NEW YORK – A Presbyterian Church (USA) report, to be considered at the church’s General Assembly later this year, is blatantly anti-Israel and reduces the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict to a caricature of right and wrong, says a leading Jewish advocacy organization.
The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), an outspoken critic of the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA)’s repeated attempts to delegitimize the State of Israel, has extensively studied the report, which will be debated at the church’s General Assembly later this year.
After analysis, JCPA finds the PCUSA report makes highly selective use of sacred texts, historical events, and current realities to build a narrative against the Jewish state. Furthermore, JCPA was dismayed to read that the General Assembly will be called upon to blame Israel for “Palestinian resistance,” dismissing the threat posed by Palestinian groups that are sworn to destroy Israel. The Presbyterian Church makes more than a dozen demands for changes in Israeli policy or U.S. policy toward Israel. The few recommendations made for Palestinian or Iranian reforms are generally paired with additional demands on Israel. The report singles out one American company for rebuke for its sales to dealers in Israel. The PCUSA report theologizes the conflict to allow for the condemnation of Israel using biblical sources and to deny support for Israel using the same sources. It embraces the Kairos Palestinian document, which uses the words “evil” and “sin” to describe Israeli actions.
JCPA also points out that although the PCUSA report is highly critical of the Jewish community, the committee that produced it had virtually no consultation or dialogue with the mainstream American Jewish community.
“We are dismayed by the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s latest attempts to pressure the Christian community to delegitimize and demonize the State of Israel. We hope that before this report is brought for a vote at the church’s General Assembly, significant revisions are made,” said Rabbi Steve Gutow, president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. “It is unfortunate that although the Presbyterian Church insists it is only seeking a peaceful two-state resolution, it continues to give lip service to Palestinian responsibility, blaming Israel even for attacks made against Israel. We hope Presbyterians will reject resources like the anti-Israel Kairos document that use words like ‘evil’ and ‘sin’ to denounce Israel. That can only lead to demonization, the antithesis of the civility we need in our public discourse. We are very concerned about the future of Presbyterian-Jewish relations.”