Perhaps the Presbyterian Church USA 2014 General Assembly vote to disinvest from 3 companies who did business with Israel in the West Bank is the most puzzling. The entire Middle East, and certainly the Israeli/Palestinian struggle, is so fraught with emotions, race, propaganda, power, religion, money, and convoluted history that one can only wonder why a denomination got into a current political talking point that will achieve nothing but hard feelings and further dissension. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread seems to be the most applicable cliché, full of pithy-sounding nothingness. What did the church hope to accomplish? Bring peace to the Middle East? Oh, my sides. [in the words of Kate at Small Dead Animals]
These radical delegates may sound naïve but nobody could be that stupid. Do they want to financially hurt Israel? Israel is a huge economy and their puny efforts won’t make a dent. Were they trying to financially help the Palestinians? That is a culture that doesn’t even pretend to value hard work, plan for the future, entrepreneurship, financial investment or savings so that makes no sense. In fact lefties are suggesting boycotts of Israeli companies such as SodaStream and Sabra Hummus – hey I love both products – which hire Palestinians because they don’t think the Palestinians should have to rely on Israel for work. Think of that numbing stupidity. Israel gives work permits to approximately 250,000 Palestinians who are given safe passage into Israel and out each day to earn money but instead of applauding both Israel and the Palestinians, progressives – I’m betting most are comfortable white liberals safely living outside the Middle East, just like these Presbyterians – abhor this mutually beneficial arrangement. Maybe they hate it because it’s a private deal, not requiring Big Government or Lefty mission money.
My bias favoring Israel is partially rooted in our common Judeo-Christian culture, religion and laws despite the frantic screams from the left that today’s Israel isn’t the Biblical Israel but merely a political state created by the UN. That may be true but I sure as heck have a more common culture with Israel than I do the Palestinians. It’s true the UN arbitrarily created Israel. It was done in a desperate move to save the Jews from extinction after a World War that wiped out more than one-third of the world-wide Jewish population. There was also probably some anger at the Arabs since they had unofficially joined forces with both the Italian Fascists and the German Nazi’s, overthrowing more western-friendly governments – some were puppet governments of the Western powers – and fighting the Allies, threatening to give the Axis powers access to the oil fields there. Did the Middle East Axis-friendly governments represent the Middle East people more than the Western powers did? I don’t know the answer to that and it’s largely irrelevant because the world was in a fight to the death between democracy and the Nazi national socialism aligned with the Fascists. While Iraq and the other Arab Axis-leaning countries didn’t technically declare war on the Allies, the Allies didn’t do anything outside the court of international law or opinion by co-opting their land and resources to prevent them from assisting the Axis. The Middle East suffered a great deal less than other Axis countries who chose the losing side of World War II. It’s remarkable how few people know the shameful and anti-Semitic history of many Middle East peoples during that war.
No time to go into that now. I see now that I won’t be able to cover this subject well in such a brief post so I’ll just say this: I also support Israel because they’re the only democracy in the Middle East, they provide equal rights to gays and women, overall they’ve been a good friend to the United States, and although their record isn’t perfect – as a democracy they have a wide range of policy opinions – they permit a wide range of religions and races to live in peace, a rarity in the Middle East. Additionally, I cannot support the terrorism which pervades the Palestinian culture. You cannot excuse it by talking about occupation or a return to lands or anything else. Civilized people don’t encourage their toddlers to be suicide bombers or commit random acts of violence against civilians, all done within the framework of rampant anti-Semitism. Lefties like the PC-USA want to broker a peace deal but you cannot have peace when one partner fails to recognize your right to exist and threatens to wipe you off the planet, even if your nation was destroyed. They would still kill you because you’re a Jew.
It’s difficult to respect a culture and nation that refuses to prosper, refuses to help its people progress because it wants to constantly play the victimization drama. Despite receiving huge amounts of money – these aren’t loans but outright aid – the Palestinians have for decades squandered that money by refusing to hold their corrupt leaders accountable. It’s clear the corrupt leaders use the hatred for Jews to distract the Palestinians from asking any troublesome questions. One also notices that Israel has changed the world for the better, contributing so much in the fields of medicine, science and computers that the world takes them for granted. The unnoticed elephant in the room is that Israel stabilizes that part of the Middle East. It’s no secret that Jordan is only one country that relies on Israel to contain Islam extremists. One wonders if Hosni Mubarak’s tolerance toward Israel and the West – it was strictly for security – didn’t contribute to the dictator’s overthrow.
