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Every denomination needs one of these...

Presbyterians admit and confront "anti-Jewish" sentiments

Monday, May 05, 2008

In a stunning article on the PCUSA web site, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) is acknowledging anti-Jewish sentiment within it's ranks:
We Presbyterians can celebrate the extent to which we have been able to rid our teaching, preaching and actions of such prejudice. We take these principles and commitments seriously and we believe that the official policies and statements of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) live up to this standard.

However, we are aware and do confess that anti-Jewish attitudes can be found among us. Our conversations with Jews in the last several years have renewed our concern to guard against anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish motifs and stereotypes, particularly as these find expression in speech and writing about Israel, the Palestinian people, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and steps toward peace. Once again, many Presbyterians have become aware that strains of an old anti-Jewish tradition are present in the way we ourselves sometimes speak and in the rhetoric and ideas of some writers that we may read regarding these matters.

Examples of such an anti-Jewish theology can unfortunately be found in connection with PC(USA) General Assembly overtures, such as the overture on Confronting Christian Zionism, adopted by the 216th General Assembly in 2004. Some of the authors cited in the rationale of that overture make use in their writings of arguments suggesting or declaring that the Jewish people are no longer in covenant with God, or make statements that echo the medieval Christian claim that the Jews are to blame for the crucifixion of Christ. The rationale and background sources cited in any overture are not General Assembly policy, but Presbyterians need to read such materials with awareness of these themes of classic anti-Jewish teaching.

When our analysis or critique of the Israeli-Palestinian situation employs language or draws on sources that have anti-Jewish overtones, or clearly makes use of classic Christian anti-Jewish ideas, we cloud complicated issues with the rhetoric of ignorance or subliminal attitudes, or the language of hate, and undermine our advocacy for peace and justice. Critical questions such as ending the occupation of Palestinian territory by Israel or the future of Jerusalem are complex and difficult. It does not help to import stereotypes, anti-Jewish motifs or classic ideas of Christian anti-Jewish theology into our discussions.

Similarly, in a few materials that have been circulated by Presbyterians, one finds characterizations of Zionism that distort that movement. They do not accurately present the history of the Zionist movement or acquaint readers with its internal debates and ethical concerns. Instead, Zionism is often presented as a monolithic force or merely as an extension of European colonialism and result of anti-Semitism, and nothing else. In such materials, the problems and suffering of the Palestinians are attributed solely — and inaccurately — to Zionism alone. The origins, development and practices of Zionism and its relationship to the realities of the Israeli-Palestinian situation are much more complex than such a picture presents.
This is certainly wonderful and welcome news and it should help foster better interfaith relations between Presbyterians and Jews. This is also significant because the Presbyterians were largely responsible for starting the anti-Israel divestment movement that spread across the mainline denominations a few years ago. Victor Makari of PC(USA) championed divestment as did his son, Peter Makari, for the United Church of Christ. You will recall that at the 2005 General Synod, UCC President John Thomas and Peter Makari modified a resolution to include divestment language over the objection the committee at General Synod that specifically removed any reference to the controversial action. Since 2005, Thomas has been roundly criticized by every major jewish group in the United States.
posted by UCCtruths, Monday, May 05, 2008


The humilty in that article is staggering.


How I long for the day of this type of leadership within our own denom.

waiting, hoping, praying
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 4:09 PM  
Thank you, Jim, for finding this. It's a breath of fresh air.
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 7:58 PM  
Amen indeed! Praying for a renewed leadership within all our churches. Bring it back home my friends..back home!
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 11:12 PM  
If you look at the PCUSA and the UCC issues with Israel, they are a clear example of a small group hijacking the agenda. This is always a risk in well meaning, largely volunteer organizations.

The mainline protestant denominations underestimate the degree that this political involvement helps drive members away. It is not necessarily because of the positions themselves, but the misrepresentations and sometimes outright deceit used by the leadership. One still expects better from religious leaders.

For a great example of how well meaning intelligent people get bamboozled read this interview with Olivia De Haviland in the WSJ.

commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 8:57 AM  
I don't see how criticizing government policies equate anti people sentiments!!!!!!

I guess it's the same for us though being that when Rev. Wright criticized America, alot of white americans interpreted that as an attack on themselves as individuals!
So now if you have issues with Isreali government policies and zionism you are anti - jewish. Zionism is not a religion or an ethnicity ITS AN IDEOLOGY!!!!

come on people
commented by Blogger truthToPower, 12:41 PM  
I don't see how criticizing government policies equate anti people sentiments!!!!!!

It isn't.!!!!!!!!!

But making false claims about people- like this one-
So now if you have issues with Isreali government policies and zionism you are anti - jewish.

-is, quite legitimately, considered as being "anti" that group of people. If they're Jewish, it's called antiSemitism.
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 9:39 PM  

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