Simon Wiesenthal Center Condemns Presbyterians’ Demonizing Israel, Ignoring the Suffering of Tens of Millions in Middle East

June 28, 2016

The Simon Wiesenthal Center strongly condemns the moves of the Presbyterian Church (USA) (PCUSA) at their recent biennial convention to annihilate the Jewish State by a thousand cuts. The church accepted a report that questioned its support for the existence of a Jewish State, and furthered its support for the extreme anti-peace BDS movement, which seeks the destruction of the only true democracy in the Middle East.

The tenor of the General Assembly was viciously anti-Israel. A video compared Israeli security checkpoints to Nazi cattle-cars. An overture slammed Israel for its arrest of child “rock-throwers,” without mentioning that the “rocks” are often boulders that have killed Israeli civilians in cars, or the PA-celebrated campaign of Palestinian children knifing Israelis. An important standing committee sought to minimize the Jewish connection to the Land by terming any support for the existence of Israel, “A sin against the Palestinian People” for which “the church must confess and repent.”

"Two years ago, the SWC announced that it was ending all contact with this church after it published a sourcebook, "Zionism Unsettled", replete with outrageous one-sided attacks against Israel and the very yearning of the Jewish people for its homeland - from which it subsequently walked back after criticism," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the Associate Dean of the Wiesenthal Center. "It was apparent that those who were crafting policy for the church had dropped any pretense of impartiality and lost their connection to the laity. In the two years that followed, the grip on the Palestinians of the corruption of Abbas' PA on the West Bank, and the Islamic terrorists of Hamas in Gaza have left no one for Israel - which repeatedly has stated its willingness to negotiate without preconditions - no one to talk to in a neighborhood roiled by the deaths of 400,000 in neighboring states, and the exile of millions—many of them fellow Christians. Yet PCUSA ignores all reality, and doubles down on demonizing Israel. The entire 2 1/2 hours devoted to the Middle East - a region of 400 million people rewriting the definition of suffering - was devoted exclusively to punitive measures against Israel."

"If divestment is in order," added Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, the director of interfaith affairs of the Center, "it is Jewish groups that ought to divest themselves of all dealings with this church. So should the large number of Presbyterians appalled by the extremist path taken by their leadership, which has already caused a hemorrhaging of members and shrinking to near-extinction of a once-proud and strong denomination.

“The greatest losers will be the Palestinians. They will be encouraged by the empty rhetoric of marginal church groups and marginal Jews whose children will not remain Jewish to continue to seek nothing less than the complete destruction of Israel. Most Palestinians know they are trapped by corrupt leaders, yet nothing will change unless and until their corrupt leaders are replaced with true peace-seekers. Groups like PCUSA only harm chances for true peace and reconciliation by providing a virtual moral blank check to the PA and Hamas.”

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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).