I’m off to caregiving duties – Dad is recovering very well now – but I’ll leave you with some links that I hope you’ll take the time to follow. As for the role of the PC-USA denomination, I’m reminded of the rejoinder I sometimes heard growing up here in Eastern Kentucky. I can’t remember exactly how it went but it was a mocking of do-gooders and how they like to make themselves feel better by sticking their noses and their money into things here they didn’t understand. The Kennedys are only one later example.
Just as the Palestinians fail to hold their leaders accountable, so the world media and lefties fail to hold Palestinians accountable. http://legalinsurrection.com/2014/06/blame-israel-first-syndrome//#more
A blogger who happens to be Presbyterian decries the politics that overtaken the altars. http://pointsandfigures.com/2014/06/23/the-presbyterian-church-marginalizes-itself/
The denomination immediately tried to whitewash the resolution, denying that it is not, no absolutely not the equivalent of the BDS petition but most people, including the approving New York Times, aren’t buying the whitewash. Here a right-wing blogger http://moelane.com/2014/06/21/bds-jews-anti-semitism-Presbyterian/
Nolan Finley and I agree on this; why are we giving the Palestinians millions of dollars each year yet have no expectations or accountability? Yasser Arafat’s widow and daughter have lived the high life in Paris for many years. Arafat was a multimillionaire, thanks in part to the US taxpayers. http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140622/OPINION01/306220002/0/OPINION01/Divest-from-Palestinians-instead
The attitude of American Christians, especially evangelical Christians, toward Israel is divided, due in part to the lobbying of Christians by pro-Palestinian groups, and these evangelicals played a role in lobbying the PC-USA for the divestment. I’m not saying anti-Semitism is behind all of this but the whole situation comes across as ugly. http://www.meforum.org/3769/israel-evangelical-support
There is nothing new about the efforts to drive a wedge between America’s evangelicals and Israel. Many in the anti-Israel camp have been working for years to do exactly that. Anti-Israel Palestinian Christians such as Sami Awad and Naim Ateek have traveled the country telling American Christians how their “brothers and sisters in Christ” are being oppressed by Israel’s Jews. Left-leaning evangelicals such as Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo, and Serge Duss have echoed this narrative in their corner of the Christian world. Duss’s sons, Brian and Matt, have worked diligently to mainstream their father’s views within the fields of Christian philanthropy and Democratic Party policy-making, respectively.
Until the past couple of years, however, there was little reason to believe that these individuals were influencing Christians beyond their own narrow circles. Almost every significant evangelical leader who took a position on the issue came out squarely behind the Jewish state. A center-right evangelical world simply was not taking its political cues from these stalwarts of the left.
This situation is changing dramatically. With every passing month, more evidence is emerging that these anti-Israel Christians are succeeding in reaching beyond the evangelical left and are influencing the mainstream. In particular, they are penetrating the evangelical world at its soft underbelly: the millennial generation. These young believers (roughly ages 18 to 30) are rebelling against what they perceive as the excessive biblical literalism and political conservatism of their parents. As they strive with a renewed vigor to imitate Jesus’ stand with the oppressed and downtrodden, they want to decide for themselves which party is being oppressed in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Wheaton is also the home of Gary Burge, one of America’s most prominent anti-Israel evangelicals. Burge travels the country and the world accusing the Jewish state of the worst of crimes and engaging in a mockery of Judaism that borders on anti-Semitism. When Christians United for Israel (CUFI) announced plans to hold an event at Wheaton in January 2009, Burge went on the offensive. CUFI’s student members came under such intense pressure that they moved their event off-campus: There would be no pro-Israel event at the evangelical Harvard.
It was awkward timing on the part of the PC-USA to turn against Israel in favor of the Palestinians. http://www.timesofisrael.com/bodies-of-three-kidnapped-teens-found/ One of the teens holds dual American/Israel citizenship. I guess we’re not going to do squat about this, since the kid didn’t look like Obama.
Yep. Here’s the same ditzy State Department spokeswoman – Jen Psaki – urging Israel to show “restraint” in dealing with the Palestinian killers, members of Hamas, which just formed a government with the more “moderate” Abbas Palestinian Authority. http://legalinsurrection.com/2014/07/three-israeli-teens-murdered-what-comes-next//#more