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April 25, 2014 / 25 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘BDS’

UK Architects Vote Against Israel

Monday, March 24th, 2014

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is advocating to suspend the Israeli Association of United Architects (IAUA) from the International Union of Architects (IUA).

According to a report on the BDS movement website, RIBA voted 23-16 with 10 abstentions on March 19 to boycott the Israeli organization.

The motion called on the IUA to suspend the Israeli organization’s membership “until it acts to resist these illegal projects, and observes international law, and the IUA Accords and Resolution 13….[which] states that ‘The IUA Council condemns development projects and the construction of buildings on land that has been ethnically purified or illegally appropriated, and projects based on regulations that are ethnically or culturally discriminatory, and similarly it condemns all action contravening the fourth Geneva Convention.’ “

There is rich irony in that motion, given the definitions of “ethnic purification” and “cultural discrimination” and the countless examples of its lack of relevance anywhere in Judea and Samaria, let alone in Jerusalem.

The land referred to in the motion is polka-dotted throughout Judea and Samaria with Arab and Jewish farming villages and towns – so much so, in fact, that negotiators on both sides still cannot figure out a realistic way to separate them. That’s because they live ‘cheek-and-jowl’ – the truth is, many of those communities are close neighbors and if they would have been left alone, would have remained at peace.

Anyone who has driven through Judea via Highway 60 and stopped off to shop at the Rami Levi supermarket also knows how ridiculous the accusation is. The bustling enterprise, owned by Israeli Jewish businessman Rami Levi, employs both Palestinian Authority Arabs and Israeli Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria, most of whom are observant Muslims, Christians and Jews. Moreover, the store is crowded from morning till night likewise with shoppers of the same ilk: Palestinian Authority Arabs and Israeli Jews, all of whom are residents of Judea and Samaria – all intent on one thing: making sure they get what they need for their families and getting home in time for dinner.

In Jerusalem, the accusation of “discrimination” is even sillier: there is not one major Israeli hospitality industry institution in which Arabs do not play a major role. Step into any hotel, be it rated at two stars or five, and see if you can find any staff without at least several high-ranking Arab employees. Likewise the health clinics, hospitals and other offices in the holy city. Hadassah Medical Center is headed by an Arab professional, in fact.

The word “apartheid” in the British Oxford dictionary is defined as “a policy or system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race” that historically began with South Africa. Although it has been flung at Israel over its security and defense policies, nevertheless the facts on the ground belie the charge – as anyone with clear eyes can see.

Perhaps United Nations personnel should step out of their white cars once in a while, rather than simply drive through Arab villages, and up and down Highway 60 in the night. Were they to do so, the BDS movement would have a lot less traction.

Will BDS Movement Boycott Whirlpool over Ties with SodaStream?

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

KitchenAid, a subsidiary of the giant Whirlpool appliance conglomerate, has announced it is working with the Boycott Israel-targeted SodaStream company by introducing its own countertop soda maker using SodaStream’s flavors.

That should make the BDS Movement bubble over with anger at KitchenAid’s hooking up with a company that exploits Palestinian Authority worked by employing them at five times the wages they could be making if they worked for their brethren.

SodaStream’s sin, in the eyes of the Boycott Israel squad, is operating a factory in the forbidden Occupied West Bank, otherwise known as the Mishor Adumim industrial area of the city of Maaleh Adumim, Israel.

SodaStream has become more of a household name thanks to its commercials that have run for two consecutive years during the Super Bowl break and more recently because of its hiring actress Scarlett Johansson as its world ambassador. Thanks to the Boycott Israel’s attempt to place an international embargo on SodaStream as well as Scarlett’s films, SodaStream won even more publicity.

The BDS crowd went after the lady for the alleged hypocrisy of promoting both SodaStream and Oxfam, one of the lovers of anti-Israel campaigns. Scarlett came out swinging for SodaStream and ditched Oxfam, ignoring charges that she did so only for the money, which she hardly is lacking. It never crossed the minds of the Israel haters that maybe, just maybe, she acted out of principle and not principal.

One way or the other, KitchenAid now has stepped up to the plate. Like any good corporation, it is interested in principal and certainly took into account that by teaming up with SodaStream it and its parent company Whirlpool could face the same boycott campaign that tried to bring SodaStream to its knees.

