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Resolution Denounced by Presbyterian Activists
The adoption by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) of a deceitful resolution that falsely defines Israel as an apartheid state is “an insult to Jews and Christians alike which damages interfaith relations,” said Rabbi Eric J. Greenberg, Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Director of United Nations Relations and Strategic Partnerships and a longtime activist in Interfaith efforts.
“PCUSA leadership has violated G-d’s commandment not to bear false witness, rendered itself irrelevant in the world of peacemaking, and made a mockery of honest dialogue and interfaith relations,” Greenberg said following the July 7th GA vote to define Israel as an apartheid state which was approved Friday by an overwhelming vote of 266 to 116.
SWC officials noted that PCUSA leaders rigged the debate on the resolution, known as an overture, by providing untrue and misleading information to church members and preventing any Jewish or pro-Israel voices to oppose against the proposal -- a violation of the church’s own policies. Among the falsehoods promoted by PCUSA leadership was comparing Israeli policy to Nazi Germany and falsely claiming there is widespread Jewish support for the overture.
“We denounce this rigged process and false resolution that libels the Jewish nation and Judaism,” declared Rabbi Abraham Cooper SWC’s Associate Dean and Director of Global Social Action and Rabbi Yitzchak Adlerstein Director of Interfaith Affairs. “It takes place under the administration of an anti-Semitic Stated Clerk, Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II, and is the culmination of a decade long anti-Israel, anti-Jewish agenda from the church’s leadership in Louisville.”
“The overture violates PCUSA policy, effectively demanding that Israel end its own existence and deny Jews the right of self-determination,” said the activist group Presbyterian for Middle East Peace which opposed the anti-Semitic, anti-Israel resolutions from PCUSA leadership. “It is important to note that seventy percent of PCUSA commissioners voted to approve this,” said PfMEP Pastor John Wimberly. “But 70 percent of Presbyterians would not agree.”
SWC commended PfMEP for denouncing the apartheid resolution, PCUSA’s one-sided debate process, and for promising to continue positive Presbyterians-Jewish relations on a local level despite the latest affront by PCUSA leadership.
“Our fear going into this GA was that there would not be a real conversation about the issue of apartheid, and our fears were realized,” PfMEP wrote. “There was no U.S. Jewish or Israeli voice asked to speak to the committee. There was no discussion about the reality of the State of Israel in which Jews and Arabs have equal rights under the law, where both Jews and Arabs can vote and hold office, where Arabs sit on the Supreme Court…The impact of passing such an overture are violent attacks and hate may increase against American Jews, who are already under siege and feeling isolated. Extremist on both sides in Israel and Palestine will be emboldened to fuel even more division, conflict, and violence,” PfMEP noted.
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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).