Israel, Palestinians & Mid-East

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Presbyterian Church USA Report "Offensive Attack On Judaism And Israel"

New York, NY, March 11, 2010 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today called a new report from the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "a toxic mix of bad history, politically motivated distortions and offensive attacks on Judaism and Israel."

The 172-page report, titled "Breaking Down the Walls," was produced by PCUSA's Middle East Study Committee. The document will be offered for adoption as church policy at the Presbyterian Church's General Assembly meeting in July.

The Presbyterian Church USA, despite their resolution two years ago to take an even-handed approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has gone back on its word with this offensive and biased report," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "Rather than take a neutral or balanced approach, the Presbyterian Church committee has offered up a toxic mix of bad history, politically motivated distortions and offensive attacks on Judaism and Israel."

The League noted that in preparing their report, the Presbyterian study committee failed to meet with mainstream American Jewish organizations, limiting its contact to a handful of small Jewish and Israeli left-of-center activist groups and a retired Israeli rabbi, among others.

Among its most troubling sections, the "Breaking Down the Walls" report:

  • Legitimizes doubts about Israel's right to exist;

  • Calls on the United States government to consider withholding military aid to Israel;

  • Endorses the recent Kairos Palestine document, called "A Moment of Truth" which excuses Palestinian terrorism and fully blames Israel for any and all Palestinian violence;

  • Calls on the U.S. government to repent of its "sinful behavior" vis-à-vis the Middle East;

  • Misrepresents both the history of Israel and Jewish religious faith, in particular by attacking fundamental aspects of Jewish religious identity, such as God's covenant with the Jewish people and the promise of the land;

  • Argues that Iranian and Israeli nuclear weapons would pose a similar threat to the region.

"Two years ago we publicly welcomed PCUSA's adoption of a resolution calling for an even-handed approach toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," said Mr. Foxman. "We said then that we looked forward to working with the church to enhance our dialogue. But this Presbyterian committee ignored our outstretched hand of friendship, as well as the church's mandate for balance and fairness. It is an affront to Americans, the Jewish people, Israel, and raises serious questions about PCUSA's credibility as a partner in interfaith dialogue with the Jewish community."

ADL called on Presbyterians of good conscience to reject the unfair, unbalanced, and wrong assertions made in the report and vote against "Breaking Down the Walls" when it is presented for adoption at the PCUSA's 219th General Assembly in July in Minneapolis.