BDS took credit for the recent sharp drop in SodaStream’s stock, without noting that the shares sank because of a warning that earnings would not be up to snuff last quarter. Boycott Israel did not take the credit for the recent rise in the price of SodaStream shares after the actual earnings weren’t so bad after all.

So let’s see the BDS Movement do without KitchenAid mixers and blenders and announce a worldwide boycott on Whirlpool refrigerators and freezers until KitchenAid stops helping SodaStream markets its homemade sodas.

And coffee makers.

The Boycott Israel folks can get also get rid of their Maytag washing machines, their driers, Whirlpool BBQ grills, microwave ovens and trash compactors.

Whirlpool is a corporate giant, with nearly $19 billion sales last year, more than 35 times more than SodaStream’s revenues, so get going, BDS.

Whirlpool’s subsidiary KitchenAid was all bubbly over the new arrangement with SodaStream. “We are excited to expand our KitchenAid family of products and enter the growing category of home carbonation,” said David Elliott, general manager of KitchenAid small appliances. “Working with SodaStream brings together their best-in-class technology with our stylish design signature to offer a premium product for our consumers worldwide.

Daniel Birnbaum, CEO of SodaStream, chimed in and said, “KitchenAid is an iconic, global brand and we welcome them to the SodaStream revolution. Our unique platform will enable KitchenAid to provide its large and loyal consumer base with the many benefits of home carbonation. We look forward to leveraging the combined strengths of our two brands to advance the category and reach an even broader global audience.”

This Year’s Esther-Award Goes To…

Sunday, March 16th, 2014

It is easy to spot Haman in today’s world. The Iranian Mullah’s with their destroy-Israel infatuation, a few European NGOs who back killers with the slogan of human rights, a PA which teaches its children to hate Jews and to detest life, to name a few…

But who is this year’s Esther?

My vote is with Scarlett Johansson. Scarlett, a world renowned actress, and hidden Esther-like Jew, stood up against EU and UN-types when she said goodbye to Oxfam in favor of the Israeli SodaStream. There was an element of a Purim-like turn around, when Oxfam tried to pressure Scarlett to drop SodaSteram, but this time, it was they who got the cut.

Why did she do it? She could not bring herself to project the Oxfam narrative about Arab oppression because she had seen the factories which employ satisfied Arabs, and hearing from them directly she understood what it would mean to lose their jobs in the name of “liberation.”

In her own words she explained that, “SodaStream is a company that is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbors working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights. That is what is happening in their Ma’aleh Adumim factory every working day.” She defined Israel as the facilitator of normalcy while undermining the Israel-is–to-blame for everything account.

But what good could come to Scarlett by standing up for truth? On the face of it, very little. She could have gone on happily making movies without having to face the ire of bad guys, who no doubt, have the ability to threaten physical violence as well. Just stay out of it, its not your fight, why do you, a Hollywood starlet, need this Middle East headache?

And that is exactly why Scarlett wins the Esther Award – she did not need this headache, but still she used her position to publicly shame and expose the BDSers. As Mordechai said, “And who knows if for this time you were made queen?”

However, Scarlett’s actions did much more then defend the Jewish State. By said no to the narrative that Oxfam was drawing about Israel, she actually defended the world from accepting a general warped outlook which seeks to portray evil as good and good as evil. In Nazi Germany, it began by vilifying the Jew and extolling the Nazi party. Today, it begins by painting the oppressive Jihadists as freedom fighters, and Israel, the one shining light of hope for humanity in the Middle East, as the most evil force in the region. Experience shows that once these lies are accepted, the world is thrown into chaos and millions can die.

Scarlett bravely said no, and thereby stopped the lies from passing through her. Like Esther, she put herself on the line for truth, and like Mordechai, she would not bow down and give homage to the lies. And while it may have not seem like much, sometimes, just a sliver of courage is enough to put the bullies down, give the world another chance, and encourage a new generation to fight on for truth.

Happy Purim

B’klyn College Pro-Israel Students Deserve More than Late Apology

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

It’s been more than a year since four Jewish pro-Israel students (the JPI Students) were forcibly ejected from an anti-Israel talk given by two proponents of BDS, co-sponsored by and held at Brooklyn College. Finally, this past Friday, March 7, Brooklyn College president Karen Gould issued a public apology to the JPI Students. But that very-late apology should be only the very first step taken, according to the public interest law center representing those students.

