Simon Wiesenthal Center: PCUSA Boycott Vote Helps No One in Middle East; Spate of Anti-Israel Initiatives Harm Interfaith Relations

July 6, 2012
The Simon Wiesenthal Center denounced the Presbyterian Church (USA) vote today at its biennial General Assembly in Pittsburgh to boycott Israeli products emanating from “Palestinian land”. Other measures calling for divestment from companies doing business in Israel, and labeling Israeli law and practices as “apartheid” failed in separate votes.

“PCUSA’s boycott vote will not help a single Palestinian. It does however expose a dangerous double standard by a church that fails to act when their co-religionists and churches are attacked in Kenya, when millions of Christians live in uncertainty in an Egypt suddenly at the mercy of the Muslim Brotherhood, and when Christians are being ethnically cleansed from Iraq’s Assyrian Triangle,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center. “By even considering the charge of apartheid, and singling out Israeli beauty products for boycott, PCUSA shows how the world-wide BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement that seeks nothing less than the destruction of Israel has infiltrated the leadership of the Church. Their one-sidedness will continue to be an obstacle in the interfaith relationship with the Jewish community,” he continued.

“The resolution adopted refers to 'Palestinian land.’ But as there is no Palestinian state with defined borders, what exactly is ‘Palestinian land?’," Cooper asked adding that, “If you ask Hamas, which already controls Gaza and is vying for the West Bank as well, it is every inch of the Jewish State. Clearly, the rank and file of this important denomination has been manipulated by anti-Israel extremists.”

Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, the Center’s Director of Interfaith Affairs, who traveled to Pittsburgh to testify at the General Assembly, thanked, “a wonderful group of tireless friends within PCUSA who succeeded in convincing their colleagues to reject divestment and the canard of apartheid, passing instead a positive policy of investment in cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians.” Adlerstein concluded that, “We are disappointed that they were not able to dislodge the Big Lie that “settlements” are the major obstacle to peace. The real obstacle to peace is Palestinian unwillingness to come to the negotiating table – something that Israel has agreed to without precondition.”

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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).