Christian heritage at that point, saved a lot of Jews. Now how do you want to define "Christian"? Not Muslim and not Jewish? Goes to church due to cultural influences? I fear the problem with your argument from my perspective is that every Gentile in Europe gets lumped into the category whether they had an active faith or not. So Dietrech Bonnhoffer and Corrie Ten Boom get lumped in with Joe the Baker, who went to church due to cultural influence. Watch an interview with Ten Boom to get a feel for what I mean and ask yourself if a "Christian" turning in Jews would talk like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlmxNv6kedk

  39. Aryeh Sax says:

    Geoff Robinson We all know of many Christians, Communist, and even Muslims during WW2 who helped the Jews, the point is that the vast majority went along with the Nazi Horrors without even blinking a eye. My theory is this large group could turn on anyone with the right propaganda. Jews are a easy target, maybe it is because in the end the basic Christian belief if I except Jesus as my savior no matter my past I will be saved.

  40. Charlie Hall says:

    Geoff Robinson The Reformed theology of the Dutch Protestants you mention is identical to that of the Presbyterian Church. This isn't about theology, it is about politics.

  41. Run Guo says:

    A Christian hates Israel is like a extremely patriotic man shouting how much he hates his country.

  42. Marty Johnston says:

    Looks like someone at the Presbyterian church apparently leaked the book before it's available to the public. http://Tinyurl.com/ZionismUnsettled

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