First, a very quick recap of the events that led to this belated apology.

LEAD UP TO AND FEB. 7 BROOKLYN COLLEGE BDS EVENT

In January of 2013, it was announced that the Brooklyn College Political Science Department endorsed and co-sponsored with various Students for Justice in Palestine organizations a forum about the Boycott of, Divestment from and Sanctions against Israel (BDS) movement. The title of the forum was: “A lecture by Judith Butler and Omar Barghouti on the importance of BDS in helping END Israeli apartheid and the occupation of Palestine.” The sub-title, just in case you hadn’t yet understood the point, was “BDS, a strategy that allows people of conscience to play an effective role in the Palestinian struggle for justice.”

There was a great deal of concern and displeasure specifically that a school department would sponsor such a blatantly anti-Israel event, but the administration rejected the complaints. Of special note was Brooklyn College president Karen Gould’s statement that she approved the event solely on the basis of academic freedom, and she encouraged those who disagreed with the premise of BDS to attend the forum and engage in dialogue and debate.

The event went forward. Four pro-Israel Jewish students attended. They brought with them paper containing background information about BDS, which they intended to use during the Question and Answer session at the end of the talk.

Shortly after Judith Butler began speaking, an SJP official observed the papers and went over to the JPI Students, insisting they hand over the papers. The JPI Students refused. Then the SJP official brought over Brooklyn College security guards and the JPI Students were removed from the event. The Brooklyn College communications director later told the press that the JPI Students were ejected because “they created a disturbance” and “were disrespectful.”

THE AUDIOTAPE REVEALING NO WRONGDOING BY THE PRO-ISRAEL STUDENTS

That probably would have been the last anyone heard about the Feb. 7 event, except that later that week an audio recording of the entire event, made by someone in the audience the night of the BDS event, was discovered. The person who made the recording was seated one row in front of the students who were ejected.

Although the clicking of pens and even noise from outside the building could be heard on the audiotape, as well as the speaker’s voice, the tape revealed to a certainty that the JPI Students had not made any noise and certainly had not created a disturbance.

In fact, the first time a voice other than that of Judith Butler can be heard on the tape is when the SJP person told the JPI Students to hand over their papers. The only other discernible words from the audience occurs when the JPI Students were ejected, and one said out loud: “my free speech rights are being violated.”

Because there was irrefutable evidence that the JPI Students did nothing to warrant their expulsion, Brooklyn College was forced into, ultimately – painfully slowly and oh so reluctantly – apologizing to the those students whose rights had been violated.

While the wording issued by Gould on March 7, 2014, is clearly, finally, an apology, Brooklyn College has far to go before it has sufficiently rectified the wrong it did to those students.

Anti-Israel Speakers and Jewish Self-Hatred

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Cape Town, South Africa – The global center of the world BDS movement is, when you think about it, South Africa. BDS, in an attempt to sound more reasonable and less hateful, rarely compares Israel to Nazi, Germany, the way, say, arch-anti-Semite Roger Waters of Pink Floyd does. No, BDS argues that Israel practices apartheid the way that pre-Nelson Mandela South Africa did.

You can imagine, therefore, that it’s not all that easy being a proud lover of Israel in South Africa. That the Jewish community here pulls it off, remaining staunch Zionists, is impressive. But there are fissures in the support. Israel is under constant assault by some ANC ministers who make the false and erroneous comparison of Israel’s existential war against Islamic terrorists to the ANC’s struggle against white apartheid rule. Last week I responded to this ridiculous comparison. This week I want to focus on what it’s like to be subject to it.

It’s impossible for world Jewry to be the brunt of so much hatred, and to constantly be on the defensive about Israel, without some of that bile and poison seeping in. The constant attacks start playing with your head. Maybe there is something wrong with us Jews. With Christianity saying for 2000 years that Jesus is loving while the God of the Old Testament is vengeful, maybe Judaism is too rigid. Maybe in Israel we’re overdoing it. With the Palestinians saying they’re humiliated by checkpoints, perhaps Israel is purposely trying to degrade them as opposed to instituting security measures to stop buses filled with children from being blown up. And maybe, just maybe, we Jews who live outside of Israel are simply giving Israel too much mindless support.

