SWC Welcomes Presbyterians for Middle East Peace denunciation of PCUSA’s appalling attacks against Israel

May 31, 2022

The Simon Wiesenthal Center welcomed a powerful and perceptive statement from Presbyterians for Middle East Peace that denounces the Presbyterian Church USA’s continuing unjust and destructive attacks against Israel.

The statement by Pastor John W. Wimberly Jr., a leader and founder of Presbyterians for Middle East Peace (PfMEP) was issued in advance of the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) bi-annual General Assembly which begins later this month, where a resolution defaming Israel with the false charge of apartheid will be considered.

“…applying double standards, slanderous analogies and economic boycotts aimed at destroying a nation are not worthy of our denomination,” Wimberly declared. “We will not subject Israelis to the type of double standards the PCUSA has routinely endorsed - economic boycotts like the Boycott-Divest-Sanction (BDS) that explicitly seek to end Israel's existence as a Jewish state, or over-the top slurs such as Israel is an apartheid state.”

“We applaud Pastor Wimberly and PFMEP for speaking truth to power and denouncing unacceptable and hateful tactics by those who seek Israel’s destruction,” said Rabbi Eric J. Greenberg, SWC’s Director of UN Relations & Strategic Partnerships. “We pray that good-willed Presbyterians will heed the Pastor’s powerful and perceptive statement and reject one-sided, false initiatives meant to harm Israel while ignoring Palestinian accountability.”

“We appreciate PFMEP’s years of warm relationship with SWC and its continued commitment to expose the deep-seated prejudice in its church leadership,” said Rabbi Yitzchak Adlerstein, SWC’s Interfaith Director in Israel.

“The Simon Wiesenthal Center has been battling against PCUSA’s extreme anti-Israel animus for decades. They have taken a leadership role as part of global efforts to de-legitimize, demonize, and inflict the Jewish state with unjust double standards—each a hallmark of today’s anti-Semitism”, charged Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean and Director of the SWC’s Global Social Action.

PFMEP is a grassroots organization of Presbyterian lay and clergy volunteers created in response to a series of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish resolutions adopted by PCUSA 18 years ago. PFMEP says it seeks to promotes a fair and accurate understanding of the facts and challenges to be overcome in the pursuit of peace between Israel and Palestinians, and provides updates on progress toward a fair and just two-state solution.

In his statement Wimberly recounted the long centuries of bias the Jewish people have suffered, particularly from economic violence and having their land stolen.

“The Jewish community is also used to economic boycotts, after suffering from them for thousands of years. Whether in Europe, Asia, the Middle East or Africa, Jewish communities throughout history have always suffered from economic violence; lands stolen from them, possessions confiscated, homes seized which was usually followed by expulsion from the nation in which they lived,” Wimberly said.

He highlighted the hypocrisy of Israel’s critics ignoring severe human rights issues in other nations. “PCUSA members have demanded of Israel what they do not demand of nations like Saudi Arabia, China or even the leaders of the Palestinians. Saudi Arabia has laws which greatly limit the freedoms of women; China imprisons Uyghurs not in refugee camps but concentrations camps, and Palestinian leaders celebrate, as martyrs, individuals who commit acts of terrorism.

Wimberly implored PCUSA to change course. “Let us leave behind double standards, economic boycotts and appalling analogies. After all, none of them have worked, have they? Instead, let us find constructive ways to achieve peace for both Palestinians and Israelis alike.”

For further information contact the Center’s Communications department at pressinquiries@wiesenthal.com, join the Center on Facebook, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent directly to your Twitter feed.

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).

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