Church maintains anti-Jewish state bias at biannual conference

In February, the Presbyterian Church USA said it was expected to lose more than 400,000 members in the next half-a-decade, an internal church document predicted.

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June 20, 2016 00:42
2 minute read.
First Presbyterian Church of Houston

First Presbyterian Church of Houston . (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

 
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Only one out of six items on the Middle East to be discussed at the Presbyterian General Assembly deals with an issue beside the Israeli-Arab conflict. Writing for the Presbyterian’s Lay Committee The Layman website, Alan F.H. Wisdom revealed that the biannual conference, being held in Portland, Oregon, from June 18 to June 25, will not see any overtures disputing the anti-Israel onslaught.

Part of the calls to boycott are directed against technology company Hewlett Packard (HP), which has sold equipment to the IDF, which in turn has used it in the West Bank. Therefore, the conference will hear that HP “profit[s] from these human rights abuses [against Palestinians] and acts of militarized violence.”

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The Synod of the Covenant, representing churches and presbyteries in Michigan and Ohio, has also called on Israel to change its military strategy for suppressing terrorism in the West Bank, without condemning the terrorists and their tactics. The 2016 Presbyterian General Assembly is expected to hear additional measures directed against Israel during its biannual assembly this week, including calls to boycott RE/MAX real estate and to support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions Movement. The resolutions also fail to mention Islamic State as being the main reason for the exodus and decline in number of Christians in the Middle East, instead blaming it on economic difficulties and “religiously based radical thought and action in the region.” Meanwhile, Israel is the only country in the Middle East that has had an increase in Christians in recent years.

A resolution presented by the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy of the Presbyterian Church is also faulting Israel and the US for the stalled peace process, also without attributing any blame to the Palestinian side. Churches and members within Presbyterian Church USA have stood out for their anti-Israel stance, in recent years. The church has taken an active part in expressing their disapproval of Israel’s actions in Judea and Samaria. Beginning in 2004, the Church adopted a policy of “phased, selective divestment” from certain American corporations operating in Israel. That policy was later switched in 2006 to use divestment as a last resort. In 2014, PCUSA and the United Church of Christ passed resolutions to boycott and divest from companies they decided were “complicit” in the Jewish states alleged misdeeds against Palestinians.

The PCUSA meeting heard only BDS representatives accusing Israel of holding Palestinians under “biblical scale enslavement” and poisoning Palestinian livestock.

Presbyterians for Middle East Peace released the book “Two States for Two Peoples” earlier in the year in an effort to persuade the Presbyterian Church USA to keep its support for the two-state solution and not to heed to the calls of BDS activists.

In February, the Presbyterian Church USA said it was expected to lose more than 400,000 members in the next half-a-decade, an internal church document predicted.

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