I remember twice visiting Dakar, Senegal, one of the poorest countries on earth, and being struck by the advertisements all over the city for skin bleaching agents. But maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised. Gorie island in the city is where millions of African slaves departed through ‘the gate of no return’ to a life of chains in the Americas and Caribbean. When you’re brutalized with that kind of hatred just for the color of your skin you don’t always see beauty when you peer in the mirror.

The gradual trickle of self-hatred into the Jewish soul is evidencing itself in the growing American Jewish call for Israel-hating speakers to be hosted by Jewish organizations at Jewish venues in order to demonstrate our open-mindedness. We first saw this with Swarthmore Hillel when it bizarrely announced its “Open Hillel” policy, opening their doors to anti-Zionist speakers. Asking people who wish to destroy Israel to come and address Jewish audiences – and make no mistake about it, BDS is only about destroying Israel – would be the equivalent of the ANC inviting white bigots to argue that apartheid should be reinstated. I am all for inviting Israel’s opponents to open, rules-based debates, where they are forced to rationally defend their positions in the marketplace of ideas, and indeed, our organization, This World: The Values Network, will be sponsoring debates along these lines across the United States, beginning at Columbia University on 31 March. I believe strongly in freedom of speech and fair and intelligent exchange. And if it’s a credible opponent but who has the intention of obliterating your very home it can only be a debate format and on neutral ground. But what fool would allow poisonous, anti-Israel, anti-Semitic propaganda offered to impressionable Jewish minds without a retort? To invite people who want to malign and defame Israel to address Jewish audiences is proof of the old adage that there is no hatred like Jewish self-hatred.

The latest example was Ramaz High School students in New York inviting Columbia Professor Rashid Khalidi to lecture to them. The New York Times reported that Khalidi had been suggested to the students by Peter Beinart and that did not surprise me. Peter, whom I was kind to and hosted several times 20 years ago at the University of Oxford, has become the Jewish legitimizer of BDS. Peter feels he can get away with joining the calls for boycotts against Israel because, he says, he only wants to boycott all goods from Judea and Samaria in the West Bank. Of course, this would destroy mainstream Israeli companies that provide jobs for thousands of Israelis and Palestinians like Soda Stream, Ahava cosmetics, and even Victoria’s Secret, to name but a few. Peter claims to be a Zionist but by being not just in league but a leader of those seeking to destroy Israel economically he is clearly pushing the term to its absolute limit.

My reward for my friendship to Peter was his column last summer where he libeled me with the nauseating and revolting claim that my stances on the Israeli-Arab conflict “borders on racism”. Personal insults and name-calling are what often passed for journalism on Open Zion, and it’s not surprising that The Daily Beast canceled it, though whether the cause was widespread disinterest or shoddy journalism was never made clear.

I immediately challenged Peter on Twitter and he took the cowardly route of blaming a low-level editor of inserting the racism charge, even though he was the editor-in-Chief of Open Zion and clearly the buck stopped with him. I have invited Peter into our 31 March debate and he has accepted.

Khalidi is a respected academic. But in the PBS documentary, “Anti-Semitism in the 21st Century: The Resurgence,” he throws out a blood libel against Israel, accusing it of “killing children” and “old people.” He does not mention that Israel has lost thousands of civilians to Palestinian terror attack. He also makes the absurd claim that peace between Israel and the Palestinians will end the virulent anti-Semitism so often seen in the Islamic world. One can only surmise that Iran’s calls for the extermination of Israel and its holocaust denial will magically cease just as soon as Israel signs away Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Martin Solomon pointed out that in a 2006 appearance on PBS’s “NewsHour with Margaret Warner,” Khalidi claimed that neither Hezbollah nor Hamas is a “direct threat to the United States.” This was an astonishing claim given Hezbollah’s 1983 Beirut bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut which murdered 241 American marines. Khalidi seemed to believe that that U.S. peacekeeping forces, as an army of occupation, were fair game.

Of Khalidi’s book The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood,” New York Times columnist Clyde Haberman wrote, “When he talks about repressive Israeli measures having been ‘sometimes imposed on the pretext of security,’ critics are bound to ask: What pretext? How many suicide bombings of cafes and pizza shops does it take before a country has a right to end them by any method that seems to work?”

But while Khalidi’s opposition to Israel is not appropriate for High School students, it is perfectly appropriate for our Columbia University debate, to which I publicly invited him and where I can assure him he will be treated with the respect and courtesy he deserves.

UCLA Student Council Rejects Divestment Resolution

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

The UCLA student council rejected on Wednesday a resolution calling for divestment from five American companies that are accused of abusing Palestinian human rights.

The 7-5 vote by the Undergraduate Students Association Council followed nine hours of public comment and was held by secret ballot after one council member reported receiving anonymous threats by email during the all-night meeting.

Brought by Students for Justice in Palestine, the resolution called for divestment from Caterpillar, General Electric, Hewlett-Packard, Cemex and Cement Roadstone Holdings — companies that divestment backers said were used by the Israeli military to violate Palestinian human rights in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

While the resolution included a clause declaring it independent from the wider boycott, divestment, sanctions movement, opponents said passing the measure would nonetheless be taken as a victory for pro-BDS groups.

“If you vote yes, that will be taken as an extension of the BDS movement, whether or not you want it to be,” Bruins for Israel President Avinoam Barel told the council members.

Dana Saifan, the president of Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of California, Los Angeles, countered that the resolution should be judged on its own merits.

“As much as this might be construed to meaning other things, this is my human rights,” she said.

Saifan also told the council, “We are not asking for an endorsement of the BDS, we made that incredibly clear. Our community supports Jewish self-determination, we’re saying it — we’re not hiding anything.”

In addition to fears of supporting the BDS movement, several council members said they felt UCLA’s Jewish community had not been sufficiently consulted by Students for Justice in Palestine before the resolution was brought to the council, despite having been notified beforehand.

The UCLA resolution is the latest in a series of divestment proposals throughout the University of California system.

The Undergraduate Students Association does not control the university’s investment portfolio, so the resolution would have served as a recommendation to the Board of Regents, which has stated it will not entertain Israel-related divestment.

NYC’s Jewish Museum Invites, then Uninvites, Major BDS Advocate

Friday, February 21st, 2014

Most of the New York City pro-Israel community was upset, but not shocked, when Brooklyn College invited two of the best known advocates for legal and economic warfare (the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement) to be featured speakers at an event last year.

But this past week most of those same people were both upset and shocked when they learned that New York City’s Jewish Museum had invited and was going to feature one of those same speakers: Judith Butler, the Berkeley professor known primarily as a leader in the fields of “gender, power, sexuality and identity theory.”

Butler is not only a huge supporter of the BDS movement, she has also spoken sympathetically about the terrorist organizations Hamas and Hezbollah.

On March 6, Judith Butler was slated to give a “performance” of Franz Kafka, as one in a series of three programs entitled “Wish You Were Here.”  The series features “interviews” of Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein, conducted by the museum’s deputy director Jens Hoffmann.

Although Butler has written about Kafka, it is not what she is known for. Queer theory? Yes. Gender identity? Yes. Power theory and subjugation? Sure. Franz Kafka? Not so much.

The focus of Butler’s recent work on Kafka is a labored effort to distance the man from the category labeled Zionist. That article, “Who Owns Kafka?” addresses the trial over who owned the rights to Kafka’s unpublished manuscripts,  after his death. The State of Israel was one of the parties seeking ownership, partially based on the claim that Kafka was an “asset” of the Jewish people.

Butler’s abiding distaste for Israel drove her to prove that Kafka was not a Zionist (based primarily on his not emigrating, although discriminatory quotas and Kafka’s own tuberculosis probably played a larger role) in order to prevent the Jewish people from claiming him as an asset, and his manuscripts from ending up in Israel.

Most non-literary theorist New Yorkers, however, were not aware of the Butler anti-Zionist Kafka connection. But her reputation as a leader of the BDS movement, and as sympathetic to terrorist groups committed to wiping out the Jewish state, were sufficient motivations for action.

The calls and outcries reached a crescendo on Thursday, Feb. 20.

The Jewish Museum could not hide behind the false, but frequently invoked, veil of “academic freedom” to hide behind, as had the Brooklyn College administration. And the Jewish Museum could not point fingers at students who insisted that a hater of Israel be invited in, and doted upon, by the people who run the Jewish Museum.

There was no getting around it, the Jewish Museum of New York City, an institution that was founded in, and remains under the auspices of  the Conservative movement of American Judaism, the Jewish Theological Seminary, deliberately chose to showcase a person whose animosity towards Israel was well known.

Judith Butler is most often described as an “American philosopher” and a “gender, power, sexuality and identity theorist.” She is a professor at the University of California at Berkely, in the department of comparative literature.

Although, according to her Berkeley webpage, Butler has recently taught a course on Kafka, her overwhelming focus and interest is sexuality, queer theory and feminist theory. Of the more than a dozen books Butler authored, none are about Kafka or his writing.

“How ironic that a Museum which is a scion of one of the three American Jewish movements, in this case, the JTS; and how ironic that a Museum whose heritage begins with Jews of German origin, where boycotts preceded our extermination in Europe – how ironic that such a museum would feature a leading advocate of boycotts of the Jewish people,” Jeffrey Wiesenfeld, a New York City businessman and leader of New York’s pro-Israel Jewish community told The Jewish Press.

Presbyterians Do Repentance and Drink SodaStream

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

The supposed Presbyterian Church support of the Boycott Israel movement is suffering a wicked backlash from the little guys in the pews who are horrified at some of their elitist leaders who have taken upon themselves to speak in the name of the entire church.

The “Israel/Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) of the Presbyterian Church” in the United States has issued a study guide that that describes Zionism as inherently discriminatory.

The IPMN is an independent entity, noted the Christian newswire.com, although it was created by the Presbyterian Church’s assembly in 2004. The group has targeted Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard and Motorola, all of which do business with the Israeli military and therefore are considered non-kosher participants in the alleged “Occupation.”

The Israel-based SodaStream company has become the latest favorite victim of the Boycott movement, also known as BDS, for Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions.

The “church” is far from monolithic. Its anti-Israel activists failed to win approval for disinvestment when the issue came up for a vote in 2012 at the United Methodist General Conference and Presbyterian Church, but it will come up again for discussion at the General Assembly in June in Detroit.

The Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), a conservative group that  challenges church that focuses much of its criticism on the policies of the Methodist, Episcopal and the Presbyterian churches in the United States, is outraged at church leaders; support of BDS.

“Jewish groups rightfully are upset,” said IRD President Mark Tooley, “but Christian groups and all persons of good will interested in basic fairness should also be upset that once again a venerable church tradition is squandering its moral capital on a malevolent cause.

“The new semi-official Presbyterian anti-Israel resource illustrates the focused animus of many old-line church elites and activists against Jewish Israel.

“While Presbyterian and other church bodies remain almost completely silent about global persecution of Christians, anti-Semitism, and widespread human rights abuses especially against free speech and religious liberty, they oddly obsess over Israel’s transgressions, real and imagined.”

The Rev. Katharine Rhodes Henderson, the president of New York’s Auburn Theological Seminary, a Presbyterian-affiliated institution, wrote in an statement issued to JTA that the guide “Zionism Unsettled  “purports to be about love but it actually expresses demonization, distortion and imbalance.”

Some Presbyterians involved in Jewish-Christian dialogue say they are pressing the leadership of their church to renounce the study guide and plan to raise the issue at their mainline Protestant denomination’s General Assembly this summer. They have declared that the IPMN guide does not reflect the beliefs of the church’s members.

“My first response to my friends in the Jewish community with whom I associate on a monthly basis in a Jewish-Presbyterian dialogue group is to assure them that this does not represent even close to a majority opinion,” said the Rev. Mike Cole, a Houston-area Presbyterian leader.

The Presbyterian church officials have tried to do limited damage control by sitting that the guide “was neither paid for nor published by the Presbyterian Church,” but the officials have not repudiated it.

Jan Armstrong, a Presbyterian church leader in Santa Barbara, Calif., told the JTA that the study guide “is so unrepresentative of the Membership of the PCUSA as to be considered purely propaganda.”

The Rev. Chris Leighton, a Presbyterian minister and the executive director of the Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies in Baltimore, published a lengthy open letter to the Presbyterian church on the Institute for Christian and Jewish Studies website in which he wrote that the guide “betrays the Church, the truth, and the spirit of reconciliation to which we are called.”

The “big issue” raised by the study guide, said John Wimberly, a co-convenor of Presbyterians for Middle East Peace, “is the desire to eliminate Israel as a Jewish state.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/presbyterians-do-repentance-and-drink-sodastream/2014/02/20/

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